Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Long (but very long) walk to Freedom by Mandela

I have walked a long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.

All started with this book "A rainbow in the night" by Lapierre. I read it few years ago and I start growing a pure love for Mandela, better known to friends-and to me- as Madiba. I started loving his courage, his flight for a freedom that is so "normal" for me, for us. I started loving the battle of a country that was wildly conquer from the oppressor.
I had in mind to read Long Walk to Freedom for years, but I have all a particular conception about books: it's them that decided to be read by me. So after his death, that affected me deeply, I realized it was the right time to live again his life, to make him live through his own page. The book is huge, at first you feel you are never going to finish it; but, you then start reading and from the first pages you realise this book is gonna live with you and change you.
The book explore all his life starting from when he was a kid. And from the stories for his youth you already understand that such inspiring people are born like that, and that they decide to carry the weight of this responsibility for their entire life. This make them great!
I love Mandela not only 'cause he carried a battle against the big "enemy", but especially 'cause he carried a battle in the every day life, trying to change things starting from the small problem of segregation and racism around him, and by changing firstly himself and constantly questioning his actions. He carried most of his battle behind the gate of a jail, one of the worst in the world, but his strength for the cause did not diminish, and his fight for the freedom of every citizen of South Africa, of every colour and race was never affected by his personal problems and struggles.
It is important to keep Mandela's teaching in every day life, that we all become permanent freedom fighter, against the injustice of our life.
A very inspiring book that everybody should read it in his life.

Here there is a link to his speech when he was finally realised from prison, without compromising his beliefs and his ideas.

It is from these comrades in the struggle that I learned the meaning of courage. Time and again, I have seen men and women risk and give their life for an idea. I have seen men stand up to attacks and torture without breaking, showing a strength and resilience that defies the imagination. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear myself more times than I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Monday, 27 January 2014

To not forget...

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Martin Niemöller

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Three Men in a boat (Jerome K. Jerome)

Despite the big success of this book, I found it a bit boring at times! 
The idea is nice: 3 friends in a boat along the Thames with a dog ( the dog actually is the funniest character). 
Sometime there are very long descriptions, not that interesting, but I must say some stories are very funny and make the book readable.

“I opened the bag and packed the boots in; and then, just as I was going to close it, a horrible idea occurred to me.  Had I packed my tooth-brush?  I don’t know how it is, but I never do know whether I’ve packed my tooth-brush.
My tooth-brush is a thing that haunts me when I’m travelling, and makes my life a misery.  I dream that I haven’t packed it, and wake up in a cold perspiration, and get out of bed and hunt for it.  And, in the morning, I pack it before I have used it, and have to unpack again to get it, and it is always the last thing I turn out of the bag; and then I repack and forget it, and have to rush upstairs for it at the last moment and carry it to the railway station, wrapped up in my pocket-handkerchief.”

Friday, 10 January 2014

week end plan

 Survived to the first week of work after Xmas holidays:
 I am ready to face the week end!!!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Pablo Neruda and the creative bag

When I was little and I had flu, my mum would gift me a surprise bag from the kiosk near my home. It was a little bag with different toys and cards inside, and the "surprise" was you never knew in advance what was inside: I loved to be sick just for that!
Would I ever think that I would get older and get a book surprise bag? No, I didn't! It was a Xmas present from somebody who knows me veeeeryyy well. It is a red shopping bag with: 3 random books, 1 cd, 1 ebook and 1 movie to download. Every bag apparently has a different set of books. I got this red bag and felt already happy, I opened it and felt again like a kid!
Why is this bag even nicer? Coz it is made by people of Scampia -to say it very grossly the Bronx of Naples (have you watched the movie Gomorrah?)- by buying this bag you become  a supporter of a local book shop and book editor. For more infos (sorry in Italian) you can go here:

Among the books in the creative bag there was one about the life of the poet Pablo Neruda in Italy. One of those books I would never have bought myself, but indeed very interesting.
Have you have watched the movie "Il postino" (The postman), well if you didn't...DO, it is one of my favourite movies, with my favourite actor (Massimo Troisi, who died very young) and it also talks about Neruda, who was exiled to a small island in Italy. Actually, after watching the movie you should also visit the island I would say. Well, thanks to this book I discovered Neruda was friend with a lot of "important" people like Picasso, who helped him many times, or  Carlo Levi. I discovered that Italy made a mark on his life and his poetry and that he had a secret lover who inspired most of his love poems. A different reading for sure!

Desnuda eres tan simple como una de tus manos,
lisa, terrestre, mínima, redonda, transparente,
tienes líneas de luna, caminos de manzana,
desnuda eres delgada como el trigo desnudo.
Desnuda eres azul como la noche en Cuba,
tienes enredaderas y estrellas en el pelo,
desnuda eres enorme y amarilla
como el verano en una iglesia de oro.
Desnuda eres pequeña como una de tus uñas,
curva, sutil, rosada hasta que nace el día
y te metes en el subterráneo del mundo
como en un largo túnel de trajes y trabajos:
tu claridad se apaga, se viste, se deshoja
y otra vez vuelve a ser una mano desnuda.

Nude, you're as simple as one of your hands.
Smooth.  Earthy.  Tiny.  Round.  Transparent.
You have lines of the moon, streets of apple.
You're as slim in the nude as the undressed wheat.
Nude, you're blue as the Cuban night is blue.
There are vines and stars in your hair.
You're yellow and enormous, nude,
like summer in a church of gold.
Nude, you're as small as one of your nails,
curved, subtle and rose-colored till the dawn of day,
when you place yourself in the underworld
as in a long tunnel of clothing and work.
Your clarity fades, drops its leaves, and dresses itself,
to turn once more to being just a naked hand.

[Pablo Neruda Sonnet XXVII]

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy 2014!!!

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions (Joey Adams)

How good was your reading year?