Rick is downsizing

What, you ask? A smaller backpack?

ALL my cassette tapes, reel-to-reel and VHS are headed for Value Village. A few CDs, as well. Software. Old electronics.


Even that romantic mix tape. img_3890

I’ll donate at least 75% of my old clothes. Less is more. 🙂

related – my philosophy of Voluntary Simplicity

The Mountain Shadow – Gregory David Roberts

Roberts’ Shantaram (2003) is my favourite novel all time.

The Mountain Shadow – a sequel set 2 years later – was not published until 2015.

Julia Flyte:

Like many others, I loved Shantaram, and so I approached this sequel with an equal mix of anticipation and trepidation. Could Gregory David Roberts repeat the magic? The short answer is no. This book isn’t nearly as good as Shantaram, and worse, it has the potential to make Shantaram seem worse in retrospect. But having said that, it’s not a total disaster either.

I agree with Julia and most other critics. I do not recommend The Mountain Shadow to anyone.

There are a few good scenes. Some interesting philosophical observations. But overall it’s a too long, messy ramble with no story line.


Roberts dropped out of public life in 2014.

Shibumi by Trevanian (1979)

Keith introduced me to Trevanian. He quickly became one of my favourite authors. For some reason I decided to reread his 4th book, my favourite.

Trevanian was a pseudonym for Rodney William Whitaker.

Shibumi is set in the 1970s and details the struggle between the “Mother Company”, a conspiracy of energy companies that secretly controls much of the western world, and a highly skilled assassin, Nicholaï Hel. …


The novel begins with Hel, retired in his late fifties in a small castle overlooking a village of the Haute-Soule, in the mountainous Northern Basque Country. He is an honorary member of the local Basque population, and his best friend among them is Beñat Le Cagot, a truculent Basque nationalist and bard, with whom he shares an immense love for freedom and an addiction to spelunking. …

It’s a book of philosophy disguised as a James-Bond-like spy novel. I highly recommend it.

Travanian died in 2005 age-74.

satoriTravanian’s daughter and literary executor, Alexandra Whitaker:

When it was first suggested to me that we should allow Trevanian’s characters from Shibumi to be used in a new novel written by someone else, I was not enthusiastic. …

Over the years many readers had expressed the hope that Trevanian would write another novel featuring Nicholai Hel, but he steadfastly refused, uninterested in covering the same ground twice. …

… Trevanian himself had not been against the idea when it was mooted to him some time before his death. While he had no desire to write about Nicholai Hel again himself, he was not hostile to the idea of Nicholai’s coming to life again — but only under certain conditions, of course. The character of Nicholai Hel — the aji of Nicholai Hel — must be respected, and the book must be of a quality that would not disappoint his readers.

The search for a writer began and led swiftly to Don Winslow, a talented thriller writer whose knowledge of the Orient, of military history and martial arts suited him admirably to the task. …


Satori (2012)

Sadly the only audio version is in German. Someday I may get around to reading the Kindle version.