Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was a British author and poet, born in India.

A great Victorian, a great writer of Empire, a great man. Rudyard Kipling was one of the most popular writers of prose and poetry in the late 19th and 20th Century.

Whilst he is best remembered for his classic children's stories and his popular poem 'If...' he is also regarded as a major innovator in the art of the short story

Nobel Prize in Literature - 1907.

Notable works:

In Black and White: "If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten” - Amazon, Alibris, BetterworldBooks, eBooks

If —  - Amazon (CD), Kindle, Alibris, BetterworldBooks, Walmart-audiobook

Books for children: The Jungle Book, Just So Stories, Captains Courageous, Kim ...

One of my favorite poems

IF-

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

The three cedar trees

This is a story I love very much, written by Paulo Coelho as I remember it.

   An ancient legend tells how three cedar trees were grown up in the beautiful forests. The cedars grow very slowly, so these three trees have spent centuries thinking about life and death, nature and people.

   One day the three cedars decided to talk about their future and their dreams.

– After all I have seen – said the first tree – I wish to be made into the throne of the most powerful king on Earth.

– I’d like to be part of something that turns Evil to Good forever – commented the second.

– Myself, I’d like it if every time someone looked at me, they thought of God – replied the third.

  More time passed, and some woodcutters came. They cut down the cedar trees and cut them into timber. Each of those trees had a wish, but reality never asks what to do with dreams;

   Thus, they made a barn from the first cedar tree, and from their remnants of wood they chained a small manger. From the second tree, they assembled a rough country table, which they later sold to a furniture tradesman. The trees from the third tree failed to sell. They were cut into boards and stored in a warehouse in a nearby town. Cedar trees bitterly murmured against their fate: "Our wood was so good, and no one found anything fine to use it for..." they complained.

   Once, on a starry night, a married couple, seeking shelter until the morning, decided to spend the night in a barn built from the wood of the first cedar. The woman was before birth. That night she gave birth to her son and put him in a manger on soft hay. Just then, the first tree understood that his dream had come true: that this was the greatest king on Earth!

   Years later, in a modest farmhouse, people sat beside a table made by the wood of a second cedar tree. Before they started eating, one of them spoke a few words before the bread and wine that were on the table ... And then the second cedar realized: In the same instant he served as a pillar not only of the glass of wine and the plate of bread, but the union between man and Divinity!

  The next day, two pieces of the third tree were taken and assembled to form a cross. It was left to one side, until, hours later, a cruelly beaten man was brought in and nailed to the wood. Seeing what was happening, the third cedar was horrified by his fate. But not three days had passed, and he understood what had been destined for him: The man who nailed there was now the Light which illuminated all around. The cross made from its wood was now no longer a symbol of torture, but became a sign of victory.

 As always with DREAMS, the three cedar trees had fulfilled the destiny they DESIRED – but NOT in the way they IMAGINED.

 

Paulo Coelho de Souza (born 24 August 1947) is a Brazilian novelist. Published in over 100 countries, translated into 42 different languages, with over 21 million copies of his books sold internationally, Paulo Coelho can truly claim to be one of the most popular writers in the world.

I have read several of his books - "The Alchemist", "Eleven Minutes" (CD here), "The Zahir" (CD here), "The Fifth Mountain" and "The Winner Stands Alone" - and I like them all very much.

The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

International Delivery Available: Amazon, Alibris (CD - Read by Samuel West), BetterWorldBooks

ebook: eBooks, Walmart (audiobook: Narrated by Jeremy Irons)

Jane Austen, (1775 - 1817) was English writer who vividly depicted English middle-class life during the early 19th century. Her novels defined the era’s novel of manners, but they also became timeless classics that remained critical and popular successes two centuries after her death.

She has written six novels: "Sense and Sensibility", "Pride and Prejudice", "Mansfield Park", "Emma", "Persuasion", "Northanger Abbey".

Of course, I've read all of them a few times.

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

International Delivery Available: Amazon, Alibris (CD - Performed by Rosamund Pike), BetterWorldBooks (CD - Read by Josephine Bailey)  ebook: eBooks, Walmart (all books)  (audiobook: Narrated by Rosalyn Landor)

Favorite quotes from the book I have read more than ten times:

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

“The distance is nothing when one has a motive.”

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” 

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”

 

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator and writer who looked at adventure and danger with a poet’s eyes. His book Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) has become a modern classic.

The Little Prince

by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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ebook: eBooks, Walmart (audiobook: Narrated by Kelli Winkler)

ANOTHER REMARKABLE BOOK - The Little Prince

So small book, and so great thoughts in it!  My favorite quotes:

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“I know a planet inhabited by a red faced gentleman. He’s never smelled a flower. He’s never looked at a star, He’s never loved anyone. He’s never done anything except add up numbers. And all day long he says over and over, just like you, ‘I’m a serious man! I’m a serious man!’ And that puffs him up with pride. But he’s not a man at all-He’s a mushroom!”

“Certainly. When you find a diamond that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you discover an island that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you get an idea before any one else, you take out a patent on it: it is yours. So with me: I own the stars, because nobody else before me ever thought of owning them.”

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Nelle Harper Lee (1926 – 2016) was an American novelist best known for her 1960 novel "To Kill a Mockingbird".

It won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" (CD) has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

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ebook: eBooks, Walmart (audiobook: Narrated by Sissy Spacek)

This is a book I have read a long time ago. I was so impressed - it has stayed with me all these years. Here are some quotes that come with me throughout my life:

Things are never as bad as they seem.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.

People don’t like to have somebody knowing more than they do. It aggravates them.

You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fightin’ with your head for a change.

People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for.

There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep ’em all away from you. That’s never possible.

Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

 

 

 

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