Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Thoughts: Habibi by Craig Thompson

First things first. I am not into graphic novels. But there is always a but, isn't it? I stumbled across this piece in my friend's bookshelf because you can just not miss it. It's huge, and the cover art is lovely. It's like a big bible but it is not a bible. It is though an approach to get to know religion, to be specific the Islam religion and other cultural aspects of the middle east.
This tome includes nine stories and all center around Dodola, first a young girl who is married still being a child, later a slave and then a lady in the sultan's harem. All the while she cares for a little boy, whose name is Ham. And as he is always very afraid she tells him stories. And this is also the way the reader gets to know the myths and legends and biblical stories and how they are interpreted in the Islam. There is a lot of social criticism involved in the telling of these stories, too, which I enjoyed.
I liked quote unquote reading this book. Following Dodola's story and the ones she has to tell is interesting and I liked the art work in this book and how calligraphy can be used to paint pictures, too. I would recommend this for adult readers as there is some defined adult content.
Accompanying reads:
Blankets by Craig Thompson - explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers + added to tbr

Friday, 11 January 2013

Thoughts: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I had this book for a while now but with my slow reading lately I never felt attracted enough to pick this book up. But it surprised me. Because what could be more fascinating than the bohemian life in the 1920s Paris or the early life of one of the best known American writers through the eyes of his first wife? Not much, for me anyway.
The writing was just brilliant. I felt with Hadley, I suffered with Hadley, I hurt with Hadley. I came to love the character Hadley. I know that McLain fictionalized Hadley Richardson's thoughts and feelings and as a consequence that the expressed thoughts and feelings might not have been really hers. But I don't care because I cared about Hadley only the more for it.
*Spoiler Warning*
For example when she felt miserable about losing the bag with Ernest's complete early work. Or when she must have been so miserable when he got together with Pauline. If the book was only an accurate description of the Hemingway's marriage but not for the emotion McLain added to the story it would not have been such a great reading experience. You get my point.
*Spoiler End*
Also the character of Earnest felt very real. It seems to me that being in a relationship with him might not have been easy. That he might have demanded more than given back.
And though I finished this book days ago I still find myself thinking about it, which of course only happens to me when a book made an impression and gave me something to think about. I'm glad that I finally picked it up due to Anita's recommendation.
Accompanying reads:
A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway - Earnest's account on their marriage and his years as young and aspiring writer. +added to tbr
Like Family by Paula McLain - Memoir about her living in care of foster parents with her two sisters +added to tbr

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Thoughts: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Marion and Shiva, identical twin brothers are born under bad circumstances in Missing Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Their mother Sister Mary Joseph Praise, an Indian nun, dies giving birth and their father Dr. Stone, a British surgeon, is overwhelmed with the situation and flees the hospital for good. Now orphaned they come of age at the mission hospital, in an Ethiopia on the brink of revolution, cared for by loving people, Hema and Gosh, doctors on the mission's grounds. Both twins come to share fascination and love for medicine. But their special connection, their ShivaMarion union, is on risk when the love for the same woman drives them apart and force Marion to leave the country for New York City. There he pursues his career as an intern in an underfunded teaching hospital. But the past will get to him during a seemingly fatal illness. He now has to entrust his life on the two man he came to trust the least - his father and brother.
The mood that accompanies the story and the rich language made this book a had-to force-myself-to-stop-reading kind of book. I caught myself thinking about Marion's fate when I was not reading wanting to go back as soon as possible to pursue the story. I also liked reading about healing people and surgery and how passionate Marion and Shiva and many other guiding characters in that book were about practicing medicine. The medical jargon and sometimes gory descriptions of diseases and following surgeries made this book even more vivid somehow. And although the story may move a little bit slow at first the real depth of the novel is only revealed as Marion's life unfolds. Also the means of being a twin were very well outlined, like the brothers see another more like on individual than two, which was also essential to the story when later they brake in two, becoming two individuals.
But it's not only a well done family saga it's also a historical account on Ethiopia. The story may not fit the time frame exactly, nonetheless the historical background feels like the story could be real. It felt like taking a vacation and experiencing Ethiopia.
Though I tried to think of something I came up with nothing to not like about this book. Five stars.