I share optimistic & constructive books from writers committed to excellence in litterature. My favorites books leave me with a sense of lightness and freedom in my heart. "To love is to act" (Victor Hugo)
Although ‘The Sacrifice’ is the name of the last story in this collection, a common theme of self-sacrifice runs through all three short stories. Well, not ‘short’ exactly; each story runs about 70 pages, so I call them ‘long’ short stories. Even ‘longer’, because the characters and their stories kept running inside my head for a long time, as I kept imagining alternative endings. What could have happened, if the chain of events turned this way, instead of the way they turn in the stories now?
The unifying theme of self-sacrifice running through these stories is one of my prized personal values for sure, but what hooked me the most are the situations the author has chosen to demonstrate this theme. These situations are so unique and so specific, yet rendered so alive by the rich, palpable details that I could actually feel the events happening around me! I could remain bonded with the characters, even though their circumstances are so different from mine, simply because the feelings I shared with them were the ones I have already experienced before in my own life. These feelings are truly universal in the sense that they hold good even in the extreme conditions depicted in these stories.
These stories spring no doubt from our contemporary society, but what makes them striking are their character’s expansive outlook on the whole, reflected through their unique style of acting, speaking, and thinking. The dazzling details are highly anchored in reality; the line of tension is so taut and emotions are so grabbing that I remained under their spell long after I turned the last page. I have never felt so awake reading another literary fiction of our days.
I also realized after I set the book aside that the author has done a subtle but powerful job in bringing the theme organically out from inside these stories. By that I mean the author never imposes his values directly on the story; rather, he lets those values emerge from the events of the story only. It’s his subtlety and discretion that I think gives him a unique power in evoking his theme. Through his storytelling alone, he turned me from one side to another, made me laugh and cry as I went along, and at the end it’s me who made the decision on the theme.
And, the theme became my personal value!
I call that artful writing.
In the third story, ‘The sacrifice’, the strain on the grandfather and the grandson tugged at my heart, kept me on the edge with hope till the end, and rewarded me with liberation and uplifting. This is my favorite one !!!!"
I have read the second story ! In ‘The Listener’, I was torn between mother and son, then was swept away by the son’s self sacrifice to save their home.
I have already read the first short story : ‘The Move’ !!! I was touched by the extent the father goes to save his son, but what jolted me the most was the unexpected, exceptional feat of the son.
I can't wait to read the second one !!
I read this book to understand homeopathy, once I was introduced to this form of medicine by a doctor in France, when I had repeated stress-related eczema and allergies. The traditional allopathic medicine treat those with Cortisones, which destroy our immunity and metabolism over the long-term. On the contrary, the homeopathic medicine this doctor gave me worked wonderfully, and left me with absolutely no side effects.
The beginning of the treatment was fearsome though, as the medicine actually aggravated my symptoms. Scared, I called the doctor, and he explained that it was a normal course in homeopathy: the medicine aggravates the symptoms slightly at first, before healing it for ever. That's why the medicine is called 'homeo', it takes the organism in the direction of the disease, in order to activate the body's own healing mechanism. The fact that my symptoms aggravated slightly at first was the sign that the medicine was the right one for my condition.
That really intrigued me. So I started looking on internet, and discovered that the father of this medicine, Samuel Hahnemann, is actually buried in Paris. He had to leave Germany because his ideas were so contrary to the allopathic medicine.
When I read his book, all made so much sense to me. Particularly, his point that excess in everything (food, alcohol, sex, sleep, work…) is at the root of all chronic diseases.
A powerful spiritual experience, coming from an author still alive!!
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the author took refuge in France, was living in an inner city project housing at the time he got the Nobel Prize.
A deeply enriching story of his journey, which is at the same time entertaining. A powerful combination of depth and lightness. I haven't come across a chronicle of journey like this for a long time. It fits so well with his Nobel Prize speech, in wisdom and modesty.
My employer placed me in an intense internal conflict on a day, between my job and accompanying my husband to America for something very important. I reached a point when the conflict became unbearable, but then I remembered this quote from 'The Seeker of Well-Being' by Indrajit Garai:
“External conflicts we can avoid, resolve, or manage. But, when it comes to internal conflicts, there is only one viable option: resolve. Whatever internal conflict, major or minor, we don't resolve will grate within us nonstop.
Fortunately, we can resolve all our internal conflicts with one simple strategy: Act the way it feels right, no matter how inconvenient the consequences are.”
For me, my husband is far more important than my job. So, I looked at my employer in her eyes and told her: "I will be in that plane with my husband on that day, and nothing can stop me." She looked at me in the eyes, and let me go on that trip.
A Bonus: Since that day, this employer has a lot more respect for me.
A special thank to this wonderful book ..
I've read a good number of books with protagonists as dogs, but only in these two books I can really see the world from a dog's point of view.
True, the stories are violent, but that goes with the setup of the north. But the details are so realistic, and growth so credible. I really had the impression of traveling to that northland, and living with these dogs, day by day.
For both these stories, the ends are expansive and inspirational. They left my heart rich yet light!
I read this book to understand the basis of our modern allopathic medicine (because Hippocrate is considered as the father of modern medicine), when the allopathic doctors were having troubles to treat my allergies.
It seemed to me that the only wisdom that the modern medicine has kept from this learned man is his sermon, which is used even today to swear in the doctors for their profession.
In any case, I really loved the chapters 'Regimens in acute diseases', 'The sacred Disease', 'Dreams', 'The Nature of Man', and particularly 'A Regimen for Health'.
The practice of medicine today would be so different if the medical profession had adhered to the wisdom of Hippocrate, and not yielded to the pressure of finance.
What happened Friday night in Paris was about to send me into a severe depression, but I recalled how I’ve decided to take charge of my emotions, by reading optimistic & constructive books. So, Saturday morning I started to read this book again, and, within an hour, it lifted my spirit.
A quote from this book that fits well to the disaster in Paris, and has given me the strength to see the event in a different light:
'Emergencies send sparks to the darkest corners of us. They wake up our hormones and neurotransmitters. They remove the rust from our body and mind, and they show us we can still handle crises with poise.
Emergencies push us to our limits. At those limits, the best inside us comes out. The eyes of our mind open, exceptional vision occurs to us, and we have a chance to become extraordinary.'
That's what is amazing about the eternal and universal wisdoms contained in such constructive books: they fundamentally change our perspective on life, so we become autonomous to take charge of our emotions, and move on by taking proactive actions.
A gem of Indian Philosophy.
My favorite was the Epic Period. Really well-written and well-commented.
I think Radhakrishnan was once the President of India. Almost unbelievable that a politician can have such philosophical depth. Shows how much India values wisdom of a man.
I read this book to understand the meaning of 'Soul', from a Western point of view, after I've read quite a few books on this subject from the East.
The chapter 'De Anima' in this book does a great job in illuminating this, if one takes the patience to read through it, and if one remembers that it was Aristotle who developed the notion of rhetorics in the first place.
It's a dense but complete read, not only one the subject of soul, but also on everything, from Physics to Medicine to Politics!! It's amazing how a man can be so versatile, and can have insight into so many truths.