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Ανοιξιάτικο χιόνι«Πόσο πιο ευχάριστο είναι να περιμένεις κάθε γλυκιά στάλα του μελιού που λέγεται Χρόνος, παρά να υποκύπτεις στη χυδαιότητα που κρύβει κάθε απόφαση μέσα της. Όσο σοβαρό κι αν είναι ένα άμεσο ζήτημα, αν το αφήσει κανείς για αρκετό μεγάλο διάστημα, η αμέλειά του θα αρχίσει από μόνη της να επηρεάζει την κατάσταση, και κάποιος άλλος σύμμαχος θα εμφανιστεί αργά ή γρήγορα…»

ΓΙΟΥΚΙΟ ΜΙΣΙΜΑ «Ανοιξιάτικο χιόνι»

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Posted by on 06/11/2013 in Yukio Mishima

 

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11.22.63 by Stephen King

Going back in time proves a step forward for a master storyteller | theguardian

 | guardian.co.uk, | Article history

John Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy arrive in Dallas in 1963

JFK and Jackie Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas, November 1963. Photograph: AP

People are commonly said to remember their location when told of President John F Kennedy‘s assassination, but many must also wish the place they had been on 22 November 1963 was Dallas, where they might somehow have diverted the motorcade or prevented Lee Harvey Oswald from entering the Texas School Book Depository. The possibility of such an intervention must number, along with its darker twin of going back and killing Hitler, among the principal fantasies of time travel, and is explored in the 54th work of fiction by Stephen King.

11.22.63 by Stephen King

In 11.22.63, Jake Epping, a schoolteacher in Maine (a childhood reference point as recurrent in King’s fiction as New Jersey in Philip Roth’s), is summoned by the owner of Al’s Diner, a local eaterie that has become popular but also suspect as a result of being able to sell, in 2011, burgers at near-1950s prices. The restaurateur, now mortally ill, has found a portal in his pantry that leads to a particular day in 1958, where the time-traveller can begin a stay lasting months or even potentially years, always returning two minutes later. Cancer has interrupted Al during a five-year mission to prevent the event that he believes to have misdirected American history: JFK’s death. With the moral arm-lock of a dying man, Al passes on the task to Jake.

Time machines that travel backwards invite a writer towards period detail and nostalgia, and it is striking that King’s device defaults to a year in which he would have been an 11-year-old schoolboy in Maine. Jake, who adopts the cover identity of real estate salesman George Amberson when he goes back, luxuriates in the unadulterated root beers and chocolate pies of an era before fast food.

“I wanted to see the USA in my Chevrolet,” he sentimentally declares on the brink of one trip. “America was calling me.” And, though the “temporal bedouin” from 2011 sometimes struggles with the lingo (what he calls a “motel” is a “Motor Court” there), the flashback America is largely a better one. Back in these days, baseball is played “as it was meant to be played” and Jake/George finds the prices astonishingly low except, interestingly, oranges and long-distance phone calls, both exotic luxuries at the time. Less heart-warmingly, a cancerous miasma of cigarette smoke clouds every 1958 scene and racism is standard.

The only sustained criticism of King, apart from the howls of some incurable literary snobs, has been his books’ alternative use as weight-lifter’s training aids and there are moments, early in this 700-page work, when we may wonder if the mission couldn’t have begun in, say, 1962. But King has an advanced understanding of narrative structure and it’s soon clear that his protagonist needs first to undertake a trial mission to establish the rules of intrusion. Running under the book is the question of whether we would have the moral right to dam the river of time, a dilemma explored through a fictional Hitler-like president in King’s The Dead Zone (1979).

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Posted by on 02/11/2011 in Articles

 

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The 10 best graphic novels – in pictures

Rachel Cooke’s pick of the graphic novels that transcend the comic book medium | theguardian | The Observer

It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken
Seth (1996)
Seth – the pen name of the Canadian comic artist Gregory Gallant – is perhaps best known as the designer of the complete Charles M Schultz’s Peanuts (25 volumes so far). But he is a star in his own right, too. It’s A Good Life… was originally serialised in his comic Palookaville, and details its author’s obsessional quest to discover more about Kalo, an elusive New Yorker cartoonist from the 1940s (whether this is fact or fiction, I’m not telling). Wry, funny and shot through with nostalgia, Seth’s sepia tones have an autumnal, elegiac quality all their own

 

 

Shortcomings
Adrian Tomine (2007)
This is the tale of Ben Tanaka and Miko Hayashi and what happens to their relationship when Miko moves temporarily to New York. Miko is a somewhat earnest political activist who is deeply involved in American-Asian cultural issues. Ben is a 30-year-old theatre manager who resents being boxed in culturally, and who has a wandering eye, especially when it comes to Caucasian women. Left behind in Berkeley, and egged on by his randy friend, Alice, Ben basically goes a little nuts. A fantastic book about race, sex and modern life, it’s as dry as a good martini

 

 

Ethel & Ernest
Raymond Briggs (1998)
This is Briggs’s masterpiece: the story of his parents – a milkman and a parlour maid – from their courtship in the 1920s to their deaths in the 70s. A book about decency, stoicism and ordinariness, which just happens to take in a great sweep of social history along the way (the Depression, the war, the rise of the welfare state), it should be read by schoolchildren everywhere. I defy anyone to get through the death scenes – particularly Ethel’s, her body stiff on a hospital trolley, a bottle of Vim placed disrespectfully right by her face – without crying

 

 

Persepolis
Marjane Satrapi (2003)
In which Satrapi, a Paris-based Iranian exile, tells the story of her life in Tehran from the age of six until, at 14, she is sent away to Europe by her parents. Satrapi’s Marxist parents had longed for the overthrow of the corrupt Shah, but the revolution, when it comes, brings with it only repression, misery and, eventually, an unwanted war with Iraq. Satrapi combines the personal and the political to exquisite effect, but there are bracing flights of fancy too; as one critic put it, Persepolis is “part history book and part Scheherazade”. Brave and knowing

 

 

Fun Home
Alison Bechdel (2006)
This memoir by the author of the excellently named strip Dykes to Watch Out For spent two weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Minutely observed and keenly nuanced, it’s that rare thing: a comic book in which words count as much as pictures. Bechdel grew up in Beech Creek, Pennsylvania (population 800), in a vast Victorian house with her pernickety and closeted funeral director father. Setting her absent girliness against her father’s renegade butchness to brillianteffect, the book is often sad. But there are good jokes too

 

From Hell
Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (2000)
You will know the movie, starring Johnny Depp, but the book is better – and much more terrifying. A combination of detailed research and educated speculation (the authors include some 40 pages of notes and references), it explores the theory that the Jack the Ripper murders were part of a conspiracy to conceal the birth of an illegitimate royal baby fathered by the Duke of Clarence. An ambitious commentary on Victorian England, From Hell is also notable for its chilling character study of Sir William Gull, the Queen’s physician. Dark and compelling. Moore is a genius

 

 

Black Hole
Charles Burns (2005)
Suburban Seattle, the mid-1970s. A horrifying plague, transmitted by sexual contact, has descended on the city’s teenagers. It turns sufferers into social outcasts: one girl grows a tail, another must shed her skin like a lizard. A boy grows a second mouth. Many regard Black Hole as one of the greatest graphic novels, and it’s not hard to see why. Burns’s black-and-white strips are so cool, and his story – sex, drugs and teenage mutants – grips like a vice. If you remember your teenage acne with a shiver, and still think Brian de Palma’s Carrie the best fun ever, this is for you

 

 

Blankets
Craig Thompson (2003)
Blankets is extremely long – a mammoth 592 pages – but it’s a thing of huge power and grace. Thompson grew up in chilly, flat Wisconsin, in an evangelical Christian family, and his book is variously about faith (keeping it, losing it), sibling rivalry, being a misfit, and the isolation of the countryside. Most of all, though, it’s about what it feels like to fall in love for the very first time (at a Bible camp our hero meets Raina, beautiful and interesting but burdened with siblings she must care for following the divorce of her parents). Quaint, meditative and sometimes dreamy, Blankets will take you straight back to your first kiss

Alice in Sunderland
Bryan Talbot (2007)
This book explores the connection between Lewis Carroll and Sunderland (yes, really: Carroll’s family came from the city, and his sister lived there long after he had disappeared to Oxford); the way local myths are made (the Lambton worm, the monkey that was hanged at Hartlepool); and seeks to find out what, exactly, happened to Sid James on stage at the Sunderland Empire. Hmm. This is a book so filled with facts – the musical hall, the industrial revolution, the life of St Bede – it would make your head ache if it wasn’t so utterly beautiful. Just wonderful

 

 

The Castafiore Emerald
Hergé (1963)
This is Tintin’s 21st adventure, and one of only two in which he doesn’t travel abroad (Hergé, his creator, was by now tiring of his boy reporter and wished to experiment with a narrative low on villains and guns but high on misunderstandings and red herrings). Not a great deal happens: a soprano’s jewels are stolen and then recovered. No rocket to the moon, no spooky sarcophagi, no choppy seas. It’s my favourite Tintin story. I love the claustrophobia, our cast carefully gathered at Marlinspike Hall, as if in some Hercule Poirot mystery; and I love Bianca Castafiore herself – a diva to end all divas

 

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Posted by on 31/10/2011 in Articles

 

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A Halloween reading list

Some ideas for different ways to unsettle, disturb and terrify yourself this year

the guardian 

Brighton Rock

Halloween horror of a different kind … Richard Attenborough as Pinkie in the 1947 film of Brighton Rock. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

Halloween is my favourite holiday, though I’m not quite sure why. It may be some blood-deep ethnic link to the ancient Celtic festival from whence it came; it may be the fact that I’m crazy-stupid for slasher movies and monkey nuts. Either way, Halloween puts the frights on Christmas, terrorises Easter and sends Valentine’s Day bawling for its mommy. And one of the best ways to spend 31 October is by curling up with a creepy book, in a room lit by candles, with stiff drink and loaded revolver close at hand. Just in case.

However, being the très cool, alternative trendies that we are, let’s not settle for any old horror novel. Sure, American Psycho or The Shining will scare the bejeesus out of you, guaranteed. But that’s a bit too easy.

Instead, I’ve put together an alternative Halloween reading list in preparation for next Monday: novels that are eerie, horrifying or disturbing in unusual and different ways. (And please, no jokes about Jeffrey Archer or Cecelia Ahern being truly gruesome … mainly because I’ve just made one.)

Manual by Daren King
Fetishism, psychic dislocation, unhealthy sexual obsession – Manual isn’t an easy book to warm to, but it will linger in the mind afterwards. Sometimes gruelling, but worth it if only for the wholly original style: terse, often unrelated sentences, tiny explosions of descriptive power … like reading a series of connected haikus.

The Return of the Player by Michael Tolkin
Sequel to the novel that inspired the Robert Altman movie, but this is much darker and creepier, in tone and theme, than that relatively playful piss-take. Fundamentally about death, it’s a fearful lament for the end of things.

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
Because Pinkie is one of the most terrifyingly believable sociopaths ever created … and the horror that awaits Rose after the final pages in indescribable.

Shirker by Chad Taylor
Set in New Zealand, this tale of one man cheating death is one of the best crime novels I’ve ever read. Beautiful artful prose, a great, twisting noir story, and a seriously spooky, sexy atmosphere. You’ll feel all sorts of chills running along your spine.

Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino
A tone of strange, spooky reverie permeates this fantasy from the incomparable Calvino. A group of wayfarers meet in the forest and, struck dumb, tell their stories through tarot cards.

High-Rise by JG Ballard
It opens with a man roasting an alsatian over a burning phonebook, and doesn’t relent from there on in. Most of Ballard’s incredible body of work is disturbing enough, but High-Rise was the one that most freaked me out.

The Body Artist by Don DeLillo
It’s a sort of ghost story – or is it? Reality, delusion and memory blur into one another in DeLillo’s short novel about the titular body artist dealing with bereavement.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Any one of a number of dystopian novels could have made the cut – Riddley Walker and Swastika Nights are particularly powerful – but Atwood’s “speculative” novel is so unsettling because everything that happens is a possible, and often probable, consequence of what we’re doing now.

The Vanished Man by Jeffery Deaver
Deaver might not be a literary artist, but he’s a very, very skilled craftsman. The Vanished Man has a deliriously serpentine plot – and a chameleonic villain who gets right under your skin because he can get under anyone’s skin.

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Posted by on 28/10/2011 in Articles

 

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Authors Best Known For Their First Novel

by 101 BOOKS

I’m jealous of authors who manage to write brilliant first-time novels.

I’m not a novelist, and I honestly have no plans to be one. But how do these authors knock it out of the park on their first attempt?

It’s a recurring theme throughout this project. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been doing preliminary research on a book and realized it was the author’s first novel.

Here are just a few examples:

Walker Percy: He wrote The Moviegoer when he was 45. So if you’re 30 and think you’ll never make it, think again. You’ve got plenty of time.

 

Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird was her first and only novel. Conspiracy theorists say Truman Capote actually wrote it, explaining why she never attempted another one. Thoughts?

 

Ralph Ellison: Another successful first-time novelist who never wrote another one after Invisible Man, or at least a second novel wasn’t published while he was living. Ellison had two novels published posthumously: Juneteenth and Three Days Before The Shooting.

 

J.K. Rowling: Maybe you’ve heard of her?

Richard Yates: Revolutionary Road was published when Yates was 35. I’m 35. Crap.

 

Joseph Heller: Catch 22 is brilliant, I tell you. Brilliant.

 

 

 

 

Others include Margaret Mitchell (Gone With The Wind), John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces), Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar), Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights), etc, etc, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on 27/10/2011 in Articles

 

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Composition No. 1 by Marc Saporta: This book can be read in any order.

“If the story doesn’t capture you, maybe you should start again.” Tom Uglow

Composition No. 1, by Marc Saporta, is a re-imagining of a book originally published in the 1960s. The book is the first ever “book in a box”, called Composition No. 1 by Marc Saporta. When we say book in a box we mean: quite literally a book that comes in a box with loose pages. Each page has a self-contained narrative, leaving it to the reader to decide the order they read the book, and how much or how little of the book they want to read before they begin again. In so many ways, Composition No.1 was published ahead of its time: the book raises all the questions we ask ourselves today about user-centric, non-linear screen driven ways of reading.

Ultimately, our re-imagined Composition No.1 asks readers to consider: what makes a book a book?

Design by: Universal Everything

Tom Uglow of Google introduces it and Matt Pyke of Universal Everything designed it: celebrating and exploring different (non-linear) ways of reading and looking at how the book was so ahead of its time. To accompany this title, Visual Editions have made their very first iPad app (also designed by Universal Everything), which lets the user play with all the randomising, shuffling elements born out of the book.Composition No. 1 is available to order now, and you can download the iPad app from iTunes.
 
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Posted by on 13/10/2011 in Articles, videos

 

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