January 2007


Kandže (The Claws)
Marko Vidojković

This is my January entry for 2007 TBR Challenge

Marko Vidojković is one of the most popular Serbian writers of young generation. And this novel is his most praised work so far. It has won “Golden Bestseller” award for 2005.

The Claws is novel about student protest 1996/97 against Slobodan Milosevic and his vote fraud. From time to time I almost wasn’t sure is this work of fiction or nonfiction. I participated in those events and all of them are very vividly described; night when I “tasted” tear gas for the first time in my life is here in the novel; described precisely in the way I remembered; I even imagined where he (Vidojković I guess) was standing and calculated he was some 20 meters away from me. Strange feeling indeed.

The main character is law student at Belgrade’s University who participates in the protest fanatically; hungry; betrayed by the rest of the world; he goes on demonstrations every day and haeadlong running into the most dangerous situations, comes to term with pointless of life. But everything changes when he meets very unusual girl with cut-off eyelashes…

The Claws speaks in new manner about student protest uncovering it till the final detail, and promoting almost impudently principle of revolutionary justice and rule that in politics and in love everything is permitted. This novel is offering that grotesque reality show of gray and carnival-whirlpooling everyday life in Belgrade in nineties with characters of flesh and blood even when they go astray on the other side of reality.

Here we can see anger in the leading role; anger as completely natural manifestation and only defending mechanism that person can afford during those years. Each character as much as s/he’s angry on his parents or girlfriend or his friends or … whatever; everything is leading to that anger because you cannot oppose to that monster called life or world or …. Especially in such idiotic and abnormal country that Serbia used to be then.
(”[…] AIDS is not the worst thing you can catch here in Serbia; the worst thing that might happened to you in Serbia is to live in Serbia.”)

Indeed those years were really tough and only to think about that period is scary enough! That’s why reading this novel was so déjà vu although this novel is extremely political, with very explicit political attitude (including real politicians (still active on our political scene); including late Serbian prime minister; including hint of his assassination; including hints about events which will lead to the final fall of Milosevic’s regime); written in very urban style with extremely obscene language …
What I like is that here there is no idealizations. Even perfect girl is not perfect (her nose and teeth aren’t quite perfect and she has no eyelashes); Ideal landscape is concrete architecture of New Belgrade; and in the end love which exists and don’t exists is actually sex (in enormous amounts) with amazing women who exists but on the other hand does she exists?

This is modern fairytale: sex, politics, anger, beating, police torture, sex, marihuana, loyalty, revolution, alcohol, magical realism or narcotic hallucinations (?) = strange and interesting combination.

Now I’m really not sure how will anyone who is not from this story understand this novel? Book is full of local stuff: streets, jokes, language, (existing) people, spirit and energy… It’d be very hard (if possible) to explain to someone who is not familiar with this. Poor translator … I could imagine only with glossary twice thicker than the novel itself!

7/10

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Thursday Thirteen

Serbian mentality through Serbian cuisine

Serbian painter and writer Momo Kapor wrote beautifully who we Serbs are and what could be our main brand. I thought it might be interesting to share it with you … so here it is (with my adding):

1.Well once, Belgrade (capital of Serbia) was world widely known as “City with open heart” and that was perfect description. It is in our nature to doing our best so that guest may enjoy as much as possible. Hospitality is one of our greatest characteristic. We look at guest as a present from God. Of course in that time when Belgrade was “City with open heart” our wallets were full and our life was perfect, without any interruptions. We could buy everything we needed; travel everywhere, after all Yugoslavia was the richest country in communistic block but also richer then some western European countries such as Spain, Portugal or Ireland. 2. And then shit started to happens and we became little more different nation. We were mad because injustice, blind to see our role in that mess, we were convinced by TV how that same world who was enjoying few years ago in City with open heart is hating us now (on the other hand that same world wasn’t try with anything to show us how that is not true) and after some terrible years eventually we became xenophobic, closed, indignant, hurt…nation. 3. But fortunately we can’t fight against ourselves too long and since that wasn’t our natural state we started transformation in our real shape. It is slow process but constant. So, how would typical Serbian family host guest from abroad?

4. “This cannot be found anywhere else!” is the most frequent comment Serbs level at their foreign guest at the dining table as they pore over piles of food. If you happen to be in our hospitable home, do not be surprised by our culinary aggressiveness; Serbs sincerely believe there is no place where so sumptuous food is to be had but at their homes and that you, being lean have just escaped hunger in your own country. This is why we will do our utmost to serve you food and demonstrate the originality of the Serbian cuisine, which in point in fact does not exist in the shape we would like to (or believe to).

5. The grill, for instance comes from the Arab countries, while “ćevapčići” (a cylinder shaped piece of grilled meat) Turkey and further back from Persia. The Njeguska smoked ham is a close relative of the one from Parma, but is not eaten here with the melon (we are terrified by the mere prospect) as is done in Italy. As regards lamb meat, it is roasted on a spit and is as good as or perhaps even better than in Greece. Spaniards and Italians believe very young pork meat barbecued in this way to be their own specialty. The beans have come to us from America and the famed Dragačevo trumpet players (Guča-the favorite place for all strangers as well as for us) may be said to be a younger offshoot of Mexico’s mariachi. What then is it that makes the Serbian cuisine so special?

6. Surely the fact that in just two-three hours drive you may depart from the Levantine and Oriental cuisine domain and enter a region known for its Central European gastronomy-Vojvodina (part of Serbia where I live). After a mere twenty or so minute drive across the Sava River, in Zemun and Pančevo you may be offered dumplings, shufnudle, shtrukle, mlinci, ćušpajz, melšpajz, goulash and Hungarian perkelt, as well as strudel with poppy seeds, ground walnuts or raisins-a cuisine we inherited from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 7. Instead of Serbian proper spritzer (wine and soda water), here we drink gemischt (wine and mineral water) and in Montenegro-bevanda (wine and tap water). 8. Going southward, in just a few hours we would make it to the Mediterranean culinary waters with fish, seashells, olive oil, intensely-flavored and scented goat cheeses, in short all the characteristics the culinary civilizations of the neighboring Mediterranean countries rest on.

9. But what is then the Serbian brand? Slivovitz? Hardly so, it is made also (albeit not as good as it is here) by Hungarians, Bulgarians and some other nations, while Germans still hold the old license to export throughout Europe our “prepečenica” (high-grade plum brandy known also as Slivovitz).

10. There are just two things left that no one else in the world has: “kajmak” and another item but about them later. Just as no one was able to find, not in New York, not in Paris, not in Rome-seashells called “prstaci”, found stuck to underwater rocks, the same applies for “kajmak”, which is skimmed from just obtained and boiled milk and which bears no resemblance to young cheeses such as mozzarella or sour cream. I cannot think why, but even cattle breeders from the most remote areas of Georgia, on the Caucasus or Tibet have not thought of kajmak. Why Serbs were the ones to invent it still remains a secret; a secret of the same order is harbored by our people living around the world, people who can afford to buy anything they want except kajmak. Their longing for this dairy product is such that friends and relatives bring kajmak to them, even if they live in the most distant cities of the world. My friend has, like some drug smuggler carried through strict customs control at the Kennedy Airport in New York this precious foodstuff. As it is strictly forbidden to bring in any type of foodstuffs to the United States, he packed kajmak in big round boxes of “Nivea” cosmetic cream, so that US customs officers looked at my friend rather contemptuously as being a member of the gay-community. But, what joy when my friend’s relatives spread kajmak from Čačak (city in Serbia) on slices of New York bread!

11. And finally, another thing we could certainly get rich on if we exported it Inat.
I don’t think the Anglo-Saxons have an adequate term for inat. Well, I looked at the Great Dictionary where it states: ”Deliberate, provocative behavior against someone’s will; defiance, quarrel, wrangling.” Actually it is something which you will do even if you clearly realize that it will be on you own damage (maybe precisely because of that fact you will do that!). What is most interesting is that it was the Turks, whose term this is that first observed this trait among the Serbs. Later, the rest of the world, owing to our inat, either hated or loved and admired us to excess. 12. In brief, this word is at the very essence of our being; it was responsible for our rebellions and uprisings, why we went to war more often than other nations (including all wars since 13th century ‘till today); inat was the reason why we quarreled with others, but mostly with ourselves. So it seems that inat is the main internationally recognizable Serbian brand name!

13. Oh, well I hope now you have little more clearer picture about us. Maybe now you think that we are much crazier than you thought at first. We care our inat (the characteristic which would probably be abandon from any normal country) like a flag and worship it like something holly, we take a risk to smuggle little box of food, dairy product even if we know how we could easily get stuck into a jail or earn permanent embargo to entrance to some foreign country, for us joy of our friends while kajmak is melting in their mouths is much important then some sanction. …and so on…

 


13 things about prejudices and discrimination:

(actually 12 + 1 dedicated specially to my friend Shanna)

1. Few days ago I was listening one radio “show” and guests were organizers of one conference about right of “sexual minorities” and about importance of law which will bring protection to those groups. That made me think about society in which I live? I know ‘sexual minorities’ are very unwelcome here and I wasn’t surprised when I heard about discrimination upon them. 2. Actually that has historical roots here. Namely we were under Ottoman yoke almost five century and one of the practices typical for Ottomans were taking young boys for their sexual adventures. That’s why homophobia and homo-antagonism is very strong here. It’s almost genetically!
3. But somehow I supposed that huge majority doesn’t express publicly their sexual orientation. I don’t know anyone who is homosexual here (and I know lots of people). Few years ago first (and the last) Gay Pride has been transformed into massacre: bunch of opponent soccer fans were united (for the first time) to “destroy sickness” as they said. It was horrible indeed but I wasn’t surprised at all. It was stupid decision to organize Gay Pride here, I mean they must’ve known where they live!
4. But in spite that I believed this is tolerant society and that discrimination is only some isolated excess. But while I was listening that radio show I couldn’t believe what problems people have. One guy after admitting he’s gay was tortured in his own family, he had to move in different town but couldn’t finish high school because no one wanted him (he didn’t want to hide his sexual orientation). Problem was solved after intervention of one NGO.
5. Another case was with women who wanted to donate blood; she was filling one questionnaire and said YES on the question ”Have you ever had sexual intercourse with the person of your own gender?”. They didn’t want to take blood from her. Again, after intervention of one NGO that question has been dropped out that questionnaire.
6. I remembered reaction of my army mates when they found out that I’m reading book where the main character is homosexual: they couldn’t believe it. Now when I think even use words “gay” and “homosexual” instead of “faggot” is gay!
7. Also what made me speechless was other questionnaire where high percent of people was replying that s/he would refuse blood for physically handicapped person. I couldn’t believe that!
8. Of course there is discrimination against people suffering from AIDS and HIV positive (although that are “only” 560 registered at the moment)
9. Perfect “model” according to the guests of that radio show is for example: 45 years, male, married, two-three children, heterosexual, Serbian, Orthodox Christian. If you are all that except married (without children) something must be wrong with you (you are heterosexual!). Worse situation is if you are a woman. Even being atheist might be cause for discrimination!
10. To be honest I do thing there is exaggeration here. Maybe that’s even good marketing move since if you put few drops of exaggeration in your story you’ll provoke stronger emotional reaction. 11. Of course there is the fact that I’m not moving in those illiberal, intolerant circles so I don’t see things from right perspective. But I’m sure something dangerous and evil like this wouldn’t slip by me just like that. I’d noticed them for sure.
12. Interesting and very positive thing is that participants on that conference were includes members of several parliament parties! For the first time some of those has expressed their opinion about this issue (until now they were running away from “sexual” question like the devil from the cross). Of course in Sunday we have parliament elections so this has everything with it! But anyhow I think it is quite positive move.

13. And last thing I wanna say has nothing with previous 12 but I had to include it. My dear friend Shanna is going today in Nepal for four months to do some good and noble work in a middle school. Wishing her safe voyage and lovely time! Hugs Shanna!!!

PS
Sorry if I don’t reply right now but here is 4-5 am so I have to go in bed (look the clock on the left)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

::::: Di ::::: Morgen ::::: Susan Helene Gottfried ::::: Janet ::::: Andrea ::::: JohnH985 ::::: Titanium ::::: Zeus ::::: Silver ::::: Incog & Nito ::::: ChupieandJ’smama ::::: Busy91 ::::: karen ::::: Kukka-Maria ::::: scooper ::::: pj ::::: Kimo & Sabi ::::: Jenn I Am ::::: Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. ::::: spyscribbler ::::: Taconcubano ::::: Lotus :::::

OK I decided to jump in this train after I saw post about tbr-traveling on lotus’s blog!
Pick 12 books – one for each month of 2007 – that you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t gotten around to and that’s the only rule. Thanks Miz Books for idea! Here is the link for Challenge if you’d like to join

And to be honest I had quite problems to pick 12 titles from my Himalayan TBR.
Since I NEVER know which one will be my next read (it’s always totally accidental) I’m pretty sure I’ll not follow the order from the list:

Since I have Himalayan TBR I’ll have to start from Himalayas with 1-The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. This was SO wanted book and my expectations are quite high!

Let’s stay in India for a while with 2-Manil Suri and The Death of Vishnu. This novel is on my TBR for ages! Truly I don’t know why/how I was skipping it all this time. I really love debuts…

Now we’ll go little on the north, in Afghanistan. Nonfiction 3-My Forbidden Face (Growing up under the Taliban: A Young Woman’s Story) by Latifa. Author was 21 when the book has been published and is using pseudonym for security reason. It says this is like a contemporary Anne Frank this book is an extraordinarily powerful account of a teenager’s life under terrible circumstances and a celebration of the resilience of human spirit. I’m only hoping this is not something like this-is-why-bombing-Afghanistan-was-good-decision type of book.

We’re staying in Asia but now we’re moving in Myanmar with 4-The Piano Turner by Daniel Mason. “Intoxicating, full of sights to see, histories to learn, stories to entertain” so how could I skip it 🙂

Now we’re going on the very edge of the world, in Tasmania where we’ll stay with 5-Gould’s Book of Fish – novel in twelve fishes by Richard Flanagan. I really cannot wait to read this one because it sounds so original and interesting and just as type of books I like.

You thought that Asia is behind us? Oh no, no … let’s see how it looks 6-Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azir Nafisi. I’m sure that’ll be very interesting

Ok now we’re moving in South Africa to see all 7-Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda. Can you imagine professional mourner? Well it seems somewhere there are loads of strange professions.

Now we’re going home (my home) in Europe… first in England with 8-Arthur & George by Julian Barnes. I love Barnes and it seems that this one will be fabulous experience too.

Denmark and who else than magnificent Peter Hoeg and his 9-Tales of the Night?

And then little on the east in Poland where we’ll jump in the train which will take as in all corners of 10-Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski my favourite Polish writer/journalist. I adore his books. This one is about Great USSR and its collapse. This book has been proclaimed as the best one on The Book Fair in Frankfurt 1995.

Now we are in Italy to se what will happen 11-If on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo Calvino. Truth I’ve read this one very long time ago but I’m sure it’s time to reread it.

And finally we are in Serbia with 12-Kandže (Claws) by Marko Vidojković. He is one of the most popular young Serbian authors and this will be his first novel I’ll read. It won Gold Bestseller Award in Serbia so let’s see why?

Ok that would be main road (now after I see this little story I’d like to follow this order but I’m afraid that’ll not happen) but I we might go on some excursions to earn extra points or to search back up if any of those from above are giving us headache. Here are:

“Milan’s Turk” as my friends are calling him, Orhan Pamuk and his Snow (or maybe Istanbul if I found it)
Then let’s see Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf
Also it would be nice to enjoy in Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex
And not nice but certainly breathtaking to visit Rwanda in We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch
Or to see Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

Thursday Thirteen

13 things about my beautiful Orthodox Christmas:

OK I just came back from my Christmas “vacation” (I’ve spent Christmas with my family) and thought to write about how we celebrate Christmas here.

1. First to explain why Orthodox Christians are celebrating Christmas 7th January? It’s simple: four Orthodox Churches (Russian Church, monasteries on Holly Mount Athos, Jerusalem Patriarchy and Serbian Church) are following Julian calendar (which is 13 days behind Gregorian calendar (which is official one) so actually we are celebrating Christmas on 25th December as well 🙂
The Gregorian reformation of the calendar came into force in 1582. It made corrections to the Julian calendar. Like everybody else, we fully accepted the new calendar, but all of our holidays are still celebrated according to the Julian calendar.

2. It’s stupid to say that Christmas is very religious holiday. But here, Christmas is probably the most religious holiday of all. It’s not about shopping but about feelings and tradition. It’s very spiritual and not material holiday. There is no shopping fever at all (except for Christmas traditional dinner)

3. Something that is typical and very important in Orthodox Christianity is Lent.
There are few important Lents during the year (also each Wednesday and Friday with few exceptions are Lent days) but Christmas (and Easter) Lents are the biggest ones.
Christmas Lent lasts 40 days and during that period people should purify their bodies as well as souls. In practice that means:
You should eat ONLY vegetables and fruits (and their products), fish and honey. Meat, milk (and dairy products), eggs, lard and other animal products are forbidden.
And unfortunately that is where is frontier for majority.
Equally (and probably more) important part of Lent is that spiritual. Lent is period of forgiveness and positive thoughts (and works) etc.
(of course, having sex is part of meaty and milky menu)

4. Very important thing during the Lents is confession.
If someone is preparing for confession s/he has to obey more strictly Lent: Food prepared ONLY on water without any vegetable that contains oil (olive, sunflower, walnut, fish too etc). The most common (or at least that’s what I’m doing) people are having strict Lent one week (usually first one) and at the end of that week they make confessions. After it they eat either usual food (meat) except Wednesday and Fridays and last Lent’s week, or eat food for normal Lent (not strict).

5. Day before Christmas (6th Jan) is Badnje Veče (Christmas Eve) and it’s very important and full of specific customs (even more than Christmas). The name for our Christmas Eve actually got its name from the badnjak tree (Yule log). Badnjak is branch of an oak.

Oak is holly tree for Serbs and roots of that custom is probably from the pagan times. Later that belief has been Christianized. Each village in Serbia has on its periphery one (or one on each four sides) huge oak as a protector.
It is a custom that the father and the oldest son of a household go out on the morning of January 6 in search of the right badnjak. (oak branches with leaves). When the right one is found, it is necessary to cut it and bring it to the door of the home and to leave it there.
In the villages, where one still can find homes with old-fashioned hearths, the custom is that the father and the oldest sun go out to pick up the badnjak and to nock on the door of their home. Mother opens the door. Entering, they should say to the mother: “Welcome to you Badnje Veče! (“Christmas Eve”)” and take the badnjak to the fireplace and place it on the fire to augur good fortune.

The burning of the badnjak is a ritual which is as I wrote most certainly of pagan origin and it is considered a sacrifice to God so that the coming year may bring plenty of food, happiness, love, luck and riches.

Today, as most Serbs live in cities, badnjak could be bought at a marketplace like Christmas tree, or is sometimes received in church after church service. Often just a little oak branch, badnjak is lit at home symbolically.

6. The custom is also to put straw around the fireplace (or somewhere in the living room), to simulate the connection with the earth. Usually, we put coins, walnuts, almonds, dry figs on the straw, all the gifts for the children. That’s very fun since the children suppose to chirp like chicken while they searching gifts in a straw.

This is my niece in the straw last Christmas (don’t have photos from this year)

7. Christmas Eve supper is very interesting. It is very rich even if it is always meatless meal. Symbolically the food is always related to the world of death – baked beans, fish, dried figs, dried plums and apples.

For example the most common dish is “Pijani Šaran” (Drunken Carp):
Carp (2kg weight) should be prepared for baking; put salt on/into the carp; make several cuts from head to the tail and in those cuts put sliced garlic. Carp in covered dish put in heated oven. Bake 40 min and every 5-10 min pour it over with “sauce” prepared from white wine, tiny sliced garlic, sliced leaves of parsley and celery and 7-8 spoons of vegetable oil. Serve with lemon and potato salad.

8. At the end of supper, all the rests of the food should be left on the table and covered with a tablecloth, until Christmas morning. The belief is that during the night the spirits of the dead come to eat the food left for them.

9. Also day before Christmas is the day for prepare so called ”pečenica which is piglet roasted over the fire of oak tree logs
Of course it will be eaten tomorrow on Christmas.

10. In the morning of January 7th, Christmas, the first person that enters the home is called “položajnik”. This person should stoke the fire in the fireplace and say the following:

“How many sparks, that much sheep. How many sparks, that much money. How many sparks, that much health!”

The Položajnik is then offered the “zito” (boiled wheat Christmas speciality) and red (black)wine. The guest makes the sign of the cross and eats a bit of the “zito” and drinks some wine.

11. For breakfast the habit is to prepare “cicvara” (a dish made of flour, eggs, butter and cheese). On the table are served also small dry cakes, dry figs and the famous plum brandy called “Sljivovica”. Usually the “Sljivovica” served is home made and at least ten years old! Another custom is to prepare a bowl in which young wheat is planted to grow during the forth coming year. The meaning is should be fertile and that the family will have luck.

All persons gather around the table, family and guests, while the father lights the candle. That moment marks the start of “mirbozenje” (peace and reconciliation). Participants than kiss one another at Christmas time while saying: “Mir Bozji” (peace of God). If there were any disagreement, all are forgotten.

During the entire Christmas day a custom is to replace a classic: “Hello” or: “Good day” with: “Hristos se rodi” (Christ is born!) and as greeting in reply: “Vaistinu se rodi” (“Really born!” or “He has been born indeed!”). Nowadays it’s a habit to call relatives or friends by phone and instead of saying a classic “good morning”, we say: “Hristos se rodi!”
It might sound silly to you but we are actually doing this.

12. On Christmas day, lunch gets underway earlier than usual and lasts longer. The menu is very rich. In contrast to Christmas Eve that relates to All Souls’ Day, Christmas relates to the cult of agriculture.
Nowadays, in the cities, before lunch the family throws the straw under the table (man’s relation to the earth).

Traditionally essential part of the Christmas dinner is a type of flat, round Christmas bread called “česnica”.

It is prepared using stalk of the last wheat harvest filling them with kernels of different grains. However in part where I live it’s more like some kind of pie with dry fig, raisins, honey and walnuts.
Anyhow a solid silver coin along with wood and a bean for health and good luck is placed into česnica. family members break the česnica and the one who finds the coin in it is considered to be most fortunate that year; however, the head of the family has to buy the coin so it stays in the house. Sometimes, there are other things put in česnica, like piece of badnjak (that’s what I found) ,– good luck , hazelnut – health, plum – traveling, etc

Families in the cities almost always order their Christmas pork roast from bakers who exclusively use oak for the roasting fire.

Symbolicly the Christmas day meal marks the end of the period of abstinence as well as a ritual in which the food and the pork is considered a sacrifice made to god. All the members of the family must taste the roast pork and cesnica.

13. In Serbia Christmas is celebrating three days and during those days we are saying traditional Christmas greeting “Hristos se rodi”; “Vaistinu se rodi”.
It’s also great custom which gathers whole family because tradition says that you should spend Christmas Holidays in your home with your family.

I hope this TT was interesting to you (in spite its length)


13 dots about me:

OK since I’m not at home and my internet access is very limited until after Christmas (7th Jan) when I’ll be back I have to use for this week T13 something I wrote long time ago for my BC profile *blush*.
So this week more-less will be copy/paste action. Sorry.

So here is piece of who I am in 13 dots:

1. There are three rivers in my life. I was born and spend my childhood on one and now I live on the other two. Each of them has died few times and was born again. Now I’m waiting their latest resurrection.

2. I love movement; rivers and rain, storms and wind.

3. One of my favorite writers said:” The inner side of the wind is the one which stays dry while the wind is blowing throughout the rain”. I’m always trying to feel it.

4. I don’t like symmetry especially in space around me but I do like balance in everything. That’s why I started to learn language in which the weight of the book is moving from my left hand to the right one during the reading.

5. I like left side more than right.

6. Thursday is my day.

7. I love plums and lilies.

8. I can’t stand superficiality; my huge preoccupation is to avoid this global transformation into supermarket zombies capable only to buy.

9. I say what I mean and expect the same from others.

10. Wine is my drink and bitter is my flavor.

11. I can’t make music or paintings but I do know to enjoy in them with all my soul. I love Van Gogh but also Jackson Pollock; I love Rachmaninoff but also little younger artists such as REM, ex Talking Heads, PJ Harvey, RHCP…etc.

12. The most perfect piece of something ever made by one man is Michelangelo’s Pieta (1499; Marble, St.Peter’s, Vatican); it is on the very final frontier of perfection, one step behind that frontier could be only God himself.

13. I love people. My greatest achievement is that, in spite life I’ve succeed to not learn to hate.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Angela/SciFiChick ::::: lotus ::::: Celfyddydau ::::: JohnH985 ::::: Just Expressing Myself ::::: Susan Helene Gottfried ::::: bookish lore ::::: Raggedy

(One of the) first thing I’ve done in 2007 was opening my Inkling parcels which were watching me from the mid of December tempting me so badly (truth mid of Dec is OK, I’m usually much bigger tormentor for other Inkling members).

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about here is short explanation:
Inklings are group of 12 book addicts and each of us have his/her own month (mine is January) when the rest 11 Inklings are sending one (or more) book(s) from wish list or not but something which fits in our literary preferences. It’s great but also very tempting when you have to look all those unopened parcels waiting first day of your month.
So far I have three parcels and here they are:

Parcel #1
Is from Pyan and it’s absolutely great pick.I’ve never heard about this book but I’m so glad that she picked this for me!

Parcel #2
Is from krin. This book is on my wish list for so long! Great pick!

Parcel #3
Is from MissBP and it contains two books:
This book is great! I’ve read it few years ago and I remember it as very good. This is great opportunity to read it again.

And
Historian is one of my favourite reads in last 2006. I enjoyed enormously and was reading it ONLY during the night – the effect was astonishing! Actually something I’ll never forget. Namely I live alone and once around 3.00-4.00 am I started slowly to move my head to see who is standing behind me. Somewhere on the half way I realized what I’m doing and couldn’t believe it. It was quite scary (and I’m not person who is easy to be scared). Great book indeed!