Sunday, November 21, 2010

Woulda Tell Me a Story?

I’ve just finished reading Somerset Maugham’s magnificent novel The Painted Veil. It had all the elements that I love: character depth and raw emotions that literally made me want to go back home, curl up on the couch and continue devouring the story. But it’s strange that I came across this book; I curiously picked it up at a bookstore abroad after staying in a room the English author had resided in years ago. Another book that I occasionally voice my admiration for is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, a book that was given to me by a friend who was clearing out the clutter in her room. The 920-page book was close to impossible to finish but the intriguing story had the perfect amount of grit, humor, horror and humanity.

I’ve always found myself on some sort of quest for a “good book” I can sink my teeth into; when I told a close friend of mine about my dilemma of not having a solid guide for my reading needs, she cheerfully suggested I read Heather O’Neill’s Lullabies for Little Criminals, “It’s wonderful!” Well I read it and here’s my review: It stinks. Don’t read it. If you’ve bought it, then put on your economical hat and use it as TP. The whole sad story is about a twelve-year old Canadian girl who lives with her dad whose also a 20-something heroin addict. The girl eventually becomes a drug addict herself and a prostitute as well. I don’t mind depressing stories but this book was pure misery. So was Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed, the highly anticipated sequel of her successful Eat. Love. Pray. I’ll just say this: Committed is the only book that I have deliberately left behind on the plane after I finished reading it during my travels this summer. It had the same pointlessness as the movie “Eat. Pray. Love” or as I called it, Eat. Pray. Barf.

I think it’s obvious that I won’t ever purchase a book from with a title like How to Become a Productive Person in 10 Days. I buy books that have a story I can get lost in, a good one with great characters that make me think of them as real, living people and writing that makes me wince, tear up or laugh out loud. Something heavier than a beach read a la The Kite Runner; I wouldn’t call that a good book. Maybe it’s a nice and sweet one like Radisson SAS’ chocolate mousse; however, the mousse is more memorable.

Based on the above, what books have you read (or are reading) that would you recommend?

MP3’s for your ears…

Ella Fitzgerald - Sentimental Journey

Frank Sinatra - It Never Entered My Mind

Pat Boone - All I Do is Dream of You

Elvis Presley - Love Me Tender

at 8:30 AM 10 comments

Monday, November 08, 2010

Question of the Day: What’s with the pseudo-workaholic syndrome?

I know someone who always responds the same way to anyone who asks him/her about how they are. “Oh my God I just came back from work! I am so exhausted! I think I’m going crazy” and the person would roll their eyes and exasperatingly look at their watch that just struck 9 PM. I’ve grown accustomed to such braggarts (especially those in investment; everyone knows you don't have squat since 2007) and how to dodge or discontinue their speech by diverting their attention and saying something like, “Oh wow. So did you hear about that new movie?” But I know a lot of people who, out of courtesy, curiosity or sometimes, mockery, would fuel their fire and say, “Mashallah, you don’t say?” The so-called workaholic’s face would momentarily light up before he/she wipes the imaginary sweat off their foreheads and resume their rant about their job, long and hard hours at work, catty colleagues, hateful management that cannot do anything right and other cringe-worthy situations. And this syndrome applies to everyone in the work force. I’ve heard it from people that regularly leave their job at 1:30 PM and others who scoot their office chair under their work desk a little bit after 10 at night. In other words, the syndrome does not single out one industry or the private vs. public sector. I’ve noticed that many people, regardless of their job’s nature, constantly need a pat on the back. They need to be acknowledged for their efforts by everyone they come across, glorified for their dedication and worshipped for their righteousness in everything that they do, in and out of work. Now I know some people who do put a lot of time and effort in their jobs and they do chuckle and tell their close acquaintances that they’re dealing with a large amount of work; however, they do not complain about their job and how they lose five kilograms a day because of all the work they do every single time you see them.

But to those who sound like a broken record in their self-important tirade, if you want to be appreciated for going to work, sitting at your desk and drafting a few emails, then you should go to someone who’s willing to hear you out like your parents; spare others the speech, spill it to the folks and have them tell you what a wonderful person you are and that any company would be lucky to have you.

MP3's for your ears...

Flying Lizards - Money (That's What I Want)

Prince - Cream

Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams Come True

The Smiths - How Soon is Now

A Flock of Seagulls - Space Age Love Song

at 8:30 AM 16 comments