STONE MATTRESS by Margaret Atwood

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Nine tales all related with death. But, don’t think about the sadness or the loneliness that sometimes accompany the death. These deaths are different. The death can mean more company when the person is not leaving us. Sometimes the death is the only way to close an old wound, to execute revenge, or maybe the last hope for others.

Alphinland.

An alternative world in which you can hide or take a rest. It is the refuge of the main character, and where she is hiding old ghosts.

“But how can you have a sense of wonder if you’re prepared for everything?”

Revenant.

Waiting for the inescapable. He found a different world, and starts again.

Dark Lady.

“,…experiences were what you got when you couldn’t get what you wanted,…”

Lusus Naturae.

When no one is prepared for what you are.

“Now that I was dead, I was freer.”

The Freeze-Dried Groom.

The end of this tale was a little scary.

“Nobody knows where he is.”

I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth.

A spirit helping out?

The Dead Hand Loves You.

Never is late, not even for mistakes.

“But how much time does he have left in his life to worry about mistakes?”

Stone Mattress.

“When it came to love, wasn’t believing the same as the real thing?”

Torching the Dusties.

“If youth only knew, if age only could.”

 

download (1)Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa, and grew up in northern Ontario and Quebec, and in Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College.

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction, but is best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1969), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Her latest work is a book of short stories called Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (2014). Her newest novel, MaddAddam (2013),is the final volume in a three-book series that began with the Man-Booker prize-nominated Oryx and Crake (2003) and continued with The Year of the Flood (2009). The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short fiction) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, a collection of non-fiction essays appeared in 2011. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth was adapted for the screen in 2012. Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian.

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THE INVOICE by Jonas Karlsoon

DSC_0014Can you put a price on happiness? Can you put a price on life experiences? In this world everything is possible. Please, don’t give any ideas, we are already paying a price for everything.

He is an ordinary man, with an unremarkable life when he receives an envelope with an invoice for 5.700.000 kronor. He didn’t take it seriously and just forgot about it. But, after a while, he received a new invoice remembering him, that he has a debt for that quantity: 5.700.000 kronor.
We are charged for all. One day, someone, will decide to charge us for the quality of the air that we are breathing, or maybe someone is already charging us to breath a better air during our holidays far away from home.
In this book, that become a reality. All countries decide to charge their citizens for their experiences. Better the experiences, better the general feeling of comfort, biggest the charge is.

Our main character, even being an unremarkable man, has had and will have in the future a good life. He needs to pay for this.

This is an accessible book, a refreshing one. It is not a great book, but it is the kind of book that gives me a break from stress and problems.

downloadJonas Karlsson (b. 1971) writes plays and short fiction. One of Sweden’s most prominent actors, Karlsson has performed on Sweden’s premier stage and in several acclaimed feature films and television series. In 2005, Karlsson made his debut as a playwright, earning rave reviews from audience and critics alike. Spurred by the joy of writing for the stage, Karlsson began writing fiction. With an actor’s ear for the silences that endow dialogue with meaning and a singular ability to register moods and emotions, Jonas Karlsson has blossomed into a one of Scandinavia’s finest literary authors, with two novels and three short story collections published to date.

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF LEAVES by Mark Z. Danielewski

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Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth — musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies — the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.

The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

Copied directly from the author’s website: http://markzdanielewski.com/

I started to read this book a couple of years ago, and I gave it up because I couldn’t concentrate on the story.

I started again a couple of weeks ago and through the whole story, I had ups and downs. The story completely absorbed me and out of the blue, I was thinking about something entirely different.

There are two distinct stories. The first One, Davidson, his family, and a film. The second one Johnny, his story and his obsession with Zampano papers. Both stories are related, but the protagonists never meet each other. Johnny is following the story of the first one, through Zampano’s papers.

Both stories are entirely clear if read separately, and without all the science and pseudo-science that the writer interweaves after each event for lots and lots of pages. He uses a great quantity of data to explain different events that happen in the story, and all these data are responsible for my lack of concentration.

The information that I thought was important at the beginning becomes completely useless at the end, and some other, that seem less important finished giving me the clue to understanding the rest of the story.

It is not an easy book, but it is the perfect book for a Book Club. Evidently not reading the whole book, and afterwards having the meeting, but reading some pages and discussing impressions, ideas of the Why? What? And, What will happen? Later continuing to read the next pages.

This book was published as horror but for me it was more kind of a psychological story even when some of the events are supposed to be terrifying. Maybe I am already cured of awe.

The psychology of the characters, however, is the most interesting thing in the book, and the author takes pleasure in dissecting all their behaviours and make us understand the reason for everything.

Despite my comments and some doubts, I highly recommend reading it.

Mark Z. Danielewski was born in New Yorkdownload City and lives in Los Angeles. He is the author of the award-winning and bestselling novel House of Leaves, National Book Award finalist Only Revolutions, and the novella The Fifty Year Sword, which was performed on Halloween three years in a row at REDCAT. His books have been translated into multiple languages.

In May 2015, Pantheon released The Familiar (Volume 1): One Rainy Day in May, the first installment of his 27-volume novel about a young girl who finds a kitten. In their review of TFv1, the New York Times declared Danielewski “America’s foremost literary Magus . . . He transmutes the pages of base books into rare new forms and formats.”The Familiar (Volume 2): Into the Forest will be released October 27, 2015.

THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE by Haruki Murakami

As always happens with Murakami’s books to me, with this my second reading of this book I discovered new and interesting things.

Toru Okura resigned from his job and now is unemployed at home looking for a new job, but not feeling so sure about what he wants to do. He needs time to decide what to do now, and his wife is all right with this. In the meantime, their cat is lost, and he spends his time cooking, reading, looking for the cat and receiving strange and astonishing phone calls.

It is necessary to read this book slowly. You will find all the fixed issues of Murakami stories: cats, ears, music, books, imaginary and parallel worlds, and besides a bunch of small stories that are related to them. This story has a lot of characters, all of them with an important role in the narrative, and their past and their actual lives are essential for the development of the story.

Murakami is one of the authors to whom I can always return when I cannot find an interesting book, during one of those ‘reading crisis.’ When I want to read something but nothing grabs me.

Murakami means to me the absolute freedom of behaviour. Not for doing whatever you want but the opportunity to choose, ‘ the free will’, something impossible for most of us, and something that I can always find in his characters.

These characters are lost, they have problems, usually something emotional, but they have a stoicism facing the sad moments that is their strength. They always try to follow their destiny to get what they want, without passion, but always knowing what it is important.

Murakami gives us a lot of questions but never answers them. He makes us to questioning us our reality, the reality.

Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another?”

What should you say? I don’t have any idea, but you will soon spend your time questioning yourself and your beliefs.

We think that we understand each other, but we don’t.

But this was the home I had chosen.”

When you’re supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you’re supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom”.

You have the right to choose your life. You can start again”.

“‘Going bad’ is something that happens over a longer period of time”.

… his own free will”.

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949. Following the publication of his first novel in Japanese in 1979, he sold the jazz bar he ran with his wife and became a full-time writer.

It was with the publication of Norwegian Wood – which has to date sold more than 4 million copies in Japan alone – that the author was truly catapulted into the limelight. Known for his surrealistic world of mysterious (and often disappearing) women, cats, earlobes, wells, Western culture, music and quirky first-person narratives, he is now Japan’s best-known novelist abroad.

Nine novels, four short story collections and two works of non-fiction are currently available in English translation.

THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers

The 30s in a small town in the southern United States. A Carsonblack doctor, a teenage girl, a drunkard and the owner of the New York Cafe, gather around Mr. Singer, a deaf-mute man who has just lost his best friend, not because he passed away but because he lost his mind.

Each of these characters is looking for something different, they are fighting and hoping to get what gives meaning to their lives. All of them have in Mr. Singer the perfect companion. Mr. Singer seems to be the person who always understands them, and they have created a whole story around him.

They depend on him when they feel alone, when they want to take a decision or when an event is going to change their existence. He changes their lives until they don’t recognize themselves anymore, and all without knowing that he has all this power.

The first thing to consider about this novel is that the author wrote it when she was only twenty-three years old. It is astonishing that someone at her age was capable of drawing these characters. They are difficult, full of desires and frustrations, fears and regrets, but all of them seem to be real for the reader, and their lives are pretty real. McCullers establishes the personality of each of them without empty descriptions. She only shares with us the necessary information about the characters and we draw the gaps in our mind.

The title of the book matchs perfectly the feeling that the story impressed on me: loneliness, solitude, isolation, and the characters even when surrounded by family or friends feel as if they are completely alone in this world.

I won’t share any quotes this time because they are just as I said: a reminder of solitude.

It is an unhappy and moving book, not for crying but just to agree sadly with some of the situations.

Carson McCullers(February 19, 1917– September 29, 1967) was an American novelist
, short story writer, playwright, essayist, and poet. Her first novel,
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, explores the spiritual isolation of Carson Mcmisfits and outcasts in a small town of the U.S. South. Her other novels have similar themes and most are set in the deep south.

McCullers’ oeuvre is often described as Southern Gothic and indicative of her southern roots. However, McCullers penned all of her work after leaving the South, and critics also describe her writing and eccentric characters as universal in scope. Her stories have been adapted to stage and film. A stagework of her novel The Member of the Wedding (1946), which captures a young girl’s feelings at her brother’s wedding, made a successful Broadway run in 1950–51.

Novels

  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940)

  • Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941)

  • The Member of the Wedding (1946)

  • Clock Without Hands (1961)

Other works

  • The Ballad of the Sad Café (1951)

  • “Wunderkind” (Story, 1936)

  • “The Jockey” (The New Yorker, 1941)

  • “Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland” (The New Yorker, 1941)

  • “The Sojourner” (Mademoiselle, 1950)

  • “A Domestic Dilemma” (New York Post magazine section, September 16, 1951)

  • “A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud” (Harper’s Bazaar, 1942)

  • The Member of the Wedding (1949), a play version of the 1946 novel

  • The Square Root of Wonderful (1958), a play

  • Sweet as a Pickle and Clean as a Pig (1964), a collection of poems

  • The Mortgaged Heart (1972), a posthumous collection of writings, edited by her sister Rita

  • Illumination and Night Glare(1999), her unfinished autobiography, published more than 30 years after her death

    Sucker- A short story

    Collections

  • Complete Novels, Carlos L. Dews, ed. (New York: The Library of America, 2001)

CHALLENGES 2016

As I previously anticipated these are the two Challenges in which I will participate this year: Keep Calm and Read 20 Books in English, organized by Dsdmona, and Tarro-Libro 2016, organized by Carmen y amig@s

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I do not rule out participating in other challenges, but for now, that is it.

This is my Tarro-Libro for this year. I am not happy with it, so I will improve it during the year.

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