East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


A book haul

Your wildest desire?
No, OK, not a night with Cleopatra or Empress Theodora or Catherine of Russia (why are we always so fascinated by racy women?)
Something actually possible.
Try this one out for size: unlimited credit in the largest bookstore on the planet.
Boy, I’d go nuts with that.
And I just got the next best thing: a fat gift card on Amazon.
And being a good guy at heart, and money being tight, I decided to invest a fraction in a gift for a friend, and then look for something real cheap for me.
I ended up getting a cartload of books.

And is there something better than getting a ton of good books to read?
Obviously, it’s telling your friends what great books you just bought. Continue reading


Insomnia – Five Books

If you can’t beat them, join them.
Isn’t that what they say?
My insomnia rages on. I sleep (badly) by day and I am wide awake through the night.
I work, I write, I watch old movies, I read books, and wonder what will become of me. Who knows, maybe that last bit is the reason why I am suffering from insomnia, who knows.
But anyway, I thought about doing something about it, and I decided to write about it. Big surprise, uh?melatonin on the rocks

I’ll start with blog posts, and then see where that takes me. I could setup a minimalist blog on some ultralight platform. Or do a podcast. A small, minimalist podcast.
I’d call it Melatonin On the Rocks.
A podcast that goes on air only when I can’t sleep.
Or I could set-up a live hangout every time I can’t sleep.
Or something.
This post is sort of a prototype.
A test run. Continue reading

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Stockings-filler: a selection of books from Karavansara

1e4e33bc44b9444c889c0f204e1e7895There is this habit, in the blogsphere, of posting a list of suggestions for those looking for Christmas gifts. And it could be fun, right?
I’d like to suggest books, because reading is important, and fun, and is becoming a lost art  in my country.
But I decided to do it a little differently, this time, and for the readers of Karavansara I’ve compiled a list of books you might like to give away as gifts, based on some of my personal book fetishes.
And no, don’t make that face, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Fact is, while I’d go for an ebook any day of the week, thank you, I still have a sort of veneration for a number of publishers, and certain lines of theirs.
And what I’m putting together here is a selection of some of the best books by these publishers.
Shall we start? Continue reading

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Christmas before time

You guys know this has been a hard year for me and my brother. We lost our father in May and our lives shifted and rotated and changed. We had to face bureaucracy, expenses, problems. Solitude, sometimes.
We found ourselves broke and in a mortgaged house, lost at the bottom of a depressed rural area, with the economic crisis raging and no job in sight. And finally we faced hell and high water when the rivers flooded the countryside.
But we managed, and if the end of the tunnel is still a long way off, we keep going in the right direction.

And it’s not always bad news and hard work. Thanks to the Black Friday and associated things, we sort of celebrated Christmas one month earlier this year. Continue reading

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#PoweredByIndie: my plans for October

Well, it’s not every day Amazon – yes, that Amazon – asks for your help.
And yet, this morning I got a communication for an initiative Amazon just launched: a celebration of Indie authors, throughout the month of October.


And being myself, sometimes, an indie author (or an author/publisher – sort of a D&D multiclass), I think this is a swell idea.

So here’s what I will do – as I noted in a previous post, I’m overworked at the moment, but I will do all I can to read and review at least one indie book a week throughout October, and then post using the above hashtag, #PoweredByIndie, in order to let it have the widest circulation possible.
I’ll also collect a few posts I made in the past about some great indie books, and overhaul them somehow.

And no, I will not push my own books – if there’s something I learned as an author/publisher is that by talking about good work by other authors I usually get a boost in sales anyway. There, the best of both worlds. Who knows, maybe it’s karma at work.

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Karavansara Reading Challenge: the Bookshelf

So, the Karavansara Reading Challenge 2016 is getting real, and I have no idea of what it’s going to happen, or how.
It’s part of the fun, I guess.
We have an official start date – February the 16 2016. Peter Fleming and Ella Maillart left Peking on the 16th of February 1935, so it feels like the right day to start.


In the next days I’ll start posting contents that will be hopefully interesting for both active challenge participants, for lurkers and for passers-by.
Today, a short roundup of the Challenge Bookshelf, the stuff I’ll keep at hand in the next weeks… Continue reading