Recycled Book Reading Challenge: The Prophet

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror

But you are eternity and you are the mirror”

The Prophet is a poetic narrative of philosophical thoughts. Author Khalil Gibran is a Lebanese writer and this work is considered to be his masterpiece.He introduces us to an old man, the prophet, a wanderer and a mystic, who is leaving the island of Orphalese to go back to his homeland.

As the ship is seen arriving towards the island after twelve years of wait, people of the island surround the old man to bid him farewell.They are sad that he will leave them soon. In their sadness, they urge the old man to share with them his wisdom before he goes, and the old man is pleased to speak all he knows.

Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us your truth.And we will give it unto our children, and they unto their children, and it shall not perish.

Then one by one citizens ask him to tell about the different aspects of life. What the old man responds is all this book is about.

It is a short book with only 96 pages, of which 8 pages have abstract artworks. The thoughts shared in the book are profound and often offers a different perspective of looking at things. It is to be read slowly and the ideas should be let to form an enigmatic painting in the mind. I will share some excerpts, which I readily admired reading.

And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

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Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.

But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.

You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.

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You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts:

And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.

And in much of your talking thinking is half murdered.

For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.

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Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

 

I am grateful to Mliae for hosting this wonderful challenge. If you have a stock of old unread books waiting to be read, do become a part of the Recycled Book Reading Challenge.

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Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Three Men In a Boat

There are three young men and their dog-Montmorency.They are all idling, smoking tobacco, except the dog, of course, and discussing how bad they are- “bad” from a medical point of view.So they decide to go on a long boating trip to heal themselves.That’s the plot of this classic novel, broadly.

Jerome K Jerome, the author of this tale, referred to as “J” in the story, is quite an amusing narrator.In the opening chapter of the book,he tells about discovering in a medical journal, a liver ailment, whose one of the symptoms is, ‘a general disinclination to work of any kind’. He gets convinced he has this disease- since childhood.And he gets aggrieved to recall his old times when everyone thrashed him for being lazy while not realizing it was because of the liver!

From my earliest infancy I have been a martyr to it. As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for a day. They did not know, then, that it was my liver. Medical science was in a far less advanced state than now, and they used to put it down to laziness

Similarly, each of them discovers having some or the other obscure ailments and then come up with the notion of going on a weekend boating trip up the river Thames, to ‘restore their mental equilibrium’.

What we want is rest, said Harris.
Rest and a complete change, said George. The overstrain upon our brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the mental equilibrium.

Their trip starts from Kingston and continues till Oxford- from where they take a return course.The story was intended to be a travel narrative and J tells elaborately about the places they pass through, as they row their boats.

However, the more interesting aspect is the comic narrative of events. J describes the humor in their planning and preparation of the trip and subsequently how they face the hard and good times later in the journey.Additionally, Jerome shares some charming philosophical thoughts describing the life and the beauty of nature.

We are creatures of the sun, we men and women. We love light and life. That is why we crowd into the towns and cities, and the country grows more and more deserted every year. In the sunlight in the daytime, when Nature is alive and busy all around us, we like the open hill-sides and the deep woods well enough: but in the night, when our Mother Earth has gone to sleep, and left us waking, oh! the world seems so lonesome, and we get frightened, like children in a silent house. Then we sit and sob, and long for the gas-lit streets, and the sound of human voices, and the answering throb of human life. We feel so helpless and so little in the great stillness, when the dark trees rustle in the night-wind. There are so many ghosts about, and their silent sighs make us feel so sad. Let us gather together in the great cities, and light huge bonfires of a million gas-jets, and shout and sing together, and feel brave.

But his mind keeps rambling as he narrates.You must have a friend who is talkative and tells stories starting with-“You know once what happened..” And then gets everyone around him involved in his funny narrative. J is a similar kind of person.By the time you would have finished the book you would have read many amusing incidents which  J recollects from the past.

This book is delightful! A book to be savored!An absolute Classic! The book will keep you smiling all the time.I wanted to read the book since a long time because I had already read parts of the book in following ways-

1.An excerpt from this book was titled as  “Packing for a Picnic” and was included as a chapter in our English Course Book during Middle School.It was an amusing narrative of how packing made J scared because he always forgot to pack his toothbrush.

2.I found another excerpt included in  “The Greatest Literary works of All Time”, a book I had purchased some time ago.This particular excerpt was about J’s uncle Podger, who always boasted that he could do a task without anyone’s help but instead would make the whole house go mad because he will keep messing up the things.

So, I had a fairly nice impression of the book and wanted to read the full of it! Thankfully I read it the last month and was glad to have added it to my “Finished Reading” list.I am grateful to Mliae for hosting this lovely challenge which has ensured that I will be finishing at least one book every month.
If you want to be a part of it, do visit her blog and get acquainted with the challenge.

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Recycled Book Reading Challenge: The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag

(This is the first book I am reviewing for the Challenge, initiated by Mliae.If you would like to endorse this interesting concept , do visit her blog!)

This book is a racy read. Jim Corbett is a fine storyteller, who writes in simple language, recreating the scene with utmost vivacity. He talks about the episodes that entail hunting down the leopard which has become a man eater.(He has been sent by the officials of the erstwhile British Indian Empire to save the people by hunting down the leopard)  Why did the leopard become a man-eater? Because there was once a horrible incident of plague and many dead bodies had to be disposed of downhill(the place Rudrapayag lies in the foothills of the Himalayas) The leopard having tasted human flesh that time got addicted to it, and now it has started attacking the people in the villages of the hill.

The leopard hunts at night. This is the period around 1925.Technology hasn’t yet reached in these parts of the hills. People still live in huts, use kerosene lamps to light up during nights, and have to go into the wild to fetch water. Additionally, Rudraprayag lies en route the pilgrim road that links Haridwar to Badrinath, hence the travelling pilgrims often take halt there and stay at pilgrim quarters, which are nothing but open shades.

Now imagine what if a man-eating leopard is operating in such an area.People are vulnerable, unsafe and unarmed. The leopard is wicked, ferocious, powerful, and has become clever over the years – how to outwit human beings and hunt them down.

The hills are rugged. There are no roads yet on which vehicles run. These dirt paths are mostly travelled on foot. The leopard is killing humans within an area of 500 square miles. This expanse of landscape also includes a wide river in between, connected by a hanging bridge. Now this is a really vast area when you can only travel by foot. While the leopard is in a man hunting spree, sometimes attacking in a village 50 miles away from its previous kill. There is no phone or telegram system within the village. An attack can only be reported to the patwari by a man carrying the news by himself, walking on foot, or riding a horse at best.

Jim Corbett narrates this exciting story of hunting down this dangerous beast, which escapes his many traps and gun shots. Perhaps the leopard mocks Corbett for his fragility. It even tries to attack Corbett several times in sinister ways!

If you love reading adventure and thriller and also have the interest to know about new places, do read it.Jim Corbett writes eloquently. He will also help you get a tour of the beautiful villages in the foothills of the Himalayas. He talks about the innocence, humility and the rich culture of people in these hills of India with reverence and sincerity. He always calls them “Our people”, despite himself being a foreigner.He elucidates this elaborate sequence of events while his stay in Rudraprayag and how he could finally hunt down this man-eating leopard, which had terrorized the hill people for 8 long years.

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Virtual Vacations

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

– George R.R. Martin (American novelist, Author of ‘Game of Thrones’)

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Yesterday I read a nice post by Kim Richardson, about her visit (in 1996) to Abu Simbel, an architectural Marvel in Egypt. (Kim has written about many of her trips in Africa and Europe, with stunningly attractive pictures, she took there.Do visit her blog for more.)

Reading her describe how being at that ancient site filled her with excitement, I began to get reminiscences of my virtual memory attached with Egypt. I have not been there in real, but I had spent a considerable amount of my virtual life there , by reading a novel based on Egypt. It was a book called “Nefertiti” by Michelle Moran.

It was a summer vacation and I was looking forward to experience some new place through reading. Having a very active imagination, I often plan for such virtual vacations for myself.(When I can’t travel for real) I pick up a novel set in a particular country or locale, which I want to gain an impression of.Then I spend weeks living in that locale, as I continue to read the story.It not only exposes me to that place- their weather, their climate,their geography,their hills and the rivers, but also transports me to a different period of time, if the tale is a historical one.

I get to feel the behaviour of the people in those places-  the way they talk, the kind of humor they cherish, the things they admire, the things they despise and their attitude towards life. Additionally, I observe their manners, etiquette, their customs and their rituals. A further learning is about the social order and community life in those places and those times.

Just as I read Nefertiti to experience ancient Egypt, I have read several other books for the same reason of experiencing a particular place and time. One was “Genghis Khan” by Sam Djang, which helped me go back to 12th Century and experience life in Central Asia. I love the rain forests and the adventures that exist in their wilderness.  I experienced them when I started reading “Congo” by Michael Crichton.I confronted the dark alleys, the hidden cafes, the desolate meeting places, the strange men with powers attributed to their dark businesses in the city of Bombay,  through Gregory David Robert’s “Shantaram”.That was one quirky vacation if I can call so!

In this present phase, I am having a great time exploring space! This month, I had an exciting trip exploring the enigma of Cosmos, with Arthur C Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” Then I had a hair-raising experience of inter galactic travel through wormholes, via Carl Sagan’s “Contact”. My third venture of space exploration is going on now, and the book through which I am touring, is aptly titled “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.

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(Image Source: Link )

 

3 Day Quote Challenge II, Day 3

Ah, and here comes the lovely weekend!

I hope everyone gets a chance to take a break from their routine errands and to do every sort of thing they can to help them shed the baggage of exhaustion and get closer to peace and rejuvenation!
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I am just completing reading the book Contact by Carl Sagan! Let me give you a sneak peak of it!(that is , if you haven’t read it, or haven’t watched the movie which had followed the book release, more than 2 decades ago! I know I am too late !) Anyways here it goes-

Earth’s radio telescope intercepts unnatural signals from the Star system of Vega, 26 Light years away.It is thought to be some remote and advanced civilization communicating!As the scientists start deciphering their coded signals, and reveal the ‘Message‘ suddenly the whole human community is appalled. The signals are instructing humans to undertake a project!

But who are sending those signals- And will undertaking that project benefit us – or annihilate us- We can’t send them back the signals, as it will take 26 years to reach them! We can only start working on the project – and can’t know their intent unless we complete the task- and see for ourselves what does it lead to!But will it get completed amidst the commotion of arguments from scientists, statesmen and religious leaders of the world?

A delightful read, which gives insights about human behavior from different countries with different beliefs, responding to such cases which concerns the fate of Humanity as a whole.

What  I liked the best in the story is, how the subject of space science, when we start contemplating the vastness of cosmos,  lifts our consciousness to such higher levels that we start feeling more contentedness with every human being. The subject makes us more compassionate and meditative.

I will like to quote this part from the book, which beautifully captures the essence of this feeling!

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With this I conclude my this edition of 3 Day Quote Challenge!

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I am grateful to Spiritual Journey for kindly nominating me for this challenge! At her blog she has an archive of prolific quotes, motivational stories and compelling spiritual thoughts that will surely impart you with profound perspectives about life! Do visit her blog!

Furthermore, I am grateful to Ebby for also nominating me for this challenge! Ebby is a wonderful conversationalist and she writes about social issues she feels deeply about! A charming and lively personality who writes lucidly, you would surely like reading through her blog.

Thank you very much!

 

 

Recycled Book Reading Challenge

Writing about books is always a welcome thing to do. Mliae, a genial and lively personality, who has myriads of stories to share, is a traveller, reader and a friendly blogger. She  started this interesting concept of “Recycled Book Reading Challenge”(She announced about it at the beginning of the year during Jan itself, although I found out about it only recently!)  She describes the essence of this initiative on her introductory post

Book clubs and running out to purchase the newest hot item on the shelf has a tendency to get expensive after awhile, so I would like to focus on used or ‘recycled’ books. Remember that library book you bought for 10 cents? Or the second hand store find for 25 cents? Those are the ones about which I’m speaking. We all have them…some, like me, have a closet full just waiting to be read.

Today, I rummaged though my bookshelf and chose 12 recycled books that I will write about for this challenge.

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I had read certain pages of some these books initially, but once there came a break , I never got chance to get back to them. Now I am hopeful I will complete them through this challenge.

These books are-

Chariots of Gods – Erich Von Daniken

The Winged Word – David Greene

The Greatest Show on Earth – Richard Dawkins

Do Butlers Burgle Banks? – P G Wodehouse

The Greatest Stories Never Told – Rick Beyer

A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle

The Prophet- Khalil Gibran

The Age of Innocence- Edith Wharton

Congo – Michael Chrichton

Galileo’s Daughter –  Dava Sobel

Three Men In a Boat-  Jerome K Jerome

The Man Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag- Jim Corbett

If you would like to be a part of it you can see the guidelines here- Recycled Book Reading Challenge
Thank you!

Have a Happy Weekend!

My Name is Red

A book with this title caught my attention while I was randomly surfing through books on amazon.com. There was almost an impulsive urge to find out what this book was all about.I clicked on the book’s thumbnail, which had the name of the author “ORHAN PAMUK” written in bold;a blurred image of a man clad in a middle eastern attire,a turban on his head,walking against the backdrop of an architectural frame which I often see in Mughal age monuments.’Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature’ was inscribed in the center.

Upon reading the crisp intro,I realized the book is a Turkish novel which is very abstract and assumes a unique style of narrative.The author not just speaks from the point of view of the humanly characters,but also from the perspectives of the ‘illustrations’,’objects’ and ‘color’. This got me pretty hooked as my fascination rose to a peak.This appeared to be a thrilling literary adventure.

I studied the publisher,the number of pages,read all the reviews down below,felt delighted reading the appreciation from people who appeared to share a flavor for philosophical fictions.

I didn’t have money in my debit card.I clicked on “Add to Wishlist” after giving a final look of admiration to this nice find.I then proceeded on to surf for more books.

But the title of the book had left a strong impression in my mind.I kept wondering what things the author might have written in it.May be I will be able to find out the next month when I get the money.

Meanwhile, anytime I look around and encounter anything colored in bright red,somewhere in my mind I can hear the words echoing-” My name is Red”

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