Ibane’s ramblings

“The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off in the world as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc is bound to be noticed.” S. Kierkegaard

Archive for Books

memories

Going through one of my messy drawers I found an old wallet that I used to have as teenager. In there I could find some old ski passes, old movie tickets and a note from my father. I had forgotten about these things, and being honest, I don’t remember why I decided to keep them in first place. I was not surprised about the ski passes and the movie tickets, since these two things I love to do, I smiled when I discovered that in the movie tickets that I had written down the title of the movie, the date and the people who I had gone with, anticipating that the time would erase the original printing in the ticket as it had hapenned, now you can’t read anything but my handwriting. Among the people were friends, people did not mean that much, family, friends that are not here any more,…it was a little journey through my memories in that Madrid that seems gone forever. However, among the things found in that wallet, what it really surprised me was the note from my father. He is not very emotional person, it can look even a cold person to the outsider’s eyes, but I always remember that in birthdays and special occasions he used to leave to me and my brothers a note with some quote or poem carefully chosen. This one that I kept is from Antonio Machado, it is not very known poem, or at least it was not known by me, and I don’t know why I decided to keep this one. The only explanation I can imagine is that it talks about dreaming…activity which I am very grateful because it has kept me floating in the absurd reality. I wonder why my father chose it. I will never ask, probably. Here it is anyway.

Yo voy soñando caminos
de la tarde. ¡Las colinas
doradas, los verdes pinos,
las polvorientas encinas!…
¿Adónde el camino irá?

Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

Modern Times

Retiro Park

Retiro Park

The other day discussing with a friend about the different books that we have been reading along our lives we realized that we had many in common, but also we reached the same conclusion about the current literary scenario. That the more you read the classics more difficult you find to read one of these “wonders” of the modern literature that nowadays they are flooding the bookstores. It is often that I have thought who has time to go through the ridiculous amount of new books, I don’t but I can be doubted about my time management skills. Also every month there is a new Dostoevsky of our century, or the young Proust or any other absurd adjectives or tricks used to sell. I have been wondering when these guys, Dostoevsky, Henry James, Thomas Mann,…were writing and publishing their books how they were reaching the people, I mean, were they using the same annoying tricks or they were just writing for the sake of writing with no expectations. It would be interesting to know because currently the marketing machine has taken over the content. So it is more important to have a nice package and someone able to say that stupid things without sounding too stupid, so you can make sure a big junk of sales, than the content itself. But in an exercise of innocence and naiveness maybe with this crisis everything changes…

Richmal Crompton and the pleasure of the things well done

My post today is about how nice and pleasant is to see that someone is taking time and effort to create something that deserves to use with care and pleasure. It was some years ago when happened to know that my favorite writer, Javier Marias (I might dedicate a post to him, let’s see), had decided to enter in the tough world of book publishers. So he set up a publishing company named Reino de Redonda, the name has a very literary origin but I let you to find out with some few googlings. The most remarkable difference about the books he was publishing was not only the content, which had very interesting and fascinating titles, it was also the care and good quality of the books. All of them are hardcover, the paper used has a better quality than usual, the font size make the life easier for your eyes and others details that makes you to really enjoy the book. I think that I would enjoy even if it were the instructions of my DVD player.

The first book I bought in this format was “The House” (“Dread Dwelling” in USA). I remember that days reading the book and not wanting to finish it, paging slowly in my favorite cafe, and I can’t avoid smiling. The story itself is very good and if you are  into ghost stories is a must to read this one. I think that having that excellent edition made me to like it more.

Laterna Magica

I really appreciate to Javier Marias to make this effort in these days where the fast, the superficial, the buy and throw culture that we are immerse is clearly dominant. Thanks.

What I talk about when I talk about running

No, I will not talk about running or maybe a little, it is about the book of the same title written by Haruki Murakami. I have not finished it yet but I have read through enough to build my opinion about it.

It is not a great book or don’t expect any high literature but I definitely recommend the book, even if you are not a runner. Mr. Murakami explains his big moments in life and link them with the running. His situations might be familiar to many because in my opinion he describes the battle of I think that almost everyone goes through and it is finding ourselves and what we want from life. Running here is just circumstancial, I guess that you can substitute for almost any other activity that define yourself. In my case, it is also running and some times Haruki put in written words what I have thought and felt many times when I am out running.

For me running has become my little island where everything else vanish and there is only left my running shoes, my music and the road. And it is something so deep in me that some times I get scared if some day I will not be able to run. That’s maybe the reason why I am planning to take the bike (also thanks to my blog colleague The Real Bookish) and swimming. But as far as I can I will keep running…

Sydney Australia

Sydney Australia

Chess Story

chess-story I read this short novel last summer, and I found the book among many during my recent moving to my new place. I really enjoyed this novel, not only because I am a mediocre chess player, also Stefan Zweig’s narrative is full of dynamism, everything is rounded and you always have the feeling that he is saying more than you are really catching in the first reading.

The story is taken place in one of those transalantic cruises. I’ve always wondered how it’d be to have been in one of that cruises, having many days ahead and being just in the middle of the Ocean, with no possibility to change your environment, being stuck with certain people and circumstances. In a certain way, I find that attracting. For some odd reason I am always thinking that any past time is better and more interesting that the current one. It does not mean that I am wasting my present living in the past and looking forward to future, it is just that I like to look back some times…

Cultural mediocrity

I don’t know if I am quite alone in my thought that nowadays the mediocrity in the art arena is the majority. I am reviewing the films, books, music,…that lately I have been trying to enjoy with no success in most of the cases. And it is really difficult for me to think about a director today that could be compared to Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks,…just to mention few. For instance, the marketing machine of Hollywood tried to sell M. Night Shyamalan as the new Hitchcock thanks to the movie “Sixth Sense”, which it is an ok movie. However his last work, “The happening” is so poor that there is nothing to rescue.

Same in the literature, thinking about some writer that could be compared to the great names like  James, Dostoevsky, Stendhal or being just remarkable enough that he/she is not forgotten in the next Christmas time is almost impossible.

In the music we are celebrating that bands like the unbearable Led Zeppelin are getting back. It is really an archeological mission to find any fresh or something new in the music scene. Everything sounds like being heard before. It is really boring.

I read from a Spanish philosopher that it is really depressing to attend to the decay of a brilliant period. It feels so right that statement.

Poems and The Sea

O CAPTAIN! my Captain, our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

I am not a often reader of poetry, but the few times I do, I just like it without any reason that can be explained with words. Some poems are just beautiful. For example, this one from Whitman, when I am reading it, it is easy me for to place me in some remote sea. I have said in a previous post my fascination for the sea, and in particular the Mediterranean, that takes me to think about my favourite comic character Corto Maltese, who needs a separate entry…

“…Marin, tu chériras toujours la mer…”