Book Reviews

Anitita Augustopoulos-Jucan – Al doilea adevar (The second truth)

Published in 1978, this pocket sized book was in my parent’s collection. Looking to clean up their bookcases, I had a read to decide if it’s a keeper or a burn-pile candidate. Set in the lovely Romanian county of Bucuresti in the height of its post-bellic boom, the story follows the investigative trail that the militia had to go through in order to solve a most interesting murder.


Bacovia, Intre satanism si murder ballads (Romanian)

“Inauntrul oricarei dorinte se incaiera un calugar cu un macelar.”
(Emil Cioran – Silogismele amaraciunii)

George Bacovia, pe numele sau real G. Vasiliu s-a nascut la 4 septembrie 1881, la Bacau, fiu al comerciantului Dumitru Vasiliu (Andonie Vasile Dumitru) si al Zoei Langa. Bacovia absolva liceul in 1903 in orasul sau natal,studiaza dreptul la Iasi si Bucuresti, obtine in 1913 licenta apoi este impiegat prin felurite institutii si maestru suplinitor de desen si caligrafie. Este numit la 1 noiembrie 1946 consilier in Ministerul Artelor si atacat curand cu violenta pentru insalubritatea poeziei sale. Moare in Bucuresti la 22 mai 1957.


The Assumption of Mary * 15th of August

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary (Mariae Himmelfahrt, Mariä Aufnahme in den Himmel) is celebrated in some states in Germany on August 15 each year. It is a public holiday in Saarland and some parts of Bavaria. Many Catholics attend special church services and some people collect herbs as a tradition for the day. The fourth ecumenical council was held in Chalcedon, now part of Istanbul, Turkey, in 451 CE.  The council decided that the Assumption of Mary would be recognized as a Christian feast. This feast is important for Catholics because it marks the moment that Mary’s body and soul went to heaven, according to Catholic belief. The date was fixed as August 15 sometime around the year 700 CE.

It’s also a massive Orthodox holiday – having a liturgy ordaining her setting into a grave similar to the one of Christ.

Book Reviews

The Handmaid’s tale: a story about the importance of choice for a woman and a totalitarian approach to fecundity

This essay was first published on Reading Our Way to the Revolution on May 19, 2015.

It’s no secret that The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the great Canadian novelist, took religious and right wing attempts to control women’s reproductive lives one step further and created a dystopian future. As always with good future fantasy, it was fun to watch her spin believable gold out of current dross, complete with everyday detail and made-up scholarly notes. This was the focus of reviews when the book came out in 1985, and again when it became a movie five years later.

But in the last two decades, I think we’ve learned that Atwood’s novel should be read—or read again—as a warning about patriarchy and its control of reproduction as the underpinning of everything undemocratic, from our own powerful rightwing minority to totalitarianism.

Let’s just say this novel is not exactly fiction.

I should explain that in Atwood’s future, the religious/military/economic groups among us have gradually turned the United States into the Republic of Gilead. You might say that the Moral Majority has finally lived up to its name. Powerful people are so white, religious, and universal that they are assumed to be everyone except the workers they command.


1st December 1918

When I think how it happened long ago,
A nation born upon this rugged shore,
I think of those who once dreamed a special dream,
To build a land like none that came before.
They dreamt of one nation

When I think of the faces young and old,
When first they came to see our mighty land,
I’m proud we welcomed each and ev’ry one,
And gave them hope and a helping hand.
We gave them one nation


Great Union Day (Romanian: Ziua Marii Uniri, also called Unification Day) occurring on December 1, is the national holiday of Romania. It commemorates the assembly of the delegates of ethnic Romanians held in Alba Iulia, which declared the Union of Transylvania with Romania.

This holiday was set after the Romanian Revolution and it marks the unification of Transylvania, but also of the provinces of Basarabia and Bucovina with the Romanian Kingdom, in 1918.



CU TIMPUL… (Jorge Luis Borges)

Taking Sunflower to Teacher, Winslow HomerDupa un anumit timp, omul invata sa perceapa diferenta subtila intre a sustine o mana si a inlantui un suflet, si invata ca amorul nu inseamna a te culca cu cineva si a avea pe cineva alaturi nu e sinonim cu starea de siguranta, si asa, omul incepe sa invete… ca saruturile nu sunt contracte si cadourile nu sunt promisiuni, si asa omul incepe sa-si accepte caderile cu capul sus si ochii larg deschisi, si invata sa-si construiasca toate drumurile bazate pe astazi si acum, pentru ca terenul lui “maine” este prea nesigur pentru a face planuri … si viitorul are mai mereu o multime de variante care se opresc insa la jumatatea drumului.
Si dupa un timp, omul invata ca daca ceva e prea mult, pana si caldura cea datatoare de viata a soarelui, arde si calcineaza. Asa ca incepe sa-si planteze propria gradina si-si impodobeste propriul suflet, in loc sa mai astepte ca altcineva sa-i aduca flori, si invata ca intr-adevar poate suporta, ca intr-adevar are forta, ca intr-adevar e valoros, si omul invata si invata … si cu fiece zi invata.
Cu timpul inveti ca a sta alaturi de cineva pentru ca iti ofera un viitor bun, inseamna ca mai devreme sau mai tarziu vei vrea sa te intorci la trecut.
Cu timpul intelegi ca doar cel care e capabil sa te iubeasca cu defectele tale, fara a pretinde sa te schimbe, iti poate aduce toata fericirea pe care ti-o doresti.
Iti dai seama cu timpul ca daca esti alaturi de aceasta persoana doar pentru a-ti intovarasi singuratatea, in mod inexorabil vei ajunge sa nu mai vrei sa o vezi.
Ajungi cu timpul sa intelegi ca adevaratii prieteni sunt numarati, si ca cel care nu lupta pentru ei, mai devreme sau mai tarziu se va vedea inconjurat doar de false prietenii.
Cu timpul inveti ca vorbele spuse intr-un moment de manie, pot continua tot restul vietii sa faca rau celui ranit.
Cu timpul inveti ca a scuza e ceva ce poate face oricine, dar ca a ierta, asta doar sufletele cu adevarat mari o pot face.
Cu timpul intelegi ca daca ai ranit grav un prieten, e foarte probabil ca niciodata prietenia nu va mai fi la aceeasi intensitate.
Cu timpul iti dai seama ca desi poti fi fericit cu prietenii tai, intr-o buna zi vei plange dupa cei pe care i-ai lasat sa plece.
Cu timpul iti dai seama ca fiecare experienta traita alaturi de fiecare fiinta, nu se va mai repeta niciodata.
Cu timpul iti dai seama ca cel care umileste sau dispretuieste o fiinta umana, mai devreme sau mai tarziu va suferi aceleasi umilinte si dispret, dar multiplicate, ridicate la patrat.
Cu timpul inveti ca grabind sau fortand lucrurile sa se petreaca, asta va determina ca in final, ele sa nu mai fie asa cum sperai.
Cu timpul iti dai seama ca in realitate, cel mai bine nu era viitorul, ci momentul pe care-l traiai exact in acel moment.
Cu timpul vei vedea ca desi te simti fericit cu cei care-ti sunt imprejur, iti vor lipsi teribil cei care mai ieri erau cu tine si acum s-au dus si nu mai sunt…
Cu timpul vei invata ca incercand sa ierti sau sa ceri iertare, sa spui ca iubesti, sa spui ca ti-e dor, sa spui ca ai nevoie, sa spui ca vrei sa fii prieten, dinaintea unui mormant, nu mai are nici un sens.
Dar din pacate, toate acestea se invata doar cu timpul…