Nazaudy, a spark in your curious mind

Reseñas de Libros

Este articulo contiene Reseñas de Libros que he leido en el lenguaje español,

Este otra articulo es lo mismo pero los libros que he leido en ingles:

Aleph, by Paulo Coelho Metafisica 4 en 1 (Volumen 1), by Conny Mendez Los Miserables, de Victor Hugo Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert    


Aleph, by Paulo Coelho

I received this book as a present from my dearest friend Marta, and to be honest I was hesitated to read it, scare and uneasy, because I already had lingered on my mind the huge disappointment I suffer from Paulo Coelho on a previous book of him that I read: "11 minutes", I read that later book a few years ago, and I found it a waste of time, a clearly desperate attempt of a genius man whose destiny is bound to have only one good book (The Alchemist) to try again and hit the glory, a futile attempt to squeeze more eggs out of his Golden Hen that was The Alchemist. Maybe because of that, because I was already predisposed, I found the adventure of reading Aleph another agony process, felling sorry for Paulo all the time

Take for example the magical book of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,"The Little Prince", an extraordinary masterpiece but can only be written once (just like The Alchemist was); there can't be a sequel of The Little Prince, neither Antonie should "exploit" the topics touched on that book, to get more money and write similar low quality books with little passion on them. This is exactly, to my believe, what happens to Paulo: he is a magnificent written but unfortunately for him, only for one book: The Alchemist. There is nothing wrong with that, but this is the way it is. Many music bands have got one beautiful song only for which they are remembered (A-ha for example) while the other songs that they have are not cut to be hits

To start with, I hate books that are written with in 1st person (I, me, mine), though I have some short stories myself written as 1st person too, I disgust at the thought of having to do it. On Aleph, not only Paulo does the shortcut trick of hiding de lack of narrative presenting the main character as 1st person (less 'convenient' room to describe events), but the actual character is himself! It seems the whole Universe rotates around him. Not much narrative depth of anything in the book, he mentions the majestic crossing of the Ural mountains literately in just a couple of sentences. He presents to the reader the well-known good old fashion super-hero trauma: "The energy is not flowing as expected. Something is blocked in my past". And the whole duration of the book he goes around with a character called Hilal who is trying to heal the superhero so that both of them can redeem to a higher frequency of themselves

Here are some of Paulo's thoughts which I liked the most (yes, in Spanish cos I read the book in Spanish):

  • Vivir es experimentar. Y no quedarse pensando en el sentido de la vida
  • Si te preocupas demasiado por descubrir lo que hay de bueno o de malo en tu prójimo, te olvidaras de tu propia alma, te agotaras y serás derrotado por la energía que has gastado en juzgar a los demás
  • Por que hace algunos meses me queje porque no estaba conectado a la energía divina? Que tontería! Siempre lo estamos, es la rutina la que no nos deja reconocerlo
  • Las mujeres siempre son enemigas naturales las unas de las otras
  • Porque nadie lucha contra nadie, solo con uno mismo. Véncete a ti mismo y vencerás al mundo
  • Ayudarte a cumplir una misión que desconozco - This is a perfect descrption of any relationshiop!
  • Empujándome hacia el lugar al que conozco y adonde no quiero ir, pero al que tengo que volver
  • Un guerrero en busca del sueño se inspira en lo que hace, y no en lo que va a hacer
  • Es mentira. La vida es un sueño del cual solo nos despertamos cuando llega la muerte. El tiempo pasa mientras vivimos
  • En cuya alma todavía sopla el viento negro de la soledad

His written technique, without a solid story line behind like on The Alchemist, is just pure rotten flesh on the ground without an skeleton to hold it all up. It is what I call "P.B.G" (Poetic Bullshit Generator). Let for example take 3 well-known common words for which each person has a personal an intimate meaning: love, time and past; I can play around with these 3 words and create totally useless yet beautiful sentences that may actually allow me to sell a book!

  1. The Love we experience has no Time, and shine like a diamond in the Past
  2. When the Past becomes the tears of Time, the grief of our cry will shine under the joy of Love with a smile
  3. It is only in the fabrics of Time where the engine of Love can be found, tinting the Past with the steam of memories

See how easy that is? A similar thing does Paulo, just playing around with the words, and keep squeezing that Hen's Gold for as long as you can. I am very critic with Paulo, yes, sorry about that.... or maybe not. I have read books that had had the Middle Ages as their ambience, "The Name of the Rose" of Umberto Ecco, for example, and the richness and depth that a description of this epoch requires are nowhere to be found in the lame and pale narrative that Paulo present to us of "his" Middle Ages. The texture is simply missing. Anyway, last thing I want to mention about this book, that of course puts the writer in the spotlight too, is its presentation: hard covers that can use as self-defence in kung-fu classes if necessary, thick lavish paper that undoubtedly has a tremendous environmental impact (though, to be fair, he mentions the book has been made with ecological paper) and gigantic fonts to extend the print out of book and the number of pages, all of which are aimed at making the book as expensive and luxurious as possible, thus increasing the dividends and loyalties of both the writer and the publisher. No wonder in Spain people don't read as often as they do in the UK, the books there are so expensive.... on purpose! That is a thing that I do not tolerate, when the writer seems to be treating the object of the book itself just as another article from which he can get a substantial percentage at the cost of the reader

In summary, a deception for me, but you should read it in order to form your own opinion. After all, there is no doubt that Paulo Coelho is a magnificent writer when he wants it to be


Metafisica 4 en 1 (Volumen 1), by Conny Mendez

This is a very energetic reading, where the author (Conny Mendez) speaks to you plainly and sometimes giving the impression that it is your duty (or even your fault) to do something as soon as possible and in a hurry, such is the powerful expression of hers. It basically tells you that you are responsible of what is inside and therefore around you. This book came to me thanks to my friend Yamari, who is also from Venezuela (like the author), and I can see that this book, published in the 1960s, must have been an inspiration for Rhonda Byrne when she wrote “The Secret”, in summary, the Universal Law which states that whatever you think, it manifest itself

These are some of the sentences and thoughts that I liked the most:

  • La oración es el pensamiento más puro y más alto que se puede tener
  • Mucho se escucha decir: “Yo perdono, pero no puedo olvidar”. Mentira. Mientras uno recuerde un daño, no lo ha perdonado
  • Tú, en tu carácter de hermano mayor, no debes de maltratar a los animales
  • No es lo que entra por la boca lo que contamina al hombre, sino lo que sale. Porque el alimentarse obligatoriamente a comer frutas y verduras no es una prueba de elevación espiritual, ya que la vaca y el caballo no comen sino hierba y granos
  • Pídelo, pero antes da las gracias por haberlo recibido ya
  • Acepta lo que te dan con gratitud
  • Darle mi primer pensamiento a Dios al despertarme, dando las gracias por todo
  • De noche, cuando te acuestes a dormir, que sea tu ultimo pensamiento: “Perdono a todo el que necesite mi perdón, incluido a mí mismo”
  • La esperanza es angustia mezclada con dudas. La fe es expectativa gozosa. Dos cosas muy diferentes
  • Allí donde le hombre no ha tocado con su pensamiento [de escasez] se manifiesta la abundancia en términos de derroche
  • Si no tienes tiempo para la oración, el tratamiento y la meditación, o sea, si no tienes tiempo para dedicarle a Dios, es porque todo tu tiempo está ocupado en problemas y enfermedades
  • La Voz de tu alma es la Voz de Dios, y a esa voz hay que obedecer tarde o temprano
  • Exactamente ocurre en tu vida. Cambia tu creencia, cambia la posición mental que estas manteniendo y todo se transformara
  • Estabilidad y firmeza mental casi imposibles de concebir por la mayoría que va y viene en un continuo movimiento ondulatoria siempre impulsada por su propio ritmo
  • La Verdad es siempre sencilla y natural. Pare le puro, todas las cosas son puras. Para el ruin, todo es ruin
  • La forma más práctica de lograr un ánimo ecuánime en todo momento es esforzarse para no dejarse afectar por ninguna circunstancia lastimosa. Cuida tu alegría y tu buen humor
  • Las células limpias se llenan de luz, y por tanto no pueden corromperse

In her book, Conny Mendez refers to these other individuals:

  1. H.Emily Cady (1848-1941), a true holistic pioneer;
  2. Emmet Fox (1886-1951), a New Thought spiritual leader;
  3. Helena Blavastsky (1831-1891), a leading theoretician of Theosophy;
  4. Proclus (412-485 CE), a great philosopher of late antiquity;

Overall, I will not recommend this book. I cannot possibly recommend a book that says that the Earth is going to occupy the orbit of planet Venus as a means of initiation, and that the problems of drugs in society is related to the Earth approaching the orbit of Uranus....buf! I do believe in Astrology, but until one point. The reading is quite inspiring but it really puts me off that it has absolutely zero scientific scrutiny, and it seems the author plays with the history of mankind to fit her needs, claiming that “Metaphysics” is universal yet constantly referring to the Bible as a source of knowledge. Surely if metaphysics is universal it will not be bound to any particular religious book, why not the Koran, the books of Lao or the Bhagavad-Gita? I’ve been very disappointed with some of the sections I’ve read, like claiming that Inedia (not eating or drinking anything for years) is true and that it has been checked by the German Government..... come on, please... we all know the body needs food and drink to be alive, is as simple as that, not matter how strongly you want to think the opposite. I believe in miracles, and that Lazaro did come back to life at the voice of Jesus, but he still needed to eat!

Some of her claims are that Caracas is the next Jerusalem; that a Christ is to be send to the human every 2,000 years; that the age of men is divided in seven stages (just because she likes number 7). But what it annoyed me the most, where claims on the author putting words of Jesus that he never said in the Gospels, like “The last enemy to be destroyed is Death”, or an event where Jesus find a dead dog with his apostles. Totally inaccurate, these things may be mention in the Bible (Corinthians 1, 15:26) but are not in the Gospels, the books of the Bible that recorded what Jesus spoke


Los Miserables, by Victor Hugo

Such a joy to have lived in this Universe and have read this book. You just cannot miss it, so please go ahead and, only during spring or summer time, grab this book and read it. I have to confess it is a bit depressing to read it when grey clouds are over your head, but other than that is a marvel of literature. The easy, plain and humble style of Victor allow plenty of room for the reader to fill the gaps, and I love it when he describes things, usings two words from different realsm to define the same object: one referring to the physical and the other to the mental realm, thus fulfilling a description of the object as a whole, for example:

  • Temblando y angustiado
  • Paralizado y confuso
  • Desierto y triste
  • Muda e inmovil
  • Simple y fria
  • Lugubre y helada
  • Temblorosas y arrugadas
  • Tranquila y esplendida
  • Confuso y apagado

I’ve read this book in Spanish, and here are some of the sentences and thought that I loved the most:

  • Cada uno se fue por su lado y se hundieron poco a poco en esa fría tiniebla en que se sumergen los destinos solitarios y tristes
  • Implora a la tempestad, pero la tempestad, inmutable, solo le obedece al infinito
  • Se dio cuenta de que la sociedad mantiene irremediablemente fuera de ella a dos tipos de hombres: los que la atacan y los que la protegen
  • Quizá hubiera enternecido un corazón de granito, pero nunca un corazón de palo
  • Intentar prohibirle a la imaginación que regrese a una idea es igual que prohibirle al mar que regrese a la playa
  • Para ella no había misericordia; tenía un amo malvado y venenoso y un ama feroz e inhumana. Callaba y sufría la desdichada Cosette
  • Cuando uno ve poco a las personas cree ver todas las perfecciones en ellas
  • Pero nada mejor que el sueño para engendrar el futuro. Es carne y hueso mañana la utopía de hoy.
  • En el tercer subterráneo social lo que se arrastra es la protesta  de la materia, no la filosofía que busca el absoluto. El hombre aquí se transforma en dragón.  El punto de partida es tener sed, tener hambre; el punto de llegada es ser Satanás.  El crimen es el ocio de un pobre.
  • Una mujer obesa, que igual podría tener cuarenta que cien años
  • Todos los hombres que hayan amado conocen las acepciones luminosas que poseen las cuatro letras de esta palabra: Ella
  • Y no hay nada más peligroso que la interrupción del trabajo, porque es un hábito que se pierde. Hábito sencillo de perder y difícil de adquirir nuevamente
  • En cierto nivel de miseria, al pobre en su aturdimiento  ya no le aflora su mal ni tampoco agradece el bien
  • La sonrisa de la mujer amada tiene una claridad que disipa las sombras
  • No había ya hombres en aquella lucha, ahora infernal. Demonios atacaban, y espectros resistían. Aquello era un heroísmo monstruoso.
  • En las tinieblas, la pupila se dilata y termina por percibir la claridad, de la misma manera que el alma se dilata en la desdicha, y termina por encontrar a Dios en ella
  • Hay unos minutos de olvido en que el sufrimiento deja de oprimir al miserable; en que la paz, como si fuera la noche, protege al que sueña
  • A los criados les agrada enfatizar los títulos, como si de esa manera recogieran algo para sí mismos, “las salpicaduras de cieno”, como las denomina un filósofo



Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

Sometimes I think I'm full of bullshit. For example, I admire a writer called Mario Vargas Llosa, thouhg I've never actually read any book from him, guess some day I should do! A while ago I watched this video: where he mentions 3 of his favourites novels, and Madame Bovary, of Gustave Flaubert, was ranked number 1.... and he mentioned a gigantic spoiler on the video about this novel, buf! If you have not read the book, please don't watch the video! I have to confess I was dissapointed with Mario's selection. Yes, Madame Bovary is a must-read novel, I guess, but I did not enjoy it. The edition that I had contained foot notes that make the reading painful and distractive, but worse of all is the style: many times I lost myself in the novel, not knowking who of the two or three characters involved in the scene where actually speaking, and these situations involve very critical moments! He jumps from person to person, and you have to 'guess' the dialogues to figure out which character is actually speaking. For example, when the first wife of Charles died I actually thought it was Emma! So confusing the description is. You cannot denied that Gustave is an amazing writer and the description of Emma's passing is absolutley amazing, but overall he just does not touch on the soul on his own creation and expects the reader to fill the gaps that he leaves during his narrative and to have concentration to follow the narrow path of his descriptive style. The books gets better towards the end, but the first half is a painful journey, that's what I found, perhaps your insight of the read may be different. Anyway, I loved a lot these thoughts of Gustave, he is indeed an aamazing poet:

  • Su vida en cambio era fria como un desvan cuya lucera da al norte, y el aburrimiento, araña silenciosa, tejia en la sombra su tela por todos los rincones de su corazon
  • Charles fue a besarla en el hombre.  -Dejame! -dijo ella-, me arrugas el vestido
  • Emma se encontro una pitillera, y Clarles dijo: -Si hasta t iene dos puros dentro! -Pero tu fumas? -pregunto ella #typical of women, they don't allow men to be 'creative'; unavezque te tienen encajonado ya no puedes cambiar
  • Campiña aburrida, pequeños burgueses imbeciles, mediocridad de la existencia
  • El señor Leon se ha retirado temprano -dijo el. Emma no pudo evitar una sonrisa, y se durmio con el alma llena de un hechizo nuevo.
  • Los apetitos de la carne, las ansias del dinero y las melancolias de la pasion
  • Leon estaba cnasado de amar sin resultado, y empezaba a sentir ese agobio que causa la repeticion de la misma vida cuando ningun interes la dirige ni esperanza alguna la sostiene
  • Era ese ensueño de lo que uno esta seguro que nunca ha de vovler # El amor fue extinguiendose poco a poco con la ausencia, bajo la costumbre se ahogo la pena # Ahora sentia mucho mas desdicha, porque tenia la experiencia de la pena, y la certeza de que no acabaria
  • Quien no tiene religion siempre acaba mal
  • Le gustaba mucho pronunciar la palabra 'doctor', como, al dirigirla a otro, hiciera recaer sobre si mismo algo de la pompa que encontraba en ella
  • Y seguro de ser amado, dejo de molestartse e insensiblemente su comportamiento cambio. Rodolphe fue ocultando cada vez menos su indiferencia
  • Clavaba en Charles la punta ardiente de sus pupilas, como dos flechas de fuego a punto de dispararse. Se deleitaba en todas las ironias perversas del adulterio triunfante
  • De mente tan torpe, de modales tan vulgares # discursos exagerados que ocultan afectos mediocres
  • Todas las lagrimas de un corazon herido por la vida # Pensamientos deshonestos y tentacione impuras
  • He aqui una bella descripcion de la esperanza ue hace Gustave: como una fruta de oro suspendida en algun follaje fantastico
  • Le hizo ver la imposibilidad de su amor, y que debian atenerse, como antes, a los simples terminos de una amistad fraterna
  • El se quedo estupefacto sin comprender aquella munificencia intempestiva
  • El saboreaba por primera vez la inefable delicadeza de las elegancias femeninas
  • Cuando el amor se muere: recursos ingenuos de una pasion debilitada que intentaba reavivarse con todos los recursos externos
  • Se sentia cobarde, como los borrachos a la vista de los liquores fuertes
  • Cada sonrisa ocultaba un bostezo de aburrimiento, cada alegria una maldicion, todo placer su hastio
  • Descripcion de la ansiedad: Otras veces, abrasad con mas violencia por aquella llama intima que el adulterio avivaba, jadeante, alterada, ardiendo en deseo, abria la ventana, aspiraba el aire frio, esparcia al viento su cabellera demasiado pesada y, mirando las estrellas, anhelaba amores principescos.
  • Ahora se aburria cuando Emma, de repente, se ponia a sollozar sobre su pecho; y su corazon, como esa gente que solo puede soportar cierta dosis de musica, se aletargaba de indiferencia en el estruendo de un amor cuyas delicadezas ya no percibia
  • De todas las borrascas que caen sobre el amor, ninguna lo enfria ni lo desarraiga tanto como una peticion de dinero
  • Pensamientos propios del escritor: Encomendarse a la misericordia divia # y se dice que, queriendolo con todas sus fuerzas, llegaria a resucitarla

One positive thing is that the read of this book will boost your dictionary knowlege, so many interesting words in it, I even found a page on the web dedicated to that!

And finally, my deep respects to Gustave, I liked very much that, after Emma's passing, he spent some time describing what happened to the character which is really important for any novel (a draw a solid, ultimate conclusion, else sounds like a lazy-ending), and give an amplitud to the novel beyond the sole character of Madame Bovary. In fact, the pages where she is absece in the live of the other characters do nothing but to strenghted her emptiness, sorry and sadness of the reader