Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Book Reviews

Louise Amour by Christian Bobin, (July 13, 2009)

Louise concocts perfume and merchandize them in the latest marketing techniques.  I read books on mystics and saints and rephrase their wise pronouncements; as a baby of seven I used to write words with my fingers on mother’s cheeks and she would guess them all.  Louise liked the sentence “Perfume of rose garnishes the roots of life” and wanted it to describe her new release of rose perfume “Madonna”; the bottle is in the form of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. Louise said “I wanted to recreate this genre of perfume that grandmothers carried in their youth.  I want everyone to dream that the sky is close at hand”. I paid a visit to Louise intending to tell her that I refuse the blasphemous idea of borrowing my sentences.

Louise enters all smiles diffusing in golden concentric circles; the first wave spluttered and refreshed my face; the second wave asserted that Louise was here solely for me; this second wave of smiles announced the visit of the conqueror and opened the barriers.  Louise brown eyes were flames emanating of an oval pale face; a slight dimple over of left lips was her signature. Louise had long black hair gave the urge of contemplating her nudity framed by her soft hair. She was flowing with kindness and I felt as noble as an angel standing by God. Louise was the worst pain that could have affected me and the sole remedy. She was the only person that existed for me in this world.  I was going to re-learn writing and starts living.

Louise voice rushed like a golden bee in the alveolus of my crane; the slow buzzing saturated my thoughts and erased the vulgar impatience in this world.  I was no longer a theologian; I was no longer seeking God; no longer the retarded son of his parents; I was the servitor of Louise and the adulating listener.

I was once in total focus on the beauty of a wild field of flowers; Louise noticed that I had forgotten her for a couple of minutes and she expressed her wrath for not being the center of my attention.

I visited with Louise a rose garden.  The caretaker of the garden was an old women; she told me: “Theology is useless. Each rose is a holy book. You are here in the most beautiful library in the world. A rose never open her heart except before dying. I would have been more beautiful if I had a daughter to comb her hair.  Perfume is the soul stolen from flowers.  We should be using perfume for the terminally ill and the jobless.”

I came back from the dead for you (July 8, 2009)

I read a couple of days ago a French novel “What after” by Guillaume Musso.  The setting is invariably in the USA, more specifically in New York City, and four hours drive from the center; excluding a plane flight to San Diego.  It is about the existence of  living “messengers” who have the gift or the plight of forecasting the near death of people they encounter.

These messengers can see white aura “aureole” surrounding the head of the next victims of random killings, accidents, suicides, or incurable illnesses.  Nathan is the hero; he got through a near death experience at the age of eight; he was given a choice to resume living and decided reluctantly to accept the invitation:  He saw the love of his life suffering from terminal illness in the future, and she needed his presence to sooth the passage in her last hours among the living.

Reality is not probably what we could sense by our five senses; there are a whole lot of pseudo-realities, simply because scientists told us so, using indirect measurements, and we are ready to believe that they are facts and part of reality.  So why we always need consensus to claim facts when many people witness facts that not many of us are not endowed to sense?

I noticed recently that authors insist on including a quote at the beginning of a new chapter.  I like reading quotes:  it confirms that people have the same thoughts and wisdom in variations of their period. It is excellent to repeat what has been written centuries ago:  New generations have got to read from scratch anyway.   It is good to amaze new generations that people were not as dumb as the new technologies lead them to assume about the elder generations.  I like quotes; more importantly, I love to re-phrase them: it is my contribution to the older generations that I appreciate their efforts of reflection and study by offering mine.

When I am short on ideas, I can work on the style and forms.  The lovely novel of Guilaume Musso includes quotes that each of the chapters exhibited at the beginning. The following quotes are of my own re-phrasing.

“How can we ever be human without faults?” (The question will always remain: what are considered faults and who has the legitimacy of identifying, describing, and judging faults?)

“You are born an aristocrat; another conquers his greatness.” (Question: what is greatness and who is legitimate to define and judge what is great?)

“We cannot cuddle at night with our celebrity” (Marlyn Monroe)

“We are slow to believe what gives us great pain to believe in” (Ovid)

“The dead are invisible; they are not absent” (St. Augustin)

“Events don’t necessarily arrive as you wish; learn to watch events as they come” (Epictetus)

“In reality we know nothing; truth is in the bottom of the abyss” (Democritus)

“The time to learn to live; it is already too late” (Aragon)

“We are young once: we have an entire life to recall our youth” (Barry Levinson)

“Love is the folly of friendship” (Seneque)

“From death, our cities are totally defenseless” (Epicure)

“It is of love that we are always suffering” (Christian Bobin)

“Nothing is lost: it has been returned” (Epictetus).  (The trick to return whatever is lost, in grace as gift)

“A bungled job at the end of life is worse than death”

There are a few other lovely ideas that I pick up here and there such as my own quotes:

“The center of the universe is constantly shifting; it does not venture far away: the center is the detail in a task that focuses all your attention”

“Not many tasks are boring routines: all you need to do is attaching a metaphor to the task.  When you wash the dishes in the evening, it could mean washing off the dregs of the day that you had to endure. Have good dreams.”

It is a beautiful rainy day; (July 9, 2009)

The book “Odette Toulemonde” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt contains 8 novellas; they are excellent but I will focus on two of them. 

“It is a beautiful rainy day” is a great novella for character description. Helene is the type of women used to appreciate symmetry in people and in nature.  She dwells on the details of imperfections, such as changing her dresses when noticing any tiny spot, permanently tidying her room, feeling horrified in any asynchronisation in group dancing, and offbeat notes in musical tunes.  She used to cry when receiving returned books with pages marked on the corners.  Most of her potential friends lost her confidence because of imperfect details that did not match her subjective perfection. 

In adolescence Helene realized that nature is as bad as men:  One of her tits was slightly different in form; one of her feet was slightly longer than the other.  Even her height was shocking: it stabilized at 171 cm instead of 170 or 175.

            Helene accumulated many boyfriends; the relationships never lasted more than a couple of days because she seeks idealistic perfection:  She focused on imperfections and she could easily differentiate asymmetric aspects. The two required necessary exigencies, of idealism and lucidity in men, could never be assemble in any one individual.

            By the age of 30, Helene was a cynical and disillusioned woman.  Intelligence in others did not impress her: she mastered several language and she was a lawyer.  Her body was attractive and agile. 

Antoine, a lawyer, fell in love with Helene.  Helene permitted this plain-looking Antoine to press on his initiatives, simply because he was a foot taller than her.  Helene tolerated Antoine for longer than she had the habit of retaining lovers: Antoine was an “agreeable” fellow, though he was a fake slim guy when undressed; he prolonged foreplay so that he won’t have to repeat intercourse; his foreign languages were poor and he was pretty naive.  Helene kept silent as Antoine expressed the intention of including her in his future plans.

            Antoine took Helene to the North Sea instead of the sunny Mediterranean Sea she was used to spend her vacations.  On the first morning, a thunderstorm broke out and it poured rain. Helene was terribly upset.  Antoine retorted: “This is a beautiful rainy day” and explained how they would enjoy this day with new shades of colors that the sky, trees, and nature would take; how they would dry their clothes by the fireplace while taking hot teas; how they will had the opportunity to make love several times, to have lengthy conversation. 

Antoine’s happiness sounded abstract to Helene but she decided to go along.  Optimist Antoine saw the lovely and charming aspects in the streets, the stores, the waitresses, and the food.  Helene was disgusted with everything and could not agree with Antoine happiness.  Helene confined that she never looked at the seas or the waves but was content of enjoying the sun.  Antoine was amused with Helene’s negative comments thinking that she was being purposely funny and ironic and he laughed a lot that day.

            They finally got married. Helene had a boy and a girl but she knew that nothing inside her has changed; she was basically the same Helene with one alteration: Helene refrained from expressing her opinions and learned to keep silent. 

“Agreeable” and happy Antoine allowed Helene to see opposite perspectives and a comfortable joyful family life.  Antoine had to die.  Helene walled her life and then decided to travel the globe; she could not enjoy traveling as Antoine did.  (There is an ending but I prefer the reader to invent an ending and then compare it with the original)

The other novella that I like to review is “The intruder”.  This novella was a practical eye opener for understanding what Alzheimer disease means.  Recent memory goes first and retrograde to when you were born.  Odile sees her face in the mirror and thinks that an old woman intruder is harassing her and switching and moving around her belongings.  She calls the police and finds no intruder. 

Odile confuses her son for her husband; she thinks that her son’s wife is her long dead husband’s mistress.  Odile is rewriting the introduction of her thesis that she published so many years ago.  Her son, wife, and two grandsons are relieved as Odile returns to the period before her wedding. Soon her son will cuddle his old mother as a newborn lady.

            (What is that? We are as old as our memory permits it, and as young as it fails! It is a shame that people with Alzheimer cannot write their diaries; we would have great recalling of early childhood emotions and feelings.  I propose that professional psychologists should study these patients and record what they say as they retrograde in their memory.  We could have excellent descriptions of how children feels and react to adults’ behavior)

351.  “A Witness in Lebanon with Hezbollah” by Thierry Levy-Tadjine; (May 22, 2009)

 

352.  In Want of Labors? (May 25, 2009)

 

353.  Hezbollah (God’s Party) and Nasr Allah (God’s Victory): Biographies (May 25, 2009)

 

354.  Who Assassinated Lebanon’s late ex-PM Rafic Hariri? (May 26, 2009)

 

355.  Public Relations: Rafic Hariri versus the Future team (Al Moustakbal); (May 26, 2009)

 

356.  Bi-Weekly Report (#24) on the Middle East and Lebanon (May 28, 2009)

 

357.  Are you searching for a Job? (May 29, 2009)

 

358.  The Third Republic of Lebanon: The Tayyar of Michel Aoun (June 1, 2009)

 

359.  “You Son of a Bitch, what are you doing on the Beach?”  (June 2, 2009)

 

360.  The Sweetest Word: Revolution.  (June 2, 2009)

 

361.  Mr. President: Biography of a period (1989-2009); (June 4, 2009)

“Yacoubian Building” by Alaa El Aswany, ( part 1, April 1, 2009)

      

For over 100 years, Downtown Cairo was a luxury European center and the common Egyptian wearing the traditional long robe ghalabiyeh were not to be seen. Only people in European dresses and ties roamed around famous restaurants (Groppi, A l’Americaine, and L’Union), private clubs, and movie theaters (Metro, Saint James, and Radio).  All the Christian holidays were celebrated; many small bars and terraces served alcohol and mezze.

By the late 1960’s, the Islamists forced bars to close and the government revoked alcohol licenses; a few bars served homemade brandy that rendered many clients blind.  The bar “Chez Nous” survived by offering largess to the police and secret services; it catered for the homosexuals and was located in a basement of Yacoubian Building

The current owner Aziz was called the English because he looked like one; Aziz inherited the bar from his Greek lover.  The homosexual community had their own slang and hand signs; koudiana means the passive partner and barghal the active one; the barghal nachef (dry) is the ignorant and novice active partner.

Hagob Yacoubian, the millionaire and head of the Armenian community in Cairo, decided to erect a luxury building of ten spacious duplex floors of around 8 to 10 rooms.  It was a jewel of Italian style architecture and equipped with Schindler elevator. Ministers, industrialists, and noblemen resided this building. 

The ground floor was split in two: a vast garage for the Rolls-Royces and a Jewelry shop.  Hagob got the idea to build an annex (the terrace) with 50 iron cabins (2*1 meters) each in size; these cabins were meant for the proprietors to storing foodstuff, locking up dogs, or for watching the laundry by the women helpers.

By the year 1952, Gamal Abdel Nasser mounted a successful military coup.  The proprietors vacated to make room for the military officers and security officials.  Helpers (sufragi) were allocated to the cabins, and rabbits and chickens were raised in many cabins. After Nasser death, the cabins were purchased for habitation. 

Several families allocated a cabin among themselves to be used as toilet.  A few families purchased or rented two cabins for their extended families. The terrace exhibited colorful associations of wives talking loudly and aiding one another with daily chores.  The cabins were kept clean for the husbands to enjoy a resting place after hard day works.  Al that a husband wanted is to have a good supper, light a “narghile or chicha”, make love to their wives at night, and discuss sexual novelties among friends.

I am offering the carcass; it is up to you to discover the jewels, the colorful characters, and the social and political flesh of Cairo and its inhabitants.

Note 1:  After the Egyptian revolt that removed Hosni Mubarak oligarchic regime, the Egyptians lauded Alaa as the voice that opened the eyes of the common Egyptians to the inside realities of the regime. El Aswany has published two other books since then.

Note 2: The author Alaa El Aswany speaks French, English, and Spanish.  He is an Egyptian dentist and a writer who published two other books.  “Yacoubian Building” sold over 100,000 copies in a few months and was translated in English and French; it generated an Arabic movie recently.

“As a flowing River” by Paulo Coelho (Book Review, March 26, 2009)

 

Note:  I posted several articles with themes extracted from Coelho’s book “Comme un fleuve qui coule” and I decided to join the posts.  Sentences and paragraph between parentheses are of my own reflections and comments.

Paulo Coelho recounts that he had an important trip tomorrow, that he did what he had to do yesterday, and that in the morning he checked his mails and then realized that his afternoon is free.

He had nothing to do; he had taken care of everything.  He noticed that his jar of glue is empty, but he had no gluing task for the afternoon.  Still, the idea that he needs to purchase a jar of glue disturbed his mind and prevented him to focus on his meditation. 

It took him hours of struggle to shake off this insignificant disturbance before he managed to listen and converse with his soul.

What, being in harmony with your soul isn’t an important job? Since when did material tasks have presented the only solutions to stability of the mind and body?

 

            (So many times at work we are conscious that all that need to be done was finished in the morning, and that tomorrow’s tasks can wait for tomorrow.  In the meantime we are practically “redundant” but cannot shake off the feeling that something more should be done, since we are paid to log in 8 hours of work.  Thus, we fret, we meddle in the tasks of other people, our nervousness becomes contagious, and the entire workplace is disturbed and anxious.  All that was required is to acknowledge that you have finished your job and you deserve some time off to cool it down and converse with your soul.)

An enterprising man got bankrupt.  He discovered a decrepit residence that matched his dream.  The owner of the property agreed, for board and lodging, to let the ruined man to restore the residence.  Within a year, the dream house was standing in its former glory and the man’s spirit shining like a gold coin. For a true dream idea we should be satisfied with board and lodging.

 

Many people still move a little.  You have individuals who lived at one location when singles, they relocated across the street when they married.  Many of these “across the street lodgers” lived to be old people; they never needed the help of anyone.  (Is that the best or the worst character that human kind is capable of?

For example, Vera Anderson lived in Medford, Oregon all her life.  Vera had dreamed of touring the world when she goes on retreat but she died before her plan takes off.  Vera’s testament was that she be cremated; her ash distributed to 241 pouches; 50 to the chiefs of the main post offices in the 50 States and 191 to every recognized States by the UN.  These pouches were to be scattered to places that Vera would have liked to visit. 

All around the world communities assembled to decide of the best locations to visit and her ash was dispersed accordingly.

Many parents experienced extended prison terms; many sentences were not of civil crimes.  Many served in wars. They come home with a few belonging from prison.  They hide or lock up those belonging in obscure corners in the house. 

It is up to the offspring to discover those “miserable inheritances” to remind themselves that refreshing memories now and then is good for the future of humanity. 

A son carried the old and smelly outfit of his dad in small handbags any which way life took him. A few make it a sacred ritual to touch the bag before taking a decision: the impression that this reminder of the existence of this bag might improve their behavior.

(A flood of questions come to mind; why parents have to keep their prison souvenirs? Why lock them up if they are so important? Why not communicating with their offspring about their experience in prison? Why not writing about their emotions and conditions of feeling incarcerated if they are that important?  Why preferring to committing suicide instead of opening up?  Why the inheritors fail to wash and iron their “sacred trove”?  Are only official military uniforms worth washing, ironing, and displaying?

There are many reports from rebel plagued States.  The rebels and the governments reciprocate in crimes against humanity.  Most rebellious movements create parks for children; the tombs are toboggans, the swings posts made out of old rifles, pictures of “kid martyrs” plastered around the park: those innocent eyes will soon shine with hatred and their tiny bodies torn to pieces when exploding among crowded civilians.

(Social memory is selective.  The horrors of the past registered by lousy writers ended up in the dust bins.  The terrors of the past that generated laws which didn’t pass “parliaments” ended up in archives.  Only the lousy laws enacted by the military colonial powers were retained by under developed States, such as detention without prosecution.)

The French Colonel Jean-Paul Setau was contributing money to the sick in under-developed States.  He specifically adopted (medically) a girl suffering of leprosy from India.  He visited this girl at the special hospital in France and the nun asked him to deliver spiritual (religious) education for the children.  Jean-Paul prayed and got the answer “go and find out the questions that kids might want answers for“.  Jean-Paul received a list of written questions from kids; a sample follows:

1)      Where do we go after death?

2)      Why are we afraid of strangers?

3)      Do extraterrestrials exist?

4)      Why accidents occur to even people who believe in God?

5)      What God means?

6)      Why we are born if we have to die?

7)      How many stars in the sky?

8)      Does the Lord listen to those who believe in other Gods?

9)      Why there are poor and sick people?

10)  Why God created mosquitoes and flies?

11)  Why the guardian angle is not close by when we feel sad?

12)  Why we love a few people and hate other?

13)  Who named the colors?

14)  If God is in heaven with my dead mother, how come God can still be alive?

 

(I have a couple of questions.

First, if we are honest and sincere, then which one of the questions can you provide an answer to? 

Second, if you indeed can answer a question, then how are you going to translate your comprehension to kids? 

As for the first question I have no response; but I do have one for my second concern. 

I suggest that you speak in stories and parables as Jesus did, but with a twist, that your stories are extracted from our current time and civilization such as video games, school life, urban situation, a few trip in nature, computer, internet navigation, biking, movies, pop songs, and what else do kids do to fill up the void and vacuum nowadays.  If you can come up with such kids’ stories that answer a few of the above questions then you can get rich, filthy rich.)

 

            Okakura Kakuzo commented in his book “The Tea Ritual in Japan”: 

When I judge someone I am conscious that the tribunal was set up for me: I am judging myself. 

We do not see meanness in others: we can only notice our meanness.

We can never forgive those who prejudiced us: We believe that we will never be forgiven. 

We tell the harsh truth to our brother: We want to hide it in ourselves. 

We show our force and power: We do not want others to witness our frailty.

The ceremony of tea drinking is the adoration of what is beautiful and simple. The effort is focused on the imperfect gestures of everyday with the aim of attempting the perfect task.  The beauty is in the complete respect of what is being done. A day offers dozens of opportunities for perfecting awkward tasks.

In Scandinavia, the Jante Law says: “You are worthless.  Nobody is interested in what you think. Mediocrity and anonymity are your best choices.  If you act according to Jante Law then all your problems will vanish”

 

This Janti Law is the most common and most adhered to by most countries and people, though it was never formulated as clearly or known as the Law of the Lands of Mediocrity. 

The Janti Law was stated in the novel “A refugee surpasses his limits” by Aksei Sandemose in 1933.  This law was disseminated recently when the Norwegian Princess Martha-Louise married the writer Ari Behn.  Ari Behn was a recognized and acclaimed writer before he wedded the princess.  After the marriage Ari was vehemently critiqued and lambasted by writers for no other reason but for daring to surpass his class status. 

That is how the world got familiar with this Scandinavian Law. 

By the way, Princess Martha-Louise embroidered her gown with the names of who counted in her life for her thirtieth birthday and many started to emulate her generous spirit.

People always claim that many wars would not have started if an anti-Janti Law was preponderant and people knew that they are worth far more than what they think; that what you do on earth is far more important than what you believe; that acting against injustice and expressing your opinions against tyrants will ultimately prevail. 

That might be so, but it was still an abstract notion until 2003 when the King of Mediocrity, George W. Bush, prevailed against all the world community and launched his pre-emptive war against Iraq.  The Spanish PM Aznar defied the wishes of 90% of the Spanish citizens and so did the British PM Blair. The UN did not cover the operation.  Turkey declined 26 billions dollar in aid and denied the US troops to cross the Turkish land or launch military operations against its neighboring State.  Colin Powell was forced to forge falsified proofs; documents and aerial photographs that Hans Blix, the inspector of Iraq disarmament on nuclear and chemical engines of war, contested for many months.  Britain Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, went as far as justifying this war on moral grounds.  The European Nations and their people were against this war.  The Arab States unified to decry this war.  The whole world demonstrated for two months, but the King of Mediocrity prevailed.

No, it was not all in vain. Things have changed even if a few leaders still feel shy to denounce the genocide of the Zionist State perpetrated against the Palestinians in Gaza. The results of democratic elections are recognized even if they don’t suit the philosophy of a few powerful nations.  A new urgency for diplomatic resolutions is taking over in world politics.  Sure, financial and economic downturns are helping that overture climate, but Mediocrity is subsiding among nations. 

(The common people of nations are reawakening to known fundamentals that terrorism and religious extremism are the result of fear, inequality in rights, injustices, and lack of freedom of speech coupled with anemic economies and lack of opportunities and professional diversity in jobs.  In order to establish just, prosperous, and democratic political systems around the world we have got to believe that it is very possible because it is right and urgent.)

 

            As people delve into spirituality a dangerous phenomenon is generated, mainly a firmer intolerance toward the spirituality of others; as if our newly acquired spirituality cannot develop without the debasement of other alternative spiritual methods; (as if spirituality obeys the rule of demand and supply, or an accounting register where debit should match credit.)

The following are Lethal Spiritual Myths:

 

            Myth one: Only one way leads to God.  This is the most dangerous and lethal myth that was the cause and mostly the main excuse for many wars, persecutions, genocides, and judgments of our neighbors.  The weakness in our spirituality is to blame the authorities or sacerdotal castes for the calamities that we perpetrate on others; we always fails to shoulder our individual responsibility for our belief system and that is why the authorities have an easy job of enslaving our spirit and guiding us whichever they wish us to do.

 

            Myth two:  The spirit can cure all. There are countless individuals who realized that physicians can overcome illnesses that all our spiritual gimmicks could not cure.  Many times, it is better to pray that the experienced surgeon still rely on God to guide his hands during operations.  How many were victims of curable illness simply because of taboo spirituality?

 

            Myth three: Red meat obstructs divine light.  There are many trends for “purifying our body” by eating the most appropriate kinds of food and how it should be cooked for various reasons, and basically and implicitly based on religious doctrines. Jesus said “Evil is not in what enters your mouth but what goes out” Vegetables and flowers grown in greenhouses are might be purer for the consumers but they are incapable as naturally grown vegetables to resist minor weather variations.  Vegetarians are still eating live condiments that obey the cycle of life as we will also end up being food for lower creatures and fishes. (There are sects that prohibit ail, onion, tomatoes, dairy product, leavened products, and sugar on the ground that they disturb focus in contemplation and meditations.  Others sects prohibit other kinds of condiments on the ground that they are poison to the body ‘that shell that is sanctified by God”.)

 

            Myth four: God is sacrificial. People seek self-sacrificial ways by claiming that the road to heaven is through physical suffering.  If this world is a benediction of God then why not take the opportunity to enjoying our life?  Jesus Christ suffered for three days but he enjoyed most of his life traveling, meting people, sharing his bread, and disseminating his message of tolerance and charity. The Prophet Muhammad said “Unhappiness is contagious; if you are unhappy you extend it to our neighbors”

 

            Myth five: God is a concept that became real, like the number zero and the imaginary number in mathematics, for constructing moral values that suit Nations.  This myth is intrinsically related to myth one: God was rendered indispensable for mankind, was reduced to serve man, malleable to man’s desires and his will for power.  God is used to harangue armies to war and to escape the resolutions of real problems.  Man manipulates God as the arbiter in nuclear debates and even in school systems.  God is used to lambaste totalitarian regimes, Marxist regimes, opposition political parties, discriminating among the evil and good States, and West versus East. 

God is made use of in order to justify repression, apartheid, genocide, and racism.

God is used as a moral police force to subjugate recalcitrant opinions. 

God is even used in sciences under masked names such as “I don’t know, it escape human cognitive power, providence, organized chaos, other irrational causes, and so on”. 

Religions have instituted sacerdotal castes with power to dominate and regulate civil life from birth to death

As long as institutions and State governments use God to do business then God is another useful commodity and versatile enough to be transacted any which way.  No, God is an individual necessity and has nothing to do with collective usage.  God never needed an institution to promote Him.  Man had the firmament of stars, of nature, of the huge varieties of animals, vegetables, fruits, insect, seasons, thunderstorms, volcanoes, tidal waves, the sun, and the moon to believe that there is a God and that nothing man does will not fructify if God did not participate in the process.)

Pablo Coelho attempts to offer guidelines before climbing a mountain. 

First, select the mountain of your choice since you are the sole responsible and you have to be sure of what you are doing. 

Second, learn how to face the mountain by trying all the possible routes to contour the mountain.  The mountain that looks pretty and interesting from afar is but a terrible challenge when starting to conquer it. 

Third, do not hesitate to ask counsel of those who climbed your mountain of choice.

Fourth, at close scrutiny dangers seem controllable. This is a fine hint that you need to watch every step while climbing. 

Fifth, take advantage to view the changing scenery as you progress steadily.

Sixth, respect the capabilities and limitations of your physical conditioning. If your intention is to be back by nightfall then the speed of your progress should be steady with allowance that the summit is always farther than expected.

Seventh, have respect for your spirit.  You do not need to constantly repeat “I can do it” because your spirit already knows it; and never say “It is more difficult than contemplated” because you might lose your inner force.

Eight, rejoice when at the summit.  Cry, holler, jump, dance, and tell the whole world that your achievement is now part of your life and a stepping stone toward many other successes.

Nine, as you have realized your potential then plan other excursions and adventures.

Ten, tell your adventure story and recount how it was possible to vanquish what seemed insurmountable.

22.  Prognosis of the long term outcome of the Greater Middle East plan (January 3, 2006)

23. The process of a written confessional Constitution in progress and Live (Jan. 9, 2006)                                                                                                     

24.  A Political Paradigm Shift for Human Development (Jan. 21, 2006)

25. Dialogue around a conference table among confessional rodents (March 2nd, 2006)

26.  Is the assassination of Pierre Gemayel the signal for the second civil war in   Lebanon? (November 22, 2006)

 

27.  What are the consequences of the July war? (November 24, 2006)

28.  Are the Lebanese expatriates wearier of the political standstill than the citizens? (December 12, 2006)

1) “Life after Life” by Dr. Raymond Moody, (June 7, 2004)

2) “A Priest among “Les Loubards”” by Guy Gilbert, (July 22, 2004)

3) “We the Living” by Ayn Rand, (July, 24, 2004)

4) “Prophesies of End of Timeby Paco Rabanne, (November 15, 2004)

5) “Alexander the Great”, (November 20, 2004)

6) “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” by Thomas Friedman (July 28, 2006)

7) “Season of Migration to the North” by Tayeb Saleh, (August 10, 2006)

8) “The Princes of the Crazy Years” by Gilbert Gilleminault and Philippe Bernert.

9) “Carlos Ghosn: Citoyen du Monde” by Philippe Ries, (Septembre 27, 2006)

10) “Abbo”by Nabil Al Milhem, (November 23, 2006)

11) “Human Types; Essence and the Enneagram” by Suzan Zannos, December 6

40.  Gandhi’s non-violent resistance guidelines (February 21, 2008)

41. “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown (March 12, 2008)

42. “La reine de Palmyre” by Denise Brahimi (March 26, 2007)

43. “Culture et resistance” by Edward W. Said (April 18, 2008)

 

44. “L’Avorton de Dieu; une vie de Saint Paul” by Alain Decaux (April 23, 2008)

45.  “Down and out in Paris and London” by George Orwell (July 14, 2008)

46. “Why the Arab World is not free?” by Moustapha Safouan (July 21, 2008)

 

47.  “Igino Giordani” by Jean-Marie Wallet and Tommaso Sorgi (August 5, 2008)

 

48.   “Building a durable World” in Science et Vie magazine special issue of June 2008 (August 10, 2008)

 

49. “Chronicles from Gaza” by Caroline Manger (September 29, 2008)

 

50.  “Magellan, the vanquisher of the seas” by Stephen Swig (September 30, 2008)

51.  “Acide sulfurique” by Amelie Nothomb (October 25, 2008)

 

52.  “Stupeur et tremblements”, by Amelie Nothomb (October 30, 2008)

53. “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie (Part 1, October 30, 2008)

 

54. “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie (Part 2, November 1, 2008)

 

55.  “The path of the bees” by Rami Ellike (November 5, 2008)

56.  A State out of subject matters: Lebanon, by Dr. Jamil Berry (November 9, 2008)

57.  A State out of subject matters: Lebanon, by Dr. Jamil Berry (Part 2, November 10, 2008)

 

58.  “Farewell Beirut”, by Mai Ghoussoub (Part 1, November 14, 2008)

 

59.  “Farewell Beirut”, by Mai Ghoussoub (Part 2, November 16, 2008)

60.  “Farewell Beirut”, by Mai Ghoussoub (Part 3, December 3, 2008)

 

61.  “Metaphysic of tubes” by Amelie Nothomb (November 30, 2008)

Book reviews:  Of controversial manuscripts? Posted in 2008

Many of the books that I have reviewed were written prior to 2008, before I discovered wordpress.com, and they might be categorized as controversial.  

It is not my job to fall into that trap of judging what is fine to read.  I simply reviews,  summarizes, and add my comments of what I have read that express deep feeling and personal reflections.  

I always give my “expert” opinions anyway:  It is your right to express your opinion.

There are books that I had to publish several posts on particular chapters, simply because topics are interesting and need further development.

1) “Life after Life” by Dr. Raymond Moody, (written in June 7, 2004)

2) “A Priest among “Les Loubards”” by Guy Gilbert, (written in July 22, 2004)

3) “We the Living” by Ayn Rand, (written in July, 24, 2004)

4) “Prophesies of End of Timeby Paco Rabanne, (November 15, 2004)

5) “Alexander the Great”, (November 20, 2004)

6) “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” by Thomas Friedman (July 28, 2006)

7) “Season of Migration to the North” by Tayeb Saleh, (August 10, 2006)

8) “The Princes of the Crazy Years” by Gilbert Gilleminault and Philippe Bernert.

9) “Carlos Ghosn: Citoyen du Monde” by Philippe Ries, (Septembre 27, 2006)

10) “Abbo”by Nabil Al Milhem, (November 23, 2006)

11) “Human Types; Essence and the Enneagram” by Suzan Zannos, (December 6, 2006)

12) “One hundred fallacies on the Middle East (ME)” by Fred Haliday, (March 2, 2007)

13) “Origins” by Amin Maaluf, February 15, 2007

14) “Imagined Masculinity” edited by Mai Ghoussoub and Emma Sinclair-Webb

15) “Post-modernism: the Arabs in a video snapshot” by Mai Ghoussoub,( March 4, 2007)

16) “The Joke” by Milan Kundera, (March 22, 2007)

17) “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, March 28, 2007

18)  “Biography” of In3am Ra3d, April 7, 2007

19)  “Al-Walid Bin Talal”, April 4, 2007

20) “The Gardens of Light” by Amin Maaluf, April 19, 2007

21) “Two old women” by Velma Wallis, May 1, 2007

22) “I heard the owl call my name” by Margaret Craven, May 3, 2007

23) “A woman of independent means” by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, May 6, 2007

24) “The Gospel according to Pilate” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, May 9, 2007

25) “Les innovations du XXI siecle qui vont changer notre vie” by Eric de Riedmatten.

26) “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, July 3, 2007

27) “Liban: le salut par la culture” by Phares Zoghbi, August 19, 2007

28) “Finding Joy” by Charlote Davis Kasl, August 22, 2007

29) “Tadjoura” by Jean Francois Deniau, Septembre 6, 2007

30) “How to dance forever” by Daniel Nagrin, September 8, 2007

31.  “The Second sex” by Simone de Beauvoir, (September 21, 2007)

32.  “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson, (September 25, 2007)

33.  “The God of mirrors” by Robert Reilly, (October 1st, 2007)

34.  “The tipping point” by Malcom Gladwell, (October 9, 2007)

35.  “The social structure of Lebanon: democracy or servitude?” by Safia Saadeh

October 15, 2007

36. “Fallaci interviews Fallaci and Apocalypse”, by Oriana Falaci (November 8, 2007)

37. “Aicha la bien-aime du Prophet” by Genevieve Chauvel (November 19, 2007)

38.  “Tess of the D’Uberville” Thomas Hardy, (December 19, 2007)

39. “Le livre des saviors” edited by Constantin von Barloewen (December 22, 2007)

40.  Gandhi’s non-violent resistance guidelines (February 21, 2008)

41. “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown (March 12, 2008)

42. “La reine de Palmyre” by Denise Brahimi (March 26, 2007)

43. “Culture et resistance” by Edward W. Said (April 18, 2008)

44. “L’Avorton de Dieu; une vie de Saint Paul” by Alain Decaux (April 23, 2008)

45.  “Down and out in Paris and London” by George Orwell (July 14, 2008)

46. “Why the Arab World is not free?” by Moustapha Safouan (July 21, 2008)

47.  “Igino Giordani” by Jean-Marie Wallet and Tommaso Sorgi (August 5, 2008)

48.  “Building a durable World” in “Science et Vie” magazine special issue of June 2008 (August 10, 2008)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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