Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The White Tiger

OK, so I admit it… my wife is smart.  Last night I started listening to a new book on tape.  The reader was super fast but with an Indian dialect so I didn’t think anything of it.  She said it sounds like it is sped up.  It wasn’t until the last few minutes while at work that I played it from my office that it was completely different and slower!  No wonder I got through this new book so fast.  It is interesting I picked up The White Tiger yesterday as I had the chance to have brunch at a really close NYU friend’s home, who happens to be of Indian descent and we discussed the caste system in India.  Well, guess what The White Tiger is about... the caste system in India.  The book is clearly a “dark comedy” reflecting the current day system in place.  Balram, the protagonist telling the story, is at the lowest level in the “food chain” and works his way to become a servant of a wealthy Indian man, serving as his personal driver.  We learn of the experiences of humiliation that some servants face in India as a driver, “when I am not in the car, leave the AC off, I want you to track your mileage so I know you aren’t cheating me, no heat in the car when I am not there in the winter”... you get the point.  Balram actually works for a pretty nice wealthy man, though he does forget at points (after a drunken night on the town with his wife) to be decent in terms of G-rated play with his wife in the back seat.  There are some laughs among the absurdity of it all.  Finally Balram realizes the only way out of his sad life is to kill his boss by slashing him to death with a bottle of Johnny Walker Red.  Hmmm, I don’t know how anyone can drink that stuff.  Not for me for sure!  And it looks like he will get away with the murder, taking the money from the pocket of the deceased boss.  He ends up at the top of the caste system with the money he has taken and starts his own taxi service in Bangalore where he has escaped.  An interesting tale illustrating one man’s belief of the “flawed” democratic system.  Balram suggests that socialism would be a better way to go.  I guess if one doesn’t experience what Balram has you might not think democracy works.  The more I read about Indian culture the more I wonder if there isn’t a serious problem.  Others thoughts on this?  Love to hear.  Gave me lots to think about.  If you like dark humor, you’ll like this one!  

Monday, November 29, 2010


So strange to be back to work after a four day respite.  Welcome to Monday!  Nice to see and feel the bustle of campus life.  I don’t often talk about the work I do over the blog, but I am blessed.  I have a great position and work at a great institution.  NYU has everything one could ask for... great students, great faculty, and in a great city!  So let’s get to the reading, huh?  The oldest story of all time, well some say… Gilgamesh.  I know there are numerous versions translated but this version was quite short in duration, from my standpoint – especially since I listened to it on tape.  The translator’s notes were longer than the story.  It was a wonderful read in terms of the story of friendship, immortality (or seeking immortality), experiencing the physical expression of love/companionship,  strength, seeking to be the best and responding to the Gods.  Had a little of everything.  Gilgamesh was the absolute epitome of strength and was challenged when Enkidu, a younger version of himself, came forward.  Together they traversed the world to rid their country of an impending force of Humbaba and later the Bull of Heaven.  When his dear companion Enkidu dies, he seeks to find the secret of eternal life but what he finds out is what we all will find at the end of the journey, “there is an end!”  Certainly is a pre-cursor to the stories we read daily just different backdrops.  I hadn’t read this one since high school.  Great to be re-introduced to it.  Add it to the list!  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Girl Who Played With Fire

It has been a long weekend of reading and listening.  Trying to read between listening is not an easy thing to do.  But sequel to the good read of a few weeks ago… this time, part 2.  You know they always say the second book is not as good as the first, not so here. I thought book two was actually better.  The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson was a continuation of the first story, same characters but much more focused on the implications of the early life of Lisbeth Salander.  One always needs to pay attention to each of those little hints from the first story and guess what, they come out as important elements later on.  Nothing like thrillers that have turns at every corner.  I have had a great week of books to read/listen to this past week or so.  Another bestselling book from the list.  This one focuses on the story of exposing sex trafficking, though that is really a cover for the history of Lisbeth’s growing up and connecting the dots.  I don’t want to give too much information on this one, other than to say I really enjoyed it.  You can’t put this down.  I love the sexual triangle that pits Lisbeth and her two lovers, Mikael and Miriam.  Mystery, intrigue, and surprises all throughout.  I hope RAs place the last book on the list!!!  Buy this book!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Devil in the White City

Another long ride gave me the chance to do some power listening from audible.com.  Have I told you how expensive this journey to read all the RA favorites… no idea, but it has been a pretty penny.  Time for some non-fiction and a book that has been the favorite for multiple RAs.  The Devil in the White City by Eric Larsen is an excellent story that chronicles two stories at the same time.  First the building of the World’s Fair celebrating the 400 year anniversary of Columbus discovering America (can you even believe that we would celebrate the 500 years?  With all of the issues revolving Columbus, not so!). The windy city (or the white city – no idea that’s what it was called) wins the bid.  The trials and tribulations surrounding the build-up and intricacies involved in the landscaping, building, and the triumphs of the unions are all captured and at the same time following the life of Dr. H.H. Holmes, the first known serial killer in the US.  Larsen does an outstanding job of weaving the two stories together and providing a historical perspective on so many things that we benefitted from in our growing up. Throw in a few euphemisms that I now know the historical context and you have a read that also teaches the readers a few things.   I also loved the fact that the reader was the same person who read Alexander Hamilton’s biography.   I would add this to the list of reads.  I understand why this was a bestselling book.  Well done.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Art of Possibility

Hope all enjoyed the Thanksgiving festivities.  We had a good time eating and cooking.  I also had time to finish 1931 (a good year, huh?) out of 5300 runners in the Troy Turkey Trot!  Not bad.  A good day to recover and read The Art of Possibility by a husband and wife team, Benjamin and Rosamund Zander  (stream of consciousness… I had a kid named Zander on my LL team for a few years).  Back to the read… well some pretty nice nuggets on how to deal with others and think before acting, but overall disappointing.  This is a classic self-help book written by a conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and his wife, Rosamund, who serves as a psychotherapist.  When I read the starfish story (if you don’t remember it, here you go: http://muttcats.com/starfish.htm) as a lead into a chapter, I know that I may have read the best part of the book already.  Very simplistic concepts that we should all employ.  Spend time talking to a wise old man or woman on a park bench and you’ve read this one…. Save the $3.00 and get a latte from Starbucks.  A pass….

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Hunger Games

An excellent listen!  As we drove up to upstate NY, I had the chance to listen to a great future (apocalyptic) read… The Hunger Games.  The story was engaging, loved the characters, and the thrill of what would happen next.  The story had it all, except for the ending was not what I thought it would be, except to say, I’m sure there will be a sequel, too much left up in the air (JUST GOOGLED it, yes it is one of three books! Am I smart or what?).  The Hunger Games was the 2120 type “Olympic games”… but with a huge twist.  The winner is the one who kills the other 23 kids from the other districts.  The protagonist (Katniss) is not chosen to lead her district, rather she stands in for her little sister who was chosen.   Katniss and her partner, Peeta, come from District 12, the poorest of the 12 districts in the country (which was North America), now called Panem.  Once chosen for the tournament we experience the pre-game parades, interviews, and then the main event.  Death is not becoming, especially when you fall in love.  Unfortunately no RA has placed the second book as a favorite?  Oh dear!  A very good listen, and I’m sure just as good a book.  High marks!  But now I want to read the second book….  I guess I have to wait until I get through the next 140+ books first.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

A nice read, certainly off the path of what I have been reading lately, a short engaging story of the high seas, no this is not like Hemingway… instead it is by Avi (love the name!), The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.  Poor Charlotte Doyle who shares this story years after she experienced the trip of her life.  Can you imagine parents sending their child from England to the US on a cargo sailboat in 1832?!  Her father, who owns the shipping company, has his daughter on the voyage.  The other families who were scheduled to join the trip back out when they learn of the infamous captain (Captain Jaggery) at the helm.  Jaggery’s last voyage was one in which he cut off the arm of a sailor.  Charlotte is warned not to go on board, but the man dropping her off gives her no choice, fire his butt Mr. Doyle!  Charlotte learns that she has entered a “mutiny” voyage.  Death, trials (yes, Charlotte goes on trial for murder), and becoming a true sailor for a 13 year old girl, this one has it all!

The book is probably most impactful for the age range of Charlotte, 11-15.  Simple, fun, exciting, and a coming of age story.  Love the ending – shouldn’t we all run away and follow our dreams, especially 13 year-olds?  Great lesson, huh???  Give this one to your young niece, she will love it.  For those over 16, hmmm…  probably not. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Happy birthday to my sister, Linda.  So I will base my review on what my sister might think of this book – a famous sci-fi, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s not only sci-fi, but has some comedy, and a bit of Eugene Ionesco (Theatre of the Absurd) for sure.   The characters visit the planet of Magrathea, which seems like a fun place with Earth gone.  The first character we are introduced to is Arthur Dent, an Earthling from England who fights to ensure his house doesn’t become a thoroughfare for others to get to Point B from Point A faster.  From there a number of other characters come and go in this revolving door, such as Ford Prefect, an alien from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse who is a researcher for the eponymous guidebook; Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford's semi-cousin and the Galactic President; the depressed robot Marvin, the Paranoid Android; and Trillian, formerly known as Tricia McMillan, a woman Arthur once met at a party in Islington and the only other human survivor of Earth's destruction. Confused yet?  Don’t be.

Back at planet Magrathea, we are introduced to Slartibartfast, a planetary coastline designer.  He tells the story of a race of hyper-intelligent beings who built a computer named Deep Thought to calculate the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. The computer, often mistaken for a planet (because of its size and use of biological components), was destroyed to make way for a hyperspatial express route, could this be the route that our early protagonist Arthur Dent tried to fight?  This really gets over the top when we are introduced to the mice – yes, the mice who made it from earth to Magrathea.  Who could think a book as eccentric as this could be a bestseller?  What was happening in the late 1970s when this was written?  Hmmm now I know why it was a best seller.  Be awake, Red Bull might keep you super focused for this one, and would be fitting!  Not my favorite for sure – give me Dirk Gently by the same author, Douglas Adams.  And now I learned he had various versions of this book, yikes!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Mists of Avalon

When you have been reading a really LONG book for a LONG time there is a sense of accomplishment that goes beyond words, especially when the book is not one in which you really enjoy.  Fast forward to The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimnmer Bradley.  When I say long, I mean it…. at this moment in time, there are 1-2 books I have started that fall in the category of LONG.  When I finished Alexander Hamilton, which I really enjoyed, it took me 6 months, starting and stopping.  This one is longer.  I have never been a fan of the whole King Arthur fetish.   This book differs from almost all of the other books I have read from the “Arthurian” tales in that this particular book is heavy on the female perspective, which is a nice twist of describing blood, gore, sexual intrigues, religious uprisings, and the fight for power and the throne.   Aren’t all of these stories the same? 

The tale spans a few generations, first with Morgaine, the story’s protagonist, when she is just a little girl and taken to Avalon by her aunt to become a priestess and experiences the tensions of the religious/non-religious coalitions. While there she goes through a ritual on birthing and meets her half-brother, Arthur, whom she didn’t know.  She later has a child, Gwydion, or Mordred (which she is later called).  Confusing? 

Later after Arthur’s father dies, he ascends to the throne.  He gets the magic sword, love those magic swords! Guess what it is called… Excaliber.  Arthur, with sword in hand, fights off the invasion of the Saxons.  Unfortunately Arthur is not as lucky in bed, meaning his wife and he can’t conceive a child.  This leads to Gwenhwyfar, the wife, to have strained relationships with the circle of Morgaine, Camelot, and all.  The knights of the Round Table of Camelot leave to search for the Holy Grail but Mordred, the bastard son of Arthur and Morgaine, takes the throne.  The major battle is fought in the end where Arthur and Mordred’s men fight each other and Morgaine is left in the end alone to share the story of what happens to Camelot.  Lot of drama, with intrigue, but again, not a fan of the Arthur years….  A number of books top this one.  Glad to have finally hit page 875!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Every Second Counts

Today’s topic is one that goes far back in my history, much like many of you I am sure, cancer.  30+ years ago my father was stricken with cancer and again two more times.  I am lucky as he was a fighter and remains healthy and active today.  Lance Armstrong’s Every Second Counts chronicles his fight against cancer (four years after he began remission) during his second Tour de France race.  The book goes from stories of the people who he helped, the struggles of morning treatments, to the fear of cancer returning, losing the race, and finally to his struggles with married life. The book also follows the allegations of Armstrong’s drug use and his team (Postal) members.  Armstrong’s vulnerability shows in moments of his failing marriage as a husband and how he sometimes wasn’t aware of how important his role of fighting cancer played when meeting a cancer stricken man at the White House.  Armstrong’s stark upbringing in a single family household seemingly taught him how to fight, persevere, and never give up even in the presence of pain and desperation.  The physical pain he endured was thoughtfully presented as was the failure of others to endure.  He serves as a role model for many with his active involvement in his own foundation.  One thing I have learned first-hand from fighters (like my father) is that it is innate and I don’t think it can be taught.  My father can think away headaches and the pain of living with limited to no stomach or intestines, though still works in his own business at age 80+…  inspirational… hmmm he wouldn't say so, nor would I.  It is the way of life, knowing how important he is to our family and also to the community that he interacts.  Armstrong inspires us for his ability to fight on the bicycle, 7(!!!) times on the tour, and serves as hope for those who fight the worst with the disease.  As a human, there are sides of Armstrong that comes through in the book that are not so attractive, ego and self-absorption, but so too do we all have our quirks and personality “traits” that make some folks attracted to us and others not.  At times the book is motivating, but at times I really didn't like Armstrong which affected my own feelings of the book.  Not sure it was integrated as well as it could have been… was it supposed to be about tour number 2? An epilogue and then another, reviewing tour win number 5, sprinkled in with a diary of details that, to be honest, were not all that interesting.  I felt I was tuning in to a weekly serial and missed a year or two of shows.  I still admire what he was capable of accomplishing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brideshead Revisited

English novels seem to me to have a similar feel to them (a huge generalization, for sure)!  In this best-selling book (in its time), we go back to the war days of WWI and WWII, though not much about the war, but the intricacies of relationships, religion, and facing our demons.  Brideshead Revisited  by Evelyn Waugh was published in 1945.  The lead character, the voice of our narrator Charles Ryder, who is studying at Hertford College at Oxford University, meets and befriends Sebastian Flyte, the son of a wealthy family.  Flyte seemingly has strong feelings for Charles (homosexual overtones, though hard to figure out completely) early in the book until it appears Charles has eyes for his sister Julia.  The story revolves around the three characters growing apart after their initial time at Brideshead.  Sebastian heads to Morocco and falls into alcoholism, though near the end of his life he turns to a monastery and finds some solace in life.  Julia and Charles marry others and realize that their marriages aren’t based on the love that they find in each other after all these years.  But as a subplot throughout is the role of faith, Catholicism, plays in the lives of the three, Julia and Sebastian as growing up Catholic and Charles – a non-believer who loses out to Julia in the end because of her inability to re-marry (in part because of her faith).  The story is much more complicated with the family upbringing of Charles without a mother, and the Catholic issues with Sebastian & Julia’s parents, especially the last scene where their father is given his last rites and he comes back to the church (after leaving for a time), hence Julia’s response to Charles.  Brideshead is revisited at the very end by Charles at the conclusion of WWII (years later) in a scene that makes one think has he been called by God back to this place?   Characters are believable during this time of war and questioning of whether there is a God, a sign of the time.  Good depth and lots of sub issues that create a complication of understanding some of the real messages here.  Need to pay attention to the details as the author may be telling us one thing, or not?  Not the best book, but worth a read.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Top Girls

I think this is the last PLAY, yes another one!  So, I guess this one is actually pretty entertaining, so I will not go into detail about my Tisch students who want a play to be a best novel.  Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls is set in Britain and brings in the stories of historical women and parallels them with the modern women of the day.  The opening scene is pretty funny when the “dead women’s society” – Pope Joan, Griselda (the patient wife from the Clerk’s Tale in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales) and Lady Nijo, a Japanese mistress who becomes a Buddhist nun – have dinner with Marlene, the driven “can’t hold her down” woman of the 1980s (when it was written).  The tempo, language, and interaction make the first Act go by quickly.  The remaining scenes follow Marlene’s history before rising to the top at Top Girl’s Employment Agency.  We learn that Marlene left her poor upbringing and illegitimate child with her struggling sister and faces a “Man’s World” as the top dog at the agency.  The last scene of the play is set one year before and we learn about the choices that Marlene makes before she makes it “to the top”...  if that in fact is the top, is it where women, or anyone, want to be?  Interesting question.  Lots of levels in this story, I probably missed a bunch, for sure.   Overall, as a play as a book, not bad.  I could actually visualize this play pretty well.  Maybe my directing shoes are getting ready to be put on?  Hmmm…  maybe not, no more plays on this list (!),  well until I meet another Tisch student, huh?

Sunday, November 14, 2010


A nice classic to read for those interested in the psychology of a person, Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber.  The story is based on the true story regarding multiple personalities.  You certainly need to be aware that this is not an easy read.  The horrific events that lead to Sybil’s condition stem from her schizophrenic mother who tortures her in ways too gruesome for this blog.  After her mother’s death, she finally gets to meet the doctor whom she was unable to meet when her mother was alive, Dr. Wilbur, who has moved to NYC.  Dr. Wilbur, a female psychologist, works with Sybil over an eleven-year period to identify the sixteen personalities that are within Sybil.  These personalities seem to reflect aspects of family members who negatively influenced her in some way.  Each personality attempts to keep Sybil caught hidden in the past.  Having three sessions a week, Dr. Wilbur slowly works to have Sybil confront her fears and meet each personality.  Her father’s guilt of allowing his sick wife (who dies during Sybil’s teenage years) to raise Sybil provides the funds for her to meet with Dr. Wilbur. The story is alleged to be the real life story of the author.  “Sybil” a pseudonym for the lead character is said to have fully recovered and become an artist and college professor.  A book like Sybil allows the reader to understand the complexities of mental illness and how we as a society should not overlook these diseases.  If you really want to be moved by determination and the desire of one person to help another, you will find the book rewarding in the end, but a tough read to get to that point.  It was a bestselling book in its time.  Complicated work.  Need some time with this one.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010


So I met with a friend of a friend’s son who wants to attend NYU.  This is his DREAM school.  I love NYU, don’t get me wrong, but high school students out there, note: there are a lot of great schools out there, not just one.  If you don’t get into your top rated school, you will survive!  Sorry, needed to get that out there.  OK.  I said this before and I will say it again (hopefully not too often), but a play is not a favorite book.  There is just way too much missing, especially for someone like me with an MFA in Directing.  It’s almost like being teased reading a play and not experiencing it live.  Arcadia by Tom Stoppard…. I guess it is ok.  Not a real fan of period pieces AND current day in the same story on stage!  Throw in Lord Byron, a love affair, hidden stories, educational snobbery and well, what else?  1809 to 1993 back to 1809 to 1993... you get the idea.  Same set, leave the same props on stage.  I started to picture it, but got frustrated I was reading someone’s favorite book.  This is hard, especially when I am listening to a book on tape (just started) that I’m REALLY liking – hope to finish it this week, stay tuned – oops, yeah Arcadia, hummm…  Byron left a book behind that we didn’t know about – never published, hidden at a country house in Derbyshire – not even a fan of Byron’s work either.  OK – sorry theatre lovers, I love plays, don’t get me wrong, but I ask RAs for their favorite book???  All actors should have a favorite book too, you know.   The melodrama of the scenes from 1809 annoyed me, one of my least favorite period for plays so almost everything is stacked against me liking this from the start.  I actually like some of Stoppard’s works.  Take a pass on this one.  I may try and see it when the production comes around and will update this blog entry at that point in time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


A great day to read a children’s book , my son Alex’s 16th birthday!  I remember the days sitting in bed with him as he said “Just one more page please” and of course I relented and read another, and then another page.  It was probably a book just like tonight’s Dinotopia by James Gurney.  A story of a father and son lost at sea and land on a far away place, Dinotopa, where dinosaurs rule the world.  Will and his father are the only two to survive the ship wreck.  Luckily the dolphins retrieved them and brought them safely to home.   The story has the two journey through various exotic lands and learning that others have also been kept captive in this inescapable land.  The story is enhanced by the beautiful renderings that reflect the land.  The detailed pictures help bring the reader to the majestic land of mystery and adventure.  Both Will and his father meet others who help them on their journey in search of a way to “go back home.”  In the end, Will’s father reflects that their journey makes him realize that their old world was richly rewarding, “but here on Dinotopia my eyes have been open to the wonders of a new world” where animals communicate with people and there is a lifetime of adventures to live.  Escaping out of this world into a new one is a dream for many.  For one, I like this world.  While the journey is exciting, give me NYC any day.  What a great book to help kids and adults alike paint vivid pictures and assist in deepening your imagination.  The illustrations alone are worth viewing.  A good, fun read.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Bonfire of the Vanities

I wish I picked up the book I was reading rather than start and finish the Tom Wolfe novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities.  The story is set in NYC!  That’s about it… well not really.  100 years from now it will be considered a “period piece” as it reflects the greed, self-preservation, racism, and behind door politics of the era.  The characters, centering around four men, all have some flaw - greed, power, alcoholism, etc.  Sherman McCoy, the millionaire, accidently visits the Bronx on his way to the airport with his mistress (Maria).  That is a huge detour for those of you who don’t leave the borough (how he didn’t know after crossing the bridge?)!   McCoy is faced by a few African-American men late at night in which it “appears” a hit and run occurs when he exits his car, avoiding garbage cans.  The local DA (Abe Weiss), up for re-election, tracks down McCoy as the culprit when the two men complain of the hit and run.  Between the humiliation for McCoy through the bad press (Peter Fallow, an alcoholic reporter who attempts a revival on his career following the alleged “hit and run) of the “incident” and his relationship with the mistress, he contemplates his life. The various story lines all intersect with a ho-hum ending.  The story and the drab, “I have such a bad life” characters make me want to scream!  Not worth your time… A highly rated book for its time.  Take a pass!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Does the hype make a book less fulfilling to read or not?  Well, for this one it didn’t hurt the book at all.  I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, a thriller with some really interesting characters.  Mikael Blomkvist, a publisher for a political magazine Millennium, loses a libel case and has been sentenced to three months of prison.  After he steps down from the magazine, he is approached by Henrik Vanger, of the wealthy Vanger Group, to find out who killed his niece, a mystery that has eluded him for 40 years.  The interesting twist - it is someone from the family!   Like most great thrillers, Blomkvist is trailed by a mystery woman (who has hacked into his computer and learns of his investigation), the woman (Lisbeth) then is found by Blomkvist and joins him in the search.  I didn’t go into detail about Lisbeth, she is a complicated character with a harrowing experience with the man overseeing her inheritance (you’ll find out why she’s the girl with the dragon tattoo and what things she tattoos on others!).  The story has great drama as each family member is believed to be the murderer, but with all good thrillers...(possible spoiler, highlight to read) the murders are of others and not who you are led to believe is dead.  OK – enough of the details.  Read this one!  To think this is a trilogy is exciting.  Yes, the second book is on the RA list, but not the third, so I guess I will have to wait until meeting more RAs next year.  Add this one to your list!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

You know I am not a big fan of short stories… well, I will say this read is VERY descriptive and paints beautiful pictures, heck I feel like I just left the new Walden Pond.  Surely the author, Annie Dillard, was very much affected by Thoreau in her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  The book was lauded as a great series of stories, which are connected by the scenery and experiences of the season changes at Tinker Creek, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Roanoke, Virginia.  I really want to visit them, for sure.  While I was lifted to the beauty and serenity of the location, not someone who is “brought” to a place when I am in the mood I was for this book.  Give me a Grisham book anytime over this type of read.   Sorry folks, unless you are at the beach where you are falling asleep all of the time or interrupted incessantly and it doesn’t matter, I’d leave this one for another day and time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Looking For Alaska

If you haven’t read The Celestine Prophecy, it talks about “coincidences and fate,”  much of what I read last night/this morning (a different book than C.P. – I read that a few years back) falls into my day and the strangeness of my day.  A personal family tragedy occurred which paralleled the reading of today’s book, Looking for Alaska by John Green.  While the subject matter disturbs me, I will not go into detail over the net about the personal issues for the sake of privacy and my inability to have a conversation 1-1 with anyone reading this blog post, I felt the need to share how “fate,” “connections,” and my belief in a higher being was reinforced by the way today went. (Read more behind the jump)

Monday, November 1, 2010

City of Joy

I enjoyed the book I have been reading, City of Joy, a novel written by Dominique Lapierre.  The story centers on the trials and tribulations of a young priest, Stephan Kovalsk.  Kovalsk moves to Calcutta, India and tries desperately to understand the life of the people who occupy the slum area.  Kovalski befriends Hasari Pal, and his family.  Hasari is a rickshaw puller and is forced to make decisions against the establishment, whom he works.

Kovalski and Hasari develop a strong bond, so much so that they face the strong hold owner of the slums.  It is Kovalski, who helps the City of Joy (the rescue hospital/shelter) through his work as a priest and optimistic motivator of the people.  He provides strength and a spirit of hope among the people that they will no longer be exploited to have to face the fate that would have challenged them.  The rest of the “slum dwellers” are equally as ignored and exploited by their society with many in the community with leprosy and other afflictions. The book shares a real view of the despair and degradation of the community.  The end of the story, with some hope for Hasari and his family, leaves the reader feeling some sense of hope for the community as well.   Nice to learn that this is based on a true story!  Yes true.  Strong read, highly encourage and if you feel like donating to the worthy cause of City of Joy, see: http://www.cityofjoyaid.org/donate.html