I’ve experienced reader’s block a few times in my life. Not because the book was boring but because it hurt my head to read it.
One was The Heart of Darkness. Brought out (yet again) all the atrocities done in the name of deliverance, racial superiority and just plain ol’ fashioned greed.
The other one was The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Red gave it to me as a gift when we first met. Of course that should have tipped me off to the kind of guy I was marrying but I got blindsided. That’s another blog for another day.
I recently started reading graphic novels and after having a rather happy experience with the first one, the 2nd one has me at a dead-end. I’ve been exposed to Holocaust literature as a child. I guess it was at the discretion of our class teacher, herself Jewish, who wanted us to know about that watershed moment in history because she was emotionally impacted by it.
Our reading list had Friedrich, The Number On My Grandfather’s Arm and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. I’m sure everyone knows that The Diary of Anne Frank is a given staple. Anyhow, the reason I can remember what I read in the 5th grade is because they disturbed me. Although the books were written specifically for children’s’ comprehension; it was the first time that I read something that was disturbing, factual and designed to shake me out of being a child and shove me towards knowing that the world wasn’t a good place or that people were good all over the world.
When I bought Maus, I thought it would be an easier read for me than those earlier books had been because back then I’d been in grade school and was a grown woman now. But that’s not how things shape up. A few chapters into Maus and I just couldn’t go further. Caricatures or not, they were depictions of real people, real incidents and real tragedies.
I guess I prefer my reading of the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson ilk..goes down easier. Color me an escapist but the world of make-believe, while deeply engrossing, doesn’t leave you with food for thought about the human condition. The kind of food that gives you indigestion I might add.
I did muddle through the earlier reader-block inducing books as well and will read all of Maus as well. But it’ll take some doing. A lot of doing.
Last weekend I went back to pray at the altar of the gym gods after a long, long a time. I know why I stopped going and it wasn’t a good enough reason then and isn’t one now either. But I like to give myself brownie points for attempting to get back on the horse/bike…you take your pick. Whatever it may be, hopefully it’ll continue to be a major factor in helping me keep up and increase the pace.
The frailty of people makes it so that it’s harder to keep doing things that take a lot of effort; breaking out in a sweat, dealing with aches and pains and still anchoring onto a reason to keeping at it. Stopping doesn’t take much doing at all so it’s usually the fallback option for many of us.
But jiggly fat, wobbly knees and jelly calves aside, the rush from doing something that pushes you ahead is quite fulfilling. However, it’s fulfilling in hindsight and hindsight usually kicks in an hour after you’ve had the whey protein and got some feeling back in the limbs. Till then you’re a slug and wondering why the world makes and endorses such instruments of torture like the foam (huh! Yeah right!) roller.
My glutes, which I thought were heavily padded and non-susceptible too much pain, were crying out for deliverance. As were my thighs, again courtesy the dreaded roller. But since the gym equipment is going to end up being a near-permanent fixture in my life I might as well make peace with it, grit my teeth and jump right in.
Here are some more instruments of torture…
Apparently we’re harking back to the medieval ages just for the fun of getting fit. Notice the rack to get stretched out on, the clubs to get…well clubbed with and the hoops to be hanged from. Bliss…
I was asked to do something called the ‘Hollow Body Hold’. But try as I might, I can’t approach “hollow” ever! Sigh…some of us were meant to be convex…we can’t concave if our lives depended on it.
PS: All the mentions of torture are in the overactive imagination and tired body of the author. There is *no* documented evidence of any kind of torture at all. Yet… *evil grin*
I have watched tons of rubbish movies. Honestly. And I make no excuses for it. If it intrigues me, I’ll watch it at least once.
I don’t look into the why it’s good or bad or why it’s made money or lost a pile of it. IF the topic is interesting enough, I’ll try and get my hands on a copy.
I really like watching creature and disaster movies. The former is usually improbable and the latter hopefully won’t happen in my lifetime but they are usually not boring; if made well.
I watched Ghost Shark, the Sharknado series and a whole bunch of other stuff with the words “shark” or “snake” in its name and have been actually entertained. And then there was Oceans Rising.
Oh my god…what an utterly, utterly pathetic movie. To have watched The Day After Tomorrow, Poseidon and even 2012 to some extent and then see this crappy piece of well…crap, is so disappointing. And that’s saying a lot coming from me. I also watched Megashark Vs. MechaShark and lost no sleep over it.
Apart from probably not having any money for believable special effects and having people who just run their entire gamut of expressions in 0-60 seconds, this movie was not the best utilization of a Friday afternoon I’ve done.
The lesson has been learnt.
I constantly swing back and forth from amusement to annoyance when helping my son with his homework. Especially his language homework.
My own language “skills” are middling to not-bad-at-all and my pronunciation of words (especially the word pronunciation) is usually correct. Of course Red did tell me that I’d been pronouncing ‘Audi’ and ‘apropos’ wrong my whole life and then sniggered his pert behind out of the room. In my defence I’ve hardly ever pronounced apropos; mainly used it in my emails and writing so there!
Anyhoo, the offspring gets help with learning his words phonetically. And while saying them out loud every now and then his eyes glaze over and I know he’s in the land where Korra the Avatar exists and his mother’s voice correcting him is a drone that he can relegate to the background and forget. And while doing so he mispronounces a sound he’s been saying 10xs over in the last few minutes. That’s when my angry eyes come into play…
See, the thing is this…I was taught English (my adopted 1st language) by crusty nuns who had no compunction about rapping delicate young knuckles HARD with their even harder rulers and following that up with DAMN-YOU-TO-HELL looks for mispronouncing words or not speaking the Queen’s English; never mind that the grand dame hadn’t been our queen since well before we were born or the nuns themselves were supposed to embody compassion and not be more like her! Psst….follow arrows down
My flesh and blood warbles while he reads, fluctuates between accents (courtesy yours truly and Youtube) and affects a sing-song reading style which would have earned me an entire class on my knees had I dared to read things any differently.
For those of us brought up on Wren&Martin ,English (the British variant) correctly isn’t a matter of choice. It’s a way of life. Add to it a few years of English literature classes where you’re liberally applying your penchant for poetry and prose with panache while being taught by teachers wearing a pince nez and you are stuck with correcting peoples’ pronunciation for life.
And you know it’s a bordering a disease when you’re correcting it in your head when you can’t do it aloud.
P.S: This bit from My Fair Lady is rather apt for this post methinks…
I haven’t ventured down the path to graphic novels at all. Parted ways with comics after grade school and just the written word was enough to hold my attention without needing the bells and whistles that illustrations provide.
However, the senses must be appeased and of late I’ve wanted to have more visual stimulations while reading. Amazon came to the rescue with their curated list of graphic novels for beginnings, spanning genres (Go Amazon!) and I picked up a book that I’d heard a lot about but avoided reading purely because of my own biases.
I need to mention these biases because they form a part of what leads me towards and away from books with topics such as these.
As a child, many of my Sundays were dominated by watching the dramatized version of Ramayana on the telly. Apart from the slow pace and the excessive posturing or smiling on part of the characters; it always felt like Ram was quite the goody-two shoes and his wife excessively pure and perpetually giving in to his whims and fancies. Added to the mix was my mother’s staunch belief about not just looking at one source as the definitive stance on how things might play out. She advised me to read other books which gave contrary views on Ravan, Sita and Ram instead of taking them as flawed or perfect in entirety.
Growing up in a country that largely espouses one religion, it’s tough to express one’s own contrary thoughts about a historical, mythological figure without ending up on some evangelist’s hit list or having to dodge trolling from all and sundry who seem to have drunk from the same spiked punch bowl of jingoistic fervor; not having one original thought in their heads, ever.
Here endeth the anecdotal part of the book review. Onto the actual book itself. It’s a delight. Visually. It’s a delight in its simplicity. Samhita Arni (the author) and Moyna Chitrakar’s (the illustrator-storyteller) collaboration is a visual delight that doesn’t detract from the story that has been retold many times over. The book is actually two-fold in that the words and pictures both paint a story that’s being told simultaneously; without one tripping up the other. They are in sync beautifully.
The narrative is very simple but not simplistic and manages to convey a lot of emotion without spelling everything out. The injustices of war, the machinations of man come to life in ink- both words and drawn.
I would recommend this book as a coffee table gift for friends and family. It doesn’t mean one is embracing their (Hindu) religious identity. But for better or for worse, Ram, Sita and Ravan are a part of our cultural identities. If not for that, get it for the artwork alone…it’s folksy, bold and timeless.
I woke up a sleepy male this morning with a nuzzle, a hug and a kiss and told him I loved him. He replied by saying, “Me too. Can I watch the iPad after I come back from school today?”
Be still my beating heart! Such emotion will sweep me away…
I had written this post on Livejournal, my erstwhile online diary many moons ago. And I remembered the incident which inspired the post during my dental check-up today.
I like to think my threshold of pain is about average. I know I got loud during childbirth but then again you’re expected to so that doesn’t count. Most people fear going to the dentist or any doctor who’s going to look into a body cavity simply because we’re mute spectators and we feel very vulnerable. We have to just lie back and let the doctor do what they will till they are done and we have no idea of how things are going till they deign to enlighten us.
One could argue that going to a cardiologist or a pulmonologist should provoke the same reaction, however it doesn’t always. Those doctors seldom have their hands in our bodies. They prescribe meds, xrays and use a stethoscope or have us undergo activities which tells them how well the organ is doing; or not.
A dentist has the total opposite effect however. They fishhook your mouth to get a better look, their scaling instruments inevitably draw blood; however little and they probe the inside of your mouth- a place seldom visited by anyone else since you were a baby and your parents were teaching you how to brush.
Today, when the dentist was getting the plaque off my teeth, I had nothing to do but wait. She kept taking my face from one grimace to another the way she kept pulling my lips this way and that and it was annoying.
Like someone had more control over my face than I did. It’s like you’re a puppet in someone’s hands and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s worse when you go to a gynecologist or a proctologist because you’re most vulnerable in that pose and hoping the doctor tells you that all’s well.
Anyhow, I kept thinking how my tonsils looked and if the doctor was getting bored while doing a “standard cleaning” without any challenges like rotting teeth, halitosis and tooth extractions to keep things interesting for her.
I thought about Darla from Finding Nemo-
I composed some blog posts in my head, wondered why they didn’t play muzak in the doctor’s office and how long it would take me to get home during the morning office rush. And then we were done.
Rinse. Wipe. Repeat. And leave the doctor’s office with instructions to floss more regularly than I had been till now.