Thursday, June 2, 2011

Reading "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov

I have been slowly reading "Lolita" for the past few month or so (when I say 'slowly' I mean like a chapter a week! Hey, life gets in the way sometimes). I'm now almost done, I probably have another 100 pages to go but I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Usually, when I read a book, I have a pretty clear picture of how I feel about the book by this time. I love the prose of this book, it's beautifully written but I can't help but cringe every time Humbert mentions Lolita's age! I mean she's only 14 & he's ancient!

I guess it's one of those books that you have to read but wish you hadn't. We'll have to wait and see till the end.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thought of the Week

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) said "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world." This is very true because we analyze and experience our surroundings based on what we already know. If someone has never seen an airplane in his/her life, the first time they see a plane flying through the air, they're going to assume that it's a bird...because they don't know any better.

This is why I always say that it is very important for everyone to read or travel so you experience different things and as a result your world will grow exponentially. From personal experience, I have found that individuals who do not travel outside of their immediate surroundings or read whether its books, blogs, magazines, etc, their ideas about the world and how it works are so closed minded and they have a very hard time seeing things from a perspective different then their own.

So the lesson of the day is to travel--or read, it's the cheaper alternative!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thought of the Week

We have all had those moments in our lives when we have said or done something out of anger and later regretted it. Anger is a vice and this is also the reason why most major religions consider it to be a sin. In certain sects of Islam, divorce is not valid if it is done in a moment of heated anger.

As a great Saint of Muslims, Ali ibn Abu Talib once said:
Anger is a kind of insanity because it makes you feel sorry afterwards. However, if you do not feel sorry, your lunacy is confirmed
-Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib-

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thought of the Week

"The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoghts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy." ~Florance Scovel Shinn, wirtier, artist & teacher (1871-1940)

If we all were to lead our lives with this though in mind, we would all be more careful in what we say and do to others.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The OTHER Blog

I took my first steps in the blogosphere in the year 2008 when I started my "Intertwined: Because we are all connected" blog. While going through some of my older posts on there, I came across a few book reviews which I had posted.

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini--This book is one of the greatest books that I have ever read and one that I cannot ever read again. It is so emotionally charged and takes a whole lot out of you just by reading it. Click here to read the full review.

"My Beautiful Mommy" by Dr. Michael Salzhauer--This is a children's book by a plastic surgeon. He wrote this book for his female clients who needed to explain to their children why mommy is all swollen and wrapped up in bandages. Click here to read the full review.

Check out my full blog by going here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Title: Island of the Blue Dolphins

Author: Scott O'Dell

Year of Publication: 1985
Category: Historical Fiction

This is a book that I always wanted to read as a child but never actually did. They always had ads for this book in all my literature books during middle school years but it was never assigned for reading and it was not available in our tiny school library.

About three weeks ago, I found this book in one of my trips to the local thrift store and bought it (and for $.50cents only!). It took me a while to read it because, well, it is a children’s book. It was hard for me to concentrate because of its simple language and repetition of already told facts but I finally finished it and enjoyed the overall story very much.

Story Line:

The Island of the Blue Dolphin is called such because from a distance, it looks like a fish sunning itself in the sea and because blue dolphins, otters, sea elephants and sea birds abound in and around the island. It is inhabited by Indians who had lived there for centuries. One year, the Aleuts (Russians) came to hunt for otter which were found in abundance on the island. As the Aleuts were about to leave the island, a confrontation broke out between the Indians and the Aleuts—their bows and arrows being no match for the Aleut’s weapons, about half of the village men were killed, including the village chief.

After this incident, the Indians lived in constant fear of the Aleut’s return and were always prepared to flee on a moment’s notice. One summer, a ship of white men comes and offers to take them away to a safer land. The villagers readily accept the offer and as all are heralded onto the ship, Karana, the narrator of the story, realizes that her little brother is not among them.

As the ship starts to pull away from the shore, Karana spots her brother on the island—left behind all alone. She screams and begs for the captain to go back for her brother, who is only six years old but there is a storm looming on the horizon and the captain refuses as he cannot lose any more time. He promises that will come back for her brother at a later time.

Desperate to do something, Karana jumps off the ship and swims to shore to accompany her brother. They both stand on the shore and watch as the ship sails away from them into the horizon.

This is not only a story of survival of a young girl left all alone on an island but it’s a story of adventure and triumph as she overcomes her fears and survive.


I love this book and am bummed that it was not required reading in my middle school—I would’ve had an easier time reading it than because of its language. I get that it is an old book but in this case, old is gold! This book deals with so many different aspects and would have been an excellent book to write a paper on (although I don’t miss that about school!) This book is perfect if you want to help your kids realize the importance of nature.

When Karana first begins to fend for herself, she follows the routines and rituals of her tribe as that is all she knows. The Indians on the island were practically cut off from the rest of the world because of their remote location and depended heavily on the wildlife present on the island for sustenance and building materials. But after a while, Karana begins to consider the animals, birds and other wildlife present around her as a part of her family—she begins to make relationships with them and starts to take care of them. At one point she says, “If Ulape (her sister) and my father had come back and laughed, and all the others had come back and laughed, still I would have felt the same way, for animals and birds are like people, too, though they do not talk the same or do the same things. Without them the earth would be an unhappy place.”

If I had kids, I would make them read this book as a family and then hold a discussion about what they would do if they were in Karana’s place!

This book is historical fiction and Karana is known in history as the "Lost Woman of San Nicolas." The Island of the Blue Dolphins is the San Nicolas island located about 75 miles southwest of Los Angeles.

For further reading and activities with your children (or for yourself) check out this link.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark

Title: The Shadow of Your Smile
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Year of Publication: 2010
Category: Fiction

Story Line:
When a deceased nun, Sister Catherine, becomes a candidate for sainthood, Monica Farrell, a 31-year old Manhattan pediatrician, becomes the target for those who don't want her to inherit what's left of the fortune created by her unknown grandfather, Alex Gannon.

Alex Gannon and Catherine had a secret love child before she became a nun. Their child was given up for adoption. The adoption records were sealed and even though he tried to find out about his biological parents, he never learned anything about them.

Now Monica, unaware of Sister Catherine's relationship to her, must now testify whether two boys become cancer-free due to prayers to Sister Catherine so she can qualify for beatification.

Meanwhile, Olivia Marrow, Catherin's 82 year old dying cousin who knows about Monica's heritage, ponders over the question of whether or not to tell Monica the truth. When Olivia finally gets in touch with Monica, people around her start to die.

Throughout high school, I was a big fan of Mary Higgins Clark. I used to devour everything she ever wrote and loved each and every single one of her mystery novels with smart & beautiful yet lonely heroins. I still remember most of the stories that she wrote. She is such a brilliant writer and she knows how to make her characters come to life and hook the reader from the word GO!

Or I should say knew. While reading this book, I kept comparing it mentally to all the other stuff that she has written over the years and this book fell very very short. The characters and dialogue was flat and uninteresting...I was almost bored reading this book! The whole time I kept thinking, 'really, is that all you can say to each other!?"

It was quite a disappointment especially since I was expecting something much better from Clark based on her previous performance. She does a great job in keeping you guessing as to who the killer is but the romance between the two main characters was uninteresting, the characters were too flat and it just wasn't a book you could loose yourself into.

But if you like easy reads and stories that don't require you to think too much, this is the book for you.