I have always had a great interest in reading and this may be due to having started very young (by age five I could read pretty well). But what I liked best was when my father would read me bed time stories. Two of those books have become favorites of mine that I have never stopped reading to this day. They also happen to be classics of children's literature although I did not know this at the time, of course.|
One is the story of Babar the little elephant, by Jean deBrunhoff. The book was given to me when I was about age six by my uncle Jorge and I still have this original copy and enjoy reading it. It happens that later, as an adult, I have come to appreciate elephants as very intelligent and lovable animals.
Another book that my father used to read to me was Just so Stories by Rudyard Kipling. Since then I have never got tired of reading them to myself but they also make great stories to read out aloud. I intend to post some of them here and hope you enjoy them.
In later years Rudyard Kipling became one of my favorite writers in English. In A code of morals he tells a humorous story. Another humorous poem which I always liked is The Betrothed in which a man who is engaged to be married has been told by his bride he must choose between her and smoking and he is considering what to do... in the end she loses (or wins, depending on your point of view). Even though I am a militant antismoker two of my favorite poems are odes to tobacco. The Betrothed is the first and the other is an excerpt of a play by Byron which was engraved on an ashtray at my parent's home.
Sublime tobacco! which, from east to west,
Cheers the tar's labor or the Turkman's rest,
Which on the Moslem's ottoman divides
His hours, and rivals opium and his brides;
Magnificent in Stamboul, but less grand,
though not less loved, in Wapping on the Strand;
Divine in hookas, glorious in a pipe,
when tipped with amber, mellow rich and ripe;
Like other charmers wooing the caress
more dazzlingly when daring in full dress;
Yet thy true lovers more admire, by far,
Thy naked beauties -- give me a cigar.
Sublime tabaco! que, del este al oeste
alegra el trabajo del marinero o el descanso del turco;
que en el diván del musulmán divide
sus horas y compite con el opio y sus mujeres;
Magnífico en Estambul pero menos grandioso
aunque no menos querido, en Londres.
Divino en narguile, glorioso en pipa,
con un toque de ámbar, suave, rico y maduro.
Como otros encantos buscando la caricia
con más brillantez cuando deslumbras con tus vestidos
pero tus verdaderos admiradores admiran más, con mucho,
tu belleza desnuda -- dadme un puro!
One of my favorite poems: Palabras para Julia - Words for Julia
And a short poem for children:
I have always enjoyed reading history and essays. I recently read East and West by Cristopher Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong. I expected it to be the story of his years as governor but it is mainly an essay about east-west relations and cultures. I found it extremely interesting and I agree with him on almost every point.
Uno de mis libros favoritos en castellano es El Ciudadano Iscariote Reclús por Camilo José Cela que estoy transcribiendo aquí.