Happy Birthday, Robert Ludlum!

5 things one might like to know about him:

1. The number of copies of his books in print is estimated between 290 million and 500 million, across 33 languages and 40 countries.

2. Before he started writing thrillers, he had been a United States Marine, a theatrical actor, and producer.

3.¬†Ludlum’s novels were often inspired by conspiracy theories. I must confess I haven’t read any of the ones that are… The Matarese Circle, The Holcroft Covenant etc.

4. Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd.

5. Ludlum used the same fixed titling pattern of  The [Proper Noun] [Noun] for most of his books. Subsequent to his death, books written by other authors have carried the phrase Robert LudlumTM on their covers, thus asserting the name Robert Ludlum as a trademark.

(Information courtesy: Wikipedia)

Happy Birthday, Gabriel Garc√≠a M√°rquez!

One from last year…

5 things about one of my favourite authors:

1. He is known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America.

2. Won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, and is the earliest remaining living recipient.

3. He practically invented ‘magic realism’,¬†a¬†genre¬†where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment. It was probably a result of being in close touch with his grandmother. This is undoubtedly my favourite genre of fiction.

4. He began his career as a journalist while studying law at the National University of Colombia. Needless to say, both journalism and law went for a toss later!

5. Solitude and melancholy are two emotions that you will feel deeply if you read any of his works. So deeply, that they will stir out of your depths, out of those years of repressed feelings, that you may have let dust gather upon…

Happy Birthday, Robert Louis Stevenson!

He was an alumni of my University, I didn’t know it was going to be that way when I voraciously read his works as a child. I think he is a writer of extraordinary merit and literary genius. I think it is a priviledge to have lived in his country. Here is one of my favourites and one of his littler known works.

The Lamplighter

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.
It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,
O Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!

-Robert Louis Stevenson

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Taken on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

He was born today, he died today. His works have made him immortal. Here are some of his most compelling words:

“‚ÄúOur revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.‚ÄĚ”

This is from The Tempest, a play that I had to take up for Higher Literature in school, and a play that is a take on life itself. Shakespeare has been an integral part of my reading ever since I had Julius Caesar in high school; a playwright that I have returned to for comfort, direction, judgement calls, and familiarity.

1. I felt fantastic visiting the Globe this year. We spent an entire afternoon reliving his tales, the drama, the setting, the history.

2. When on my Highland trip, I caught sight of the ¬†‘Macbeth’ castle.

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“When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.”

3. I was awestruck and humbled at his memorial at Westminster Abbey. Awestruck that I was there, humbled by the realisation…

Finally, I’m taking a writing course online and a part of it required the explication of a visual image; so I took it up with a scene from The Tempest! Read it if you have time ūüôā

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PS: I hope you have been reading my Scotland themed posts on my other blog!

Happy Birthday, Lew Wallace!

I haven’t done a Birthday post in ages, methinks. Anyway, I don’t know how many of you can recall this author; but you have definitely heard of his book/movie made on it; Ben Hur. I first read this book when I was 11 and re-read it maybe 7 – 8 years later. It is a fantastic work in every sense, the style of writing, the language, the intrigue, and the portrayal of Jesus as a man.

Wikipedia tells me that apart from an author, he was a lawyer, a war general, a politician, a statesman, and a territorial Governor! Sheesh! I say, what has happened of men now, almost always, they are hardly good at any of those!

Dapper!

Happy Birthday, Gabriel Garc√≠a M√°rquez!

5 things about one of my favourite authors:

1. He is known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America

2. Won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, and is the earliest remaining living recipient.

3. He practically have the masses ‘magic realism’,¬†a¬†genre¬†where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment. It was probably a result of being in close touch with his grandmother. This is undoubtedly my favourite genre of fiction.

4. He began his career as a journalist while studying law at the National University of Colombia. Needless to say, both journalism and law went for a toss later!

5. Solitude and melancholy are two emotions that you will feel deeply if you read any of his works. So deeply, that they will stir out of your depths, out of those years of repressed feelings, that you may have let dust gather upon…

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared …a review

Yes, that is what it is called. It was my first Kindle read (more on that later) and I downloaded it because the name sounded interesting and promising. I wasn’t disappointed!

It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. He is reluctantly waiting for his birthday party at the old age home to begin. The setting is a small town in Sweden. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not…Slowly but surely, Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway.
And then begins a fantastic tale that spans across the entire 20th century. The book is written in alternate chapters, one about the current adventures and then the next as a flashback of Allan’s life leading up to that time. The tales of a man who has travelled the entire world during the¬†tumultuous¬†time around World wars, Cold war, and the Internet age…
Most of the incidents seem unbelievable at first but then, in the later half of the (fairly long) novel, it all comes together. The plot is watertight, I couldn’t find loopholes, the content was so well-woven together. The humour too, is brilliant! It had be laughing out loudly in parts ūüėÄ
The only thing that put me off slightly is the fact that alternate chapters were very differently sized. This was because the current happening spanned a week or so and the flashback had to pack in one hundred years. What that meant was that I would be engrossed in a flashback chapter and completely forget what was happening now!
It’s available for really cheaply on the Kindle, so I’d definitely recommend the ebook.