Friday, April 25, 2008

I Read Because I Can :p

I've overdosed on Paulo Coelho last week where I finished three of his books (By The River Piedra I Sat Down & Wept, Veronika Decides To Die and The Devil & Miss Prym). As most of you might already know, Coelho is one of the most widely read author of the last and current century. He writes in Portuguese mostly and known for his deeply profound look into life. His notable works include The-owh-so-famous-Alchemist and Brieda but I'm not really a fan of the writing style per se. It's probably a bit too languid (pardon the inapt choice of word but I couldn't find another to describe my feelings) despite the spiritual and philosophical issues or views.

Though, I find the matters discussed deeply moving, even when some of it deals with Christianity concepts and theological dilemmas. These books make up a trilogy about life and its uncertainty with death watching on and love, hatred, evil and good all mixed together to evoke your deepest fears and regrets in life. It makes you think about how much of yourself in ready to change and be changed within a week, how the decisions made will affect your life until its end and bring back parts of yourself from the past that you have decided to discard. All three books taught me that love and God work in miraculous ways.... Ways you cannot imagine. Out of the three, I would have to choose The Devil & Miss Prym for the fact that the theme is entirely universal and we could all get into either The Stranger's or Miss Prym's shoes (if you're wondering why not The Devil, maybe it's time you grab it for a read). Good and Evil will always be in constant fights for our souls and we can or will be the ones to decide who we want to be.

After Coelho's books, I started on reading Karim "Handsome" Raslan's Heroes and Short Stories. Yeah, yeah.. I know. Why so late, Ana?? The book was first published in 1996 and has since been re-printed three times but I can assure you it hasn't lost touch. It is still very much relevant and rather a clear, vivid depiction of Malaysians in angles you've sometimes chose to ignore because it can be ugly. Wake up and smell the rotten roses, people because life isn't always green and comedy isn't always bright (hence the existence of dark comedy, get it?? hahaha.. i know, i'm lame). Anyway, Karim (as usual) never loses his voice in his writings although you can see that all of his characters have souls of their own. You know some writers just can't do that, they either make the stories too much on their characters or on their own selves. So, Karim has succeeded again in making me continue reading despite angry glares from The Mother as I skipped tea to read on :p For Malaysians, this is a must-have!

I've just finished reading Boyhood by J.M Coetzee and still couldn't believe that someone can write such a true representation of childhood. True enough, it was a story about a boy who grew up in South Africa in the 1940s and on the surface, that hardly creates any connection to myself. But as I dwelt further into the story, I realised that childood could easily be the most arrogant, selfish yet naive state of our lives, no matter when or where you've lived. I could connect myself to the many little secrets "he" kept from his family about his school life and feelings and the reasons behind such secret. It's rather poignant in a sense that my childhood held secrets too, secrets of home you don't tell people in schools, secrets of school you don't share with people at home... It's leading two or more different lives, lives dictated by someone else that we follow to conform to a suggested normality. Normality that doesn't make sense, by the way. It was a very critical reflection on one's life and you can trust the author of Life & Time of Michael K to do that. Boyhood strikes the heart for its straight-forward, child-framed view on the world and from a extremely smart child, that is.

My next victims will be New Malaysian Essays 1 with the talented Amir Muhammad as editor/contibutor and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (like... finally!)... But first, I'll have to finish reading Fernando Llyod's Scorpion Orchid. Owh, and the 2000-words reflection task for LTP course too (haha!)


Anonymous said...


I'm a big fan of Paulo Coelho! You will love this! He's the first best-selling
author to be distributing for free his works on his blog:

Have a nice day!


Anonymous said...

ye. the LTP reflection. please do not forget aaa... sure die one if you don't do... (nada dan style lecturer kesayangan kite)

Ana Shirin said...

aart hilal: thank you for your recommendation... i read coelho's blog regularly too :)

nina yayang: wah... i tgh nak (start) berjuang buat ni... tadi dah overdose mocha kat Starbucks sensorang.. time to get working :P

ah^kam koko' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ah^kam koko' said...

I wonder if Anna will read the book I'll be publishing 10 years from now~~
Or even the academic journals, 2 years from now...

Ana Shirin said...

i would take anything mr jarod does :p