Hi everybody !
I’m back on my blog, after a long time away. I don’t guarantee to post anything interesting, or frequently here, as I already use Twitter as my main channel, but I do feel a blog is still useful to develop ideas, concerns and other issues that can’t fit in 140 chars.
First of all, I want to share my best wishes to you and your relatives. Health, success and happiness !
For me, 2016 has been an interesting period. I’ve been suffering a burn-out for several months, and experienced a deep dive into existential questions. It was time for me to rest and sleep (a lot), to disconnect, to read (a lot) of classic books. Amongst them, philosophy and poetry, geopolitics and history, some novels and much more : Boris Vian, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, St Augustine of Hippo, Michel Houellebecq, Françis Fukuyama, Marguerite Duras, etc.
Dostoyevsky is, sincerely, the favorite author I’ve been reading, and it was a revelation. His novels are a great, providing an accurate and precise description of human society and sociology. Although those novels were written over 150 years ago, reading them left me with the weird feeling they were contemporary and describing people’s concerns living in 2016, establishing the proof that despite technological and other « improvements » that we all claim or try to reach into, human beings are still the same and think the same way. Some people always have been brilliant, smart and innovative in the past up to now. Some others have been stupid, corrupt and evil in the past up to now. And that will never change. Despite so-called innovation and improvement and other comfort, we basically don’t progress in our minds.
Those (great) books led me to focus on philosophy. And among some readings, I was stunned by Saint Augustine, who lived during the Roman Empire collapse (354-430AD), and who wrote many philosophical essays in a way I couldn’t have imagined. His vision and questions are impressive, and also very contemporary. His youth was festive, and it’s only in the late period of his life than he turned into a theologian. Before that, he was teaching philosophy and rhetoric, and it’s quite fascinating to see how he develops the dimensions of soul, the way academicians think, life and death, and much more.
On the novel side, Boris Vian is an author that wrote two kind of novels. Under his real name, most of his novels are fantastic, nonsense stories that embed poetic symbolism. Under the nickname of Vernon Sullivan, he wrote crime novels about racism in the U.S. A good author indeed, but not my favorite.
Same opinion on Marguerite Duras, which I discovered. Although interesting, I wasn’t really moved, except perhaps by her movie Hiroshima Mon Amour, that is one I did enjoy, for the artistic, symbolic and poetic themes.
Next, let me talk about Houellebecq. As many, I heard about him in the news years ago, about the controversial views and non-conformist poetry and novels that led many people to hate him. But I never had the time to read any of those. I admit the novels are interesting, but I really loved his poetry, cynical and pragmatic, that leaves a heavy feeling. I also watched his movies (as director and/or actor), also disturbing and artistic and enjoyed them.
To conclude, if I have an advice, just read any Dostoyevsky novel if you can. Don’t be afraid by the number of pages, it’s really a pleasure to read and you’ll don’t feel the length as an issue.
Welcome to 2017, welcome to the ride !
The reason I’ve put this image on my post, is because I feel 2017 will be like a roller coaster for many of us. The election of a new U.S. president will probably lead to uncertainties worldwide, thus the roller-coaster illustration. Let’s just say we’ll need to take the ticket, hop-on and wait for the ride to end, hoping we’ll survive 😉
Cheers, and thanks all of you to read me, I wasn’t sure I’d write any new posts on my blog and even was thinking about stopping it, but in the end it’s still there.
Comment by Armel on 2017-01-18 16:13:27 +0200
Nice to read you again !
Keep on reading and thinking… sometimes, a good plum brandy also helps feeling distant people close to oneself :o)
Comment by Bruno Kerouanton on 2017-01-18 16:34:13 +0200
Good point ! Thanks for following me, by the way 😉
Comment by scar on 2017-01-18 19:35:53 +0200
Dostoyevsky is always a good idea, I agree!
If you enjoyed Augustine, I recently read a good book about him by Robin Lane Fox, called ‘Conversions and Confessions’. It discusses Augustine’s life in the context of the period of history in which he lived, and contrasted it with a couple of other writers’ lives from the same period. Definitely worth a read.
See you at DFRWS?
Comment by Jackie Buxton on 2017-01-26 14:53:00 +0200
Hi Bruno, great post. I can’t pretend I’ve read any of the authors other than Dostoyevsky but I enjoyed your observations all the same. And the analogy with the current global ‘situation’ and the roller coaster made me smile. If we all manage to hop off again in a couple of years’ time, then I’ll feel we’ve got off lightly…
Comment by Bruno Kerouanton on 2017-01-26 18:19:05 +0200
Thanks Jackie for your read and comment, I do appreciate!