Quote of the Week

People will leave you, but that doesn’t mean it’s your fault.

-Unknown

Night by Elie Wiesel

nightBook #9.

I’ve always loved learning about the world war and people’s stories during those times, particularly the Holocaust and Night is one of such stories. And every time I read about it, I wonder how I would have fared if I were born a Jew in a Nazi-occupied country during the second World War.

This is a first person account of Elie Wiesel, a teenage Jew from Transylvania, Romania. Elie and his family were soon brought to concentration camps in Auschwitz (later in Buchenwald) and were separated from each other. He tells of the unimaginable horrors that he and the others experienced during the war including people being thrown in the crematory particularly babies.

I personally think that it is extremely important that these events be never forgotten and this book serves as a dismal reminder of human’s capacity to be inhuman to humanity itself. A book you should make a point of reading.

Quotable Quotes :

“For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

“Every question possessed a power that was lost in the answer.”

“I shall always remember that smile. What world did it come from?”

“One more stab to the heart, one more reason to hate. One less reason to live.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

download-1Book #8.

I have to admit I was really intrigued when I first saw this book on my feeds in Goodreads. The idea about the butterflies is just sick but I was definitely hooked. The story started with Maya being rescued by the FBI and we learn of the story during the interview process. It’s not easy to talk about the plot without spoilers so I won’t say more.

The story was brilliantly written, Dot Hutchison’s writing style is excellent and characterization was also good. I have to say, however, that the ending left me feeling off, I don’t know, but I think the plot twist didn’t work out well for me.

I don’t think this book is for everyone since it has several disturbing themes — rape, suicide, murder and sexual assault. Still, all in all, it’s a good read and I think this could be an excellent movie.

Quotable Quotes :

“You seem to have this strange image of me as a lost child, like I’ve just been thrown on the side of the road like garbage, or roadkill, but kids like me? We’re not lost. We may be the only ones who never are. We always know exactly where we are and where we can go. And where we can’t.”

“Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.”

“The trouble with sociopaths, really, is that you never know where they draw their boundaries.”

“At some point, maybe you have to break.”

“Some wanted the freedom to be anyone they wanted, some of us wanted the freedom to be left alone.”

Rating : 3/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Love is a hard word to define. You can love a lot of things about a person but still not love the whole person.

-Colleen Hoover

Street Art – Penang, Malaysia

Apart from food, the street art in George Town in Penang, Malaysia was one of the highlights of my visit back in 2014. Armed with a map for my street art hunt and suggestions from other travelers I’ve met there, I was determined to track down as much as I could. However, on this entry, I’m just sharing my favorites among the many and these are the works of the brilliant Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic.

brother-and-sister-on-a-swing

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old-motorcycleimg_7336

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kungfu-girl

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

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Book #7.

I have been interested with Banana Yoshimoto for quite some time now but I haven’t got the chance to read any of her books. I’m not sure how I came across a copy of this but I’m glad I did.

The Lake is the story of Chihiro who moved to Tokyo after her mom died hoping to have a career as a graphic artist and eventually get over her grief. She often spends her time by the window and eventually noticed a man, Nakajima, from another window and soon became friends. Chihiro later learns that Nakajima is dealing with something complex brought about by his past. Both of them are trying to get over the loss of their mothers in their own different ways.

I like the simplicity of the prose. I really think it’s beautiful. I love how Chihiro and Nakajima’s love story cautiously develops. The way Nakajima tries to step up and get over his issues and still sometimes end up in depression seems very realistic which makes the book more interesting for me. His sweet and at the same time sad story with his friends Mino and Chii are also worth the read. And by the time I found myself attached to the characters already, the story was over.

Yoshimoto’s writing style is very simple and soothing that I think this is a very good introduction of her works for me. That said, I’m looking forward to reading her other books.

Quotable Quotes :

“Of course, it’s true that sometimes the pink at sunrise somehow seems brighter than the pink at sunset, and that when you’re feeling down the the landscape seems darker, too – you see things through the filter of your own sensibility.”

“…there’s nothing wrong with being a little hopeful. Who says you can’t warm your frozen limbs in the faint heat of a flicker of hope?”

“I love feeling the rhythm of other people’s lives. It’s like traveling.”

“When things get really bad, you take comfort in the placeness of a place.”

“Why were we so far apart, even when we were together? It was a nice loneliness, like the sensation of washing your face in cold water.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

-Mitch Albom

Broken Heart

This broken heart no

one hears, slowly it beats now

As it tears apart.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

downloadBook #6.

This basically follows the story of five characters — a 19-year old girl named Mari, Takahashi a jazz musician, Mari’s sister Eri who is in a very deep sleep, a Chinese prostitute assaulted in a “love hotel”, and a salary man, Shirakawa, who works late to avoid his family — one autumn night in Tokyo.

How Murakami-san managed to capture the happenings and feelings of time from midnight to dawn at a brisk but natural pace is amazing. Every beginning of a chapter shows a clock and as the night progresses, the story does, too. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters but I also didn’t hate any of them. But the point is probably not to like or hate them, but to connect to them which I think Murakami-san effectively did.

This is not as bizarre as his other works but neither it is a straight narrative. It stays surreal because Murakami-san doesn’t bother with explanations and in his world, nothing is simple.

After Dark ended far too quickly for me and as usual, I was left with too many unanswered questions. I would recommend you read this in a coffee shop, overnight, with cups of brewed coffee. And maybe some music, too. Well, if you haven’t yet! 😉

Quotable Quotes :

“In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount.”

“What seems like a reasonable distance to one person may feel too far to somebody else.”

“A brand-new day is beginning. It could be a day like all the others, or it could be a day remarkable enough in many ways to remain in the memory. In either case, for now, for most people, it is a blank sheet of paper.”

“…people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They’re all just fuel.”

“The silence is so deep it hurts our ears.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Power isn’t about doing something terrible to someone who’s weaker than you… It’s having the strength to do something terrible, and choosing not to.

-Jodi Picoult, The Storyteller

Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein by John Nixon

download-1Book #5.

When Saddam Hussein was captured in Iraq in December of 2003, they needed someone to confirm his identity and that person was John Nixon, an ex-CIA senior analyst. He then became one of the first to interrogate Saddam during his capture.

Though being able to identify Saddam, Nixon discovered that what he and the CIA or the American government knew about the deposed Iraqi leader was somewhat different from reality. I think the most unthinkable for me was that Saddam was actually spending most of his time writing a book and his aides are running the government. He wrote that Saddam actually describes himself as President and a writer and that he actually complained about the military taking away his writing materials, thus, keeping him from finishing his book. Moreover, they were also mistaken about Saddam’s attitude on the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Iraq’s supposed possession of WMDs used to be the American and British governments’ reason to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Interestingly, Mr. Nixon also was very critical of the CIA and the Bush administration. It was quite astonishing to know that the CIA mainly just wanted to please the President and that the President only hears what he wanted to hear.

Very readable. Very informative read.

Rating : 4/5 stars