Monday, February 21, 2011

To be better read than dead proves to be 2011’s only resolution

Throughout my teenage years I often enjoyed long lazy summers spent reading and this was the goal of the 2010/2011 summer but, as luck would have it, I was required to keep calm and carry on to deal with several of life’s little dramas.  

But despite having to deal with the odd real life drama rather than reading about them in books, I did manage to read several amazing books which often reminded me of what it means to live a good life and these are just a few of them.     

First off the rank was Captain Corelli’s Mandolin I loved so much about this book especially its meandering narrative, eccentric but strong characters that have to go through so much. It does briefly lose its way in the middle but it is an excellent story all the same!!
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolfe an interesting and dense book about the pressures that are on women to be defined by their physical appearance. Her argument that women were innocent victims in a society that obsesses on image didn’t convince me, after all it takes two to play a game, but I did enjoy the discussion on psychology of dieting.
It was written in the 1990s and it would be interesting to have a follow up book that looks at the rise of the glamorisation of stupidity (a.k.a Paris Hilton), the rise of “ladettes”, the sexualisation of tweens and ranche culture.

It would have also been interesting to find out her views on "Chic Lit", which by the way, I have avoided like the plage. Only because it is a genre that I find a boring and dull. Mainly because of the weak plots and characters seem to all be the same botox-ed individuals who live shallow lives while obsessed with their physical appearance.

Like Melinda Finch wrote in Vogue “stupidity has been glamorised. People aspire to be like Paris Hilton because she has captured Andy Warhol’s prophetic American dream: free fame”.
Jonathan Franzen’s Corrections is primarily about a family coming to terms with the demise of their patriarch due to parkinsonism, much of the story is about the complexity of this Midwest family and the lives of its members. At first, I was a little apprehensive that I would not enjoy this book with its annoying characters (who later redeemed themselves) but Franzen’s writing took me on a captivating journey without ever having the feeling of being lost or confused and on the rare moments where I was, the clues were only a few pages back.  It is a book well work reading a second time!!!
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s was one of the most amazing books that I have read in a long time. It was an account of a Muslim Woman’s escape from the patriarchal tradition of her homeland to becoming a refugee in Holland. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s experiences were a good reminder of how hard it is to understand a new and different culture. Her commitment to assimilating into her new environment was inspiring and her story should be read by anyone who wants a new life in another country. I found her ideas on the role of woman in Islam very interesting and it must have touched a nerve if she received death threats. After all, why bother going to all that trouble of treats if she was loose cannon?
Joanne Harris’ Five Quarters of an Orange was an unexpected story that intertwines two period of a lady’s life. It is defiantly an odd book with even odder characters (how did she dream up these people?) but an amazing one all the same.

I love any book that takes me out of my own imitate existence. I seemed to be attracted to books and movies that have a strong narrative and with vibrant and profound characters that over come adversity with hope and dignity and many of these books have done that.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...