Monthly Archives: June 2012

My To Read List: All Nobel Prizes in Literature


The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded 104 times to 108 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2011. By the way, Winston Churchill won his Nobel prize in Literature, not Peace).

I am kind of lagging behind. And got distracted by the fuss around “50 Shades of Grey” And after 50 pages of “50 shades …” I can attest that the distraction was not worth it. Sorry, E.L. James.

So, back to my list. Shall I go for Pamuk? “My Name is Red” sounds good. Amazon, please!


Kansas City Library

1. Mo Yan, 2012

2. Tomas Tranströmer, 2011

3. Mario Vargas Llosa, 2010. Read “The Bad Girls” in Jan.2012 🙂

4. Herta Müller, 2009.  Read “Travelling in one leg”  in Jan.2012 🙂

5. Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, 2008
6.  Doris Lessing, 2007
7.  Orhan Pamuk, 2006.  Read “My Name is Red’ in 2012 🙂
8. Harold Pinter, 2005
9. Elfriede Jelinek, 2004
10. John M. Coetzee, 2003
11. Imre Kertész, 2002
12.  Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, 2001
13. Gao Xingjian, 2000
14.  Günter Grass, 1999
15. José Saramago, 1998
16.  Dario Fo, 1997
17.  Wislawa Szymborska, 1996
18.  Seamus Heaney, 1995
19. Kenzaburo Oe, 1994
20. Toni Morrison, 1993
21. Derek Walcott, 1992
22. Nadine Gordimer, 1991
23. Octavio Paz, 1990
24. Camilo José Cela, 1989
25. Naguib Mahfouz, 1988
26. Joseph Brodsky, 1987
27. Wole Soyinka, 1986
28. Claude Simon, 1985
29.  Jaroslav Seifert, 1984
30.  William Golding, 1983
31.  Gabriel García Márquez.  Read  in 2004 🙂
32.  Elias Canetti, 1981
33.  Czeslaw Milosz, 1980
34.  Odysseus Elytis, 1979
35. Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1978
36.  Vicente Aleixandre, 1977
37.  Saul Bellow, 1976
38. Eugenio Montale, 1975
39.  Eyvind Johnson, Harry Martinson, 1974
40.  Patrick White, 1973
41. Heinrich Böll, 1972
42. Pablo Neruda, 1971
43. Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, 1970
44.  Samuel Beckett, 1969
45. Yasunari Kawabata, 1968
46.  Miguel Angel Asturias, 1967
47.  Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Nelly Sachs, 1966
48.  Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov, 1965
49.  Jean-Paul Sartre, 1964
50.  Giorgos Seferis, 1963
51.  John Steinbeck, 1962
52.  Ivo Andric, 1961
53.  Saint-John Perse, 1960
54.  Salvatore Quasimodo, 1959
55.  Boris Leonidovich Pasternak, 1958
56. Albert Camus, 1957 Read “The Plague’ in 1993 🙂
57.  Juan Ramón Jiménez, 1956
58.  Halldór Kiljan Laxness, 1955
59.  Ernest Miller Hemingway, 1954
60.  Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, 1953
61.  François Mauriac, 1952
62.  Pär Fabian Lagerkvist, 1951
63.  Earl (Bertrand Arthur William) Russell, 1950
64.  William Faulkner, 1949
65.  Thomas Stearns Eliot, 1948
66.  André Paul Guillaume Gide, 1947
67.  Hermann Hesse, 1946
68.  Gabriela Mistral, 1945
69.  Johannes Vilhelm Jensen, 1944
70.  Frans Eemil Sillanpää, 1939
71. Pearl Buck, 1938
72.  Roger Martin du Gard, 1937
73.  Eugene Gladstone O’Neill, 1936
74.  Luigi Pirandello, 1934
75.  Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin, 1933
76.  John Galsworthy, 1932
77.  Erik Axel Karlfeldt, 1931
78. Sinclair Lewis, 1930
79.  Thomas Mann, 1929
80.  Sigrid Undset, 1928
81.  Henri Bergson, 1927
82. Grazia Deledda, 1926
83.  George Bernard Shaw, 1925
84.  Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont, 1924
85.  William Butler Yeats, 1923
86.  Jacinto Benavente, 1922
87.  Anatole France, 1921
88.  Knut Pedersen Hamsun, 1920
89.  Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler, 1919
90.  Karl Adolph Gjellerup, Henrik Pontoppidan, 1917
91.  Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam, 1916
92.  Romain Rolland, 1915
93.  Rabindranath Tagore, 1913
94.  Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann, 1912
95.  Count Maurice (Mooris) Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck, 1911
96.  Paul Johann Ludwig Heyse, 1910
97.  Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf, 1909
98.  Rudolf Christoph Eucken, 1908
99.  Rudyard Kipling, 1907. Read the “Jungle Book” in 2012 🙂
100.  Giosuè Carducci, 1906
101.  Henryk Sienkiewicz, 1905. Read “Quo Vadis: a narrative of time of Nero” in 1996 🙂
102.  Frédéric Mistral, José Echegaray y Eizaguirre, 1904
103.  Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson, 1903
104.  Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen, 1902
105.  Sully Prudhomme, 1901

Let’s talk about aging. Part 1


In a recent interview, Woody Allen, 76 now, said old age does not automatically bestow sageness. He has not met my grandmother. And sageness comes in may ways.

I learned about aging beautifully from my grandmother who lived with great serenity through all kind of turmoil by age of 91. A mother of seven, a married women for 40 years with a husband in and out a war, seeing 3 of her children and her husband pass away long before her time, watching over 16 grand children and thirty something great grand children, a quiet belligerent to an authoritarian regime, a literate in an age of girls precluded from school, facing life with great dignity and faith for almost nine decades.

My biggest sorrow is missing her last moments on earth. But I know she knew I was there with and for her. As she was always there for me.

She was 58 when I was born. She came to visit me upon my birth. I have a feeling I chose my parents because I knew this way I’ll get to have one of most amazing people in my life.1557458_624206587650719_2093915408_n

One of my dearest memory of her is the smell her home baked bread and pies coming hot out of a brick oven she built herself. Her stories about fidelity and unconditional love for her husband – her parents were against her marriage to the guy as he was a poor orphan. Her stories of war time when she took care of her three young children born before her husband was enrolled into the army.

She was wisdom incarnated to me. Her support for all my endeavors was always there. One time she mentioned something about “need to learn to cook for your husband and kids”. My reaction – I was 14 – was something like “I’ll sure cook for my kids. For my husband – let him first deserve it!”. She made no comment whatsoever on the subject in years to come.  I am now a cook she is proud of and I cook with pleasure, not out of obligation.

She listened with passion about my achievements at school. Her quiet support made me want to achieve more. Before every single school competition she was in my dreams the night before – she would sit on a mountain and I would climb up to her. Needless to say, the second day I would take the first prize. I call it a ‘remote inspirational wisdom’.

Her wisdom would make her stay away from disputes or conflicts her grown-up kids were involved in their marriages. She will just be there, for them.

She knew nothing about  the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but she applied and preached nurturing children in a loved and protected environment all her life – she took her first borns through war.

She had basically no wrinkles. With no surgery and not a drop of beauty products on her face. It was her inner world reflected on the outside.  Only her hands would betray her age. She embraced her daily life with them and life left small prints on her hands, which stayed beautifully enchanting and calming till her last moments.

I learned from my grandmother that aging is part of life. It can be ‘golden years’. It can be ‘wasted years’. It can be a ‘great relief’. It can be ‘a great sorrow’. It can be anything we want to make out of it.

We have so many opportunities to learn about it before we get to that stage and choose how we want it to be. There are in my life now three dear friends. 55, 62 and 70 years old. Each with great stories and fantastic lessons about aging.  I’ll share them with you. Please do share yours.

To be continued…

French dessert – a confession of an aficionado



I am a sucker for French dessert. Coulant of chocolat, marbre au chocolat et banana, chocolate mousse, éclairs, fondue, truffles, crème brûlée, savarin, sorbet, crepes, gâteau aux poires et pépites de chocolat …. needless to mention croissant, pain au chocolat and escargot.

This is my mood booster, with a cup of hot Turkish coffee with a bit of cinnamon, sweetened cherry and a spoon of cocoa.

I do not only enjoy eating them, I love to cook them. Such a sense of magic happening under your eyes: eggs meeting butter and melted chocolate to form a creamy marriage, flour creating white clouds on the kitchen’s ceiling, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. to spoil senses, fingers feeling the softness and delicacy of the cream ….

Cuisine is an art – remember Gusteau’s famous “anyone can cook”?! (“Ratatouille”). It is also a therapy. Nothing relaxes me more than finding a new recipe, testing it and seeing the dessert baking in the oven: growing, mounting, getting crispy or moist. In 60 minutes you’ve got the result. In another 30 minutes you’ve got the impact – mouths full of yummy-yummy and smiling faces around the table. Now talk about “result-based management”! And there is more. Guests asking for the recipe and, after having tried it themselves, returning calls with “wow, my guests were all “wow wow””.  Double impact and … cascading! The other day, my good friend told me her grand kids baked one of my recipes for her birthday, as a b-day surprise. You should have seen her sparkling eyes when she was telling me how delighted she was about the dessert and the efforts her grand kids made for her! … Oh, love!

Give it a try: it works well for both body and soul. Well…. when done with moderation… some sort of moderation…any sort of moderation that works well for you, today and ever, with love and beauty, for body and soul.

Ready? Go!, , and many others. Please do share yours.