logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Nobel-Prize
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-12-11 11:45
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Seventh Square - International Human Rights Day and St. Lucia's Day

International Human Rights Day (December 10th)

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on December 10 every year.  The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation, on December 10, 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. The day is usually marked by high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions organized by governmental and non-governmental organizations dealing with human rights issues.  The Nobel Peace Prize is also awarded on this day. -- Note: The 2017 award went to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), as announced on October 6, 2017.  You can read the Award Ceremony Speech on the Nobel Prize website.

 

The Reading Tasks:

Read a book originally written in another language (i.e., not in English and not in your mother tongue), –OR– a book written by anyone not Anglo-Saxon, –OR– any story revolving around the rights of others either being defended or abused.
–OR– Read a book set in New York City, or The Netherlands (home of the U.N. and U.N. World Court respectively).

 

–OR–

 

Other Tasks:

Post a picture of yourself next to a war memorial or other memorial to an event pertaining to Human Rights. (Pictures of just the memorial are ok too.) –OR– Cook a dish from a foreign culture or something involving apples (NYC = Big Apple) or oranges (The Netherlands); post recipe and pics.

 

 

St. Lucia’s Day (December 13th)

St. Lucia’s Day is a Christian feast day celebrated on December 13 in Advent, commemorating a 3rd-century martyr under the Diocletianic Persecution, who according to legend brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs using a candle-lit wreath to light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible.  Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a Christian festival of light.  Falling within the Advent season, Saint Lucia's Day is seen as an event signaling the arrival of the Light of Christ on Christmas Day.  Saint Lucia’s Day is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia, where it is a major feast day, and in Italy.  In Scandinavia, where the saint is called Santa Lucia in Norwegian and Sankta Lucia in Swedish, she is represented as a lady in a white dress (a symbol of a Christian's white baptismal robe) and a red sash (symbolizing the blood of her martyrdom) with a crown or wreath of candles on her head.  In Norway, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, as songs are sung, girls dressed as Saint Lucia carry rolls and cookies in procession, which symbolizes bringing the light of Christianity throughout world darkness.

 

The Reading Tasks:

Read a book set in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden - and Finland for the purposes of this game) or a book where ice and snow are an important feature.

 

–OR–

 

Other Tasks:

Get your Hygge on -- light a few candles if you’ve got them, pour yourself a glass of wine or hot chocolate/toddy, roast a marshmallow or toast a crumpet, and take a picture of your cosiest reading place.


Bonus task: Make the Danish paper hearts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jur29ViLEhk

Addendum: Lillelara shared another set of instructions here and explained:

"You can find a link for a pfd file with a lot of different patterns here: http://www.altomhobby.dk/jul/flettede-julehjerter/sadan-fletter-du-julehjerter/

Klick on the link called "52 gratis skabeloner til flettede julehjerner". They do mean julehjerter - christmas hearts. A julehjerne is a christmas brain. I had to chuckle quite a bit at that :)."

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-11-25 15:30
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 3 - St. Martin's Day: A Post-WWII Japan Vignette
An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro

 

My completist quest regarding Kazuo Ishiguro's novels and short stories (begun long before he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature) took me back to one of his earlier works -- I only had An Artist of the Floating World and The Unconsoled to finish to have read all of his novels; and with the completion of this book, now only The Unconsoled remains.

 

Like in his very first published novel, A Pale View of Hills, in An Artist of the Floating World Ishiguro turns to the aftermath of WWII in his parents' home country, Japan (Ishiguro himself was born there, but grew up in England).  The novel(la)'s protagonist and narrator is Masuji Ono, an artist who had risen in the imperialist war years, but now sees society around him changing as a result of the outcome of WWII.  "The floating world," facially, is the pleasure district of Ono's (unnamed) city, which underwent a first change with the onset of the imperialist regime, and then another one when Japanese society changed yet again after the end of the war: the meeting place of Ono and his artist friends, which before the war had inspired them to paint delicate pictures set in half-shades and pastel tones, but in the war years had changed to a rambunctious locale inspiring bold colors and brush strokes and loud, patriotic messages instead.  In a larger sense, of course, "the floating world" is Japanese society itself and its political transformations during and after WWII.

 

Switching back and forth between -- and contrasting -- Ono's memory of the war and pre-war years, and his postwar retirement life, An Artist of the Floating World traces the stories not only of Ono-san himself but also of several of his fellow artists -- fellow students at the villa of master teacher Moriyama, and later, students of his own -- as well as Ono's two daughters: one happily and fortuitously married while Ono's star was still shining high in the artistic and social firmament; the other, having seen one engagement come to naught in the post-war years over her father's "burdened" past already, now setting her hopes on the scion of a rising family, while her father makes the rounds of his former acquaintances to ensure that the detective sent by the prospective bridegroom's family to inquire into the bona fides of the bride and her father will hear nothing but good things.

 

As always in Ishiguro's novels, though, memory and the tricks it plays on our mind is the true topic here -- virtually all of Ishiguro's narrators are unreliable in the extreme, and Ono-san is certainly no exception.  As such, we never get a crystal clear picture of what exactly was his role during the war years, but from the details revealed over the course of the novel it becomes clear, at the very least, that he used to be a man of influence, whose recommendations could help make a person's career (though not of sufficient influence to spare someone whom he had denounced for an unpatriotic attitude a worse fate than a severe "talking-to" by the authorities), his paintings played a crucial role in the war machine's propaganda, he suffered a drastic fall from favor at the end of the war, his paintings are now all packed up and stored away -- and if he doesn't actually feel genuine remorse for his role during the war years, he is at the very least aware that he is expected to feel remorse; all of which, after having heard several stories of musicians and corporate executives who have committed suicide by way of a very Japanese "apology" for their real or perceived crimes, causes him to rise to such an apology, apparently entirely unprovoked, at his younger daughter's miai (the traditional dinner at which she is introduced to her would-be bridegroom).

 

Ono-san is not necessarily one of Ishiguro's most endearing protagonists, which, as in the case of Stevens, the butler / narrator in The Remains of the Day, has a lot to do with his reluctance to take off his rose-tinted glasses when looking in the mirror (even though, if the reaction of his bridegroom-to-be's family to his words of "apology" during the miai, and the young man's overall response to Ono -- as indeed the fact that they are willing to consider his daughter as a bride for their son to begin with, and the fact that there never seems to have been any official punishment or repercussions against Ono other than his art's fall from favor -- is anything to go by, he's probably more a pompous fool than anything else, supremely amenable to flattery, but ultimately judged as harmless by those that matter).

 

This is not a story set on a large canvas; rather, it's a vignette taking a look at post-WWII Japan through the prism of a miniature lens.  And while Ishiguro has certainly succeeded marvelously with this sort of setting in The Remains of the Day, by and large I find that I prefer those of his novels which create a somewhat wider landscape, such as Never Let Me Go and When We Were Orphans.  A story told by an unreliable narrator needs space for the reader to obtain their own perspective, and being tied too closely to the narrator him- or herself for lack of the inclusion of sufficient events that would allow such a perspective to grow leaves me, at the very least, a bit unsatisfied; more so, in any event, than in Ishiguro's longer novels, The Remains of the Day, When We Were Orphans, and Never Let Me Go.  While in those books I not only had a clear I idea who the narrators thought they were but also who I thought they were, here I know who Ono-san thinks he is, but not fully who others think he is -- nor have I come to a finite conclusion as to who I think he really is.

 

I read this book for the St. Martin's Day square of the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, after having had the dreidel pick this as my next book for me for the Hanukkah square.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-11-21 21:40
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 8 - Hanukkah - and Square 3 - St. Martin's Day
The Shaman Laughs - James D. Doss
The Devil's Acolyte - Michael Jecks
An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro
A Darker Shade: 17 Swedish Stories of Murder, Mystery and Suspense Including a Short Story by Stieg Larsson - John-Henri Holmberg

Tasks for Hanukkah: Light nine candles around the room (SAFELY) and post a picture. –OR– Play the Dreidel game to pick the next book you read.

Assign a book from your TBR to each of the four sides of the dreidel:

נ (Nun)
ג (Gimel)
ה (He)
ש (Shin)


Spin a virtual dreidel: http://www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/dreidel.htm
– then tell us which book the dreidel picked.

 

OK, here we go:


נ (Nun)     =  James D. Doss: The Shaman Laughs
ג
(Gimel)  =  Michael Jecks: The Devil's Acolyte
ה (He)
      =  Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Floating World
ש (Shin)
   =  John-Henri Holmberg (ed.): A Darker Shade

 

 

Alright -- Ishiguro it is.  And this will also give me my book themes for St. Martin’s Day (square 3): Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-11-13 17:56
The Knot of Vipers: A Will of Spite (The... The Knot of Vipers: A Will of Spite (The Nobel Prize Collection) - Francois Mauriac,Francois Mauriac,Edouard D'Araille,Gerard Hopkins

I don't know if this is Mauriac's best but I can see why Nabokov loved it so much. It reminds me a lot of Pnin if Pnin wasn't so weak-willed, and of Becket's Molloy with a more "realistic" context and a much meaner main character. Meaner but somehow lovable, very much like a Nabokovian character.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-10-05 16:34
Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize in Literature!
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

Today I awoke to the news that Kazuo Ishiguro has won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature.

 

I cannot convey how huge this news is to me. Never before have I read a book by a Nobel laureate before they won the prize, which was the one thing I thought I would never check off of my reading bucket list. Thanks, Nobel committee!

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?