Skip to main content

The Sunday Salon (Middle East Reading Challenge) -- July 4, 2010

The Sunday 
Salon.com

So it's smack in the middle of this long weekend, and I've been catching up on my sleep a lot! Plus being my birthday weekend, there's an added lightness to the days. After a really busy yet productive week, I'm quite relieved for this three-day break. Well, there is typically nothing called a holiday for graduate students, but I've lived by that rule for a long time, that I don't particularly care to break it off now.

The best  news for me this week was that I finally managed to get most of my thesis done. I now have a lot of fine-tuning to do, but since I've written quite a lot, I don't need to exercise my grey cells more than needed. I'm beginning to catch the butterflies in my stomach, since there's only a month now for me to graduate. I'll be deciding the dates this week with my advisor.

I wanted to spotlight a particular challenge that my blogging friend Helen @ Helen's Book Blog has created. The Middle East Reading Challenge is for those of you interested in literature set in the Middle East. We all know of many such books, and some of us have loved books like Arabian Nights, Persepolis, I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, Day After Night, and City of Veils, or plan to read them. So here's my challenge entry. Helen has a great list of recommendations at her blog for this challenge, and since most of them are in my TBR, I'm going to jump into this challenge. (Moreover, I've decided that henceforth, I'll mainly sign up for challenges that expand my reading matter-wise.) The best part of this challenge is that you can choose any number of books you want to read. It runs August 1, 2010 through July 31, 2010. I'll decide my books over the next few weeks, but I'll recommend that you join in too!

Happy 4th of July to my US readers! Happy Sunday to the rest of the world!

And if you haven't yet entered my Birthday giveaway, what are you waiting for?

Comments

bermudaonion said…
I'm sure it's a relief to you to have most of your thesis done - that's got to feel great! Enjoy your holiday! Good luck with the challenge!
Boy, a birthday and thesis completion during a holiday weekend? You go girl!! I don't look forward to my thesis, glad to hear you got it done. Have a great 4th.
Ash said…
This sounds like a great challenge. I have realized this year that short challenges work best for me, so I'm trying to refrain from joining any longer ones. Glad to hear your thesis is going well!
Thank you for joining the challenge and for posting about it! I think it's going to be fun! I know that having joined a challenge pushes me to read books I might not normally read and that is such a great feeling!
Linna said…
Happy (probably late?) Birthday! Hope it was an awesome one :D Although I don't live in the US, I can still wish you a happy fourth and a great sunday!

It's awesome that you finished your thesis. Hope you're enjoying your break :)
Ah, breaks are good, aren't they? I hope you're enjoying it. That challenge sounds like a good one!
Athira said…
Kathy, it sure feels great. Like a huge pressure is off my chest!

Roseann, thanks! I'm glad this weekend was a real breather!

Ash, I've learned the same lesson too! Took me some trial and error to learn that.

Helen, that's precisely what I am looking to gain from challenges. I've noticed that I've joined a few easy challenges - time to prioritize.

Linna, thank you so much! I sure had a wonderful birthday! :)

Emidy, that challenge sure sounds good to me too! I can't wait to get cracking!
Lisa said…
I'll bet you do feel good getting so much done on the thesis! You'll be done before you know it!
Michelle said…
If you are feeling comfortable with your thesis at this point in time, the rest of the month will be a breeze for you! How exciting to be almost done!!

Popular posts from this blog

Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri (Short Fiction Review)

I first read Jhumpa Lahiri years ago, when her Interpreter of Maladies was making a huge buzz. At the time, I didn't catch any of the buzz, but for some reason, when I saw the book on the shelf at the store I was browsing in, I felt it just might be a decent read. Funnily, I read the entire short story collection without complaining about it, but for some reason, I cannot read any collection anymore without agonizing over its disjoint nature.

I did enjoy Interpreter of Maladies, but I did get bothered by the thread of loneliness and infidelity and distrust that laced through the stories. For that reason, I have been reluctant to read Unaccustomed Earth. However, when I came across Hell-Heaven at the NewYorker - a free short story from her book, I decided to go ahead and read it. I can't resist the pull of stories set in India or featuring Indian characters, and it is that same aspect that hooked me throughout this story.


In Hell-Heaven, the narrator contemplates the relations…

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
Bernadette Fox has a reputation. While her husband and her daughter Bee love her, there's barely anyone else who share the sentiment. Her neighbor Audrey loves to gossip mean things about her with her close friend, Soo-Lin. The other parents of kids at Bee's school look down on Bernadette because she doesn't involve herself in school affairs. Bernadette herself goes out of her way to avoid company.

And then one day, Bee comes home with an excellent report card and asks for her reward - a family trip to Antarctica. The very plan throws Bernadette into a panic but she has no other option. She hires a virtual assistant, based out of India to take care of all her demands, including getting prescriptions at her local pharmacy, doing her online shopping and taking care of some of the logistics of her trip. (It is ridiculous! Bern…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Fiction review)

With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.

In contemporary America, villagers across the country are gathering on the 27th of June (and some a day earlier) for an annual event called the Lottery. Children, women, men, all come to the main square of their village or town, where the lottery master keeps a black box full of paper chips. One of these chips is marked has a special mark on it to identify the winner (the person who draws that chip). Not everyone draws however, but only the head of the family. Husbands are viewed as the head of their families/households, and if the …