Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The wonderful world of books.

I've traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous: saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
I've been where no one's been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.

Janice James.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The first lines of the chapter of the book you are about to read.

It is said that the first few lines of the first chapter a book prod you to read on. And the last chapter makes you want to read another book by the same author.

Here are some classic examples.

Charles Dickens in " The Tale of Two Cities "

1. Beginning.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

2. Beginning.

Sinclair Lewis in " Elmer Gantry "

Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was eloquently drunk. He leaned against the bar of the Old Home Sample Room, the most gilded and urbane saloon in Cato, Missouri, and requested the bartender to join him in " The Good Old Summer Time " the waltz of the day.

Blowing on a glass, polishing it and glaancing at Elmer through its flashing rotundity, the bartender remarked that he wasn't much of a hand at this here singing business. But he smiled. No bartender could have done other than smile on Elmer, so inspired and full of gallantry and hell-raising was he, and so dominating was his beefy grin.



Nathaniel West in " The Day of the Locust."

Around quitting time, Tod Hacket heard a great din on the road outside his office. The groan of leather mingled with the jangle of iron and over all beat the tattoo of a thousand hooves. He hurried to the window.


Paula Fox in " desperate Characters "

The End:

Otto shook himself like a wet dog. " No. No. I won't talk to him "

" He won't talk to you, " Sophie repeated into the mouthpiece.

" I've got to talk to him, " charlie cried. " There are a thousand things.. how long can he think he can avoid this ? What about precedent contracts? You put him on " she held out the reciver again. Otto looked down at it. They could both hear Charlie's diminished voice like an insect cry.

" I'm desperate " screeched the round black hole.

" He's desperate. " Otto shouted. His distraught glance suddenly fell upon the ink bottle on Sophie's desk. His arm shot out and grabbed it up and flung it violently at the wall. Sophie dropped the phone on the floor and ran to him. She flung her arms around him so tightly that for a moment he could not move.

The voice from the telephone went on and on like gas leaking from a pipe. Sophie and Otto had ceased to listen. Her arms fell away from his shoulders as they both turned slowly toward the wall, turned until they could both see the ink running down to the floor in black lines.

5. George Eliot's " Silas Marner "


Dolly: You were hard done by that once, Master Marner, and it seem's as you'll never know the rights O' it; but that doesn't hinder there being a rights, Master Marner, for all it's dark to you and me.

Silas: No, no; that doesn't hinder. Since the child was sent to me and I've come to love her as myself, I've had light enough to trusten by; and now she says she'll never leave me, I think I shall trusten till I die.

Seen at a little distance as she walked across the churchyard and down the village, she seemed to be attired in pure white, and her hair looked like the dash of gold on a lily. One hand was on her husband's arm, and with the other she clasped the hand of her father Silas.

You won't be giving me away, father, she had said before they went to church; you'll only be taking Aaron to be a son to you.

Dolly Winthrop walked behind with her husband; and there ended the little bridal procession.

6. Jane Austen's " Pride and Prejudice "


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of wife.

7. Colleen McCullough's " Tim"


They probably thought his calling her Mary was just his way. And no one had ever asked her if he was single or married; hearing he was not the full quid, they simply took it for granted that he was single. Mentally retarded people did not marry. They lived at home with their parents until they were orphaned and then they went to some sort of institution to die.

Tim was waiting in his room, fully dressed and very eager to be gone. Steeling herself to an outward calmness and composure, she took his in hers and smiled at him very tenderly.

" Come on Tim, let's go home," she said.

Colleen Mccullough's " The Thorn Birds "

The bird with thorn in its breast, it follows an immutable law; it is driven by it knows not what to impale itself, and die singing. At the very instant the thorn enters there is no awareness in it of the dying to come; it simply sings and sings until there is not the life to utter another note. But we when we put the thorns in our breasts we know. We understand and we still do it. Still do it.


Judith Guest in " Ordinary People."

To have a reason to get up in the morning , it is necessary to possess a guiding principle. A belief of some kind.

Tolstoy: in " Anna Kerenina "

" Happy families are all alike; Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Pete Dexter: in " The Paper Boy "

" My brother's ward was once a famous man"

Rhian Ellis: in " After Life "

" First I had to get his body into the boat. "

Dodie Smith : in " I capture the castle "

" I write this sitting in the kitchen sink "

Long first lines "

Scott Spencer in " Endless Love "

When I was 17 and in full obedience to my heart's most urgent commands, I stepped far from the pathway of normal life and in a moments time ruined everything I loved - I loved so deeply, and when the love was interrupted, when the incorporeal body of love shrank back in terror and my own body was locked away, it was hard for others to believe that a life so new could suffer so irrevocably. "

John Grieemer in " No one thinks of Greenland "

You'll want to scratch, said the nurse. "
" Don't " said the orderly.

Rose Macaulay in " The Towers of Trebizond "

" Take my camel dear " said aunt Dot as she climbed down from this on her return from High

" Moby Dick " Herman Melville
" Call me Ishmael" is the first line of chapter one , is one of the most famous opening lines in American Literature.

" The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand.
Howard Roak laughed.
He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below hinm.....

"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.
" Who is John Galt."

The last line in F.Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The last paragraph in Alaxandr Dumas's " Camille"

I am not the apostle of vice, but I would gladly be the echo of noble sorrow wherever I hear its voice in prayer. The story of Margueritte is an exception, I repeat; had it not been an exception, it would not have been worth the trouble of writing it."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

About Vincent Van Goh and his words.

Vincent Van Goh - the painter of peasant life.

1. It is true that I am often in the greatest misery, but still there is a calm, pure harmony and music inside me.

2. When a man seriously falls in love, it is the discovery of a new hemisphere.

3. There is no old woman as long as she loves and is loved.
Gauguin Cut Off Van Gogh's Ear

Vincent van Gogh is remembered as the tortured artistic genius who cut off his own ear and then killed himself two years later. But a new study finds that van Gogh only pretended to cut off his ear to protect close friend and fellow painter Paul Gauguin, who sliced it off with a sword during an argument. Historians Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans point to a few references by van Gogh of a “pact of silence” with Gauguin to back up their claims. Van Gogh also drew a picture of his ear with the word “ictus” next to it—the Latin term in fencing to mean a hit. Van Gogh was “hopelessly infatuated” with Gauguin, and their fight—not his own madness—is what led him to commit suicide, the historians claim.

4. The lark cannot be silent as long as he has a voice.

5. Even as a boy I would often look up with infinite sympathy, indeed with respect, at a woman's face past its prime, inscribed as if it were with the words: here life and reality have left their mark.


6. I want to go through the joys and sorrows of domestic life in order to paint it from my own experience.

7. Where the earth is not plowed you can get no harvest from it. She has been plowed and so I find more in her than in a crowd of unplowed ones.

8. She has never seen good, how can she be good.

9. Love is as frail as a spider's web; and grows to be as strong as a cable. But only on condition of faithfulness.

10. I remember and I paint what I feel.

11. Vincent to his brother Theo: There is the man who is idle from laziness and from lack of character, from the baseness of his nature. On the other hand there is the idle man who is idle inspite of himself, who is inwardly consumed by a great longing for action but does nothing, because it is impossible for him to do anything, because he seems to be imprisoned in a cage. Such a man does not always know what he could do, but instinctively feels, I am good for something. There is something inside me. What can it be ?

Vincent Van Goh explained that all his flower paintings were experiments in color contrasts and harmonies.

Vincent Van Goh's memorable self portrait of Paris period. The SELF-PORTRAIT with straw hat - yellow and orange with blue, and in the right side of his jaw shows a sunken cheek - the result of a recent tooth extraction.

Vincent and Gauguin did not recognize God but believed in godliness.

Vincen't paintings: Starry Night , The Sower, Delacroix's Pieta ( copy ) in which a grieving Mary is seen trying to revive a dead Christ; Delacrox's " The Good Samaritan " showing a deadly pale, beaten traveler being helped on to a horse.

Vincent Van Goh rued the fact that he was aging, " for it seems to me that life is passing by more rapidly and that the responsibilities are more serious, and the question of how to make up for lost time is more critical, and that the future is more mysterious and a little more gloomy.

Vincent Van Goh: The only painting he sold in his life time - The Red Vineyard ( 1888 ) was purchased for the respectable sum of 400 francs by Anna Boch.

Vincent Van Goh's ailments:

Mid-ear infection; lack of love ( mother ) licking tip of brush; schisophrinic; epilepsy; borderline region between neurology and psychiatry; absinthe consumption; bipolar syndrome; manic-depression.

Let our work be so savant ( learned ) that it seems naive and does not stink of our sapience ( wisdom )

Sherwin B. Nuland in " How we die "

Pursuing treatment against great odds may seem like a heroic act to some, but too commonly it is a form of unwilling disservice to patients; it blurs the borders of candor and reveals a fundermental schism between the best interests of patients and their families on the one hand and of physicians on the other.

Alexander the Great and the great Diogenes

Alexander the Great had heard of the philosopher and ordered him to appear before him. Diogenes refused saying, it is the same distance for him to come over. Which Alexander did.

The man who had conquered the world was defied by a man who had conquered himself.

The Titanic analogy.

Lightoller, the second officer of the Titanic had been blown to the surface when the boiler exploded as the ship was sinking.

During the official interrogation, asked when he had left the ship, he responded, " I never left the ship sir, she left me."