Holidays and homelessness

tolosa.jpgI am back from ten days in Toulouse, South of France. It is a beautiful city and although the weather was disappointing for this time of year we managed to do a lot of sightseing. But this is not the point.One of the things that struck me most about this place was the homeless. There seemed to be dozens of them, walking aimlessly in the city, resting on the lawns or the pavement or begging in the busy streets.I was uncomfortable about the mixed feelings I experienced when seeing them. One was obviously pity. You can’t see these (mostly) very young people, often drunk or stoned, usually very dirty without feeling sorry for them and wondering what led them here.However some are also frightening. They look and even are aggressive. They will shout at you for no apparent reason. Moreover a lot of them own big unleashed dogs which follow them around. There was an article in the local paper about how one Rottweiler attacked and killed a small dog in a park.But most of all these homeless made me feel powerless. What sort of society do we live in if we can accept to witness these people without batting an eyelid and intervening? How woud we like to be treated if we were in their place? Why can’t the world be a better place?Have an easy fast everyone!


On Oryenta’s blog, she mentions fellow bloggers she considers as friends and people’s puzzled reactions when they realize she has never met those “friends” in person. Without going quite as far, I must admit that there are bloggers I certainly consider as acquaintances.Now, strangely enough some of them, whose blog I have been visiting for some time now, seem to have been wiped off from the surface of the earth.One of them is Jewish Smörgåsbord,  I know that she is pregnant and that sometimes pregnant women are supposed to remain lying but her latest post didn’t point to anyting like this. Yet she has not posted anything on her blog for a month, which is very unlike her.Another one is Ra’anana Ramblings,  she has not posted on her blog for over three weeks nor has she indicted going away on holiday or anything in that vein.Last but not least, West Bank Mama, one of the most famous Israeli female bloggers, seems to have vanished too. Despite desperate pleas from distressed bloggers and visitors, there is no answer and nobody seems to know what has happened to her.It is not that people are nosy but, once you get into the habit of visiting blogs regularly and those people evaporate, you experience the same sort of feelings as when people you know by sight no longer seem to show up. In addition, unanswered comments or messages give you the same impression as when you knock on a door and nobody answers. For those new to the blogosphere, that may sound weird but I believe older bloggers will understand what I mean.


I found this on Living out of Town blog and thought I would do it too.

Look at the list of books below:Bold the ones you’ve read. Mark in blue the ones you want to read. Cross out the ones that you wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole (or use red coloring). Finally, italicize the ones you’ve never heard of.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown) didn’t think much of that one.
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) really, really loved it!
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) loved it.

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)

11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)

17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) loved it too !
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)

40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) so sad but so good.

43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Misérables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

I do realize that there are quite a few on this list I have never heard of!