chenanceou: (010)
A couple of things reaped in the night. Both from the always interesting and at times even amazing Jonathan Carroll blog.

If you don't write your books, nobody else will do it for you. No one else has lived your life.
- Jose Saramago

[Saramago's variant of the 'Writers, write.' maxim.]

I had a strange conversation the other day with a writer who said something that has stuck in my mind ever since. He asked if I ever thought about people who died who had read my books while they were alive. I looked to see if he was serious and he plainly was. No, I never thought about that, I answered half-skeptically.
Well then consider this (he said): If there IS an Afterlife then they took your stories with them. In other words, your work is OVER THERE now. Maybe that will have some kind of effect.
On who?
Who knows? You? Your life? What will happen to you after you die...
And then he changed the topic.
- CarrollBlog 11.8

The first one is truer than true, though, after reading yet another disposable autobiography [not by choice] I'm grateful not everybody does it.
The second quote? It's food for thought, isn't it? Think about it, my fellow scribe... All those hours of dedication, all those hours obsessing about the perfect word [What? Only I do that?!] could literally [no pun intended] change things over there.

It's time for the rest of the world to wake up and it is finally Friday - always a good thing.
chenanceou: (092)

Fairy Tales.

"Goldilocks Dies With Honor at the Hands of the Three Bears"

"Snow White and the Six Dwarves She Killed With Her Bare Hands and the Seventh Dwarf She Let Get Away as a Warning to Others"

"There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe With a Big Spike on It"

"The Three Little Pigs Build an Improvised Explosive Device and Deal With That Damned Wolf Once and for All"

"Jack and the Giant Settle Their Differences With Flaming Knives"

"Old Mother Hubbard, Lacking the Means to Support Herself With Honor, Sets Her Disruptor on Self-Destruct and Waits for the Inevitable"

"Mary Had a Little Lamb. It Was Delicious"

"Little Red Riding Hood Strays Into the Neutral Zone and Is Never Heard From Again, Although There Are Rumors ... Awful, Awful Rumors"

"Hansel and Gretel Offend Vlad the Impaler"

"The Hare Foolishly Lowers His Guard and Is Devastated by the Tortoise, Whose Prowess in Battle Attracts Many Desirable Mates"

--- --- ---

Methods Other Than Song
By Which One Can Be
Killed Softly.

Chinchilla attack

Asphyxiation by cupcake

Egyptian tomb booby-trapped with goose down

Smothering by fatties

Poison meringue

Allergic reaction to cashmere

Stuffed animal avalanche

Heart attack induced by 16-year-old girl's skin

Original List and then More Lists can be found here.
chenanceou: (092)
I'm very grateful to the person who passed me the link to Overheard in NY. [ profile] perletwo is my prime suspect. Was it you, P2? Whoever it was [ profile] sp23, thank you!!! Overheard in NY rarely fails to make me laugh and, an unexpected perk, reassures me I can't be as stupid as I sometimes fear I am.

Today I've baked until I could bake no more (waves at [ profile] elsaf). Ganache covered cake, madeleines, quiches and a terrine that kicked my ass are all done (Where the recipe asks you to press firmly, don't be fooled - it should say sit on the damn thing already!).

I'm tired, but Frank Harris and his My Life and Loves are waiting for me. Though Saki and Reginald are also smiling invitingly and Reginald always makes me feel so decadent.

Feeling decadent after having one's ass kicked by what basically is a chunk of deceased duck seems like a good idea.

Well, then - it's Saki in bed. Harris and his life of Victorian scandals will just have to wait.

It's Over.

Jul. 25th, 2005 02:13 am
chenanceou: (22)
It drove me crazy for years. Yes, years. It mocked, scoffed and taunted me. In the end, it was the cover, glanced when looking for something completely different, that solved the mystery.

>Strange Wine< by Harlan Ellison

The stories I had been looking for so very long: Strange Wine, Seeing and The Wine Has Been Left Open too Long and the Memory Has Gone Flat. I never claimed they were the best ever, just that I had to find them or descend into primeval chaos.

It will feel as if there are no more secrets left - mercifully, only for a while.
chenanceou: (27)
I'm narrowing it down - or just making myself go completely insane. The science fiction book with the stories of the girl with the eyes that get transplanted to another woman who has no idea she is in for a horrible experience. Also the story of the guy who has a miserable life on Earth and then kills himself only to find out he was an alien given the great honour of living on Earth (where you can feel things). It's not a brilliant book, no - but it's been haunting me for years and I can't seem to let go.

Joan D. Vinge With a title like Eyes of Amber, it held promise, but it's not the right story.
Alan Dean Foster
Asimov Anthologies - thanks to [ profile] danguyf
John Brunner
Alone Against Tomorrow - early Ellison

I get these names out of the blue. Of course, if it was a collection of different authors I might as well give up on ever being 100% sane. I've heard the whole sanity thing is highly overrated anyway.
chenanceou: (19)
I've said this before and I was half joking only - I'm a man trapped in a woman's body. I'm sick and all I'm missing is my cudgel to effect the complete transformation of yours truly into a whining troll (if there ever was a whining troll).

I feel sorry for myself, am shameless when it comes to emotional blackmail (my early demise has been mentioned once or a thousand times) and change my mind about what I do feel like eating after all 3 or 4 times before the poor victim makes it to the stairs. I'd shoot myself for being so horrid, but I can't muster the strength. Oy me.

What I have been doing from the depths of my congested sniffling and snotty misery is drive myself bonkers over the same mystery that has mercilessly preyed on my mind: what is the name of the blasted book I have been looking for all these years?

I've decided to pay a reward to the person who can correctly point me in the right direction. I mean it. Every single time I get sick it's the same torture! What is the name of the book with the story with the girl with alien eyes that are stolen to her relief and then give only misery to the lady who buys them? This is the same book that has the story of the guy who leads a tragic life until he decides to put an end to the pain by killing himself - only to wake up on his original planet, where he finds out that the life of pain was immensely preferable to this life where you feel nothing.

I want to know. I have to know. I'm going insane. Where's my Nyquil?
chenanceou: (19)
Kitab alf layla wa layla

The Book of the 1001 Nights Vol. I - The Syrian Branch [my own translation since this edition is in Portuguese] is now occupying the guest of honour's place on the shelf I reserve for my favourite books. This book has a special place in my heart for many reasons, some of them quite peculiar, but that falls under way too much information.

The first known reference to this book dates from IX A.D.* and in XV A.D. it's called The 1001 Nights for the first time (it's interesting to note that 1001, bin bir, was believed to have been used to signify a lot - so 1001 was not taken literally in Arabic literature of the time).

Why the Syrian branch? Well, the Syrian branch is the one believed to better preserve the characteristics of the original work. There are four surviving manuscripts of this branch - the manuscript in the Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris is the oldest (and best), going back to XIV AD. It once belonged to Jean-Antoine Galland (1646-1715), the first translator of the book into a western language (French). His translation took more liberties than the King James Bible has managed to, but he deserves his place as the one who introduced the West to this great book (or at least his version of it). The other three manuscripts can be found at the John Rylands Library [Manchester], the India Office Library [London] and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana [Vatican]. Though the India Office's is a copy of the one found at the John Rylands Library, the others are all independent manuscripts and can be used when compared to assert the accuracy of the text. All the mentioned texts have 282 nights, with ten major stories** and end at the same place. Yes, 282. No, not 1001. That's when the different scholars start the delicious discussions on the Egyptian branch, Indian and Turkish influences (Ali Baba - the one from the cave - is a Turkish name), even Greek influences... ad infinitum.

For the English reader there's the excellent The Arabian Nights: A Companion by Robert Irwin and Muhsin Mahdi's translation (using the manuscript in France). I'd like to mention again that there are numerous debates about the Egyptian branch of the stories and what should or shouldn't be considered part of the The 1001 Nights. I already own a copy of the all inclusive translation (from the French) with Ali Baba and Ala al-Din and now am very happy with my 1001 Nights from the Syrian version (done in the same vein as Mahdi's and also using the French text).

Sorry to have bored you (mercifully, this post wasn't as extensive as it was in its first draft), but [ profile] ljs wanted to know and what the lady wants, the lady gets.

I wish you a lovely and imaginative weekend.

* fragment found by Nabia Abbott among papyri acquired by the University of Chicago during WWII. A Ninth Century fragment of the Thousand Nights. New light on the early history of the Arabian Nights Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Chicago, vol. VIII, n.3, pp.129-164

** Rough translations of the titles: The Merchant and the Djinni, The Fisherman and the Djinni, The Porter and the Three Ladies from Baghdad, The Three Apples, The Viziers of Nuruddin, The Hunchback and the King of China, Nuruddin and the Servant, Jullanar and Her Son, King Badr and The King Qamaruzzaman and His Sons Amjad and Ascad.
chenanceou: (37)
[ profile] coraline has started a book log on her LJ and I find myself looking forward to those posts. She's succinct enough that not much is given away and I like it that way.

I also remember [ profile] bubonicplague did a rec list of horror stories a while back that was interesting.

So if there's a community around LJ that's only for that, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know. Book recs - not book discussions. Something simple with title, author, genre and then a brief comment (no spoilers). I don't want a place where people dissect the book before I read it.

If there's no such community and somebody is willing to host/co-host it, I'm willing.

LiveJournal is an international community and it should be interesting to see what other people are reading. Plus - I need an injection of new life in my reading list. I keep getting caught in the what's familiar net and that won't do.


On other, related news: take out sushi is not my friend and Eddie I. can make me laugh even in my direst hour.

EDIT: I need a book making software rec. Nothing fancy.
chenanceou: (Moname)
Struggling over a review for Persian Boy *sigh*. It will work out. I just have to let go for a bit.
This is a shameless pimping of my cartoons, The Adventures of Chen.

Disclaimer: Democrat tendencies here - so please don't be offended by A Quiet Night at Home if you're a Republican.


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