Why don’t I ever come across people who donate Tintin comics? Why why why? Oh, wait I just did. On my face is a gleeful smile which makes me look like a maniac but for once I’m not bothered. I didn’t know there were people, species of human, who give their Tintins away. I have sadly outgrown them otherwise would have brought them home with me. But yes, I did “borrow” them. Now as a crusty adult I give away books which I won’t read again so maybe these kids are detached like that from the beginning which is just as well (my conversion is fairly recent). And, also they have no time to reread so why clutter the house?
Okay, but really, what kind of a childhood is that where children have no time to read comics forget reread books for leisure? I wonder if that affects their psyche in any way. *Reminds self to look up studies in this regard.*
Leisure is a bad word. Possibly worse than murder. What can I say I recently watched The White Tiger, and murder is on my mind. I have already given away the book so. *shrugs*
Fill up their time. Fill up fill up fill up.
Fill up their day with all sorts of activities. Let not a moment go waste. Lest they will be out of the rat race.
Human parents who want their children to be lab rats. Race race race To the invisible finish line. And to what end? To be the same in a million Different genes but expressing identical thoughts Thinking for oneself thrown out of the window.
Studying English and Mathematics is still understandable but why on Earth would you teach coding to a 10 year old? Aren’t today’s kids burdened enough? I feel for children who aren’t allowed to play on weekdays. I knew a couple of them growing up, and while we played they studied. I can’t speak for them but my childhood wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t been allowed to let off steam after school. There should always be time to ride a bicycle. But then who am I, an aimless wanderer with no riches to my name, to say anything at all to today’s smart kids?
I loved Tracy Chevalier’s earlier work Girl with a Pearl Earring and looked forward to reading more historical fiction by her. So when I found Remarkable Creatures in a book fair I lunged at it surreptitiously (my heart went whoa but my brain said act nonchalant). The book is reminiscent of Austen, with long sentences and pauses; set in that era but it had none of her wit (not complaining, just stating facts). Her book Persuasion is set in Lyme and another book set there is on my to-read-soonest-list, The French Lieutenant’s Woman. But I’m digressing. For the highly unique subject of fossils and how their discovery changed science as they knew it, full marks to the book. And what made the book interesting for me is its genesis in truth (Okay simply put it is inspired from real life).
The beginning was slow but your patience will be rewarded. The two part narrative added to the experience of connecting with the narrator, Mary. Her crude accented English was done with the purpose of keeping it real (yes I’m using millenial lingo) but it was a tad annoying.
One of the greatest fallacies (propagated by the Church) that Earth was just 6000 years old, was challenged and refuted when extinct animals were found. Creatures which had earlier died out. Which no longer existed. They questioned God’s plan for he turned out not to be infallible, if not mortal, which was the beginning of the end for Creationism (I so wish!) and paved for the road for Darwinism.
The book at its core is about the friendship between two women from different walks (read class) of life – Elizabeth and Mary; their upheavals when the fortune of one changes rising above her station while life of the other remains the same, and how their friendship is tested. More than friends they were each others’ companions (as they were called then). They understood each other best, and made sense of each others lives in a way no one else could. Neither of them married. Intelligent readers will get what the book was hinting at.
The status of women in the 19th century, and their role in science overshadowed by men; their opinions ideas and discoveries not even treated as having value forget being given importance, and the tussle between religion and science are some of the themes discussed in Remarkable Creatures. The story is slow and set in a time before *revolution* was afoot, setting the stage for Darwin’s dangerous ideas.
Remarkable Creatures made me want to pick up Ship Fever again. It reminds me of the kind of historical fiction Andrea Barrett writes. And I can offer no higher praise than that.
I have not studied psychology in any capacity but it has always fascinated me. So when the opportunity to review Dr. Anjali Joshi’s I am Albert Ellis (translated into English by Meenal Kelkar) came my way nobody was happier than me. It was a revelation. For people who are debating whether or not to go for therapy, read the work by Dr. Albert Ellis and you will find your answer. Dr. Albert Ellis needs no introduction. He is one of the greatest psychologists, the pioneer of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) which is said to be the forerunner of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
In the beginning we are introduced to Albert as a child and his family. With an absentee father and neglectful mother, he looks after his younger brother and sister and becomes self-reliant very early in life.
We all live together in one house but separately.
Isn’t that the reality for most of us? Ensconced firmly in our (technological) bubbles we come to the surface only when we are in dire need of real time and face-to-face social contact.
We see how in college Albert becomes self confident, forms opinions and sticks to them, even getting expelled as a result of standing for what he believed in.
The book talks about him studying in the public libraries of New York and forming his views on sexology by reading numerous books and papers. We see the trials and tribulations of getting his work published and being rejected by publishers. Because he uses words which most people shy away from it makes his publishers uncomfortable.
He starts seeing clients and his success as a marriage counsellor leads to the formation of Love and Marriage Problems Institute (LAMP). To make it official, he decides to register his organization and get a degree in psychology. He decides to train in psychoanalysis and the course of history is forever altered. Psychoanalysis as it was then didn’t appeal to his scientific mind. The philosophy of Epictetus resonated with him and thus was born Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), a new approach to psychotherapy. The theory of REBT states that our behavior and emotions originate from our beliefs towards the events, not the events themselves.
Time flies. Staying at home for extended periods of time when I was unwell I could feel the passage of seasons, days going by excruciatingly slow, each day with its own set of struggles and now I cannot believe such a large chunk of time has passed. The descent of time?
Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett is a collection of short stories I wanted to reread as soon as I finished the book, and it has taken me nearly two years to do it. I bought The Voyage of Narwhal immediately after finishing it, and recently The Air We Breathe has come into my possession but I still haven’t read them. What am I scared of – her not meeting my exceeded expectations or idiotically trying to collect all her other books (very hard to find in India) while not reading the ones I do have. Life is too short to wait for a complete collection. You read along and hope for the best.
In The English Pupil, Carolus Linnaeus is nostalgic for the past and remembers his apostles (read pupils), who went about the world carrying forward his legacy, sending him specimens and discovering new species. All of his apostles are dead now, and he’s inching closer towards his own.
Linnaeus and his wife remind me of an old couple, who are in the autumn of their lives and are not at peace with it or with each other. (What is the point of companionship then?) His wife doesn’t care about his work or his legacy. His work fulfilled him but didn’t make him rich. The family’s demands weren’t being met and to her that was what mattered the most. She was the pragmatic sort. A dreamer has to be paired with a realist. It is a question of survival, you see. Continue reading “Andrea Barrett’s The English Pupil”→
If you haven’t yet seen the excellent Before Trilogy by Richard Linklater for whatever reason I urge you not to read ahead. Also, mild spoilers for The Littoral Zone by Andrea Barrett. Spoilers ahead.
But both of them remember those days and nights as being almost purely happy. They swam in that odd, indefinite zone where they were more than friends, not yet lovers, still able to deny to themselves that they were headed where they were headed.
In the short story, The Littoral Zone, two married people with children fall for each other and leave their families behind so they could be together. Later they realize that so many things mean something (read everything) only in the moment. Their relationship was complete as it was in the moment but when it was stretched beyond it, the essence was lost. The attraction on the island couldn’t translate into an enduring relationship on the mainland. Initially I found their behaviour odd. But Jesse and Celine from the Before Trilogy also reunited at a huge personal cost but this was acceptable. Why? Because we are conditioned to believe and root for them because we are shown that they belong together. Does the audience ever think if they are even meant to be together? Imagine something other than what the narrative tells you to and one will see a different story emerge.
Ruby had talked about the littoral zone, that space between high and low watermarks were organisms struggled to adapt to the daily rhythm of immersion and exposure.
In Before Sunrise, the day they spent together in Vienna can never be replicated. It took so much from them. Celine and Jesse never truly recover from that. Their whole life is in the shadow of that perfect day; the way they responded to each other and the way they connected pales in comparison to the reality they are living now.
What if they had let it be and let each other remain only a fond memory and not continued to pursue each other over their lifetimes? We never learn that all good things come with a sell by date. Continue reading “Happily ever after?”→