Category Archives: Books/literature

One man and his donkeys

I have a very long way to catch up with Luis Soriano, who brings his mobile library from village to village in Colombia.

“I started out with 70 books, and now I have a collection of more than 4,800,” said Soriano, 36, a primary school teacher who lives in a small house here with his wife and three children, with books piled to the ceilings.

“This began as a necessity, then it became an obligation, and after that a custom,” he explained, squinting at the hills undulating into the horizon. “Now,” he said, “it is an institution.”

I haven’t quite got to the “piled to the ceilings” point, although I do have a few hundred books scattered about the place and in some interesting, if impractical for use, stacks.

Links o' the day, 20/10/2008

Family faces eviction over Hallowe’en display. (Irish Independent)

Gap widens between British and Irish fortunes — for now. (Slugger O’Toole)

Cork and Cobh are rated dirtiest. (The Irish Times)

Low budget Lollywood zombies invade India. (The National)

A powerful memorial. (Jeff Jarvis)

ArtSunday: The nonlinearity of influence. (Scholars and Rogues)

Yahoo plans cost-cutting moves, layoffs. (CNet)

Some papers in financial trouble are leaving the AP to cut costs. (International Herald Tribune)

The Forever War

BoingBoing is getting very excited about the upcoming adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s novel, though to be honest I’m not a big fan of it. I bought it as part of the Sci-fi Masterworks series and, while it had interesting things to say, it didn’t really grab hold of my imagination. Perhaps I am too removed from its Vietnam war subtext. Ridley Scott could do good things with the material, though, so I remain open to it, if and when it gets off the ground.

One of my colleagues points out that the title was also used by the New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins for his book on Iraq. Can we expect the Scott film to follow along the same lines? Iraq has dragged down US films at the box office, so only time will tell.

A peculiar epitaph

Over on his blog, Paolo Coelho posts snippets of writing, usually involving a lesson or life advice. There’s a nice one up today about doing the most with the time you have on this planet.

On his tombstone, he had the following epitaph engraved:

“A life which ends with death, is a life not well spent.”

I like the piece because it does not necessarily preach about what one should do to ensure future generations remember them, it just gives an example of one character. Coelho will live on through his writing — The Alchemist in particular — much as Shakespeare has. It’s also important to note that Abin-Alsar, the character in the blog posting, does not achieve world fame or glory, but rather makes life better for the people of his town. A local but beloved immortality.