365 Days of Writing: Day 26 – Packing Books for a Holiday

I have a dilemma.

I don’t know what books to bring to Romania.

I’ve packed pretty much everything else but I still can’t decide what books to bring there so I can read on the round trip plane ride plus the 3 weeks we’re there. I should bring 2 books I think.

I’ve narrowed down my choices to Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carre and Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat. So which 2 books should I bring with me?

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

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365 Days of Writing: Day 21 – Reading Americanah and Recognizing My Love and Myself

Have you guys read books by the amazing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? She’s a brilliant writer, able to bring the world of Nigeria and the Nigerian diaspora to life. Plus she’s a feminist writer, and that’s awesome 🙂

I first came to know about her through a meme that was floating around Facebook. I saw the meme and recognised a kindred spirit.

Behold the awesomeness!

How could I not want to know all about this person??

Next thing I knew, I was watching a TEDTalk by her –

And then I was buying as many books as I could find that she’d written. And reading them, of course. (I’m halfway through my collection now)

She has an uncanny way of writing complex, dynamic characters – not necessarily likeable, but not truly unlikeable; neither pure nor fully corrupt; vulnerable and fallible. In other words, her characters are very relatably human. Just like you and me. So their trials and tribulations, their desires and aversions feel like my very own.

I felt that resonance especially with Ifemelu, the protagonist in Americanah. I felt that she was speaking with my voice at times in the narrative and it was quite unnerving to say the least. But there was one particular point in the story, very early on that I felt akin to her. It was when she was describing how she felt around Obinze –

” She rested her head against his and felt, for the first time, what she would often feel with him: self-affection. He made her like herself. With him, she was at ease; her skin felt as though it was her right size.”

This was revelatory.

I recall the very moment I was reading this – I was lying in bed next to my SO, and this was just a few months into our relationship; I’d just moved in a short while ago. It was at this moment that I realised that this was the relationship I wanted for the rest of my life. Because that’s how I felt about myself while I was with him – like my skin was my right size. He never made me feel like I had to be different, to change myself. I liked myself more when I was with him, and I with him I felt like I was becoming a better version of myself.

And now, more than a year later I still feel the same way; about him, about myself and about us. Being with him makes me feel at peace. It quietens my inner demons and lets my better judgement prevail.

What about you? Have you ever read a quote from a book that was revelatory about your life in that moment?

Quote of the Day 110915

Ocassionally a nerve of memory would be touched – a puddle reflecting the blue sky after rain, a pack of thumbed cards, the fumbling with a shoelace, the smell of a new car, the sound of a stiff wind through trees, the smells and colours of a toyshop, the taste of milk and prunes – and a fragment of forgotten experience would be dislodged, isolated, puzzling. In a northern land, in a time of new seperations and yearnings, in a library grown suddenly dark, the hailstones beating against the windows, the marbled endpaper of a dusty leatherbound book would disturb: and it would be the hot noisy week before Christmas in the Tulsi Store: the marbled patterns of oldfashioned balloons powdered with a rubbery dust in a shallow white box that was not to be touched. So later, and very slowly, in securer times of different stresses, when the memories had lost the power to hurt, with pain or joy, they would fall into place and give back the past.

~ A House for Mr Biswas, V S Naipaul

Quote of the Day 040915

He had raised her from the dead and granted her the freedom of the living, had freed her to choose and be chosen, and she had chosen him. As if life was a river and men its stepping stones, she had crossed the liquid years and returned to command his dreams, usurping another woman’s place in his khayal, his godlike, omnipotent fancy. Perhaps he was no longer his own master. What if he tired of her? – No, he would never tire of her. – But could she be banished in her turn, or could she alone decide to stay or go?

‘I have come home after all,’ she told him. ‘You have allowed me to return, and so here I am, at my journey’s end. And now, Shelter of the World, I am yours.’

Until you’re not, the Universal Ruler thought. My love, until you’re not.

 

~ The Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie

Quote of the Day 020915

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at the tangle of thorns.

 

~ Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

Quote of the Day 280815

Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of  my day. After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished? The hard reality is, surely, that for the likes of you and me, there is little choice other than to leave our fate, ultimately, in the hands of those great gentlemen at the hub of this world who employ our services. What is the point of worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and me at least try to make a small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that is in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.

~ The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro

Quote of the Day 180815

Lately, he thought a lot about the story Father had told them the night before the trip to Kabul, the old peasant Baba Ayub and the div. Abdullah would find himself on a spot where Pari had once stood, her absence like a smell pushing up from the earth beneath his feet, and his legs would buckle, and his heart would collapse in on itself, and he would long for a swig of the magic potion the div had given Baba Ayub so he too could forget.

But there was no forgetting. Pari hovered, unbidden at the edge of Abdullah’s vision everywhere he went. She was like the dust that clung to his shirt. She was in the silences that had become so frequent at the house, silences that welled up between their words, sometimes cold and hollow, sometimes pregnant with things that went unsaid, like a cloud filled with rain that never fell.

 

~ And The Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini