Friday, 20 October 2017

Camus, Albert "The First Man"



Camus, Albert "The First Man" (French: Le premier homme) - 1994

Albert Camus is probably my favourite French author and this being an autobiography, I just couldn't reject it. However, this is an unfinished manuscript that was found when the author died in a car crash, hasn't been edited or altered, we get just the raw draft. I am sure this book would have been a lot more enjoyable had the author had the chance to work on it a little longer.

But it is what it is and I am happy this document was found and finally published because it does give us quite an insight into the author's life, especially his youth and also his quest for his father. We get a good idea about the man himself, how his philosophy came to fruition, how his mind works.

On the other hand, his daughter mentions in the introduction that her father might have changed a lot of his thoughts in the book, it might not have been as personal, if he had had the chance to work on it. I would have loved for the author to live a lot longer and write many more stories but at least we get this glimpse of

This was my third book by Camus and it won't be my last, that's for sure.

I read this book in the original French language.

From the back cover:
"The unfinished manuscript of The First Man was discovered in the wreckage of car accident in which Camus died in 1960. Although it was not published for over thirty years, it was an instant bestseller when it finally appeared in 1994. The 'first man' is Jacques Cormery, whose poverty-stricken childhood in Algiers is made bearable by his love for his silent and illiterate mother, and by the teacher who transforms his view of the world. The most autobiographical of Camus's novels, it gives profound insights into his life and the powerful themes underlying his work."

Albert Camus received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 "for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times".

I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Book Quotes of the Week



"You can’t enjoy art or books in a hurry." E.A. Bucchianeri

"Reading a great work of literature can truly be likened to having a conversation with a great mind." Jennie Chancey

"Old books, you know well, are books of the world’s youth, and new books are the fruits of its age." Oliver Wendell Holmes

"The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see." Alexandra K. Trenfor

"If you believe everything you read, you better not read." Japanese proverb

Find more book quotes here.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Bunyan, John "The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come"


Bunyan, John "The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come" - 1678

A classic I wanted to read for a while. I generally love classics and usually enjoy them very much. However, I did struggle with this one, it reads more like a play than a novel and I am not the biggest fan of reading plays. At times, I found I had set out the same way as our Pilgrim on a voyage through this book and I wondered whether I'd ever reach salvation, i.e. the end.

I did manage and even though I am happy to have finished it, I think this is a classic that is better left in its time, I'm sure it was a lot more appreciated back then but seems to be a tad outdated now. And I speak from the perspective of a Christian who has read and knows her Bible.

From the back cover:
"In John Bunyan's classic allegory, Christian abandons his family and the City of Destruction and sets off to find salvation. His path is straight but not easy, and he is beset by trials, including the terrible violence of the destructive Apollyon and the Giant Despair, as he pursues his pilgrimage through the Slough of Despond, the Delectable Mountains and Vanity Fair towards the Celestial City. In the second part of the narrative his wife, Christiana, is escorted by Great-Heart through the same difficult terrain. Written with the urgency of persecuted faith and a fiery imagination, The Pilgrim's Progress is a spiritual as well as a literary classic. In his introduction, Roger Pooley discusses Bunyan's life and theology, as well as the text's biblical and historical backdrop, its success and critical history. This edition also includes accompanying seventeenth-century illustrations, a chronology, suggested further reading, notes and an index."

Friday, 6 October 2017

Book Quotes of the Week



"If I could always read I should never feel the want of company." Lord Byron

"What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us." Thomas Carlyle

"Reading one book is like eating one potato chip." Diane Duane 


"Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them." John Milton

"If you think reading is boring, you're doing it wrong." N.N.
[If anyone can tell me the originator of this quote, I'd be very thankful and would happily include the name.

 Find more book quotes here.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Rice, Ronald "My Bookstore" - 2012


Rice, Ronald (Ed.) "My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop" - 2012

A book about bookshops. What could be more heaven? I started writing down some of the books mentioned but there were just far too many. There is a list in the back of all the bookshops mentioned (all of them in North America).

I loved following all those authors - some of them known to me, others not, - into their favourite bookstores and compared with the ones I love. Not such a big difference there. We all love shops where the staff knows us, really knows us, and can recommend the latest books they think we will love. And even if I will never be able to visit any of the shops mentioned in the book, I loved looking at them through the eyes of the storytellers.

I also found one of the most beautiful book quotes:
"There are many reasons I love books: for the worlds they show me, for the things they teach me, for the way they feel in my hands or in my satchel, for the way they look decorating my house, for the questions they arouse from my children, for their mystery, for their cold or warm truths, for their lies, for their promise. But mostly I just love being transported to some place outside of my everyday life." Peter Geye

From the back cover:
"In this enthusiastic, heartfelt, and sometimes humorous ode to bookshops and booksellers, 84 known authors pay tribute to the brick-and-mortar stores they love and often call their second homes. In 'My Bookstore' our greatest authors write about the pleasure, guidance, and support that their favorite bookstores and booksellers have given them over the years. The relationship between a writer and his or her local store and staff can last for years or even decades. Often it's the author's local store that supported him during the early days of his career, that continues to introduce and hand-sell her work to new readers, and that serves as the anchor for the community in which he lives and works.'My Bookstore' collects the essays, stories, odes and words of gratitude and praise for stores across the country in 84 pieces written by our most beloved authors. It's a joyful, industry-wide celebration of our bricks-and-mortar stores and a clarion call to readers everywhere at a time when the value and importance of these stores should be shouted from the rooftops.Perfectly charming line drawings by Leif Parsons illustrate each storefront and other distinguishing features of the shops.
Contributing authors and bookstores include:
Fannie Flagg--Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
Rick Bragg--Alabama Booksmith, Homewood, AL
John Grisham--That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, AR
Ron Carlson--Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
Ann Packer--Capitola Book Cafe, Capitola, CA
Isabel Allende--Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
Mahbod Seraji--Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, CA
Lisa See--Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
Meg Waite Clayton--Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown--The Booksmith, San Francisco, CA
Dave Eggers--Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA
Pico Iyer--Chaucer's Books, Santa Barbara, CA
Laurie R. King--Bookshop, Santa Cruz, CA
Scott Lasser--Explore Booksellers, Aspen, CO
Stephen White--Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
Kate Niles--Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO
Ann Haywood Leal--Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
Florence and Wendell Minor--The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT
Rick Atkinson--Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC
Les Standiford--Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
Robert Macomber--The Muse Book Shop, Deland, FL
David Fulmer--Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA
Abraham Verghese--Prairie Lights, Iowa City, IA
Charlie Brandt--Chapter One Bookstore, Ketchum, ID
Luis Alberto Urrea--Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, IL
Mike Leonard--The Book Stall Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL
Albert Goldbarth--Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
Wendell Berry--Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY
Tom Piazza--Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA
Edith Pearlman--Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
Mameve Medwed--Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.--Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
Simon Winchester--The Bookloft, Great Barrington, MA
Nancy Thayer--Mitchell's Book Corner, Nantucket, MA
Elin Hilderbrand--Nantucket Bookworks, Nantucket, MA
Jeanne Birdsall--Broadside Bookshop, Northampton, MA
Martha Ackmann--Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
Ward Just--Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, MA
Ron Currie, Jr.--Longfellow Books, Portland, ME
ancy Shaw--Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI
Katrina Kittle--Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
Ann Patchett--Mclean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI
Louise Erdrich--Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, MN
Peter Geye--Micawber's Books, St. Paul, MN
Kathleen Finneran--Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO
Barry Moser--Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS
Jack Pendarvis--Square Books, Oxford, MS
Jill McCorkle--Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
Carrie Ryan--Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC
Laurent Dubois--The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC
Lee Smith--Purple Crow Books, Hillsborough, NC
Angela Davis-Gardner--Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC
Ron Rash--City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC
Ian Frazier--Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ
Audrey Vernick--Booktowne, Manasquan, NJ
Joan Wickersham--The Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH
Carmela Ciuraru--Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
Matt Weiland--Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
Kate Christensen--WORD, Brooklyn, NY
Mick Cochrane--Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, NY
Caroline Leavitt--McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY
Arthur Nersesian--St. Mark's Bookshop, New York, NY
Francine Prose & Pete Hamill--Strand Bookstore, New York, NY
Jeff Smith--Book Loft German Village, Columbus, OH
Chuck Palahniuk--Powell's Books, Portland, OR
Larry Kane--Chester County Book & Music Company, West Chester, PA
Ann Hood--Island Books, Middletown, RI
Mindy Friddle--Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
Adam Ross--Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN
Douglas Brinkley--Book People, Austin, TX
Terry Tempest Williams--The King's English Book Shop, Salt Lake City, UT
Howard Frank Mosher--Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
Jon Clinch--Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, VT
Jonathan Evison--Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, WA
Tom Robbins--Village Books, Bellingham, WA
Timothy Egan--Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
Stephanie Kallos--Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
Ivan Doig--University Book Store, Seattle, WA
Lesley Kagen--Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI
Liam Callanan--Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI"

Happy October!


Happy October to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch


"Chestnut Alley" 
"Kastanien Allee"


October, the "tenth month" according to the old calendar is probably the nicest of the autumn months. Germany celebrates their day of unity, the Catholic church has their harvest festival, the Canadians get Thanksgiving, lots of nice events to celebrate. Enjoy this month with the beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch. One of my favourite pictures of the year, I have always loved chestnuts and when they are ripe I am reminded of the nice time I had collecting them with my boys when they were little.

You can find a lot more wonderful pictures on their website here.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Book Quotes of the Week



"Learn as much by writing as by reading." Lord Acton

"Of all the things which man can do or make here below, by far the most momentous, wonderful, and worthy are the things we call books." Thomas Carlyle

"Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend." William Feather

"Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading!" Rainer Maria Rilke

"Reading makes me feel like I’ve lived a thousand lives in addition to my own." Arlaina Tibensky

Find more book quotes here.