My Week in Books

I thought I’d do a quick update about what I’m reading during my week long Spring Break!

The biography of Queen Iffat
The biography of Queen Iffat

I’m reading Queen Iffat AlThunayan’s biography as part of a research for a future project. Being a student of Effat University means I have heard a LOT about Queen Iffat and her contributions to the society.For those who don’t know, she was the force behind the initiation of Saudi Arabia’s first private school for women in Jeddah (1952).

A few weeks ago at the launch of the Effat Library and Cultural Museum I met the author and almost bought the signed copy. What stopped me is something unfortunate – I didn’t have enough money on me. For now I’ve borrowed the book from the Effat Library. I find it to be really interesting and informative because of the background it provides on her life and the politics of the time. The interviews of her children and grandchildren give a deeper understanding of the Woman herself. At the least I hope the book helps me shape her image in my mind as that of a role model. Without Queen Iffat women’s education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would have been a completely different reality.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

I’d say Milan Kundera’s book is a beautiful maze. It is unlike most books that I’ve read because the plot if so intricately woven that sometimes I wonder how he wrote it. I love the way he picks up the story at different points and moves it in a circle that overlaps with another point that he’d picked up before or after. I am actually reading this book again. He’s teaching me how to read into the character’s mind and psychology. It’s very interesting because albeit the character seem to have a one dimension that is focused on, they actually hold more depth and many faces.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is definitely going to be a favorite. One that I will turn back to many times, I’m sure. But this book is not for those who can’t handle or digest reading explicit content (many of my friends enter into this category and I respect that). I usually steer clear of books that advocate too much sexuality for my own personal reasons. This book, however, isn’t that explicit and actually exposes the minds of men and women who are not conventional. For me it is important to understand all kinds of people and I’d rather do it through literature than through dialogue because in real life people are never as honest as literature.

The Wednesday Soul by Sorabh Pant

I was wondering when my next most hated book will come up and here it is. The Wednesday Soul. I actually didn’t even read past 40 pages or so because it literally wasted my time. But, honestly, I tried my best to read it. I am one of those people who rarely leaves a book unfinished, but this book didn’t give me a choice. I don’t mean to be rude but maybe the story was just not for me. There are some aspects of the reading experience that are extremely important for me – the language, the cultural/intellectual/artistic edge and the originality. This book seemed to be lacking in all three districts.

I found this book at a “Buy Books by the Kilo” stall in Delhi. I thought it would be cool to read a lesser lesser known book because I’m kind of a hippie when it comes to books and also really enthusiastic about finding lesser known artists. However, this book is immature, seemingly a replica of a badly written bollywood movie, very very stereotypical and unrealistic.

Okay, the fact that the book alternates between reality and the afterlife means it’s not actually supposed to realistic. Especially when the afterlife is a weird fantasy world. But the point is even fantasy has to be believable or you’ll lose the audience very quick. Also, if you want to represent a culture and the way it thinks, at least stay true to it.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. It reminded me of Chuck Palahnuik’s Damned. Palahnuik’s book was interesting but it bored me to a certain extent too.

Or maybe you’ll like the book if you read it. In any case, good luck finding a copy in KSA.

Anyway, that’s all about books for the past week or two. I haven’t read much because of midterms.

Tell me what you are reading and maybe we’ll have a little chat in the comments about books and words and coffee. 🙂

3 thoughts on “My Week in Books

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