Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Chp 204. Bicentennial resolution

I made a new blog resolution. Having crossed my 200th post recently, I am going to call it my Bicentennial resolution.

To read at least one fiction novel a month, written by somebody who does not belong to the mainstream group of fiction-thriller I usually read like Jeffrey Archer, Robin Cook (L), Robert Ludlum (L), Louis L’Amour (L), Tom Clancy, Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, Mario Puzo and Ian Fleming.

Like how my good friend P would always criticize me: "sheesh, you guys are all so predictable! You’re all a bunch of typical stereotyped males with no appreciation for real literature".

And then we would get into a never ending argument about how my Ludlum main character could kick the ass of her Nora Roberts main character.

Anyway, jokes aside, such type of books, the number I have read, on my fingers, I could count, meekly.

Made a resolution to read such a book every month, and I’m telling you, the experience and journey were amazing right up to the very last punctuation.

The book I am talking about is "Half of a yellow sun" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and I highly recommend that you read it too.



Also available in other covers:



For those of you who were moved by movies like Hotel Rwanda and Sometimes in April and could watch them over and over again, this novel is a must read.

Even till now, I go teary-eyed at that part in "Hotel Rwanda" when all the foreigners were just about to leave in the bus amidst the rain and then suddenly a voice cries "No waitttt!" and then we see an exodus of people hoping to be transported along with the white people while the song of Wyclef Jean’s million voice** in Kinyarwanda dialect is played in the background.

Ni ryari izuba rizagaruka hejuru yacu? Ni nde uzaricyeza?

When will the sun return above us? Who will reveal it to us once again?

** nominated as best film song for the Golden Globe in 2005 and the Grammy Award in 2006.

Like I said before, this book was a totally new experience for me. It’s about the civil war in Nigeria during the Biafra separatist movement in 1967. Even though the war was coming from a woman’s perspective and had none of the usual Ludlum-Clancy style of counter-espionage and lethal upper-cuts that I’ve grown accustomed to, it was nevertheless an amazing piece of work, a masterpiece if I may say so, wherein I was transported all across the war ravaged country with each chapter engaged.


[ source ]

It’s like a drama, with lots of bloodshed, rape, sex, emotions, and innocence.

Having Rwandan best-friends for 4 years back in college, this novel definitely opened a sluice-gate for me. That, and also the fact that this bloodshed took place due to the same mistake the British made here in India – Conquering a particular region and then making a country out of it without considering any religious, ethnic, linguistic and cultural differences that have existed there for ages before they arrived. It’s like a déjà vu of what took place here in India.

Once again, I do hope you get to read this wonderful novel and I really must admit, the powerful and honest narration by the author is bitter-sweetly poetic.


[ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – source ]


--------------------------------


My favorite War quotes:

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
-- Bertrand Russell

When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die.
-- Jean-Paul Sartre

I think war might be God's way of teaching us geography.
-- Paul Rodriguez

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
-- Voltaire, "War".

Men love war because it allows them to look serious. Because it is the one thing that stops women from laughing at them.
-- John Fowles (The Magus, 1965)

We have women in the military, but they don't put us in the front lines. They don't know if we can fight or if we can kill. I think we can. All the general has to do is walk over to the women and say, "You see the enemy over there? They say you look fat in those uniforms."
-- Elayne Boosler

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Interesting reads:

The Nigerian Civil War - Causes, Strategies and Lessons learnt
Quick Kill In Slow Motion: The Nigerian Civil War
Reviews on "Half of a yellow sun"



26 comments:

Jinx said...

I honestly don't know how you managed to get the time to read books while juggling between work, updating your blog and reading/commenting on other blogs/websites besides the many other trivial things you have to do.Enlighten me.

Naupang^Fel said...

Post hlui kan chhiar zo dawn chauh a, a thar ilo dah leh hman a. Tun trum chu i che rang hle mai :)

I thuziah pawh kan chhiar zo thei hram thin a nia. Novel chhiar lo in chawh chuh! Leave min chawh nghal bawk em unaupa?

Sekibuhchhuak said...

Novel hi ka chhiar ngai vak lova. Mahse, Africa ram lam chanchin hi chuan min hip reng mai. Ni e, Africa ram bung grang hrang a, French hote, English hote, leh Portuguse hote vanga tunhnu thlenga chi leh chi inkarahte inhritthiamlohna awm reng te khu a van pawi tak em.

HOtel Rawanda movie kha touching khawp khawp mai.

Banno said...

Kima, Good review. I'll pick up the book.

I hope you can keep up your resolution.

DayDreamBeliever said...

thanks for the tip. since it's not redily available inthese parts, it might take a while for me to get my hands on it, but will definitely make it a point to read this. Also recommended: Wathiango Ngugi's Petals of Blood.

JesseTheCat said...

Hello again! Just coming over to see whats up over here at t he Sandmans place ! I love reading too,very much.I love cooking books the most,and books all about how life was through the ages.I agree though,where do you find the time to read and do so much,dear S... you must have loads of energy.Pity you cant send me some.
The war quotes are cool! War is the most terrible thing we creatures inflict on each other, we always seem to be fighting in one way or the other ...still, the quote about looking fat in your uniform made me laugh totally.
A grand post...enjoyed checking up on you, sweetie.Take care and have fun Huggles to you and yours always :)

Henry said...

Bro, Google gave me lots of problems with Tarmit and I created a new blog.

You can check me out here...

Ka Blog Thar

luliana said...

Eh..post thar berah ka comment emaw ka tia, a aia thar a lo awm reng anih hi..I rang thei lutuk a novel chhiarna hun pawh kan nei dawn hleinem.. :P

Tunlai chu english novel ka chhiar ngai lo tih theih tluk a ni..Mizo lehkhabu chhiar a kal riau mai..C Lalnunchanga ziah 'pasalthate ni hnuhnung' leh 'ruam rai thuruk' te hi ngaihnawm ka ti khop mai..

Eveline said...

I'm sure going to check the book out. I made a resolution like your's a couple of years ago and no matter how hectic work is, i always make time to end my day with a book. It does do wonders for your mind. Exercise those imaginations. Great post Kima.
- From a Fan :)

Almost Unreal said...

I have stopped reading novels for quite a while now.

Reason: I get very less sleep when I read and I can't just keep the book when it is time to sleep..which affect my work

Just a grail said...

Have added the book to my list and will hopefully be able to get it soon, it sounds great.

The war quotes? Amusing and true.

Bobby said...

Hi Kima, it's my belief that all war is manufactured and there is never a good reason excluding pure defense. I don't read much fiction anymore, although I love to write it.

We can only live our lives the best we can - to rid humankind of evil and war will never achieve fruition. Our war is internal, within the hearts of each of us - where the real war eternally exists:)

Pixie said...

Wow! very nice write-up and as usual food for thought...
My uncle lived in Nigeria for a couple of years and he says that the situation there isn't a very pleasant one.
A friend of mine was told to go there - you know, as "onsite" assignment and he was promised couple of body guards as well! He turned down the offer though...
I made that promise to my sister as well - at least one new author every month - so far, hasn't happened with regularity!

aduhi said...

If civil wars in Africa fascinate you, then you should read Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. Written from the perspective of the wife and children of an American missionary, it tells the story of the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium. Although it is an outsider's point of view, it is an excellent read. Do go buy it.

VaiVa said...

Boss chu blog follower atangin book follower ah min chhimbudawi i tum ani maw? lol..

Tunlai chu engmah chhiarna hun pawh ka nei lo, novel/fiction lam phei chu ka chhiar khat khawp! War stories lam chu hnuk a ti ulh tlat... kan US lam unauten atak tluk deuh thawin min hmuh fo lehnghal a, ngaihtuahna a kal thui duh e mai nakiiiiiiin a chhiarah aw! he he..

Sobha De kumin release Superstar India tih te kha i lo chhiar fuh em? Ngaihnawm ka ti reuh lutuk.... non-fiction lam te i resolution a atel chuan!!! ha ha

Lucy said...

Glad to know you are picking up other books beside Ludlum's :P

illusionaire said...

@ Jinx: Well, it’s not like I have free time to read all the time. :) When I find the time, I make the best use of it. Like for example, the past 4-5 days I was extremely busy and leave reading books aside, I didn’t even have the time to make my usual rounds of reading my friends’ blogs online. So it depends on the time and amount of work I currently have. I spent the night in the office again last night too. That’s just a brief example of the current work load I have right now.


@ Banno: Well, I’ll definitely try to keep up to my resolution. I was planning to read the Kite runner next, but then my sister bought Archer’s latest book “Prisoner by birth” and since I’ve already started on that, I will complete that first and then get back to my resolution :D


@ DayDreamBeliever: Thanx for the recommendation of Wathiango Ngugi's “Petals of Blood”. I’ll definitely try to lay my hands on it as a part of my resolution. Thanx, and I do hope you find it soon over there. You can also always ask people who are coming home to get it for you…


@ Aduhi: Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. Thanx. That’s another book I will add to my list. This blog post is starting to look extremely generative for me, with all the excellent recommendations I am getting from you guys. Thanx! Even though many descriptions of war come from an outsider’s perspective, many of them have succeeded in capturing the exact emotions of the locals and I am sure Barbara must be one of them.

illusionaire said...

@ Just a grail: Hehehe :-) yeah those are some of my favorite war quotes, although of course nobody can beat Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” when it comes to prolific quotations regarding war.


@ Bobby: Spoke like a true Zen practitioner :-) I agree completely that we must first wage the battle raging within ourselves if we want to eradicate mankind of all warfare. Only then can one achieve true Shangri-La.


@ Pixie: Apart from my Rwandan friends in College, I had a couple of Nigerian friends too. They used to tell me about how different the rest of Nigeria is from the 12 Northern states (where Sharia is imposed). Of course during those days, I’ve never heard of Biafra before and I would have definitely asked them about it had I known about it then. Those were the days the only ethnocide I knew in Africa was about the Hutu-Tutsi conflicts in Rwanda. There are so much we have no idea is going on around the world :(


@ Henry: Hey bro, thanx for the notification, although its late to say it here as I have already commented on this new blog of yours *GRIN* Anyway I will change your profile asap at the Bloggers Directory and I hope you continue to post excellent posts as your previous blog :)

illusionaire said...

@ Jesse the cat: Its always good to get a visit from my dear dear dear friend. Isn’t it ironic when I made a post about a book I’ve just read and people are asking me about free time, and that I couldn’t even find 5 minutes of free time suddenly in the past 5-6 days? Lolz. I guess its one of those days. You read them when you’re free and crib when I can’t find the time suddenly. Lolz. Am glad to know you’re doing great there, and don’t worry about my heavy schedule, I’ll still be able to find time to make my rounds at the blogosphere soon to see what all my close friends are up to recently. For you I can always manage to find time sweetie. :-)


@ Eveline: heyyyy :) what a coincidence! I’m your fan and you’re my fan too! Wow! :D It must be the advertisement bug that’s biting us. Lolz. I do hope you get to read this amazing book, although I must warn you in advance that there are no goth bands in the novel. Lolz. Just kidding. :) It sure is nice to end a hard tough day with a novel and then go to sleep while reading. That, or getting sloshed. *GRIN*


@ Lucy: lolzzz ka matresss. Ludlum gave me hope when all felt lost, companionship when I was drowning in sorrow, laughter and thrill when I thought I was an outcast, and showed me a way lot more than anybody has ever done. (“pleasure when I was unsatisfied” te ti a ni lawmni, awih awm tawh awmlo a sin. Haha)


@almost unreal: I used to think like that too, because there are times when I just couldn’t stop reading which spoils my sleeping habit a lot. But having worked 3 days at the stretch in office without going home and then coming home dead tired, trust me, even the most exciting Ludlum book will put me to sleep after 3 pages! A ni ve tlats a sin :)

illusionaire said...

@ Vaiva: eeee thiana, Shobhe De-i ziah hi chu ka tui na lam a nilo tlats. :D achang chuan thil ngaihnawm deuh hi a rawn ziak leh nawlh thina, mahse a column tlangpui hi chu a ngaihtuahna a “Page3 socialite” mah mah, a bottom of issues lai tak hi a man phalo deuh thin ka ti kei chuan. Thil a rawn thlir na hi upper-middle class ho leh upper class hovin rilru te deuhva thil an thlir dan lek hi a ang thin achangchuan, lower class ho mindset hrethiam miahlo (le hriatthiam tumlo) ang mi hi a ni deuh he nu te hi chu.


@ Sekibuhchhuak: Ni e heng hi chu mi ngo ho vang hian an buai hrep tawh a, an la buai zel ang. A buaithlak a ni tiang vel vang hian. British ho kha rawn kal lo se chu keini pawh kan “course” hi a dang daih ang… Chaltlang Lal ho leh SKK Lal ho kha tun thlengin ral an la do hrim hrim anga, nang leh kei pawh kan la inveh mai thei a sin! :D


@ naupang^fel: lolzzz. Nia hemi post ka post lai khan ka free laitak a nia, mahse hei kan buai leh char char tawh, huiham khawvel hi chu a hahthlak a nih hi :-( mahse free ve theih chang chuan lehkhabu chhiar hram hi ka tum. Haha, leave chawh mai mai ai chuan maktaduai vaibelchhia zing khat leh duli ka lo chawh zawk ang che chu? :D


@ luliana: Haha. Nia ka rawn post rang mah mah he post hi, a hmasa a ka post pawh a la khuk lai hian. Lolz. A pawi miahlo post hluibera I comment pawn ka lawm tho thovang :)

mesjay said...

Young man, i marvel at your versatility.

meghu said...

sounds like a good book. you should read toni morrisons ' beloved' magic realism meets the horror of slavery in 19th century America.

simply stunning. i can get it for you if you want.

illusionaire said...

@ mesjay: ty dear Pi Mesjay. I try to be, although I am still far from being versatile.

@ Meghana: Thanx! Another book recommendation! This is turning out to be a very fortuitous post for me! Would really appreciate it if you can get it for me, although next on my list is The Kite runner (will take a month to read as I already started on Archer's latest novel)

Anonymous said...

start writing again sandman ... feels like you've become a editor who's got to jot sumthin down just for the sake of ur magazine!!

ping said...

never miss reading ur post ! i'm also reading 'where the streets had a name' randa abdel-fattah. gud one :-)

hcg said...

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