"The man who has a conscience suffers whilst acknowledging his sin. That is his punishment."
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment.
Crime and Punishment is taking me longer to read than anticipated. It's long, and deary, and intelligent. Thank you @the.fresh.n.fabulous and @a.book.caravan
for reading it with me. . "We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken." -Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
@vberberovic thanks for tagging me for #top10reads.
But how the hell does one pick just ten books and so, I have limited myself to the books I happen to have on my bookshelves, and yet, I have more than just 10. 🙉
My top two books, these days and on most days, are The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and The Stranger by Albert Camus.
Both books do very strange things to my heart. I don't read with a purpose. I meander aimlessly from book to book. I fall in love with writers. I swoon over well-formed sentences. I read to engage my heart.
My favourite kind of book is the type that you can read in one sitting. The Little Prince and The Stranger are both short reads.
Also, if you think that The Little Prince is a book for kids, you are right. But if you think that is all it is, you're a fool.
I have The Stranger at home. I have read it twice and will read it again. But I couldn't find my copy this morning, so if you're the asshole who borrowed my copy, please return it immediately, or make funeral arrangements for yourself. Thank you.
The Madd Addam trilogy by Margaret Atwood is one of my favourite trilogies. The Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh is another hot favourite of mine. I like all of his books.
@mksreading and I are both in love with Salman Rushdie. I love everything he has ever written, but The Midnight's Children is definitely my favourite of all his books. @mksreading, the man is mine. He just doesn't know it yet.
I am listening to Toni Morrison's Mercy these days. She reads it herself and I feel myself falling deeper and deeper into her spell with every word. I walk around, listening, weak in the knees. Beloved was hauntingly beautiful.
A Suitable Boy was a book I so enjoyed. It was like a delicious, multi-course meal, and I did not want it to end.
I have read everything Amin Maalouf has ever written, but Leo the African is the only one, which I have reread. I love adventure stories. I love history. And yes, I love protagonists who are strong and more than a little reckless.
I ramble on in the comments.
"Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
He and I got engaged twenty-four years ago on my birthday. Fourteen days from the day he first told me that he liked me. It was New Year's Eve, and while everyone else at the party we were at, was inside drinking, dancing, talking, the two of us spent the entire night perched on the thin railing of some stranger's apartment. I still remember his words and how I thought I would fall off the railing nine floors down and die of happiness.
A couple of days later, I was on a plane back to Lahore from Karachi, and a few days after that, he called. I don't know how he traced me to a friend's place. This was before cell phones became common. When he told me that he was in the city, I thought he had come for work. But, no, he was there for me. We spent the next 48 hours almost constantly together and the night he returned to Karachi, he called to ask if I would like to get engaged.
He bought me a ticket back to Karachi for the next day, my birthday. I don't know where the rings came from or how so many people managed to gather at such short notice at my parent's home. I do know that I wasn't able to tie the strings of my angrakha on my own because my hands were shaking so much. I also remember being mortified at being told to sit next to him on too small a loveseat. What will Dadi and Nani think, I wondered. I also couldn't understand what was wrong with him. I kept shuffling away, making myself smaller and smaller, while he kept shuffling closer.
I really was a fool. I don't shuffle away anymore. There are no grandmothers around to take notice of public displays of affection. And even if they were, life is too short to be wasted on propriety.
“Wanting to give her the best fit I could, I sand the knowledge I had learned from Snow Flower. "Everyone needs clothing-no matter how cool it is in summer or how warm it is in winter-so make clothes for others without being asked. Even if the table is plentiful, let your in-laws eat first. Work hard and remember three things: Be good to your in-laws and always show respect, be good to your husband and always weave for him, be good to your children and always be a model of decorum to them. If you do these things, your new family will treat you kindly. In that fine home, be calm of heart.” ― Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
These are the lessons I was repeatedly taught, while growing up. My mother, my grandmothers, my great-grandmother, uncles, aunts, everyone, even friends drummed this into me; the importance of keeping my husband and my in-laws happy.
What a disservice we do to our girls by placing this type of burden on them! I never did learn how to be "calm of heart." In the end, I still haven't learned the most important lesson of all.
I love the sea. The first picture is of me looking at the waves, dreaming. What I didn't know was that while I was watching the waves, my taller half was watching me, and caught this rather embarrassing moment of sheer panic.
I was so lost in thought that I forgot that the water was only inches deep, and also that I am a fairly strong swimmer, though who the hell needs to swim in ankle deep water! For an insane moment, I felt marooned on my little rock (this is what comes of reading too many books featuring the dangers of incoming tide and being cast out into the ocean by an undertow) and I panicked and ran to the shore, screaming hysterically.
You would have thought that my gallant knight would come to my rescue, but he was too busy clicking pictures and laughing.
We will see who gets the last laugh! Oops, I think that might be him, this time.
Thank you @mominareads for tagging me for #top10unreadbooks
1. East of Eden by John Steinbeck, a book I am going to read entirely because my favourite bookstagrammer @inbookishfashion likes it.
2. White Mughals by William Dalrymple. Someone gifted this to me on my birthday last year and as thrilled as I was by this book gift, I simply never got around to reading it. It's about time.
3. The Leopard by Guiseppe De Lampedusa is a book I have read about in other books and therefore must read.
4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov needs no introduction. I tried reading it when I was seventeen but put it away in disgust. I am, a little older now, and ready to try it again. Yes, that birthday I mentioned earlier is right around the corner. I am finally turning 18 (multiple by 100). 😁
5. Downward This Dog by Sanjay Talreja. Another book I must read soon. He and I read together at Mawenzi House's book launch the year before. We were scheduled to read again at Another Story bookstore in February last year but his mother died of pneumonia a few weeks prior. I wrote to him. An measly email offering condolences, and he responded immediately, and with such grace that I knew I had to read his book.
6. Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains by Yasuku Thanh is a book I have been wanting to read for the past two years. I finally bought it as a gift for myself.
7. Lincoln in the Brado by George Saunders is a book hubby and I got as an audioread during a car drive in Italy, but it totally threw us off and we abandoned it. I think it is a book which has to be read the old fashioned way.
8. Indonesia Etc by Elizabeth Pisani is a book I bought for my father a few years back. He was posted to Indonesia as a young naval officer as part of the United Nations peace keeping mission and I keep nagging him to write of his experience. I thought this book would help jog his memory. I have since given up on him writing but want to read the book myself.
9 & 10. Homo Deus and Sapiens are both books I have borrowed from my son. I will read them because he enjoyed reading them.
It's gloomy but seven degrees - perfect t-shirt weather. Positively balmy, relative to yesterday's minus seven.
Last time I read Crime and Punishment I was still in my early teens, and while I am pretty certain that I did not understand most of the book, I remember loving the atmosphere of it. All these years later, I am reading it with @a.book.caravan and @the.fresh.n.fabulous
Thank you for keeping me company.
I am surprised at how much I recall from the last time I read it. I also now know why I liked this book so much. It reminded me of another favourite of mine. A short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The Tell-Tale Heart. I read that around the same time as this one and I still have that particular copy as well. This is remarkable because I have moved houses, cities, countries, entire continents since I was thirteen. But apparently, I hang on to the things I care about. This from a woman who constantly misplaces jewelry. Books are just so much better, wouldn't you agree?
Interestingly, the first gift my hubby, then fiance, ever got for me was a book, called Samarkand by Amin Maalouf. He also brought for me, around the same time, a piece of driftwood from a beach in Turkey, with the promise to take me there. We have been to Turkey many times since but he doesn't remember his promise or where exactly it was that he intended to take me. I still have the driftwood. I will take to my grave.
Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God.” ― Stephen Hawking, A Briefer History of Time
Yet another book which I will have to revisit, except this one I will do so immediately. Ever get the feeling while reading a book that the author's mind is one you want to crawl into and inhibit for as long as it would take to learn at least some of his/her thoughts? This feeling takes me over every once in a while, but never more so than while listening to this audiobook.
Excerpt from "Khatna Suite" from Farzana Doctor's collection "You Still Look The Same." The full poem is up on her website; www.farzanadoctor.com