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…Been a while

Have returned to this Blog after such a long hiatus that I seriously considered shutting it down! During the vacation in May and the move that followed from Bombay to Bangalore via Goa…I have brutally neglected both my Blogs, as I dealt with more immediate matters – sorting, packing, unpacking, house-hunting and most importantly the consequences of uprooting a 5-yr-old from a familiar environment. It’s been tough and we are just beginning to find our feet here in Bangalore. Junior has finally stopped howling about school and has made a tentative transition to travelling by school bus for the first time in his life. Every day is still a fingers-crossed kinda day for moi, but things are inching towards a new routine and hopefully a new normal! Wish me luck People 😀 Lord knows I need it!

As always books are my number one stress-busters and as busy and distracted as I was, they were never far away 🙂 No heavy, serious reading though…I invariably turned to my favorite genre of crime and mysteries and have been comfortably ensconced in that universe these several months. It began with Dorothy L. Sayers, Lord Peter Wimsey series – I enjoyed reading the shenanigans of this suave, aristocrat, who impressed with his deceptively laid back attitude that hid a razor-sharp mind and wit! During this time and until a few days ago, I read almost exclusively on my Kindle…surprising myself more than anyone else! I think it has to do with the fact that if I’m going to read series (which I will) that have more than a dozen books each (which they do!), I really cannot expect to find a place for them all on my bookshelves; and also the discovery of the fact that I can lock my iPad screen into a horizontal orientation which improves the reading experience for old-fashioned book-lovers like me in leaps and bounds! So I’ve decided that in the absence of a good library (although my new complex has a decent-ish one), I will use the Kindle for all the series I’m currently reading and for future ones that will doubtless follow. Isn’t it strange yet wonderful how inevitably one series of books will lead to another? 🙂

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Sayers led me to Chesterton’s Father Brown series and I was lost for a long time in a world where an intrepid man of cloth, went about solving the most astonishing mysteries with ridiculous ease, while also offering spiritual succor to his flock! I found the whole idea of a detective-priest charming and irresistible and also enjoyed Chesterton’s writing style – simple, direct and peppered with philosophical dilemmas and moral debates. After a massive dose of Father Brown, I ventured finally to the only decent-ish bookshop close to home, and there stumbled upon M. C. Beaton‘s Agatha Raisin series. The book was Agatha Raisin and the Curious Curate and with a title like that and the prettily illustrated cover – how could I resist? I enjoyed the book enough to research the series and give it a go, but after reading the first six books at a stretch – I’ve abandoned this series 😦 I just couldn’t take anymore of the main character. Agatha Raisin is a fifty-something woman who is smart, funny, successful and yet such a wimp when it comes to people, relationships and men. That in itself is neither strange nor unbelievable, but when she stays exactly the same book after book, behaving like a teenager emotionally while miraculously demonstrating maturity in solving the mystery at hand – it makes for some very repetitive and tedious reading. It’s almost like the author can’t stand her own creation and is going through the motions of writing 😦 After six books in which Agatha swings like a giant emotional pendulum, to and from the supposed love of her life James (such a flat character), I’d had enough. The mysteries (simplistic to begin with), were taking a definite backseat to the nonsensical love-story and I had no time for either. I did give the author a second chance (hate to dislike books) and read the first in her Hamish MacBeth series, Death of a Gossip and although Hamish appears at first to be an antithesis to Agatha, I soon realized they were very similar in a frightening way – he is hopelessly devoted to a woman who considers him ‘just a friend’! That scared me off and I don’t think I’ll be returning to this series either 😦 There’s just not enough layers to the characters to keep me interested.

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No sooner than I had abandoned Beaton, I stumbled onto Safi! On another trip to said bookstore and I noticed a few slim books with gaudy, bollywood-kitsch covers and titles – Poisoned Arrow & Doctor Dread. Intrigued, I found they were part of an extensive series by author Ibne Safi, a part of his ‘Jasusi Dunya’. Written originally Urdu (I am fascinated that the language I’ve almost exclusively associated with spectacular poetry in my mind, has also been used to write mysteries! Juvenile I know 😉 :P), they have now been translated into English and although I’ve read just one, I must say Colonel Faridi and Sergeant Hameed have caught my fancy 🙂 I will be reading more of these. Faridi’s character is true to type – in that he’s an eccentric genius with an eye for detail, uninterested in women, and saddled with the Sergeant who is his exact opposite – sound familiar?! You betcha!

book--dongri-to-dubaiCurrently though I’m reading Dongri to Dubai – a treatise of sorts on organized crime in post-Independence India and more specifically the rise of the world’s most wanted man and India’s favorite whipping-boy – Dawood Ibrahim. It’s one of our book club selections for October and not a book I would otherwise have chosen to read. Having said that, the first chapters detailing the rise of key gangsters in India have been quite interesting if rather predictable – as the author quotes in the book, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention and the father of crime!’ The book has already been made into a movie – Shootout at Wadala, but I haven’t seen it and have no intentions of doing so! I will be posting my review here after I finish.

I have read a few books that are not mysteries, most notably Five Quarters of an Orange by Joanne Harris which I enjoyed and hope to post reviews here as I get back into a rhythm of regular posts!

A HUGE THANK YOU to ALL of you that haven’t abandoned ship 🙂 I truly appreciate your patience and support 🙂

Happy Reading People 🙂

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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Time Out!

Am off tonight, finally!!

Will be back in June 🙂

Happy Holidays to me and to you 😉

I’ve downloaded the first in the trilogy of The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind. It came highly recommended by my friend Heather and I already love the little I have read!

Happy Reading 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Day of Firsts!

Yes!! I’ve wanted to be part of a Bookclub again after a fun experience in Singapore and have had to wait for 4 long years to be part of one. But Oh! the Joy of it! Well worth the wait 🙂

Last evening, I spent two hours in the company of a bunch of vibrant, intelligent women and enjoyed the lively discussion that inevitably followed 😉 We met at the Bru World Cafe Juhu where over green-tea and cappuccinos, we discussed Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. And although I had read this book two years ago, I was happy to find that I could take part  in the discussion – it’s not the sort of book that is easily forgotten! We had a lively discussion on the pros and cons of Tiger-Parenting: how the West with its considerably more liberal attitude toward parenting than us Asians, was shocked by what they perceived as an abuse of children’s  rights; while we Indian & Chinese Moms nodded sagely not perhaps in agreement, but certainly in recognition; how many of us Indian Moms are ‘Crouching Tigers ‘ and ‘Hidden Dragons’, although in my case make that ‘Overt Dragon’ (I’m sure Ishaan would agree :P); and of course the universal unalterable fact that parenting is the most difficult ‘task’ in the universe, coming as it does without standard manuals!

We all agreed that we want our children to have an ‘edge’ in today’s cut-throat world and were all concerned about where to set the limits – both for ourselves and our children. As Moms we ambitiously want ‘the best of everything’ for our children – even though as rational women, we are often surprisingly vague on what that might be! As for me, I’ve settled on wanting ‘Happiness’ for Ishaan – although I find that vague in itself 😛 “Whatever makes him Happy”, I’m wont to say as I struggle with issues of providing structure and striking a balance between pushing him too hard and allowing him to slide into laziness. We debated the rationale of ‘creating geniuses’ and whether China’s true secret to success wasn’t actually its ability to mass produce a well-trained and compliant workforce rather than create and nurture individual genius. Sacrificing the individual for the greater good seems to have worked remarkably well for that country so far! But for how long, we wondered. In contrast we felt the chaotic democracy that is India, seems content riding the backseat in most arenas on the world stage and although it’s hard to find people pushier than Indians in India, on the world-stage we seem to lose our cockiness and sang-froid! Two countries, both ancient civilizations, both burgeoning economies, both poised to take centre-stage in world affairs and yet China seemingly always in the fore-front and us Indians content to follow! Maybe we need more Tiger parents?! Debatable.

Bookclub Buddies!

Bookclub Buddies!

As you can see, a fascinating discussion that left me begging for more! We plan to meet once a month and I hope to post updates on this blog as we go along! We haven’t chosen our next book yet – this being our first meeting, we still need to get organized but I know it’s going to be great fun! Thank you Kamla for bringing together this incredible group of women! We owe you big time 🙂 I think a name for the Bookclub would be nice!

In another first for me, I finally downloaded my first e-book! Significant, because I’ve always been an advocate for ‘real’ versus ‘virtual’ books, but I thought it in bad taste to pass judgment without at least giving the virtual books a fighting chance 😉 As usual, whether in the ‘real’ or ‘virtual’ world, browsing books is a dangerous hobby as evidenced by the fair number of free samples I’ve downloaded and the hours spent wandering around Amazon.com as one find led to another 😛

The pros first! There are no two ways about this one – E-books are space savers! They are and always will be more convenient to carry and store, since you can carry hundreds of books on a single device if you should so choose. Love the free samples that I can peruse sitting at home, on my time, while deciding whether or not to buy. Also love the dictionary function and the highlighting and notes options – like your very own digital post-its! Most of all, LOVE the adjustable font-size – such a boon on my poor strained eyes! And yet quick and easy as these are, I’m never going to switch over completely to the virtual world of reading. Call me old-fashioned, but the smell of paper old and new, is addictive! Then the crisp crackle of new pages and the hushed rustle of dog-eared ones, and just the feel of a book in my hands elicit a familiar visceral reaction that is so far completely absent with the iPad! Also, I still find the iPad rather heavy (not comfortably heavy like my trusty LOTR ;)) and unwieldy; and the way the slightest tilt of the hand causes a change in page orientation can be disconcerting and irritating. I prefer a landscape orientation – it feels more akin to reading an actual book! And there’s the question of battery life for a voracious reader like me – I don’t think the iPad can keep up and the thought of having to stop reading coz of a dead battery is so alien as to be virtually unimaginable 😉

For now, I think I’m going to stick to downloading books in a series that I’m following (there are too many now to buy and store :P), and the Classics, coz most of them are free and not all are available in bookstores. So on to my first E-book, although as confessed earlier, I’ve had a field day or should I say night of sorts – downloading free samples 🙂 It’s Graham Greene’s Travels With My Aunt, recommended by my friend Aparna, an obsessive reader like me! I’m on Page 73 of 264 (I find my reading speed considerably slower on the iPad than it is with a ‘real’ book) and enjoying every word – but of course the review will follow once I’m done. While browsing, discovered Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being – and the little bit I’ve read so far makes me certain this will be my second download, just as soon as I decide whether I can cope with reading on the iPad on a regular basis!

So wish me luck and Happy Reading People 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

How irritating it is to be wrong! Well not wrong exactly because, truthfully,  I didn’t have an opinion of the book (not having read it until now), just an irrational dislike for the author and for the massive hype that surrounded this Booker Prize winner, that prevented me for many years from reading it 😛 Silly I know – but I can get like that sometimes! So sue me 😉

The God of Small ThingsNow that I have read it – I see that I was wrong. It is a book worth reading because of Roy’s unique writing style.  John Updike mentions in the New Yorker, “A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does…” I couldn’t agree more. Her staccato, clipped narration; her nouvelle word combinations that convey tantalizingly precise meanings otherwise elusive in the English language; her usage of local lingo at opportune moments; her accented dialogues and decisive use of punctuation, her new descriptions of old thoughts and emotions; and the portrayal of her characters mindsets – accurate and incisive; all make this a fascinating if rather difficult read.

Difficult in the way a loaded gun might be difficult if you’ve never handled one before! Weighted but reassuring when you’re ready or heavy and awkward when you’re not. If you’re up for it – this is a good read. The story is dark (another hallmark of Booker Winners!), yet the telling has a tragicomic feel to it, with the dark humour, the witty descriptions, the sly implications, and the foregone conclusions all colluding to produce a constant sinister undercurrent to the obvious fairly straightforward storyline. All through the reading you get a sense of impending doom and yet you cannot but keep reading, so unlike The Inheritance of Loss which for me had no redeeming factors at all!

I cannot help compare Roy’s work with Anita Nair’s, only because they both write so convincingly and sensually of Kerala, but where Nair is gentle and tender in her tone, Roy is often brutal and unforgiving and raw. There were no real surprises in the storyline for me – I solved the little hints that are planted throughout the narrative as to emotions, thoughts and plots rather well and so will most readers. It’s not a whodunit after all, but what sets it apart is once again the ‘way in which it is told’. The manner is what lends it a certain exotic appeal & mystique and I can only assume it is that which won it the Booker. Well, lesser works have won for flimsier reasons I dare say 😛 But I understand the win now and I think it deserving inasmuch as my opinion counts 😉 certainly more deserving than The Inheritance of Loss, although I do so hate comparing 😉

I should have read this one much earlier but I’m glad I finally did. A major crib though is the book cover! Surely they could have found a more attractive cover for a book with such an enticing title? I have taken better pictures then this one! The lacklustre grey-green of the lotus pond makes for a dull and entirely inappropriate cover, given that this book is so vividly alive! If it has a covert symbolism, I confess I have missed it entirely. I hope they change it in future editions!

On the whole – a very satisfying read and a mountain climbed! I’m feeling very proud of myself 😛

Here is an excerpt from early on in the book, written in Roy’s signature style;

“It had been quiet in Estha’s head until Rahel came. But with her she had brought the sound of passing trains, and the light and shade that falls on you if you have a window seat. The world, locked out for years, suddenly flooded in, and now Estha couldn’t hear himself for the noise. Trains. Traffic. Music. The Stock Market. A dam had burst and savage waters swept everything up in a swirling. Comets, violins, parades, loneliness, clouds, beards, bigots, lists, flags, earthquakes, despair were all swept up in a scrambled swirling.”

And here is another,

“Edges, Borders, Boundaries, Brinks and Limits have appeared like a team of trolls on their separate horizons. Short creatures with long shadows, patrolling the Blurry End. Gentle half-moons have gathered under their eyes and they are as old as Ammu was when she died. Thirty-one. Not old. Not young. But a viable die-able age.”

And this,

“Twin millstones and their mother. Numb millstones. What they had done would return to empty them. But that would be Later. Lay Ter. A deep-sounding bell in a mossy well. Shivery and furred ike moth’s feet. At the time, there would only be incoherence. As though meaning had slunk out of things and left them fragmented. Disconnected. The glint of Ammu’s needle. The colour of a ribbon. The weave of the cross-stitch counterpane. A door slowly breaking. Isolated things that didn’t mean anything. As though the intelligence that decodes life’s hidden patterns – that connects reflections to images, glints to light, weaves to fabrics, needles to thread, walls to rooms, love to fear to anger to remorse – was suddenly lost.”

And finally perhaps my favourite, a wonderful description of a ‘Great Story’!

“It didn’t matter that the story had begun, because kathakali discovered long ago that the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again. That is their mystery and their magic.” Amen!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Reading Update – 5th March 2013

Time for another reading update! I’ve read 11 out of the 30 books on my list, which I think is pretty good going! That’s a third of the list done and I’m feeling a tad more confident now about the rest of the List 🙂 I’ve read some great books this last week and am in a good enough mood, that I think I might even attempt The God of All Things this week! Yes! Might as well be over and done with it – given how long I’ve been putting it off 😛 But I’m seriously considering taking a short ‘reading break’ after – just to clear my head until I start with the next lot of books. Maybe watch a bit of TV for a change 😉 or re-read LOTR or a Hercule Poirot! That’ll freshen me up at once 🙂

Books read on the LIST

  1. Narcopolis – Jeet Thayil 
  2. A Spot of Bother – Mark Haddon 
  3. The Private Lives of Pippa Lee – Rebecca Miller 
  4. The Cat’s Table – Michael Ondaatje 
  5. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. The Famished Road – Ben Okri
  7. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce
  8. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  9. Rainbow at Noon – Dhiruben Patel
  10. Wild – Cheryl Strayed
  11. A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

Books read that are not on the LIST (No new additions here this time)

  1. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ – Phillip Pullman
  2. The Taliban Cricket Club – Timeri N. Murari
  3. Em and the Big Hoom – Jerry Pinto
  4. The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken – Tarquin Hall
  5. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
  6. Anatomy of a Disappearance – Hisham Matar

Planning to read The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy next. Click on any of the links above to read my reviews!

And here’s a fun Bill of Rights for us Readers I found online!

The reader's Bill of Rights

Happy Reading People 😀

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

I read The Hobbit annually, sometimes more than once a year, especially when I need respite from reading the heavy, serious stuff that is not my favorite genre 😛 It’s a firm favorite along with the LOTR series. Sometimes I read it to restore my sanity after particularly depressing or difficult novels as I did this time, but mostly just coz it brings me joy and immense pleasure every single time – now that’s what I call a classic! I have two editions, as with my Lord of the Rings Trilogy – a paperback (dog-eared) for actual reading and leather bound editions for adorning the bookshelf 🙂

The-HobbitTolkien is a master story-teller and The Hobbit is so well known, I won’t go into the story here. If you’re someone who hasn’t read the book (what rock were you under?!), do so NOW! It’s fantasy yes, but his exquisite attention to detail, his creation of a whole new world and its people, the different races – hobbits, elves, dwarves, orcs, wizards and all manner of other beasts & monsters, with languages, customs, back-story, history, geography – makes it a one of kind, magical, unforgettable reading experience and a lasting testament to his genius imagination. Even if you’re not into that sort of thing (my commiserations!), read it for the adventure & the well etched characters. This book is above all, about friendship and sacrifice, love and compassion, courage and valor; a story of good versus evil that underlines the author’s belief, that in Life we must always fight for what we believe in with courage & conviction – no matter what the odds, or our stature, for in the words of Gandalf the wise, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” & “Even the very wise cannot see all ends.” Tolkien manages to accomplish this with fairly straightforward prose and writing style. No convoluted sentences and obscure philosophies that leave your guts in a twist here! This is story telling at its direct best!

The Hobbit - leatherI haven’t seen the movie yet, but I will eventually. I’m looking forward to Peter Jackson’s interpretation of the book coz I’m a huge fan of his LOTR 🙂 Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin and his gang of dwarves, Elrond, Beorn, Rivendell, The Shire, The Lonely Mountain, Bard the dragon-slayer and Smaug – are all burnt into my memory forever after.

There are many quotes from this book to be found on all the majore quote sites online, but this one is my particular favorite 🙂

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

Every time I read The Hobbit, I find something new that surprises me in pleasant ways 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Wild – Cheryl Strayed

What is it about women on missions of self-discovery that is so appealing to those of us not compelled or able to make similar journeys? Is it their solitude we envy them? Or the clarity they always seems to achieve in the end? The renewed perspective; the stores of courage found; the ability to let go and heal whatever ails them, often similar to our own troubles? For me personally, the answer is all of the above and possibly other reasons I can’t even begin to fathom yet!

Wild - Cheryl StrayedAlthough the theme of Wild is self-discovery, similar to another book in the same trend Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, the two are as different as chalk and cheese in their style, their approach, the stories they tell and of course the women who tell them! I read Eat, Pray, Love probably 4-5 years ago, and I enjoyed it, because I could identify, not with Gilbert’s personal motivation for her journey, but the journey itself! I could see myself doing what she did – picking 3 countries for 3 purposes, although I wasn’t entirely sure of any therapeutic results 😉

In contrast – I cannot imagine myself doing what Cheryl Strayed dared to in Wild! Not in a million moons! I’m not an outdoorsy, hiker-trekker type of girl at all!! What I am is a couch potato that loves to read about the outdoorsy, hiker-trekker kinda stuff 😛 The thought of hiking 1000 miles alone on a trail no matter how scenic is daunting. But the ‘idea’ of it is mesmerizing. I wish I had the gumption to do what she did, although she points out at every given opportunity in the book how unprepared she actually was, as compared to seasoned hikers and veterans of the Pacific Crest Trail. I didn’t know the PCT existed and now that I do, I cannot get it out of my mind! The thought of a trail from Mexico to Canada – through deserts and mountains, through forests and around lakes; the solitude of being one with Nature and one’s thoughts; the sheer audacity of Man’s will against Nature’s intent is captivating. Such a journey it is easy to imagine would be life-changing, how could it be anything but?

It is for Cheryl too, although not in an obvious way at first. Initially, it is the physicality of the Trail that overwhelms her and us. The constant pain & hunger, the cuts, scrapes, falls, bruises, the scarcity of water, the battle to stay clean and safe, and the habitual awareness of danger lurking in its myriad forms – wild animals, natural catastrophes and unfriendly humans, all keep her and us on edge, our senses heightened and our minds on high alert. Strayed’s descriptions of the physicality of the hike are my favourite parts of her story simply because they are the ones that are most alien to me. But I also love the tone she sets in general – there is no self-pity here, just a matter-of-fact narration of the way things were and for me that works. There are no preachy enlightenment scenes here, just occasional quiet revelations throughout the narrative, of how a certain grudge was forgiven; a particular thought accepted; a smidgeon of pain lessened. It rings true because I have lived enough to know that that’s how things often happen in real Life – quietly, insidiously and without a fuss. That’s not to say there aren’t the big changes – the sudden shifts in attitudes and perceptions and loyalties, but I’ve found that the slow and steady changes are the ones more likely to be permanent 🙂

Wild is also about the mother-daughter relationship between Strayed and her mother. Tempestuous, poignant  and deeply loving, it had me once again thinking about my relationship with my Mom and what I would do if I found myself in a similar situation to Cheryl. How would I react? Would I cope and overcome or surrender? It’s hard to know these things about oneself because some parts of us aren’t visible and don’t develop until we actually are in the middle of the problem.  That’s the whole point of a journey such as this I sometimes think – to put ourselves not perhaps in an equivalent situation, but one that still demands more of us than we are prepared to give and in doing so, to excavate the inner strengths and expose the weaknesses that lie within. For how else can that be done? And that is what the author does – she challenges herself in a way that she hopes and thinks will help her heal the wounds Life has inflicted. She’s not sure if this will even happen but she knows she has to try. It’s a desperate leap of faith like most great journeys are initially – the traveler often unaware of their own courage until it surfaces quietly and unexpectedly, when needed later.

I couldn’t put this book down – I read late into the night yesterday and only reluctantly put it down when my eyes refused to stay open another second and the words started to blur 😛 I salute the author’s courage in this endeavour and her willingness to share her journey that is at once intensely personal yet universal. The fascinating people she meets along the way; her encounters with the fox and the deer; ‘Monster’ – her initial nemesis & future ally; her craving for Snapple; the book-burning; and the slow, gentle transformation of her raw grief into a kind of forgiveness, acceptance  and finally letting go, all make this a story worth reading. It will inspire, but for me the beauty of this book is that that is not the obvious intent. It reads like a memoir that simply asks to be read and if you happen to learn something along the way – “Well, Good for you!” Strayed seems to say. And if you don’t – that’s alright too. She says it so beautifully in the last passage of the book,

“It was all unknown to me then, as I sat on that white bench on the day I finished my hike. Everything except the fact that I didn’t have to know. That it was enough to trust that what I’d done was true. To understand it’s meaning without yet being able to say precisely what is was…To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.”

Here is another passage, this time from the beginning of the book, that got my attention,

“The thing about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the thing that was so profound to me that summer – and yet like most thing, so very simple – was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. No numbing it down with a martini or covering it up with a roll in the hay.”

And this excerpt that I love, in which Cheryl describes how she picked her last name!

“Nothing fit until one day when the word strayed came into my mind. Immediately, I looked it up in the dictionary and knew it was mine. Its layered definitions spoke directly to my life and also struck a poetic chord: to wander from the proper path, to deviate from the direct course, to be lost, to become wild, to be without a mother or father, to be without a home, to move about endlessly in search of something, to diverge or digress.

I had diverged, digressed, wandered and become wild. I didn’t embrace the word as my new name because it defined negative aspects of my circumstances or life, but because even in my darkest days – those very days in which I was naming myself – I saw the power of the darkness. Saw that in fact, I had strayed and that I was a stray and that from the wild places my straying had brought me, I knew things I couldn’t have known before.”

I learnt 3 new words from this book!

Boondoggle – to dawdle, to delay

Corvidology – a branch of science concerned with the study of ‘corvids’ which are birds belonging to the family (Corvidae) of stout-billed passerine birds including the crows, jays, magpies, and the raven.

Miigwech – an Ojibwe word, that the author often heard growing up in northern Minnesota, meaning Thank You, but more – its meaning imbued with humility as well as gratitude.

Another MUST read! I’m on a roll and loving it 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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