back to books

been doing some reading lately. after a long while. finished two books back to back. wish they were from my studies, that would hv bn of much help. but then, thats why they are study books (meant to take a whole lot longer to finish even parts of it).

a friend suggested i read famed polish journalist late mr. ryszard kapuściński. the first of his books i could get my hands on is titled 'the emperor - downfall of an autocrat'. divided into three chapters, it accounts the majestic pompousness and luxurious lifestyle of late emperor haile selassie of etiopia and his downfall.

found a very well written review of the book here, so i am not going to reinvent the wheel.

while reading the book, i was constantly being surprised at how the emeperors court half a century back closely resembles the court of our own very own emperors here in bangladesh. tweak the facts a little here and there and replace the emperors enormous court with equally enormous prime ministers/chief advisors office, and voila, one could easily pass that off as stories from right here in 21st century bangladesh. be it hasina, khaleda or the latest addition dr. fakhruddin ahmed at the helm, it has always been the same story of bartering our motherland and all that she stand for in exchange of a place in the good book of mr big. i wonder when would we, yes myself included, learn to take the lessons history is desperately trying to teach us?

latest read is GIRLS OF RIYADH. everyone who lives on the internet must hv heard of it when it was first published in arabic in 2005. the english translation was published in 2007 by penguin. dint expect much from it from the beginning, but still wanted to read it, more out of temptation to have an insiders view of womens life in ultra conservative saudi society.

finished it at 3 in the morning, but didnt find it as captivating as that sounds though. in fact, at times i had to force myself to continue reading. nonetheless got at least some of what i had expected. the story is about four girls from the elite (and of course extra rich) saudi society, and how they juggle between the reality of their ultra conservative society and their aspirations in life, which is much influenced by their close interaction with western society (e.g. one of them is half american). the story revolves around these girls little adventures for finding love - such as flirting in shopping centres, dating at friends place or even driving around dressed as a young man.

all in all, i must appreciate the authors courage for writing on a topic such as this, especially considering the fact that it was much more closer to reality than most of the hyped up super duper bestsellers about muslim / islam / women in islam etc (such as brick lane - which i think was a real crap). furthermore i found her style (each chapter was in the form of an email she sends out every friday afternoon) unique and interesting.

next on my to read list is Rachel Corries journal, let me stand alone

No comments: