The Metamorphosis

“I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable, to explain something inexplicable, to tell about something I only feel in my bones and which can only be experienced in those bones. Basically it is nothing other than this fear we have so often talked about, but fear spread to everything, fear of the greatest as of the smallest, fear, paralyzing fear of pronouncing a word, although this fear may not only be fear but also a longing for something greater than all that is fearful.”

― Franz Kafka, Letters to Milena


War & Peace

Do you know Isaac Babel? It doesn’t matter if you don’t(He was a Russian journalist anyway).What I want to talk about is what he said after he finished reading the book “War and Peace”. He said ” If the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy”. And I think this is a good and brief description of Tolstoy’s power as an author.


Reading “War and Peace” was difficult but enjoyable. You know how you always feel guilty for not reading some very famous and lengthy classic books ? “War and Peace” was one of these books on my list that I finally finished reading in spring this year. The moment I finished it, I wanted to write about it in the blog but then I thought it is one of those experiences which needs to become settled in my mind before I can talk about it.

“War and Peace” is undoubtedly a masterpiece. Tolstoy’s narration is so smooth and  easy to follow and after a few pages you will find yourself  moving from one story to another and becoming familiar with each family and its members. It also includes some very detailed descriptions of historical events in Russia.

After reading the book I also watched the movie adaptations and while the BBC adaptation was not what I expected, I liked this movie.

Have you read this book? I would like to here your ideas in comments.

Le Rouge et le Noir

“Le Rouge et le Noir” is way ahead of its time. You will get this feeling that the characters  that Stendhal describes can be your acquaintances and the situations are rather familiar despite the fact that the novel has published almost 200 years ago.

This  psychological- historical novel by Stendhal, has published in 1830 in two volumes and it narrates the attempts of a young man to rise socially beyond his ordinary upbringing. At first, what he uses to reach his goal is his exceptional talents and  hard work, but then he realizes that success can be achieved easier by adopting the the hypocrisy and deception by which society operates, so he starts to seek growth through deceit, hypocrisy and self-interest.


Stendhal talks a lot about politics, society and religion in this novel which I found very interesting.

I highly recommend you to read this book and follow the social rise of Julien Sorel from the working class, through the bourgeois world of the de Rênal family, and finally to the highest societies of Paris.



“…so beautiful and sad, like music.”

The truth is that I am a bit of a perfectionist and generally never satisfied with something I do, and blogging is no exception. Whenever I think about writing in this blog I imagine writing a 1000 word technical analysis of a book and proofreading it for like hundred times. Obviously,I can’t do it because I don’t have the knowledge nor the time. Consequently, I decided to change my approach, and from now on I will just write a couple of short paragraphs to introduce the books that I read just to have the record and I think in this way it will become easier to post every week.

Ah, you know how some bloggers are obsessed with writing about not writing in their blog?  I am one of them.

OK,the book that I am gonna write about today is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. 



After the enjoyable experience of “Dubliners” I started reading another book from James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, on December last year when I received it from a dear friend of mine,  and last month I decided to give up when I still had 30 pages to finish it.

Well, I knew from my previous experience that James Joyce is not the easiest author to read, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, being a poetic autobiography was a lot more difficult.

I also realized that it is in fact not an autobiography, but an “artist’s novel” or as they call it in German a “Künstlerroman” which is a narrative about an artist’s growth to maturity (I love how they have specific words for literally everything in German).


A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the story of Stephen Dedalus, a boy growing up in Ireland at the end of 19th century and how he  decides to free himself from all the social, religious and familial constraints and devote his life to the art of writing.

If you are into reading about Catholism and Irish nationalism (which I wasn’t!), I highly encourage you to read this book, because as the story progresses you can see how Catholic faith and Irish nationality influence Stephan as a young boy.


* The title is part of a quote from book:

“He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.”

Love, war and some other stuff

It has been almost two months since my last update, which is not good. The first thing we learned about blogging in our digital communications course was that it needs to be done regularly and consistently. So,let me confess, I am a terrible blogger and I am sorry for that. I even checked my last post today and it was full of typos and grammar mistakes which is unacceptable :/ but now that I am not living in an English speaking country anymore -my beloved UK to be more specific- and I don’t use English in daily basis, blogging is the only way to save my rusty knowledge of this language. I have been reading some books recently that I’ll talk to you about in details later, but the one that I want to discuss today is the most recent one I  just finished reading in the bus in my way home. It’s Pierre et Luce by Romain Rolland. Romain Rolland is  mostly famous for his globally well-known novel, Jean-Christophe,for which he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915 and of course the The soul enchanted which is very famous in Iran for some reasons but not in other countries apparently (It doesn’t even have a wikipedia page in English, How weird is that?!!). I always wanted to read Jean-Christophe, but who was I kidding? I was not gonna read 10 volumes. So,when I received Pierre et Luce as a gift earlier this month I  found it a good opportunity to become familiar with Rolland style of writing.Pierre et Luce is short, simple and tragic. So let me keep my description short, simple and tragic: I didn’t like it. It’s about love, war and stuff like that and I found a bit simple for my taste. I would prefer some sophistication in narration and not something so cliche like a young couple’s first love during WW1. Ok, that’s it for now.

“Il ne faut pas toucher aux idoles…”*

All I knew about Madame Bovary before starting to read the book was a famous character who *spoiler alert*  kills herself with arsenic *end of spoiler section*. So, I started reading it last week and enjoyed it a lot, or to be more specific and honest, I really enjoyed some aspects of

First of all, characterization was great and powerful. The way Flaubert describe characters, I had this feeling that I know them so well as if they were my relatives. Madame Bovary in particular, is characterized artistically and perfect. A self-centered woman who wants to experience so much more but her limited life fences her. What she wants is happiness and excitement to come to her like the romantic novels that she used to read. Flaubert does a great job describing this character  in a way that I personally could identify myself with the character. A quote that I can’t get out of my head is “She wanted to die, but she also wanted to live in Paris.”  a combination of depression, frustration, ambition and hope for a better life all presented in a sentence.

Well, I should also confess that at some points, I felt the story was  a bit slow and I had to keep making myself continue. I was saying to Madame Bovary in my mind: For God’s sake, if you wanna have an affair, just do it! what are you waiting for? (I should probably stop watching too many TV shows. Apparently unlike the contemporary series, back then it was a big deal to cheat and that’s why madame Bovary was taking her time thinking. Hahaha)

I found a really good audio book if you feel like listening to the whole book in 2 hours and a half:

Jenny Agutter – Madame Bovary: Chapter 1, Three Madame Bovarys

* the Title of this post is a quote from the book and the reason  I wrote it in french is that I have started learning french recently -Yaay-, something that I really  wanted to do in the last few years and when I saw this quote and realized that I can finally understand it’s meaning I was so excited and couldn’t wait to share this good feeling with you. So far, I think french language is marvelous -and difficult-, no wonder it’s one of the key languages in classic literature. So here is the complete quote with its translation:

“Il ne faut pas toucher aux idoles: la dorure en reste aux mains.” Fun-Facts-Friday-Gustave-Flaubert

“Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers.”

Isn’t it an amazing sentence? Bravo Monsieur Flaubert !

Close Facebook and Open Your Book

Happy new year everyone. Now, it is that time of the year when everyone has started off their New Year with lofty resolutions and admirable goals. All the gyms are now full of new members and people have started to exercise daily, eat healthy, read books, etc.

Among those who decide to read more books as their new year resolution, Mark Zuckerberg ,the chief executive  of Facebook has took his resolution one step further and he has decided to invite other people to join him in challenge of reading  two new books per month in 2015.

Last week, Zuckerburg created a Facebook page called “A Year of Books” and he invited his 31 million Facebook friends to join him. In this page, readers can follow the discussions about each book he is suggesting and share their ideas as well. As it is announced in this page on January 2nd 2015 , Zuckerburg’s  first selection is “The End of Power” by Moises

This reading initiative can be discussed from different perspectives, however, what interests me the most is the PR aspect of this publicized new year resolution. First or all, this suggestion coming from the CEO of Facebook will change people’s perception of Facebook as one of the most famous social media platforms in the world. As you know, people normally believe that social media are just the tools that waste our time and prevent us from reading books , this book club can show them how social media can also encourage useful activities such as reading books. Also, Facebook users tend to see Zuckerburg as a young highly achieved CEO and because of his popularity his resolution will definitely affect Facebook users’ behaviors and it can be counted as one of the most effective cases of celebrity endorsements to promote reading (A similar book club  were launched a couple of years ago by Oprah Winfrey which obviously was targeting different group of audience.) and lastly but most importantly, the considerable effects that Zuckerburg suggestions have on book sales can be used by publishers to promote their books and increase the profits.


Well.. What are you waiting for? Join the club and you will find some really interesting stuff there and who knows? maybe you can also try to read the suggested books every other week.

Also, don’t forget to share your ideas.What do you think of this initiative? Do you generally think that books should be endorsed by celebrities? Do you think Zuckerburg can become a book club guru? Feel free to comment and let me know of what you think 🙂

♫ ♫I’m dreaming of a white Christmas ♫ ♫

Christmas is almostdownload (8) here and even though we are not celebrating Christmas in our country, I can feel the happiness and excitement with all the photos that my friends post  in Facebook and Instagram. Now that shops and homes are decorated with beautiful Christmas trees covered in lights, baubles and tinsel and everything is Christmassy, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of my Christmas-themed favourite books. They are also good suggestions if you are still looking for a Christmas present idea.


1- A Christmas Carol : Not a surprise that my first book on the list is from Charles Dickens.

18A Christmas Carol is the Christmas classic that everyone knows and even if they haven’t read it, they probably have  watched the movie adaptions. This story was published in 1843, but the messages behind the story about morality and social criticism in Christmas setting made it  an immutable tale which is suitable for different age ranges.


2- Little Women: This one used to be one of my favourite when I was younger. A novel by Louisa May Alcott which is based on the lives of four sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy) and it is the story of their journey from childhood to womanhood while they are  living with their mother and waiting for their father to comeback from the war.The story begins with a part when these 4 girls are practicing a play for Christmas Eve. download (7)


3- The Gift of the Magi and Other Short Stories: This one is a collection of sixteen of the best stories by O. Henry ( William Sidney Porter) who is one of America’s most popular storytellers.The Gift of the Magi which the first story in the book is one of the most touching stories that you will ever read and it has the potential to make you tear up if you are emotional enough.


The Snow Queen,Skipping Christmas and The Night Before Christmas are other famous examples of Christmas-themed classic books that I can remember. Anyway, whether you like classic books or you prefer contemporary ones, what matters the most is to spend a few extra hours in Christmas holidays reading the books that you normally have no time for.

Now it’s your turn.What is your favourite Christmas-themed books? Share them as comments and let the readers complete their list.

Wish you all a wonderful Christmas 🙂


“The one that rises”

The memory that I have from reading  Nikos Kazantzakis -or as they write in Greek, Νίκος Καζαντζάκης– books  goes back to a decade ago when I was in high school and I read Christ Re-crucified. I borrowed it from public library and I do remember how much I loved it and how much it affected me.


Recently, I decided to re-read the book as I realized I couldn’t fully remember the plot and characters, so I bought my own copy which is newly published with a different title: The Greek Passion.

The story is simple: People of a small Greek village enact the life of Christ every seven years and individuals are given different roles to play. The story deeply analyse the way characters identify themselves with biblical personalities.

The novel itself is a mixture of religious, cultural and social thoughts presented in the shape of a vibrant and interesting story. One of the aspects that really impressed me was the critical look at how Christianity was practiced by hypocritical masters and esquires during that era as a tool to gain more wealth and power.

When I was reading the book I was assuming that this symbolic  “village” could be the place that I  live in and it was easily noticeable that challenges and sufferings described in this story is still applicable to current situation in our time.

Another enjoyable aspect of the novel was the multi-layered description of spiritual evolution in individual level presented by Manolios character (The shepherd boy who is chosen to play the role of Christ)  and his three companions.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a thought provoking novel with a taste of Greek culture, history and humanity.


 * Title is part of a quote from the book:  

“How ought we to love God, Father?” he asked in a whisper.
“By loving men, my son”
“And how ought we to love men?”
“By trying to guide them along the right path”
“And what is the right path?”
“The one that rises”


Gazing up into the darkness

Last night I finished reading the “Dubliners”.It Was my first introduction to the famous James Joyce.  I had heard about his famous novel “Ulysses” so many times before, but then I decided to start with his short stories to become familiar with his style before tackling the long novel. However, It took me 3 weeks to finish “Dubliners”, firstly because I am no longer a fast reader as I used to be imagesand secondly because I always prefer to read books translated in Farsi and this time the book was in English so it took me much longer to understand and analyze the text. I should start by saying that I was surprisingly not impressed by this collection of 15 short stories. While reading the book, I couldn’t feel connected to the characters emotionally and I found the short stories a bit dry and some of them boring. Having said that, I should also mention that I liked the style of Joyce’s writing at some points. The way he used complicated sentences, innovative descriptions and technical use of language was impressive. Another interesting point was the contextual references to the politics, religion, nationalism and Irish culture in describing the life of Irish middle class.

Although this book didn’t become one of my favourites, I still recommend it if you are interested in short stories and enjoy slice-of-life fictions.

You can access the audio book here.