Reading · School · Teachers

When did you Fall in Love with Reading?

And how?

There’s a point in everyone’s lives when reading stops being homework forced on you, and starts being fun. When you read for the love of reading, or in my case, to impress someone. And that someone is the reason I love reading today.

My fifth grade teacher Mr. David Neudorf.

He was the new teacher in school. It was the first time I ever had a male teacher and I was worried a bit. But i absolutely adored him!

He gave us journals. We had to write anything we wanted over the weekend. He would read it, write a nice reply and give it back. He always wrote something back, and not just put a check or signed.

It was the first time in my school life this far that I felt heard. I was painfully shy as a kid and did not talk at all in class. It is one of my best school memories ever. I remember looking forward to the end of the week to see what Mr. David wrote back.

And from then on .. he was my favorite teacher. I did everything I can to impress him, apart from actually talking.

He loved reading. He told us how reading is so important in our lives. And of course, I did everything he told us to do so I made my mom take me to the bookstore to get some books.

We also had read alouds in class. I forgot most of the books he read but I remember the class would always beg him to read one more chapter.

Then the other day, I took my daughter to the newly opened bookstore in our area and I saw one of the books. I almost cried. It was The Indian in the Cupboard.

And you know what’s the funniest thing? I don’t think Mr. David even knows how much he influenced my life as I rarely talked in his class. I hope he does.

So teachers out there, even if you don’t feel like you connected to a certain student, like you are not making much of a difference because you didn’t get the response you expected, please be sure and believe that you are making such a difference.. even when you don’t know it.

And if anyone happens to know a David Neudorf, who was an international teacher at IKNS, please tell him I thank him with all my heart. ❤

Now i am trying to instill what he taught me in my own kids.

Thank you Mr. David! You have made a difference in this world, especially in mine.

‐—————–

How did you fall in love with reading? Did you have a “Mr. David” in your life?

Book Reviews · Reading

Mini Reviews: Books 90 – 81

Yay! I have officially finished 20 books from the Telegraph’s 100 greatest novels of all time!

I also achieved my Goodreads goal for the year so double yay!

Here is an overview and mini reviews of books 90 – 81 on the list (you can find the mini reviews of books 100 – 91 here.)

# 90: Under the Net by Iris Murdoch

Grade: D

Favorite Quote:

What prevented the closure of this mutually rewarding deal? My principles. Surely there must be some way around. In similar fixes I have rarely failed to find one.

Mini Review:

Well, the above quote says it all; an unprincipled story of a man who is a lazy, immoral, opportunistic bum. Was I entertained a bit? Maybe .. but nothing else really.

You can read the full review here.

# 89: The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

Grade: F

Favorite Quote:

There’s a great black mountain. It’s human stupidity. There are a group of people who push a boulder up the mountain. When they’ve got a few feet up, there’s a war, ot the wrong sort of revolution, and the boulder rolls down – not to the bottom, it always manages to end a few inches higher when it started.

Mini Review:

I don’t really know why they called it the golden notebook, it should’ve been the grey or black notebook as it was a huge book of darkness, depression and degeneration of society. I did not like or enjoy this book at all.

You can read the full review here.

# 88: Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin

Grade: A

Favorite Quote:

But whom to love? To trust to treasure?

Who won’t betray us in the end?

And who’ll be kind enough to measure

Our words and deeds as we intend?

Who won’t sow slander all about us?

Who’ll coddle us and never doubt us?

To whom will all our faults be few?

Who’ll never bore us through and through?

You futile, searching phantom-breeader,

Why spend your efforts all in vain;

Just love yourself and ease the pain,

My most esteemed and honoured reader!

A worthy object! Never mind,

A truer love you’ll never find.

Mini Review:

I absolutely loved this book. It was a breath of fresh air after The Golden Notebook. It was witty and clever and very entertaining. Highly recommend it.

You can read the full review here.

# 87: On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Grade: F

Favorite Quote:

n/a

Mini Review:

The Telegraph says Kerouac wrote the book in “three near-sleepless weeks” and it clearly shows. It was like having a narrow minded, arrogant, frat boy showing off his conquests and going on and on about his endless partying, drinking, girls, and outings

You can read the full review here.

# 86: Old Man Goriot by Honore de Balzac

Grade: A-

Favorite Quote:

The more coldly calculating you are, the further you will go. Strike ruthlessly and you’ll be respected.

Mini Review:

I really enjoyed this classic cleverly depicting French high society and heart wrenchingly showing how money can sometimes be more important than everything, even one’s own parents.

You can read the full review here.

# 85: The Red and the Black by Stendhal

Grade: C

Favorite Quote:

I have loved truth .. Where is truth? .. Everywhere hypocrisy .. Man cannot put his trust in man.

Mini Review:

The book was OK, just OK. Felt like it was a wanna be Romeo and Juliet and I didn’t really like the characters much.

You can read the full review here.

# 84: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Grade: A

Favorite Quote:

As a general rule .. people ask for advice only in order not to follow it; or if they do follow it, in order to have someone to blame for giving it.

Mini Review:

I absolutely loved this book! Might even be my favorite so far on this list.

You can read the full review here.

# 83: Germinal by Emile Zola

Grade: D

Favourite Quote:

Violence has never prospered, you can’t remake the world in a day. Anyone who promises to change everything for you all at once is either a fool or a rogue!

Mini Review:

A political manifesto, a failed attempt at a revolution, a realistic depiction of the horrible life of miners. I did not enjoy reading this book at all.

You can read the full review here.

# 82: The Stranger by Albert Camus

Grade: C

Favorite Quote:

After a while, you could get used to anything.

Mini Review:

I didn’t like it and I didnt hate it. A short awkward story devoid of emotions about a killing.

You can read the full review here.

#81: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Grade: C

Favorite Quote:

Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth.

Mini Review:

The book can be divided into two main themes: the murder mystery which I loved, and the theology conversations which I didn’t. But overall, i did enjoy the book and it does get better after the 200 page mark as the action picks up.

You can read the full review here.

‐-‐—————–‐——————————————–

And there it is. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I have been pleasantly surprised by some and dissapoinyed by some.

Breaking it down, French authors have the lead; a nobel prize winner was a complete flop; two of my favorites are by Alexanders, and being on the road was not what i always dreamt it would be.

Looking forward to the next 10 on the list.

Till next time .. Happy reading ❤

Book Reviews · Reading

The Name of the Rose Book Review

Book: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

#81 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.

Grade: C

What is the story about?

The book is a journey to unravel the mystery behind the killings in an Italian monastery. Brother William and his understudy, Adso (the narrator of the story), take on this exciting task. It is a murder mystery along with numerous philosophical and theological banter.

Verdict?

It’s very hard and confusing for me to rate this book because I have two oppsite feelings about it. So I will divide it into two sections: the murder mystery part and the theology part.

Let’s start with the good. The murder mystery part I really enjoyed. I loved the reasoning behind Brother Williams deductions and how Eco planned it out. I also really liked the ending and how he wrapped it all together.

That being said, wow was this a tough book to plough through. I almost DNF and had to push myself through the first 100-200 pages (I enjoyed the 2nd half of the book much better).

Now i can’t really rate this part of the book or have an opinion about it really because i had no idea what he was talking about. I was reading words that i know, but had no idea what it was saying.

I am not a Christian, or a historian, or European. I have no idea who or what are the Fraticellis or Minirites or Benedicts. I have no prior knowledge or background to fall back on when reading these discussions so it was just words to me, without meaning.

And at the beginning of the novel, not much was happening regarding the murders and there was A LOT of discussions.

Which to me was like: wow this is so boring and slow and have no idea what is going on for 20-30 pages then yaay finally some action is happening .. then back to omg should i stick to this book really do i have to then yay something else happened.

But, even though they had looong discussions that i couldn’t really follow, I ended up liking both Brother William and Adso at the end.

**Spoiler**

And I liked what I took away from this book. Other than the history lesson, i liked that ‘laughter’ was the reason behind all the killings. It just shows you how important and powerful laughter really is.

I will leave you with a couple of quotes about laughter, and hope your days are filled with the joy and healing of it.

Anxiety · Life

Putting Things into Perspective

So life has a way of giving you a rude wake up call .. doesn’t it?

I’m sitting here pouting over unrealized dreams and focusing on our have nots instead of our haves, when my two closest friends spent their day in the hospital: one in the operating room with a child waiting anxiously outside, and one out of the operating room waiting anxiously for her son to come out.

What a wake up call .. which forces me to stop and thank God for what I have. Because at the end of the day, my family is healthy and well and that’s all that matters.

Please keep my friends and their families in your prayers.

And focus on what really matters.

God bless.

Adulting · Life · poetry

Not Good Enough

You’re twenty one

Young, beautiful, and fun

Ready to take on the world.

With your grad hat in hand

Oh how life is grand

Future so bright, their eyes are burned.

But there’s a small whisper

Ever so faint

“You’re not quite good enough”

Which might be a restraint

Who? Me?

Oh no not me!

No! Never and you will see!

You’re twenty five

You still have that drive

Even though not there yet.

It doesn’t matter that

Dream job rejected you flat

I will persevere, you bet!

Then comes that voice

Making a louder noise

“You’re not quite good enough”

And adds to the voids

Who? Me?

You think so? Me?

No never! Can it be?

You’re thirty

Husband stops being flirty

But thats just how life is.

With a toddler in your bed

And a baby to be fed

Hard to keep a relationship as is.

Here we go again

Seems to be written with a sharpie pen

“You’re not quite good enough”

And it started to seep in just then.

Who? Me?

Yes .. it just might be

But no .. I don’t think .. yeah just maybe

You’re thirty six

And don’t know how to fix

Or how to find your lost self

Feel so lonely

Surrounded by sounds but the one I hear only:

“The sole person to blame is yourself.

See I kept telling you all along

It’s so cute how you thought you were strong

You should’ve listened!

Now deal with the dissapointment

The hurt, the failure, the abandonment

You should’ve listened!

You’re just not good enough!”

Who? Me?

Yes, you are right

That’s me

Now i will turn off the light

That i thought was ever so bright

And just be

The me

Who is just not good enough

And just be…

Book Reviews · Reading

Book Review: The Stranger by Albert Camus

Book: The Stranger by Albert Camus

#82 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.

Grade: C

What is the story about?

The story is about a French Algerian, Meursault, who finds himself committing a crime, shooting an Arab 5 times.

Verdict?

I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. After finishing the book, I don’t hold any strong feelings for the character or the story to be honest.

The book was a very short and quick read (123 pages). At first it was awkward a bit. Thought it might be from the translation but I think it’s deliberate to build up the characters awkward personality.

I don’t know why people are so bothered by his nonchalant character and lack of empathy. Honestly, maybe I just feel this way because I read much worse books on this list lol. But his attitude is real, it’s not overdone or made up. It’s real. It’s just the way the world is now (and I guess back when the book was written too).

What annoyed me the most is that there was no definite closure to the book. Was he executed or did he get his pardon? Most likely I think he got his pardon because that’s the way life is .. isn’t it? People are almost always pardoned when it’s a crime against a minority .. sad but very true.

I think the major debate and uproar about this book is Meursault’s lack of empathy or concern for his crime. Coming from a person who is over emotional about everything, I almost envy his thick skin. Of course not to the point of shooting a guy 5 times just because you’re bothered by the sun. But the thick skin that will make you resilient and can adapt to any situation thrown at you.

All in all, a short read that to me was just mediocre.


Next read:

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. The novel is set in a 14th century Italian monastery .. should be interesting.

Till next time ❤

Book Reviews · Reading

Germinal Book Review

Book: Germinal by Emile Zola

#83 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.

Grade: D

What is the story about?

The story follows Etienne, a newcomer to a mining village who quickly got frustrated by the poverty and degrading standard of living that he started a strike, in the hopes of triggering, germinating, a revolution.

Verdict?

I get it. I get why this book is considered an important piece of work but to be honest, I didn’t enjoy reading this book at all.

First of all, I don’t like politics. To me there is no right or wrong sides as it is all dirty business. Everyone is in it for themselves and their personal gains. It’s all about the money and power and what you can achieve for yourself at the expense of other people. So I think its a bunch of crap when a politician comes out and says he is fighting for the people. And my point is even proven in this book.

Etienne, who was supposed to fight for the people, felt above them because he was “educated” and they weren’t. He dreamed of glory and furthering his popularity for his personal gains. Then when what he wanted didn’t happen, he felt disgusted by his followers.

As he puts it, he calls them “wretched people” who makes him feel “repugnance and unease.” He even calls them “dumb animals” who are “primitive and lack intelligence.”  His selfishness is so annoying that when he goes down and checks the abandoned mines, every time he rejoices at a rock-fall I wished that a rock fall will crush him in.

The politics is all summed up by a ruthless but honest man in the book: “It’s all nonsense .. They’ll never get anywhere with that nonsense.”

So as you can see, I don’t really like politics.

And not just that. I love to read so I can have an hour or so after I put my four kids to sleep, in peace and quiet, and be transported into an imaginary world in literature.

I did not want to spend this quiet hour reading about a hopeless horse facing despair in his final second gasping for death before he died .. or about the starving death of a child .. or about the mutilation of a dead body.

If you want to read a political manifesto, a failed attempt of a revolution from comrades against bourgeoise, exploitation of all kind, a realistic depiction of the horrible life of miners .. then this book is for you.

If you are like me .. then I would skip it.


Next book: The Stranger by Albert Camus

Another book I know nothing about except that one of my Instagram followers said she did not enjoy it much, We’ll see how it goes.

Happy reading ❤