Quote of the Week

There are far too many silent sufferers. Not because they don't yearn to reach out, but because they've tried and found no one who cares.

-Richelle E. Goodrich

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

MSfMBook #20.

I didn't expect to like this book because self-help stuffs don't usually appeal to me but this one's good.

Man's Search for Meaning is divided into two parts.

The first part speaks of the extreme suffering the author himself, Viktor E. Frankl and his inmates, endured in Nazi concentration camps. He survived no less than four camps and described various stages and situations he and his fellow prisoners have been through and turned his experiences and observations of how they respond in times of adversity into a psychological study. He didn't at all consider the importance of chance or even luck to his survival.

The second part is basically an introduction to logotherapy. Using his observations and experiences while in the camps, he lays out his ideas/theories. The very core of it is a will to meaning, contrary to that of Freud which is will to pleasure or that of Adler which is will to power. He tells us that there are a lot of possible meaning of life and that it can change from day to day, from time to time, from one individual to another — a task we must frequently undertake.

According to logotherapy, we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.

Moreover,

Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. 

It's a short and engaging book, it may even make you see things or life differently. Life ought to have meaning and I admire Frankl's view of it as well as his view on what joy we can derive through acceptance of our sufferings. I think it's pretty extraordinary that he was able to explore and study what must have been the darkest period of his life, he seemed like a heck of a man to do so without bitterness.

Recommended to everyone. Solid choice for anyone facing adversity or anyone who simply wants to reflect on the content and direction of the life they're leading.

Rating : 4/5 stars

Quotable Quotes :

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

"Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true."

"Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible."

"No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same."

"A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the why for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any how."

Quote of the Week

It is very frustrating not to be understood in this world. If you say one thing and keep being told that you mean something else, it can make you want to scream. But somewhere in the world there is a place for all of us.

-Lemony Snicket

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago

img_4671Book #13.

This controversial book tells the tale of Jesus Christ since his birth up to his death. It basically follows what’s written in the Bible but with some very notable changes. Here we see Jesus as human just like all of us, that Mary Magdalene is his lover, God’s working relationship with the devil and more.

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ is my first Saramago read and I must say I found it very interesting. While reading this, part of me kind of believed this was actually the real story but thanks to the humorous and sarcastic interruptions every now and then that it reminded me it’s not. The writing style was new to me, the narration are in very long sentences and paragraphs with almost no breaks but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this. What struck me the most I guess is the part towards the end where God, Jesus and the devil had a conversation on the boat. This is where Saramago tells us that if God exists, He is an egomaniac and not the God we assume He is nowadays. Soon enough, Jesus was disappointed as he realized that he was a victim of God’s pride, a sacrificial lamb as Saramago puts it.

I do understand the controversy of this book as Jesus is not as righteous as Christians think he is in Senhor Saramago’s pen. This will insult and shock many but this is how he writes. Take it or leave it.

Quotable Quotes :

“The time for miracles has either passed or not come yet, besides, miracles, genuine miracles, whatever people say, are not such a good idea, if it means destroying the very order of things in order to improve them.”

“For human words are like shadows, and shadows are incapable of explaining light and between shadow and light there is the opaque body from which words are born.”

“This is how everyone has to begin, men who have never known a woman, women who have never known a man, until the day comes for the one who knows to teach the one who does not.”

“Somewhere in the infinite that He occupies, God advances and withdraws the pawns of the other games He plays, but it is too soon to worry about this one, all He need do for the present is allow things to take their natural course, apart from the occasional adjustment with the tip of His little finger to make sure some stray thought or action does not interfere with the harmony of destinies.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

I Stayed

I was faced with two choices:

the choice to leave

and never see you again,

or to stay and feel the pain

of you not loving me.

Maybe it’s wrong,

maybe it’s stupid,

I don’t know…

but I stayed.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

img_5990Book #19.

I started reading this a couple of months ago, a birthday gift from a dear friend. (Yeah, that’s him.) I’ve loved the cover since I’ve laid my hands on it. A man’s face full of pain which is exactly what your heart’s gonna feel once you open it.

I’ve been staring at my PC since this morning trying to find the words to say about this book. It’s not easy. But let me try.

The story follows the life of four friends: Malcolm, the architect and the quiet follower of the group; JB, the artist and the self-proclaimed alpha of the set; Willem, the actor and the most compassionate; and Jude, the lawyer, the abused, the vortex of this foursome. The characters are fully fleshed out. I’m not a particularly immersive reader but I like the book more when I get attached to the characters. I love reading about their lives. I love them. Survivors in their own way. Their friendship built a home that stood a long time, it grew and changed to accommodate more characters, friends and partners, but sadly, it can’t protect them all forever.

This is an emotionally draining read. I haven’t felt emotionally exhausted by a book since I’ve read The Kite Runner, but A Little Life did just that. There were parts that I think were too much that made it difficult to go on reading. Wrenching. And not just the heart, even the brain and stomach. Full-body-wrenching read. I’ve truly wanted Jude to be happy but at some point, it was becoming clearer that it’s not going to happen. Then from the end of The Happy Years chapter until the end of the book? I mean, seriously, why? Oh my God! It broke me. Absolute sadness that I felt like I’ve also lost all my dear friends.

So just like everyone’s life, it’s a story about a life simply lived and was helped shaped by the people and things around it. There’s love, happiness, tragedy and disappointments. Life is such a fragile thing, we never know exactly how the things we do may affect others or not, whether we do them good or we damage them, it’s not always visible to us and more often, we have no idea what our actions did to them. It’s a cautionary book, as the aphorism goes, “Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

There are a lot of things to say about this book but I still can’t articulate any at the moment, I’m still at a loss. It’s simply too hard. This book isn’t little in any way. It is large in every way. Hanya Yanagihara’s writing was mostly intense, immaculate, fluid and honest. Very realistic and harsh at some point. No silver lining.

It’s a bit confusing to say that I love this book because how can I love a story which depicts other people’s pain? But it is definitely captivating, engaging, powerful. It consumed me. I highly recommend this specially for readers who like an emotional book. It’s a difficult read in more ways than one but it’s worth reading.

Quotable Quotes :

“Let me get better, he asks. Let me get better or let me end it.”

“He knew it was the price of enjoying life, that if he was to be alert to the things he now found pleasure in, he would have to accept its cost as well. Because as assaultive as his memories were, his life coming back to him in pieces, he knew he would endure them if it meant he could also have friends, if he kept being granted the ability to take comfort in others.”

“…the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.”

“…things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully.”

“He was frightened of everything, it sometimes seemed, and he hated that about himself. Fear and hatred, fear and hatred: often, it seemed, that those were the only two qualities he possessed. Fear of everyone else; hatred of himself.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

 

 

 

Another Thai Treat

The quality of food has always been great in this small Thai restaurant that several of my friends and I have been frequenting this place for the last couple of years. Today, however, we opt for just a few dishes and the sticky rice with mango turned out to be our main dish rather than dessert…

Quote of the Week

And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does, too.

-Khaled Hosseini

Loving Someone

It’s so easy to love someone when everything’s perfect and wonderful. When everything is going right, when everything go the way you want them to. But some days, things get difficult, mistakes are made, things are messed up, things aren’t perfect. It’s during these days that we see how much love there really is.

Sure, anyone can love someone who do all the right things and say the words we want to hear. Anyone can love someone who are being everything you want or need. But how about loving someone when they’re at their lowest? When they’re broken, when they’re lost? When they’re at their worst? It would really be a very good thing to have someone who is willing and happy to stand with you no matter how challenging things may get or how difficult you might be.

And I think that’s the more beautiful and meaningful kind of love there is…

Piggin’ Out

I’m sure many of you reading this have tasted Thai food already. You may have visited Thailand before or you may have tried eating from Thai restaurants in your place.

I’m not hard to please when it comes to food and Thai dishes are a delight anytime. So last Thursday, my preggy friend and I pigged out at Sabaidee Thai Cuisine.

Seafood Tom Yum
Shrimp Pad Thai

 

Khai Luk Khaei
img_6612
Khao Phat Neua

 

Peek Gai Tod

 

Khao Niao Mamuang

All the dishes were tasty, affordable and highly recommended.

Check them out and thank me later… 🙂

Sabaidee Thai Cuisine

Mezzanine Floor, Al Bustan Mall

Salem Al Mubarak St. Salmiya, Kuwait

Quote of the Week

Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.

-Eckhart Tolle

The Monastery

DSC_4422

The Monastery – or Al Deir – is the largest structure in Petra. It requires a strenuous trek of more or less 800 steps with seemingly endless uphill slopes and lots of wonderful spots to admire the views. It took me an hour or so to reach the Monastery including tea breaks with some of the vendors selling souvenirs and several Bedouins. The hike was truly worth it and I was thrilled to bits the moment I saw it!

More about the Monastery and Petra on my next posts…

Happy Thursday, homo sapiens!

Quote of the Week

Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

Dalai Lama