Tue, 27 May 2008
Believe it or not, the esteemed poet Pablo Neruda once called Isabel Allende "the worst journalist he had ever met..." This was because she had the affrontery to try and write his memoirs. Nevertheless, today Allende is the author of over a dozen books and memoirs of her own which together have sold fifty-one million copies.
Allende started the Isabel Allende Foundation on December 9, 1996 to pay homage to her daughter, Paula Frías Allende who experienced a coma after complications of the disease porphyria placed her on a hospital bed. Paula was only twenty-eight years old when she died in 1992. The foundation is "dedicated to supporting programs that promote and preserve the fundamental rights of women and children to be empowered and protected.
Wed, 21 May 2008
Joseph Needham and 'The Needham Question'. Well, the subject caused the most tremendous brouhaha in The New York Times last week (Simon Winchester, New York Times, Op Ed, May 15th, 2008). I can only think those who responded with such vitriol to Winchester knew absolutely nothing at all about Winchester and his work, nor anything about the subject of his new book. In this latest opus, the award-winning Foreign Correspondent, Simon Winchester returns with the remarkable story of the growth of a great nation, China, and the eccentric and adventurous scientist who defined its essence for the world in his multi-volume opus, 'Science and Civilization in China'.
In an interview with Claudia Cragg, Winchester relates how most of us know that the Chinese invented a great variety of objects and devices long before they were known of in the West. Not simply famous things like gunpowder and paper, but also harnesses for horses which had a huge effect on the West when they arrived.