Friday, October 21, 2016

Ken Follett in Milan

This week Milan has enjoyed a series of interesting events about all sorts of topics. The magazine Panorama (sorry, no English page here) is organizing a tour of Italy and it was our turn.

I signed up to hear Ken Follett speak and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here's a pic I took at the event.

It's important for writers to hear other writers speak. We can learn a lot. However, that's not really the reason to go. We need to remember that we are in the world and we have to stay connected. I don't write only for myself - I write for my readers. Now, I have a very small fraction of the readership that an author like Mr. Follett has (thanks to all 5 of you), but I am interested in hearing what you would like to read.

This is why I put an email list sign up on the page. You can type in your address now and be notified when I post.

In the comments today, let me know what you're interested in finding when you come by to see me.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October Reading List: Yard Sale Books

Don't you love yard sales? All those things priced so conveniently. All those treasures changing houses. It's a lovely tradition that not all countries share. Italy, for example, does not do yard sales.
So I guess you can imagine that I don't go all that often.

For those of you who have never heard of a yard sale, these are sales that people hold privately to sell their own belongings at a 90% markdown. Some people set their stuff up in the garage, and call them garage sales. The unofficial verb would be "to go garage sailing". You don't need a permit or other type of authorisation.

Outside the US, I'm sure you have second hand shops, or maybe you just donate your used items in good condition to charities. Maybe you could find a bookcrossing point to get something to read free.

I've been to several sales already this year, and here are a few of titles I picked up.

Mad Merlin: garage sale.
When I started it, I thought it was just another take on the King Arthur legend. Boy, was I wrong! The author integrated all sorts of mythology and the story is impeccable. Merlin is the main viewpoint character, and the author developed him into something really unexpected.

The Bait of Satan: thrift shop.
A Christian non-fiction book about the consequences of offence. This book explains how getting offended and holding grudges messes up relationships. In modern times, offense is very common and we are seeing the damage to our culture.
To give you a concrete example, let's think, for a moment, about the idea of forgiving yourself. Have you ever done something that was stupid or that resulted in tragedy? You know that the longer you hold that against yourself, the worse your self-esteem will become. You will even pass this mindset to your family! Forgiveness is necessary for a happy life in general.

Roots: table outside a shop in Milan.
The sign on the window says to leave books you've finished reading. (I really need to take something down there.) Anyway, I watched the new mini-series last spring in the US and when I got back to Italy I found this book waiting for me. What a nice coincidence! (Or gift from God, depending on your perspective....) I want to read it because I haven't studied this part of history as closely as I would have liked to. I am a firm believer in knowing where your roots are.

What have you been reading?