Life...The Most Complicated Thought

The unexamined life is not worth living. ~Socrates

Neil Gaiman is back!!!

I finished Odd and the Frosted Giants by Neil Gaiman today on my way back home. It was read by Neil Gaiman and I think he is one of the best readers out there. He did an excellent job.

Summary: "Winter is lasting forever in the far north. But when 12-year-old Odd helps a trapped bear, he meets an eagle and a fox – all of whom are actually Norse gods trapped in animal form by the frost giants who have conquered the city of the gods. Odd must reclaim Thor's hammer, outwit the giants, and release the gods." Source: Audio Editions

I enjoyed the book very much. Neil Gaiman is an excellent storywriter and storyteller. His voice makes the listeners believe in the characters and I felt that he himself was enjoying reading the book. I look forward to his other works. I give this book 9 out of 10.

This is it. This is the last post of the year. Time to head to the party!!!

I hope next year brings lots of happiness and success to everybody.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

I think I am going to make this my last entry for the year. I am not done listening to my audio book. If I finish it tonight, I don't know if I will get online to write the review. Tonight is PaRtY!!!!!


I finished Elsewhere on Tuesday. I was on the last disc before my vacation so I had a week break before I could finish it.

Elizabeth "Liz" Hall is fifteen years old and she dies in a hit-and-run accident. She ends up in Elsewhere. Elsewhere is the place where all the dead people and pets end up. It is similar to earth, and the individuals must take a ship to get there. The native of Elsewhere get younger as oppose to getting older. When they are 7 days old, they are sent back to Earth to start life over again. When Liz reaches Elsewhere, she meets Betty, her grandmother. Liz cannot comprehend the idea of this place and cannot settle down. It is her story in the world of Elsewhere.

I enjoyed the story very much. Even though it deals with death, it is not as sad as expected. The author is trying to convey the message that one should live life based on quality instead of quantity. It did make me curious about other animals that are not pets. What happens to them? Where do they go? Beside this curiosity, the story also did not leave any loose ends for me. I felt the story of Liz was followed through. The writing style was simple. I give this book 8.5 out of 10 and highly recommend it.

I did finish listening to my book on my way back from work so one more entry before the end of this year.

James Cameron's Avatar

We watched the movie Avatar on Sunday. I think it was one of the most talked about movies of the year. I honestly don't know what I think of the movie. I enjoyed it very much but at the same time, there was something missing or something I didn't like. I just can't figure out what that something is. The digital works is great. I love the world "Pandora" and the native of the planet. The synopsis of the story is as follows (from the website):

"The story’s protagonist, Jake Sully, is an ex-Marine who was wounded and paralyzed from the waist down in combat on Earth. In order to participate in the Avatar program, which will give him a healthy body, Jake agrees to travel to Pandora, a lush rainforest environment filled with incredible life forms – some beautiful, many terrifying. Pandora is also the home to the Na’vi, a humanoid race that lives at what we consider to be a primate level, but they are actually much more evolved than humans. Ten feet tall and blue skinned, the Na’vi live harmoniously within their unspoiled world. But as humans encroach on Pandora in search of valuable minerals, the Na’vi’s very existence is threatened – and their warrior abilities unleashed.

Jake has unwittingly been recruited to become part of this encroachment. Since humans are unable to breathe the air on Pandora, they have created genetically-bred human-Na’vi hybrids known as Avatars. The Avatars are living, breathing bodies in the real world, controlled by a human driver through a technology that links the driver’s mind to the Avatar body. On Pandora, through his Avatar body, Jake can be whole once again. Moreover, he falls in love with a young Na’vi woman, Neytiri, whose beauty is matched by her ferocity in battle.

As Jake slides deeper into becoming one of her clan, he finds himself caught between the military-industrial forces of Earth, and the Na’vi – forcing him to choose sides in an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world."

I loved Neytiri's dialogue when she says "You are like a baby" to Jake Sully and I think her character was my favorite.

Overall, this movie was one of the good movies I have seen this year and would love to own it in DVD.

FYI: The origin of the word "avatar" is from Sanskrit and most commonly it has been translated into "incarnation."
 
One or maybe two more entries and then time to celebrate the end of this year and beginning of the new.

Trip to New Mexico...Loved it :)

I am so behind on blogging. Many things happened in the past week or so that I want to write about. I want to write about my trip to New Mexico, the movie Avatar, and the last book I read. Since the trip was first, this entry is going to be about my trip.

We left for New Mexico on Sunday Dec. 20th. We were to drive 670 miles on that day and I drove 300+ miles at 90+ mph. I loved it. There were very few cars on the road. We got to Carlsbad in the evening, and went to see "Christmas on the Pecos."

Next day we left for Alamogordo and saw White Sand National Monument. It was so pretty. I definitely recommend that place. After which we went to Albuquerque. There we rode the world's longest tramway called "Sandia Peak." It took us 10,000 feet above the ground level and it was so cold. Next day we went around in Albuquerque and saw the old style houses. We also visited Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. We also did some shopping. Then we headed to Santa Fe. In Santa Fe, we saw Loretto Chapel and the Mysterious Staircase and did more shopping. By the time we made it the Canyon Road, it was already dark out so we did not see much there.

Then we spent the night in Espanalo and went to Sipapu Ski Resort next day. It snowed all day. We skied and I know for sure that I cannot ski. The gliding was fun but I couldn't make the turn when needed. We went to our room in the evening and realized that there was no TV and no cell phone signal, so we ended up playing board games and playing cards.

Our last stop was Taos, where we visited a Hanuman Temple. The site itself was so peaceful. There were peacocks there. Then we left in the evening to head home. We stopped in Amarillo. The roads were very icy. Next day the trouble began. We left and drove about 160 miles non-stop. Then we stopped. What we did not know was that it was not safe to travel, as there was a snow storm a day before. The roads were icy and cars were skidding. On the side of the road, we saw cars that we assumed were stuck since the snow storm seeing their condition. During the day, it was slow but okay as the snow was melting. The night came and snow started freezing up. Our car would go left when we tried to make it go right. That was a scary moment. We decided to stay in Bowie, which is about 200 miles from Amarillo. Therefore, we had travelled 200 miles in one day. Finally, Saturday we made it home in the evening. Here are few pictures:




Time to work now...few more posts before end of tomorrow.

Vacation time is almost over :(

We just got back from vacation today...phew...what a vacation. I will write about it in details soon. I have to head back to work on Monday. I want more days off. Oh well! Only five days until New Years! I love celebrations.

I did not have access to a laptop during the past week. Even though I had internet connection on my phone, it still wasn't fast enough. So today when I was catching up on news and events, I found out that Asheem Chakravarty, singer percussionist of Indian Ocean, passed away on Friday. I am very sad to hear this. Indian Ocean is one of my favorite bands and they will never be the same without him. I met the band when we went to the concert last year. Now I just don't know how it is going to be for the band. :-(

Night...

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

I finished the novel and I enjoyed it. Initially, I felt that I will not like the book as I was annoyed with some of the characters. After a while, I started to enjoy it. I liked most of the characters.

The novel is about the Bennet family. There are parents and five daughters: Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Kitty, and Mary. The novel's main character is Elizabeth Bennet. Mrs. Bennet is worried about getting her daughters married, so when rich Mr. Bingley come into the town, Mrs. Bennet tries to get Jane married to him. Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley's friend, joins him for the stay and notices Elizabeth. At first, he finds her plain, but slowly starts to fall in love with her. On the other hand, Elizabeth despises him due to his rude remarks at the ball. Another character, Mr. Wickham,  recounts his unpleasant dealings with Mr. Darcy, adding to Elizabeth's dislike. Eventually, Mr. Darcy confesses his love to Elizabeth, who rejects the proposal. As the story progresses, she reconsiders her opinion of him and her affection for him grows.

Even in my short summary of the novel, I have left out many characters and details that are important. This was a love story. The characters that annoyed me slightly were the mother, Mrs. Bennet, and Mr. Collins. I felt both characters were superficial, but seeing the society, I guess that is required. Elizabeth and Jane were definitely my favorite characters and I liked Mr. Darcy. His effort to please Elizabeth after their encounter was a nice gesture on his part. Even to the last disc, I kept wondering if they would get together. I mean, it is expected, but I was curious about how it will take place. In the end, I concluded that most of the Bollywood movies use this novel as the base story, add one or two twists, and add about ten songs.

When I started the book, I thought it is going to rate about 6 on my scale but I have to give it 9 out of 10. I am actually considering giving his 10/10. If I do, I will edit this post.

I look forward to Ms. Austen's other novels. I can't wait to see both Pride and Prejudice movies.

Btw...I got my phone...I am so excited about it..Yay me!!! Now I can access the web and hopefully I will be able to access the email soon. Ciao for now...off to my vacation.

Another Challenge

I can't believe I have decided to do this, after what happened with last two challenges. I do think I can actually finish this. This challenge is hosted by Royal Reviews and I saw it on the blog "Devourer of Books."



Challenge Guidelines:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.

2. There are four levels:

-- Curious – Listen to 3 Audio Books.
-- Fascinated – Listen to 6 Audio Books.
-- Addicted – Listen to 12 Audio Books.
-- Obsessed – Listen to 20 Audio Books.

3. Audio books only.

4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.


 
I am going in as Obsessed and I think I can do more than 20 audio books. I think I will add a gadget on the side for this when it starts and add books to that list. Can you tell I am excited?
 
As for the book I am listening to now, I am on the 9th disc (last one) and dying to know what will happen. I am listening to Pride and Prejudice and I have to agree that I took a while to get  into this book, but it is getting better and better by each chapter. Then I will give the audio books a break for a week. I would hate to leave any audio book in the middle when I take my vacation. I think next audio book is going to be either Neil Gaiman, 1984 by George Orwell, Shopoholic 2 by Sophie Kinsella, or A Christmas Carol. I want to start Ayn Rand's third novel, Atlas Shrugged, soon. I think tomorrow will be the day.
 
No updates on the personal life beside CPA studies and audit world. Both could be better. I finally ordered my phone today and I am getting Samsung Mythic and I am very excited about that. My brother ordered the same phone, so now I am thinking about buying some sort of sticker to distinguish between the phones. I also got data plan so it will be nice to have access to email and internet at all times. I will post pictures when I get the phones but in the meanwhile here is a pic from AT&T's website:
 



Btw...I am not liking the new Blogspot compose page. There is no spelling check icon and I can't customize the picture size to my liking...urrgghhh..this is irritating!

It is past midnight now and I think it is time to sleep. So should I say Good Night or Good Morning?

Last Week

Last week had some unexpected events.
  • Monday: An inmate escaped in Baytown while they were transferring him from one jail to another. He was wheelchair bound as per the medical records but he managed to tie up the police officers escorting him and ran away on foot. They lockdowned Lee College and Lee High School and the library closed early. An update on that: they caught him today..so YaY!!!

    • I also started the book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

  • Thursday: A friend of mine got engaged, so I am super excited for her. I can't wait for her wedding. I just love celebrations.

  • Friday: It actually snowed in Baytown. It snowed last year. I think this might become something regular in Baytown. I don't have any pictures to share because I decided to stay inside the house.
Something on the bad note, I give up on the challenges that I took last year: the Countdown Challenge and the Author Challenge. I am sure I have completed at least one of them, but I am too lazy now to go and update those entries. I think I will just write "Abort" on top of the entry.

That's it for now!!! Back to work...

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Last week was very eventful. I took my second CPA exam and finished Her Fearful Symmetry. The FAR-CPA exam was 4 hours long and when I finished, I was so brain-dead. I better pass this exam as I spent over 6 months studying for this exam alone. I should find out by late December.

Secondly I finished Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. This is Mrs. Niffenegger's second book. I love The Time Traveler's Wife; thus, had very very high expectations from this novel. All my expectations came crashing down. Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the book and now I am wondering why did I give it a 4.5 out of 5 on Facebook. I can only think of things that I didn't like.

The summary of the book goes something like this. Elspeth and Edie are twins who have not seen each other for 20+ years. Now Elspeth is dead and has left her estate to Edie's twin daughters, Julia and Valentina. J and V are 21-year old Americans with no degree and no job, and are staying at home. Julia is the dominant one among the two. They both move to London to live in the flat, where they meet with Robert, Elspeth's lover, and Martin, neighbor suffering from OCD. Then they meet Elspeth or should I say Elspeth's ghost, who is stuck in the flat and cannot leave. The story continues on from there.

Here are few things that I didn't like:
  • When I picked up the audio book from the library, I didn't realize that the reader Blanca Amato is the same individual who read Margaret's part in The Thirteenth Tale. Margaret's character was very irritating and I associated Blanca's voice with Margaret; thus, her voice was sort of irritating. But I got over that quickly. However, since The Thirteenth Tale was about messed up twins, and messed up family, I kept expecting that initially only due to Ms. Amato's voice.

  • To me, Robert was a very flat character. He had no will of his own. He did what Elspeth and Valentina asked of him. He couldn't even face the girls. In the end, he did something that he wanted to do, but the readers will have to wait till the very last line (literally) to find that out. Second, Julia was just plain irritating, but I think that is what the author was aiming for. Same goes for Edie. I felt that she could have done more in the book. Did she represent Valentina in the twin's relationship?

  • The **BIG** shock in the book...hmm...I was expecting that. The author gave it away way before the whole situation came about. The readers just have to pay attention to the thoughts and dialogs to figure it out.

  • I also felt that the story wasn't really over. The author left many loose ends as to the final destination of the characters. The good deeds were not rewarded and the bad were not punished.

The character that I did enjoy was Martin and his relationship with Marijke. I looked forward to bits and pieces that included these two characters. I enjoyed Highgate Cemetery and London described in the book.

One more reason why I didn't enjoy it because as it reminded me of a book that I had read in high school called Twins by Caroline B. Cooney. I do have to say that there are not lots of similarities. Overall, I will give this book 7 out of 10.

Library Loot

Here is another entry about books. I visited a book blog recently and the blogger mentioned her "Library Loot" for the week. So I thought I do the similar thing. I am going to steal her idea. :-P

I go to the library every single day to study for CPA. CPA has taken a toll on my life. I don't have a life anymore. No more having fun. I am out of shape (not that I used to work out or anything before). But it is not all that bad. Being at the library gives me more chances to checkout books. So the average number of items of my cards are usually 10, which includes books, audio books, magazines, and movies. I am listening to more books and hopefully my reading will also get back on track once I am done with CPA. At the same time, I hope my reading/listening continues as my library stops won't be as frequent.

Back to my library loot. I went to the library yesterday and got three audio books. I am almost done with Her Fearful Symmetry. I am going to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand next and I have my own copy. I got the following:
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - This is a classic read and I have been meaning to read it for a while now. Yesterday, I saw the audio book and checked it out. Now I am contemplating if I should read this next.

  • The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs - According to the author's website, The Know-It-All is the story of one man's quest to learn everything in the world. His method? Reading the encyclopedia from A through Z.

  • Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga - I read Mr. Adiga's first novel The White Tiger and I enjoyed it very much. I am looking forward to this novel. The reviews have been okay so far. And the reader is Harsh Nayyar so hopefully the experience will be better than last time.













That is all for today. I don't know which book will be next. Time to get back to work.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was one of the most intriguing book I have read in a longest time. The book is dark. First of all, here is the summary and then I will write about why I liked the book.

Set in WWII, Death meets a 9-year-old girl named Liesel Meminger as he is there to pick up her younger brother's soul, and he cannot resist knowing more about her. She steals the first book at her brother's funeral and goes on to steal many more as indicated by the title. Narrated by Death, the book is about her life with her new foster family on the Himmel (Heaven) Street in Munich. He talks about her fascination with the books, Jews' lives in Germany during Hitler's reign, her best friend Rudy Steiner, and her foster-dad who loves to play an accordion and teaches her how to read.

Here are the reasons why I enjoyed the book:
  • The story is told by Death; thus, the reader's get an idea of author's perspective of Death (who doesn't carry a scythe but gets a kick out of the idea ).
  • The story does not leave any loose ends. It closes all chapters and doesn't leave the readers wondering about different characters.
  • Since Death is narrating the story, he is quite clear about the timing of a person's death, such as (I will be meeting him 2 months from now). So throughout the book, the readers get the gist of what is to come. However, it keeps them interested as to how it happened.
Overall, it was an excellent book. The writing style was excellent. The reader Allan Corduner did a wonderful job as Death. I will have to look into his other works.

I was disappointed to learn that all the books mentioned in the novel are fictitious and do not exist. I was really looking forward to reading The Whistler and The Shoulder Shrug. I think the author should actually write these books as supplements to the novel. I would read them.

I will give this book 9.5 out of 10 and will definitely recommend the book.

Speak by Laurie Anderson

I finished this novel 17 days ago (as per Facebook Visual Bookshelf :-P). The book was so-so. I had heard that this was among the best, but I disagree. I picked this up from Young Teen section and it was truly a young teen book. The writing style was simple. The book is narrated by a teenage girl named Melinda Sordino. She is hated by the entire school body because she busted the end of the summer party by calling the police. However, she needs to speak and tell the truth.

The book reminded of me of school days. The narrator, Melinda, talks about her classes and pep-rallies, which were somewhat similar to classes and pep-rallies in my high school.

Overall, it was an okay book. I would give this book 7 out of 10. This is not much of a book review, but I am almost done with "The Book Thief" and can't wait to write about that.

Shopgirl - Steve Martin

I finished Shopgirl by Steve Martin on Oct. 20th. It was recommended to me by a librarian who was impressed by Steve Martin's talents. He is an awesome actor but as for an author, I was not very impressed. After finishing the book, I wondered why I listened to it. I found the book boring. The book is about a depressed girl who finds her true "soul mate" after having an affair with an older man. There is a movie on the book, which I am not sure about. Overall, it was an okay book and I don't think I will recommend it to anyone. I will give this book 5 out of 10.


Literature World collides with Business World

It is interesting to find famous authors names in the business news. Today I came across an article titled F. Scott Fitzgerald Did His Own Taxes (Until He Arrived in Hollywood) posted on WebCPA (find it here). William J. Quirk reviewed Fitzgerald's tax returns (you can only do that if the author is dead...I think) and found

Fitzgerald’s ledger for 1929 recorded royalties of $5.10 from the American edition of Gatsby and $0.34 from the English edition, Quirk noted.

Fitzgerald kept the ledger and did his own taxes by hand until 1937, when he went off to Hollywood in search of further fame and fortune. Once he arrived in Tinseltown, Fitzgerald used accountants to prepare and type his returns.

This was interesting because I loved The Great Gatsby and dying to read/listen to "The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons." Quirk states that Fitzgerald's returns reveal a lot about his life. Interesting...The original article is here titled "Living on $500,000 a Year" in The American Scholar.


Second article sent to me was regarding Ayn Rand. I have listened to two of her books, We the Living and The Fountainhead. The article is titled "Greenspan Backs Key Obama Wall Street Reform Effort" at Huffington Post (read here). The article starts stating

A keystone of Obama's Wall Street reform agenda is getting support from the unlikeliest of corners. Alan Greenspan, an acolyte of Ayn Rand and extreme free-marketeer, is backing one of the most far-reaching elements of the financial overhaul: the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

In the article, Alan Greenspan admits that he was shocked to learn that this ideology was not right and was not working. The article further states, "He [Alan Greenspan] has already said that he erred in assuming that the market would take care of things--the Ayn Rand point of view--but this seems to go farther than he's gone before in calling for a new agency to protect consumers from financial products" to hammer the point that Alan Greenspan has now become a "former" Ayn Rand acolyte. I enjoyed reading Ayn Rand, but for me her novels were more like novels than an economic way of life. I understand her ideology, but I don't agree with it one hundred percent. Reading this article gave me a new insight. I remember, in college Alan Greenspan was worshipped in the economic world. At that time, I didn't take initiative to learn enough about Greenspan to know his ideology. I wonder what Ayn Rand followers have to say about this.

Coraline - Neil Geiman

During our daily walk, Christina and I discussed Coraline by Neil Geiman when she was listening to it. The story captivated me. I had seen trailers of the movie, and wondered if which is better: book or the movie. Well, I found out as I finished the book mid-week last week and watched the movie over the past weekend.

The book is a children's novel. It is a cute horror book. The story is about Coraline, which is obvious. The family moves into a home, and Coraline, who loves to explore, is bored. She decides to explore the house and finds a secret door, which is closed. At night, the brick wall disappears and the secret door leads to a different world, which is copy of Coraline's real world. However, in this other world, Coraline has an "Other" mother and an "Other" father. The world is fun and exciting. The difference between her real parents and her "other" parents is that her "other" parents have buttons for eyes. They tell Coraline that they have been waiting for her and would like her to stay with them forever with one condition, which is that Coraline lets them sew buttons on her eyes. Coraline refuses and goes back to her real world. The other mother, who has constructed this other world for Coraline, kidnaps Coraline's real parents to lure her back. Coraline goes back to save her parents, and my summary ends here. I won't reveal the end, or what happens to the characters.

I didn't find the "buttons for eyes" creepy. However, I did find the mice's song creepy. I will give this book 8.5 out of 10. I look forward to listening to The Graveyard Book by Neil Geiman in near future.

I watched the movie over the weekend. I was not disappointed as the movie stayed very close to the book. I enjoyed the movie. I missed the songs that were in the audio book, but not in the movie. The movie also added a new character, a little boy, but I think that was to make the movie longer as the book is very short. In conclusion, the book was better than the movie.

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

I am about to finish the novel "Shopgirl" by Steve Martin, so I figured I should write about my opinion about The Thirteenth Tale and Coraline. So here is my "review" of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

The Thirteenth Tale is a debut novel of Diane Setterfield and I am impressed. I enjoyed it very much. It is a ghost story without being a ghost story (if that makes any sense). The novel revolves around two characters: Margaret Lee and Vida Winter. Vida Winter is a renounced writer who refuses to talk about her life to anybody. She decides to tell Margaret Lee the "truth" about her life for the reasons revealed later in the book. As Margaret learns about Vida Winter's life, she also learns to cope with her story.

Overall, the book was great. I found the tale enchanting. After getting out of the car, I kept speculating what will happen next. The book was read by two readers; one for Margaret and one for Vida. I will give this book 9 out of 10.

Happy Diwali!!!


This Diwali, may you be blessed with good fortune as long as Ganeshji's trunk, wealth and prosperity as big as his stomach, happiness as sweet as his ladoos and may your trouble be as small as his mouse.

Happy Diwali !!!

Raha Dekhe - Shubha Mudgal

I heard this song on Mera Sangeet Radio channel on iTunes. It is from the movie Raincoat. It is such a touching song.

Here is the song:





I finished two books (The Thirteenth Tale and Coraline) and will write about them soon. Time to get back to work.

Remembering...

Another year went by...

We miss you Bua Ji and Fufa Ji...you will be in our hearts always...

Happy 1st Anniversary!!!

I started this blog one year back on Sept. 28th. Happy Anniversary to my blog. :D

When I started, I had no idea what I was going to write. Then I just wrote whatever came to my mind. I realize that this blog has become more about books than my life. That is okay as I love books very much.


So far I have written 52 entries and this will be my 53th!!


Well...here is something about me.


On the 24th, I went to the library and when I got there, I was told that a study room was not available as they were all reserved for literacy tutors. I was also told to check back in 10-15 min. to see if any rooms become available, which might be due to the tutor not showing up. I thought, "Great...Now I have to sit out in the open and listen to bunch of high schoolers squeal, talk, and laugh." So I decided to sit on one of the tables that were located between two rows of books. I got to the table and put my stuff down. Then suddenly I was distracted. I was distracted by comic BOOKS. I thought, "Oh yay!! They have new Calvin and Hobbes Comic books, and few more. I will only spend few minutes on looking at them." This is kind of sad that I go to the library to STUDY but I am distracted by books. I am such a nerd...


See...this entry is even about books...

T.E.A of Life

I attended the Matri Diwas celebration at JVB Meditation center a while back. During one of the plays, they mentioned "T.E.A of Life." The play explained the importance of the T.E.A. in all the relationships in life, whether the relationship is parent-child, husband-wife, or friends. I thought it was a very interesting and totally agree with it. I think this will be something that will go long way with me in life. :)

T: Tolerance


E: Emotional Balance


A: Appreciation


The play showed a husband-wife arguing to the point where they decide to divorce. A friend sees what is going on and explains the "T.E.A. of Life" to them. The friend points out that the argument started because the wife accidentally broke a picture frame that was bought by the husband. He stated that the situation could have been handled using these three points. He states that if husband-wife had tolerance toward each other, had managed their emotions, and had appreciated each other even on little things, they would have been much happier.

The Curious Incident and The Time Traveler's Wife Movie (2 in 1)

The novel "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" by Mark Haddon was an interesting and a sweet novel. I enjoyed listening to it. I think the reader, Jeff Woodman, did an excellent job narrating this novel.

The novel is about a 15-year old autistic boy, who is framed for killing a dog. As he unravels the mystery of the murder of the dog, he discovers family secrets. He also learns to conquer his fears.

There were few cons for me. I could not relate to the novel, as I am not aware of any autistic child. I did learn a lot about their behavior through this fictional piece of work. Secondly, I felt that the book started great. However, it sort of went downhill after that. The ending was good. The story was like an upside down bell-curve for me. I am glad I gave it a try. I would give this book 8 out of 10.

I realized that I forgot to blog about the movie, "The Time Traveler's Wife." I can't believe that I forgot. That novel is one of my all-time favorites. I watched the movie on August 23rd. Surprisingly the theater close to my house was not showing the movie.

I loved the movie and enjoyed every second of it. It was tear jerking or in other words, I cried a lot during the movie. I was a little disappointed as I noticed that few characters in the novel were missing in the movie. I wanted to see Ingrid and her girlfriend in the movie. I was also disappointed with the characterization of Gomez. Gomez is not nice and supportive in the book, but in the movie, he is presented as a good person and a good friend. Lastly, I thought that the movie could have done a better job depicting Henry's death. I felt that too much was left to viewer's imagination regarding his downfall and ultimately his death. I understand that there were time limitations on the movie. It was 1 hr and 48 minutes. I wouldn't have minded 2 hrs and 30 min. movie if they had included all the scenes and the characters. I still loved it and this movie is definitely going to be part of my future video collection. I would give the book and the movie 10 out of 10.

I really really want to listen to The Time Traveler's Wife. I read the novel, and I want to give audio book a try. But having so many books on my plate, I think this audio book will have to wait. Maybe I should retire from my job, spend all my money on books and audio books, and spend all day reading and listening. What a thought... :)

Yesterday...

Yesterday something interesting happened. I went to the library as usual. This time I saw Sharmila Auntie there talking to Ms. Jaime about colleges and majors for her older daughter who is about to graduate school. Ms. Jaime asked me few questions regarding scholarship and college since I graduated from HS few years back. So I answered her and then I turned to Auntie and started telling her few things. All of the sudden, Ms. Jaime says, "Oh my god, your accent completely changed as you started talking to her." I said, "That's not true. My accent did not change." Sadly, another librarian standing close agreed with Ms. Jaime. This was news to me. I did not know that I was capable of changing my accent or that I even did that. I found it funny though. I wonder what the difference is. I guess the only way to find out by recording myself and not know that I am recording myself or get somebody else to record me. I am too lazy to go through all that hassle. Oh well...I guess I will never find out.

BTW...I forgot to add in my blog about Zip-Lining that I did get my "Earned My Wings" Badge:


Time to get back to work.


P.S. This is my 51st blog entry...Yay for half-century!!!

Ortist on Orkut

I saw this on Orkut and thought it was too cute...

9/10/09 - I like today's Ort of the Day too...Here it is:


Weekend

On Sunday, we decided to finally go to Tyler, TX. My parents have been wanting to go there even before their Vegas trip. Anyways, first we went to Canton. We left the house at 6:30 in the morning and made it there by 10:00. That is where we zip-lined. That was the highlight of the trip. We went to Wired. I linked the name of the business to their website (free publicity for them). It was fun. I won't lie and say it was a piece of cake. I was scared at first, as I don't like heights (thus, don't like to fly). But you know what, that feeling you get during turbulence was not there in zip-lining. The ride was smooth and the height wasn't as scary. Here are some pictures:



You can turn off the music by clicking on the speaker up on top.

video

As you can see, we had fun. I wouldn't mind going again. Actually I am looking forward to it.

Then we went to the water park. I thought it was a bad idea to go to outdoor water park due to the heat and finally my parents decided that it would be best if we go to an indoor water park. We went to Water park at The Village. I think the website has a good video and gives an idea how the place was. That was my first ever trip to a "proper" water park. I have been to Sea World in San Antonio and there were water rides there. We also went to Disney World in Florida.

The overall trip was fun. It was my mini-vacation. Until next time or I should say, until next book... :P

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

This morning at 8:00 I finished the novel, The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. It does not have a tragic ending like We the Living. Little bit about the book before I start my views.

There are five main characters in the book:
  • Howard Roark: He is the protagonist of the novel. He represents the views of Ayn Rand. He is an architect who works on his own terms. He is a modernist. Due to this, he struggles to establish himself.
  • Ellsworth Toohey: He is the antagonist. He is a collectivist and preaches altruism. He represents everything that Howard Roark despises and vice versa.
  • Dominique Francon: She is the daughter of Guy Francon, the owner of one of the biggest architect firms in New York. She is in love with Howard Roark.
  • Peter Keating: He is everything that Howard is not. He pursues the career because his mother tells him so. His success is temporary since he does what pleases others.
  • Gail Wynand: He is a big newspaper tycoon. Roark and he become very good friends, but Wynand's need of others ends the relationship.
There is so much in the novel that I am not going to summarize the story. I enjoyed listening to novel. Ayn Rand's theory "Objectivism" can be seen throughout the novel, and through Howard Roark. In the end, Roark's speech explains Ayn Rand's theory. As I listened to it, I realized I was nodding my head and was agreeing with every single word. The theory is 100% true when it comes to creation and destruction; however, there is more to the world than that. Even though I agreed with the novel, I don't think I completely agree with what she preaches. I feel that we need others for support and survival and we must depend on others. One must be selfish but to an extent where others are not hurt. When a person crosses that line, then relationships end and suffering begins. I said enough about my views in the review of We the Living so I am not going to repeat that again.

Overall, this book was great. I am still debating if this book is going to be one of my favorite books or not. I think I will give it another read and then decide. I will give this book 9.5 out of 10.

I think I am going to take a break from listening to the books until next week. As I say this, I have three audio books in my car. But it has been a while since I listened to some good music during my commute and I think I will do do that Thursday and Friday. Monday I am off..yay!!! Tuesday I will pick up another book. Good bye for now...

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People - Farahad Zama

I finally finished this book. Actually I finished the book on Friday (Aug. 28th). I am sort of getting better at writing reviews right after finishing the book. Another reason is that I am about to finish The Fountainhead and I would hate to write two book reviews back to back.

The book was a very light read. After I started it, I finished it within a week. Here is a quick summary of the book:
Mr. Ali opens a marriage bureau after this retirement. Initially the business is slow, but it starts to flourish, he hires an assistant named Aruna. It turns out she has her own problems regarding her own marriage. One of the clients of Mr. Ali's falls for Aruna and proposes to her. I will leave it to that. I won't say what happens after that.

I felt that the author did a great job capturing the marriage process. The times are changing and more and more people are having love marriages. However, arrange marriage is still the norm in India. Farahad Zama explained the ceremonies as well, which I liked. One more thing that I admired about his writing was the fact that he covered different societies of India without any bias. At least I thought there was no bias in his writing. I have read books where the authors favored one category of people over the other. Biggest example of bias toward characters would be E.M. Forster and his novel, A Passage to India, which I read in 12th grade.


Anyways, for me this book receives 8.5 out of 10.

The History of Love ~ Nicole Krauss

I finally finished this book last week. It took me over 2 months to read this book. I do not think that was because the novel was boring. The beginning was slow. When I saw the book, I thought, "Do I want to read a cheesy love story?" Then I read the back cover and talked to the librarian, and after reading it all the way, I realized it is not a "cheesy love story." It made me go "aaaww" at times, but overall, it was interesting.

The story is little complicated. There is a novel within this novel called "The History of Love." I started explaining and realized that I was doing a horrible job. So I went to Wikipedia entry for "The History of Love." I think they do a very good job providing a summary of the novel.

The story was slow in the beginning and it got little confusing as it was hard to establish how the characters connected. However, as the book went on, it got better and better. I liked it even though at times it was melancholy. It was good book. I would give the book 8 out of 10.

Hopefully I will start The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama soon. I have been picking that book up every night and putting it down...I already renewed it.

Anyone but You - Jennifer Crusie

I listened to novel while waiting on receipt of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. The book was waste of my one week of listening. Several people found Jennifer Crusie's books funny. I found first Jennifer Crusie's book I listened to irritating and have no desire to read/listen to any of her other works. Some people compared her to Sophie Kinsella. Sophie Kinsella is better than her, even though Becky Bloomwood from Shopaholic series also gets annoying with her lies and shopping problems. Rebecca's character reminds me of certain someone, but let's not get into that. I loved Sophie Kinsella's Undomestic Goddess, and looking forward to listening/reading to her other novels beside Shopaholic series.

Back to Anyone but You, the story can be summed up in less than a paragraph, and Jennifer Crusie took that one paragraph and extended it into a long lame book. Notice that I am calling the book long when it was only 5 hours long. I felt that it will never end. I still listened to it till the end because I don't like to leave books half-read. I have listened to longer books and enjoyed them.

I would give this book 4 out of 10. Four points are for the picture of the dog on the front cover of the book since that was the only cute thing in the book.

We The Living - Ayn Rand

I picked up this novel based on a recommendation. I must admit that I had heard of Ayn Rand but never expected to pick up one of her novel. Well I finished this about 2 weeks ago, and here is my review of the novel.

When listening to the Introduction, I realized the Ayn Rand actually has humor. I don't know why but I always considered her a very serious personality, and thought that that would be reflected in her works, and make them boring. I am happy to say I was wrong. The introduction was funny and her novel was interesting.

After the introduction, the novel started and it introduced the Argounovas travelling back to Petrograd. The starting didn't capture my interest as much and I had to rewind the chapter few times before I actually understood what was going on. After which, the story went only uphill. The novel revolves around lives of three characters: Kira Argounova, Leo Kovalenski, and Andrei Taganov. Kira is the protagonist. She represents Ayn Rand in her days. Kira is born in a Bourgeois family. Their house was taken away by the government and their factory was nationalized; thus, they were left with nothing. Kira is an individualist, who solely believes in her existence and opposes Communist's views of the society. She meets Leo Kovalenshi, who shares her views. They fall in love, although I feel Leo's love was not really love, and they move in together, which is against the society. At the same time, Kira is attending University of Petrograd with a desire to become an engineer. Again, she expresses herself as an individualist by wanting to do something that is not acceptable by the society, but she wants to do it. Andrei Taganov is introduced at this point. He is an officer in G.P.U., secret police of the Soviet. He is also an idealist. Even though they are opposite, they get along very well. After Kira is expelled from the University due to her past, Leo and she are forced to work odd jobs in order to feed themselves. Leo's personality starts to become indifference toward everything. Kira chooses to ignore this change as she loves him too much. Leo gets sick and Kira tries to do everything in her control to help the situation. Since the income is not stable, she decides to have an affair with Andrei, in return she receives money and gifts. Both, Leo and Andrei, are unaware of Kira's relationship to the other. I think I have said enough about the novel, and won't reveal the end.

My views on the novel and Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism: The novel was good. I agree with Ayn Rand's philosophy to an extent. I feel that Ayn Rand is too extreme, and I see that in her second novel, The Fountainhead. I think one must live for themselves but should not forget those around them. Everyone has something to contribute to one's life and that should not be forgotten. We must learn to appreciate and repay other's good deeds toward us and others. About the novel, I don't disagree with Kira's decisions. I feel that her decision was good considering the situation. I can't say what I "would've" done then, but I don't hate Kira for her actions. I have so much more to say but it is time to get back to work...sigh....

I will give this book 9 out of 10.

Happy Raksha Bandhan



Just wishing everybody Happy Raksha Bandhan.


P.S. Hopefully next few blogs will be review of books I have read since last entry because I am too lazy to blog in time.

Movie: Slumdog Millionaire

I finally watched "Slumdog Millionaire." I was not impressed by the movie. I don't see what the hype was about. I did enjoy the movie. I was not "offended" by the scenes in the slums as that is a reality in India. I did not care much about the title of the movie. It fits the content of the movie.

The actors were good. Dev Patel did a good job. I saw the "desipan" in him when he says "Arey Bhaiya, I am the dishwasher." Overall, he justified his character. Freida Pinto, the leading lady, was okay. I felt she was more of a pretty face than an acteress. She cannot act. I would like to see her upcoming works to see if she truly has the talent. The kid actors were excellent. They definitely deserve all the fame they got.

Comparison to the book: The book is much much much better. That is all I have to say. The movie is nothing like the book, as in quality and content. I think people should read the book.
The main character in the novel has no religion. His name is "Ram Mohammed Thomas." More about the book here.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. However, I don't think it deserved all the Oscars it received. I did like the songs.

Respecting..

It is interesting how people DEMAND respect but they themselves do not know how to give respect. They demand respect based on either age factor or experience factor. I think in this world, everyone needs to be treated with respect, doesn't matter how young or old. However, at the same time, in order to get respect, you MUST GIVE respect.

If you are one of those individuals who treat others as a doormat, and then in return expect to be treated with respect, then I say shame on you. You are selfish and you will not get any respect from me.

Also, I have noticed how people belittle other's jobs because they have an office job. WTH? The other person is also working to earn money and feed mouths. All jobs are jobs, no matter how big or small. If a person is dressed as a monkey, jumping around, and getting paid for that, then good for him. If the other person is sitting in an office and getting paid, good for him too. Whatever keeps the person happy and well fed.
Mood: Annoyed

Confessions of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella

I read my blogs from past months and I noticed that I only wrote about books. It is kind of sad. I am such a nerd. Today it will be a little different. As my label says "Book Review," it will be a book review but little later.

First of all, I would like to say that I am so so happy that Roger Federer won the match. He is truly number one and he deserved that title. But I must say that Andy Roddick was excellent in his game. He exceeded my and many others' expectations. But in the end, Federer remained victorious. With 15 grand slam titles, he is # 1 and even few loses to Nadal won't take that away from him. I just hope that he continues to win few more titles and set the highest and unreachable goal for others.

Little on the sad end: I was shocked to hear Michael J.'s death. That was quite unexpected, and for few hours after reading the news, I thought that "maybe they will come back and say it is a rumour." That didn't happen. I am sad for all his fans. I am not his fan, but this news did shock me.

Now we are on to my book review. While all this was going on, I was listening a comedy: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I really enjoyed Kinsella's The Undomestic Goddess. I had also read great reviews about Shopaholic series. Anyways, I wasn't as impressed.

Pros: The book is good and funny. The storyline is different but at the same time, more than 50% of women can relate to the story. You will learn about brand names. The writing style was very simple. Lastly, Luke sounded very cute. :-P

Cons: Becky Bloomwood is an annoying character. I wanted to slap her few times, but her luck that she is not real. The story kind of dragged and at times I was irritated by events happening in the book. I felt that the end of the novel was truly the best part. There are some similarities (very few) between Shopaholic and Goddess.

Having said all that, I would give this book 7.5 out of 10. Surprisingly, I think I will pick up rest of the books in the series later. Our town library only had the first book in audio book format. I guess I will check out other libraries to see if they have the others. I have the movie on hold, so another movie to watch

Now I am listening to We the Living by Ayn Rand. Before that I tried listening to The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons and other Jazz Tales by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but sadly that CD was messed up. Damn people who cannot and do not respect books from the library. Nobody should mishandle books, and if you are one of the individuals who does, then buy your own copy. Don't ruin the experience for other readers/listeners. Signing out...entry too long...

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini wrote an excellent history-based novel. I had read many reviews about this novel and was looking forward to the book. I must say that if a book can move you in any way or in other words, forces you to show some sort of reaction other than "Boring," then it is an excellent read. This book qualifies as an excellent read for me. I was happy, sad, and angry at the characters and the author. The book is now part of My-Favorite-Books list.

In summary, the novel is about two boys living in Kabul, Afghanistan before the war, and how the war causes them to go separate ways. The two main characters are Amir and Hassan. Hassan is the son of the servant, and believes that Amir is his best friend. Due to a tragedy, Amir no longer wishes to be associated with Hassan. Amir and Baba, his father, leaves the country and move to America during the war. The novel continues and the readers see the characters grow up in their own two different worlds. There were times in the novel, where I wanted to scream at the author and say "WTH?" I think I have said enough. I definitely will recommend this book to whoever wants a good read. I do warn you that it is not a cheerful novel. I will give this book 9 out of 10.

As usual, there is a movie based on this novel, and I will watch it soon. As I read the books, my list of movies-to-watch also grows. I did read on Wiki about the movie and how the movie actors playing "Hassan" and "Amir" had to face so much criticism and had to go through difficult times. Some people take the entertainment industry so seriously. Anyways, time to sign out. Later!

Pooh Bear and the Tiger

I read/listened to few books since my last post. I read Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne and Tiger by Jeff Stone. I also listened to The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (I will blog about that in a separate entry).

  1. Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne
    This book was recommended to me. I was told that as a kid, we watched this cartoon, but as an adult, we should read this book, to see different personalities present in the story. We understand the personalities better as adults. I read the book, and concluded that the book was cute. However, the characters were little disturbing. Eeyore is extremely depressed and somewhat creeped me out. Rabbit and Owl think very highly of themselves, where Pooh has very low self-esteem. What to say about Piglet? Piglet is gullible. The author does not introduce Tigger in the first book. Overall, I enjoyed it. I look forward to reading “Tao of Pooh” which should go more in detail about the characters and their personalities. I give this book 9 out of 10.
  2. Tiger by Jeff Stone
    I had read some reviews of the series, and I wondered if the concept for the movie “Kung Fu Panda" was taken from the book. I enjoyed the book, but its not my favorite. I realized that I don't enjoy reading about fights as much, especially kung fu style. The concepts are somewhat similar. There is a master, and his pupils, learning how to fight and they must protect the dragon scrolls from a former pupil who has switched over to the dark side. There are several books in the series, and each book is based on the one of the major characters. However, the main character in the movie "Po" is missing from the books. Overall I enjoyed the book, and I might read rest of the books to finish reading the series. I give this book 7 out of 10.

Now I am reading Who killed Change? Its okay so far. Signing out of the blog...Good Night.

On the Other Hand...

The title of the blog comes from the musical "Fiddler on the Roof." The words are said by Tevye, when he is "soul searching." The movie was excellent. It was released in 1971, and is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Milkman) and Other Tales by Sholem Aleichem. Here is a synopsis of the movie:

Tevye, a milkman, has five daughters. He follows traditions especially when it comes to marriages. According to the traditions, a matchmaker (Yente) must find a groom for his daughters. His first daughter loves a poor tailor, and seeks for her father’s permission to marry the tailor. Tevye agrees as he gives more importance to his daughter’s happiness than the tradition. The second daughter loves a poor scholar. However, she does not ask for her father’s permission, but simply tells him that she will marry him. Tevye again approves thinking about his daughter’s happiness. The third daughter falls in love with a young Russian and Orthodox Christian man and runs away to marry him. Tevye is Jewish, and the Russians are forcing the Jews to leave their towns. Tevye refuses to accept his third daughter’s marriage. However, in the end, as he is leaving the town, he finally bends to his daughter’s happiness and accepts the relationship. The movie reminded me of Indian traditions regarding arrange marriage. I loved the song, “If I were a rich man…”

If I were a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

Slumdog Millionaire a.k.a Q&A by Vikas Swarup

The movie Slumdog Millionaire won eight Oscars, and I have yet to see the movie. I wanted to read the book first. I had heard that the movie is very different from the book. My personal preference is to read the book before watching the movie. The only exception to this rule was Lords of the Rings series. I have not read the books but I enjoyed the movies.

 Anyways, the novel was good. I am not familiar with lives in slums of India, especially Mumbai, so I can't agree or disagree with Mr. Swarup. The plot and concept was good, but a little filmy. Ram Mohammad Thomas, main character, is a dynamic character. He is very much into movies. The book is constructed in a beautiful way. There are no loose ends, and does not leave the readers wondering what happened afterwards. However, I feel that the movie might be more thought provoking than the book. Anyways, I will give this book 8.5 out of 10. Another name of the movie added to my list of "Movies to watch after CPA is over."

Now I am listening to "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. So far I am enjoying it very much. I am also reading "Winnie-the-Pooh" as Christina mentioned that an adult should read that book. I have realized that as I continue to read more and more books, my list of "books-to-read" grows also. I thought it would work the other way. Oh well...

The Cat Who....

I actually read the book instead of listening to it. It took me over two months to finish the book, and that should indicate how boring this book was. I don't like to leave the books in the middle. I had to check the book out twice from the library and renewed it twice (Checked out total time: 3 weeks x 4 = 12 weeks or 3 months).

Coming back to the book:
The story dragged and dragged. The story was suppose to be a mystery solved with the help of the cat. The cat helped alright, but not until the last few pages of the story. The mystery doesn't come into play until half-way through the book. None of the characters were interesting. I believe cat-lovers will enjoy this book little more than me. I found this book boring, and I have no plans of picking up another one of "The Cat Who..." series. This was a waste of my two months. Well, at least now I can ignore all the hype about the series. I would give this book 4 out of 10.

Freakonomics

I wish I could say Freakonomics was freaking awesome. It was a good book. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner put lots of time and effort into the research and they justify each statement. The following topics were discussed. (source: Wiki)

  1. Discovering cheating as applied to teachers and sumo wrestlers
  2. Information control as applied to the Ku Klux Klan and real-estate agents
  3. The economics of drug dealing, including the surprisingly low earnings and abject working conditions of crack cocaine dealers
  4. The controversial role legalized abortion has played in reducing crime.
  5. The negligible effects of good parenting on education
  6. The socioeconomic patterns of naming children

I would say that all discussions were interesting but I think the most interesting was topic 3 about crack cocaine dealers. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read it, as it involved reading raw data. Stephen Dubner, one of the authors of the book, read the book. Many instances he read off the data, and while driving, it made it difficult to follow it. I think all finance majors should give this book a chance, as they will understand many concepts since they are applied to real-life scenarios.

This book one of the few non-fiction I have read, and I am recommended to read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and told I will enjoy that more. I have added the book on my future-reads list.

I will give this book 8.5 out of 10.

The Mouse and the Books

I saw an excellent short story on Mr. Coelho's Blog today, so I thought I post it on my blog.


The Mouse and the Books

Published by Paulo Coelho on May 27, 2009 in Stories.
Url: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2009/05/27/the-mouse-and-the-books/



When I was interned in Dr. Eiras Hospital, I began to have panic crises. One day, I decided to consult the psychiatrist in charge of my case:


“Doctor, I am overcome by fear; it takes from me the joy of living”.


“Here in my office there is a mouse that eats my books”, said the doctor. “If I get desperate about this mouse, he will hide from me and I will do nothing else in life but hunt him. Therefore, I put the most important books in a safe place and let him gnaw some others.


“In this way, he is still a mouse and does not become a monster. Be afraid of some things and concentrate all your fear on them – so that you have courage in the rest.”

Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom

Hmm...I don't know what to say about this book. I was disappointed. There was so much hype about this book, but looks like I missed something. I deeply enjoyed For One More Day, but to me Five People was lacking a good story/plot.

I understood the message Mr. Mitch was trying to convey. Every person that you cross paths with is important. They do affect your life in one way or the other. That was always one of the questions I wondered all the time. If I did not meet certain people, how my life would be. Anyways, getting back to the book. The book did leave me wondering about my life, but on more technical level, it did not appeal to me as much. My expectations were high based on all the reviews I read online. I would still recommend it but with an indifferent tone.

I would give this book 7 out of 10. I will watch the movie soon.

Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The movie Namesake was released three years ago (2006). It was an excellent movie and is one of my favorites. Ever since I watched the movie, I wanted to read the book. I finally got a chance to listen to the book, and I must say that Jhumpa Lahiri has written a beautiful novel once again.

The novel Namesake is about a Bengali family settling in USA, and how there is cultural and communication gap between the parents and the kids. Parents love their homeland country, India, and do not understand the customs of USA. On the other hand, the kids feel more connected to their birth country, USA and do not understand the importance of India and its traditions and customs; thus, causing a rift between the family members. The family is together, but the desire to be separate has become part of kids. One thing that brings them closer is the passing of the father, which was shocking. I did know about it in advance due to the movie, but I was equally shocked and sad.

The novel is about inner struggle of the character Nikhil/Gogol due to his name. He feels that he does not belong. I felt he blames his parents for this struggle, because he never understood the importance of the writer Gogol in his parents' lives. He changes his name to Nikhil but for his parents, he is always Gogol. However, as he gets more and more involved in his life, the name Gogol is left behind. He is again in struggle as he likes his new name but he wants to hear his original name again too.

I would give this book 8 out of 10 and look forward to reading this book again sometime in future.

For One More Day: Book Review

This was one of the most beautiful stories I have read in my entire life. I listened to the story during my commute to work. I finished the book this morning, and I wanted to turn around, go home, and hug my mom. I think after reading For One More Dayby Albom Mitch, I appreciate and respect my parents a lot more.

I think everyone has those moments in their lives when they think that their mom nags too much or is controlling. This book shines a light on what is behind those nags. I think everyone should give this book a chance, especially today's teenagers. I know I am going to make my brother read this book, and maybe after that, he will appreciate my mom and her cooking a lot more. JK :)

You know what they say, "You never truly appreciate someone until they are gone." Just a word of advice: You will cry while reading this, so make sure you have a box of Kleenex by your side.

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