Last few weeks I read books by Hemingway, Kemal, De Sade and Hitchens, all good stuff. I summed it up a bit for you, to know what you should read next. Don’t stop reading!
Yaser Kemal – The Legend of Mount Ararat
I love reading books that tell about different cultures, so reading this book that I purchased in Dutch at the yearly book fair, was a privilige. Its funny to read a fairytale that doesn’t end in the way they do in the west. Morality? Faith? I don’t know, we might be different people but the stories still read like charming adventures that tell us more about ourselves and the human race in general. This is obviously the reason to read them anyways.
Yaser Kemal is one of the most read and most notorious writers of Turkey in contemporary history. The man won a ton of awards, but also the attention of authorities. This book tells about the mountain Ararat, which is already surrounded with mysteries. The story is that of a princess, a brave young man from the mountain and a vengeful father and lord, but also with the irony of judgement for the smallest flaws. It leaves that tase due to not offering the happy end I felt it deserved. Forgiveness and such… I found it hard to appreciate the final bit, but still a worthy read about that country that is a bridge between east and west.
Marquis de Sade – Justine
I dont know why I try to read a De Sade book again. I loathed 120 days and this proves to be as foul in many ways as I anticipated. Nonetheless, what ‘Justine’ has and what the other book lacks is explanation, a philosophical framework so to say. That is the thing that makes the rapey stories bearable and not merely disgusting. The idea of a moral philosophy behind it all, which the other book sorely lacked.
I’m always surprised about the vocabulary and eloquence of the Marquis de Sade, which keeps proving to keep the foulness in check and makes it sometimes even acquire a poetic quality that I find rather charming at times. You start to enjoy the times when the main person escapes the next horrible trials and tribulations but also slowly blunts your consciousnes for the horrors that await her in the lair of the next male monster. Through my abhorrence, I believe that the work of this writers is worth reading. He might have been the victor in the enlightenment debate anyways, by the looks of the world today.
Christopher Hitchens – The Portable Atheist
Though Hitchens is an unavoidable inspiration and gatherer in this collection of texts, his role is mainly that of glue or cement, binding the materials together in order to create a sturdy wall of atheist doctrine. Doctrine would be the wrong word though, because he keeps opening as many doors as he closes in his unrelenting criticisms of the big religions. Atheism is a a case that offers more questions than answers, but remains interesting.
The strenght of this book is that it makes the atheist case by using many, many texts from people like Emma Goldman, David Hume and many others, even reaching words from H.P. Lovecraft, whom you must know I admire greatly. Lucretius, Darwin, Marx and many more names are tagged on this publication, which offers insightful, but also refreshing information on the topic, that should be required reading for anyone who starts calling themselves an atheist. Its not that easy after all.
Ernest Hemingway – Winner Take Nothing
Hemingway is an inspiring writer and his short stories rank among the best there are. Brief sketches with sudden turns and sharp messages take the reader from the African hunting grounds to small cafés in Spain and up to North-America. This is probably some of the best work from the author, for whom I’ve started to have a soft spot in my reading habits. Still, many more to read from the master who rings together rather random events to convey a message about life and meanings.
Sometimes it’s hard to read short stories in that case, mainly because they are very captivating and the sudden endings make you feel detached for a moment, missing out on the action that you were experiencing with your characters a moment before. Characters you know through and through thanks to their descriptions, not their inner stories. I think that this is one of the things that makes Hemmingway so great, in not saying all there is, but enough for the story to tell itself