Sunday, 20 June 2010

José Saramago, The Grapes of Wrath, Doctor Who and more stuff

José Saramago, the world famous Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize winner died two days ago, at the age of 87. He was a very controversial figure in Portugal, admired for his books but not so much for some of his political and religious views. After his book O Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo (The Gospel According to Jesus Christ) wasn't allowed to compete for the European Literary Award by a very conservative Portuguese government, he decided to leave the country and went to live in Lanzarote in the Spanish Canaries. In spite of these events, another of his works, Memorial do Convento (Baltasar and Blimunda) one considered by some his masterpiece, became part of the Portuguese Language study program in highschool. I have tried to read the novel but his writing style with little respect for rules and its subject had me give it up. I have plans to read something from Saramago, especially Ensaio sobre a Cegueira (Blindness), Ensaio sobre a Lucidez (Seeing) and O Ano da  Morte de Ricardo Reis (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis), but I don't know if I'll ever be able to retry the one I gave up on, I usually don't. 
Although I can't give a substantiated opinion on the writer, I can still say that I agreed with some of his views on how the Portuguese people seems resigned and with some of his anti-catholic opinions. I must emphasize he disagreed with the Catholic Church having the one and only accepted interpretation of the Bible and I like the idea that as a book written and organized by people, limiting it's understanding to what one group with a very specific agenda say seems quite senseless.

With all that said, I am currently reading and enjoying The Grapes of Wrath and I won't be over soon. I can advance that I have read there some of the best book chapters I've ever put my eyes on. Before and even while reading it, I've finished reading some other books that deserved their own reviews here, ones that I couldn't elaborate for lack of time. I hereby leave a honourable mention to Mighty Avengers: The Unspoken Premiere HC, Serenity Vol.1; Those Left Behind and As Incríveis Aventuras de Dog Mendonça e PizzaBoy.
I'm also following George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, have now read the first two books, here in Portugal translated into four volumes: A Guerra dos Tronos, A Muralha de Gelo, A Fúria dos Reis e O Despertar da Magia. The part I preferred was the end of The Game of Trones, it left me baffled and I felt like running to a bookshop and buy all the other books, which I ended up doing and I am now excited about the TV series being produced at the moment.

One other subject I want to speak about eventually is Doctor Who. It was presented to me by a friend who told me his favourite episodes of the previous series. I enjoyed them so much that I am now following the series with 11Th Doctor. My favourite episodes of the David Tennant era were Blink, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead (yes, Steven Moffat) and I would recommend watching them to anyone even if not following the series, they are worthy on their own. Matt Smith is taking over quite well, helping create a new image and personality while not severing ties with what fans have seen of the Doctor all these years. Expect more comments from me on this.

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