Archive for category: Book

Fifty Shades of Grey

16 Sep
September 16, 2012

 

Fifty Shades of Grey is the first book of what I to my horror discovered is a trilogy, the horror ceasing only when I, in disaccord with the book slapped myself, reminding me that no one can force me into reading the next two.

The story of the unnerving relationship between the too-good-looking-for-his-own-and-everybody-else’s good industry magnate Christian Grey and the hopelessly Grey-struck literature graduate Anastasia Steele, is so far sold in 40 mill copies worldwide, allegedly being on the love longing lips of an incredible amount of desperate housewives.

What all the fuss is about beats me, although not like the main character beats his girlfriend in the BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) part of their relationship. Actually, and sexually, the book is so totally off beat as to wean me off rather than turn me on… That love hurts is sometimes true, but in this book it smarts in more than one sense; One of the book’s critics describes it as a real pageturner, and I couldn’t agree more; It made me turn the pages as fast as I possibly could in order to escape the agony. Not the agony of the bewildered Ms. Steele or the haunted Mr. Grey, but my own.

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Head wiggling

12 Apr
April 12, 2012
I am reading yet another book set in India. Even though it’s now “A major motion picture”, it is, in my opinion, not a particularly good book, content- , structure- or language wise. The story is quite superficial, the characters are difficult to identify with and the research not impressive. 
Still, there is something about it, maybe reminding me of other tales I’ve heard or read, or possibly even experienced, stirring something within me. Something elusive, yet real, that makes me want to go there, be there, become absorbed in its overwhelming non conformity, where the improbable is the norm, the unique the standard, and  the average nonexistent. I feel like losing myself in a society unfathomably rich in people and diversity, in culture, religion, language and geography. A country developing so fast in some areas that it is hard to keep up, in others so backward it is hard to comprehend, let alone accept. 
The smells… of decay, sewage, funeral pyres…, the scents… of skillfully prepared and tasty slow food, of trees and flowers…. 

Dalai Lama

29 Aug
August 29, 2011
…and if reading No Impact Man wasn’t enough, I just had to go ahead and read The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama. What am I, a masochist of sorts or what? Ladening myself with a bunch of ideals that I either am not able to or, even worse, not willing to live up to? What I hope, I guess, is that some things will seep through to my brain, and eventually manifest itself in, if not major, then at least some positive changes, for me, people around me, and lo and behold, don’t put me down as lacking in ambition, the world in which we live.
And looking at photos of the Lama, you have to give it to him; He does look happy! To comfort me and maybe some of you, I found some quotes of his on the internet that should be possible to identify with, even before our potential future transformation.
“Sleep is the best meditation”
 “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”
“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection”
“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness. The important thing is they should be part of our daily lives”
And last but not least:
“The purpose in our lives is to be happy”
Have a great, and I wish you, a happy day!

No Impact Man

27 Aug
August 27, 2011
Oops, I did it again… Read an excellent book, but one that leaves me challenged, in many ways. Colin Beaven, a New York resident, takes on the amazing task of living a life in the city without leaving any “footprints”. Something most of his friends, acquaintances and probably most of his readers initially think is not only a crazy idea, but also an impossible one to follow through. It turns out, he has to think anew about many different aspects of living, and one can only admire the zealousness with which he goes about in trying to reach his goal. Among other things he, and his wife, stop using public transportation, walk the stairs instead of using elevators, get rid of the TV, turn off their electricity, only buy used or second hand stuff, if any, purchase produce without wrapping, eat locally produced and organic and eventually vegetarian food, eat out only as an exception to the rule (they have set for themselves), brush their teeth and wash their hair in baking soda (I can imagine my teenage daughter’s screams of agony and outrage at this), stop using paper towels, napkins and toilet paper (more cries of agony, this time also from me…).
All of this took a lot of creative and alternative thinking, in addition to courage, determination and stamina.
In return, they realised that they got more time together, both as a couple and as a family, had more time to entertain and be with friends, had more fun, got more exercise, lost excess weight, and, felt more satisfied and at ease and comfortable with their lives and about what they did, or rather didn’t do to the planet.
In spite of all these changes, Beaven found, that living a no impact life was impossible, but that a low impact life was not only feasible, but also preferable to his old way of living. In addition, he found, it is possible to pay back some of the recourses we use and harm we inflict on the planet, by taking part in different projects, like cleaning up a river or a neighbourhood, planting trees, establishing “city gardens” etc. etc.
In Beaven’s opinion, what governments, national and international organizations and committees, industry leaders etc. decide and do, is of the utmost importance, but that we, as individuals must also do our share, sweeping before our own door, so to speak. What we do, does make a difference, and by doing our smaller or bigger share, we may serve as examples to other people, creating spin-off effects in the world around us.
As I said, this book challenged me, to the point of making me feel more than a little uncomfortable. In some areas, I try to do my fair share of environmental living, but in other areas I have a loooong way to go. But instead of being overwhelmed and more or less paralyzed by the challenge, it is possible to think in entirely new ways, and to be confident that some effort is manifold better than no effort. In many cases, if one is to believe Beaven, which I think one should, often it is not even an effort, just a new, and quite often fun way of looking at and doing things. But concerning the toilet paper: I am not quite there yet!
Beaven has his own blog at http://noimpactman.typepad.com/