@whatsallyreadnext tagged me for #spelltheseasoninbooks a while back, but the weather here has been more like winter than autumn, but then that's normal for fall in Toronto.
F - Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, a Canadian writer, who not enough people read.
A - how could I not sneak in my beloved Arabian Nights in here, though this is not my favourite version.
L - Lunatics, Lovers and Poets, Twelve Stories after Cervantes and Shakespeare
L - Leo the African by Amin Maalouf is one of those rare books I have read twice and know I will read again.
Tagging some of you for this. No pressure to do it though if not in the mood.
I just finished reading The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje and The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam; both books left me feeling hung over, dazed. So when I picked up "for all the men and some of the women I've known," by Danila Botha, while I was expecting something really good, because I so enjoyed her reading, I wasn't prepared for the instantaneous connection, because how could anyone possibly live up to Ondaatje and Aslam, and yet I found her writing simple, true, perfect. I finished the book far too quickly, but that's okay, because I will get hold of all her other books and devour them from page to page.
Thank you @danilabotha for this book. It's one I will treasure for always. "I thought about all the men and some of the women I've known. I thought about how hard it can be to love people. I thought about how many times I'd been sure that I had found what I was searching for. I took my notebook out of my purse and took out a pen. I thought about something an ex-boyfriend had said about every relationship failing until you find one that doesn't. That it's supposed to go that way. I wrote all your names on scraps of paper, folded each one, and let each one fall slowly into the water. I waited about a minute between each one. I watched as you floated on past me, out of my control, out of my line of vision. One by one I've tried to let go of all of you."
Old man winter doing it right. Nothing beats the magic of the first snowfall of the season. Don't you dare remind me of this enthusiasm come April. 😀
"She had seen photographs of broken Japanese bowls and plates that had been repaired with gold. She tried to recall what the word was, her mind too tired. But then it came to her. Kintsugi. The art of mending pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold. The logic was that damage and restoration were part of the story of an object, to be accepted rather than concealed. Some things were more beautiful and valuable for having been broken." . I transform images in my own brain into writing and the writing of others into images in my brain, and this is why The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam is everything I want from a book. It is passionate, lyrical, rich in imagery, character driven, and full of issues which are of significance to me; justice, the way religious minorities are treated in Pakistan, Kashmir, terrorism, love - both sanctioned and forbidden.
. "This - their desire for each other - was the simplest thing in the world, and what outraged her was not that the world could deny her something, what outraged her was that it could deny her something so small, so basic."
. This man's female characters are strong, flawed, human, and completely relatable. I like that.
Also, in the pages of The Golden Legend, I found words that I would like to pass on to my kids, as well as repeat to myself from time to time, because when hurting it is all too easy to become vindictive and behave dishonourably. "The beginning, the middle, and the end of love - they all have their rules. Both of you must act with dignity and honour towards each other during these stages."
“America has nothing to fear from these newcomers, that they have come here for the same reason that families came here 150 years ago—all those who fled Europe’s famines and wars and unyielding hierarchies, all those who may not have had the right legal documents or connections or unique skills to offer but who carried with them a hope for a better life.” “I believe a stronger sense of empathy would tilt the balance of our current politics in favor of those people who are struggling in this society. After all if they are like us, then their struggles are our own. If we fail to help we diminish ourselves.” ― Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
It's been a couple of years since I read The Audacity of Hope, but I can't help but compare Obama's words with those of the present leader of the most powerful country of the planet, who excels in fear politics and because of whom "grab them by the pu**y" has become a part of everyday lexicon. Apparently none of this is relevant as the man himself once famously boasted: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” .
I just finished listening to We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates and the book undid me in the same way that King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild and Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II by Madhusree Mukerjee undid me. .
Yes, I know the world is unjust and I have had forty-three years to wrap my head around this reality, but I stupidly keep hoping for better and then I am broken hearted each time, the world brazenly displays it's cruelty.
Looking forward this reading, and most of all, to finally meeting @lisadenikolits
"To secure the White House, Obama needed to be a Harvard-trained lawyer with a decade of political experience and an incredible gift for speaking to cross sections of the country; Donald Trump needed only money and white bluster." Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
@theopenbookshelf discussed first lines in her post today and it just so happened that I like the first line of my current read; The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam. "This world is the last thing God will ever tell us." I like the second line too. "A few hours before he was killed, Massud woke at the call to the predawn prayer." And now just let me quote the rest of the book to you. No, just kidding.😁 In other news, my family and I watched The Thugs of Hindostan today, and even at age - seventy-six - Amitabh Bachchan is still killing it. The movie was a good action adventure, though any time, I am off my feet in a dark, warm place, I inevitably fall asleep, and so I did take the periodic nap during the three hour movie. At one point, I woke up, saw the word Intermission across the screen, and a look of complete incredibility upon my son's face. He looked like he was about to have a heart attack and I thought I would die laughing. In all fairness, Indian movies aren't really my son's thing, and it was nice of him to let us drag him along.
As much as l enjoyed Thugs, the movie I really loved was Lion, which we watched at home the night before; heartbreaking but really good.
Not sure what it is with me and Michael Ondaatje's English Patient, but this is my third time reading the book and I am still hooked.
I lived in Tunisia for a while, and fell in love with that country, and so it could be the pull of North Africa, but I know it's much more than just that.
It's Ondaatje's writing, it's the desert itself, the doomed loves, the Italian villa, the bizarre characters living in "propinquity", and most especially, the personality of the English patient himself.
Here's a character, who spends the entirety of the book, burnt to a dark mass, lying prone on a bed, and yet, the entire book revolves around him, and it is from that place of complete immobility that he takes us on jouneys, creating rich vistas with his words. Rather like Ondaatje himself, sitting at a desk, immobile, and yet taking us on this grand adventure and breaking our hearts in the process. Breaking my heart with every reading. Oh, Almasy, why couldn't you just love her enough to commit completely?
Next up: Nadeem Aslam's The Golden Legend.
When you love someone, do you also love the things they love? Sometimes, with certain things. It's my husband who introduced me to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien. It's because of him that I read The Lord of the Rings series, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and The Unfinished Tales. But it was the writing itself that kept me engaged. I love adventure and fantasy, and Tolkien provides both, with good writing and excellent character development.
I read The Hobbit to our children when they were much too young, but to their credit, they listened.
My husband and children found the movies a bit disappointing, but here's my confession; I loved all three and could happily watch all again and again. Also, the third one has special significance for me, the sentimental idiot that I am; we watched it with my brother-in-law's family in a theatre in Istanbul. It was a cold, rainy day in December, and I have never been in a more luxurious theatre. It was cozy and warm and I even drifted off to sleep for a bit, but it felt wonderful, watching something special with family.
Why am I waxing nostalgic about all this right now? Because I will transit through Istanbul airport in a few weeks, and it will be my first time in that city, at that airport, without the man who I associate with that incredible place.