Wherever your life ends, it is all there. The advantage of living is not measured by length, but by use; some men have lived long, and lived little; attend to it while you are in it.
~Michel de Montaigne
I once built dreams about you.
Shweta’s prompt for week #5: BETRAYAL
Undoubtedly the most certain relationship killer.
tears are the
last pages of the
The story opens with a very straightforward narrative: Juan Preciado is on his way to Comala to carry out his dying mother’s request — to search for his father Pedro Paramo and claim what’s his. The story gets complicated as soon as he arrived.
The book is multi-voiced. It began in the first-person then a chorus of voices followed thereafter. There were third and first-person voices both in the past and present tense, between the living and the dead.
Juan Preciado eventually realized that everyone is dead in Comala and that he was just talking with spirits because Comala became some sort of a purgatory. I liked the idea that almost everyone he met were dead. Eerie! Juan Preciado’s disappearance made it a bit confusing for me though. Or did he really disappear? Did he die? I’m still not sure.
With its beautiful prose and as a great example of magical realism, I am inclined to reread it to try to seek and understand several details of the story that might have passed me by on my first read.
“No one knows better than I do how far heaven is, but I also know all the shortcuts. The secret is to die, when you want to, and not when He proposes. Or else to force Him to take you before your time.”
“Death is not something you offer as entertainment. No one goes around looking for sadness.”
“The air is clear, there is sunlight, and there are clouds. Up above the sky is blue, and perhaps behind it there are songs and perhaps also voices… In short, there is hope. There is hope for us to heal our sorrow.”
“Everyone chooses the same path. Everyone leaves us.”
“…Don’t worry about me. I have hidden my pain in a safe place. Don’t let your heart stop beating.”
Rating: 3/5 stars
I’m quite honestly best without you.
Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.
Kissed more booze bottles
than lips. Felt wild and happy.
Felt alive. Felt free.
Slaughterhouse-Five belongs to my shelf of complex books. It was difficult reading it when I started so I had to condition my mind for it. I later find it more confusing as it jumps back and forth in time. The concept of time-travel isn’t new to me but it confused me just the same. So I tried to read it slower than my usual pace when reading and went back to a few pages now and then or re-read passages several times over until I somehow fully understand (or thought understand).
The book depicts the story of the bombing of Dresden in World War II. The idea to write this antiwar book came partly from Vonnegut’s experiences during the war. Both the first and last chapters were written from Vonnegut’s perspective.
The story’s protagonist is Billy Pilgrim. He was taken as a prisoner of war in World War II and his life back as a civilian was shaped by post-traumatic stress disorder. He experiences flashbacks of the war and suffers from hallucinations as well so he was sent to a mental institution for some time for he was certain he was abducted by aliens where talks of free will came up.
The bombing of Dresden created a firestorm that destroyed a huge part of the city and killed thousands. Historians though, found it hard to recount the horrors that happened so the author created a fictional narrative to help and understand what took place.
Vonnegut is a great writer and Slaughterhouse-Five is an interesting book. Satirical, sad, poignant, disturbing at times. It isn’t something I’d read for pleasure and I’m actually not a fan of sci-fi books but it is a story about war, a topic I like reading the most. Whether a just war is possible or not, it is heartbreaking to know its effects to human condition.
“And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”
“How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.”
“That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times and concentrate on the good ones.”
“It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.”
“If I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I’m grateful that so many of those moments are nice.”
Rating: 4/5 stars
Hello! It’s time for WWW Wednesday!
WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme introduced by Sam from Taking On A World of Words. You simply have to answer the 3 W-questions:
- What did you recently finish reading?
- What are you currently reading?
- What do you think you’ll read next?
So, I recently finished two books:
My current reads are:
What will I read next?
I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to finish my two current reads until the next WWW Wednesday because of work and you know, life, but yeah, next in line are:
I’d be delighted to know what books you have read, what you’re reading or what you’re about to read so the comment section is yours again, homo sapiens! I’d be really glad if you’d recommend books, too!
By the way, all photos are downloaded from Google so credit to all the owners.
piece of heaven
to me here on
Sometimes, just when everything seems to be going well, life throws us a curve ball. Then everything just starts to get messy. We get very confused and nothing seems to make sense. It’s not always that we get to come out of it easily because sometimes, it hits real hard. It’s way too painful that it seems so unfair why we need to get all through that without knowing the reason why.
But it’s situations like this that we are supposed to be stronger and we should fight harder. We can’t give up. We have to keep going. Then we’ll learn the lesson life is trying to teach us. Eventually, we grow.
Sometimes, we’re lucky to meet unexpected people. People who we meet at any random day of the week and staying up until wee hours of the night with them just talking about anything. We get to learn new things or start new hobbies with them or because of them. We learn to appreciate another side of life unknown to us before we’ve met them. Then sometimes, we fall in love. And gradually, things start to fall into place again. We feel deeply moved, we feel loved, appreciated and recognized. We feel everything all at once.
And then one day, it would just hit us. We are happy. In fact, we are very happy. We feel complete. We smile for no reason. Our hearts beat for all the right reasons. And when we look back months or years ago, it would make us feel glad that we stayed strong and didn’t let the pain or hurt consume us. We moved forward, we fought.
You are the only person who is in charge of how you feel about yourself. Nobody else can possibly do that. You get to decide if you believe you are beautiful or not, and nobody can take it away from you. If someone suggests that you aren’t beautiful, you can consider how sad it is that they have such a limited view of beauty. You can consider how unfortunate it is that they have such an exaggerated sense of self-importance that they think you should care about what they think. You can also choose to realize that it has nothing at all to do with your beauty and everything to do with their limitations.
Bravely fight for what you desire.
Shweta’s prompt for week #3: DOGS
Can’t imagine a world without dogs.
Animal Farm is a striking but easy to follow little novel about a farm taken over by animals after overthrowing Mr. Jones, the cruel and often drunk owner of Manor Farm.
This political satire has a simple but effective plot. George Orwell clearly understands power and its temptation and how people give in to it. Though people begin to pursue power with good intentions at first, most of the time, those who think they know what’s best for the people force it to the powerless.
The book also showed tools of propaganda works as well as brainwashing people in totalitarian regimes. The pigs were able to make the rest of the animals believe everything they say. They were quite convincing that the other animals were led to believe that their leader is always right. The pigs who were once just simple comrades to the other animals turned out to become dictators.
How the book ended was dramatic and at the same time tragic. The pigs turned out to be as corrupt as the humans they once disdained and replaced. The other animals in the farm can no longer tell the difference between pigs and men.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
“Man serves the interests of no creature except himself.”
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing.”
“The distinguishing mark of man is the hand, the instrument with which he does all his mischief.”
Rating: 5/5 stars
Shweta’s prompt for week #2: HOPE
She hopes someday she’ll matter enough.
It’s easy. 🙂 I would just have to answer the three questions:
- What are you currently reading?
- What did you recently finish reading?
- What do you think you’ll read next?
Recently Finished Reading:
Reading Next (though I may still change my mind and choose another):
So what do you think about these books? Have you read any of these? Or perhaps you can recommend a book to me? Comment section is yours, homo sapiens!
last time and
let us make everything
I used to fight the pain. But recently, this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy: it is my call to greatness.
It weighs heavy being alone sometimes.
It’s refreshing to read about a different part of the world that I don’t really have much idea about — Kyrgyzstan. Last year, I’ve met a Kyrgyz lady in Georgia. We get to spend a few hours together and I remember she was very cheerful and loved to talk about her country. The only thing I know about Kyrgyzstan before I met her is that it is a mountainous country in Central Asia.
Jamilia is a novella that took place during World War II. Narrated by Seit, the only son left in the family and not sent off to war. Jamilia is Seit’s sister-in-law. One day, Daniyar arrived in their village and soon enough opened their eyes to the beauty around them with his songs.
True enough, nothing much happened in the story but it isn’t much about what happened but how it happened. It is how souls speak to one another. Aitmatov was able to write the internal struggles of Jamilia through Seit’s observations. This is not just a love story about two people, it is also love for country, for culture, for music and life itself.
This book is beauty in simplicity. Read it as it is to enjoy.
“I was astounded at the passion and fire of the melody itself. I could not describe it then, nor can I now. Was it just his voice or something more tangible emerging from his very soul that could arouse such emotion in another person, and bring one’s innermost thoughts to life?”
“I was stunned. The steppe seemed to burst into bloom, heaving a sigh and drawing aside the veil of darkness, and I saw two lovers in its vast expanse.”
“May Daniyar’s song resound and may Jamilia’s heart beat with every stroke of my brush.”
“His singing made me want to fall to the ground and kiss it, as a son to a mother, grateful that someone could love it so keenly. For the first time in my life something new awoke within me, something irresistible: I still cannot explain it. It was a need to express myself, yes, to express myself, not only to see and sense the world, but to bring to others my vision, my thoughts and sensations, to describe the beauty of the earth as inspiringly as Daniyar could sing. I caught my breath for fear and joy of the unknown.”
“No, no, no. He never loved me, he even sent his regards as a postscript. I don’t need his tardy love and I don’t care what people say. My lonely darling, I’ll never let you go. I’ve loved you for so long. Even when I did not know I loved you, I was waiting for you, and you came as if you knew I was waiting.”
Rating: 4/5 stars
end for fucking
playing with her loving
Having big dreams,
enjoying small pleasures.
The Sympathizer is a story about the nameless narrator only known as the Captain — a subversive, a mole who pretends to sympathize with the south but is a spy and collaborating with the north. He is brought up by a poor Vietnamese mother and absent French priest for a father, went to study in the US and returned home to fight for the Communist cause.
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s writing style is beautiful and he certainly has a way with words. Try reading the first page and you’d know you’re reading the work of a talented writer. The book is full of wonderfully written passages and I’ve learned a good deal of vocabulary, too. I even made a list of these words so I can check them again and maybe use them myself someday as well.
The Sympathizer is a complex read that tackles different themes: war, identity, history, friendship, communism, loyalty, etc. It is a real page-turner and one of the books I’ve read this year I find particularly interesting. I can definitely see why it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016.
“Besides my conscience, my liver was the most abused part of my body.”
“We would all be in hell if convicted of our thoughts.”
“Nothing is ever so expensive as what is offered for free.”
“I could live without television, but not without books.”
“We don’t succeed or fail because of fortune or luck. We succeed because we understand the way the world works and what we have to do. We fail because others understand this better than we do.”
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Everyone who tells a story tells it differently, just to remind us that everybody sees it differently.