Friday 21 November 2008

Book Meme

'A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.'
(Oscar Wilde)

I have just been meme-tagged by High Desert Diva and the task at hand is to provide a list of books falling into the categories below and write about their importance to me in no more than 30 words. So, here it goes:

-Non Fiction.
-A book of my choice from any genre.

If you notice a dose of cynicism in the books I have selected that's because over the years I have become less naive and more pragmatic. But, please, let us not confuse cynicism and pragmatism with pessimism and defeatism. I still believe in the power of the individual to contribute to society's improvement. If it wasn't for the faith I have in human beings and their power (our power, rather) I would have thrown the towel in the ring long ago. And the writers below, in my humble opinion, attest to human beings' marvellous capacity of producing valuable works of art even when the odds are stacked against them. You can kill the man or woman, but you cannot kill the idea.

Fiction: 1984 by George Orwell. Orwell's masterpiece arrived on my lap unannounced in my second or third year in uni. More than fifteen years after I am still haunted by this dystopian novel.

Autobiography: Malcom X as told to Alex Haley. Malcolm's U-turn in regards to white people is one of the many reasons I always come back to this book. It shows this charismatic leader's human side.

Non Fiction: Virgilio Piñera en Persona por Carlos Espinosa (Virgilio Piñera in the Flesh). Excellent Cuban playwright, poet and short-story writer. Silenced by the Cuban government for being everything they hated: a gay intellectual. A must-read for literature lovers.

Book of my choice from any genre: 'Oryx and Crake' by Margaret Atwood. Margaret is one of the few authors on whom I can rely to provide me with wisdom and humour in a book, without either genre harming the content. Amazing writer.


  1. Intriguing choices, Cuban. I'm adding the Atwood to my list. But even MORE intriguing is the Simon and Grafunkel video I chose to post (the exact one) and that you came over and read it at 11:11~~!
    Synchronicity or what?!

    Thanks for including the Laura Barton article. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially since the song has been a brain worm all week!

  2. I knew you would have interesting choices!

    I don't think I've read Orwell since the early 80's...

    I plan on commandeering all the Atwood books from my public library.

    Note to self: look up dystopian

  3. Excellent books! I have *Oryx and Crake* but I haven't read it yet. I'm going to do this meme tonight!

  4. Thank you all for your kind comments. Yes, Willow, that was a spooky moment for me last night! I'm still freaked out a bit.

    Greetings from London.

  5. I think they are excellent books... But too hard for me too read in english...

  6. No worries, webradio, I'm sure you'll find good translations in French.

    Greetings from London.

  7. Hi Cuban, nothing to say, just hello...kss

  8. Hi there,

    Awesome list of books! What ever happened to reading... somehow we've lost it... I guess people think it a flaccid version of movies nowadays...

    If only they'd explore a little deeper, they'd find a world of passionate thoughts at their fingertips,

    Peace to you brother, M

  9. don't cringe at : I have not read any of them...yet?

  10. Cuban where can I get Carlos Espinosa's book or any of his work? I have read all the books you have mentioned here but I did not know about Carlos. Now, I have to read him.

    PS: I am glad I am not alone in my love of Journey. When I posted the song to my blog, I thought I would have a bunch of comments of people laughing at me.

  11. Thanks to you all for your kind comments.

    Edi, I have no reason to cringe, literature is an abandoned suitcase on a conveyor belt in an airport. Claimed by all, owned by none.

    Yoli, I bought the Carlos Espinosa's book in Havana Book Fair in 2005. There was only one copy and I got it :-D!

    Greetings from London.

  12. I picked up Atwood's book a few days ago! The cover you pictutre--with the little pigoon in the bottom corner is much more wicked than the one for the US edition that I have.

  13. i like how you worded that part expounding upon your selection of books. well put.

    still have to read 1984....

  14. Thanks, weed and fly for your kind comments.

    Greetings from London.

  15. Interesting !...
    i admit 1984 is not one of my favorites but it did impress me.

    I never read Margaret Atwood. Will put her on my list

  16. Thanks, my castle, Atwood is great.

    Greetings from London.

  17. Cuban how willing are you to part with that book? LOL.

  18. Not willing at all (laughs louder :-D). It's a very good book. I've read a couple of times now and I used it to introduce my review of Havana Graffitti, the novel by El Yoyo, a first-time Cuban writer who very kindly gave me his first work for free in exchange for a review. The book on Virgilio is full of anecdotes and never-before read/seen interviews and photos. It is very good, I recommend it.

    Greetings from London.

  19. Two of the four I wholeheartedly love and the other two I want to read now based on your recommendations.

    I read 1984 every 2-3 years to give myself a mental shakeup. It's such an important book and seems much less fictional every time I read it. Sad to say.

    Oryx and Crake is one of those books that haunts you. I used to read Atwood for her ability to create subtle human relationships but now I really admire her ability to create futuristic dystopian worlds as well.

  20. Thanks, TB, yes, it's sad that 1984is becoming more and more our reality. The government here wants to introduce ID cards and we're already the most watched society in Europe.

    Atwood, what can I add? She's just great.

    Greetings from London.

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