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.

The Decline of

I signed up on this website a couple years ago becuase I needed to cut down my budget and a considerable portion of it was my impulse book buying habit! 

This was an excellent alternative to buying books because allows its members to trade books. It works on a point system and once you sign up, you post what books you own and want to give away as well as create a wish list of books you would like to mooch.  There is no cost to join and you only have to pay for books you ship. The more you trade, the more points you collect which you can use to mooch books from other members.  

When I first joined, it was wonderful and I mooched several great books and all of them were lightly used. But lately I've noticed that there aren't any decent books availabe for least in the United States.  Every time I search for a book I want, it's not availabe or someone in India has it and won't ship it to me (understandably, of course). 

I still have some great books availabe for mooching on my account and I just mailed three of them last week. Now I have all these points saved up but nowhere to spend them! Maybe I'll just donate them to some charity and deactivate my account...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Carrots, Eggs or Coffee Beans Movie

Carrots, Eggs or Coffee Beans Movie:
"Carrots, Eggs or Coffee Beans. All of us at one time or another have experienced a difficult situation, had setbacks, or dealt with our share of disappointment. Most things that happen to us on a daily basis we can’t control and I can honestly say (with conviction) that it is not what happens to us that matters but rather, how we choose to respond."

It is a slow video but totally worth the watch. Click on the title above to view the video.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Star Wars Subway Car

I just found this video online & couldn't stop laughing! I'm a huge fan of Star Wars so this just made my day! Oh how I would've loved to be on that subway car!!

Well, there's always next time! ENJOY

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson

Title: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Steig Larrson
Year of Publication:2008
Category: Fiction

For the past year, I kept seeing this book everywhere! I saw posters in bookstores & libraries but I never knew what it was about & the tittle wasn't really catchy for me so I never bothered to read it. Then, one of my coworkers read the book and told me that I would enjoy reading it too.

When I started to read the book, I thought it was kind of boring. I wasn't able to get into it and I was already half way through the book--there were too many facts that seemed inconsequential and way too many names that I wasn't familiar with (this books takes place in Sweden and was originally written in Swedish). But, right when I was ready to give up, the book started to pick up and got interesting. I was so engrossed by the story that I ended up reading all three of the books within 3 weeks.

Story Line:
This series revolves around a petite young girl, Lisbeth Salandar, who, although declared incompetent by Swedish Authorities, is a computer Genius & hacker and works as a private investigator for Milton Security. There is an air of mystery surrounding Lisbeth as she has no friends and does not seem to want any. She gets pulled into an assignment for Mikael Bloomkvist who is investigating the murder/disappearance of a wealthy heiress to the Vanger Corporation. As the duo digs deeper into the mysterious event, their friendship evolves and we begin to learn some of Lisbeth's deep secrets. The Secrets continue to unfold in the consecutive novel and are finally brought to light in the 3rd book, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest".

The "Hornet's Nest" was the last book Steig Larrson completed before his untimely death. There is a forth (and I believe a final book) which Larrson never completed. According to his publisher, Larrson had completed the beginning and ending of the last novel but still had some minor plot lines to resolve. There's currently a legal battle between Larrson's estate and his partner over who own the right to the lasts novel. Hopefully that issue can get resolved soon & the book can be published posthumous so Larrson's fan can enjoy his very last book.

If you enjoy reading thrillers and suspense novels which also contain personable and interesting characters, you would love this book.

For those of you not so gung-ho about reading suspense novels, there is a movie out for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". It is of low quality and in Swedish with English subtitles but it's worth a watch*. A Hollywood version is also in it's planning stages and Daniel Criag will be playing the main character, Mikael Bloomkvist.

Some parts of the books are quite disturbing and may make some people sick but they're not superfluous scenes to add sex appeals to the book--they're essential to the development and integrity of the story line. These scenes are also depicted in the movie.

Further Reading:
The Girl who Played with Fire
The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

2010 Reading List

The Lost Symbol Dan Brown Feb-10
Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson Mar-10
Man's Search for Meaning Victor Frankl May-10
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold Jun-10
The Girl Who Played With Fire Steig Larrson Jul-10
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Steig Larrson Jul-10
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Steig Larrson Aug-10
The Shadow of your Smile Mary Higgins Clark Aug-10
The Island of Blue Dolphins Scott O'Dell 10-Sep

The Magic of Thrift Stores

I recently discovered a little thrift store a little less than 2 miles from my house & I'm in LOVE! Although I'm not a big fan of buying used clothing--blame my superstitious upbringing--this store caries so many used books & sells them for $1.00 or less. If you end up going there on a "sale" day than they're all 50% off! Who can beat that!

I've found such great titles there & am even thinking of selling some of the great finds online thru Amazon or All the books that I've bought are in excellent conditions.

As they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure! I love this thrift store because it allows me to fulfill my crazy needs to collect LOTS and LOTS of books while not hurting my budget. The first time I shopped there, I bought 26 books for about $3.00 (yes it was all on SALE & everything was $0.10!!)

Some of the great tiles I've found there are:
"The Kite Runner" Khaled Hosseini (I'm going to go back to see if I can find "A Thousand Splended Suns"!)
"The Dangerous Fortune" Ken Follett
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" J.K. Rowling (I was SO excited to find this in hardcover because I only had it in paperback and it is falling apart)
"The Memory Keeper's Daughter" Kim Edwards

I can't wait for my next trip there!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Harry Potter Reading Challenge

I am a BIG fan of Harry Potter. My brother & I used to buy each one of the books and would compete to see who would finish is first. This is a book I grew up with & when I found this challenge on, I jumped at the opportunity. All you have to do is read all seven books...I've already read them all about 10 times, so this shouldn't be too hard. Now I just need to find the time!

It started back in August of last year but the deadline is July 31st so hopefully I can make it.

Harry Potter Reading Challenge:
1. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
2. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

So obviously it's September and I didn't finish this challenge. Sometimes life just gets in the way of reading. I'm currently working full time, am married & am taking a few classes to get my prerequisites in to start applying for Grad my plate is a bit full. None the less, I still try my best to fit in a couple hours every week to read...doesn't always work :(

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Central Asia Institue: A Way to Change the World

Title: Three Cups of Tea, One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time
Authors: Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
Year of Publication:
Category: Non Fiction

My first experience with “Three Cups of Tea” was about a year ago when I picked up this book for some fun reading. I read a couple of pages and was not able to get into the story. Thus, this book ended up at the bottom of my ever growing “TBR (to be read)” pile next to my bed.

Then about two months ago, my husband & I moved into our new home and all my books were packed away in boxes except this one. I picked it up again for lack of a better option and I have been hooked ever since. I didn’t get to finish it until now due to a crazy work schedule & moving!

Story Line:

Greg Mortenson is a failed K2 climber who gets lost on his way down from his climb and ends up in little village of Korphe. He befriends the leader of the village, Haji Ali and wants to pay back the people of Korphe for their incredible hospitality to an American. He decides that he wants to help improve the village’s school and provide the children with better school supplies. What he finds out, he wasn’t expecting. The village didn’t have a building dedicated to school because they were unable to afford building one or hiring a teacher—and the Pakistani Government was not willing to provide them with the finances. He is shocked to see little boys and girls sitting outside under the cold blue sky and practicing their lesson without a teacher, who Korphe shared with a neighboring village. The teacher would come to Korphe twice a week and teach the children their lessons; the rest of the week, the children would sit down in their make shift school and practice their lessons on their own. Mortenson was so touched by this that he promised Haji Ali that he will come back and build his village a school.

Mortenson comes back to America, where he worked night shifts as a trauma center nurse, and devised a plan to build a school for Korphe’s children. Through many struggles and donations from some angles, he collects enough money ($12,000 USD) to build a 5 room school and buy the necessary school supplies for Korphe’s children.

One things leads to another and Mortenson finds himself on a path that leads to education for Pakistan’s most isolated and poverty ridden populations, the Balti Shias of the Northern Region.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Pakistan, especially the people of the Northern Pakistan. Also, if you’re looking for an excellent non-profit to get involved with, especially one that promotes education and literacy as a way to combat terrorism in poverty ridden regions of Pakistan & Afghanistan, this book is a must read.

Central Asia Institute (CAI), Greg Mortenson’s non-profit organization, works in northern Pakistan & Afghanistan, the main breeding grounds for Taliban due to severe poverty, and provides a balanced, secular education to children, especially girls, up to grade five.

To get more information about CAI, please visit their website at

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Hello Everyone,
This is my first attempt at keeping a reading blog. I'm currently reading "Three Cups of Tea" By Greg Mortenson and am throughly enjoying the book. I'll post my very first book review in a few days when I'm finished!

Happy Reading!