Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Forty Rules of Love, by Elif Shafak

Good read: good character portrayals; full of good lessons about looking out for the downtrodden in society and rising above the 'what will people say' mentality; justified and considerate criticisms of the Muslim status quo I felt; well edited such that every word seemed to count and I found myself not having to sift through fluff to find the important stuff; and love a book that's split into nice small chapters! My only qualm (and I hope I don't come across bigoted) with the book would be doctrinal (i.e. the heart/sufi and the mind/faqih are not opposing forces and instead [in my opinion] two players on the same team, each to his [or her] speciality and each helping the other to replicate the perfect example of the Seal of God's Messengers [peace and blessings upon him and them all])… but that's not why I read the book nor what I was expecting from it so I guess it's not really a justified criticism of the book given that it is (and sets itself out to be) a piece of fiction. Recommended reading!

No Roof in Bosnia, by Els de Groen

Got some travel and history books on Bosnia and started going through them but nothing sticks to and captivates the mind quite like a story! Got through this book in three sit-downs whereas the others I can imagine I'll be going through for a few more weeks at least :-\ I suspect the author has a background in education and this book is targeted at teenagers, and at times it looked as though it was about to go down a feminist or atheist or anti-religion path but the author did well I think to maintain neutrality and blend in a mix of characters from various backgrounds to present an introduction of the recent tragedy that befell Bosnia.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Belfast, Whiterock Road

Headed for the mountains west of me today for the first time since moving over to Belfast. Went down Eglantine Avenue, then over Tates Avenue, up Donegall Road, and lastly up top of Whiterock Road where the road ends and I wouldn't have been able to go further even if the road continued because of the two pesky dogs barking at my feet!

Noticed a massive change in atmosphere when I got up top of Donegall Road: political artwork on buildings all over commemorating those who lost their lives in the troubles not so long ago.