Jun 132017
 

Okay, so it has been months that I have been stuck on a book from Book Club. It just has not kept my attention even though it is actually interesting. Perhaps it is because it is depressing and it not really told in a way that makes me properly connect with any of the characters. I think it is fiction based on true events, but in any case I am struggling through it. Now, some people might say to just put it down and leave it. However, my reading nature will not let me…once I start a book it must be completed! I know….

A month or so ago I bought two books. One on the Kindle that I could read on my phone since I use my iPad mini for the book mentioned above. This way, I thought I would enjoy reading when I am waiting for something, but not allow myself to get fully sucked in until I finish the other one….

Then, seeking a book of some intellectual stimulation I bought a paper book (yes they still make these!) to read when I go to the beach or the pool since reading digitally can become difficult when the device gets overheated or the sun is glaring a bit too bright. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The problem with this method is that I end up not reading any of them because each book has been mentally allocated to a particular purpose. I thought perhaps I just need a good page-turner (James Patterson or something) to kick start my reading frenzy again. I still have not decided.

However, I have put more effort into finishing the initial book because I think once it is done and dusted I will feel freer to read other things…only 10 more hours to go on it according to Kindle. ๐Ÿ˜›

In the meantime, I am putting together other titles to add to my list of possible summer reads. I am getting excited about this as I write, so I guess maybe I will be reading more soon!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

 Posted by at 09:44
Jun 022017
 


_Poems of Paul Celan_ translated by Michael Hamburger
Somewhere I found this title on a list of books that one should read and so I put it on my Amazon wishlist of paper books to remember for later. 

My mother likes to give physical presents rather than ecards or vouchers so one Christmas a couple of years ago, I got this to read. I had totally forgotten that I put it on a list! ๐Ÿ˜œ

So, it took me a bit of time to get through it as I tend not to read paper books very often outside of the bathroom or occasionally poolside. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

However, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Although I have gotten a bit out of reading poetry regularly I find that perhaps I should incorporate it more into my reading repertoire as I find them inspiring and thought-provoking. 

Celan’s poems reflect the survival of the Second World War and romantic view of life and love. While I may not keep his work on my bookshelf since I’m decreasing my material possessions I will recommend his work for those interested in poetry. ๐Ÿ˜

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

May 032017
 

_H.R.H._ by Danielle Steel

Well, it has been years since I last read a Danielle Steel novel. She had been my writing hero for many years. In fact, I emailed her once to get advice on how to write as prolifically and successfully as she. Although she did respond, I was a bit disappointed and slowly decreased my consumption of her novels.

Now, I am by no means saying that DS novels are what one might call literary classics, but one has to admit that she has played quite a role in the literary world with the number of successful novels she has written over the years along with her promotion of strong female characters. 

This title has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I think I must have gotten it for free somewhere or for very very cheap. I try to have a paper book on hand now and then for the poolside or beach when the electronic reading devices are not ideal or get overheated. So, the other week I picked this off the shelf and began.

It was not great and not bad. I did push through to finish it as soon as I could so I could move on. It was the typical storyline for the most part, though not much in terms of struggle of the character given she was a princess. The ending took a twist, but then I was not really satisfied with it despite her usual ‘happy endings’. 

In any case, I think for young adults she still has it, but if you have higher aspirations for your reading then you could give it a miss. It’s a very quick holiday or plane read that will be entertaining enough, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Apr 062017
 


__Station Eleven_ by Emily St. John Mandel

This book hit the popularity scale a couple of years ago, but I have been a bit slow with reading what is popular. Mostly I have been reading from the AWN Book Club list, but as I was away on holiday, I thought that I would expand. ๐Ÿ˜›

It is an interesting story of a pandemic that basically ends the world as we know it. A few manage to survive the Georgia Flu and the story revolves around a few central characters both before and after the Flu hits the world. 

Although it has hints of Atwood and other dystopic worlds, I felt as if whatever message was trying to be relayed did not quite get there. Or maybe I just somehow missed it…?

Anyway, I do see why it was popular, and am glad that I finally managed to read it. I recommend it as a better than a usual trash novel holiday read, but not necessarily intellectually challenging… ๐Ÿ˜‰

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Jan 242017
 

_The Power of Habit_ by Charles Duhigg 

I believe I started this book some time ago and then got distracted from it due to Book Club, life etc. My completion rate of books seems fairly dependent on either my holidays or time on the treadmill. ๐Ÿคฃ

Since I have had no holidays for over a year โ˜น๏ธ, it is my habit of heading to the gym that is getting me back on the reading track again. 

As I do enjoy self-awareness helping books that also include a bit of psychology, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. 

The human brain is something magnificent really and the ability to understand even a tiny fraction of it is so cool. Our habits are formed by our actions and positive or negative response stimulation of those actions. What we need to be aware of are the triggers that create the action and why we desire the response stimulation. When we become aware of these then we can foster the habits that are beneficial to us or break up habits that are not. 

Being someone who needs habits and structures to get by each day this is definitely something relevant and useful to know about. I feel as if I can say that most of my habits are productive and positive because my response stimulation is a sense of calm and peace which I must have to get through life these days. 

Also I do know that through mindfulness and meditation I have greatly controlled and changed my negative responses. When I was younger and less aware, I had much less control over what I said or behaved. Now, I try to choose what will be meaningful rather than hurtful to me or others. 

If you have habits that you’d like to change or are not sure of habits you might want to change, then I highly giving this a read!

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Jan 182017
 


_Mornings in Jenin_ by Susan Abulhawa 

This month’s Book Club reading was this one, which I had never heard of nor of the author. Seriously, there are so many stories to be heard and read! ๐Ÿ˜…

Having just finished this book a few moments ago, I am still processing the whole story and trying to recall the 80’s when some bits of this story would have been in my lifetime….

The book is fiction, but is based on stories and experiences of the past for Palestinian Arabs and the Israeli conflicts starting from post-World War 2 until recent days. The story follows four generations of Palestinians and their struggle for survival. It is a story of women, love, war, family, history, community and humanity. A full explanation would be too complicated so will let you do your own Google search of a book review. ๐Ÿ˜‰

With that said, I must say that it is one of the most moving and shocking stories I have read in a long time. I found myself near tears at different points and even a bit angry at the actions of the Israelis. ๐Ÿ˜กAlthough I do not know the history well, I do remember the news at the time of the constant Palestinian and Israeli conflicts. It continues today, though other wars and conflicts fill our TV screens. It amazes me how people go lifetimes suffering such great sorrow and living in constant fear. It really puts my life struggles into perspective. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

The book is well-written with some beautiful bits of prose especially towards the end. I highly recommend this as a read. I have not read anything so moving in such a long time and am so glad that the Book Club has exposed me to this book. ๐Ÿ˜

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Jan 022017
 


_The Loney_ by Andrew Michael Hurley

Looking for a “holiday” read, I saw that this book was available on Kindle. I had been waiting for it to come out since seeing it on a friend’s list of coming books, but then forgot about it amidst other reading priorities. 

As my first book of 2017, I realized that I am craving some more philosophical and thought-provoking stimulation. This one did not really do it for me. 

It is engaging enough as I did read it within a week. It holds some value in trying to combine mystery, theologyโœ๏ธ, and cultish themes within a British setting. ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡งHowever, I found it a little weak in the overall aspect of the story as I never really connected with any of the Mai characters. When I thought I had it turned out that the story went another direction. 

So, overall it was a good read for a “holiday”, but I was not necessarily impressed with it as it has been touted…. Maybe I just don’t get contemporary fiction – struggled with it in college too….๐Ÿค”

Still, as a first novel, I could only wish that my own can win an award one day!! ๐Ÿ˜œ

My next read is for book club and then I think I  need something deep….

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Oct 222016
 

bamboo

 

_The Bamboo Stalk_ by Saud Al Sanousi

The October Book Club for AWN is this book. We meet next week to talk about it, but I thought I would go ahead and write about it here now that it is fresh in my mind.

Unlike last month’s title, this one was so easy to read and quite enjoyable.

Although not exactly another uplifting story (what is with the selections???), it was closer to home for me and had loads of interesting social questions.

The story is told by the son of a Kuwaiti father and Filipina mother. His mother had gone to Kuwait to work as a maid in a well-t0-do Kuwaiti family. The only son of the family was a writer and different from most sons of an Arab family. He seemingly falls in love with the Filipina maid who has come to make money for her family back home. When she ends up pregnant, the family does not approve and sends her away back to the Philippines. The son, who is half Kuwaiti, half Filipino, struggles with his identity and place in the world. Unfortunately, poor Jose looks more Filipino than Kuwaiti and thus is not likely to be accepted into the Kuwaiti community. His biologically family takes him in for a short period of time, but does not fully incorporate him into the family for various reasons – mostly ‘to save face’.

It is a very interesting story that is written well enough to draw out emotional responses. It is a greatly written piece of work, but I found myself feeling his pain and considering my own identity throughout. I also wondered at the plight of the many Filipinos who live and work around the world because they make more money outside of their country than within it. I wonder how many true stories are like this one. I also wonder at the author and how much is true from his own experience and knowledge.

So, it should hopefully draw up some interesting conversation at the next meeting next week. Will try to update on that afterwards! ๐Ÿ˜€

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Oct 212016
 

king

 

_King Leopold’s Ghost_ by Adam Hochschild

Last month I joined the Book Club of the AWN (American Women’s Network) where I have been spending a lot of my time being active in meeting people and other things. While I never in my life expected that I would become a “book club lady”, I did decide that I was going to try new activities in areas that I am both interested in and new to me.

So, our book for September when I joined was this one. Initially, I found it interesting and a horrifying story of what went on in the Congo. Of course I have heard speckled stories, but this is the first time that it was written out in black & white (literally!). However, this also meant that it took me some time to get through it as it is a fairly detailed ‘history’ book, which is not generally my area of interest. Still, I plowed through and took a bit more than a month to complete, but as it was myย first book of the club, they did not mind that I had no finished before our first meeting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is the story of King Leopold of Belgium’s obsession with conquering land initially in the interest of Belgium, but then for his own personal ego boost. He worked politically, economically and personally to get others to do whatever it took to make him rich and memorable in a new “empty” territory. However, no one seemed to think of the Congolese as people. It was truly sickening what went on there and the author does a decent job of blaming all people – not just the Belgians – for the atrocities that occurred. He also directed our attention to the fact that these kinds of things still happen in current days….

Therefore, not exactly, an uplifting story to contend with, but interesting all the same. This is the good part of being part of a book club, right? I am being introduced to new stories that I might never have heard of let alone pick up to read. ๐Ÿ™‚

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Oct 192016
 

_Yoga Therapy: A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Yoga and Ayurveda for Health and Fitness_ by A.G. Mohan and Indra Mohan

This text that was required for my yoga teacher training course was one of my favorites. 

It is easy to read for explanations on yoga as therapy looking at the whole person rather than yoga as fitness looking to exercise. There are also good tips for assessing new clients and sequencing poses to help bring physical balance to the body. 

This will be a book I will go back to for sure!

~T ๐Ÿ˜€