Tag Archives: quotes

What we should all choose to read

4 May
200px-ChaimPotok_TheChosen

The book is set in Brooklyn, New York in the 1940s. Historical events that provide the backdrop for the story are the end of World War II, the holocaust in Europe, and the creation of the state of Israel.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok is by far the best book I have read in a long time. Not only is it well written but deep as well. Anyone who has ever experienced the depth of true friendship will find this book a treasure. The themes are profound and universal; you don’t need to be a Jew to enjoy this story.

The story is about two Jewish fathers and their sons. A baseball game gone crazy makes the two sons meet. They become fast friends. Each discovers the other; what they stand for, their hopes for the future, their family inclinations. Despite their differences, they are very good friends. This book teaches friendship and empathy in the deepest level.

I particularly liked the two quotes that I found at the beginning of the book:

-When a trout rising to a fly gets hooked on a line and finds himself unable to swim about freely, he begins with a fight which results in struggles and splashes and sometimes an escape. Often, of course, the situation is too tough for him.

In the same way, the human being struggles with his environment and with the hooks that catch him. Sometimes he masters his difficulties; sometimes they are too much for him. His struggles are all that the world sees and it naturally misunderstands them. It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one. -Karl A. Menninger

-True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice. -Ben Jonson

Quote

Vicious actions…

18 Apr

Vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful- Benjamin Franklin

Follow your heart by Susanna Tamaro

17 Jun

 

This is what appears on the book jacket:

An elderly Italian woman, driven by fear of her encroaching death, decides to write a long letter to her grand-daughter in America. In some ways it is a love letter; in others, a confession. Above all it is a bequest of advice for life from an old woman at last brave enough to acknowledge that she has too long submitted to convention and kept hidden her feelings. She relives everything that has happened to her, teaching her grand-daughter that the one important journey in life is to the centre of ourselves to that point where we can gather the courage to follow our hearts.

Before reading it, I asked around if any of my friends had read it. A few had started reading it, but stopped. That made me determined to find out what was wrong with it. As I was reading, everything was OK; I just had to cast away the feeling that the lady’s letters are the typical things that old women would like to say to their grand daughters. I concentrated instead on the events of her life and her decisions, and how these shaped her life afterwards.

In the end, I didn’t really enjoy it. I would skip over the advice parts  and read  what she really did. Which is not much: sad childhood, cold parents, uneventful marriage, housewifery and all that, her daughter and their bizarre relationship.  Instead of doing, things just happened to her. Then she tells her grand-daughter: I messed up three lives with a lie, don’t you follow in my footsteps. Pretty hollow, I think and unconvincing. Besides, it has a pessimistic tone that I don’t like.

If I were to say something positive about it, this would be it: remember the popular saying that life is not a rehearsal and that other people’s mistakes are our lessons too (at least they would tell us in primary school).

I hope that other books in my summer 2012 reading list will be better, if not,  I could change my list!

Now to The Woman in White…