Proud? Who, me?

Well, yes, and proud of it.

Spain has leapt light-years ahead in provising all her citizens with the same rights, no matter their sexuality (or, in a lesser way, their sexual identity).

We still have lots to fight, and in other fronts as well, to make Spain a just country, and a place where one can be proud to be from.

In the meantime, let's fight, and let's celebrate (jay for this kind of fights, where blood is not a given).

For all who think that everyone as the same rights, no matter how they are:

Happy Gay (and Lesbian, and Bisexual, and Transsexual) Pride Day!



Some Book Reviews

While I am in the process of having something new to tell you about my novels (I can tell you that I have decided to finish Revolt!), I think I can tell you something about the novels I've recently read, just to keep you interested in my blog (hehe) and because I think they can be interesting for you.

  • The Lover of Pilatus, by Gisbert Haefs (German title is Die Geliebte des Pilatus and in English would be "The Lover of Pilate's", and I haven't been able to find an English edition, so do your homework or ask your editor for it!) is an interesting historical thriller set in the times of the governorship of Pontius Pilate in the Roman province of Judæa. The title is a little bit misguiding, IMO, because she is just a character in the novel, and not even the most important one: the different espionage groups in the early Empire conspire to change the balance of power in the allied (and not-so-much) regions between the Roman Empire and the Parthian Persian Empire.

    The characters are well defined, the political situation is rich and, as always, Haefs manages to create a rich embroidement of different threads that contribute to the final carpet, finely crafted and full of exquisite details.

    While it's not his Hannibal or his Troja, and more in the line of Amilcar's Garden, it's a really enjoyable novel, with different points of view that create atmosphere and provide the story with a high degree of humanity in all its full glory and gory(ness).

  • ¡Devuélveme mis legiones! (Give Me My Legions Back), by Spanish writer José Manuel García Torres. It's a small novel, and it's easy to read. He's not Haefs, but I liked it quite a bit. As far as I know, it's well documented, and it looked fairly natural, which is refreshing, to say the least. His style is light and moving, and while I may have enjoyed a little bit more of weight (I think that story can be fleshed a little bit more) I can say that it's a novel well worth the time, and you finish with a little bit of hunger, which is, I think, the way to finish a good book, almost satisfied, longing for a little more.

  • El candelabro enterrado, (in German Der bergrabene Leuchter. Eine Legende, the translation should be somewhat like "The Buried Candlestick. A Legend") by Stefan Zweig, a short historical novel about the Jewish Menorah which gets robbed by the Vandals in 455, when sacking Rome, and it's recovered almost 80 years later by Count Belisarius, and finally buried to protect it. The story is sweetly told, and Zweig was an excellent writer: there's nothing specially magical about the novel, but the whole story is, as I'm not able to find a different word, precious. Easy to read, it's a good story. You may like it or not, but it's a good one, indeed a book to learn from, and an author who still surprises me as I find his books (because I don't look for them, I let them come to me, this formula is working fine so far... :-)

  • Cartago en llamas, (in Italian Cartagine in fiamme, in English that would be "Carthage in Flames"), by Emilio Salgari, about the Third Punic War. Well, we was a master writer, and this book, written some three years before his suicide, is a novel I didn't know, and it looks to be well documented (at least to the standards of his times) and it's being filled with action and details so far (I'm still in the first chapters, but I wanted to throw it in, as a gift :-)

And as for Revolt!, I am taking my Greeks to the cold waters of Bosphorus, to live the seeds of the Battle of Marathon, when Miltiades leaves his Thracian domains and returns to Athens. Chan-chan-chaaan... :-)

Well, I'll let you know, be well, blessed be!




That is, the Sun Standing in the Summer or Winter.

The longest day is almost upon us (the longest night for those in the Southern Hemisphere of the planet), a magical time of change, a pivotal point in our yearly round trip with our beautiful, magnificent, astonishing, yellow dwarf star, Sol.

Things come and go, and while for some creatures, specially the smaller ones --bacteriae and other microscopic life, including most of our body cells, or many kind of insects, for example--, this Solstice will probably be the only one their lifetimes will allow, an opportunity they will probably not notice the same way as we do; for other creatures, however, Solstices come and go so many times that they simply mark time, in a very special photobiological clock --for example, many types of plants, including bushes, seqoias, etc, also, to a lesser extent, some animals with huge lifespans, specially fish and turtles--; then it's the rest of us (humans, chimpanzees, dogs, cats, elephants, horses,...): for us, years are significant on their own, and every Solstice is a special date...

Last Solstice, in December, my friends had just one daughter, my Daughter-in-Moon, Lena; this Solstice they have another daughter, Maia: that's cualitative change!

From now on (in the Northern hemisphese), days will be shorter and shorter, and as the Sun light covers the fields, crops will flourish and life will go on, until we all get ready for the Winter. Wonderful Cycle of Life.

For me, it's time to spread myself and get ready to gather my forces up, reading, enjoying the weather, more free time, time to read, learn, and grow; time to write (do it, damn me!) and to get ready for what the next Equinox will bring: Nanowrimo.

How's your Solstice going?

Blessed be, kallisti!

PS- I'll get to writing soon, first I'll finish the book about Varus's legions lost to the German Arminius, and I'll post a review of it, and of Haefs's Pilatus's Lover, which I finished the day before yesterday...

PPS- New season, new look; I think this looks fresh, let me know...


Book Fair of Madrid (take 1,5)

You thought it was over, uh? :-)

Well, somehow, in the middle of the fuss, I forgot to tell you about a book I was gifted from the Fair...

La amante de Pilatos, (Pilatus's Lover, Die Geliebte des Pilatus) by Gisbert Haefs!

I've been after this one for a good while, but I got tired of waiting for the pocket edition: it's time to do some weight pushups... :)

I'll let you know, anyway, as there are many others to attract my attention... But, way cool! :-)



Book Fair of Madrid (take 3, and 4, and...)

Well, it's almost gone, but I think it's over for me this year.

I went there on Friday and again on Saturday.

It's was a nice bounty (hehe):

  • ¡Devuélveme mis legiones! (Give Me My Legions Back), by Spanish writer José Manuel García Torres, about the Varus's Disaster; it looked interesting, I'll let you know.
  • A nice 1958 pocket edition of Poema del Cid, (Poem of Cid) which is an ancient Spanish and modern Spanish rendition of the 1207 anonymous poem written by Per Abbat: remember this year it's the 7th centenary!
  • Sarajevo, diario de un éxodo, (Sarajevo, diary of an exode) by Dževad Karahasan, about the siege of the city in Bosnia-Herzegovine, and life before, during and after the war over there, it looked to good to miss.
  • Irlanda del Norte, historia de un conflicto, (Northern Ireland, History of a Conflict) by Luis Antonio Sierra, a historical reporter, about the Historical sequence of events that framed the North Ireland conflict up today, and where things can go. I got this one signed by the author, who looked very nice and interested in our studying Irish and our project to create a Celtic culture association... Hehe :-)
  • Mil suspiros, mil rebeliones (A thousand Sighs, a Thousand Rebellions) by Christiane Bird, about the Iraq Kurdistan and its people, the Kurds, before, during and after the War of Iraq, by testimonials and the author's own experience over there. Again, it looked too good to let go (this one was not on the Fair, just on my way, and thus it counts).
  • Conquistadores, emires y califas, (Conquerors, emirs and califas) by Eduardo Manzano Moreno, about the Omeya Dinasty and the formation of Al-Andalus, most of the Iberian territory (including the Balears) since the 711 year (until 1492, although the Omeya lasted until the end of the X Century). The author is a Professor on the CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, one of the oldest Spanish scientific insttutions) and his point of view (war and economic control as keys of social articulation) looked interesting (he tries to critically review the POVs about both christians and muslins of the time), and after reading al-Mayurqy, which I'm about to finish, I got interested in this time period of which we know so little in general in Spain (at least from my own schooling experience!).
  • La cocina del Cid (Cid's cooking), by Miguel Ángel Almodóvar, a book about Cid's routes and his medieval recipes, another really interesting book, which contextualizes History, and the mundane of it, through a delicions plan... ;-) This one is also signed by his author, who seemed a very nice and approachable man, I will certainly try dome of those recipes! Yum!
  • Jamie's Italian (in Spanish), by Jamie Oliver, my last times favourite cooker. This one is a heavy huge book (I can tell!) about, well, you guessed! Italian food. It's also about Italian off-turist culture and peoples, and with Jamie's style, it's gotta be great! :-)
  • La escritura árabe es fácil (Arabian scripting is easy), by Nicolás Weber, a practical scripting book to learn to write using the Arabian alphabet... It's well designed and looks very hands-on, which I liked.
  • Almogávares (Almogavars), by Ricardo de Isabel Martínez, about the Arago-catalonian soldiers that shook the world about the beginning of the XIV Century... I have already read about them, and the book looks easy-going and well documented, I'll let you know... Desperta, ferro!

Briefing, this year's FDL07 Madrid has been really satisfactory, and I have only left a dozen or so books I'd like to have but, well, I cannot have them all, not enough time to read them and to avoid the plot-bunnies, anyway, and it's cheaper this way...

It's raining like it's the end of the world right now, a huge storm over Madrid, it's beautiful, but even the cat has run under the bed, I'm the only silly on the house...

Lastly, I did my Irish exam on Thursday: Ithink it was pretty good enough, but I don't yet know; anyway it was fun to do (specially the talking part, I had to tell a story for some 5 or 6 minutes, and then we had to make a conversation for some other 8 or 10, that was a bit embarrasing at times, but I think we got okay out of it: a little bit of dignity remaining... :-)

And that's enough blogging for a day: I've discharged my backpack of Irish notes and books, and from FDL07 books, and got my trusty Psion 5mx and novel notes back: I dunno if I'll retake The Lybian or Revolt!, but I'll let you know and keep you updated.



Book Fair of Madrid (take 2)

Yup, I was there (again), just for a while, last Friday...

I saw a couple of jewels, like a special edition by the Ministry of Culture of Alphonse X, the Wise's, Cantigas a Santa Maria, poetical work exaltating the Virgin Mary, written in Galician, with wonderful, color plates with partitures and text, accompanied by 2 CDs with the songs; it was really appealling!

The second one is an anniversary edition of the Cantar del Mio Çid, edited by I-forgot-who (I think it was the Spanish Royal Academy), a careful edition and much more approachable in price than the other one I saw...

I got a book this time I was looking forward to, Las lenguas de un reino. Historia Lingüística Hispánica, written by Mª T. Echenique and J. Sánchez, a book about the linguistic evolution of languages on Spain, centered in the ones most currently used in Spain in the last centuries, including Basque, Castilian, Catalan (and family), Galician (and its relationship with Portugese), Bable (as remnants of Astur-Leon language), but also Aranic (from the Kingdom of Aragon) and other less know Romance (and not) languages...

It's proving itself a pretty interesting reading, provided I should be studying for my Irish exam tomorrow (ahh!!!). Well, I am studying, but I should do more, sigh...

This weekend is the closing of the Fair, and my last chance to easily get some other books I'm interested in; I'll let you know if I manage to do it.