As I write this, I’m exhaling a huge sigh of relief since I’m spared from a freak accident that involved a lightbulb that minutes ago was hanging above me, until it fell and crashed right in front me. Good thing I shifted my reading position and missed that by a hairline; I thank Him for protecting me. Whew!
I hope my first work Monday here will turn out well.
Haven’t fully explored the town yet but so far, what immediately made an impression on me was the townspeople’s kindness. In a place where most comforts are deprived, the people I’ve interacted with so far are very helpful, always has a ready smile to share, and more importantly, very positive on moving forward and sincere in trying to make at least their immediate surroundings a better place to live in.
If I’m basing this”movement” on signs, so far, I think I’m on the right track.
Feel so kilig with these proudly made in ‘Pinas going away presents/ stuff!
1. A box of Love, Agnessi chocolate chip cookies from Snoopy Riza. Yummy! And best paired with hot coffee and an engrossing read.
2. An embossed Alunsina handbound book for my next chapters. I love the antique-like floral mantilla pattern. Plus points for the personal touch, with my name embossed on it.
3. As Snoopy wrote to me, “Coffee from Mt. Province to feed your new coffee maker and to feed your sanity.” Abiang Brew available at Bana’s Cafe and Restaurant.
4. Loving Echostore’s 2-in-1 insect repellant + linen Eucalyptus spray. Smells so clean and comforting!
Almost ready to go!
If you have time and happen to be in the area, do go to this:
In solidarity with the anti-coup movement and campaign for peace in Thailand, the theme for this set is “reading as resistance.”
Time and again, reading leads one to question and find answer(s), as it allows one to create and break horizons and imaginations. Reading is one way, and to put it in Henry James’ terms, to “feel feel feel” of how and what it is to be human with a heart, with a mind that clicks and works.
As for me, reading saves.
These two new (!) books (and hooray, newfangled authors) illustrate how in dire circumstances, reading is an act of hope, of how books can be beacons amid harsh realities. And also and always, of how reading is one of life’s marvelous pleasures.
Read and enjoy! :)
New: “The Bookseller of Kabul” by Åsne Seierstad
In spring 2002, following the fall of the Taliban, Asne Seierstad spent four months living with a bookseller and his family in Kabul.
For more than twenty years Sultan Khan defied the authorities – be they communist or Taliban – to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the communists, and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. He even resorted to hiding most of his stock – almost ten thousand books – in attics all over Kabul.
But while Khan is passionate in his love of books and his hatred of censorship, he also has strict views on family life and the role of women. As an outsider, Asne Seierstad found herself in a unique position, able to move freely between the private, restricted sphere of the women – including Khan’s two wives – and the freer, more public lives of the men.
It is an experience that Seierstad finds both fascinating and frustrating. As she steps back from the page and allows the Khans to speak for themselves, we learn of proposals and marriages, hope and fear, crime and punishment. The result is a genuinely gripping and moving portrait of a family, and a clear-eyed assessment of a country struggling to free itself from history.’ to ‘This mesmerizing portrait of a proud man who, through three decades and successive repressive regimes, heroically braved persecution to bring books to the people of Kabul has elicited extraordinary praise throughout the world and become a phenomenal international bestseller. The Bookseller of Kabul is startling in its intimacy and its details – a revelation of the plight of Afghan women and a window into the surprising realities of daily life in today’s Afghanistan.’
- Photo and blurb from Goodreads
New: “Reading Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nafisi
Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi’s living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.
- Photo and blurb from Goodreads
Ok, you’ll probably think of Said’s Orientalism and/or Culture and Imperialism or Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, of how there is a “reinforcement” (for lack of better term at the moment) of the perception of the repressed “East.” (There’s that, I must say).
However, while reading, I tried putting aside those “biases” and instead focused on how the protagonists in both novels utilized reading as their means to understand their then present political landscapes, situations. Interesting, too, in Nafisi’s work on how novels are used as frameworks for extended contexts and sources of insights for political, economic and socio-cultural explanations, even juxtapositions.
On another note, I must say, between the two books, I enjoy “Reading Lolita in Tehran” more. Maybe it’s because I’m intrigued with the “magician,” or maybe it’s because of Austen and Fitzgerald. Hehe. :)
Anyway…what are you reading?