The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery

Such a beautiful book. Simple, short (it took me two hours to finish it) but philosophical and yes, lovely. The illustrations were meant to make it look like the book was supposed to be read by primary school children. But I loved them and the words didn’t disappoint too.

It is filled with metaphors and questions that would make you reevaluate your existence, purpose and meaning. The Little Prince met several people on Earth and are generally the very ones that we meet everyday. Along the lines, you’ll probably identify yourself with one of them.

My favorite lines:

“To forget a friend is sad. Not everyone has had a friend.”

“You know – one loves the sunset , when one is so sad.”

“It is much more difficult to judge oneself that to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.”

“Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends anymore.” – Fox

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that nakes your rose so important.” -Fox.

“Men set out on their way in express trains, but they do not know what they are looking for. Then they rush about, and get excited, and turn round and round…it is not worth the trouble.”

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Love in The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Well, what can I say, it took me ages to finish this book and the only one for the month of February. I was honestly relieved after turning the last page. This book is about passion, twisted obsession, a bit of stalking, and love in so many forms: adulterous love, conjugal love (Fermina and Dr. Urbino), pervert love(Florentino and America Vicuna) and platonic love(Florentino and Leona Cassidi). This was a tedious read and the redeeming factor is that I sort of like Florentino Ariza, an ideal man I shall say: a reader, a poet who writes really well, and a talented musician. In his early days with Fermina Daza, he wrote her love letters and played violin for her. I would have said yes to any man who’d give me such attention. But Fermina is sophisticated like that and settled for a much older and wealthier man, Dr. Juvenal Urbino. In a span of half a century, Fermina loved the doctor well and was faithful to the end inspite of his infidelity. But none could have defeated the patience and loyalty of our Florentino Ariza who waited for the death of Dr. Juvenal before he finally took his chance once again with Fermina. Our guy is a hopeless romantic. Afterr so many years of waiting, and hurting and suffering, they both had the time of their lives in a cruise ship owned by Florentino.
My favorite lines that ultimatelt summed up the gist of this book:
“It was as if they had leapt over the arduos calvary of conjugal life and gone straight to the heart of love. For they had lived together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfulls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death.”

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

 

I absolutely loved reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  I chose the novel partially for its dystopian nature, something that I enjoyed about other novels such as 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  This novel is everything those other novels were, but with a huge feminist twist.  In reading it, I learned a great deal about why feminism is important and how it has positively affected my life.  Reading The Handmaid’s Tale also gave me a greater appreciation for the rights I have.  I have already been recommending the novel to all of my friends and family as a “must read” book.  I really wish I could have read it with a class so that I would have other readers to discuss it with.  For now, I will just have to hope one of my friends takes my advice and gives the novel a try.  I have never read anything by Margaret Atwood before, and I am pleasantly surprised by this novel.  I plan to definitely read more of her work in the future. 

The Handmaid’s tale is a dystopian classic, yes. But I think that it has more philosophical ingredient in it than fiction. Below are some of my favorites lines: 

“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” 

“But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.”

“You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.” 

“What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close-ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face. Your own skin like a map, a diagram of futility, criscrossed with tiny roads that lead nowhere. Otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be.” 

“Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.” 

“You can’t help what you feel, but you can help how you behave” 

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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I guess the obvious theme of the book was about racism, civil rights and employer-employee relationship between white families and colored maids in Jackson, Mississipi in the second half of the 20th century. But there is actually more to it if you know where to look, for instance, women can make a change if they intend to really make it happen. Another is the social structure that dictates women to marry or bear a child at a certain age. The expectations that society has forced on us that does not necessarily equate to satisfaction nor fulfillment on our end. It’s the kind of novel that you think you won’t understand because you can never identify with anyone of the characters nor the situation at hand but you will. Somehow the themes are still relevant in our era. And that’s one of the beautiful things done in this book, letting you in on the strong and raw emotions of the protagonists. Socket just made a masterpiece out of this book. 4/5

Here are some of the lines that I love from the book:

“…I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe.” -Miss Skeeter/Eugenia Phelan

“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, ‘Am I gone believe what them fools?'” – Aibileen

“Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.” -Miss Skeeter/Eugenia Phelan

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Wow. The book is devastatingly beautiful. But I may be biased as I have always loved Nicholas Sparks ever since I’ve read Message in a Bottle when I was a freshman in college some ten years ago. I remember crying so hard from middle to finish. Every Breath wasn’t any different. I clung to the words as a cloth would in your body on rainy days. I found myself bawling my eyes out and sniffing from page 143 onwards and then some more when the novel was almost done. It is classic romance, yes. But let me note though that Sparks is the only romance novelist I’ve ever liked. He has a way of letting you fall in love with the idea of love. Raw, passionate, generous and mature. Things that are hard to come by in YA novels. 5/5

Below are some of my favorite lines. Any Sparks novel is always full of wisdom, you can bank on that. But I’d like to note two in this blog that broke my heart because of the events that led to these beautiful words.

“Meeting you and falling in love with you was an experience I would relive a thousand times in a thousand different lives, if I was ever given that chance.”
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“Grief is always the price we pay for love”

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

After the whirlwind of a book that I finished yesterday, I drew a lot of comfort reading Murakami’s What I Talk About when I Talk about Running. For a person like me who finds comfort in a long, solitary sport like distance running, it is so easy to connect and identify with Murakami. I understand completely the struggles of training, the desire to just slog it off and sleep instead of punishing yourself to miles on the road. I like that he was honest about his failures, his somewhat competitive fiber that drives him to run faster, his frustration of not getting the PR he wanted, and the struggle to balance work, family and sport. It’s a memoir after all, covering the ugly tracks would have been pointless and futile. It’s cool to atleast know that a writer on Murakami’s caliber can still find the time to run. The reason: he loves it. Crazy for most but he likes it. As much as I do. 4/5
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The lines that I love:
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“I just want to make sure I get the facts down clearly: I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone.” .
“In certain areas of my life, I actively seek out solitude.” .
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“I had to gibe it everything I had. If I failed, I could accept that. But I knew that if I did things half heartedly and they didn’t work out, I’d always have regrets.”. .
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“Running has a lot of advantages. First of all, you don’t need anybody else to do it, and no need for special equipment. You don’t have to go to any special place to do it. As long aa you have running shoes and a good road you can run to your heart’s content.” .
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“For a runner like me, what’s really important is reaching the goal I set myself, under my own power. I give it everything I have, endure what needs enduring, and am able, in my own way, to be satisfied.”

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Okay, here’s the thing about this book, if you are in for some laid back read, DO NOT read One Hundred Years of Solitude. It takes a LOT of concentration to keep track of the events and the names of who married whom and what happened to this and that. I have too many what the fck moments in my five days of agony trying to finish this book. If a teacher would ask me what the theme of the book is, it would be: incest, insanity, extreme introversion and crazy martyrdom. I lost track of the names and number of nephews Amaranta seduced in her bed, I have forgotten if it was Arcadio or Areliano who married a nine year old girl while he was in his fortys? Ghads, the names were almost always the same in a long line of family history. I have this vague suspicion that Marquez was simply having a good time fcking up with our brains that he didn’t really have a noble goal of producing that book but simply wanted a good laugh from getting too much hate of those who have read his work. Well, I finished it, and I hated it. He was successful. 1/5

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I’ve watched the film years before I ever got my hands on this so it was difficult for me to build up the suspense that was supposed to be there for first time readers. I have pictured the betrayal, the twisted ways in which Amy framed his husband for her supposed murder and the long, tedious and disciplined plans she took to get what she wanted: revenge for not being cared enough and for her husband’s infidelity. All thanks to the film. I hate that it is embedded in my head, it literally spoiled the thrill I was meant to get out of reading a good book.
Anyways, about Amy, like I said, she’s twisted in many, many ways. Sick actually. She was mentioned in the book to be a sociopath. But from years of studying Psychiatry, she is easily identifiable is a full blown psycopath. Very calculating, patient and hardly leaves trail of evidence for the crimes and traps she’d set up for her husband. Truly intelligent in a sick way. 3/5

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Oh ghaaadsss. this book, it shattered me. I was crying buckets towards the end and it didn’t help that I was already heartbroken at the thought that everyone Liesel ever loved was going to die. Her responses and the way Death painted the scenes at the final chapter made everything so utterly devastating. My heart broke in pieces. And that’s how I rate a book, according to the degree of emotions it’s able to draw from me. And I sobbed hard at this.
Also, guilt, resistance towards tyranny and the love for words were central themes in the book, and anything that has in common about my principles and interests in life immediately wins me over. So it’s completely easy for me to give this a 5/5.
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This is a story that revolved around World War II, the plight of Jews and those who chose to resist and hide the enemies in the safety of their homes inspite of the fatal danger of doing so.

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