Tinkers by Paul Harding

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I have made several attempts to read this book since it was first published in 2009. I tried Kindle version first; didn’t work. I tried my American first edition version; didn’t work. I bought a paperback version; didn’t work so I donated it to Salvation Army shop. And I’m thinking of doing the same thing with the first edition one even though Paul Harding is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and I actually collect first edition books!

Let me tell you, Paul Harding’s prose is one of a kind. It’s seriously good writing. Even though I loved the plot, I was so bored. In the end, I found it very difficult to get going. You know why? Because, Tinkers lacks spark, for Buddha’s sake! It’s dull. You feel like as if the story takes place in a sterile environment like a laboratory even though certain parts of the story happen in the countryside.

I think I should leave my review right here…

P. S.: If anyone wants an American first edition of this book (brand new), just let me know. Hurry up, though.

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The Shaman in Stilettos by Anna Hunt

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the shaman in stilettos

I picked up this book on the day I had my hair appointment. Even though I had Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit with me, it wasn’t what I felt like reading while some kind of horrible music Nathan would be playing in the background. So, I popped in to Salvation Army shop to check to find something more exciting and relevant to the story I am working on these days.

I was just about to give up, a book caught my eye: The Shaman in Stilettos by Anna Hunt. It’s about a high powered journalist woman who used to interview celebrities in London and working for a high calibre newspaper. It’s about her journey in Peru and meeting a shaman there. In this shaman’s retreat, she connects with her feminine wisdom.

The manageress of Salvation Army was at the cash register. I told her, pointing at the book: “Something to read at the hairdresser.” She handed me the receipt and told me “Here’s your bookmark, Darling. Now go and get beautiful!”

 

Creative Wisdom for Writers by Roland Fishman

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Ray Bradbury says that: “In quickness is truth. The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth [having].” And, I am getting ready to blurt out fast during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the third time.

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Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

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sadako

Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes was recommended by an author friend of mine whose recommendations are incredibly valuable for me. It’s such a sad story of a little girl, Sadako, who died of leukaemia in Japan years after the bombing of Hiroshima.

My highlights from the book:
At breakfast Sadako noisily gulped down her soup and rice. Masahiro began to talk about girls who ate like hungry dragons.

The two had been friends since kindergarten. Sadako was sure that they would always be as close as two pine needles on the same twig.

After speeches by Buddhist priests and the mayor, hundreds of white doves were freed from their cages. They circled the twisted, scarred Atomic Dome. Sadako thought the doves looked like spirits of the dead flying into the freedom of the sky.

When the candles were burning brightly, the lanterns were launched on the Ohta River. They floated out to sea like a swarm of fireflies against the dark water.

At midnight she was in her cosy bed quilts when the temple bells began to chime. They were ringing out all the evils of the old year so that the new one would have a fine beginning.

It’s supposed to live for a thousand years. If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

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I didn’t like the sequel to The Rosie Project mainly because I didn’t like who Rosie became; pregnant and difficult. So not my kind of book. It’s a shame because I really enjoyed the first one.

the rosie effect

Highlights:

My reflections were interrupted by Rosie emerging from the bedroom wearing only a towel. This was my favourite costume, assuming ‘no costume’ did not qualify as a costume.

Nobody asks if Freud checked the use-by date on the milk.

It was incredible that two such dissimilar people had become a successful couple.

Without people like me, we would not have penicillin or computers.

It was a reaction to irrationality, but the reaction itself was irrational.

… had learned that, in marriage, reason frequently had to take second place to harmony.

After the most basic physical requirements are satisfied, human happiness is almost independent of wealth.

‘You know, you may get away with it. Rosie’s a rusted-on feminist, so philosophically she wants you to wear a skirt, but she also thinks she’s Superwoman. Independence is an Australian female trait. She’ll want to do it all.’

‘I don’t care. I’m pregnant. You get cravings. It’s normal.’ Normal had clearly been redefined.

I was in need of Gene’s skills, but his skills were a result of his personality which I was not in need of.

Dishonesty was part of the price of being a social animal, and of marriage in particular.

It all seemed straightforward, and I wondered why the Dean had bothered to involve me. But observing the actual research would provide the perfect background for fatherhood, provided I considered myself equivalent to a lesbian secondary carer. The research itself would clarify whether that identification was valid.

It would be like trying to explain genetics without mentioning DNA.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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the rosie project

I’ve been wanting to read The Rosie Project for some time. I even got myself a library card for the sake of reading it but I just didn’t. When I found a second-hand copy of it at Salvation Army shop, I thought, it was time…

It was witty and the lead character reminded me of a few people. Actually, he is a combination of a geek friend (that’s Don’s pleasantly cute side of his personality), my editor-in-chief back in Turkey (who takes notes whilst watching a movie, like Don, even if he’s watching it at a theatre and it’s dark) and a Russian guy whom I met recently but do not have plans of catching up again (this person, of course, representing Don’s unpleasant side).

I have just bough the sequel: The Rosie Effect. That’ll be interesting.

Here’s my favourite bits and pieces from the book:

All ice-cream tastes essentially the same, due to chilling of the tastebuds. This is especially true of fruit flavours.

Her red hair was spiky like some new species of cactus.

But I’m not good at understanding what other people want.’
‘Tell me something I don’t know,’ said Rosie for no obvious reason.
I quickly searched my mind for an interesting fact.
‘Ahhh…The testicles of drone bees and wasp spiders explode during sex.’

If you really love someone,’ Claudia continued, ‘you have to be prepared to accept them as they are. Maybe you hope that one day they get a wake-up call and make the changes for their own reasons.

Restaurants are minefields for the socially inept.

How can you tell if someone is a vegan? Just wait ten minutes and they’ll tell you.

Why do we focus on certain things at the expense of others? We will risk our lives to save a person from drowning, yet not make a donation that could save dozens of children from starvation.

Standardised Meal System
1. No need to accumulate recipe books.
2. Standard shopping list—hence very efficient shopping.
3. Almost zero waste—nothing in the refrigerator or pantry unless required for one of the recipes.
4. Diet planned and nutritionally balanced in advance.
5. No time wasted wondering what to cook.
6. No mistakes, no unpleasant surprises.
7. Excellent food, superior to most restaurants at a much lower price (see point 3).
8. Minimal cognitive load required.

The first candidate was Dr Peter Enticott, who lived locally. The other, Alan McPhee, had died from prostate cancer, which was good news for Rosie, as, lacking a prostate gland, she could not inherit it. Apparently he had been an oncologist, but had not detected the cancer in himself, a not-uncommon scenario. Humans often fail to see what is close to them and obvious to others.

The Porsche would be the perfect vehicle to lend to someone you did not like.

I was not sure how well I could imitate a regular human being, but I agreed to the walk.

‘You gave him alcohol?’ I presumed this was in violation of his personal or religious standards.
‘Maybe he’ll miss out on his seventy-two virgins.’
I was familiar with this religious theory. My public position, as negotiated with the Dean, is that I regard all non-science based beliefs as having equal merit. But I found this one curious.

Feel! Feel, feel, feel! Feelings were disrupting my sense of well-being.

I am perfectly happy to detect, recognise and analyse emotions. This is a useful skill and I would like to be better at it.

I diagnosed brain overload and set up a spreadsheet to analyse the situation.

My concern was more with social faux pas. It would be terrible to lose the perfect relationship because I failed to detect sarcasm or looked into her eyes for greater or less than the conventional period of time.

I had an immediate negative reaction to him. I am generally not competent at assessing other humans, except through the content of their conversation or written communication.

‘You want to share a taxi?’ asked Rosie.
It seemed a sensible use of fossil fuel.

We had both drunk a substantial quantity of champagne, and alcohol is notorious for encouraging unwise decisions about sex.

‘The one time you think before you speak is the one time you shouldn’t have.’

Freyberg is not fine. But if it’s Freyberg it would explain why my mother kept mum. No pun intended.

I now believe that virtually all my problems could be attributed to my brain being configured differently from those of the majority of humans.

Take notice of your emotions as well as logic. Emotions have their own logic.

‘You’re in a different place, you’re in different clothes. When the medieval pilgrims used to arrive at Santiago after walking hundreds of kilometres they burned their clothes to symbolise that they’d changed. I’m not asking you to burn your clothes—yet.

My original schedule specified a steakhouse, but now that we were in the pattern of eating together, I would need to select a restaurant suitable for a sustainable-seafood-eating ‘vegetarian’.

I didn’t have years. But I am a quick learner and was in human-sponge mode.

Yılkı Atı by Abbas Sayar

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yilki ati

Gökten ne yağdı da yer kabul etmedi?

Oğlum İbraam, ‘’it kapıdan zabın gerek’’ demiş büyükler. Sen bunlara bir fırsat verirsen alimallah derini yüzüp içine saman doldururlar. Bak, bir çift demirini tarlada bırakamazsın deyyusların yüzünden. Kömsen, solucan olup toprağın altına girerler. Bulmadan geri çıkmazlar.

Para şahine benzer. Gökten alimallah turnayı indirir.

Bu deyyuslar ki, bir burun demirine tenezzül ederler, yedi kat yerin altına gömsen, remil attırır, cinlerle bir olurlar.

Küfül küfül yel yalasın her bir yönünü… Emme böyle gâvur bir yel değil, dinsiz bir yel değil. Bad-ı saba, limonata gibi bir yel…

Bakışı, tokat tokat, yumruk yumruk, tekme tekme gibiydi.

Acı yel, donuk sap tellerini oynatamıyordu. Her bir şeyin yüreğine inat düşmüştü.

Gecenin zulmüne alışmıştı. Yolu, yorgunluğu ömrü boyu sırtına yapışır görmüştü zaten…

Tokluk, hayatı düşündürür. Toklukla birlikte, hayatla olan bağlar artar, kavileşir. Tokluk bir gavur şeydir. İyi bir gavurluktur tokluk. Kini azaltır, hoş görürlüğü artırır.

Şimdi ahırın sıcaklığında mutluluk duyup geviş getiren hayvanlara gıpta duymadı. Aksine, onları küçük, zavallı görüyordu. Tayına acıyordu. Hem de iyisinden acıyordu. Bir kalbur saman, bir avuç arpanın kul kölesi olacaktı ömrü boyu… Kimse ‘’Ananın hatırı var’’ demiyecekti ona… Yaa, doğrusu anasının da iyi, saygıdeğer bir hatırı vardı. Böyle bir hatırı olduğu için ihtiyarlığında yazı yabana bırakılmıştı. Sırtında buz oturuyordu. Yel kafir kafir yalıyordu karın boşluğunu…

Hepsi saman düşmanı, ot, arpa düşmanı gözden düşükler. Hepsi bu yıl başlarının çaresine bakacak altı at. Bu yılın yılkılıkları…

At yıkan kurt, şimdi güçlü bir atın çiftesiyle hikayesini kapıyordu.

Allah acı bir tokat olmalı. Her kim ki kötü bir amel peşinde, indirmeli şamarı…

Hiç iyi olsun, iflah olsun diyen olmaz. Hep davulun tersini vururlar.

Eskiler ne demiş? At yedi günde, it yediği günde…

Isıtıcı ışık ile birlikte beyaza bulanmış dünyaya, umudu insanların yüreklerine aktarıyor, keder pılını pırtısını raflara kaldırıyordu.

Kazanda olsa kepçede çıkardı.

Köylü milletinin ikramı, acıkana yumurta, müjdeciye tavuk.

Hoş bir nisan sabahıydı yine. Güneş, kepçe kepçe umut dağıtıyordu.