Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: Of Human Bondage

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More of a mini-review!

Forgive me if I sound too much of a romantic.

Just finished reading 'Of Human Bondage' by Somerset Maugham. I'm at a loss for words. These past few weeks have been such a beautiful journey with this unbelievable work of art and a literary masterpiece in every sense of the word. This book has reinforced my belief in the sentiment, 'life is but a bed of thorns with glimpses of happiness'. I know that sounds morbid and outlandishly cynical, but is it?

Every book one reads leaves a stamp on the soul, and this work of genius has certainly resonated very close to my inner-being staying quite true to the axiom. This book, for me, is a perfect allegory of life. Every single individual to tarry down its path will not fail to appreciate the utter simplicity with which Maugham encapsulates the reader in his magnum opus; in austerity lies his genius. All of us are leading lives much similar to the undulating shades of Philip Carey's (protagonist? :)) overly mundane and prosaic life. Some people might find it a tough read but totally worth it, take the plunge, if you haven't already, and allow it to seep in :).


Friday, June 24, 2016

Review: Reasons to Stay Alive

Reasons to Stay Alive

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My first book which talks exclusively about anxiety and depression. Hailing from a country (Pakistan) that collectively suffers from all sorts of mental ailments, I could relate to a lot of details in the book, at some level anyway. Personally, I'm not depressed and have never been depressive at any point at time in my life apart from the nobody-understands-me teenage year phases. But even then, I do believe I've seen depression in people close to me, and this book has helped me put a finger on it and maybe given me some semblance of comprehension of this highly tabooed discourse in the society I was raised in.

I had never heard of PND until we had a son of our own and all our friends started having kids of their own; PND became a popular subject of discussion overnight.

Depression in Pakistan, in all its forms, is buried under tradition that has come into shape over centuries of intermingling cultures with almost all of them having rightist ideas as their common denominator. The line of thought these ideas generate tend to patronise mental illnesses equating them to weakness and lack of manliness in men, and well, women have never really been afforded much importance in the region to be considered worthy of scrutiny - they're supposed to live with it. All the more reason for the people from the subcontinent to read up more on these illnesses.

This book is a perfect introduction for anyone who wants to garner some understanding of this debilitating disease plaguing lives of millions of people around the globe. And also for anyone who might be struggling with such an ailment; Matt Haig has given an extremely personal and intimate account of his battles with the demons of depression and anxiety (now-then discussions are amazing), and it's the positivity that oozes out of his rhetoric that will definitely help people looking for reasons to stay alive!



Friday, June 10, 2016

Review: A Malaysian Journey

A Malaysian Journey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started reading this book because of an upcoming trip to Malaysia, my first. I thought it'd be a good idea to know a little something about the history of the country I'm visiting. So I googled, 'must read books on Malaysia', and almost every hit had this book as one of the recommendations. Now, I half-expected myself to labour through these 280 pages over a month and still be clueless about what Malaysia is all about. Because that's exactly how political autobiographies turn out to be, no? Boy, was I wrong!

Rehman Rashid is blessed with the beautiful gift of eloquence. His command over the English language is humbling and does not fail to render the reader speechless. Apart from the author's rich expression, account of his travels across Malaysia are fascinating, engulfing and intimately depicted. And he combines his personal life with Malaysian history expertly with not an iota of break in the flow. Overall, a very enjoyable read and should be on every tourist's to-read list!

The biggest drawback is the availability of this book. I ordered a copy from www.mphonline.com, an online Malaysian bookstore :).