The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green.

the-patchwork-marriage

I wasn’t having high expectations when I picked this book up as this is my first Jane Green novel. However, I’m glad to say, it outdid my expectations.

I enjoyed this book especially because, the author changes the viewpoint of the reader half way through the novel. I enjoyed seeing things through the shoes of Emily which made me feel for her character more.

Patchwork marriage, as the title suggests, is about family, love, divorce, kids. And also, teenage pregnancy and all the drama that follows suit.

“Sometimes, leaving the ones we love is the only we can take care of ourselves, and it’s the hardest thing in the world to do, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.”

Rating: 3/5

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

“I’m in love with you,” he said quietly.

“Augustus,” I said.

“I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labour has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

“Augustus,” I said again, not knowing what else to say. It felt like everything was rising up in me, like I was drowning in this weirdly painful joy, but I couldn’t say it back. I couldn’t say anything back. I just looked at him and let him look at me until he nodded, lips pursed, and turned away, placing the side of his head against the window.

——–

I took a few breaths and went back to the page. “I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

——–

What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers. 

Above are my favourite parts from the book. This book easily makes it to my list of all-time favourite books alongside with Looking for Alaska also by John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The fault in our stars made me smile and cry at the same time at almost every instance. I strongly recommend this book to everyone and anyone. Please pick this novel up and lose yourself in John Green’s writing.

Having read this, now it’s time to re-read Looking for Alaska!

Rating: 5/5

Life lately.

I’ve been so consumed with work lately I’ve hardly had time to breathe. Whatever little free time I have ends up being spent recharging myself and sustaining my social life, which is rather non-existant these days. In some ways, I’m glad for the present. And at the other times, I wonder if this is where I wanna be. It might be too early to ask myself that given 2 weeks has barely passed. But right now, I’m happy.

Despite my all-consuming work, I’ve managed to get some reading done. I’ve re-read Priya Basil’s novel, The Obscure Logic Of The Heart. Apt novel to begin the year with. Anil’s and Lina’s love story always makes me draw parallels. When you ask a person in love/in a relationship, he/she is bound to say love conquers all. But, I always believed otherwise even when I fell in love. Love is not enough. It never is. The novel is such a bittersweet one, it leaves you wondering that sometimes, there is beauty even in tragedy. Well, I’d like to believe so. There can be happy heartbreaks. Right?

Some my favourite quotes from the novel.

“We all come with too much history to be remade entirely by love.”

“I don’t see the point of deferring happiness for some future promise of salvation.”

——

I’ve started on Natalie Taylor’s, Signs of life, which is a memoir of a wife dealing with the loss of her husband while she’s carrying his child. Her writing is so straight from her heart, like as if she didn’t censor her pain and her sadness to sound stronger or less weak (whichever applicable). It just feels so..real. Her loss.

My favourite lines from the novel so far.

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”

“Isn’t that almost an oxymoron, living with the pain of death.”

What have you been up to lately? I hope the new year has been treating you well!

bedugul_bali

On a side note, I’m going to Bali in May! Like freaking finally!

And my awesome retina display laptop deserves a companion. Kind of a Canon companion. (Hint! Hint!)

Happy weekend folks!

Do I have a problem?!

I’ve been coerced by so many to switch to e-books much to their vain. It will actually help me save a hell lot of money if you get to know how many books lie in my cupboard. All of which I’ve accumulated mostly in the last 1-2 years. I’ve exhausted my cupboard space that is shared between my siblings that I’ve no choice to spill my books over to my study table. Refer to the image below for the current situation at my household.

P.S. Please ignore the non-books among the mess.

And still, every now and then, I end up on Book Depository and ship more books to myself. Excuse me, but free delivery, how can I possibly resist? (THINK ASOS) Man, I seriously have a problem, don’t I?!

I enjoy the physical relationship I develop with my books very much. It makes me feel the characters a bit closer, deeper and helps me connect better with the author. The smell of the pages of a new book is like ecstasy for me. I can’t have that when I flip a page with a swipe of my finger on my Ipad or on a Kindle can I?

Please tell me I’m not alone in this? Pretty please.

On a side note, any book recommendations for me?

I’m currently reading this. Emily Giffin, you’ve got me hooked. Yet again.

What have you been reading lately?

The Perks of being a Wallflower.

When I heard that this book by Stephen Chbosky was going to be made in a movie, I was beyond thrilled! And doubly thrilled I had something to look forward to when I got back home after my Australia adventure!

Logan Lerman plays the character “Charlie” really well. He fits into the role of a misfit school kid who is trying to break free from himself, make friends and maybe even, fall in love, very well. He got me hooked with his quirky adolescence almost instantaneously. Ezra Miller who plays “Patrick” or should I say “Nothing” stood out to me particularly. More so then Emma Watson who fits perfectly into the character “Sam” – Charlie’s love interest. I liked Patrick in the movie more than in the book somehow, especially in the scenes when his mischief shines through to the audience so radiantly.

This bit below is from an entry back in November 2011.

Charlie, I saw so much of me in you. 

1. Wallflower

A person, usually in high school, who sees everything and knows everything that’s going on but doesn’t say a word. They aren’t loners, they are shy and don’t choose to be in the mix of things. A person nobody pays attention to, and fades into the background, but are really genuine and interesting people if you take the time to get to know them.

2. Wallflower

A person who see’s the world for what it really is, all the beauty and the ugly. Someone who knows life is only for the one who is not afraid to die and that joy is only for him who does not fear to be alone. These are the most amazing people you will ever meet and you will never, not even if you try, forget them.

3. Wallflower

Someone who isn’t necessarily shy, but never really tells you a lot about themselves. They observe almost everything and listen to everything you have to say without criticizing or judging. These people are often the most sincere, kind, and wonderfully interesting people, yet fail to be attractive to the opposite sex for some reason.

3 definitions that stood out to me then and still do now.

“Sam screamed the fun scream, and there it was. Downtown lights on

buildings and everything that makes you wonder.

Sam sat down and started laughing. Patrick started laughing.

I started laughing. and in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

This definitely is my favourite movie of the year! Please catch this in cinemas if you can and I hope you are in love with it as much as I am!

Charlie, you stole my heart in the last scene when you felt infinite as “The Tunnel Song” (Heroes by David Bowie) played in the background.

Other lines from the movie that tugged a chord within.

“So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”

“We didn’t talk about anything heavy or light. We were just there together. And that was enough”

“You can’t just sit there and put everyone’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.”

“I want to make sure that the first person you kiss loves you. Okay?”

“It was the kind of kiss I could never tell my friends about out loud. It was the kind of kiss that made me know I was never so happy in my whole life.”

Randy Pausch, a Man that humbles me.

I’m glad while I was growing up my desires to buy a new toy (though I don’t recall ever wanting a toy till I kicked a fuss and crying) or clothes and everything else were not put down with an answer along the lines of “there is no money this month to afford it, maybe next month”. Instead, they were often reasoned by logic as to whether I really need it, for how long would I use it till I get bored of it and so on. And often, the end result of all this ended up in me walking away silently, hoping my long face would do the trick. I might have spent a hour or two or at most a day brooding over the fact that my wants always got evaluated with my needs. No surprise the latter always won the tug of war. Plus, my long face didn’t do the trick in case you were wondering. Though sometimes, my dad did try to bribe me with alternatives. What he does best till today, I must add.

So anyway that aside, back to where I was, this bit from the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch humbles me each time I read it or remember it. The first time I read the paragraph, I re-read it just to let it sink abit deeper inside me.

Randy Paush with his family

Randy Paush was diagnosed of pancreatic cancer in Sep 06 and discovered in Aug 07 that he had “3 to 6 months of good health left”. He then gave a lecture titled “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” which was a raving hit on Youtube. This led him to co-authoring the book, The Last Lecture which he wanted to leave behind for his 3 kids. A legacy of life lessons.

Importance of people instead of things. He told a story of buying new convertible that he was so proud of and taking niece and nephew for a ride. Randy’s sister, the kid’s mother was telling them how important it was to keep car pristine and kids were laughing because at the same time he was pouring a can of orange soda on the back seats. His sister asked what are you doing and he said “it’s just a thing.” And nephew Chris wound up being really grateful because he had flu and wound up throwing up on way home. “And I don’t care how much joy you get out of owning a shiny new thing; it’s not as good I felt from making sure that an 8 year old didn’t have to feel guilty for having the flu.”

Randy Pausch lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008 at the age of 47.

We are often get so caught up in our material pursuits that we lose sight of the things that actually matter. The simple things we have and often take for granted.

Self-help books always inspire me in so many ways. I gain so much knowledge even if it’s not about quantum physics or human anatomy. I get reminded of the small things that we often forget, I often forget, in the rat chase for everything else. I pause a minute, to take a breath, listen to my breath, smile and then continue reading.

Our wants are always going to be a never-ending list. The number 10 item in our wish list will be 10 times more expensive then the number 1 item. You’re forgetting the list tends to infinity. We are never going to be satisfied with what we have. Show me a millionaire who claims he’s satisfied with the money he has made and is going to devote his time to charity instead of business. Yes, probably the noble few out of the many who has grown sick to wealth or has his days numbered. Every other millionaire featured in Straits Times Invest column every Sunday and probably the Forbes magazine would reply that “there is no retirement for me cause I love what I’m doing.” That’s bullshit. You’re telling me he’s not getting the high from printing money. That he isn’t equating money with happiness.

We often think money can buy us happiness. We’re mistaken. Money buys us things. You’re going to be clothed even if you wear a $20 dress or a $5000 dress.

Money vs happiness. Let’s not allow the former to win the tug of war.

I’m done after this 2 excerpts from Life’s Little Detours by Regina Brett.

Every so often, I want to borrow someone else’s life. I take a sneak peek at some other woman’s journey and want to try on her shoes and walk around in them. I stare at my feet and compare my shoes to hers. Hers look prettier, sexier, hipper and way more comfortable. Of course, I have no idea how those shoes actually feel on her feet, only how I think they would look and feel on mine.

It’s easy to compare my insides to other people’s outsides and come up short. Every so often I get a blunt reminder of how my problems are really my greatest gifts.

A few years back, I attended a function of hundreds of movers and shakers in Cleveland. I felt intimated surrounded by a roomful of powerful mayors, congress members, business executives and judges. They all looked smarter, richer, and more important than I’d ever be.

One judge came up to me to talk. She was bright, rising star in the community. She asked me if I had children. I took out the photo that I keep tucked in my wallet of my daughter in her wedding gown. The judge studied the picture of my daughter sitting next to me in that poof of white tulle. Her eyes grew misty. “I don’t have any children,” she whispered. “I had five miscarriages. I wanted a child so badly. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a daughter.”

She touched the photo to her cheek and closed her eyes, as if to soak up the kiss of motherhood, an imprint she could feel but never experience.

Every time I look at that picture, I feel newly blessed.

———–

What do I need?
Nothing.
What do I have?
Everything.

I’m not going to be a saint and start give up all my worldly pleasures and subscribe to the answers of this two questions. But, I want this to be a reminder to myself the next time I unknowingly fall into the trap of thinking that a higher paying job, a new bag, more flattering clothes, perfect body coupled with hair or a new gadget is going to make me happier. Only I can determine my own happiness, no one else. And, nothing else.

The best kind of letter.

I suppose there was a reason why I hadn’t waited, till I finished the entire book before posting my previous entry. This letter deserves a post on it’s own.

Wendy Walker – Producer of Larry King Live

“Not getting pregnant will be the best thing that ever happens to you.”

Dear Wendy,

I know this has been a difficult few years for you. I am sure you thought that since your body seemed so fit and young on the outside, everything on the inside was going to work, too. And I know the disappointment you feel every time you find out it hasn’t worked. I know how you always just expected to get pregnant. You never thought if, you only thought when. I know you wanted to run home and say those two words: “I’m pregnant.”

You wanted to watch your stomach grow and laugh about the foods that made you sick and those you just craved and had to go out and get at 11:30 at night. You wanted to rush to the hospital and have your baby placed on your chest. You wanted to cry with joy and love for a little creature that was yours. And right now, that doesn’t look like it is going to happen, does it?

I saw your sadness at Christmas when it didn’t happen. And I heard your heart break when your sweet doctor called again with the news that it is unlikely you will carry a child. I remember the night you finally said you could not go through the process again, and I know you felt so alone.

I want to take this pain away from you. I hate to see you so sad.

I want to tell you that not getting pregnant will be the best thing that ever happens to you. It is a profound gift from the best energy in the universe. The stars will line up perfectly to bring you your gifts.

You will receive two amazing children, a boy and a girl. You will be with your daughter when she is born. She will be as beautiful inside as she is out. All the nurses will say she is the most beautiful baby they have ever seen. She will laugh like you and pout like you. She will have the spirit of an angel and the gentleness of a colt. Everyone will love her because her heart is so pure. She will be kind to everyone and you will not hear an unkind word spoken about her.

She will be embarrassed when you dance in the car while driving her to school and she will come to you when she has a private question. You will be so happy you didn’t get pregnant. Because this child will fill your life so full of love that you will thank God every day that somehow it was just meant to be. She was meant to be yours.

And then you will be brought another little soul, this time a boy. You will be with him, too, when he is born. He will look just like you. And he will cling to you. He will not stop running. In fact, he will go from crawling to running. He will never walk. He will make you laugh every day and people will stop you on the street to talk to him. He will be a puzzle you will spend hours trying to put together. He will entertain you, challenge you, and be such a joy in your life. You will listen to his stories about dinosaurs over and over again. You will sing him to sleep while he has both arms around you.

There is a beautiful saying about adopted children, which is that they don’t come from your stomach; they come from your heart. He is your heart. You will love him with everything you have and you will forget the pain you have now. Because you will thank God every day that somehow it was just meant to be. He was meant to be yours.

You won’t even remember this time in your life very much because it will be so overcome by happiness with these children. This is happening to you for a reason. You will forever be grateful that you didn’t get pregnant, because if you had, you would not have them. And they are your loves and your spirit. So tonight, go to sleep and dream about these two babies and soon they will be in your arms. The angels will bring them to you. It was meant to be. I promise.

Love,

Wendy

————

This letter made me cry. It takes so much strength to write something like this and let alone, share it with the rest of the world.

Wendy Walker, thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. With me.

To your younger self.

I’m still in the midst of reading What I Know Now: Letters To My Younger Self, but these 3 letters are my current favourite and I wanted to document the words down.

Olympia Dukakis – Actress

“Learn how to celebrate.”

Dear Oly,

…….

One way is to realize that being strong doesn’t require that you deny yourself pleasures. You don’t have to “earn” them by toiling harder than every other workhorse. You’re unnaturally good at deferring gratification, Olympia. Learn that you can be responsible for your children and enjoy them at the same time. Talk to them about what’s happening and, even more important, listen to what they say.

What could also ease your stress is a different way of thinking about how we travel through this world. There’s no ladder to success. The rhythm of life runs in cycles. There are times in the darkness and times in the light. The energy of life is like the rain forest in Borneo. Things live, grow, die, fall to the forest floor, rot, and then they are born again. Remember what Mother says? Everyone gets kicked down the stairs. This is one of those times.

You must embrace these changes. As difficult as they are, they will pass. But you mustn’t bury or deny the darkness. You gotta live through it, you can’t cheat.

Even now, you have a lot to look forward to. Birthdays, for example. You and Louie have rarely made merry on those days. Sometimes you’ve forgotten them altogether. But that will change. You’ll understand that purposely capturing happy moments expands your soul. On your fortieth wedding anniversary, you’ll have an enormous party at your New York City loft with fifty people raising their glasses to you. In time you’ll start to rent a giant house at a different beach every summer and invite the whole family to come.

It won’t be a “happily ever after” story – the cycles of darkness and light continue. But have patience. Your most important struggles will be hard-fought but won well.

Endure and have faith,

Olympia

———————

Rebecca Lobo – Olympic Basketball Athlete

“You can pick and choose.”

Dear Rebecca,

…….

Your family gives you the kind of refuge and anchor you need. But, Rebecca, can’t  you see that your boyfriend doesn’t?

I see what’s happening and I’m puzzled. You’re travelling the country and the world for the first time with your team, but you feel like you’re on a leash – worries about going out to dinner with your teammates in case you miss his call. Or, more to the point, worries that missing his call will trigger another fight that ends with tears running down your cheeks. You don’t enjoy conflict and arguments, but they’ve become a regular part of your phone calls and conversations with your boyfriend. He’s a good guy, yes, and he makes you laugh. But for some reason, he can’t trust you. You’re both young and you just aren’t right for each other.

This is the first real boyfriend you’ve had. I think you’re expecting it to be like the only relationship you’ve known – your parents’. They have their irritated moments, but they love each other to death and they trust each other completely.

Why isn’t your relationship like that? Here is where your best traits, your determination and persistence, are working against you. You can’t make this work. You have to find the right person.

Don’t spend nearly two years anticipating his next blowup. Say good-bye to your boyfriend now. You’ll form much closer relationships with your teammates. Your friends won’t be given short shrift. You’ll get to fully experience traveling to China, Australia, and Siberia. You’ll get to see as much as you want of your family when you go back home, rather than feeling pressured to devote every instant to him.

There will be a lot of terrific men who will have an interest in you. You’re just as special as your family has taught you all along, Rebecca. You can pick and choose. Your future husband is a writer who will devote a funny, adulatory column to describe the way he fell in love with you. At age twenty-one, your boyfriend is making you cry. At thirty, you’ll say about your marriage, “It couldn’t be more perfect.”

You warm my heart,

Rebecca

———————

Cokie Roberts – Columnist and Commentator

“There’s no need to be doing it all at once.”

Dear Cokie,

Is this a life sentence?Will you spend the rest of your life with jelly stains on your knees? Will your kids ever sleep through the night?

Being the mother of two tiny kids frazzles you because the utterly banal is, somehow, profoundly important. Nothing could be more mindless than wiping noses and pouring apple juice – yet you know there’s no bigger job. For so much to hinge on so little is brain – numbing. It’s as if world peace depended on how well you dust your living room. Worse, you were never any good at homemaking arts, apart from cooking. Now you’re supposed to put toys away and clean out the tub as if your children’s entire future success hangs in the balance?

This kind of absurd mismatch between day-to-day motherhood and the emotional charge it carries can be a little scary. Your kids, like all kids, are a pain in the neck sometimes. As a regular person in your regular life, you really don’t get angry. But as a mother, you’re shocked at your capacity for anger with your children.

Instead of childish misbehavior, their transgressions seem like horrible reflections on you as a mother.

Here’s my advice on anger, chaos and isolation. First, beware the dangers of extrapolation in motherhood. Despite his impressive tantrums, your willful son will not throw himself on the floor of grocery stores, screaming for angry, when he’s grown up. Just because your daughter can’t seem to stop talking now doesn’t mean she won’t ever. Also, understand that this won’t last forever. Don’t feel oppressed by it. These are very short years in the scheme of life and you will live through them.

You’re trying to fit everything in at once, working for TV station and a magazine. But Cokie, you’ll be in the workplace for fifty years, literally. There’s no need to be doing it all at once. At times you do have to, but there are times when you don’t. You can leave the work world – and come back on your own terms.

One more thing: There will be compensation! Your children will grow up to be charming and caring people – who will produce adorable grandchildren. Your willful son will someday have an extremely willful daughter. One of your daughter’s sons will talk incessantly. And guess who will have patience for all of that and more? You.

Hang in there.

Love,

Cokie

———————

Reading these, makes me wonder at times, how life would be if we could live it backwards. If only, you are born with the knowledge that you have acquired as age catches up on you. Isn’t it tragic you die with so much knowledge, wisdom to share? You spend so much of your youth questioning decisions, choices, life, we fail to live and enjoy our childhood. We get so caught up growing up, being an adult, bearing responsibilities we forget the innocence our childhood means, is supposed to mean. It’s like seeking comfort in knowing where you will be in 30 years time, knowing whose hand you will be holding as you walk down the aisle, who you should keep close, who you should walk away from to be happier now. Instead of worrying about the future. If only, life can be lived backwards.

What would you tell your younger self? Here’s what I would say to my 16-year-old self.

Excerpt.

It couldn’t really happen back at home, back in New York, surrounded by all the memories and lingering grief. Here she could see him, finally, not as the enthusiastic up-and-comer he was once and not as the selfish guy who had left her, but really and truly as the man he was today. Older. At once more sophisticated and less sure of himself. With a maturity to match his graying exterior, the flecks of salt-and-pepper at the temples. There was no boyishness left around his edges; Gerogia could see his entire life story in the tiny wrinkles around his eyes, see the memories of good times and the crush of regret when she looked into his eyes. How can you forgive the unforgivable? She didn’t know. Yet, somehow, she already had. 

Georgia rose, walking slowly around to the back of the bench, and began to gently touch the polished wood. Without looking at him.

She thought about his letters. She thought about late nights sitting up with Cat talking about the men they would marry. All the ramblings of a teenager. The certainty. The insistence that she’d never take back a man who’d cheated on her. Cat had agreed. And then spent fifteen hellish years with a philandering jackass. Now, in front of Georgia, stood her own heartbreaker. The great love of her life. One and the same. 

And Georgia knew. She would take him back. Not because he was Dakota’s father, thought that counted for something. A lot. And not because she’d been single all these years. She’d had herself for company and that had turned out to be enough. Just enough. Nor was it because he’d been trying so hard to make amends, or because she’d read those long-ago letters, or because he’d grown up and she knew that, truly, this was a person she could trust. Though, yes, surely, all those things had an impact. Offered her closure, promised a beginning.

But there was a greater reason, one that Georgia could openly and honestly admit, now that the posturing and the defenses and all the misunderstandings were out of the way. 

She loved him. Simply and completely, with an intensity and purity that startled her awake. She loved him, too.

And she knew then that she would take him into her arms and reveal that he’s always been in her heart. 

Georgia loved James. And that’s all there was to it.