How is it, that I am capable of empathizing with war victims, citizens from dystopian worlds, religious Jews, animated characters, speaking tress, eveHow is it, that I am capable of empathizing with war victims, citizens from dystopian worlds, religious Jews, animated characters, speaking tress, even Serial Killers! (Dexter dearest); but when it’s non-Indian teenagers and their issues, my mind stops empathizing and starts judging. This book deserves at least 4 stars, and Melinda Marchetta is a fabulous author; still, I can not for the life of me, stop scoffing, and start crying about Francesca’s fate.
ps: Will is a massive eyesore in the book. The “I like you but we can’t be together” kinda guy. I keep wishing, that one day, the girl would also say, “you are right, we really can’t” and move one. Apparently, that’s too much to ask!
When I picked up Siddhartha, I was expecting something totally different. Buddha’s life being not on the list of things I am completely unaware of (thWhen I picked up Siddhartha, I was expecting something totally different. Buddha’s life being not on the list of things I am completely unaware of (the list including sports, business, computer etc), I expected to hear stories which my grandmother told me since I was a toddler. Since Siddhartha is the former name of Gautama Buddha, I thought this was his biography. Hence, I was greatly surprised and confused, especially in parts about Kamala. I know, it makes sense that my grandmother wouldn’t mention parts about Buddha pursuing his carnal needs to a 6 year old, still I was greatly puzzled. I must confess, that I wasn’t able to grasp that this novel deals with the spiritual journey of an Indian man named Siddhartha during the time of the Buddha, till the very end of this novel.
The novel traces Siddhartha’s journey for enlightenment. The young Brahmin, full of promise, loved by all, leaves everything he has to seek more. He is greatly dissatisfied and travels to live with Samanas, practicing a life of asceticism for several years. He meets the Enlightened One, Gautama Buddha (the real deal!), and goes further to experience life in the city. He experiences things he has deprived himself of in his years as a Samana, learns the art of love from the great courtesan Kamala, and makes money as a merchant. The young lad, who said that the only talents he had, was that of fasting, waiting and thinking, looses all these to indulge in the greatest pleasures of life. Amidst it all Siddhartha’s thirst for knowledge is far from quenched.
He looses it all to be born again beside the river, learning from it, listening to it. He grows to realize the value of all those gifts of nature, which he had earlier dismissed as maya (an illusion), experiences peace which he has never felt before and finally achieves what he wanted all along, enlightenment.
The prose is absolutely amazing! This book also contains some very memorable and meaningful quotes like:
“When someone is seeking,” said Siddhartha, “It happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.”
Lots to learn from this novel. Although, I imagine that the experience would be different for different people. It may be life changing for some and just silly for others. Still, anyone who has ever been dissatisfied with life and not content with all the knowledge lectures and teachers were ever able to convey will empathize with Siddhartha’s quest.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTION NUMBER 62: READ EVERYTHING WRITTEN BY CHAIM POTOK.
I think I might actually end up fulfilling this resolution (unlike most of the NEW YEAR RESOLUTION NUMBER 62: READ EVERYTHING WRITTEN BY CHAIM POTOK.
I think I might actually end up fulfilling this resolution (unlike most of the others), because “the chosen” was a masterpiece.
It's a poignant story about friendship, father-son relationship, about 2 Jew families on the other side of the Zionist movement and the reaction of American Jews to the horrors of holocaust. It’s about two deeply religious boys, trying to strike a balance between modernity and their deep rooted traditions, it’s about the influence parents have in shaping their children’s belief system. In fact, Chaim Potok encompasses so many varied topics with in this novel, and he does so with great expertise.
The tensions between tradition and modern American life are a frequent theme in any immigrant literature. Yet Chaim Potok explores this theme in an unusual and distinctive manner, focusing on the ways in which different Jewish communities react to modernization. He uses complementary and contrasting pairs of characters like Danny Saunder and Reuven Malter (and their fathers) to study the different ways of balancing Jewish observance with life in twentieth-century America.
Danny Saunder belongs to the Hasidic sect whereas Reuven is an orthodox Jew. At first glance, they seem as different to the reader as they seem to each other. But despite Danny and Reuven’s religious differences, each must deal with the fact that, by virtue of his birth, he belongs to the Jewish tradition. As Jews, both Reuven and Danny must deal with religious commitments and responsibilities that most children their age do not have to encounter. Both share an intense competitive drive and a fervent intellectual passion. This forges a friendship between them, which develops through out the novel.
Reuven and Danny’s friendship is like a breath of fresh air. They play a mutually beneficial role in each other’s life. Danny is interested in science and the humanities, while Reuven’s strength is in mathematics. Hence, they complement each other: Each teaches and is taught by the other and their relationship is delightful to the eyes! It is so refreshing to read about a set of friends, not bickering or gossiping and actually doing something constructive. If only more people were like them!
Both the characters have vastly different relationship with their father. While Reuven and David Malter have an open and free relationship built on mutual love and respect, Reb Saunders comes across as a tyrant. The only time when he speaks to his son is while teaching him. Like Reuven, I think it’s a very crappy method of teaching one to look into their soul. But, since even me and my dad can spend weeks not talking to each other when we are mad, I think I understand.
Again, David and Reb Saunders come across as poles apart. They share different views about the Zionist movement, about science and religion, and they frequently come into conflict. Still, as the novel progresses, one again sees beyond the superficial appearances to realize how similar they are. The message that, people are not always how they initially appear and we cannot dismiss that which we do not understand, resonate through out the novel.
In The Chosen, personal developments are intricately related to historic events. The first third of the novel unfolds during the Allied offensive in World War II, the middle third deals with the American Jewish community’s response to the Holocaust, and the final third is concerned with the Zionist movement to create a Jewish state in Palestine. These events are not merely backdrop for the novel, but contribute significantly to its plot and thematic content.
Okay, confession time!
My reason for immensely liking the novel might be briefly personal. The story of two adolescents trying to reconcile the idea of an all-powerful, all-knowing God within events of random, senseless suffering, struck a chord with me. I could greatly empathize with the struggle that the world’s Jews—and the characters in the novel—faced in the wake of the Holocaust. Chaim Potok raised several questions, which I myself have pondered countless times.
When does thinking for oneself become disrespecting traditions and deep rooted beliefs?
What is the worth of religious ceremonies and rules?
And, most importantly
If God existed, how could he let this happen?
If you have ever asked yourself those questions, you would love this novel!
If you haven’t (lucky you!) you would still love it.
Highest possible recommendation and 5 twinkling stars. ...more
3.5 stars are more accurate, because this book catches your attention after the first 2 chapters and had me intrigued enough to read it cover to cover3.5 stars are more accurate, because this book catches your attention after the first 2 chapters and had me intrigued enough to read it cover to cover. Like many others, I loved Snyder's Poison Study, and it wasn't constant comparisons to her previous work that made me think this book lacking. Touch of Power has its moments, but it lacks the ingenuity, depth, and structure and compactness of Poiso..shit, I am comparing, after all. Because it was brilliant, and so is Finnikin of the Rock and Graceling and many others which has just ruined books like this and the likes of Divergent for me that just lack in one aspect or the other. The pacing was good until the last chapter where it just slacks off, except for Awry. Its a shame because some of them had real potential, Tohon on first encounter seems like an enigmatic character until further description turns him into a caricature villain with dubious motives and Ryene(?) the character who seems to be at the center of it all is so forgettable that I am pretty sure I got his name wrong. The premise is good enough to draw readers in, the world building seems hastily done though.
On a brighter note, Kads, babe I love you:* Thank you for the book! ...more
I absolutely love Flavia, this precocious yet not obnoxious child sleuth has won over my heart, and I absolutely love her. Which is why I totally loveI absolutely love Flavia, this precocious yet not obnoxious child sleuth has won over my heart, and I absolutely love her. Which is why I totally love this book, because it shows us a little more about Flavia. Behind the lab glasses and witty remarks, lies the heart of a small kid, who misses his mother, and is hurt by her sister’s hatred towards her. Some scenes were very very touching, and although really emotional scenes sometimes fail to move me, Flavia with her simple emotions almost made me cry.
The mystery part of the book was excellent, better than the first two books i think (although seriously, who cares). Flavia has her future predicted by a gypsy woman and later brought her home (after burning her caravan, hehe) only to have her attacked in the middle of the night. And thus Flavia had another juicy mystery in her hand, which she is determined to solve before the police does. Its, like Flavia say “jolly fun” . Her witty remarks, naïve yet very intelligent persona always kept me entertained and I almost obsessively added quotes from the book. I would have added the whole book to be honest, because I thoroughly enjoyed every line from it.
I wanted to prolong reading this book , to enjoy Flaiva’s company for as long as I could, but the book got so interesting in the end that I couldn’t stop. I don’t know how I will survive till the next book comes out. I think I will reread the series again, because I honestly don’t think I will ever grow tired of riding with Flavia on Gladys, through the fields of Bishop’s Lacy or watching her as she adds hydrogen Sulphide in her sitter’s chocolate, or puts poison ivy in her lipstick. What JOLLY FUN!
I know I have added them already, but few of my favorite quotes:
"I remembered Father remarking once that if rudeness was not attributable to ignorance it could be taken as a sure sign that one was speaking to a member of the aristocracy."
"I had long ago discovered that when a word or formula refused to come to mind the best thing for it was to think of something else: tigers for instance or oatmeal. Then when the fugitive word was least expecting it I would suddenly turn the full blaze of my attention back onto it catching the culprit in the beam of my mental torch before it could sneak off again into the darkness."
"I had to make water ” I said. It was the classic female excuse and no male in recorded history had ever questioned it. “I see ” the Inspector said and left it at that. Later I would have a quick piddle behind the caravan for insurance purposes. No one would be any the wiser."
(Isn’t she just awesome?)
Last one, and my new mantra "Compared with my life Cinderella was a spoiled brat." ...more
This book is lush in its description of mughal landscapes; from the colourful court life, to the intrigue ridden harems, the attires and festivities,This book is lush in its description of mughal landscapes; from the colourful court life, to the intrigue ridden harems, the attires and festivities, the wars and betrayals, everything is painted in deft strokes and brought to life quite beautifully by Indu Sundaresan. Something remains to be desired from the character building, especially that of Jahangir but the plot kept me hooked through this excruciatingly long journey of courtship. So 4 stars. ...more
A touching, meaningful, short and sweet story. I remember reading it when I was 5 or something. I realise now that the tree symbolises parents and theA touching, meaningful, short and sweet story. I remember reading it when I was 5 or something. I realise now that the tree symbolises parents and the sacrifices they make. What I fail to understand is how, this story brought made people cry. Anyway, love the illustrations and the message....more
A short story rendered to perfection. It’s about how a parent’s greed and dissatisfaction can affect their children and rob them of their innocence. LA short story rendered to perfection. It’s about how a parent’s greed and dissatisfaction can affect their children and rob them of their innocence. Lots of symbolism in the story and I really liked it....more