Some thoughts on ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and Orlando

I’ll begin with a caution, if you’re looking for a lighthearted book which will make you giggle and send you on an escapist journey, then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book which will not only tug on your heartstrings, but rather rip them out through your throat, then make you eat them, then this is certainly the book for you.

This book has made me truly reflect on life. It’s a story I will carry with me through my day to day life. It just so happens that the most terrible tragedies in this book occurred just after the Orlando shootings. I was locked in two worlds of tragedy. I felt like a child re-discovering just how terrible and how utterly cruel this world can be. When you’re young, you believe the world can do you no wrongs, and the worst that can happen is that you’ll get shouted at if your sibling tattles on you. I found myself questioning if ignorance is truly bliss. If the knowledge of these terrible happenings is worth the cruel realisation that this seemingly beautiful world, whose winds gently kiss your face on balmy summer nights, is infested by parasites that mar this paradise and commit unforgivable crimesP1140032.JPG against one another.

I found myself feeling guilty that I have ended up in this body, in this privileged life. That for some reason, this soul, my soul had found its way to this shell that transports me from A to B in a country that is not ravaged by injustice.

When the Orlando shootings happened last weekend I was dumbfounded. This didn’t seem like something that happened in my world. There are no words to say how awful these ‘crimes’ are. I put the word crimes in inverted commas, because this act seems so much more than just a crime. When you abstract what has happened, it seems to be a far fetched idea out of some horrific storybook. Some evil plan created by a villain which will eventually be thwarted. However, in this story, as of yet, there is no complete resolution.

A Thousand Splendid Suns speaks for the women of Afghanistan, who endure and persevere despite continuous adversity. Though this book is undoubtedly devastating, it also sends a powerful message, that even ‘Hovels shall turn to rose gardens, greive not’. No matter how many times the world seems like an ugly place, flowers and life will persevere and will be found even in the darkest and most quiet corners of this earth. Life is not bad forever. There will always be a smile even on the darkest day.

This book has touched my heart, and has made me put my life into perspective.Despite small daily grievances, my life is good. My life is happy and fulfilling. I battle day to day with small demons which can be squashed with my big toe. I don’t climb mountains each day simply to survive. I am one of those lucky few. Though I am lucky, it is not my job to feel guilt. Reading this book has made reflect on and appreciate my life. In my reality, I can go where I wish, wear what I wish, I can stop and smell the sweet summer air. I can hear the song of the birds outside my window, rather than the whistle of rockets. I haven’t simply survived, or endured like some. I live. This is a book that forces you to reassess your life, and to find the beauty in a sometimes ugly world. Now and then everyone needs to read a book like this which grounds you, and makes you appreciate the warmth of the sun on your back, or the way the one you love laughs. Time and what you do with it are precious. Don’t let it pass you by, but savour the moments life sends your way.

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Haven’t you taken The Psychopath Test yet?

In this entertaining episode Jon Ronson takes us on an exceedingly amusing peregrination through the madness industry. This book is undoubtedly a page turner as we become just as absorbed as Ronson is in the riddle of a beautiful and mysterious book which arrives at one of his colleagues’ doorsteps. This book creates a tempest of confusion globally amongst some of the best minds in psychiatry as well as other professions. On discovering that the book was in fact written by a ‘crackpot’ Ronson asks himself how a few moments of madness can stirP1120226 such an intellectual community. He sets himself the task of exploring the ins and outs of this fascinating industry. From shit smeared basements in somewhat ethically challenged therapeutic clinics, to capitalist predators in ties who live in high rise offices with work forces of hundreds of thousands of people submitting to their will.

As you read the book and learn the traits exhibited by psychopaths, you find yourself asking how many people you know who might potentially be a knife wielding maniac. Worryingly the statistic is surprisingly high. It is predicted that 1% of society register as a psychopath on Bob Hare’s PCL-R checklist. Don’t bar your doors and lock your windows just yet however, as most psychopaths tend to be harmless. Though they might shag about and attempt to manipulate you, they are not murderous. However we all score somewhere on the checklist, we all have madness somewhere within our being. Madness motivates society, perhaps Al Dunlap is right, there certainly is some evidence of psychopathic traits being useful in the entrepreneurial world. We all know we’ve seen a few on The Apprentice, Selina from this season anyone? This book is gripping, and will make you laugh out loud, and also maybe change your perception on the so called loons that live among us. A book which is easy to delve into, compelling, hilarious and informative. Arm yourself against your potentially lethal neighbours with this book.

Check out my last book review of Chris Kraus’ I Love Dick

Dick is okay

I’m not entirely sure if I like Dick or not. I certainly enjoyed it. It made me laugh and it also made me sad, just like any good book should do. Chris Kraus’ book I Love Dick will undoubtedly attract a few inquisitive stares if you decide to read it on public transport. However there were certainly a few ideas surrounding the premise of Kraus’ book that I am uncomfortable with. Kraus’ provocatively named  book I Love Dick has been labelled a feminist cult classic among other things. When books are labelled feminist, or a modern classic, it is difficult to disagree with them. The initial post I wrote about this book discussed how this book ‘flags up some rather serious feminist issues’, and while it does makes some very important points about the treatment of female desire as an alien premise which should be treated with disgust, you could also certainly argue that it glamorises adultery, stalking and obsessive love. This book was certainly enjoyable, KrDickaus has a refreshingly easy to read writing style, which frequently made me laugh out loud, and you cannot deny that you truly empathise for her, suffering one cruel rejection from Dick after another. It is a bizarre and intriguing case study: a married woman whose crush on another man develops into an obsessive infatuation, which her husband also becomes directly involved with. Dick becomes not just a person later on in the novel but Dick becomes a metaphor for Kraus’ relationship with dick, and through her obsession she analyses her relationships with men. This novel is not empowering to Kraus, it recognises the issues with her own desire, but throughout she is subject to psychological torment, as she desires the man who will only reject her. I disagree entirely that all women oppress themselves by having relationships with men, which is what this novel seems to suggest, as even her relationship with Sylvère, her husband, appeared destructive in this novel.  I view this book as This book makes a fascinating read, and I found myself absorbed between its pages for hours on end. But I was left asking myself if I was a bad feminist for disagreeing with the premise of the book I have come to the conclusion that this is a book in which Kraus comes to terms with her own issues with men, rather than representative of every heterosexual relationship. But one thing is for sure, I’m certainly still thinking about Dick.