Second book of 2019: Metamorphosis

Is this cheating as Metamorphosis is a really short book? It might be but, it’s okay J I am still happy I read it. I really enjoyed this novella and honestly it was a sad read. I have at times struggled with finding the time to read but, I have been really good for the past two weeks. I think it’s because I enjoy it so much. Although, I must admit that I have ignored some of my personal responsibilities to read which I need to be better about.

Book Name: Metamorphosis

Author: Franz Kafka

Rating:  4.5 / 5

Genre: Fiction

Summary:

This book is sad. I don’t get emotional about reading but, this book made me sad in more than one way. First, Gregor Samsa (the main character) in the novella is so relatable. He works hard to provide for his family. He has a vision in his head that he’s going to tell off his employer once he is financially stable and quit his job. Everything he does is to take care of his family. I relate to that in so many ways. I am the oldest in my family and in my short life – I have made sacrifices that most people probably do not have to make till later in their life. Gregor one day turns into a bug / cockroach which ends up changing his entire life and his relationship with his family. His family cannot bear to look at him and he becomes dispensable very quickly. His presence is mostly felt because his income isn’t coming in. This made me think of much labor is tied to a person’s identity. What are we without our work? What are we without labor defining us? Before, Gregor was a “travelling salesman” and a son who provided for his family but, after his transformation – he becomes nothing. His family slowly starts to resent him and even plans to get rid of him. In the end, Gregor passes away as a bug and his family moves on. His sister, the baby of the family, starts sprouting into a woman showing the end of one life and a beginning of another.

Overall, I really felt for Gregor. I think we all know how it feels to be excluded from a group at some point in our life. It also shows how his life plans ended before he could do anything about it. I imagine we all want to live our life a certain way and cannot do it because of limitations we put on ourselves.

Have you read the Metamorphosis? If so, what did you think about it?

First Book of 2019: God of Small Things

 

Yesterday, I finished my first book of 2019. I want to read 24 books this year and wanted to stay on track as much as I can at the beginning of the year. I don’t want to make it a chore as I really do love to read. I do want to make it a habit so, I have been reading for about 30 – 45 minutes each day. It’s one of the most peaceful / enjoyable part of my day J Reading was really helpful for my mental health last year so, this year – I hope to incorporate it to my daily habits. One thing I did notice last year is that it’s easy to read something and then forget about it right after you finish it so, I plan on writing a brief summary of what I read just as a reminder to myself. I won’t discuss the plot in the summaries to not ruin it for others J I will just cover the general theme / idea.

 

Book Name: Good of Small Things

Author: Arundhati Roy

Rating:  3.5 / 5

Genre: Fiction

 

Summary:

*Spoiler Alert* 

 

This is a fiction book written by Arundhati Roy. She’s an Indian author which made me interested in the book in the first place. I have really been trying to read more from writers with diverse backgrounds. My favorite author is also Rabindranath Tagore (who is also from India). Arundhati has a poetic way of writing her novel. I really enjoyed the novel being written in a perspective of children (twins) and the same twins when they are older. The book covers a variety of topic that are specific to India / other countries surrounding India: caste system, sociopolitical hierarchy based out of caste system (especially with some people being considered “untouchable”) and uprise of Maoist based regime (the communist party of India and some other countries surrounding India). It also covers other universal topics: forbidden love, a failed marriage, interracial / multicultural relationship, and twins.

The part of the novel that really stuck with me was how a woman leaves a home to escape abuse from her father and ends up in another abusive relationship. Cycle of life, I suppose. The same woman then struggles with going back home as well as falls in love with an “untouchable”. Her needs are considered taboo while her brother’s similar needs are valid and accepted part of life. The difference between the two genders are made very clear in the book and seems to fit the cultural setting of India. She feels liberated by sex and enjoys it but, since the person she is engaging in sex with is an “untouchable” – the matter becomes more taboo than it already is (a divorcee from an upper class background with kids in a sexual relationship with an “untouchable”).

Similarly, the dynamic between the twins is complex from the beginning. Through their narration, they keep referring them themselves as a part of a “whole”. They’re not “Us” or “Each Other” – they just are. They were together even before birth.  The twins are separated and grow into adulthood separately. They are reunited in the end while the novel unfolds and towards the end the twins engage in sex. It was the strange part of the novel for me but, I figured the author was trying to bring home the concept of their “oneness” which she refers to multiple times within the book. It also felt “appropriate” because they do not talk to each other until this moment.

This act of another “forbidden love” brings them together while they narrate their mother’s own forbidden love. They cannot be together or be accepted by larger society so, both their mother and the twins are limited to enjoying / celebrating the “small things” hence, the title of the book “God of Small Things”.

 

Have you read this book? If so, share your thoughts below.

If not, what books do you plan on reading in 2019?

 

 

Change

Is this the end of the year that is causing this feeling or is it just me? I have a strong inclination to change my life. Everything feels too familiar, comfortable, and close. I feel the need to be stripped away from who I am right now and start all over again. I feel the desire to get away from home, the same routine, the same job, and start fresh. Something feels missing. Something feels like it needs to be pulled away and ripped away from deep inside of me. Maybe it is sadness, maybe it is heartbreak, maybe it is old habits….whatever it is, I want to purge it out of my system. I want to escape somewhere new. I want to change my life. I want to get to a point where I feel free…and liberated and maybe even happy? I tell myself I am happy all the time. I am happy. I am grateful for what I have but, I cannot fight this need I feel for a new start. I imagine going home tonight after work and it makes me feel disgusted….not because there is anything wrong with my home. I love my home and my family but, just going to the same place makes me feel like my raw skin is exposed to the world. I feel like I cannot escape this sameness of everyday.

I looked for some ways I can change. Some new habits I can implement. I am writing it here so, maybe I will be inspired to do these things in the coming months.

  • Meditate: every self-help book, every motivational speaker, every corner of the internet has told me to meditate. I am so scared to be left alone with my thoughts that I avoid meditating. I am scared of my pain. I am getting more comfortable with this so, I will try to meditate at least 5 minutes per day. Even if I suck in the beginning – I will make it a habit.

 

  • Work out: I have been really good at working out and it has made my mental health much better. I will continue this trend and try to work out at least 15 – 20 days a month. Every other day.

 

  • Read: Reading has given me so many tools this year. I have really become a better person by just reading so, I will continue to read every day for 30 minutes.

 

  • Travel: This is a big one. It is so cliché but, I have been dying to travel. I think I need an escape and I know travelling has always soothed my soul. I have an intense desire to get away from it all. Go somewhere far way. I will travel at least 3 times. I will travel alone.

 

  • Gratitude: I will practice gratitude each day after work.

 

  • Work hard: Yes….changing your life requires hard work. I took the first step and signed up for a coding bootcamp this year so, I can finally transition out of my current job. I will practice coding every day for 3 hours for 6 months. 3 hours every single day with no excuses.

 

  • Less YouTube / Less Netflix: I will stop watching YouTube and Netflix mindlessly. I tracked my time on YouTube this week and by Thursday, I had spent 22 hours watching YouTube videos. That is almost an entire day. Granted, I listen to things on the background while I do work but, I could listen to positive things. Instead, I watch mind numbing negative content.

 

  • Stop Numbing Myself: Numbing comes in many forms…. For me, it is constant stimulation to the point that I cannot be alone. I need music, background noise, social media at all times to feel “okay”. I use all these to numb myself from how I am feeling. To completely disregard my emotions and thoughts. I need to STOP numbing. How can I do that? I am not really sure yet but, I think less time with mindless content and more time just being silent will help.

 

  • Mindful with Shopping: I have been spending A LOT of money. I think I use it as an escape. I think I use it to distract myself. I get a high whenever I get an Amazon prime delivery. My goal is to NOT spend any money on frivolous things for 3 months. That includes make-up, personal care items, and even books. I will buy a journal but, that is about it. No more spending sprees on Amazon. No more buying things when I am sad. No more spending money just because.

 

  • Move: Last one….I have an inclination to move. I hope it happens soon. I don’t know how or where….but, I want to MOVE away for at least a year.

 

 

Have you changed your life? If so, how did you do it?

 

Alma.