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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tina Fey and Buddhism

MY two recent reads have been as follows: Bossypants by Tina Fey and The Basic Method of Meditation (A small book-let from the Chuang Yen Monastery.

I've decided that the Meditation book is best left for my Soul Searcher blog (the-soul-searcher.blogspot.com) and will be appearing there in a post very soon because this reading was not so much about the reading as much as it was about discovering the world of meditation and contemplating what the monk in the book had to say. So be sure to check out why this book had now joined my favorites list! :)

On to Tina Fey!! Where to begin I wonder? Let's start with FUNNY. This book of hers, as well as Tina Fey, are immensely FUNNY. Now, I have never watched 30 Rock nor Saturday Night Live (Yes, I live in a cave). All I have seen of Tina Fey are a couple of movies - Mean Girls and Date Night to be specific. However, this book of hers has single-handedly allowed me to form a very strange opinion of her (not bad, just strange)in which the first impression was "FUNNY!!!!" This book of hers, Bossypants, is laugh out loud hilarious. There are no "she's trying too hard" jokes or any forced comedy - it's just plain and honest and makes you smile, nod your head in agreement, and even chuckle sporadically through.

My favorite part of the book and my strongest emotion towards the strange opinion of Tina Fey? She is one heck of an honest woman! I LOVE that! There are so few people out there that have the spine and the guts to lay it out the way it is for all the world to see/read. I'm sure most of us out there will agree with a lot of what Tina Fey has to say about women, girls, self-esteem issues, "mean girls", etc. but not a whole lot of us will have the honesty to repeat it and stand by the wrongs of society. And Tina Fey really strikes a balance - a comedian by profession, a wife and a mother, and still honest about the issues that really seem to effect hers and most women's lives.

At the surface of it I really enjoyed the read because it gave me a behind the scenes look at Saturday night live and 30 Rock - two shows that I now want to watch. I did end up watching the SNL 2008 campaign episode on netflix and it really is everything the book says it was. Except now you know what they were really trying to do and so the show makes sense! :)

If you feel like giggling and reading an honest memoir about someone who is really an average (which is awesome) woman, take a shot with this book.. you might enjoy it and learn some stuff too!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wuthering Heights

After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back!

My life-long dream of having a book club has recently taken off and I've gotten through 2 successful meetings!! I decided that the CPA exam was not going to take over my life, and since I won't start a full-time job for another month or so I decided to go ahead with the book club idea. In August we read "The Count of Monte Cristo" - this monstrous book is 1300 pages and after about 300 or so pages I was quite done with it. Those who attempted an abridged (600 page version) were able to make it through. But let me tell you, unless you are really into classic adventure, this book really doesn't offer much literary merit. The story moves fast but the writing is so common and kind of "blah" it doesn't easily take you through the 1300 daunting pages.

Our second book, for September, was "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. And here is what I feel after finishing it:

This book is the first I have ever read in my life that I have immensely liked and passionately hated at the same time! What an eloquent writing - the words just flow so beautifully and capture you into the characters' lives like you have never experienced before. But those characters!! OH my GOODNESS - I hated almost all of them! They are odious people that you have but momentary sympathy for. Their characters are so dark and eerie that you are gripped to know more but repulsed by their actions/behaviors/thoughts at the same time. No wonder this book is a classic. This is a dark, dark, dark book - but every page kept me going back for more - it was almost irresistibly dark. As much as I love Jane Austen and her almost poetic-like beautiful writing and her wonderful flowery stories - this book, in my opinion, proved to be a more literary classic than any of her works I've read so far. Although written many years ago, and living in an age of terrorism and other terrible human traits, this book goes to the core of the darkness and evil that can be within a human spirit - terrifying but exciting read all in one!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Someday I Hope To Be

SO, today I have decided to try a new kind of post - I usually talk about what I've read.. however, it's summer, and I'm busy studying for the CPA exam (and it's taking up my life!) and so all I've really been reading are light summer novels that there is not much to say about (because frankly, there is nothing more to them then their face value). So, let's change things up a bit.. From now on, I'll continue posting my thoughts on what I read, but for the next few months since that will mostly be accounting and I don't want to put you to sleep, I will also post some original writing of mine - stories, poems, etc. - some written years ago, some written recently.. And we'll see where all of this goes! :)


Someday I hope to be
A person that is living
Have a soul that is free
And in the sky be flying.

Today I am mellow
The sky is a crisp blue
There is a bold fellow
Who of the world has a clue.

This fellow I hope to meet
Take a stroll in the park
See the path tread by his feet
And ask him for an ark.

I want him to save me
Truth shall be told
My protector is he
Who of the heart keeps hold.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Life Changing Reads

Yet again, here I am, a changed person.

I do believe that in the last few months, the books I have read have made me laugh, moved me deeply, and have become a part of my life. Today, I want to share a little bit with you all about these three books I encountered:

"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" - Amy Chua
"To Kill a Mockingbird" - Harper Lee
"The Hindi Bindi Club" - Monica Pradhan

MY first book - Battle Hymn - is the one that made me laugh, and nod my head along with. I was born in India and came to the United States at the age of 6. SO, in parts I can understand where Amy Chua was coming from, because I think I had her childhood for a part of my life, and her kids' childhood for another part. A blending of generations and countries I suppose. I wouldn't say that this book was well-written, but boy was it a fun read.. you gain quite a bit of perspective on what exactly goes on in an Asian mother's head - a mystery to most I'm sure. This book was a fast read as well, so I'm certainly glad I gave it a go. Not much more substance than the "funny" I suppose - so it was a great "light" read!

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is a classic for a reason. I first read this book in 8th grade as part of the curriculum. I had fallen in love with the book and it became my favorite, but somehow over time, the memory of the characters faded from my mind and I started wondering what had made the book so great? So, 9 years after I first read the book, I decided to give it another read. I must say, this is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read in my life. And the only book I have read twice. I now understand why it become my favorite, because it has taken the title all over again! I must say though, as an adult I got a profound view from these few hundred pages. I'm in that phase where I question life and the world around me, but with a skeptical view, not a child's innocence. And Harper Lee's beautiful words made me realize that a child's innocence is inherently how the world should be looked at, because without it, we lose all perspective. The simple words of the book, the power of each of the words, the scenery, the characters, and the plot of course could not have been better - this truly is a gem of a book and if I could (I might someday) I would buy everyone I know a copy a of this book - it's that good! :)

I think I've saved the best for last - the Hindi Bindi Club. Now, as touching as To Kill a Mockingbird is, and as much as it has become my favorite novel of all time, I must say the Hindi Bindi Club shocked me in terms of how much I enjoyed reading it. As I mentioned, I was born in India and grew up in the U.S. - a combination that gave me a perspective quite unique on this particular book. Three families - two generations - one grown up in India, one in the US - what a combo! There are so many of us today that are part of this combo - yet no book, no words have quite captured our emotions, our trials as well as this book has. At the same time, it quite aptly captures the emotions most folks feel when they immigrate from their home country to a foreign one. Meenal, Kiran, Uma, Rani, Saroj and Preity have become a part of my life - I don't think I will forget them, and I do believe I will visit their story again when I'm seeking comfort from my culture. Because at the end of the day, this mind-provoking, heart healing/hurting book is a mix of Indian spices and American comfort food - an irony isn't it? Oh, and the book has some lovely recipes peppered throughout - something that inspired me to cook some Indian food and enjoy the flavors of the book even more!! :)

So, my friends, I leave you here - however, I do urge you to read these three books. All different in their own ways, all lovely in the own ways, all having given me immense pleasure in the same way..

For those of you who have never read "To Kill a Mockingbird" - put down whatever you are doing and read it, you will always be glad you did.

For those of you who are of mixed descent, or first/second generation immigrants, or just want an insight into those of us who are - read "The Hindi Bindi Club", trust me, you will make friends with the characters and miss them sorely when you finish!

For those of you want advice on what to do (or not to do really) when parenting - go ahead and give Amy Chua's book a try.

And here, I do bid you all adieu! :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Part of Me Will Never Be the Same

Alas, I am back from my hiatus!!

And the only thing that has pulled me back: two very different and very strong books I have recently finished reading.

The first of these books is "Water for Elephants" by Sarah Gruen - a book like nothing I have read before. I must admit the writing is very basic and straightforward, but the content, quite unique! A story about the circus - unique. A story that flashes back and forth between youth and old age and captures each emotion vividly - unique. I won't say much about the story because it is worth the read. I will, however, say that I have a whole new persective of the circus and what goes into it, a deeper understanding of love and the need to protect, and a greater respect for those that age and are left behind but are still living beings that need a bit of love and care. I think I've changed a little with this book, in a way that I know I'll never be the same again.

Soon after I finished the first book, I started one called "A Fresh of Breath Air" by Amulya Malladi. I have a confession: I have never cried reading a book or watching a movie, and then very silently, this book came into my life and pulled out a few tears from my stoic soul. It was such a simple book, yet so powerful. It was like a Hindi movie, but one done so well and based on such true events that it forces you to get involved. I think the characters of this book will stay with me for a long time - Anjali, the girl who grew into a strong but tired woman; Sandeep, the calm infallible husband who secretly has his insecurities - my favorite character; and Prakash, the one you want to hate, but feel sorry for as well. And of course the other numerous characters that are peppered flawlessly through the pages. Especially the character of Amar, a child whose name turns out to be terribly ironic.

I want to say so much more about these books, and go on about the stories and the plot, but that is up to you to read - which I highly recommend. However, I'm going to leave this post here, simply by saying and knowing that I will never be the same again. Not after the experience of these beautiful, heart felt novels!