Category: books i read

the last lecture

By , August 7, 2008 6:56 pm

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the first few pages of this book got me smiling and i guess you could say that if you can get a smile out of me, more will follow. case in point – funnyman dan got me all the way to the altar. and of course this author got me to part with my money.

the author uses many maxims which may seem passe, but many times i found myself nodding in agreement or my eyes widening at a fresh outlook on a familiar situation. it may be largely his wit and humor that made the book so easy to read, but it is definitely the content that’s made it stick in my mind.

i had wanted to blog about this book some time back but procrastinated thought food entries must be so much more interesting. and then i saw a video of the “last lecture” on youtube (yes, the book is based on the lecture. it was an actual lecture. the sort you attend in school) . so for those who dont really like to read. here’s the visual alternative :

[youtube ji5_MqicxSo&e]

anne frank is such a good read

By , July 10, 2008 11:44 am

even my cat’s in on it!

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wanted to attach this picture with my last post but thought it inappropriate given the tone of the entry. he Is very adorable isn’t he 🙂

on a more serious note, i completed the book today. her last entry was a rather long and agitated rant about contradictions. to be more accurate, how contradictory her inner self is from others’ view of her. it was followed by “ANNE’S DIARY ENDS HERE”.

reading the Afterword made me very emotional. knowing how 7 of the 8 people hiding in the annexe died was heartbreaking. remembering phrases anne has written like “I want to go on living even after my death”, and “You’ve known for a long time that my greatest wish is to be a journalist, and later on, a famous writer. In any case, after the war I’d like to publish a book called The Secret Annexe”.

if she only knew how she has lived on.

the diary of a young girl Anne Frank

By , July 9, 2008 12:00 am

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i bought this book when i was in amsterdam and have since been trying to read it very very slowly. everyday that i pick up the book, i return to this place that anne frank writes about-a secret annexe in a factory where they are hiding in constant fear of being found out. admittedly, i didn’t like her very much when i started the book but that’s testament to her brutal honesty in relating how she feels. as i read on, i realise that it is this very trait that allowed me to see how admirably she has grown. 

i’m reluctant to reach the end of the book because i know that someone eventually turned them in and that she died a short month before the liberation.

i’m dreading her last entry.

there were many times she spoke of despair, but as many entries rang with hope and optimism. this is my favourite – her thoughts when she was looking out of an open window over a large part of Amsterdam, dated Wednesday 23 Feb 1944:

“The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity.

As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.”

an hour to live, an hour to love

By , April 23, 2008 12:17 am

dan’s colleague gave us a bag full of thoughtful wedding presents and because they were all individually wrapped, everyone was a surprise. amid toiletries and aromatherapy tealight burners, the last gift i unwrapped stood out in a “i’m not from the same department” way:

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“goodie!” i thought cos i’m geeky enough to actually get excited about starting on a good book and people almost only ever buy another a book they think to be really good, right?  i turned to the back (excerpt):

“Richard Carlson’s sudden, tragic death in December 2006 left his millions of fans reeling, but even their many letters, calls, and emails couldn’t erase the loss felt by his wife Kristine.

To try and come to terms with her loss, she pored over 25years of love letters, reliving the memories and cherishing her late husband’s memory.

But one letter stood out. Richard had written to his wife on their 18th wedding anniversay and attempted to answer the question: if you had one hour to live, what would you do, who would you call, and what would you say?”

knowing the premise of what i was about to read made my heart heavy and after a few pages, my face wet. the book’s only 60pages long and took less than an hour to read. but the message was really touching. their love for each other was really touching.

i think we all need to be reminded of our mortality, and of what’s important to us every (other) day. so i’d like to share the closing of the book with you. it’s Richard‘s favourite poem by Norma Cornett Marek :  Tomorrow Never Comes.

Paint it Black by Janet Fitch

By , December 30, 2007 11:28 am

On the cover that leaned against the dirty couch, John and Yoko pressed together for a kiss they would never finish. People were always trashing Yoko Ono, blaming her for breaking up the Beatles, but Josie knew they were just jealous that John preferred Yoko to some bloated megaband. Nobody ever really loved a lover. Because love was a private party, and nobody got on the guest list.

Paint It Black by Janet Fitch

when i’m picking a book out at the library, i pull out random covers and then read the synopsis. if it’s vaguely interesting, i’ll leaf through it and read random paragraphs.

this book, is the story of a young woman dealing with her boyfriend’s suicide. on how she copes with the loss, with discovering another side of him, and of herself. the above was the second paragraph of the book and i thought that was so beautifully written.

there’s something about the tone of the book…. a little depressing, a little raw…. and the beauty of it, was that the author brought me right into the book and showed me the pain so that i felt it too. i thought that was really impressive.

just wanted to share 🙂

sophie’s world by jostein gaarder

By , November 22, 2007 12:13 pm

that’s my holiday book. the one i hold in my hands when i’m lounging on a deck chair by the beach, feeling the heat of the sun even though i’m sheltered by the beach umbrella.

that’s the book i return to, a little breathless from swimming far far out into the clear waters and then running back to my sheltered haven cos the sand’s burning (and discovering with delight that pizza, chicken wings and a cold ginger ale has appeared :))

what i find very uncanny, is that this book i randomly picked out from the library, is one with the history of philosophy weaved into the story. there’s a bit in the book that says that nothing happens by coincidence and truly at this point, it doesn’t feel like a coincidence.

if i had chanced upon this book another time in my life, i dont think i’d give more thought to man’s quest for his purpose in life, about the whys and hows of the universe and other things that philosophers think about.

anyway, i’m just feeling a little pensive cos there’s nothing like treading water alone in the middle of the ocean (it felt like that) to remind me of how small i am in the big scheme of things.

ps: i know we’re in the wine and dine section. this is not a book review. it’s food for thought.

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