Monday, January 18, 2010

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Basic story: About twin boys born of a forbidden union of a Indian nun nurse and a British doctor working together in Uganda. Who eventually grow up to become doctors. The book was good - I was curious to find out what happened to them at the end. To be frank though, I felt like the end was so cliche and utterly depressing.

What it made me think of: Actually intrigued me to learn more about medicine and biology. I was impressed by the doctors in the fictional book who take such risks in surgeries and procedures in a developing nation during the time of political strife in Uganda.

Something that struck me very personally: The main character and narrator of the novel loves a girl from childhood. She torments him, splits him from his brother, forces him to escape the country because of his affiliation with her, yet he still loves her when she comes to him broken and then also hurts him again. Why do we as people do this to ourselves? Is this blind love? No matter how much a person hurts us, we still love them? I understand this wrt parent-child love, but couple love? Is this desperation? Is this the fear that we have loved a person so much that we do not let anyone else into our hearts? From an objective viewpoint, I thought the protagonist was crazy and deserved infinitely better. Although personally, I empathize - it's a missed signal between the brain and heart that causes a person to do dumb, stupid things.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009 in books

In terms of books for 2009, it was the year I became a fan of Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella, Hilary Clinton, PG Wodehouse (genius!!), Haruki Murakami, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jeff Kinney.

Generally, I noticed that I got a lot of non-fiction books about social psychology - trying to understand people. I'll let you know if I ever figure that out haha. The books I read just reaffirmed what I know but kind of denied. We cannot control or change the people around us. The only people who we have that power over is ourselves. We are in charge of our own happiness. We cannot let people define us or let their actions affect us deeply. Nothing comes easily it takes time and hard work and the right environment to grow and become successful (10,000 hours right Malcolm?).

I actually avoided serious, soul sapping novels such as Khalid Hosseini novels (exception: My Sister's Keeper I had to entertain myself on the plane somehow). I was drawn to light-hearted stories like the chick lit and PG Wodehouse and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (Soo entertaining!!).

My reading resolution for 2010 is to read broad and wide topics and try to learn as much as possible about the world :). Book suggestions welcome!