Some reds, Donne and a Black Beauty.

Some of my beloved reds. Had to include Donne, one of the favourite poets. A lot of depth in his poems,  you can tell he went through a lot…  I read the rest years ago apart from Quo Vadis and I think all of them are worth a re-read. Black Beauty was one of my childhood favourites. Pity it’s the only book published by Sewell. She came from a poor family and it took her six years to write this gem, but perseverance paid off, an instant success when published… Most probably this book is behind the reason why I love black horses the most. I love horse-riding, for me it’s one of those things that accentuates life.  When I crave it I cross the island and go to a family owned business in the north. The hour ride is like a dream, a path by the cliffs and before you scenery of nothing but wild, untouched landscape and the sea. I always end up speechless and can’t speak for some time afterwards… Hope you are having a lovely Saturday🌷

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Current painting, current read and the abandon.

I just finished this painting which I have named Flowers in the sky. The inspiration came from the beautiful wild flowers of spring and I painted it whilst listening to Flower duet by Netrebko and Garanca on repeat. I cannot tell you how much I needed this! My life is getting busier everyday and only this afternoon I could allow myself such luxury and abandon. I am also looking forward to bedtime so that I can continue reading The Lord of the Flies; it was on my to be read for ages and so far I’m enjoying it as much as I imagined. Wishing you all a blessed Sunday xxx

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Greene: the writer and the secret agent.

Henry Graham Greene was born on the 2nd of October 1904 in UK into a wealthy and known family; members  included RL Stevenson, the owners of Greene King Brewery, statesmen, bankers etc.. He attended the same school where his father taught but was very unhappy there especially because of bullying, so much so that he attempted suicide several times. He published his first volume of poetry when he moved to Oxford in 1925 but it wasn’t well-received. After graduating he worked as a private tutor and then as journalist, last role as a sub-editor at The Times, but quit this job in 1929 when he published his first novel The Man Within since it was successful enough to enable him to write on full-time basis. He still supported himself with freelance journalism and also by reviewing films and books for a magazine. He published The Name of Action in 1930, two years later Rumour at Nightfall and then Stamboul Train which was the most successful and later adapted into the film Orient Express (1934).  In 1937 he and the magazine were sued because of a review he did on a Shirley Temple movie and because of this he moved to Mexico where he wrote the first notes for the most famous novel The Power and the Glory (1940).  He later also wrote short stories and plays, The Living Room being the first one (1953)… Greene travelled a lot and thanks to that he was recruited with the Secret Intelligence Service MI6. This experience was of much inspiration behind his thrillers. He changed religions, suffered from bouts of depression and bipolar disorder and it is said he used set a writing limit of 500 words a day, but all this didn’t stop him from producing over 25 novels which to this day are still appreciated by many. He died and was buried in Switzerland at age 86 (more to come!).

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Golding, the novelist and the knight.

William Golding was born in Cornwall on September 19th, 1911.  His father used to teach science, his mother fought for women’s rights. As a child he attended the same school where his father taught; later in 1930 at age 19 he moved to Oxford for Natural Sciences but after two years changed to English Literature. He published his book of poems in 1934 after he took his BA degree. Five years later he took the role of schoolmaster, teaching philosophy and English. In 1940 during World War II he joined the Royal Navy and later also experienced the horrors of D-Day. After war in 1945 he took back his role as a schoolmaster, this time teaching English only and this went on for 16 years until 1961. Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected many times, even by Faber & Faber’s reader but this novel was later praised by the company’s new editor who asked him to make a few changes and finally in 1954 this famous novel was published. Golding won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1979, Booker Price in 1980 and in 1983 the Nobel Prize for Literature. He wrote a play (The Brass Butterfly), 14 novels, poems, other non-fiction and more unpublished work. In 1988 he was knighted by the Queen; five years later he died of heart failure.This man left a huge legacy behind when it comes to literature and his books are still being given to study from to this day… I am still to read a whole book of his but I’ve read excerpts and so far it’s hair raising material, but the kind that keeps you going back… Speaking of hair raising material , in art , this is the painting from Magritte  – Reproduction Prohibited (1937),  which always gives me that feeling yet like Golding’s writings, not only attracts me but I became to love it.  It is a ‘portrait’ commissioned by poet Edward James, who hated to be seen, and next to him is a copy of a book by Poe. (Magritte was a fan of his).

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For Esme with love and squalor, wit and imagination.

Just when I thought I couldn’t like Salinger more! This particular book is a collection of short stories, the title being one of them and a very good one at that. What a great read! A feast of tragicomedies spiced up with wit and imagination. Each story made me laugh, made me feel compassion towards certain characters and made me wonder.  Even on Salinger himself. To think that he came up with all of this! Seriously Salinger was one clever man; the kind you would want to talk to for hours on end and then be amazed at the mind-blowing conversations you just had with him! Highly recommend this gem.

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Cheney, the hard work and the fast life.

Peter Cheney was born on the 22nd of February 1896. At 14 he won a literary competition in a magazine and this encouraged him to keep on writing. Much to his mother’s disappointment at 17 he gave up studying law to start writing satirical works for theatre, something he was really good at but this came to an end when WWI began. In 1915 he enlisted as a volunteer with the British Army but a year later got wounded and whilst recovering he wrote and then published two volumes of poetry. In the 1920s he worked for the Metropolitan Police as a crime investigator, later freelance, and this was of much inspiration for his crime novels, his first one being The Man is Dangerous (1936). Two years later he published The Urgent Hangman (1938). Thanks to the success from these two he stopped working as an investigator and started writing on full-time basis. Cheney used to act out his novels for his secretary to write in shorthand then type. Within 8 years he became very popular, in 1946 alone he sold 1.5 million copies of his books worldwide. His characters were pretty much like their creator, working too hard and living a fast and careless life. He died in 1951 at 55 after he fell into a coma.

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Words, the amount and the impact.

Halfway through and loving my current read – Salinger’s For Esme with Love and Squalor (and other stories). The title was attractive enough, but I also love Salinger so choosing it from the crazy-high pile of to be read was no hard feat. What’s not easy I think is for authors to choose the title of their books; one wrong or extra word and it could kill it before it is read. Sometimes just one word makes it intriguing enough. These are some of the one-word titles I have and I noticed for most of them the title is the name of a woman… In art there’s a particular character which inspired many artists to paint a one-word title painting bearing her name and that’s Shakespeare’s Ophelia. My favourites are those by John William Waterhouse who painted several beautiful versions of her, this one in 1905.

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