Monday, August 14, 2006

A random assortment of... stuff

This weekend was perfect. Relaxing, peaceful, filled with good food. Please note picture on left of our lovely concoted feast of bhindi (ala Chef Kashif), greek salad, and... corn (well, it was on sale) for Friday's meal (we are quite innovative and international when hungry). I had a great reunion with Rio friends, watched Season 5: Curb Your Enthusiasm (funniest season so far) and Inside Man. I still don't quite get the Indian song "Chaya Chaya" played in its entirety at the open and close of the film considering the song evokes images more of a girl in red lengha with gold bangles dancing in a rice field not exactly a sophisticated bank robbery in New York City. But what I really liked about this movie was a scene involving a Sikh hostage thrown out during the seige with a message around his neck. The cops dont know if he is a hostage or a robber and when they get a good look at the south asian man with a beard and turban one says as though it explains everythin "Oh, its an Arab" The movie gives light to the Sikh man's frustration over being profiled daily. Thanks Spike Lee for talking about a race issue not commonly adressed (unless it is being exploited) in Hollywood.

It's fitting that the weekend was good because today as I looked at my calender it hit me: School starts next MONDAY. This is the last week of guilt free pleasure reading and movie watching. I'll choose to be positive about it since its my final year of law school. I will be a third year and though its not the third year most third years' have since I will be taking a heavy load (six courses and working) it will be my last year. Yay. (Though i admit the nerd in me is a wee bit sad about the matter making my mother concerned as I look at PhD pamphlets wistfully)

This summer I was quite excited at the prospect of reading for fun and not with a frown and yellow highlighter. The excitement led to the purchase of books. Lots of them. Kashif soon began rolling his eyes as he saw another unfamiliar book perched on a counter or a couch. I'm the type of reader that doesn't read one book at a time. I have one book at my nightstand, the other on a coffee table, one in my gym bag, one in my work bag, one in my purse. I read them all at the same time. The result: I have yet to finish one! Thought I'd share some of the books in the queue and see if any of you have read them, if so please do share your opinion:

Short History of Nearly Everything: It really does a good job in attempting its goal. I wanted a book like this to refresh on the history of the world and maybe learn a thing or ... or three. What a great book. Who woud think a science book and "hilarious read" would ever find their way into the same sentence. There is a reason this book was a best seller. However since its over 600 pages, and on my nightstand which is when I'm ready to doze off I haven't gotten through much.

The Spiral Staircase: Its Karen Armstrong's autobiography and its in the gym bag for stair master days. I'm not a big autobiography fan since they're usually just dramatic renditions of what their life truly is. Karen's book is not that way. She wrote a book on the same period in her life years ago but felt it was not honest enough and this new version is to make up. She writes well. Its smooth graceful and intriguing. I can see a lot of myself in her doubts and frustrations. I'm excited to see how she resolves these issues.

Single Wife: (fiction) Husband disappears and wife pretends nothing is wrong. This is in the work bag for when I bring lunch and don't feel like perusing legal research. It was at a used book store for $1... so I couldn't not buy it right? I'm 40 pages into it but her writing bothers me. I fear my writing style is like hers and its getting in the way of the story which I'm sure is interesting...

Kaavya's Opal Metha book: I bought this a while ago when I learned her book was pulled due to the plagiarism. I still haven't read it but I paid a pretty penny so I need to.

History of Muslim Philosophy: This is still on the bookshelf. My parents have had this my entire life but its large and daunting. The text is online but I like reading things without the bright white screen. Anyone read this cover to cover with opinions?

14 comments:

Amanda said...

Aisha - I am facing next week with a sense of dread. I don't mind going back to school too much, but I dread giving up my free time that I have been using to read. I've read mostly novels that I would call guilty pleasures - easy reading that doesn't make you think too much. Here's my list:

Wideacre, The Favored Child, & Meridon - trilogy by Phillipa Gregory. These books are definitely easy reading. I liked them but there's nothing heavy or in depth here.

The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve - I thought this was a wonderful book. Sad but inspiring because its about love. I'm going to read The Pilot's Wife next.

Madame Bovary - I'm halfway through this book now. I feel like I need some Cliff notes to understand all the themes & messages running through this novel - but so far I like it.

Anthem by Ayn Rand - This was a good, short, book. I wanted to read The Fountainhead but it was checked out so I got this instead. It's a book that makes you think about society and freedom.

The last book I am hoping to squeeze in before school starts is Into Thin Air - the true account about the 1996 disaster on Mt. Everest.

Aisha said...

Hey Amanda! That's inspiring that you plan to squeeze a book in before school starts. I think I'll try to finish at least ac ouple of these unfinished boooks. Hopefully you will still find some time read since your schedule will not be as crazy now that you're going full time :) Pilots Wife is really good, a big page turner, I have it if you want to borrow it. Fountainhead was okay, it had a good point but by the last third I felt like she was beating me over the head with her message. I also have an Anita Shreve book on my shelf... but can't recall the name, red cover about a man obsessed with a woman on a search to find her. The first book sounds erally interesting I will have to check it out. Thanks for the tip.

PS: Are you taknig the crazy long Evidence class on Tues night?

Tee said...

I read several books at once, too.

I haven't read any of the books you have here, though. Unlike you I tend to prefer autobiographies - especially if the person is from a totally different culture.

Why does it bother you that the writer of Single Wife has a similar writing style to yours? That usually makes me excited. Gives a little hope to that "I'd like to be published" dream ;) (ie - If they can do it, I can, too.)

I have found texts online before that I wanted to read but I just can't do it. It's not the same. You can't exactly curl up with your laptop the same you can with a good old fashioned book.

Never seen Inside Man - was this a show or a movie?

Congrats on your (possibly?) last year of school. Or will you be Dr. Aisha? ;)

I clicked the food photo to see it larger. Boy that was a mistake. Now I'm hungry. LOL. Is that naan on the left? If it is, how is it made in the home? I was under the impression that it was made in a special kind of oven - like cooked by being smacked up on the sides of the oven? At least that's what my history teacher told me in 10th grade. ROFL.

Aisha said...

Tee, I guess I should look to it for inspiration that someone who write show I thinkI do has a book deal. ButI guess I just get frustrated at myself. "THAT COULD BE ME" but Im soooo critical of what I write that as soon as its on paper its usualy crumpled. But here is someone who did not do that and now has a book in print. So its not a knock on her but frustration with myself:)

Inside man is a suspense movie with Denzel Washington. Its okay. I thought it was good for its genre which is quite tired.

No its just pita bread from the grocery store. I do have naan in the freezer for guests but its nto very healthy. And I do not make naan, my mom makes roti which is flat bread that she kneads and puts on the stove flipping it and smashing it till its toasty and done. Naan's are indeed made ni a special oven. I dnot know if they're smacked in there. They might be. Its called a Tandoor and the resulting naan is referred to as a "tandoori naan". If you've never had one straight from the tandoor you should keep your eye out for a good indian/pakistani restaurant and make sure to try one. They are delicious (though not that good for you, lol).

Anjum said...

I read a Short History.. it was really good, as you said. Informative and entertaining enough. I have found, and some others have agreed, that it starts to drag towards the end; you think "God, are they done inventing and learning stuff yet?!" ;-) but still good.

And in response to some of the comments above - I also have read Philippa Gregory's books and they are excellent - not heavy but certainly light enough for casual entertainment reading.

Enyur said...

ooooh yummy! :o) lol@reading 5 different books at once...I'm like that too!

Last year of law school eh? Time goes by fast doesn't it! Well, I wish you all the best!

By the way Jashan-e-Azadi mubarak hovay taanu ;-)

momyblogR said...

OMGosh, a PhD? Even the thought of that hurts my brain, lol. And, reading all those books at one time would scramble my brain, lol! This is a very mentally texting post for me. :)

I love to read but usually one book at a time, maybe two, is plenty but it does go everywhere I go.

I wanted to tell you, regarding your post about dreams and pursuing them that lately I've sending some of my photographs to free online contests. Well, last week, I received a notice in the mail stating that one of them has been selected to be published in a coffee table book that is being printed. NOW, it could be a huge scam but I've read all the fine print, I'm under no obligation and I still own the photo so I'm thinking, "YAY!"

I'm not sure if it will ever come to pass but I will never forget how I felt when I opened that piece of mail. THAT, is all the encouragement I need to continue.

So, WRITE. Don't be so critical of yourself and stop crumpling up your work. I know, we are all our own worst critcs.

Tee said...

Aisha, as for writing - I do the same thing - except, it's not crumpled paper, it's backspacing. I highlight the whole thing and hit delete. LOL. I'm beginning to question that practice though because a recent post which commenters seemed to really enjoy ("Failed Fiesta") - Was something I nearly deleted a few times while writing it.

Now I am trying to write something and save it and just leave it be for awhile before making any rash decisions.

The problem is that I'm a perfectionist. I'm not in all aspects of my life - It's just certain things. When something is REALLY important to me, it has to be "just so"...

With writing you need to see it as a statue being carved out. Michelangelo's David looked very different when it was first being carved then the way we see it today. First the artist needs to "rough out" a general shape before chiseling details.

I don't know if the problem you're facing is similar to mine, but I suspect it is. You're trying to work out details before you even have the general shape made!

Just write. Even if something doesn't flow or doesn't have the exact words you want - just write. You go back and edit (chisel) later.

As for the naan - I have had it hot and fresh from an Indian restaurant just two times and it's glorious. I had a feeling that it wasn't healthy. Nothing healthy tastes that good.

mezba said...

and... corn (well, it was on sale)

hahahah... that's how i discovered squid. i was like wow - 49c for pound? that's good let's see how it tastes.

Amani said...

How do you make bhindi? I love okra, but the only way I know how to cook it is New Orleans style with tomatoes and shrimp...

Aisha said...

Anjum, welcome to the blog, thanks for commenting :). I will have to check the triology out. Thanks for the rec.

Enyur, yes mubarak to you too! :)

Mommyblogr: CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! That is so exciting. Stephen King wrote a book on writing and he said that you get published like a snowball is formed. You take a few flakes and join them together and then you roll it down a hill and it gathers a little bit of snow at a time but as it rolls it grows larger and larger. You have to start small but it will grow bigger if you keep at it. That sounds like your experience. The snowball is a'rollin!!! :) I'm SO happy for you! :)

Tee, I'm glad I'm not alone! I loved the Fiesta post, but I uess we are our own worst critics. The book you recommended with excerpts on artists and how we are so self critical etc. Its true, we are our own worst critics. AND YOU ARE SO RIGHT with the chisel story. Usually even when writing boring stuff for work I just "throw up" everything. Then I go back for infinite amounts of rewrite, etc. etc. The final does not at all resemble the original product. Thanks for the reminder! :)

Mezba.... squid. Hmm. I dont know how cheap squid would have to be... Actually I dont know if you could pay ME to eat it... Was it good?

Amani, bhindi the way we make it is VERY EASY. in a pot with two tablespoons or so of oil saute thinly sliced onions and one medium sized dicd tomato. Cook on medium/high until they are blending into one another, the tomato just a pasty mush. Then add in chili, salt, (tumeric if you have it), a teaspoon or less of lemon juice and then drop in one pound of cut okra. Mix it. Cover and periodically stir until very soft. Serve! VEry easy. It takes no more than 30 minutes.

pixie said...

The food looks delicious!! I start back Monday too and I am so dreading it. But joyous because it will be my final year too! Well, at least going full time.:)
I'm going to pick up some of the books you've listed. I have only finished two books this summer because I have the bad habit of reading more than one book too. I guess I need variety!!

mezba said...

Oh calamari (Greek squid dish) is excellent. You have to try it!

wayfarer said...

arghhhh, i'm so behind on curb your enthusiasm. I didn't realize it's season 5 already. I liked the Opal Mehta book... i looked at like bollywood. You know how in bollywood they totally take stories from american films and then desify them...well that's the book. :-)

Post a Comment

I love to hear from you!