Thursday, January 11, 2007

I figure it is easy to just blame the infuriatingly slow Internet connection for the lack of entries on my blog but the truth is all I have been up to lately is reading books and watching movies with microwave popcorn to boot, all within the confines of my comfort zone. Yes much to my kuripot (cheap) consternation, my parents gave my sister and me a microwave oven for Christmas. The fact that our electric bill would hit the roof this month doesn't deter me from popping those corn kernels. Heh

One of my unofficial New Year's resolutions is to read more books. I have decided to document them here on my blog so I will know for sure the total number of books I read for 2007.

Book # 1 - "In the Walled Gardens" by Anahita Firouz.
A fascinating novel about a privileged family living in Teheran during a crucial period in Iran's history. The setting is in the mid 70s when turmoil was festering in the back alleys. The Revolution which eventually toppled the Shah of Iran was slowly creeping through the disillusioned society.

The story of the Mosharraf family is narrated by their daughter Mahastee and also through the eyes of Reza, whose father worked as the family's household employee. This is the first time I came across a novel with two characters recounting the chapters alternately.

It is a profound glimpse into a social divide which existed in Teheran but it could have been set anywhere in the world and it would still resonate well among the readers. A tale of contemporary history set in a vibrant country beset by a rich cultural past with an ill fated love story brewing within its pages.

Book # 2 - "Among the Heroes" by Jere Longman.
I am currently reading this harrowing account of the last moments of the passengers & crew of United 93 who fought back against the hijackers.

It is interesting to note that the author posted the pictures of the passengers and crew so I can put a face to the person as Jere Longman wrote about the details of their life. He gave well researched background information about each of them. Describing their professions, their relationship with their families and the reason why they were on that specific flight on that fateful day. Needless to say it sends shivers down my spine when I come across the chapters where the passengers started calling their loved ones to say farewell.

I cannot recall the number of times I had to put the book down and compose myself because it was just too much to read about people coming to terms with the fact that they would never see their parents, wives, husbands and kids again. The harrowing transcripts of their recorded phone conversations is heartbreaking and painful to absorb.

The author is a New York Times reporter who covered the story of Flight 93 from the ground in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. His book is the culmination of hundreds of interviews and months of investigative journalism.

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