Life...The Most Complicated Thought

The unexamined life is not worth living. ~Socrates

Spooky Little Girl by Laurie Notaro

I enjoyed Spooky Little Girl by Laurie Notaro very much.

Short summary: Lucy Fisher just returned from her Hawaiian trip and finds all her stuff outside her house. Martin, her ex-fiancĂ©, is not picking up her calls. She is then fired from her job. Her bad luck does not end there. She dies in an accident. She then has to attend ghost school and learn how to haunt. She finds out that she will have to fulfill an assignment in order to pass on to the State. The fun continues as Lucy finds herself on Earth sitting on her ex-fiancĂ©'s couch ready to haunt...

My eyes were glued to the book from page one to the last page. Even in my lunchtime at work, I was hoping I had brought the book with me to read. It was light, funny, and interesting. Laurie had all the classic haunts such as the flickering of TV, light bulb, writing on foggy mirror, etc. in the novel. The character of Lucy is very likable and the readers will support her.

The concept of the afterlife was interesting. Initially, the book reminded me of the novel Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, but the novels are different. The only thing that is similar is the word "afterlife". The concept of ghost school was new. I liked how their teacher, Ruby, "gently" breaks the news to all the dead people. There are other ghosts as well but they all have their own assignments. I do not want to give away any spoilers, so I will not discuss what Lucy's assignment is.

Overall, it is one of the best chic lits I have read in a long time. I give this book 9 out of 10.

I visited the author's website and noticed that I had two of her books, but I donated them without reading them. I wish I had read them and then donated them. I will keep an eye out for her books now.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a classic children's book. I did not know that. This book has been on my TBR list ever since I created a spreadsheet to keep track of my books, which was about three years ago. It seems like whomever I mention this book to have either read the book or watched the movie.

Short summary: Claudia and Jamie decide to run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City because Claudia feels she is not appreciated enough by her parents. The museum buys a statue called angel from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and the statue is suspected to have been crafted by Michelangelo. Both children research to find out the truth.

The story is highly entertaining. I think almost every kid dreams about running away and living someplace exciting like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I enjoyed listening about Claudia and Jamie's adventures at the museum and afterwards. Jamie is so darn cute and Claudia is equally smart. Jamie handles the money matters and Claudia does the rest. Mrs. Frankweiler is old and childish. She wants her own secrets and adventures just like the children.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading about adventures of two little kids. I listened to this book and the reader, Jan Miner, did an excellent job. I give this book 9 out of 10.

This book qualifies for the Audio Book Challenge.

Half Life by Roopa Farooki

Half Life by Roopa Farooki was one of those books that I did not want to read but just had to finish.

I checked this book out because the author and the cover. The cover is so pretty. I read the description and thought it might be like Eat, Pray, Love, is one of my favorites. The saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" is right in this case. I was highly disappointed.

Short Summary: Aruna married her husband just because he asks her. She was trying to run away from her past. Now she has decided to run away from her current life back to her past. Is she running to her past or trying to figure out her present?

I liked the writing style to say that I will read more from Roopa Farooki. However, I did not like this story. The plot and the characters were new. There were many secrets in the story. Some were revealed and some were left as secrets. At times, the story became confusing. There was suppose to be an emotional roller coaster, but I just could not get on it. I felt nothing toward the characters. I might even say that there was a little disgust.

The novel is the story of Aruna, Jazz, and Hassan and the chapters juggle between these characters. Aruna's husband and Jazz were nothing like normal people. I did not like Aruna's character as well. I found her character irritating. The only sections I enjoyed were by Hassan, Jazz's father. I enjoyed reading about Hassan's past and the secrets. The ending was predictable as well.

I hope I enjoy Farooki's other work. This one was not for me. I give this book 4 out of 10.

‘My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes’

Priya from Uniquely Priya tagged me to create a list at least 10 of my sins against gender stereotypes. This tag was started by IHM. I am suppose to list at least ten things I have done, which are against my gender stereotype, i.e., things I should not have done or not suppose to do because I am a female.

Gender inequality is there in every culture, but since I am from India, my experience is only limited to India and USA. Gender inequality is definitely present in Indian culture. India is a male dominant society, where in many parts, women are still considered property. Although it is a male dominant society, India was once led by a female, Indira Gandhi.

Along hearing with broad statements like "Ladkiya paraya dhan hoti hai" (Girls are property of others) and "Ladkiya ma baap par bojhe hoti hai" (Girls are burdens on their parents), I have heard specific statements like you are a girl and running a house should be a first priority and there is no point studying further.

Without further ado, here is my list (I do not know if I can make it to 10):

  1. I will study more after getting my CPA and get Masters in International Business. I have heard comments like, "What's the point of studying further?" I feel that education and career should be my decision. Having said that, I also understand the importance of family and balancing professional and personal life.
  2. I know how to whistle. I taught myself how to do whistle when I was little. 
  3. I love to dance. I am usually the first person on the dance floor, and I do not care what people are thinking or saying, as long as I am enjoying myself.
  4. (This one is common across many blogs) I love to read. I enjoy other activities such as embroidery and scrapbooking. Reading is my passion and I do not think reading has anything to do with gender. I am told that reading is wasting time, which could be used to better activities around the house.
  5. I like to volunteer. I helped in building houses for Habitat for Humanity, and there were people who said I should be the one helping out with nails and tools, since I "cannot carry heavy stuff or do" any "manly" activities.
  6. I have a full-time job and will continue working after marriage. According to some, that is impossible. Girls who work after marriage cannot be a good wife. Hello…this is 21st century. If I have studied and worked hard to be where I am, then it should be my decision. It is my responsibility to balance both. I have not even gotten there in my life and how can someone who does not know me say that I will do a crappy job.
  7. I like to shop but cannot do it for hours and hours. I do not go for any and every girly thing out there. I am more of jeans & t-shirt person and would prefer that to a fancy top any day.
  8. I played Tennis for 4 1/2 years. I have played Cricket in the past. I love to watch sports (except for Golf) on TV.
  9. I sit on motorbikes and scooter "guy" style. I cannot sit with both legs on one side. (I cannot find a picture of this online but people in India probably know what I am talking about).
  10. I do not care about matching my purse with my outfit on day-to-day basis. I use a purse until it is time to retire it. Thus, I do not buy too colorful purses. I stick with general colors like black and brown, because they match everything :)
Wow...I made it 10. There are so many more to write. I will mention few more:

  • I would like to own a business sometime in my life.
  • I love computers and cell phones and cannot imagine a life without them. They are not "dude" gadgets.
I think that is it. There are many more but I will end my post here. Thanks Priya for making me think about things like these. There are many other gender stereotypes annoy me but that rant is for some other time.

The Last Airbender

My brother and I saw The Last Airbender today. I felt the movie was so-so. It could have been a lot better.

The movie is about an Avatar, who has returned after 100 years to bring balance to the world. There are four nations: Water, Fire, Air, and Earth. Fire Nation has taken over the world in the last 100 years. It is the Avatar's job to master all four elements and bring balance.

I have seen the original animated series. The characters in the TV shows are so lively. The storyline can easily be followed. The main character, Aang, is the best in the series. He is about 10 year old, and he acts like it. He does not understand few things and Katara and Sokka, his friends from Southern Water Tribe, act like his body guards, protecting him and guiding him.

The movie failed to capture all these elements. The characters were flat. Aang, played by Noah Ringer, was not animated. According to Wikipedia, Noah is Black Belt, but in the movie, even his martial arts did not seem to be at his best. I do not know much about martial arts. I wanted to see some "jaw-dropping" moves. Katara, played by Nicola Peltz, was the best character. I felt she did justice to the role. Jackson Rathbone as Sukko was also good, but he was more mature in the movie than the series. His childishness is what makes the series fun and same goes for Aang.

As for the story line, it was confusing. I have seen most of the series and the movie was still hard to follow. Imagine going to the movie without having any background knowledge about the storyline. I think that M. Night Shyamalan should have just concentrated on this movie instead of worrying about the trilogy. The movie had so much potential, but it got lost somewhere in the transition.

I give this movie 5 out of 10. Even though this movie was not what I expected, I will still watch the remaining two in the trilogy.