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Found 7 results

  1. This is a very important piece of news: "Jair Bolsonado: Far-Right Candidate Wins Brazil Poll" on bbc.com
  2. Off to Brazil at the end of this month for Carnival. Will be visiting Sao Paolo, Rio, Florianapolis, and Iguazu. Who's been? Any recommendations? Particularly for Rio.
  3. Because Portugal requested to modify the agreement made on May 4, 1493 via the Treaty of Tordesillas on June 7, 1494. That's it. That's the only reason why. If Portugal hadn't asked the Pope to modify the 1493 agreement (the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) moved things 270 leagues to the west), Brazil - the easternmost country in South America, and as-yet undiscovered - would be a Spanish-speaking country.
  4. After having finished "Voices from Chernobyl," I had a two-week gap without anything to read, so I decided to fill it with something short - "The Alchemist," a 1988 novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, had been left at my house by a friend, and was just about the perfect length and level of difficulty (based on a quick perusal). This book is a phenomenon - it has been translated into 80 languages, and Coelho has sold over 200-million books, making him the all-time best-selling Portuguese-language author. For whatever reason, I had thought "The Alchemist" was an important, Nobel-level work of literature, but in retrospect, I think I confused Pablo Coelho with the names Camilo José Cela and Pablo Neruda, both of whom I've read in the past: Make sure you know what you're getting into when you pick up this book. For me to trash "The Alchemist" would be too easy - like trashing Forest Gump, for example. The book is low-hanging fruit for any literature snob, and is absolutely a book for the masses. It is self-consciously written in "parable" format, and well-suited to teenagers in a way that Shakespeare is not - why 8th graders are assigned "Romeo and Juliet," I will never understand; they should be reading "The Alchemist" instead - something they can understand and learn from: At just over 150 pages, and with very few words greater than 2-3 syllables, this book is really written at a teenage level, and I don't mean that as an insult. The last time I read a bestseller, it was "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold - it was given to me as a thoughtful gift by someone I used to know, and I have a personal rule that if a friend gives me a book, I read it - out of respect and courtesy. The book was absolute pablum, and is very similar to The Alchemist in terms of difficulty and mass appeal. While I'm not going to say this is a great work of literature, it's something like "The Wizard of Oz," in that an entire generation (maybe two, since adults seem to enjoy it as much as teenagers) will have fond memories of The Alchemist. Coelho seems to have found a sweet spot among the average reader, and I'd be lying if I said I hated this book. It's saccharine, and it's somewhat predictable, but it also deals with simple, universal truths, so for those of you who don't want to spent the eight-hours-or-so it takes to read, here's my rendition: "The Alchemist (Abridged Edition)" Translated by Don Rockwell It's better to be a happy Park Ranger than a sad Neurosurgeon. The End.
  5. I know people here are busy with other things (like dining), but it would be a shame if we didn't have a thread on the Olympics. So here it is. What are *your* favorite memories? (No Ryan Lochte please, Al Dente!) I'll toss one out: Usain Bolt interrupting a Spanish-language interview to acknowledge the U.S.A. National Anthem: Thank you, Usain Bolt, for your demonstration of class, respect, and humility. I also think the reporter handled it quite professionally once she realized what was happening, so kudos to her also. If anyone has any favorites from previous Olympics, go ahead and post those as well - I'll start threads for them.
  6. Stefan Zweig would be on my short-short list of "Greatest Writers Ever." The two novellas I have read by him, "The Royal Game" (1941, "Schachnovelle" in German) and "Amok" (1922, Der Amokläufe in German), are as good as any short stories I've ever read, and if someone held a gun to my head, and forced me to pick the single greatest short story I've ever read, it would be "The Royal Game" (and, quite frankly, I don't have any idea what the runner-up would be). It is, in my eyes, an almost-perfect novella, especially its structure in A-B-AB form - it's like reading a Beethoven Sonata. To put the admittedly hyperbolic statements above in perspective, Fyodor Dostoyevsky would also be on that list, which you could count with the fingers of one hand. Structure and architecture are two extremely important things to me, and Zweig's structure cannot be improved upon - it's like reading a Bach Fugue. There's one potentially ruinous thing about "The Royal Game," and that is the translation. Zweig was personal friends with Sigmund Freud, and human psychology is an integral part of his writing - for this reason alone, it is imperative to find a well-translated version of his works. The book that DIShGo read (which I own, "The Royal Game & Other Stories") is translated in the fashion of "stuffy British English," and I cannot even find the name of the translator, though I've only spent about fifteen minutes looking online. The first time I read "The Royal Game" was nearly twenty years ago, and it was the subject being discussed in a book that was called something like, "What Is Art?" I lent it to a friend, and never got it back. , so I remember neither the exact name of the book, nor the name of the translator, but *that* version was what reeled me in like a fish; this four-story anthology is a crime against humanity for what it did to Zweig's masterpiece. Oh, the story is still there, and you'll see how wonderful it is, but that extra 10% of magic is gone due to the formality of the language used - Zweig desperately needs to be translated in an almost conversational style since his works deal with such intense human emotion; the compendium available on Amazon makes you feel like you're reading a news article instead of reading Zweig's own words. I feel helpless, not being able to recommend a good translation to you, because it is absolutely imperative. Anyway, I leafed through this translation (the compendium on Amazon), and was aghast at the writing style. Phrases and words that you'll simply never hear spoken in your entire life are used with regularity, and it actually made me *sad* that people are reading this, thinking they're reading Zweig. Regardless, I decided to bite my lip, and read the second story in the compendium, "Amok," and even with this stiff language, it is abundantly clear that I was reading a masterpiece - a work that could have only been written by an author so profound that even a stuffy translator couldn't ruin it. "Amok" was an unbelievably great novella, the kind of story that you *hate* putting down because you have to be somewhere - it's only forty pages long, so can be easily read - savored - in a couple hours of focused attention. I will not ruin the story for you, at least not in this post, but perhaps if anyone wishes to discuss it, I'll include a prominent *** SPOILERS *** section so as not to ruin it for the uninitiated - but not yet. "Amok' was a story so engaging that I might come out and say it's the second-greatest novella I've ever read; yet, according to DIShGo, it may not even be the second-best novella in this one compendium! There is very little chance at this point of me finding out the name of the original book I had, much less the translator, but I can say with confidence to avoid this edition on Amazon. "The Royal Game" is clearly divided into three sections, and was labeled as such; *this* compendium doesn't even have the decency to label the "sections" 1, 2, and 3 - it just crams everything together. Never have I read a story that is so clearly demarcated - a child could have put in the section numbers without even knowing anything about the novella. "The Royal Game" was published just before Zweig committed suicide. I wonder if he knew, deep down inside, that he had produced a work of such profundity that it could never again be matched. Almost surely not - Zweig had some personal problems, but they came out in full Technicolor in his writing - writing that can only be described with one word in the English language: genius. Never have I raved about an author like this, and once you read Zweig's works, you'll understand why. You'll *hate* it when they end. I must add that I have read precisely two novellas by Zweig, hardly making me an expert, so this essay must be tempered with the appropriate grain of salt. That said, I'm so confident in this man's genius, that I could commit to reading *only him* for the rest of my life, and if the body of work was large enough, it would be a life well-spent. --- This is important, so keep reading! PS - There is hope! My friend answered my desperate text message with a response - the book is called "Understanding the Arts," (*) and it was written by John Hospers. I don't understand how book sellers can sell books on Amazon for one cent, but it seems to be available in some fashion on Amazon.com (can anyone explain this to me? They charge $3.99 for shipping, but that hardly makes them any money). Anyway, my friend couldn't find the translator, but he told me to research "the 1972 Viking Penguin reprint," because that's the one they use in this book. I asked him to type out the first sentence of the translation, and it is this: "The big liner, due to sail from New York to Buenos Aires at midnight, was filled with the activity and bustle incident to the last hour...." - that is the edition that you want. Interestingly, my friend and I are also chatting, and he said the only reason he found the book was because he's insisting that his friend read "Schachnovelle," adding, "It is the greatest short story I know," and this guy is a hyper-genius. Get this edition and read it! (*) OMFG - the entire edition is online! It's not the most enjoyable way to read a book, but you can at least *read the book* if you don't mind scrolling through the pages (I personally *hate* doing this - it's like listening to a great piece of music through a pair of earbuds, and in my opinion, ruins the experience).
  7. USA gets drawn into a Group of Death - Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA. USA Ghana Monday June 16 6pm ET USA Portugal Sunday June 22 3pm ET USA Germany Thursday June 26 Noon ET
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