Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Question No.3: Saint-Ex, the Stars and the Lovers

What are you currently reading? I got few answers to that.

Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

How is it possible that he kept his mind on the gas consumption while pondering the mysteries of the universe? How can he navigate by stars when they are to him the frozen glitter of diamonds?" 
~ a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh for her friend Antoine de Saint-Exupery. 

Antoine Marie Roger de Saint Exupery was born in Lyon, France year 1900. I personally think that Saint-Exupery is the coolest name anyone could ever have. So Saint-Exupery accomplished his flying record (consider how many times he crashed down, too) through military and commercial service. It was during his experience as Aeropostale pilot that he decided to write about flying. He wrote L'Aviateur (The Aviator), Courrier Sud (Southern Mail), Vol de Nuit (Night Flight). The most famous among his writings is, of course, Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince). Shame on me because i haven't read it yet. Anyway, i want to finish Wind, Sand and Stars first. And i remember someone promised to give me a copy and i'm waiting for that hahah. I think i'm destined to get that copy because the book is always out of stock every time i want to buy myself.

Saint-Exupery had a mysterious death. He disappeared year 1944 while flying to serve the air force and presumed dead. It's one of the big aviation mysteries of all time.  It was said that a German fighter pilot patrolling over the Mediterranian sea saw a P-38 French aircraft (same as flown by Saint-Exupery) and shot it down. After years of search, the German pilot came out and admitted he shot down the P-38. And if he knew Saint-Exupery was the one maneuvering the aircraft, he wouldn't ever do it. It's just sad that he's been reading Saint-Exupery's novels in his 20s and the writer was the one who inspired him to fly. Tragic isn't? 

There are only short autobiographies of Saint-Exupery. It is magical that he wrote about the forty-four sunsets of Le Petit Prince and he died at the age of forty-four. His life is considered difficult to capture into words. Maybe because the important moments of his life and what greatly inspired his writings were spent thousands of feet above earth and nobody can really touch that.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

"It has occasionally been remarked upon that it is as easy to overlook something large 
and obvious as it is to overlook something small and niggling, 
and that the large things one overlooks can often cause problems."

"Adventures are all very well in their place, he thought, but there’s a lot to be said for regular
meals and freedom from pain."

Totally different from the movie of the same title. I say the book is more aggressive and morbidly graphic ~ with beheaded unicorns, semi-debauchery, and violently-tempered witches. It's understandable why they had to tone it down and change some scenes to appeal to younger viewers. 

Catherine the Great and her lovers

While browsing my podcast items (bored-stuck in traffic), i came across Catherine the Great's letters. Empress Catherine of Russia had many lovers, some of them she wrote love letters to. But one of the most romantic mails she sent is for Grigory Potemkin:

"I need not to see you for about three days if that is possible to give my mind a time to calm down and for me to come to my senses, or you will soon grow bored with me and how could it be otherwise? I'm very very angry to myself today and scolded myself and tried in every way to be more sensible. And these, of course, are the words of a woman who is losing her head falling head over heels, scared of the lack of control and an empress cannot afford to be a fool for love. "

Sweet isn't? But of course, she got a couple of more great loves including those she less-favored, hahah. 

Meanwhile, i still have few more books to go through but i don't mind. It keeps me steady. Saint-Exupery's Wind, Sand and Stars is really inspiring. I'm going to include some things from the book in my map en route

*Reading on queue
~ Neil Gaiman's Sandman 
~ Carved in Rock: Short Stories by Musicians
~ Art and Lies by Jeanette Winterson
~ E.E. Cummings Complete Poems 1904-1962


  1. Wow, both of these sound like incredible books. I am dying to go check them out right now! You should do more book recommendation posts :)

    I want to read a book a week for the entire summer, so keep em coming!

  2. oh i love antoine de saint-exupery! i haven't read that book though. i think it needs to be on my list.

  3. oh i love that quote! and wind sand and stars looks fantastic!

  4. i only read 1 antoine de saint-exupery book and obviously it's the little prince. thank you for this one gracey. now i have another one on my list.

  5. btw, i would you time to read poems too. Please look for mark strand and mary oliver. :)

  6. i am so excited now that it's summer! I looove reading! <3

    thanks for the recs!

    love, polly :D

  7. Whoa that is a lot ! Amazing lists ate.
    Very inspiring too. I guess I should inject some reading pills from now on. I’ve been slacking on my readings lately.