Tag Archives: Biography

I am back

Hello dear readers.

I know I’ve been away for a long time. My life changed a little, so I’ve been really busy for the past few months.

I have now the first level of Reiki healing and I started taking yoga classes and getting deep into those subjects, practicing almost every day.

I also started a course of Ayurvedic Massage Therapist, which is almost done, but it gave me a lot to study and to pratice.

All of this, plus my job as a nurse made my days pretty busy. Hospitals in Portugal have been crazy lately. Whenever I had free time, I didn’t want the computer. I wanted to read, be with friends, or simply do nothing in front of the TV and rest for another week of hard work.

I’ve been reading some books and I have some drafts of reviews that I will publish soon. I will also start to post about my recent learnings about Reiki, Yoga, Ayurvedic Medicine, with natural products and tips for health, and all that I think that I must share. I hope you enjoy. My blog will be the same, but with more subjects to read about.

Remember, if you have any sugestions, you can always contact me. I appreciate the feedback. Also, if you want me to promote your book, blog, website, music band, or product, contact me as well.

Peace and Love,

Ladybug

 

jack

On the Road by Jack Kerouac – my review

Overview (via Goodreads): 
On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, “a sideburned hero of the snowy West.” As “Sal Paradise” and “Dean Moriarty,” the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.
Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than forty years ago.
Details:
307 pages
First published in 1957
Series: Duluoz Legend
ISBN: 0140185216 (ISBN13: 9780140185218)
My opinion:
 
This book was suggested by someone very close to me, who knows me well and knows the types of literature that I like. I was a little bit skeptic at first and the book stood on a shelf for months waiting for me to decide to pick it up and read it.
 
The first paragraphs hooked me. The way it’s written is simple. I know some people don’t like the way Kerouac writes but for me it felt like he was sitting with me on a table and telling me the story in person.
 
I have to be honest and say that there were moments I had to try really hard to keep reading. I don’t like all the ideas, ideals and thoughts that we read about. However, there were other paragraphs that I found inspirational, like the all-night conversations and the way it appeals to your sense of adventure.
 
It’s important to remember that the book was first published in the 50’s, a different time from now. You read about a little bit of the America in the years between 1947 and 1950. Kerouac decides to just go out on the road. We read about Kerouac’s many encounters, the achievements, the moments of despair, the emotions, the life with Dean Moriarty. Dean Moriarty is mentioned in the beginning and his presence is almost constant. He is not the most pleasant person in the world, specially towards women. But you also learn about his childhood and what he had to take; that made him the man we read about.
 
I can say that my feelings about this book are still a bit confusing. I usually have a very defined opinion; this time I don’t. I wish I could say I loved it, but I didn’t, but I also didn’t dislike it. Overall, I think it’s a good book. It shows the life of a group of people in a different time and to whom some may still identify, at least in some points.
 
My rating (more like 3 and a half):
 
kgb

Death of a Dissident, by Alex Goldfarb & Marina Litvinenko – My opinion

Overview (via Goodreads):

The assassination of former Russian intelligence officer Alexander “Sasha” Litvinenko in November 2006 — poisoned by the rare radioactive element polonium — caused an international sensation. Within a few short weeks, the fit forty-three-year-old lay gaunt, bald, and dying in a hospital, the victim of a “tiny nuclear bomb.” Suspicions swirled around Russia’s FSB, the successor to the KGB, and the Putin regime. Traces of polonium radiation were found in Germany and on certain airplanes, suggesting a travel route from Russia for the carriers of the fatal poison. But what really happened? What did Litvinenko know? And why was he killed? The full story of Sasha Litvinenko’s life and death is one that the Kremlin does not want told. His closest friend, Alex Goldfarb, and his widow, Marina, are the only two people who can tell it all, from firsthand knowledge, with dramatic scenes from Moscow to London to Washington. Death of a Dissident reads like a political thriller, yet its story is more fantastic and frightening than any novel.Ever since 1998, when Litvinenko denounced the FSB for ordering him to assassinate tycoon Boris Berezovsky, he had devoted his life to exposing the FSB’s darkest secrets. After a dramatic escape to London with Goldfarb’s assistance, he spent six years, often working with Goldfarb, investigating a widening series of scandals. Oligarchs and journalists have been assassinated. Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yuschenko was poisoned on the campaign trail. The war in Chechnya became unspeakably harsh on both sides. Sasha Litvinenko investigated all of it, and he denounced his former employers in no uncertain terms for their dirty deeds.Death of a Dissident opens a window into the dark heart of the Putin Kremlin. With its strong-arm tactics, tight control over the media, and penetration of all levels of government, the old KGB is back with a vengeance. Sasha Litvinenko dedicated his life to exposing this truth. It took his diabolical murder for the world to listen.


Product details (via Goodreads):
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published June 30th 2007 by Simon & Schuster Ltd (first published May 1st 2007)
ISBN 1847370810 (ISBN13: 9781847370815)

My opinion:

Biographies and life stories of any kind are not my favorite type of reading. I didn’t know why until some time ago, because there are some biographies I’d love to read, but the reading is usually slow and difficult for me. After giving it some thought I think I found out why. The characters are people like me and you. I don’t know them, but they are human beings. And sometimes what it’s written is so hard to read when we think that it is a real story, that it really happened. This book is one of the main examples I can find to express how hard it can be to read about someone else’s life.
I read it 2 years ago, and I read it quite fast, considering the number of pages, the type of book and the free time I had. It still hurts when I think about some paragraphs. Hurts me because Sasha (AKA Alexander Litvinenko) was a human being and he suffered, and his family is still suffering.
This is a disturbing book. Sometimes it was hard for me to believe it wasn’t fiction. The murder is stranger and more disturbing than any other murder I read about in fiction books.
I think the whole details about Russian politics are important, specially for me since I like to learn about everything, but sometimes it was a bit tiring to read about it. Sometimes it seemed to me that the story was more about the Russian politics than about Sasha himself.
Sasha is the man who the story is about. The first known victim of polonium poisoning. When I was reading I tried to picture in my mind his last days. His pain, the way he looked, his family thoughts and his own thoughts. He was an officer for the Soviet KGB and after that for the FSB (KGB’s successor). Later he became a spy for MI6 and the Spanish Secret Service.
Sasha was arrested and some time later he went to live with his family to London, where asylum was granted. He became a journalist and a writer.
In November of the year 2006, Sasha felt ill and was hospitalized. That’s when they found out he was being poisoned with polonium. He died not even a month after the hospitalization.
It’s a cruel, naked book that shows us a rude reality. It wasn’t one of those books that made me cry; it shocked me. 
His wife, Marina, who is still living in London with their children, is one of the writers of this book. 
 
My rating:
 
che

The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey Around South America, Ernesto “Che” Guevara – My review

Click for info

Overview (from Barnes & Noble)

In January 1952, two young men from Buenos Aires set out to explore South America on an ancient Norton motorbike. The journey would last six months and would take them thousands of miles, all the way up from Argentina to Venezuela. En route there would be disasters and discoveries, high drama, low comedy, fights, parties and a lot of serious drinking. They would meet an extraordinary range of people: native Indians and copper miners, lepers, police, wanderers and tourists. They would become stowaways, firemen and football coaches; they would join in a strike. They would sometimes fall in love, and frequently fall off the motorbike. Both of them kept diaries. One of them was a tall and good-looking medical student called Ernesto Guevara de la Serna. Using the standard Argentinean nickname, others would sometimes refer to the two companions as Big Che and Little Che. In Ernesto’s case, the nickname stuck. Within a decade the whole world would know Che Guevara. This is the story of that remarkable journey, eight years before the Cuban revolution, in Che’s own words, and illustrated with rare contemporary photographs. For Che it was a formative experience, and amidst the humour and pathos of the tale, there are moving examples of his idealism and his solidarity with the poor and oppressed. But it is far from being the diary of a militant and sometimes very far from being ‘politically correct’, which may be the reason that the manuscript has only been made available now, a quarter century after Che’s death in the Bolivian jungle. Instead it is a vivid record kept by an exuberant, intelligent and acutely observant 23-year-old, describing what might have been the adventure of a lifetime – had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure.

 

 

 

Product Details (Barnes & Noble)

 

  • ISBN-13: 9781859840665
  • Publisher: Analytical Psychology Club of San Francisco, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/1996
  • Pages: 156
  • Product dimensions: 5.41 (w) x 7.48 (h) x 0.58 (d)
 
My opinion:
I wanted to read this book for so long that when I finally started reading it, I was afraid I was going to be disappointed. But I’m not.
I usually get a hard time reading biographies or diaries, but I really enjoyed this one from the first words.
Che Guevara’s diary show us the journey he made with his friend Alberto Granado. It’s a diary and we have to read it as a diary, not a romance or something like that.  I have to tell you that the way the diary it’s written impressed me; Che Guevara wasn’t a professional writer and what we read came straight from his mind, but we can find some beautiful paragraphs, great descriptions, beautiful words.
This is not a book about heroic feats or political actions. We get to know a different Che Guevara; a caring and gentle guy that wanted to help other people, and we can get a good laugh with some of the things they did. Sometimes I could even forget that what I was reading really happened.
This book shows us hope for justice, courage and intelligence. After this journey, which Che started has a medical student, he will never be the same; he has a new perspective of South America and that’s way he had a future as a political revolutionary. Maybe many of you will say that he was a murderer, that you don’t know how people can admire someone like him. Well, this book shows why. This is Che Guevara “before“.
I recommend it. It’s a short book, easy to read, and you can understand more about Che Guevara.
 
My rating: