Category Archives: Books

Project Happiness 365: Day 320

Standard

He got me this book ‘The book thief’ by Markus Zusak from a library free book giveaway! 

You won’t believe how happy I got! I had to leave behind this book half read when I moved to Tromsø two years ago. So, I was literally screaming with joy when I saw this book in the bag. 

I can’t wait to start reading it where I left. 

Project Happiness 365: Day 261

Standard

I am reading Haruki Murakami’s “What I talk about when I talk about running”.  I was not intending to read this book because I have been reading too much Murakami. Everytime I go to bookstore,  I end up buying his book anyways.  It’s like an addiction.  😊 

And the thing I was scared of,  it eventually happened!  I am hooked!  I fell in love with his writing all over again.  But the good thing is that it gives me an inspiration to write and work. So, all in all it’s not that bad!

Project Happiness 365: Day 239

Standard

We are at the cabin.  I am taking a break from work and everything.  Specially my thesis.  I had a very serious interview with a musician. I finally know where my thesis is headed.  And I am happy but I need some time to freshen up and connect to myself. Keeping my crazy monkey mind calm is the goal for now. 

I am determined to start reading again. No more unfinished books! Started reading The trial by Franz Kafka. It’s going good. Feels like I am getting my reading spark back.  😊

Project Happiness 365: Day 207

Standard

“O compassion on these suffering conscious beings

Who wander in the life cycle,  darkened with delusions, 

Not knowing their own minds as the infinite Truth Body – 

May all of them attain the Body of Truth!”  

Reading “The Tibetan book of the dead”. Slow day at work!!  

Project Happiness 365: Day 193

Standard

I don’t wanna complain about my sleep cycle. It’s back to sleeping at 5 am and waking up at 1 pm. I don’t know how to react about it. Well, it’s not all too bad. I’m alone. So, I just listen to music, read a book or just surf the internet. Early this morning it was different. I started reading ‘Man and his symbols’ by Carl G. Jung. I must say Jung is the most misunderstood and underrated psychologist. He bought this book last month but I never managed to read the book. Every time I opened it, I got lost in all the pictures. It is that fascinating.

Last night, however, was different. I was just laying down with the book. I thought I would not get past the first page. But I was wrong. I read the introduction by John Freeman and the first half of the first chapter by Jung.Then, I had to force myself to sleep because it was already 6 in the morning and I had to go to work. The book is that spellbinding.

The book talks about the symbolism as manifested through different mediums especially dreams. It was very interesting for me because I grew up in a society where dreams hold a very special status. Every dream has a meaning. For e.g. when I was growing up, the dream where I was flying or climbing up hill was my favourite because that means something amazingly good is going to happen in my life. I hated the dream where I was walking downhill esp. during or after the exam period that would mean I am gonna fail or at least drop my rank in exam. Seeing snakes in dream meant there is hidden enemy lurking in the darkness ready to attack and you have to be careful. The worst dream one could see is trimming their hair which means that someone close to them is gonna die. So, dreams are usually regarded as the premonitions of some event that is going to happen in life. There are a lot of superstitions related to dreams as well. So, the modern generation is losing interest in interpreting their dreams.

However, reading Jung gave me a whole new perspective to dream interpretation. It was beyond a collective interpretation or superstition. The argument I loved the most is that every dream is unique and can be interpreted only by an entirely individual ‘key’. The book is definitely more than just dream interpretation. And I am looking forward to read the whole book. 🙂

fb_img_1466372995877.jpg

Project Happiness 365: Day 152

Standard

I was reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead today. I just cannot express what I am feeling. Just read the preface and introduction chapter. And I went through so many emotions.
Oh my God! This book is makes one go through trip without actually taking any substance.
Wow! I am baffled.

image

Project Happiness 365: Day 119

Standard

Once in a while, I come across reviews and articles I wrote for this art magazine back home. Today I was deleting stuffs from my computer and I stumbled upon this review I wrote a couple of years ago for the art magazine. It’s a book review about a novel called ‘Girl in Hyacinth Blue‘ by Susan Vreeland. Reading what I wrote made me quite happy. It urged me to express myself more through writing. Here’s what I wrote:

Book Review: “Girl in Hyacinth Blue” by Susan Vreeland

“Now it became clear to her what made her love the girl in the painting. It was her quietness. A painting, after all, can’t speak. Yet she felt this girl, sitting inside a room but looking out, was probably quiet by nature, like she was.”

“Girl in Hyacinth Blue” (1999), a novel by Susan Vreeland, is about art and human experiences explored through the journey of an allegedly lost masterpiece of Dutch Golden-Age artist Jan Vermeer.  The book was in my bag for a long time but I hadn’t had an opportunity to sit back, relax and leaf through its pages because of my work commitments.  Buying the book in a small, dingy second-hand book store in an old house in the dark alley of New Road, was a chance in itself. Actually I was going through a pile of old issues of National Geography magazine when the bluish book cover and the title caught my attention. I bought it instantly. Finally when I read it, it became a book which I would like to come back to again and again throughout my life.

book-cover

A collection of eight heart-warming tales moving backward in time from one century to another, from present to past in various places of the Netherlands, explores how the painting was handed over from one owner to another. The book starts off with a mystery novel kind of vibe, where this particular painting of a girl in blue smock by “the master of light” Vermeer, hides a deep dark secret of its owner, a Mathematics teacher Cornelius Engelbrecht. With each story, the mystery of the painting unravels itself and we slowly find out how that work of art travelled throughout different time period from one owner to another. In the painting, the girl is staring dreamily outside of her window instead of doing her mending. Each story describes the beauty of the simple girl in the painting through the eyes of its different owners. The painting seems to evoke deep emotion in hearts and minds of the central characters of the book. Each of them sees a deep tale or a resemblance or some exceptional attributes in the painting. The painting seems to fulfill their own shortcomings and provide them a sense of serenity despite the chaos around and inside them.  Each character communicates and relates with the girl in some way or other. For Cornelius, the girl in the painting is the keeper of his dark secret; for Hannah, the girl is the resemblance of her inner wishes and like her, she wants something deep and remote; for Laurens, the painting is a memory of his first love; and for Saskia, the painting is the only pure, tranquil thing amidst the devastation of flood and a source of joy comforting in her personal turmoil through disintegrating marriage. There is an intimate relationship between the painting and its owner.

Vreeland takes us in an intense journey of the painting in reverse chronology, exploring human relationships, emotions and experiences. The subtle indication of Holocaust, witch-hunting and French occupation in the Netherlands adds character and depth to the already gripping plot. Like a true Vermeer painting, where even everyday scene of ordinary lives is presented in a radiant way through the perfect balance of colours and light, this novel artistically presents a visual reality of everyday lives through simple narrative and an intriguing plot. In his paintings, Vermeer skilfully used light to provide vibrancy, intensity and a grand beauty to otherwise mundane activities his subjects were engaged in. Drawing inspiration from Vermeer’s painting, the writer uses the painting of a girl as the ultimate source of light and hope in the otherwise dismal lives of her characters. The stories interlink with each other giving this novel a sense of completeness.  The book ends with a very heart breaking tale about the subject of the painting, Vermeer’s daughter ‘Magdalena’. The concluding story is all about her – her point of view, her outlook about her life, her relationship with her father and her final, feeble and unsuccessful attempt to acquire the painting again. Although it might seem like a rightful thing to reveal her side of story at the end of the book, I personally felt that the novel would have been much more intense, deep and mystifying if the subject of the painting – the girl had remained a mystery. We, the reader, would have gotten an opportunity to build a story of ‘the girl’ in the painting through our own imagination. Apart from that, the journey of the painting would have ended to its rightful owner – the artist through the second last story in the book “Still Life” which is all about Vermeer, his life, his works and his struggle.

Nevertheless, when you finish reading the last page and you close the book, the emotions you felt while reading each story lingers in your heart for a long time. The detail of the painting “Girl in Hyacinth Blue” is so vivid that you won’t believe the fact that the whole book is based on a painting which is not genuine Vermeer, in fact, the painting is writer’s imagination. Vreeland beautifully crafts individual tales into a single thread of cohesive story which demonstrates the ‘power of art’ and compels us to find the true meaning of our existence and look within ourselves to recognize the true colour of our souls. The book is a work of art in itself.