Archives for posts with tag: Art

Today I bring you a review of the new book by Martie Preller/Mary Meddlemore, who was my guest last week. I thought it only appropriate to share my opinion of her latest book.

entering small

Another Triumph of Storytelling from the Story Dimension Series

Talking dogs, doors leading to another dimension, an opinionated red pig, a walking mobile phone…Where else could you find such a fantastic combination of characters but in one of Martie Preller/Mary Meddlemore’s stories?

Mary Meddlemore, one of Martie Preller’s characters, decided it was time she wrote the stories. As she belongs to the story dimension Martie could only agree.

In ‘Entering’, Amy, the protagonist, a young girl who’s going through a difficult time at home, whilst trying to take refuge in her imagination, unwittingly opens the door to another dimension, where nothing is what it seems. She thinks she knows the stories and herself, but her adventures revisiting well-known fairy tales teach her better. By the end she’s learned about the world and more importantly, about herself.

Like the rest of the books of the series, ‘Entering’ is a triumph of imagination and storytelling. Dare to enter the story dimension! You’ll enjoy the ride and it might just change you as much as it changes Amy!

I recommend it wholeheartedly to children from 0 to 150 (or more!)

Here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FBO2BM0/

And if you like what you’ve read, go on, like share, comment, and CLICK!

English: bookshop in port Melbourne

English: bookshop in port Melbourne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mis padres siempre me han contado que cuando era pequeña, antes de aprender a leer, yo siempre me empeñaba en querer saber lo que ponía en los anuncios y señales y en cualquier cosa que tuviera algo escrito. Más tarde, cuando aprendí a leer, me convertí en una lectora empedernida. Mi escuela era pequeña, una escuela de barrio (que ha desaparecido como muchas otras cosas) y no tenía su propia biblioteca, pero los lectores nos solíamos prestar e intercambiar libros y leíamos de todo, desde ‘Los Famosos Cinco’ y la serie de Aventuras (de Enid Blyton, que yo siempre preferí. Me gustaba el loro) a ‘Tiburón’, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, Gustavo Adolfo Becquer o Mercé Rodoreda.

Siempre he preferido que me regalen libros a cualquier otra cosa (casi) y me siguen gustando.

En cuanto a libros se refiere soy como una polilla atraída hacia la luz. Si veo libros en cualquier sitio, iré a echar un vistazo, no importa donde sea: un supermercado, un mercadillo, el aeropuerto…Y por supuesto, me encantan las librerías, aunque parece que el negocio no va muy bien y han cambiado mucho. Y sí, ahora tenemos las grandes cadenas de librerías, algo anónimas pero normalmente con mucha variedad, no solo de libros sino también de otras cosas, las pequeña librería especializada, las librerías independientes, las que venden libros de segunda mano que son como máquinas del tiempo.

Debido a mi trabajo ha habido épocas de mi vida cuando he viajado bastante y una de las cosas que mejor suelo recordar de los lugares donde he vivido (o he visitado) es dónde están (o estaban) las librerías. Y debo reconocer que me siento muy desilusionada cuando vuelvo a visitar algún lugar familiar y descubro que una de mis librerías favoritas ha desaparecido. Es como perder a un viejo amigo. Con respecto a las librerías, como pasa con la mayoría de cosas importantes en la vida, no son todas iguales.

Pensando en eso, quería preguntaros a vosotros, lectores, si pudierais hacer aparecer, como por arte de magia, la librería de vuestros sueños, ¿cómo sería? ¿Sería enorme con un poco de todo? ¿O pequeña pero muy especial? ¿Vendería solo libros u otros objetos relacionados (DVDs, lectores electrónicos, libros en audio, revistas y papelería, otro equipamiento…)? ¿Vendería otro tipo de cosas (postales, artesanía y objetos de decoración, juguetes…)? ¿Tendría también cafetería? ¿Organizaría eventos (lecturas y firma de libros, clubs de lectores, competiciones, otro tipo de invitados…)? ¿Vendería solo libros nuevos, o también de segunda mano, tendría una sección para intercambiar libros…? ¿Libros en varios idiomas? ¿Best-sellers y libros no tan conocidos o independientes, libros de interés local y especializados? ¿Ofrecería otros servicios como Wi-fi y tienda digital? ¿Y dónde estaría? ¿En un lugar plácido y remoto, o a la vuelta de la esquina, en el centro de la ciudad, en un centro comercial, o en un rincón escondido y mágico?

¡Soñad! ¡Que es gratis (de momento)!

Y pensando en librerías y en las fotos que me envió de una de sus librerías favoritas una autora amiga, empecé un tablero (board) en Pinterest, y una vez allí encontré mucha gente compartiendo fotos fabulosas.

Echadle un vistazo a ver que os parece, y si os apetece añadir vuestros pins, si estáis en Pinterest os invito a que añadáis los vuestros.

http://www.pinterest.com/olganm7/bookstores-booshops-and-interesting-shops/

¡Gracias por leer, y os ha gustado recordad darle al like, comentad, y compartid!

Brooklyn Museum - Walt Whitman - Thomas Johnson

Brooklyn Museum – Walt Whitman – Thomas Johnson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Queridos lectores:

Sabéis que escribo posts sobre las cosas más variadas, y hace un tiempo estuve hablando de como a veces parece que todo nos va mal, que somos unos fracasados, y somos muy duros y crueles con nosotros mismos. Mi sugerencia era que a veces intentar distanciarnos de nuestros problemas, aunque difícil, ayuda. Que si pensamos en lo que le diríamos a un amigo o conocido que nos contara esos mismos problemas, estoy segura de que no le diríamos que es un bueno para nada y un fracasado, si no que le recordaríamos las muchas cosas que ha conseguido. A veces nos olvidamos de todas las cosas que hemos hecho, nuestros logros, las habilidades que tenemos, y solo vemos este momento tan negro.

Por eso decidí que hoy sería el día oficial de celebrar nuestros logros. Todas esas cosas que hemos conseguido, los talentos que tenemos, las cosas que hemos aprendido, los descubrimientos que hemos hecho, nuestras creaciones, acontecimientos que hemos vivido, causas que hemos apoyado, esa pequeña contribución que ha conseguido mover montañas. Y hablando de montañas, no estoy hablando de subir a la cima del Everest (aunque por supuesto eso es un logro fantástico) pero todas esas cosas, grandes y pequeñas que hacen de la vida un mundo mejor. Palmadita en la espalda! Hoy es el día! A celebrar!

En homenaje al gran Walt Whitman: ¡Celebrémonos! ¡Porque nos lo merecemos! ¡Felicidades!

¡Gracias por leer, y por favor, no os olvidés de like, compartir y comentar! Los comentarios serán un pequeño logro mío.

Hi dear readers:

I bring you two reviews of two books I’ve read recently. I’ve given both of them 5 stars although they couldn’t be more different.

Have a look and see what you think:

lost angeles

Lost Angeles. Trip to the edge of self-destruction

I came across this novel in Goodreads. I followed with interest the author’s reviews of other works and his blog and I must admit I loved the title. It had been on my `to read’ list for a while, and I’m pleased to say that I finally found the time to read it and I’m very pleased I did.
Lost Angeles reads like a memoir, but not your standard memoir (if there is such a thing). The book follows the protagonist, Doug, a young and articulate man from Belfast, and his travels/adventures in Los   Angeles. Doug is not in Los Angeles to see the sights, although the does see many sights (some that none of us would wish to see). From the beginning you realise that he’s there with a mission. You don’t come to realise quite how determined he is to self-destruct until much later in the book. He drinks, takes drugs, engages in casual sex, and drifts from cheap accommodation to even cheaper digs (including the `Lost Angeles’ of the title that used to be a place for sex for sale) all the time meeting real people. Some idiots, some nice but misguided, some lost and looking, some also drifters.
The reasons for Doug’s trip are slowly revealed through interspersed chapters about his life back home (I’m a bit reluctant to call them flashbacks. They’re memories, but too long, detailed and elaborate to be what’s more generally understood as flashback). You quickly realise that he’s mourning the end of what seems to have been his most significant relationship, but later you realise that there is more to it than that, and come to care and empathise with Doug even more. Because if there’s something notable about the novel is that despite behaviour that many of us would neither approve of, not adhere to, we like Doug. He might drive us insane if we met him but…whilst embarked on his self-destructive path he tries his hardest to help others and to do no harm. By the end you’re rooting for him and hope that against all odds things will work out for him.
A very personal novel, I truly enjoyed Lost Angeles. This is a novel for adults and I’d recommend it to anybody who wants to read about real people coping with life, as best they can. I look forward to many more books by Mr Louden.

Links:

e-book:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AG5NS30/

Paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1477563644/

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In the Reign of the Ilev by Mary Meddlemore. A dystopia that resonates.

I have had the pleasure of reading two of Mary Meddlemore’s works before. Mary Meddlemore is a character in Forever After. A Dimensional Love Story, one of the novels I have read and loved and has also adopted the writing credits for In the Reign of the Ilev and The Seventh Sheep, a collection of four of the most whimsical and magical short stories I’ve ever read. My previous experiences meant that I was really looking forward to Ilev and it did not disappoint, although it is a very different read.

Ilev is classified under the category of Young Adult Science-Fiction, although it would appeal to readers of any age. It is the story of Nina, and 18 y old girl how is one of the Chosen Four who have been the successful ones in going through a selection process from between 40 promising youths in the City. Now the Four had to go through the Final Test and only one will be the Champion. All the champions become rulers of the City and are in charge of the Master Computer. You’ll tell me ‘not another one of these stories of youths fighting amongst themselves to survive’. Well, not really. The test consists in their being dropped some distance from the City and returning to it. Whoever is the first, will be the new Champion. Nina is very confident, egotistical, and only interested in fame, success, material things and power. She does not tolerate weaknesses or flaws and even notices that the previous champions all seem defective in some way. She goes through a number of strange experiences that make her question her identity (children do not live with their families but are all brought up together) and her perception of reality (is she hallucinating or it is really happening? Does she have feelings for Daniel, one of the other Chosen ones, or is somebody interfering with her brain?). She discovers wonderful places and beings but also horrific happenings. All the things that she thought she knew and were certain are not, and that makes her question herself and become more human.

It’s difficult to empathise with Nina at the beginning of the novel, although from her description it seems that she is a product of the society where she grew up. By the end she becomes a true heroine, confronting the terrible truth destroying and deadening civilisation, and she brings forth a new order. There is a price to pay for the changes that take place, but there is hope for new beginnings.

How does Ilev compare to other dystopian novels of the genre? There is action; there are interesting characters, fantastic situations, a love (?) interest…and much more. Nina is an interesting narrator, not knowingly unreliable (she does not care enough about other people’s opinions to lie) although she becomes confused as to the nature of reality at points. She grows and changes throughout the novel and comes to appreciate the value of cooperation, of stories, of history, and of freedom. Winning is no longer the main goal and total power becomes clearly identified with evil. The City in Ilev is a terrible creation but not so far away from our daily lives and experiences. You can’t help but compare your life with that of the inhabitants of the City and wonder if it’s time to become a Chosen one and destroy the order that’s keeping people from really experiencing life and the universe. Given a chance, would you be a Nina?

This novel could be read as a straight adventure sci-fi novel (although somewhat more challenging that many), but it has a message, learning points and reflections that would satisfy more sophisticated readers. I can only say that I hope Mary Meddlemore (and the writer behind her) keeps writing. I’ll keep reading her. I hope you do too.

Link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009GXHI84/

Thanks for reading and if you’ve liked it, leave a comment, share, and of course, don’t forget to CLICK!

Everything has a price tag. Yes, I know that things that are really worth millions can’t be bought, like good health, happiness, or time, although some things that help maximise them can (good medical care, time management devices, lack of financial concerns, task delegation). But in general terms, most things have a price attached. Value is not the same as price. You might value a nice sunny day and time spent with friends and that has not price tag attached. And other people might be prepared to pay a high price for things that you would not give a cent/penny for, and might not even want them for free (latest fashion design, a gadget that you’re not interested in, a sports ticket you don’t care for).
What is the value of art? Do you think artists ‘work’? Should they be paid for their efforts?
If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about a fair bit recently. A couple of friends of mine, a man and a woman, both extremely talented, both write, both also make movies, one is also an actor, the other one directs movies and works on scripts for people (and both have made videos for me) narrated very similar anecdotes to me last weekend. On Saturday I was exchanging messages with Alan Cooke (a.k.a. Wild Irish Poet) who told me he’d been asked to take part in a project run by somebody else on the expectation that his time and effort would be given for free (and the unspoken understanding that he should be grateful to be asked). The next day Magda Olchawska told me a couple of young women working in a project had told her they thought she’d be the right person to help them, again with the expectation that this would be provided free of charge. Both of them had a similar take on the matter. ‘You would not ask a plumber to do a repair for free, would you?’ Or ‘You wouldn’t go to a shop and take what you needed without paying; why should expectations be different?’ Why indeed.
We (or the majority of people, but sorry for unfair generalising) seem to think that whilst professions (or people doing a more ‘mundane’ job) do it for the money and it therefore has a value and a price attached, in the case of artists it’s not the same. They’re having fun! They’re doing what they really want to do! Do they need to get paid on top of that? Now you’re kidding me!
Well, surprise, surprise, artists eat too. They have to train and work hard at what they do. It takes many years to achieve expertise on a subject or field, qualifications, to keep updated, and of course you have use of materials, resources, time…Imagine musicians playing their instruments for years before they master them, or ballet dancers training since they are little and sacrificing games and playing time for their art. We all have heard stories of people who suddenly after writing their first book, or posting their song on the internet, or taking a picture or video, their work went ‘viral’ and became successful overnight. This happens, but compared to the number of people who try to make a living in any of these (and many other) art-related subjects, the likelihood is so small that it’s similar to winning a big lottery price. It is not the norm. Most artists work for many years to see little return and few manage to make a comfortable living out of it (let aside become ‘successful’ and ‘famous’). Struggling to make ends meet is the norm rather than the opposite. Very few get to be well known names like Damien Hirst, Lady Gaga, or Russell Crowe. But they still have to put a roof over their heads, food on the table and pay the bills.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Min...

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living by Damien Hirst (1991) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And when they can, artists love to help colleagues and do things for good causes, but not to the detriment of their livelihood. So next time you look (or listen, or touch, or…) a work of art, ask yourself what value does it have to you. Because if it makes you think, it transmits beauty, it makes you happy, it makes you want to dance…it’s worth something. Don’t take it for granted.
Thank you for reading. If it has made you think, please leave a comment, and share.

And in case you want some information about my friends I leave you a link to Alan’s page on Facebook:

http://on.fb.me/151c1Js

And to a post on Magda:

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/guest-author-and-filmmaker-magda-olchawska/

Go on, click and share!

 

As you’ll remember I brought you the work of a good friend Susana Araujo a few months ago. We met at the University of Sussex when we were both researching and writing up our PhDs in American Literature. Susana was writing about Joyce Carol Oates‘s short stories and I was writing about David Mamet’s films. We both were “blessed” with very prolific authors, still producing lots of work, and we had plenty of chance to talk, compare notes, and even taught some film courses together. Since completing her PhD Susana has gone back to Portugal and is now teaching at the University of Lisbon. We also shared our love of writing and Susana has recently published a collection of poems, Dívida Soberana. She was very kind and sent me a copy and also agreed to feature some of her poems in my blog. Although her collection is mostly in Portuguese, part 3 ‘Global Warming’ contains her own translation of some of her poems, offering a bilingual rendering in Portuguese and English. A very socially conscious collection, dealing with current situation and ever actual, I could not resist but bring you another of her poems.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

And I add some information of where to buy her book at the end. Don’t forget to click!

Happy Meal logo, English

Happy Meal logo, English (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

McLANCHE FELIZ

Será o acossar de cada palavra sintoma

de fome? Depois de teres sorvido o líquido

de todo o alfabeto e ingerido fonemas tão

garridos como o velho palhaço do McDonalds

Abriste com mãos limpas a porta do templo,

penetras o mistério das sementes de sésamo

e entre famílias inteiras: nativas e estrangeiras

sentas-te e recitas o epinício da congregação

na esperança que o teu pedido (batido de

percepções) não aborte

Pois bem. Se comes o hambúrguer em paz

é porque, efectivamente, carnes orgânicas

não salvam um planeta de si próprio

nem aliviam a dor de nenhum poeta.

HAPPY MEAL

Is the hunting for each word a symptom

of hunger? After you sipped the liquid

of all the alphabet and ingested phonemes

as garish as McDonald’s old clown

You opened the doors of the temple with

clean hands, penetrated the mystery of

sesame seeds and among entire families:

native and foreign, you sit and recite the hymn

of the congregation in the hope that your order

(a milkshake of perceptions) shall not abort

Well then. If you eat your burger in peace

it is because, in reality, organic meat

does not save a planet from itself, nor

does it ease a poet’s pain.

Here is he link! Don’t forget to click!

Check www.amariposa.net to order some copies.

And here I leave you a link to the previous post. Have a look, Susana’s poems should not be missed!

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/susana-araujos-divida-soberana/

Living in the Gap

“Ruffled feathers and endless squawking over a minor difficulty is typical of a crow’s life. I lean back on the counter and realize that could be my line….”

Opinión y actualidad

Opinión sobre noticias y asuntos de actualidad

Los escritos de Héctor Browne

Blog (algo literario y algo viejo) de un Licenciado en Letras, diplomado en edición, y Profesor de Lenguaje.

Priscilla Bettis, Author

The making of a horror novelist.

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