“Ariel” by Fia Essen

In my post “ULTIMATE THING” I told you about Fia Essen’s book “Changing Pace” and mentioned that her new book “Ariel” was already on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Ariel-Fia-Essen-ebook/dp/B00VGVZGCO).

Then I read “Ariel” and enjoyed again Fia’s style of writing and what the book was about.

Ariel is 34 years old and after many years of happiness she believes that she is at the bottom of her life and that there is no way she can be happy again.

Suddenly she contacted by the mysterious Muse Agency and drastic changes come to her life.

What is perception? What is reality? What does Ariel thought and think now about herself and her family, people she knows? Is Ariel happy again? Is her happiness comes due to the efforts of the Muse Agency or from within?

I recommend to read “Ariel”. I hope you’ll enjoy the book and that you’ll see what simple things each of us must do to be happier and to make happier people around us.

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Ultimate thing

I know that books seem like the ultimate thing that’s made by one person, but that’s not true. Every reading of a book is a collaboration between the reader and the writer who are making the story up together.

John Green

Not long ago I read a book “Change of Pace” written by Fia Essen. I follow her blog (https://essenfia.wordpress.com/) from moment of its discovery by me and I enjoy her style of writing.

The book led me from New York where I live last 40 years to an island that I’ve never visited. It showed me people of several generations with all their ups and downs, with tremendous capacity for love and friendship.

These people were real for me. They learned how to overcome all difficulties, how to build their happiness.

I am a speed reader from childhood but I often read books slowly to enjoy them fully. I read the book and lived with people in it.

Surely, I recommend you to read “Change of Pace”.

Today Fia notified me that her new book “Ariel” is already on Amazon.

Here are links to it:

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Ariel-Fia-Essen-ebook/dp/B00VGVZGCO

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25264738-ariel

I will start reading “Ariel” tonight. Hope you’ll read both books too.

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 WRITERS ARE BUILDERS OF HAPPINESS

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Millie and “Pit of Vipers”

Below is Millie. Several moments of her life she was slightly busy (student, teacher, wife, mother of six kids, teacher again). If you want to know more just click HERE.

MILLIE THOM

MILLIE THOM

After retirement Millie started to write a trilogy of historical novels “Sons of Kings”.

Two books of the trilogy “Shadow of the Raven” and “Pit of Vipers” are already published.

In November of 2014 I read  “Shadow of the Raven” and wrote about the book HERE.

Two weeks ago I started to read  “Pit of Vipers”.

However, I had a feeling that I read a book with this title long time ago.

Then I remembered that during my early years in the USA I worked as an accountant for the publishing house Grosset and Dunlap. One of its very popular product lines was Nancy Drew Girl Detective Series. “Pit of Vipers” was #18 of Nancy Drew books. It was a case about stealing a snake at the River Heights Zoo.

cover“Pit of Vipers” by Millie Thom is for people of all ages. It is a historical novel about invasion Danes in England and wars between Danes and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms during life of the Wessex king Alfred.

After reading the first book of the trilogy I was ready for Danes’ raids and battles. I was looking forward for new adventures of Eadwulf, the son of king of Mercia.

Very often I am able to tell what will happen in the middle and the end of a book after I read only several pages of it.

However, in “Pit of Vipers” Millie surprised me many times. Yes, there are raids and battles, there are shields’ walls. However, there are also love and friendship, many unpredictable turns and twists. There are wonderful characters of women and men.

My hobby is learning history of civilizations. I found in the book new interesting information (Danes in the Middle Sea, sea battles with Moors).

The book written very well. It’s a pleasure to read it anywhere in any weather.

Don’t miss your chance!

Three gifts

Often people ask me what books and what authors I like.

I started to read when I was 5 years old and books became and still are extremely important part of my life.

A good book was always the best gift to me. Very often an advice what to read was also very valuable, was also a good gift.

Today is holiday and I decided to tell you that I liked the following three books very much:

“The Song of Bernadette” by Franz Werfel,

“Desiree: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon’s First Love” by Annemarie Selinko,

“A Man Called Intrepid” by William Stephenson.

DESIREE CLARY

DESIREE CLARY

As our politicians often say: “I take full responsibility for my actions!”

Enjoy reading these books!

Happy Holidays!

“Gods, Graves and Scholars”.

One of my followers asked me recently what are my favorite authors. I was unable to answer her question. I read books of thousands of authors written in different countries, in different times, in different genres. It’s impossible for me to choose 10-20 favorite writers.
However, it is very easy to name some books that I read and that impressed me very much. “Gods, Graves, Scholars” is one of these books. If you are interested in travel in space and time, in history, in religion, in lives of famous archeologists and their discoveries this is the book for you. It is written as a novel (or as a thriller).
Make yourself a gift by reading this wonderful book.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

About 60 years ago I read a wonderful book “Gods, Graves and Scholars: The Story of Archaeology.” 

The book written by C. W. Ceram (January 20, 1915 – April 12, 1972). It was the pseudonym of German journalist and author Kurt Wilhelm Marek.

I was a little younger at that time and the book impressed me very much by facts about lives of all famous archaeologists, about all major discoveries and by its literary style.

After reading the book I’ve  never stopped learning about archaeology and history of civilizations.

If anyone of you did not read the book I highly recommend it.

Wikipedia says: “Published in 28 languages, Ceram’s book eventually received a printing of over 5 million copies, and is still in print today…

Other books by the author include The Secret of the Hittites, March of Archaeology and The First American, a book on ancient…

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“Shadow of the Raven”

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 23 I finished reading a historical novel written by a fellow blogger Millie Thom. She has many great achievements in her life (read HERE) but I had no idea if her book was one of them.

MILLIE THOM

MILLIE THOM

However, I love historical novels for more than 70 years and not long ago published on this blog a post “BERNARD CORNWELL” about a former English teacher who due to stupid American immigration laws became a very well-known writer of historical novels.

I remember that I read with great pleasure his novels (The Saxon Stories) about the 9th century reign of Alfred the Great (king of Wessex), his opposition to Danes and his efforts to unite England..

When I read “About” on the Millie Thom’s blog I noticed that she was also an English teacher. After bringing up six children and retiring Millie started to write. She mentioned in “About” that protagonists of her first published book “Shadow of the Raven” were Alfred, son of king of Wessex and Eadwulf, son of king of Mercia.

It was very interesting. Two English teachers wrote books about the same era and the same people.

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I have to confess, that when I started to read “Shadow of the Raven” I did not expect much. I love Bernard Cornwell’s style and consider him a great modern writer of historical novels.

However, after I read several chapters of the book it became clear to me that the book is very well written and that Millie’s research of the era was very good.

What is this book about?

Here are two sentences from a synopsis that Millie sent to me:

“An adventure tale of Viking raids, ill-fated thralls, noble kings and their sons, and friendship and love . . .

But, above all else, a tale of unforgivable betrayal and the ever-present desire for revenge.”

Yes, this book is about all the above and it is very entertaining like many other historical novels.

I read “Shadow of the Raven” very fast with great interest.

It pictures many interesting people and their relationships. It describes battles and ordinary life in different countries (England, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway).

I also think that it allows to answer the following questions:

why do we have wars between countries and between ethnic and religious groups?

why for many years foreign policy of my country does not bring positive results?

at what conditions are possible equal rights for men and women?

how important are ties within families?

is it easy to make a person a murderer and a rapist?

what motivates people?

can friendship and love overcome all difficulties?

I highly recommend my followers and guests to read “Shadow of the Raven” (you can find it on Amazon).

 

Art of Nino Orlandi.

A year ago Katie Hosmer posted the following article:

NINO ORLANDI WOODEN SCULPTURE.

I was unable to find Nino Orlandi biography.

However, I found a video that shows many not only his wooden sculptures but

also other sculptures and paintings.

You can see everything HERE.

Bernard Cornwell.

Several years ago I read a book written by Bernard Cornwell about a british soldier Sharpe. It was the second book in the series and I liked it very much. I always liked historical fiction and I felt like I am young again.

As usually in such cases, I went to internet and read about the author.

You can repeat this step by clicking on the line below.

BERNARD CORNWELL

Then I remembered that I read before his book “Stonehenge” and enjoyed it very much. All theories about Stonehenge fascinated me for years. Surely, we visited Stonehenge during our trip to England and this visit stays in my memory (sunny day, huge stones, modern buses, sheep, tourists from all over the world).

Next step was reading every book about Sharpe and Lord Wellington. Not all of them are equally well-written but I would recommend to read all of them.

You can find about the Sharpe books HERE.

But the Sharpe series is only one of many.

Here is more about BERNARD CORNWELL BOOKS

I read many of them with great pleasure but one of them stays separately in my memory. It is “Agincourt” (Azincourt in French). Please read the book. You’ll be glad you did.

I ask my readers who read books by Bernard Cornwell to comment on this post. Thank you.

  

Robert W.Service.

Yesterday I received an email from my friend. It said that he translated Robert Service’s poem “My Madonna” into Russian and asked what I thought about the translation. I looked at the original and the translation and answered that translation was good but required more work to become excellent.

I have to confess that before yesterday I did not know the poem and that I liked it.

For those of you, who don’t know or forgot the poem here it is:

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My Madonna – by Robert W. Service

I haled me a woman from the street,
Shameless, but, oh, so fair!
I bade her sit in the model’s seat
And I painted her sitting there.

I hid all trace of her heart unclean;
I painted a babe at her breast;
I painted her as she might have been
If the Worst had been the Best.

She laughed at my picture and went away.
Then came, with a knowing nod,
A connoisseur, and I heard him say;
“‘Tis Mary, the Mother of God.”

So I painted a halo round her hair,
And I sold her and took my fee,
And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire,
Where you and all may see.

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I also have to confess that I did not remember reading anything else written by Robert W.Service and I did not know anything about him. However, we live in a fairy tale era when we can get necessary information almost immediately.

Surely, I went to Google and found a big article about Robert W.Service on Wikipedia. I highly recommend you to read this article HERE.

I loved reading this well-written informative article about a wonderful creative man who had a very interesting life, met with many famous people, lived in many countries, wrote many poems and novels. 

It was especially interesting for me to read the following:

“He also visited the USSR in the 1930s and later wrote a satirical “Ballad of Lenin’s Tomb“.[20] For this reason his poetry has never been translated into Russian in the USSR and he was never mentioned in Soviet encyclopedias.[21]

Service’s second trip to the Soviet Union “was interrupted by news of the Hitler-Stalin pact. Service fled across PolandLatviaEstonia and the Baltic to Stockholm. He wintered in Nice with his family, then fled France for Canada.” Not long after, the Nazis invaded France, and “arrived at his home in Lancieux … looking specifically for the poet who had mocked Hitler in newspaper verse.”[22]

These two paragraphs show clearly what kind of person Robert W.Service was.

I already started exploring Robert W.Service’s writings. Hope you’ll do the same.

“Gods, Graves and Scholars”.

About 60 years ago I read a wonderful book “Gods, Graves and Scholars: The Story of Archaeology.” 

The book written by C. W. Ceram (January 20, 1915 – April 12, 1972). It was the pseudonym of German journalist and author Kurt Wilhelm Marek.

I was a little younger at that time and the book impressed me very much by facts about lives of all famous archaeologists, about all major discoveries and by its literary style.

After reading the book I’ve  never stopped learning about archaeology and history of civilizations.

If anyone of you did not read the book I highly recommend it.

Wikipedia says: “Published in 28 languages, Ceram’s book eventually received a printing of over 5 million copies, and is still in print today…

Other books by the author include The Secret of the Hittites, March of Archaeology and The First American, a book on ancient North American history. 

…The Ceram Prize in archaeology is named after him.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb – a man hated by many experts.

In November of 2013 I wrote the post below after I read two Taleb’s books. His book “The Black Swan” is brilliant! Everyone must read it or at least to look it up HERE and choose what particular parts (chapters) of the book to read now. I am sure that everyone will find a lot of interesting in the book.

I reblogged this post because it is essential today to understand Taleb’s explanations of the last financial crisis, of the ways government policies influence our way of life and predictability of the future.

I also recommend to read an article at the end of the post about Taleb’s tweets.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

America has more Nobel laureates in economics than any other country. There are thousands of experts in universities, banks, brokerage companies, insurance companies, etc.

Thousands of people work for the government and tell our presidents and the Congress what to do to keep economy growing and to keep people employed.

There is also a mighty Federal Reserve System. It is the central banking system of the United States. “It was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907

The U.S. Congress established three key objectives for monetary policy in the Federal Reserve Act: Maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates… The first two objectives are sometimes referred to as the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate… Its duties have expanded over the years, and today, according to official Federal Reserve…

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb – a man hated by many experts.

America has more Nobel laureates in economics than any other country. There are thousands of experts in universities, banks, brokerage companies, insurance companies, etc.

Thousands of people work for the government and tell our presidents and the Congress what to do to keep economy growing and to keep people employed.

There is also a mighty Federal Reserve System. It is the central banking system of the United States. “It was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907

The U.S. Congress established three key objectives for monetary policy in the Federal Reserve Act: Maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates… The first two objectives are sometimes referred to as the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate… Its duties have expanded over the years, and today, according to official Federal Reserve documentation, include conducting the nation’s monetary policy, supervising and regulating banking institutions, maintaining the stability of the financial system and providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions…The Fed also conducts research into the economy and releases numerous publications, such as the Beige Book.”

With all this tremendous pool of experts how did it happen that the USA and many other countries were recently in the financial crisis and still are very slowly recuperating? Unemployment is still high, financial system is not very stable, interest rates are artificially kept very low and it especially hurts senior citizens.

Some people believe that it is a result of the fact that so-called experts in economics relied on the wrong economic models.

One of those people is  Nassim Nicholas Taleb. He warned long time ago that the way financial and monetary policies conducted was wrong and will lead to a financial crisis.

Who is this man? I will summarize what I know after reading information on the internet and after reading his books “Fooled by Randomness” (2001) and “The Black Swan” (2007).

Nassim Nicholas Taleb was born in a mighty and very rich family. Then the family lost almost everything. He got a good education and wanted to pursue his interests in economics, mathematics, philosophy. To be able to do what he wanted he needed  financial independence. So he applied his efforts and his knowledge to this particular purpose and made a fortune. At the same time he proved that his theories are valid and usable.

You’ll find more information about Nassim Nicholas Taleb in the article below. I hope you’ll find time to read the article. It is very, very interesting. 

NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB

I have no doubts that Taleb is today’s intellectual giant, that his views on economics and politics, his philosophy must be studied and applied in our society.

However, as I mentioned in the title of this post Nassim Nicholas Taleb hated by many experts. He hated by many economists and statisticians because he states that their knowledge limited and not up to today’s changes in all areas of life, economy and science. He also hated by many politicians because he states that the policy of expanding government debt is leading to a catastrophe.

I think that it is a must to read mentioned above Taleb’s books. They are not written for experts. They are serious and very personal books written by a person who learned views of many intellectual giants before him and decided whom to believe and what to believe.

Below is an article about Taleb’s tweets. I enjoyed it. Hope you’ll like it too.

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A WORLD WAITING TO DIE

Many years ago I read a small book “A Town Like Alice” written by Nevil Shute Norway. 

I did not know anything about him at that time and nobody told me anything about  the book. I started to read it and finished it in several hours. The book was terrific!

I instantly came to conclusion that the author was a brilliant writer who loved people very much.

Nevil Shute Norway  (1899 – 1960) was a popular British and then Australian novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer. He emigrated to Australia in 1950 and settled with his wife and two daughters on farmland at LangwarrinShute died in Melbourne in 1960.

I liked  “A Town Like Alice” so much that immediately started search for other Shute’s novels. I found many of them and enjoyed reading all of them.

However, the strongest impressions I got from Pied Piper”, “Requiem for a Wren”, “On the Beach”. 

Each of this books examines human nature, what is the meaning of life, what is love, and what is duty. They are very warm uplifting books despite the fact that they describe tragedies of war.

“On the Beach” is  the Shute’s best-known novel. It depicts Melbourne, whose population is awaiting death from the effects of an atomic war.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction to the book:

“Nevil Shute’s ‘On The Beach’ is a classic for good reason. Shute takes the most horrific event one can imagine – a worldwide nuclear event – and then turns the microscope on it, focusing in on just a few ordinary people who must wait for death as it drifts over to their hemisphere. We see military personnel, housewives, businessmen, and more. They come alive because they are just like you and me and the people next door.

Shute’s very great accomplishment here is to examine how each of the characters deals with their certain death. Everyone knows they’ll die eventually; these characters have the difficulty of knowing that death will arrive soon, and that it will be slow and agonizing. What do they do? Each reacts differently and the humanity and humility with which some of the characters make their choices is startlingly powerful. Especially in a time when the world seems so uncertain, so cruel, this is an important book to read-or re-read if you picked it up years ago. Prepare yourself for a powerfully moving experience.”

“On the Beach” published in 1957 and became an international bestseller.

I wonder why the author who created many anti-war books and warned people about danger of atomic war and nuclear proliferation did not get a Nobel prize in literature or a Nobel Peace prize. I also wonder why Shute’s books were not reprinted for a very long time. It seems to me that the main reason is that for many years we lived in the atmosphere of denials.

It is time to face realities and to do something about them!

Please read “On the Beach”. It’s a must reading today!