Wet nosed, puppy breath, scruffy, loyal…

… a lot of ways to describe ‘Mans best friend’.

It’s a funny question to ask, but I’ve often asked people, ‘why do we love dogs?’. I was forwarded Jon Katz’s ‘Why we love dogs‘, some time back and one line really struck me – “In America, we love our dogs. A lot. So much that we rarely wonder why (we love dogs) anymore”. I think this is true to a large extent in Bhutan too. There are very few people I know who have this inbuilt fear or loathing of dogs. People here are quite tolerable to stray dogs snugly sleeping outside their homes or shops (or even inside), they even pat them occasionally or feed them.

There is another way we know that dogs are well-loved around these parts – our choice of books. Continue reading

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“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. Pip doesn’t expect much from life … His sister makes it clear that her orphaned little brother is nothing but a burden on her. But suddenly things begin to change. Pip’s narrow existence is blown apart when he finds an escaped criminal, is summoned to visit a mysterious old woman and meets the icy beauty Estella. Most astoundingly of all, an anonymous person gives him money to begin a new life in London. Are these events as random as they seem? Or does Pip’s fate hang on a series of coincidences he could never have expected?

We love these cool august days…

A number one bestseller in Britain that topped the lists there for months, Stephen Fry’s astonishingly frank, funny, wise memoir is the book that his fans everywhere have been waiting for.

Once upon a time there was a fairy godmother named Desiderata who had a good heart, a wise head, and poor planning skills–which unforunately left the Princess Emberella in the care of her other (not quite so good and wise) godmother when DEATH came for Desiderata. So now it’s up to Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg to hop on broomsticks and make for far-distant Genua to ensure the servant girldoesn’t marry the Prince.

But the road to Genua is bumpy, and along the way the trio of witches encounters the occasional vampire, werewolf, and falling house (well this is a fairy tale, after all). The trouble really begins once these reluctant foster-godmothers arrive in Genua and must outwit their power-hungry counterpart who’ll stop at nothing to achieve a proper “happy ending”–even if it means destroying a kingdom.

When it appeared in 1924, this work launched into the international spotlight a young and unknown poet whose writings would ignite a generation. W. S. Merwin’s incomparable translation faces the original Spanish text. Now in a black-spine Classics edition, this book stands as an essential collection that continues to inspire lovers and poets around the world.

As one of the few Americans to have lived in Bhutan, Leaming offers a rare glimpse into the country. For over ten years, Leaming has lived and worked in Thimphu, where there are no traffic lights and fewer than 100,000 people. “If enlightenment is possible anywhere,” she writes, “I think it is particularly possible here.”

Book recommendations:

From Shelf Awareness:

Saturday by Ian McEwan takes place in London on February 15, 2003–a post 9/11 day whose ordinariness has been forever shifted by global terror. A middle-aged neurosurgeon named Henry Perowne is woken before dawn by the sight of a fiery plane heading towards Heathrow Airport. While Henry’s thoughts turn to terrorism, the events of his day show that the unease affecting First World countries can be more damaging in some ways than death and destruction.

 

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is a dreamy novel about the morning-to-evening 1920s London peregrinations of an upperclass chatelaine preparing for a dinner party. Clarissa Dalloway begins the day gazing at a skywriting plane–a scene that McEwan paid homage to in the aforementioned Saturday. If that novel primarily deals with world events through the lens of one man’s actions, Woolf’s deals with gender roles and the post-World War I Western world’s new landscape.

Great reads…

From Shelf Awareness:

Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient may be set in an Italian villa, but its truest subject is how the supposed nationality of the heavily bandaged patient being cared for by a nurse named Hana, who is loved by a Sikh sapper named Kip, has changed societies around the world. All sorts of ties to Great Britain, from armaments to spycraft to education to commerce, are examined through the lives of characters from and in other countries.

 

 

You may have loved the film adaptation ofAtonement by Ian McEwan, but do yourself a favor and read the book so that you are able to see McEwan’s prose vision of how Briony Tallis’s childish spite changes several lives through the war and afterwards. The author’s command of his wartime scenes allows them to remain background without seeming inauthentic. One of the most compelling things about this great novel is how it seems as though it was written in 1946 rather than 2001.

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Every Thursday at 6:00p, a group of us meet to discuss books/short stories/articles/poetry together with a beverage of choice.

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