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Thought and literature, passion for reading.

Welcome to our Corner. As lovers of culture, this small space is dedicated to sharing our latest readings and enjoyed films. We are moved by the desire to share the pleasure of books and films, and to exchange ideas and opinions about them.

What we are reading

Inés y la alegría

I have to be honest. In this case, the reader was unaware of this story about a small group of men (organized by the Communist Party of Spain), ready to invade Spain and provoke an uprising against Franco in the fall of 1944 (The invasion of the Aran Valley, called in key Operation Reconquest of Spain). Through the unique history of Inés, a woman and republican in Franco's Spain, and through the eyes of Galán (one of the guerrillas) we know this story of the “Reconquest of Spain” operation and the turbulent years of the Spanish postwar period. This book is already a few years old, it was published in 2010, but meeting Grandes's literature is always comforting and essential.

The science of storytelling

This is fascinating book. The central point is we humans not only are prone to stories (Vargas Llosa and many others have made the point before), but have a neural storyline that accompanies us all through our lifetime. This helps explains our sensitivity to stories, a sensitivity the author illustrates with scientific data. But alongside the chore theme of the book, the reader will find a science-based narrative theory, and many tips, together with the learned, yet swift and right to the point discussion of previous grand story theories (like that of Campbell or, more recently, Jordan Peterson). And then there is the question of style: this a book well written. The author can be proud to predicate its theory by example, for this book is a good story about telling stories. Excellent.

Un pueblo traicionado

Paul Preston returns to the history of Spain through "Un pueblo traicionado", but this time from the vision of the Spanish people, victim of a corrupt system that begins, deploys and is maintained over the years (centuries) by the Spanish political class, the economic powers and institutions such as the Army and the Church. This historical analysis, since the end of the 19th century, makes us understand the obstacles that economic and social development has had in Spain, if we compare it with other countries in our environment. Essential reading to understand the political and social controversies of recent years.

Zen in the Art of Archery- Eugen Herrigel.

This book is a personal account of the author´s experience learning the Art of Archerry in Japan. Since the author is a westerner with no previous archery experience, the reader will be placed exactly where the profound teachings of Zen shock the foundations of our interventionist, highly mechanical approach to action. It was recommended by a professional pianist, as it has become a word-of-mouth reference amongst artists, but it will be truly rewarding to anyone concerned with any kraft. Philosophical and practical at the same time.

When we were Oprhans, Kazuo Ishiguro.

This Kazuo Ishiguro´s read is not as rewarding as some of his other titles. It does not lack Mr Ishiguro´s native skills: ambivalence, narrative landslides, enigmas that remain open throughout the plot and a slow, mesmerizing dealing with time. The historical setting of the story (pre-war Shanghai) is also magnificent as Mr Kazuo has good taste for choosing the timeline atrezzo of his writing. But here the plot eats out the characters, who lack depth, specially the main character, something that could easily -and in most positive terms- be forgiven in my beloved “The Buried Giant” since it is an allegory, but not here, in a novel of more conventional fabric. For in “When we were orphans” the final texture of the story is a little void, archetypical. A pity.

Artemis - Andy Weir

Awarded and filmed writer of “Mars”, Andy Weir´s next novel Artemis (2017) is a moon adventure in a not-so-distant future. Sci-fi lovers may find it short of being the full universe you may often find in the genre; actually, the book is more of a lunar heist story. However, the problem does not lie with the future world depiction, that is well done, and in Mr. Weir´s classical mastery of the technical realm helps make it a believable. The problem lies with characters, that lack depth and are somehow pin-ups versions of humans. I found that part a bit childish and bland, even though Mr Weir made a great effort to add flavor to them by inserting cultural diversity and hence references. But the trick does not work: the automaton does not come to life. Will sure make a great teenager movie, though.

Charlotte

Interesting approach to the life of the artist Charlotte Salomon, German of Jewish origin, contemporary to the rise of Nazism, which added to her tragic family and personal life, provides her with an interesting biography, told in an atypical and captivating way by David Foenkinos. The author's touch, his admiration for the artist reflected on every page and the devotion of the writing, as well as the involvement in researching and following the steps, places and people that marked Charlotte Salomon's biography, is wonderful.

A CHAPTER OF MY LIFE

One expects a spy novel, not in vain it is about the author's mother, the spy Alice Kohlmann, better known as Litzy Friedmann or Mrs. Philby during her marriage to the British spy Kim Philby, but she finds an intimate story that highlights the more personal side of a spy's life and its manifestation in the family and personal sphere. The other side of a spy story: a myriad of unknowns, half stories, half truths... and all from Barbara Honigmann's first-person view.

BANKY WALL AND PIECE

Interesting approach to the thought of the famous, elusive and controversial urban artist. Strokes of thought that call for reflection and all this while enjoying his characteristic graffiti.

self-confidence

Finally someone breaks the monopoly of self-help books on self-confidence, bursts it and subverts it.  One believed that self-confidence, as a subject, was limited in our philosophical tradition to a couple of quotes from Goethe, a celebrated and visionary text by Ralph Waldo Emerson and the entire life of Walt Whitman. But no, there is much more, and Pépin, a French professor of philosophy, spins it well. Interesting at the very least, whether it inspires you further depends not so much on your natural disposition as on your desire.

Reality is not what it seems

The subtitle is well brought: it is a (mind-blowing) journey into quantum physics, from the Greeks to the present and from there to a promising future. It will break your patterns while stimulating your abstract thinking. Essential

The buried giant

Published two years before Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize, this novel is like a lake under whose calm waters one can sense unfathomable mysteries. In the form of a medieval and allegorical story, it hides a reflection on the unfinished or predictable nature of our destiny and the strength - both elusive and transcendental - of love, of companionship.

la parte escondida del iceberg

Overcoming a lack of love in the city of love. This book is simply a melancholy walk through the streets and corners of Paris, often recalling the past, what it was and what it is no longer. An analytical and reflective novel about wanting to forget and keep a memory forever. The author treats every detail of Paris with special care and delicacy, including exquisite descriptions of smells, flavours, landscapes and moments that end up convincing us that in the end, the real protagonist of this story is the city of Paris itself.

Claus y Lucas

The drama of war, not a book about war, through the childlike eyes of Claus and Lucas and the narration of their experiences. A heartbreaking but essential work that exposes the suffering and underbelly of society caused by the war. It is made up of three volumes that have been republished together and allow the reader to immerse himself completely in the story of Claus and Lucas. A work with a fast pace and splendid turns that keeps the reader connected until the last page.

Forensic architecture

There are crimes whose investigation requires the use of aesthetic tools, and in turn artistic representation is the right way to communicate them, to make them livable. A fascinating book about a new discipline.

the underground railroad

Por el precio estándar de un libro normal, esta novela contiene todo lo que cabe decir de la esclavitud y de la crueldad y, al tiempo, todo lo que se puede decir de la esperanza y del fin de la esclavitud. Y narrado de forma precisa, tensa, bella. Un chollo.

maps of meaning

If the central thesis of this book (there are cognitive and neurological structures that explain universal narrative and dream archetypes) is interesting, its erudite development, with stops in science, mythology and literature, constitutes a true intellectual odyssey.  As some critics have already said, it is a book to which one will return more than once.

Películas y Series.

“Everything you can imagine is real”

 Pablo Picasso

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Mientras te sientas cómodamente, te hundes en tu salón de alta tecnología y, quizás, te deleitas con unas roscas, el Cabo Schofield se apoya contra un árbol, bucólicamente barajando las fotografías y leyendo las cartas de casa bajo un cielo azul claro , acompañado de su colega, el rubicundo Tom Blake. La guerra ahora parece estar muy lejos de esta tranquila escena rural francesa, tan lejos como tú, persona del siglo XXI, puedes estar del insoportable, bajo y sucio pathos de la Gran Guerra. Entonces todo cambia.
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