The Way to the Cats (Israel)

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I admit that the cover of this book is not much to look at but now seeing it here on my post I understand why. The Way to the Cats by Yehoshua Kenaz was the book that I chose to read for Israel.

This book follows a woman named Mrs. Moscowitz and her stay in a rehabilitation hospital. It was not like any place that I have ever worked, and I have worked in rehab before. I do not know if this is a culture based variance or not. However, the patients all did their own laundry, and then gave gratuities to the staff to help them with their care.

To be honest I did not like Mrs. Moscowitz. I don’t know if this is because I have worked with people like her or if she was written to be unlikeable. I found her to be rude, selfish, judgmental and a liar. She is in there for a broken leg/hip it is never really explained what she broke. She refuses physical therapy, calls the nurses names, and then when one of her roommates goes to another hospital she moans about who will do her laundry. In this unnamed building she blames everyone for her misfortune.

This is not a bad book, I just did not like the protagonist and so it is had to write a review that is not biased. Having said that if I were teaching a nursing class this would be required reading. There is a dementia patient in there who wanders, men who are looking for “love”, manipulative staff, and a general feeling of loneliness and fear.

The title of the book did not make sense until the last few chapters after Mrs. Moscowitz got back to her apartment, and then it all had to do with Betty. Someone who lives across the court yard, who they have only ever met on the phone.

QUOTES

“‘It’s not a place for anyone,’ said Mrs. Moscowitz and smiled sadly. ”

“Her lips parted to say something, but she immediately regretted it, looked around, leaned over the table, put her head close to Mrs. Moscowitz and whispered confidentially: ‘Once I was a human being.'”

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In a Forest, a Deer (India)

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Yes, I know I already read a book for India, but this one is short stories and fiction and India is a big country. In a Forest, a Deer by Ambai was an amazing read. This group of short stories in one way or another was all about journeys.

The journeys were all over the place, some were emotional, physical, coming of age, and spiritual. There was even a story about death and suicide, that was a sad one.

Most of the stories in this book feature female protagonists, however one really surprised me. That one titled “One and Another” is about a gay couple and the remembrances of the surviving partner. This is a sad one.

At times the stories had a fable type read to them, others abstract, but in each one there was something. That is what makes short stories so hard, if one finds a set of great stories there is not enough space to talk about them all.

In these religion or spirituality plays a big roll, there is always the mention of one god or another. The neat thing was, they were included in a way that fit each story and not shoved down your throat like authors who put Christ in their books have a tendency to do.

QUOTES

“‘Whoever is by your side, it is you alone who must die,’ Arulan replied.” -One and Another

“All she looked for were only small miracles.” –  Glow

“She wondered why something that seemed perfectly all right when done by a man seemed like an act of madness when done by a woman instead?” – Unpublished Manuscript

Photos

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Each one of my post just have a picture of the book that I am reading. It is just a basic well, mug shot of the book. I am tempted to play with the books that I read and take more personal picture of the book. One with better lighting or background. This would involve more work for me but it just might be doable. I will have to see how much time I have to set something up and take the picture.

My time is very full, on average I watch 4 hours of TV a week. That’s two TV shows and a rented DVD. I have a full time job with a commute that is about 1.5 hours one way, I know I hate that. I am training for a 206 mile bike ride in July. That is the STP or Seattle to Portland. Right now I am on the short rides this week it will be a total of 40 miles. That is 10, 10 and 20 miles a day.

Oh, then there is day to day life stuff. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of the pets, and just what gets in the way. Oh, and I do take a day a month and just go and do landscape photography. I am a busy person. So, no promises but I will give it a try, and get my own pictures up here.

Christ Stopped at Eboli (Italy)

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First I need to apologize on the lateness of this book, two weeks ago I had oral surgery and just felt icky. I did not want to do anything but sleep and stare at the wall.

Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi is to date the oldest book that I have read for this adventure. Published in 1947 it tells of the year he spent in as a political prisoner in the town of Gagliano.

After I read the book I went on Goodreads to read the reviews from others what they thought of this book. Many of them were four or five stars. I think they read a different book then I did.

First off I thought this was a work of fiction as that is what I wanted to read. It was only after I Goggled the town of Gagliano that I found out this was a memoir. The author never states why he is a prisoner, I had to look that up too. Turns out he was an out spoken non-fascist in a fascist government. I spent as much time Goggling things in this book that I did as reading it.

For a memoir I felt that the author spent more of the time on introspection then what the book is famous for. I was in reading this book very surprised at how undeveloped the village was for the late 1930’s. I had to force myself to read this book, and that is never a good thing, it thrown my reading off.

One thing in my Google of this book that I found interesting was that they made this into a movie. I do not thing I will be watching this movie.

QUOTES

“A prisoner may find greater consolation in a cell with romantic, heavy iron bars than in one that superficially resembles a normal room.”

“Here the peasants did not sing.”

Monsoon Diary (India)

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The full title of this books is Monsoon Diary a Memoir with Recipes by Shoba Narayan. With this book should come the warning ‘DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE HUNGERY!” OMG all the food that she wrote about, and all of the recipes in there. I was going to make some but I took the book back to the library before I could. That was my mistake.

I have to explain something before I get started on my thoughts on this book. I had ordered another book from the library to be my India book, then I found this one while browsing. So, I have decided that as India is a big place I will read two books for it. Now, that that is said on to what I thought about the book.

This book covers the authors life from eating first foods to marriage, and each story has its own recipe. She talks about street food, food her mom cooked, items her grandmother made and all of it sounds so tasty.

I read this about a week ago and I honesty do not remember much on her life growing up. I do remember that her marriage was arranged, but not in the way that I would have thought. Her family picked out someone for her to meet, and if they did not get along the family would keep looking. Ram, her future husband lives here in the United States, and they formed a friendship before getting married.  From everything that we here in the news, I had assumed that all the arraigned marriages were forced.

Shoba, at the time of her marriage was an adult. She had gone to college, spent time here in the States. She was in no way a child. This is something else that we hear in the news. I did not know that there were also arranged adult marriages.

QUOTES

“There is a Tamil word, paasam, which refers to bonds of blood that are nurtured by time into a irrational, all-consuming love.”

“The most important thing when traveling by train in India is not the location of our seat, whether you have confirmed tickets or even your destination. The crucial element is the size of your neighbor’s tiffin carrier.”