Freitag, 27. Juni 2008

Miriam Mathabane - Miriam's Song

From the South African–born Mathabane (Kaffir Boy, 1986; African Women, 1994, etc.) comes this unsparingly graphic account of his sister's growing up in the last days of apartheid--when violence turned black townships into killing fields and schooling ceased as young Comrades insisted on liberation before education. The story told by Miriam, now studying in the US, is a searing indictment of the violence to women engendered both by apartheid and by traditional African attitudes. Both quashed human potential and aspirations, and good daughters and students like Miriam were as penalized as their more recalcitrant sisters. Born in 1969 and raised in Alexandria, a sprawling black township to the north of Johannesburg, Miriam offers vivid details of township life: the food eaten (a whole chicken was an undreamed-of luxury), the small houses (spotless despite the number of people living in them), and the ubiquitous scrawny dogs picking over the uncollected trash. She describes growing up as the middle daughter in a family made dysfunctional by circumstance. Her illiterate father, unable to find better-paying jobs, is often unemployed, drinks, gambles away their food money, and beats the children; her mother, a devout Christian, lacks the proper documentation and also has employment problems; and her elder brother steals Miriam's savings. The black schools are poorly equipped, the teachers are sadistic, and Miriam (who wants to become a nurse) soon finds her ambition thwarted by the times and by custom.

This wonderful written biography really touched my heart.
Miriam is such a strong woman. I really hope she has now found her luck and is able to live a happier life!

Mittwoch, 25. Juni 2008

EM - Soccer-Fun or (online) War of Nations?

First: Sorry, if this soccer dress really exist
. This entry won't be any offence against any team of the world. I just choosed this pic because it fits according to the topic.

Second: First I really thought to write this all in German, because it seemed to be an Austria - Germany problem. But probably it is not, so this should be written in English to compass more people.

I am not really interested in soccer. It is great that there are so many fans. It must be cool to have a favourite soccer team, to watch every game excitedly.

In my opinion simply the best team should win, no matter where the players are from and also no matter for which country they are playing. Although I can not really comprehend why people stick to a team just because it is the team of their home countries, I can understand this behavior.

But what I can't understand and what makes me really thoughtfully is that many people seem to forget that soccer is just a GAME and nothing more than that.

I do not write about hooligans (they are worth to start an own topic). I write about the many people in different online forums for example, who abuse and deride whole nations just because of soccer games.

Best example: Austria and Germany.
Did anybody really think that the Austrian team could win? I did not and it was 100% okay for me.
But many of such online forums are full of words of hate.
It reminds me of some comments at youtube, where people from all over the world fight in written form.

The obscenities are personal and inmature. People call others dumb, bad, ugly, retarded (seems to be word No. 1 at youtube...), etc.

Why is there so much hate? Are these people so bored? Don't they have any friends and family?

It seems to me that many people use the internet just to unload their frustration and anger about the cruel real world anonymously...

Like Austrians and Germans are often called Nazis at youtube (just because they dare to upload a dubbed video for example - what a crime!), they fight against each other at soccer forums (also at other forums of course).

Has this to be?

Can't we all just have fun with soccer and celebrate commonly, no matter who won?

Don't forget: If a team wins, the team has won, not the whole nation!

So do not make sport to war of nations!

The personal obscenities are just immature. There is no better or more clever nation!

We are all individuals, so there are people of each character, intelligence, etc. in each country of the whole world!

So stop this hate and enjoy soccer, youtube, etc. again as what it has meant to be: Fun for each person of the world!

The problem with war of nations occur also with the media. So Austria is the country of looking away people for example and world wide forums discuss about our bad, bad nation.

Hello? Crimes like the case Amstetten can happen in each country of the whole world and probably has already happened everywhere.
There are good and bad people in any nation of this world!
It is sad and terrible enough that such things even happen, it does not matter where they happened!

So stop nationalism, patriotism, racism and understand: we are all children of this world. The "good ones" should stick together, no matter where they are from!

Summer music V

Chiki Chaka Girls, Carribbean Storms & Pio Leiva - Chiki Chaka

Monchy & Alexandra - No es una Novela

Los Pinguos - Tierra Santa

Conny & Mauro - Vacileo

Mustafa Sandal & Gentleman - Isyankar

Panjabi MC - Mundian to Bach Ke

Gibson Brothers - Que sera mi vida

Gary Low - La Colegiala

Summer music IV

Ibrahím Ferrer - Chan Chan (one of the best songs ever!)

Ibrahím Ferrer - Candela

Gipsy Kings - Bamboleo

Gipsy Kings - Baila me

Jermaine Jackson & Pia Zadora - When the Rain begins to fall

Irene Cara - Fame

Kiss - Lick it up

Kiss - I was made for loving you

Kiss - Rock'n Roll all Night

Kiss - Shout it out loud

Javier Moro - Passion India

The Maharaja of Kapurthala, a fair and educated governor, fell in love with a young Spanish girl called Anita Delgado and made her the princess of his kingdom. Anita was scorned and alienated by the English and the Maharaja’s own family who never accepted her because her humble origins. Through photographs that she brought from India in 1925, the author reconstructs the love story that became one of the biggest scandals in English society at the time.

A very interesting book telling about the life of Anita Delgado.
There are discussions if some things did really happen. I think we can never know for sure. So it is best to see this book as a novel based on true facts, but not as biography.

Summer music III

Alphaville - Forever young

Ugly Kid Joe - Cats in the Cradle

Styx - Boat on the River

Bruce Springsteen - I am going down

Guns'n' Roses - Sweet Child of mine

Guns'n' Roses - Paradise City

Rocky Sharpe and the Replays - Rama Lama Ding Dong

The Crystals - Da Doo Doo Ron Ron

Dreamgirls - Cadillac Car (of course just until 1:53!)

Dreamgirls - Steppin' to the bad Side

Dreamgirls - Move

Aretha Franklin - Respect

Midnight Oil - Beds are burning

Summer music II

REM - The Sidewinder sleeps tonight

REM - Losing my Religion

REM - It's the End of the World

Nirvana - Smells like Teen Spirit

Elton John - Spirit in the Sky (the reason I drived a little bit too fast last Friday)

Elton John - Tiny Dancer

Chubby Checker - The Twist

Chubby Checker - Let's Twist again

Little Richard - Tutti Frutti

David Dundas - Jeans on

Olivia Newton John & John Travolta - You are the one that I want

Bee Gees - Stayin' alive

Bee Gees - Tragedy

Eddy Grant - Gimme hope Jo'anna

Alphaville - Sounds like a Melody

Summer music I

Okay, this entry (and the following entries) does not have something to do with music you commonly listen to in the summertime (by the way I have always loved to listen to Mungo Jerry's In the Summertime also on very cold days).

I am going to post some links to songs I love listening to at the moment and/or I have always loved listening to. It's summer, it is going to be a really hot summer, so the titles of this entries are Summer music.

At these times of stress and studies, music is even more important to me than in lazier times.

First I wanted to order the songs in "always loved", "make me smile", "make me think", "make me dance", genre, etc. but I found out that this is not so easy, because some songs would fit in more than one category.

So I finally decided to give you a number of my favourite alltime songs and songs, I love listening to at the moment.

Mungo Jerry - In the Summertime

Hoku - Perfect Day

George Harrison - What is Life

ABBA - Waterloo

ABBA - Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

ABBA - Does your Mother know

ABBA - Lay all your Love on me

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

Queen - I want it all

Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Around the World

Vikram Seth - A suitable Boy

Set in the post-colonial India of the 1950s, this sprawling saga involves four families--the Mehras, the Kapoors, the Chatterjis and the Khans--whose domestic crises illuminate the historical and social events of the era. Like an old-fashioned soap opera (or a Bombay talkie), the multi-charactered plot pits mothers against daughters, fathers against sons, Hindus against Muslims and small farmers against greedy landowners facing government-ordered dispossession. The story revolves around independent-minded Lata Mehra: Will she defy the stern order of her widowed upper-caste Hindu mother by marrying the Muslim youth she loves? The search for Lata's husband expands into a richly detailed and exotically vivid narrative that crisscrosses the fabric of India. Seth's panoramic scenes take the reader into law courts, religious processions, bloody riots, academia--even the shoe trade. Portraits of actual figures are incisive; the cameo of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, for example, captures his high-minded, well-meaning indecision.

With more than 1900 pages this was the greatest tome I have ever read.
Because of my studies I was not able to read it within a short time (this is really possible, I am sure). This wonderful novel, the many interesting and authentic characters accompanied me through months. When I finally finished the book, I really started missing the persons.
Seth's novel is unique written. I became curious about it, and finally bought it, because wonderful author Sharon Maas (Of Marriageable Age) told at her homepage that she loves Seth's book.
I have to say, this is not just a novel. It is a journey. The characters not only accompanied me, I also accompanied them. It was interesting to see them grow in such an authentic way. First I could not understand Lata's decision in the end, but after thinking about it, it was the right decision for her.
I have never read a book telling about the lifes of so many people. It was such a great experience. Each person was described wonderful and I was looking forward to each storyline.
The novel not only tells about realistic characters, also about the Indian culture, history and politics. The last one was maybe a bit too much presented, but that is a matter of taste. Politics were so important to understand the background of some of the storylines, so they could not have missed.
After writing so much I only have to say: If you love authentic family sagas and India you really have to read this novel. Let Mrs. Rupa Mehra, Maan, Lata, Malati, Firoz and the many others in your life!

Dienstag, 26. Februar 2008

Wien ist Gender Mainstreaming

Gehört habe ich schon länger von diesen Neuerungen, bewusst fielen sie mir jedoch erst gesammelt auf einem Plakat auf einer Klotür meines Arbeitsplatzes auf. Da ich keine Zeitung bei mir hatte, entschloss ich mich die Bilder und Schriften näher zu betrachten. Dabei gingen mir mehrere Dinge durch den Kopf.

Frühere feministische Bewegungen waren sehr wichtig und strebten die Dinge von der richtigen Seite aus an. Es wurde sehr viel erreicht und ich bin den Frauen dankbar dafür, dass ich heute so viele Möglichkeiten habe.

Es ist wichtig für Gleichberechtigung zu kämpfen. Jeder Mensch, unabhängig seines Geschlechts, seiner Herkunft, seiner Religion oder ähnlichem sollte die gleichen Möglichkeiten erhalten. Am Arbeitsmarkt sollten zum Beispiel einzig die Leistungen zählen, die ein Mensch hervorbringt. Ich bin also sowohl gegen automatische Bevorzung von Männern, noch von Frauen. Man erreicht Frieden meiner Meinung nach nicht, wenn plötzlich eine andere Gruppe bevorzugt bzw. benachteiligt würde.

Mir fielen die Änderungen extrem radikal denkender FeministInnen vor allem während meines ersten Semesters an der Universität auf, in welchem wir plötzlich dazu aufgefordert wurden, doch bitte künftig StudentInnen statt Studenten zu schreiben. Später galt ein Vergessen dieser Regel bei vielen ProfessorInnen als schwerer Verstoß, Arbeiten wurden schlechter benotet.
Nicht nur, dass diese neue Schreibweise den Lesefluss stört, sie bewirkte bei vielen Vortragenden außerdem eine Benachteiligung meiner männlichen Kollegen, da sie das "I" unzureichend betonten.
Dieser Hype um das "In" führte bei vielen Seminarsarbeiten schreibenden StudentInnen, mir eingeschlossen, oftmals zu dem kurzen panischen Gedanken, ob Wörter wie Mitglied nicht vielleicht doch eine weibliche Form haben könnten.

Nun gut, nun scheinen, zumindest in wissenschaftlichen Arbeiten, also beide Geschlechter auf. Was hat sich dadurch für die österreichischen Frauen wirklich geändert? Wenn eine Freundin im Alltagsslang sagt "Ich muss heut zum Arzt." stelle ich mir noch immer ein geschlechtsloses Individum in weißem Kittel (vielleicht sollte man an solchen Stereotypen arbeiten) vor und keinen Mann, es sei denn ich weiß, dass ihr(e) Arzt/Ärztin ein Mann ist.

Was bringen uns nun diese Schilder?
Ich fühle mich diskriminierter denn je, da ich weder den Rock und die Stiefel vom zweiten Bild, noch die - in Vergleich zu meinen - kurzen Haare vom ersten Bild trage.

Frauen werden also jetzt auch auf Plakate dagestellt? Das impliziert aber nun folgendes: Erstens schauen Männer also aus wie figurlose Strichmännchen und zweitens definieren sich Frauen offenbar über Rock, Stiefeln und eine bestimmte Haarlänge.

Gut, schön. Wie weit soll das noch gehen? Kommen bald extra Schilder für Kinder, ältere Menschen, Übergewichtige, Untergewichtige, BrillenträgerInnen, RaucherInnen, etc.?
Fühlen sich tatsächlich mehr Personen durch diese Abbildungen angesprochen oder fühlen sie sich vielleicht nicht sogar mehr in bestimmte Schablonen gepresst? Müsste man nicht jedes einzelne Individuum der Welt darstellen, wenn man es schon richtig machen will? Woher bekommt man so viel Papier? Werden unsere Wälder ausreichen?

Meiner Meinung nach gibt es nichts Geschlechtsloseres als ein Strichmännchen. Ich kann an diesem weder etwas Männliches noch etwas Weibliches entdecken.
Zudem muss man sich nicht an jeder Kleinigkeit aufhängen, sondern sollte sich zuerst einmal auf die wirklich problematischen Dinge in unserer Gesellschaft konzentrieren. Es gibt noch genügend Schwierigkeiten, welcher man Herr/Frau werden muss, ehe man sich Schildern zuwendet.

Möglicherweise war es ein Versuch die Gesellschaft zu verändern, aber ich denke nicht, dass das der richtige Weg ist.

Es muss andere Möglichkeiten geben, Menschen darauf aufmerksam zu machen, dass wir alle Individuen sind, welche in überhaupt keine Schublade gesteckt werden sollten, da es gar nicht so viele Schubladen geben kann.

Stereotypisierungen, Kategorisierungen und Klassifizierungen schaden doch nur den freidenkenden, rationalen Geist!

Diese Art radikaler Feminismus wirkt meiner Meinung nach einfach nur lächerlich und übertrieben, und ist sicherlich zumindest teilweise für den schlechten und verspottenden Ruf verantwortlich. Das Schlimmste ist, dass Unwissende die rational denkenden FeministInnen nun mit den radikalen über einen Kamm scheren.

Erinnern wir uns doch, worum es einst ging und noch immer gehen sollte, und gehen die Probleme wirklich an.

Gleichberechtigung, Gleichwertigkeit, Freiheit für jedes Individuum.
Lasst uns die Menschen als Menschen betrachten, nicht als Angehörige bestimmter Schubladengruppen.

Ich weiß, dass ich mit diesem kleinen Artikel womöglich mancherorts anecke, deshalb wiederhole ich: Ich möchte niemanden missionieren, sondern lediglich meine persönliche Meinung als Denkanstoß darlegen.

Freitag, 22. Februar 2008

Eric Walz - Die Herrin der Päpste

Es ist der Weihnachtstag im Jahr des Herrn 963. In der Engelsburg zu Rom steht eine der mächtigsten Frauen des Jahrhunderts vor Gericht: Marocia, Senatrix von Rom und hochbetagte Großmutter des derzeitigen Papstes Johannes XII. Angeklagt wegen Hochverrats am Heiligen Römischen Reich vom kaiserlichen Prokurator Liudprand, Bischof von Cremona…

Der Prozess ist Anlass, den außergewöhnlichen Lebensweg der Senatrix zu verfolgen. Als Sechzehnjährige wird sie von ihrer ehrgeizigen Mutter als Geliebte des Papstes Sergius III. in den Lateran geschickt. An diesem Tag schwört sich Marocia etwas, das kaum eine andere Frau zu ihrer Zeit wagte – selbst mächtig zu werden, um nicht länger eine Spielfigur der Mächtigen zu sein. Es ist der Beginn eines an Licht und Schatten reichen Lebens: Von ihrer furchtbaren ersten Ehe mit Herzog Alberic von Spoleto bis zur Begegnung mit Lando, ihrer großen Liebe, von den gefährlichen Feldzügen gegen ihre Kontrahenten – zu denen auch ihre eigene Mutter gehört – bis zu ihrer spektakulären zweiten Ehe, die sie endgütig zur Herrin der Ewigen Stadt macht. Als Marocia über 90-jährig im Kloster stirbt, war sie Geliebte, Mutter und Großmutter je eines Papstes, hat drei Ehemänner und vier ihrer fünf Kinder überlebt, hat persönliche und politische Triumphe gefeiert und acht Jahre Gefangenschaft überstanden. Mutig, raffiniert und voll Leidenschaft verteidigte sie stets ihre Unabhängigkeit und machte Rom zu einer aufblühenden Metropole. Fast ein ganzes Jahrhundert – der Niedergang der byzantinischen Macht in Italien und der Aufstieg des deutschen Monarchen Otto I. – spiegelt sich in ihrem faszinierenden Schicksal.

Genial, fesselnd, spannend. Ein wunderbarer historischer Roman, welchen ich nur wärmstens weiter empfehlen kann.

Rebecca Gable - Der König der purpurnen Stadt

London im Jahr 1330: Der achtzehnjährige Jonah hat kein leichtes Leben als Lehrjunge im Haushalt seines trunksüchtigen Cousins, des Tuchhändlers Rupert Hillock. Einzig seine Großmutter Cecilia schenkt ihrem verwaisten Enkel ein wenig von der Zuneigung, die der verschlossene Junge braucht. Doch eine Begegnung mit dem jungen König Edward und Königin Philippa lenkt Jonahs Schicksal in neue Bahnen. Als jüngstes Mitglied ihrer Geschichte findet er Aufnahme in der elitären Londoner Tuchhändlergilde, und gemeinsam mit Königin Philippa revolutioniert er die englische Tuchproduktion. Aber je größer sein Erfolg, desto heimtückischer werden die Intrigen seiner Neider und Widersacher, allen voran seines Cousins Rupert, und Jonahs Schwäche für Frauen - vor allem für die Königin - macht ihn verwundbar. Als der Hundertjährige Krieg ausbricht, gelangt Jonah als Bankier der Krone dennoch zu Reichtum und politischem Einfluss. Doch der alte Adel betrachtet die neue Macht der Kaufleute mit Missgunst, und der ungestüme König Edward führt die Seinen nicht nur in finanzielle Wagnisse ...

Ein weiteres großes Werk Rebecca Gables, welche ihre Charaktere erneut zu Menschen aus Fleisch und Blut werden lässt.

Rebecca Gable - Das zweite Königreich

England 1064: Ein Piratenüberfall setzt der unbeschwerten Kindheit des jungen Cædmon of Helmsby ein jähes Ende – ein Pfeil verletzt ihn so schwer, dass er zum Krüppel wird. Sein Vater schiebt ihn ab und schickt ihn in die normannische Heimat seiner Mutter. Zwei Jahre später kehrt Cædmon mit Herzog William und dessen Eroberungsheer zurück. Nach der Schlacht von Hastings und Williams Krönung gerät Cædmon in eine Schlüsselposition, die er niemals wollte: Er wird zum Mittler zwischen Eroberern und Besiegten. In dieser Rolle schafft er sich erbitterte Feinde, doch er hat das Ohr des despotischen, oft grausamen Königs. Bis zu dem Tag, an dem William erfährt, wer die normannische Dame ist, die Cædmon liebt ...

Da ich mich schon immer sehr für die Zeit Englands unter der Normannenherrschaft interessiert habe, fesselte mich dieses Buch sogar noch mehr als die anderen der Autorin. Besonders gefiel mir die Charakterisierung Williams I. Er wurde weder glorifiziert noch als durchgehend böse dargestellt, sondern einfach als Mensch mit guten und schlechten Zügen. Doch diese realistische Beschreibung von Charakteren ist so wunderbar typisch für Rebecca Gable. Selbst ihre fiktiven Hauptpersonen sind niemals perfekt und werden dadurch glaubwürdig und authentisch.

Rebecca Gable - Das Lächeln der Fortuna

England 1360: Nach dem Tod seines Vaters, des wegen Hochverrats angeklagten Earl of Waringham, zählt der zwölfjährige Robin zu den Besitzlosen und ist der Willkür der Obrigkeit ausgesetzt. Besonders Mortimer, der Sohn des neuen Earls, schikaniert Robin, wo er kann. Zwischen den Jungen erwächst eine tödliche Feindschaft. Aber Robin geht seinen Weg, der ihn schließlich zurück in die Welt von Hof, Adel und Ritterschaft führt. An der Seite des charismatischen Duke of Lancaster erlebt er Feldzüge, Aufstände und politische Triumphe - und begegnet Frauen, die ebenso schön wie gefährlich sind. Doch das Rad der Fortuna dreht sich unaufhörlich, und während ein junger, unfähiger König England ins Verderben zu reißen droht, steht Robin plötzlich wieder seinem alten Todfeind gegenüber ...

Das Lächeln der Fortuna
war das erste Buch von Rebecca Gable, das ich gelesen habe. Ich kann es, genauso wie jeden anderen Roman der brillianten Autorin, jedem weiterempfehlen, der gerne sehr gut recherchierte historische Romane mit authentischen Charakteren und flüssiger sowie spannender Storyline liest.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - Sister Of My Heart

Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite these differences, since the day the two girls were born—the same day their fathers died, mysteriously and violently—Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates, as well as their hearts, are merged.
When Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is threatened. For the first time in their lives, the girls know what it is to feel suspicion and distrust—Sudha, because she feels a new shame that she cannot share with Anju; and Anju, because she discovers the seductive power of her sister’s beauty, a power Sudha herself is incapable of controlling. When, due to a change in family fortune, the girls are urged into arranged marriages, their lives take opposite turns. One travels to America, and one remains in India; both have lives of secrets. When tragedy strikes both of them, however, they discover that, despite distance and marriage, they must turn to each other once again.

A real good novel with authentic characters and a very interesting storyline. In my opinion this is the best book of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni I have ever read.
But the author should have ended the wonderful story after this first book. The ending was kind of open, but it was a good and realistic ending although.

Sharon Maas - Of Marriageable Age

An orphan boy adopted by an English doctor, living near Madras, in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu: Nataraj.
A headstrong teenager, daughter of an Indian lawyer in Georgetown, British Guiana: Sarojini.
Back in Madras, earlier, a cook's daughter, of Brahmin descent but a servant girl in an affluent English family: Savitri.
And a cast of colorful supporting characters: a strong-minded but utterly fallible and therefore most ‘human’ father; several brothers, one mean-spirited, one good-natured but weak, and another one, in another family, loving and mischievous; a willful girlfriend with a penchant for the arts; a mother at times more feminist politician than mom; a busybody mother with a constant need to organize, control and meddle; and last but not least, a wise and patient teacher.
Sprinkle this mixture generously with compassion, humor, love in all its incarnations and that profound understanding of the Indian society which only comes from personal experience; then add the author's personal secret touch.
These are the ingredients of the literary feast offered to the reader in Sharon Maas's debut novel Of Marriageable Age, bringing together the imaginative powers of a born storyteller with a lifetime's worth of personal experience. And like an Indian meal, her novel is rich in flavors, slowly and skillfully blending a myriad of exquisite parts into a perfectly tempered composition, leaving enough room for each ingredient to develop its full perfume while at the same time creating a new, perfectly composed oeuvre of its own.

This wonderful, unique book was one of the best, and probably even the best, I have ever read. The author has an incredible and incomparable writting style, the characters of the novel are authentic and wonderful described.

Mary Higgins Clark - All Around the Town

When Laurie Kenyon, a twenty-one-year-old student, is accused of murdering her English professor, she has no memory of the crime. Her fingerprints, however, are everywhere. When she asks her sister, attorney Sarah, to mount her defense, Sarah in turn brings in psychiatrist Justin Donnelly. Kidnapped at the age of four and victimized for two years, Laurie has developed astounding coping skills. Only when the unbearable memories of those lost years are released can the truth of the crime come out -- and only then can the final sadistic plan of her abductor, whose obsession is stronger than ever, be revealed.

I read this book some years ago and I have to say that it is still one of the best novels of the Queen of Crime.

Jeanne Kalogridis - The Borgia Bride

Against the backdrop of 15th-century Italian internecine feuds, debauchery and Vatican corruption, Kalogridis's latest historical novel (after The Burning Times) chronicles with compelling sweep the story of the ravishing and iron-willed Sancha de Aragon, princess of Naples. Illegitimate daughter to the coldhearted duke of Calabria (briefly king of Naples), she is used to establish ties to the feared and influential House of Borgia when her father betroths her to the younger scion, Jofre. Much to the dismay of her beloved younger brother Alfonso, Sancha is sent from Naples to rule with Prince Jofre in remote Squillace. War with the French will later briefly return her to Naples, but rumors of her beauty reach her lecherous father-in-law, Pope Alexander VI, who recalls her and Jofre to opulent Rome. There, she avoids the pope's advances—and her jealous sister-in-law Lucrezia's animosity—but falls into a steamy affair with her brother-in-law, the dashing Cesare, cardinal of Valencia. Cesare becomes furious when she refuses to leave Jofre, and he sets out on a warpath that includes her brother Alfonso, who has also married into the Borgia clan—to Lucrezia. Kalogridis spins a dramatic tale from a heady mix of royal power plays and passion.

In my opinion The Borgia Bride is a really great and also believable book. Fantasting written, exciting and shocking.
For some people the plot maybe sounds a bit cheesy, but the novel isn't, promised.


Reading is another passion of me. I love to submerge in the world of a book. If I have enough time and a novel which touch and grip me, I spend nearly whole days just reading. In my opinion reading is so much better that watching TV, because the movies in your mind are the best ones.

I love many kinds of books, as with music, they have to touch me in some way.
Generally I prefer historical novels, but I mean really historical ones with a at least almost authentic storyline. I do not like cheesy fictitous love stories of kings and countesses. What I really love are middle age novels which are set in England. Rebecca Gable is a very great author of such stories. Sad that her wonderful novels seem to be only avaible in German. I hope that they will be translated soon.
I also love thrillers and books which tell me something of different countries, cultures and religions. I also like family sagas, but they should have an interesting background.

Some of the following entries will describe some of my favourite books, in no particular order. Because I am really bad at plot writing and would probably tell you too much, I use the descriptions of,, and the official homepages of the authors.

Sonntag, 27. Januar 2008

We Will Rock You

WOW...I saw this masterpiece yesterday at Raimund Theater in Vienna and I am still speechless!

Incredible artists and stage design, amazing music and show. Fanstastic story and message, and a wonderful homage to great Freddie Mercury.

I am not able to find the right words to describe this unique musical, I just can tell that it is my favourite. I have never seen a comparable show.

The homepage for more infos:

Mittwoch, 23. Januar 2008

Capturing Memories of Crete and Santorini

Photographing is another passion of me. Of course it could never replace real, personal memories, which are coming from the heart, but they can support them in some way.

I have always loved to photograph. I would not say I am really good, but it fills my heart with joy and this is the most important.

Below you see some few of my "captured memories" of our past vacation in Crete and our day trip to Santorini. More will follow.

Some Words to my Beloved Ones

I would like to thank all the lovely people who are always there for me.

My family, especially my mother and sister.

My boyfriend, whom I love with all my heart.

My wonderful friends. I would not like to lose anyone of you.

And all other people who give me so much every day.

I love you all and I am glad that you are part of my life!

Dienstag, 22. Januar 2008


Thinking about our society often makes me very sad.

What's up with this world?

Why is there so much hate, envy, violence and coldness? Why there are so many people just living for their personal well being?

"Values" of today's society seem to be richness, success in job and a body which would be described as perfect by the media.

Material things are much too overrated these days. Many people forgot that they can't make them really happy.

We should aim at a more human society. Human beings should be taken as more important. Values should be peace, loyalty, friendliness, respect, fairness, openness, helpfulness, honesty, liberality, freedom, tolerance, acceptance, equality and equation.

Each human being should have the same rights, the same chances to live a healthy, good life. It is clear that not everybody can earn exactly the same, that would be unfair. But the minimum wage should be high enough to be able to do more than just to survive.

Another problem of this society is the constraint of so many people to deploy classifications, stereotypes and categorizations. We must not judge and also adjudge a person before knowing him or her. Persons should be judged because of their individual character. And the personality developed from many factors, like education, the social environment, personal experiences and others. You can't tell something about a person's character just because of his or her gender, age, origin, culture, religion or color of the skin. We are all individual human beings with a complex personality. It would be too easy to explain characters just because of some few facts you know about them.

Live and let live should be another value. Each human being should have the right to believe in and do whatever he or she wants to, as long as he or she doesn't harm him/herself or other people.

I do not want to proselytize anyone. I just want to give some of my personal thoughts of making a bit better and more peaceful world.


Music is another passion of me. I love listening to music, it makes me happy, relaxed, excited and sometimes also meditative.

I love different kinds of music. Mostly it denpends on my mood what I am listening to. I could not really say this or that is my favourite style or artist. I like so many styles and so many artists. But I do not like all songs from certain artists or styles. I am a bit complicated *g*

Generally I love rock from the 50s, 60s and 70s very much. In my opinion music was still music in these decades. Today there are to many wanna-be artists, who do not have any talent but although sell CDs...

But I would not say that there are just bad artists today and there where just good ones in earlier decades. Although I think that there were more good ones in the "good old time".

I love rock generally, also newer one. I also like punk, classic and hard rock.
There are also many great metal, rap, hip hop and gothic songs. I also like some RnB sounds and others I could not really allocate to a certain music style.

I really, really love latin music, of course. I love Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and others. There are so many fantastic latin american artists I love listening to.

I also love many songs of this so called "world music". I have some samplers from Putumayo, they are really great. Have a look at the nice page:

Sometimes I also love to listen to oriental music. But I have to admit that I do not know many songs yet.

So, after reading that you have to think "Oh my Goodness..." (or similar)"... she is listening to everything! Give me back my two minutes!" (sorry I can't)
Yeah, it really seems so, but it is not. A song has to touch me in a certain way. If it does not touch me, it is not worth listening again to me.

For example I can't do anything with this typical Austrian radio charts. There are just a few nice (not more) songs, the others are just well marketed cruel melodys of selected bands or winners (or also runner-ups) of strange talent shows.

I really can't understand, that there are people who answer the question what music they like proud with "I am listening to radio charts". Maybe in other coutries you still find real artists in the charts, and not mainly marketed ones, but in Austria music seems to have died some time ago.

But that all is just my personal opinion. It is a matter of taste and luckily tastes are different. How boring if we all would listen to the same song, wear the same clothes, drive the same car. Let's just be individual and free.


One of my passions is travelling. I love to get to know different countries and cultures.

Until now I haven't seen many countries, as you see above, but I hope to visit many, many, many more in the future.

I love Latin America, so it is one of my dreams to visit the countries of Central and South America one day. I could also imagine to stay there for a time (or even longer ;) - time will show) to work there.

I would also love to visit many other countries, like Arabia, Australia, Egypt, Finland, India, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Turkey and USA for example.

Postcrossing Forum

There is also a Postcrossing Forum to send unoffical cards in the course of tags, trades, RRs or others. You can find it here:

Trough this forum I have got to know some very nice people from all over the world. Postcrossing is also a great way to find penpals.

Above I posted a map of official and unofficial received cards during my year and three months at Postcrossing.


Postcrossing is one of my hobbys.I love it, because it is a great way to get to know different people of all ages, countries and cultures.

Here you find some information about the great project:

Blog Language

As you have certainly already noticed, my English is out of praxis, but I hope it will become better soon.

For this reason not all entries will be in English. I will post some in my mother tongue German and maybe also in my "learning language" Spanish.

Only Paradise - The Blog Adress

So why this adress?

I choosed it for two reasons.

First, each of the six or seven adresses I really tried were already used.

Second, after trying some other crazy adresses I noticed that this could be nice.

I think most of us are looking for the personal paradise. But sometimes we look for it at wrong places. I think you can find your paradise everywhere in this world. It doesn't depend on your living place, your income or similar things. It does depend on the love you have to give and the people in your life.

So enjoy your life, take time for your beloved ones and make the best of every day.