A Quote:

"There sit the knights that were so great of hand,
The ladies that were queens of fair green land,
Grown grey and black now, brought unto the dust,
Soiled, without raiment, clad about with sand."
- Algernon Charles Swinburne.

jueves, 19 de febrero de 2015

5 Books that inspire me

A lot of pages have passed through my fingers, and from each one I have learnt something. Either from a JW pamphlet, or from the explanations of the laws of the universe by Sir Roger Penrose, or Batman hunting criminals, or the mysterious and mystical streets of Joyce's Dublin, each novel, short story, comic, dictionary, poem, prayer, newspaper, blog, technical manual o tweet that I've read opened to me doors to other worlds. They made me question myself and taught me to question the world. They gave me life, made me cry, and left me sleepless on rainy nights. From all those books there are five in particular that I consider my masters on paper, the pages that set the standard from which I valuate all other pages that come into my hands.

5. GOG by Giovanni Papini: Each story from this book is a profound meditation about what we take for granted, from eating to money, showing us their absurdity and/or wonder. Papini strips the ordinary and, in a Joycean way, threshes its trascendent, multiflavored pieces. In Gog I've found the underlying poetry, philosophy and symbolism of the apparently day-to-day ennui, and the multiple ways to see them. Each moment in life has a meaning, if we learn to look for and feel it.

4. THE GOLDEN BOUGH by Sir James George Frazer: Before I found this book, mythology and religion were to me cultural stuff belonging to history and anthropology, alien to daily life. Then, Frazer came to enlighten and teach me to see the complex relationships between the tales and life experiences of our ancestors worldwide, and how their symbols give meaning to our culture and our daily lives. This book is my reference to not forget where I come from, and that every tale and story are there waiting to be heard and read. 

3. DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLS by Jean Chevalier: I have always considered the Symbol as the fundamental, timeless and ever present structure to understand Reality; and for a long while I was looking for a reference book to understand it. Levi-Strauss taught me the mystery of why lots of symbols repeat between unconnected cultures alongside history and geography. Chevalier gave me more than the answers to these questions; nowdays, his dictionary is my personal guide to look "beyond the samsara" in many books, films, and even in dreams. What can I do, I'm a convinced Jungian.

2. ULYSSES by James Joyce: I can say that all the previous books were the weapons which I used to get into the battlefield that this masterpiece is. It is like a bombing of stories over stories, an attack of fractals of the mundane and the divine, eclectic literary forms and narratives united skillfully as a whole. It is a very difficult reading without any doubt, very demanding for its stylistic turns and the dense dialogues and symbolism, but with countless rewards for the reader. My perception of cities as places in which relations between people, space and time are born and flow, changed drastically thanks to Joyce; nowadays those three aspects are living things in their own right, although in different levels.

1. FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM by Umberto Eco: The only competitive aspect in my life is perhaps the fight against what some people call "non-foolproof" books. Eco is a writer that assumes that his readers have above-average culture, or at least a minimum curiosity to do some research to see what he writes is about. I like to count myself in the second group. Thanks to this masterpiece that travels through history, between fact and fiction and how they dissolve into each other; between science, mysticism, politics, art, myth and romance, this book made me to keep my curiosity kindled, looking for the relationships between all things. I cherish and love this book like a living master.

Which books inspire you? Do any of them changed your way of thinking about life? Feel free to comment!

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