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Books! Books! Books!

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Jan Jan | 18:43 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Hi dear friends!

Remembering my promise, today I'm going to tell you about the books, which deeply affected on me. I like reading indeed! I think my mom is guilty of it! Just joking! I am very much obliged to her! During all of my life books were my best friends, advisers and teachers. Moreover, my muse!

On schooldays I had been reading a lot! Like everywhere, we had the compulsory program of literature lesson, included Russian and foreign classical books. And my mom has got a huge library at home! Every time I began every next work of writing art, I was absorbed in another world. During the time I was reading, I was living among the heroes of the book. I smiled and cried with them, thought of them and analyzed their decisions and actions.

My inward life changed after I'd read «A hero of our time» by the genius of Russian literature, Mikhail Lermontov. In this book he describes the life of a rich young man from St. Petersburg, who despises a high-society. He is against the world. And he diecided to run away, traveling. Naturally, he was trying to run from himself. It's amazing, that after I'd finished the book, I still couldn't find out the character of Pechorin, the main hero. He is the real mystery! There is something about fatality and destiny of our lives in «A hero of our time» . It was my reference book for a long time. Sometimes It seems to me that I'm trying to follow Pechorin somehow.

As to foreign books, my favorite was «The Forsyte Saga» by John Galsworthy. I learned a lot from it. It was summer time, when I was carried away by reading of the great story of Farsytes. It's captivating to follow someone's life from the beginning to the end! Moreover, several generations!

After reading novels by Russian writer Ivan Bunin, I started writing my own short stories. His style inspired me. He describes every one thing in every detail! He has very sensory descriptions of nature. With each of his word you begin to imagine and feel the atmosphere of his novel. And through the nature you understand the mood of his heroes. I think, you can notice his influence on me.

By teenager I was fond of Erich Maria Remarque. I've read it all. And I am in love with his every work. They are so passionate and lively! Generally dramatic, his novels carry an important message and a deep sense. Life is precious and true love is endless! The first thing I've read was «Three comrades». It opened my heart to love. What can I say, I'm very romantic personality!

There are the books, which appeared in the difficult moments and helped me. For example, my professional activity implies a high level of responsibility. And if you aren't prepared for it psychologically, it can depress you. Dale Carnegie with his «How to stop worrying and start living» was exactly the right thing on the right place. His method is very helpful, easy understandable and usable.

When I'd risen in my work, there was a pressing need to upgrade my business knowledge and skills. One of my good friends recommended me a book by Neil Rackham. It was «The SPIN». This book is about successful sales. But it isn't about retail trade like the salesman from Oriflamme do, for example. It tells about the sales of the projects with huge budgets and post return on investments. It must be admitted that the book helped me not only in business career, but also in my private life. I've learned from it how to present myself, the most precious good I've ever sold!

Honestly, I had been thinking about my own business. I've got different ides. For example, I'd made the business plans for Russian restaurant in Sofia and elite travel company. After I'd read "E-Myth" by Michael Gerber, I decided to store more experience and then act. I reconsidered my attitude to the idea of entrepreneurship. For good!

After my familiarity with the book by Paulo Coelho «The Pilgrimage», I decided to learn Spanish. When I'll feel that my Spanish is fluent, I'd wish to follow Coelho's way across Northern Spain on the Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela. This is my next dream!

And the last book I'm going to tell you about is «Atlas Shrugged» by Ayn Rand. She is a Russian novelist, who lived the most time of her life in America. The story is a capitalist utopia. I think it could be an economic tutorial for any ages. Rand tells a breathtaking story about the lives of the movers and shakers, and at the same time she explains the basic rules of capitalist society. In my opinion, this book is from the category must-read!

As you see, I've always been keenly interested in books. Let's talk about your favorite one! I'd ask you to share your experience! It must be useful for all of us, don't you think?!

Friendly greetings,



  • Comment number 1.

    Hi, Jan! I've been following your blog from the very beginning (and I should say I admire your style of writing and especially your optimistic character and your single-mindedness)but it's the first time I've decided to write because the theme is so precious to me. At school I read almost all compulsory books and of course I read books that were not included in the school programme. I absolutely agree with you that Lermontov's "A hero of our time" is amazing (I'm Russian by the way). Though Lermontov is my favourite poet I like his prose even better than his poetry and I wish he had had enough time to write another novel. Mikhail Bulgakov's "The white guard" is really worth reading. The atmosphere of the book is enchanting thanks to the fanciful style (but unfortunately this very style makes it a little difficult to read the book and some people don't read it to the end). Though Bulgakov is more known for his "The Master and Margarita" I didn't find it that interesting (maybe it's due to the fact that I had to read more than four hundred pages in two days). For those who like serious literature I recommend Dostoevsky's first novel "Poor folk". It's not as long as "Crime and punishment" or "The Idiot" but it's really moving.
    Two years ago I discovered the Japanese writer Ryunoske Akutagawa. What I like about his style of writing is that he never imposes his opinion on you. His short stories are uncommon and captivating. Read "The handkerchief" or "Spinning gears" (my favourite ones) and you'll probably want to read more.
    Last summer I read "The unbearable lightness of being" written by Milan Kundera, a writer of Czech origin. As the name of the book suggests, it's a philosophic novel about the meaning of life. I found it intersting and easy to read.
    "Gone with the wind" is one of the greatest books I've ever read. I know that many people think it's a banal love-story novel but I'm not going to change my opinion of it. Besides, Margaret Mitchell managed to create the most magnetic male character Rhett Buttler. Of course it's my point of view and I don't impose it on anyone. I read this novel when my English was rather poor and I did it in Russian. This summer I'm going to reread it but this time in English.
    I'm looking forward to your next posts and interesting themes.
    Best wishes!

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi, Jan! I am new here. I am from Surabaya, Indonesia.
    I think your writing is nice. I like reading books also.
    Most are novel / fiction. And, the book I love the most is THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint Exupéry. I like it so much.

    I was even crying when I read that the little prince died.
    But, I learn good thing from the story. When the little prince realized that his ROSE, the one and only ROSE which he take cares everyday, is special. Even there are many other roses in anther planet, with the same look, same shapes, same color, but his rose is special. Because he shower it everyday, clean it, talk to it, and protect it from the sun, or storm.

    And I learn hat ONE thing we have, has special meaning for us. Even though that ONE thing perhaps seems so annoying and disturbing, but in the end, we will find that it is special. Yes, we never know how special and important people/ something surround us is, until we leave it, or he/she/ it leaves us, or we have to loose it because of something.

    Well, Jan. To be honest, I never heard about the books you mentioned. But it makes me curious anyway :)
    I will try to find out here in a bookstore in Surabaya.
    But if only I couldn't find it, perhaps I need to go to Singapore hehehe...

    Nice to read your blog, Jan. Good work!!

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi, Jan. I like reading too. I read a lot. I like different books. When I was a child my favorite book was "Myths of ancient Greece". This book made me feel the atmosphere of another country and another culture. May be because of it I started learning foreign languages.
    Another my favorite book is "To kill a mockingbird" by Harper Lee. This book will be interesting for people who want to know about the American society at the beginning of twentieth century. And I really like books where main characters are children. I think it helps you to understand this world in another way.
    Actually and now I'm reading a book where the main characters are children, this is "The Secret Garden" by FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT.
    Thanks for your interesting theme.
    Best wishes.

  • Comment number 4.

    Warsaw, 2010.06.16
    Hello Jan and Everyone!
    It seems that not only English links us (although I must admit that this connection I consider the very first). I've found in your posts the authors and the books which were/are important to me: Erich Maria Remarque, Milan Kundera, THE LITTLE PRINCE, great Russian writers. I've also found some suggestions what is worth reading and thank you. Now I'm dipping into "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden.
    Jan we have also something else in common. Few weeks ago I was in Varna. I stayed in Odessos hotel vis-a-vis the Festival and Congress Center. Now I understand better why in one evening I could hear a beautiful choral song from the sea garden...

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Jan
    Hi everyone
    If you want to read something special I recommend Kenzaburo Oe, Japanese novelist and short story writer. Ideas of his books are very close to existentialists (especially Jan-Poul Sartre and Albert Camus whose novels I love too). He won the Nobel literature Prize and Akutagawa Prize. If you like Dostoevsky, it’s well for you. My favorite novel by Oe is The Silent Cry.

    Best regards

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Jan! It's nice to read about your favourite books and your next goal. I do like reading but unfortunately I didn't read that much as much you did. But here I'd like to share with you one of my favourite books which is "Awaken the Giant within" written by Anthony Robbins. It's a book about how to take immediate control of your mental, emotional and physical destiny. I keep this book on the side table of my bed all the time and whenever I felt lethargic, depressed or negative I start looking for help in this book related to my problem. It's a fascinating book and I recommend it to everyone.

    Have a good day!

  • Comment number 7.

    The last one book that I read was Dear John by Nicholas Spark.
    It isn't the most brilliant book in the world, but the reading is good and it make me cry.
    For somebody, like me, that doesn't understand english very well. Nicholas Spark's book are very good. He write in the way that we (English learners) can understand.

    I love your blog and way of life.

    All the best!

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Jan,

    What an interesting topic! I also like reading but unfortunately my busy schedule is not allowing me to read as much as I would like. Usually I would read anything that is available but I mostly enjoy reading books which are based on facts. I haven't read a book which influenced my life immensely but I will tell you something which did influenced my life. After living in the UK for 2 years and still unable to speak English well I made my mind to do something about it. So along with taking English classes I started reading a magazine called "Women" and reading of this magazine has changed my life. Since this magazine is easily understandable and it has short stories, cooking recipes and a lot of other things, I was able to read it on regular basis. Now I have started studying as a mature student which is something I wanted all my life. I will end my comment by saying that reading leads to successes.

    Looking forward to your next topic.

    Take care


  • Comment number 9.

    Hi, Jan . I am from Singapore.
    It is nice to be able to get to know more about you.
    I love reading too. But, as I dont have so much time ,I would just read some books whenever I am free. I occasionally will go to Singapore National Library to reading books. That place is nice and most importantly , it is silent.Honestly, I like to read children books. Perhaps it is because children books are easy to understand.I havent read a book that truly affects my life, thought and my mind.But if I have, I will certainly inform you . I would like to share every good things to everyone.
    All the way!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    Hello Jan,
    Reading your interesting post, I remembered I still have some books in Russian which I wanted to read...I'm afraid my Russian never got quite good enough for that.
    What have I been reading lately? Well, on the one hand travel literature by Bill Bryson: The Lost Continent, A Walk in the Woods and Notes from a Small Island. I like his personal, biassed way of looking at things and I think he's very funny too. On the other hand, I'm always fascinated by books about language. There is this German author, Bastian Sick, who has written some books about recent developments in the German language - mainly of a kind that he feels need to be made fun of, and I've enjoyed them very much, and at the moment I am reading a book by Umberto Eco about translation, which I find is a little difficult to follow (even though I am reading the German translation of it), and another one about English: The English Language by David Crystal, which is pure pleasure, very recommendable!
    I think I'll go and look for those Russian books now...

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi guys!

    Thank you all very much for sharing with us such amazing masterpieces!

    To Nastya: I'm fond of Dostoevsky and Bulgakov as well! I think there is no Russian who hasn't heart of it at least ones! I’ll disappoint you, but I was impressed with «Master and Margarita». For me it was real mystery!

    By the way I’m completely agreed with you about Rhett Buttler!

    To Farida Arum: Thank you and Welcome! I like THE LITTLE PRINCE also! Very edifying story, you are right!

    To Mariay: I think it’s always good for us, adults, to return in a childhood! I like to observe children! They’re so lively!

    To Alina: It was interesting to read about your guess! Do you like Varna?

    To Victor: Interesting choice! I think to read it!

    To Mahjabeen: Thank you! Great advice! I’ll find it! By all means!

    To Mdictomia: Thank you! I haven’t heart about this book. But I like touching stories!

    To Negee:! I think everyone of us looks for the right way to learn English. I really happy for you that you’ve found it!

    To Christina: I like your last sentence! I’m on the same opinion! And I think, there is something mysterious in a library! I envy you about you experience!

    To Elisabeth: I wish you good luck with Russian books! And I think I’ll go and find The English Language by David Crystal. You awake interested in me!

    Best wishes to all,


  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Jan,
    your this blog is very interesting and at the same time it's difficult to discussion, and I've been trying several time to write something appopriate, but I don't managed with translation: it seems to me I set myself an insurmountable task for my level in English and as a result I often just lose time in attempt to translate correctly (usually I'm writing text in Russian, then translate). So you know now if I - your compatriot - didn't write a long time to you it's mean my latest attempt to translate meets with failure:)
    Okay, I'm presenting for you a simplified version of my opinion about books. I read all of those books which you mentioned in your blog. Apart from two ones about marketing. "Atlas shrugged" by Ayn Rand I didn't read also, but I'm going.
    I don't know what a book my favourite is, it's may be one of those (it's difficult for me to choose):
    "Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by R. L. Stevenson
    1. "One flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey
    2. "All The King's Men" by Robert Pen Warren
    3. "A Hall of Mirrors" by Robert Stone
    and so on.
    "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo, for example. Every one of these books is a research of human nature.
    Best wishes,

  • Comment number 13.

    Good Afternoon Jan!

    I'm Brazilian and today I encontered these blogs in my searchs on the net, and I liked them very much.

    I've started my English Course in January 2010, and I always search sites in wich I can learn more and more about English.

    BBC Sites are very well. There are many great resources for English learners.

    Now, about your post, I've never seen or read English Books, only Medical papers, because my course requires it.

    Now, I am going to follow you and this blog, because I need to learn English.

    Friendly Greetings!

    Thiago Pereira.

  • Comment number 14.

    hi jan
    hi sweet people
    maybe i am late , but i think it is defective to leave this wonderfull blog without show my admiration in your high culture ,Will a curiosity and exploration,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    reading books so amazing thing through it earn effective science
    unfortunately , i have never novles, romance book or other books
    cuz, i am always read science books which connect in my studies only ,,,,
    i have never experience about "books effect in my life trace " maybe i am bad !!!!
    thanx for your sharing your amazing Experience with us
    my best regards

  • Comment number 15.

    hi jan. i'm new here Ilove reading so much .when iwas wee until now Readng us the best thing for me .i'm like you i thougt of the heros of the books and anlays their decisions. I'm from egypt and iread alot of novels in Arabic language but i"m also admire the english novels and ilike to read then but mu lakeness in english prevent me .I read what I found of russian and english books translated in arabic . in whole my life Iread only six books in english fore example; sence and sencibility ; pride and prejudice; and memories of gisa and i'm really enjoy them.I realy long to improve my english so i can read what ever books i want without needing dictionary

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Jan and everione,

    This is a very interesting topic!
    @ Sherin Elhaddad
    Two years ago I had the same problem, Sherin. But now I found my way of reading. M.b. it'll be helpful for you too. I started with short stories by english and american writers. It doesn't take much time and you won't lose your interest and patience while you're reading. I would recommend you stories by W.S. Maugham and R. Dahl. E.g. "Genesis and catastrophe" by Dahl. I was totally absorbed by it and had been thinking it over for several days! And Dahl's style is appropriate for those who only begin to read english books.
    Then I realized that I can read novels. My first novel was a detective story by I.Levin "The kiss before dying". It demands more time but you couldn't help keeping on reading because you want to know what will happen in the end. I didn't use the dictionary, almost everything was clear.
    By the way, I'm reading now "Pride and Prejudice" and enjoy it as well as you did.
    All the best,


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