Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Nick Carraway narrates the story, he meets the rich and scandalous Gatsby who throws lavish parties in his huge and beautiful mansion on the East Coast but very little is actually known about him. But that was not the case, always. Five years ago, he was nothing but a poor lad in the army who made the mistake of falling in love with the rich and beautiful Daisy. Unfortunately life did not side with them. They meet in the present, Daisy a married woman, with a daughter and an adulterous husband. Gatsby, a very rich man, still in love and waiting for Daisy. What measures will Gatsby take to get his love back ? How will Daisy react knowing her lost love is back ?

Published: 1952
Author: F.Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Fiction, Classic

Goodread’s Review: The Great Gatsby

Amazon: The Great Gatsby

I had been wanting to read this classic for a long time and obviously had high expectations. But when I finally picked it up, lets just say that I wanted to punch Gatsby, Daisy, her stupid husband Tom, his mistress, Scott, pretty much everyone in the book.

Lets start with the adultery in the book. Daisy’s husband is in love with a wife of a garage owner who fixes his car. Seriously ? Could not you have a little better taste ? At least have the decency to not fall of your standards. And Daisy knows about it. Yet she does nothing about it. Why ? Why would you let your husband do that to you ? That implies you are not interested in him anymore. Get a divorce for Gods sake and stop the drama. Then her husband is mad when she does the exact same thing he does to her. Something that is right for you becomes wrong for your wife in a second. Shoe salute !

And Gatsby. Lets just say that he is one of the most stupidest and ambitious man I have ever read about. He made Daisy the sole purpose of his existence which is saying something considering he is rich, handsome, has a huge library and a great car. I loved him and hated him. Loved for the hard work he does and the pain he goes to, to get Daisy back. His life was all about Daisy but somehow, he even made his end about her. Which deserves some respect, a lot actually. But it also deserves a hard reality slap to make him realize the obvious that Daisy does not stand up for her own self, let alone for anyone else.

Daisy, I hate her. I never really understood her character or why she does, what she did in the ending. Does not someone who died for your mistake deserves an attendance to his funeral ? I am pretty sure that even the most cold hearted person would have been blown away. So I am assuming that she never had a heart.

I hated the book in some ways and loved it in others. Nick was the only sensible one in the story. His character was brilliant especially his decision at the end. But I found the third wheeling a little creepy. Never have I ever respected a fictional character more. He literally brought sanity to the story. I hope the movie is better than the book because Leonardo DaVinci is in it. I hated the characters but somehow loved the story. Because it was very real. We only see one side of the society, fact is that the other side exists and it still is pretty much how Scott described it. All in all, I kind of had a love/hate relationship with this book.

One of the quotes I loved from the book:

“I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” 



Top Ten Tuesdays: Most Memorable Secondary Characters

I read about Top Ten Tuesdays on Pretty Books blog. But initially, this idea was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Both of these blogs are very awesome. I love reading other peoples “Top Ten Tuesday”. It is so much fun. So I figured that I should do one as well. But the thing is I have read so many books that I do not remember each and every character even from the ones that I love. This actually makes it very hard because you are reminded of so many more things afterwards. So all the things I have written about are either from the books I have read recently or are things that have struck out for some reason. 

Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters 

1. Hana tate, Delirium
I just finished reading the Delirium trilogy and that is the first one I remembered. I really liked her character. Especially her friendship with Lena. I loved her carefree spirit towards life and how she looses it. 

2. Jane Bennet, Pride and Prejudice: 
Who does not love Pride and Prejudice ? But I loved Jane. Not more than Lizzy ofcourse. But I realized that being prim and proper does not always makes you a stuck up. She was so beautiful in her own way, like a delicate flower. And you do not have to be defiant or different to have a story. 

3. Frank Kennedy, Gone With the Wind:
For some reason, he always remained in my head. Probably because I hated the way he was used by Scarlette. And I hate when someone takes advantage of you. And Scarlette did that on her sisters cost which was pathetic.

4. Hans Hubermann, The Book Thief:
He is one dedicated and honest man. And an amazing father. He showed the world how you achieve fatherhood in perfection even in the middle of a war.  Salute !

5. Magnus Bane, The Mortal Instruments:
I am actually reading this series right now and Magnus is the only character that is actually interesting and has some personality.  

6. Tarquin, Confessions of a Shopaholic
He was one weird character and the sole reason he stuck out. He called water “twitchy”. Yup ! It was like he spoke baby language in adult form. And the weird thing is that he was a millionaire and one of the most sought out bachelours in his city despite wearing oddly shaped jumpers. 

7. Ejaz Ansar, Pir-e-Kamil
I read Urdu books as well. But now Pir-e-Kamil also has an English translation. Anyway, Ansar was one guy I doubt I will ever forget. There is nothing I despise more than hypocrites and double faced people. It is because of such people that the culture or things we believe in, tend to have a bad name. 

8. Rue and Finn, The Hunger Games
There is not a single person who would have cried for these characters. Both of them are so different yet so memorable in their own way. I still cannot get Rue’s mocking jay song out of my head. It is beautiful, just like her.

These are the only people I could remember right now. My apologies for not being more sufficient but I am sure I will be more vigilant, once I get the hang of it. Fingers crossed.


All Answers Bookish

I wanted to do something really fun and interesting and because I have officially started book blogging as well. So I thought I will do this survey. I saw this on Pretty Books and loved what Stacey wrote. It was long and bookish, making it very awesome. This was originally made by  Jamie from the Perpetual Page Turner. I loved her answers as well. And I actually really enjoyed writing this. So here you go:

Author you have read the most books from:

According to Goodreads, its Sidney Sheldon (15), Jeffrey Archer (15) and Agatha Christie (13). But it is Enid Blyton as well. This one has to be countless because I do not remember how many Enid Blyton books I have read.

Best sequel ever:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I think this was the one sequel that was so unexpectedly way more awesome than the first book.

Currently reading:

The Camel Club by David Baldacci, which I am already in love with.

Drink Of Choice While Reading:

I am not really big on any drinks while reading because that leads to spills and who likes that on their brand new books. But I do love coffee and almost all kinds of tea.

E-reader or Physical Book:

Definitely physical book. I get sick of e books very easily so I have to read a physical one with it as well to keep that flow and feel of physical books. But I have to say that e-books have made reading a lot easier and faster in terms of access.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated In High School:

Ummm…That is a very difficult question because there are so many awesome ones. But the one is Adrian Ivashkov from Bloodlines by Richelle Meade. I would have dated Fatty from the Five Find Outers series in middle school or whatever age he was, as well.  I used to be in love with all the disguises he pulled off and his humour.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

I am not a Stephen King fan but I read The Running Man recently and it was moving to say the least.

Hidden Gem Book:

I would go with the Sidney Sheldon books because I feel like people do not give it a chance labeling it as trashy. If Tomorrow Comes is one awesome book.

Important Moment In Your Reading Life:

 It would probably be when I learnt to read. One of the moments was when I read Harry Potter because I remember my brother forcing me to read it and I completely refused. Than I read it as a bet and that has defined my childhood. And also when I found friends who turned out to be huge bibliophiles. I wrote about it here.

Just Finished:

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami which was such an accomplishment on my part considering how much I hated that book.

Kind Of Book You Will Not Read:

Horror. That is one genre I am not into at all. Somehow I do not feel that horror element and I end up mocking it. I am also not into major romance novels. If the story is set in modern times and is all about love, lust etc, that is a turnoff for me.

Longest Books You Have Read:

The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (1476 pages) which is also one of my very favourite books. I love it. Its awesome. Also 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (924 pages).

Major Book Hangover because of:

The most recent book hangover was because of 1Q84 which was only because I meddled over all the flaws I kept finding in it. This was a very bad hangover. The good one I had when I finished The Fault in Our Stars. It was excruciating, just to think about Augustus Waters and all that pain.

Number  Of Bookcases You Own:

That is the sad part. A lot of my books are back in Pakistan. I took my books there on my dear moms suggestion. Yes I was naive and stupid enough to do that. But I was 12. So as of now I have only 1 bookcase which holds double the books it was designed for. Some of the books are in a carton as well.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon and Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup. These are the books that I always end up reading while eating or if I am out of books for some reason.

Preferred Place To Read:

Car. Its really weird but car is actually an amazing place to read, ofcourse when you are not the one driving it. You can totally catch up on your reading. And my sofa which has a window over it, so I have the perfect lighting. Have a bag of Chilli Millie, a fluffy blanket around you in an intentional cold room and you are good to go.

Quote that inspire you / gives you all the feels from a book you have read:

There are so many quotes that I love, I do not even know where to start from. But there is one that has stuck with me, “Some people are beautiful. Not in looks, not in what they say, just in what they are.” -Markus Zusak

Reading Regret:

I don’t really have a major reading regret. But I do wish that I would have read more of Roald Dahl books in my childhood. I read him but not a lot. And a regret which is always with me is reading classics. I do love classics but I find them very hard and time consuming as well. So I always end up taking a lot of time for it. You can imagine that by knowing that I read The Great Gatsby 8 months after buying it.

Series You Started And Need to Finish:

Divergent by Veronica Roth. I have to start the second book but have no idea when that will happen. I am waiting for the third book to be out so I can read them together. The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare. I just cannot get my head into the series. I am on the second book and its hard to finish it.

Three of your all time favourite books:

Only three ? That is a shame. Well, I already mentioned The Count Of Monte Cristo and If Tomorrow Comes. So these three are The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, Pride and Prejudice and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Hold on. I totally forgot Harry Potter and 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult.

Unapologetic fan girl for:

Sidney Sheldon. For a very unreasonable reason, he does not have a good reputation in the literature world. But I love him. He was an excellent author.

Very excited for this release more than all the others:

The next Markus Zusak book actually. And Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead. It is the fourth book in the Bloodline series. I hate reading a series in this whole wait for it form.

Worst Bookish Habit:

Reading while you are eating. This is a very bad habit because you are so engrossed in the book that you end up spilling something on the book, ALWAYS. But I do not read my newest buys while eating. I usually read my brothers books so that I get to destroy his books and not worry about it.

X marks the spot: Start at the top of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson.

Your Latest Book Purchase:

The Camel Club by David Baldacci.

ZZZ-snatcher book:

The Fault In Our Stars which I read in less than a day. And anyone who has read the book can imagine my condition. I literally cried on every single word. I had a headache from crying and all that feelings. And The Running Man.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. And kudos if you read all of that.


Reading And How It Has Changed

A couple of days ago a friend of mine shared a quote from The Fault In Our Stars and a very heated bookish conversation started between us friends on that status. This usually happens, one of us reads an awesome book, word gets around and everyone else reads it instantly and we start our very intense discussions involving major verbal arguments over fictional characters. The most recent ones are Dimitri Belikov and Augustus Waters. But it was not always like this.

Photograph by Saliha Jamil

Almost six years back, I used to be the only girl in the class who read books till I came to know that someone else reads as well. Than it was two instead of one. We were allowed to borrow only one book at a time from our library and we had library period once a week. Our school being very conservative, did not let us go otherwise because it was in the boys wing. Anyway, so in 7th grade, I made my whole class get library cards so I could borrow books on their cards and read them. That was my love for books. It used to be only me and my best friend. We had the best of our time with it. It was like our own secret garden. Instead of growing flowers in it, we grew worlds full of alluring words. Our class assignments were based on the recent books that were read. I was caught numerous times reading in the class instead of listening to boring Pakistan Studies lectures. 
But things changed in the past couple of years. Firstly, we met another awesome friend and bookaholic who brought tons of books with her. Not only did she introduce us to new authors but also to the vast book collection that her mother had.Then more of our friends became bibliophiles as well, which simply meant more books for us to read. And the circle just grew. We started sharing books with each other, discovering new authors, having intense character or story oriented conversations but the reading in the class, it did not stop. We passed it on to others. We made a Reading Club and failed miserably at it, though in my defence, it was not my fault. I did try, if not my very best. 
It is very different than it used to be. Where there were just two friends sharing their love of books, now there is a whole group who loves books. I used to think that finding a friend who loves to read as much as you do is the best thing in the world, I did not know how much better is finding a whole bunch of them. Books are your best friends but people who love books are your whole world.  

Book Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Tengo is a Mathematics teacher and a writer who is asked to re write a book, which is a crime. And if it comes out, his life will be over. Through writing this book he is sucked into another world. Then there is Aomame, who is a yoga instructor at a club, whose side occupation is very different. They both were class mates in elementary school and had a deep connection. They left school but never stopped loving each other. Aomame is sucked into another world on the way to one of her jobs. Now the question is, will Aomame and Tengo get to meet each other in the real world ? Which one is the real world ? And how are both the worlds different from each other ? 

Published: 2011
Author: Haruki Murakami
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, 

Goodreads: 1Q84

Amazon: 1Q84

When I started the book, I really liked it. It was very slow but I still stuck with it and read every single word. I loved the way Haruki Murakami writes. All the imagery and the similes used were excellent. I even liked the story and was really looking forward as to how the story will progress.  And that is where things got bad. As a writer, I learnt a lot from this book. But as a reader, I was hugely disappointed.

Firstly, why the hell did Murakami need 920 pages to write a story that could be written in 100 pages ? And do not even get me started on the repetition. I can understand an author describing something in detail. But I refuse to understand Murakami writing the exact same thing over and over and over again.This book literally tried my patience and at one point I gave up on reading it. I believe this is the longest it has taken for me to read a book, which has been about 40 days. Let me do a victory dance and come back to this review.

 I did not understand the story. I failed to understand what a Dohta or a Maza is. What is an Air Chrysalis ?  The world 1Q84 did not make sense at all. It just did not appeal to me. I failed to find a connection. At one point I felt like I was reading horror. And the little people. They are very creepy. There is no background of their existence which makes you wonder about what you are reading.

You know that feeling when you want to shake someone and literally force something down someone throat, that is what I wanted to with the author. I wanted to shove some sense into him. So Murakami writes in the book that things that are introduced for the first time to the people, should be described in detail. He wrote about it yet he did not do that. He did not explain anything about the Little People. Who were they ? Where did they come from ? He did not explain the connection they have between the two worlds or their motives. Why did they do what they did ? Why do they want to hurt Aomame ? Things were done in the book without the explanation behind it. It was such a loop holed story.

The love story between Tengo and Aomame was appealing for the first 400 pages but then it turned into something really disgusting and unreal. Maybe I just did not understand the book. But nevertheless, I did not like it despite trying my best. If you are dragging on a story, at least do the courtesy of making it worth wile.

All the history of Sakigake was very interesting but again, it was left hanging in the end. He told the history but forgot the present. What did they do in the present ? This story could have been a master piece but it was boring as hell. And on top of boring, it did not make sense.

I do not mind slow books if the story is good or if the ending is awesome. And I kept hoping that something like this would happen but nope. All the side characters are just left hanging. The only reason I finished it was because I wanted to know the ending and how everything falls into place, which it never does.

 This book has given me a headache. It is safe to say that I will not be picking up a Murakami book again.


Happy Birthday Minion !

Batman sign cake made by me. 

Today is my baby brothers birthday. He turned 7. He is probably the first kid who has marked his birthday on the calender,  a month ago and we were reminded everyday of it. I was told to buy presents for him and to act surprized. He wanted a Batman cake and I, honestly, was not sure whether the cake will end up like it or not. But surprisingly, it did.

I still remember the day he was born. We were in Jeddah, but my dad was in Riyadh, miles away and he had lost his job. And we all were in the middle of crises. When my dad came home after meeting my mom and the baby, he had already forgotten two of the names my mom had suggested for my baby brother. We ended up naming him Moawiz which people used to pronounce as Mouse. The same day my dad got an offer from Qatar. And our life turned around. Amma called him “The Passport of Qatar”.

Moawiz, when he was about 3 years old.

Time has passed by like running water. One second we were fighting with each other over dressing him up in cute clothes and the next, he is choosing his own clothes. People always ask, who is he like the most ? I used to reply, me. But truth is, he has a bit of each of us in him. He can stand for hours looking at himself in the mirror, combing his hair like Huzaifa. He is never short of money and he stomps off in anger like Muaaz. And he eats exactly like me. He already is in love with books. He won’t believe what anyone is saying till he has asked at least 3 people. He is the kid who gets smothered with love and kisses by strangers but when it comes to scolding, he gets scolded five times for a single misdeed. Even now life is moving on way too fast. Instead of taking on a bus’s speed, it has taken an aeroplane’s. He is already 7.

Whenever someone talks about him as a baby, he will go like, I know, I was such a cute baby and than Bhai Jaan stepped on me.This kid got published in a magazine couple of weeks ago and the story, ofcourse was about pirates. I always wake up to find him standing by my bedside, smiling creepily, to annoy me.

Happy B’day Kiddo ! You always ask me, who my favourite brother is. Truth is, you have made it impossible for me to choose. Just remember, always be the person you are today. This life is like the moon. It looks beautiful from the outside but when you go inside it, you see all the scars and failures etched into it. But you have to remember and hold on to that beauty and hope in order to turn those scars of failure into the marks of your success and happiness. After all even a diamond is a stone. So its all about how you look at things. You brought so much happiness in our lives that we never imagined. You truly were a shining star in those dark times. I wish you all the very best for your life.

First day of school.
I have no idea what he trying to do.

Reading Garfield like a boss. 


Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

5 year old Jack’s world consists of an 8 ft by 11 ft room. Its his playground, school, hospital, home, everything he has ever stepped in or seen. And his only other companion is his mother. But then he gets a chance to see the outside world. And he is overwhelmed. He feels like an alien. He is an expert in Mathematics but does not know how to climb stairs. And then there are the circumstances that put this little kid and his 20 something mom where he is. What would you do if you ever found yourself in such circumstances ? 

Published: 2010
Author: Emma Donoghue
Genre: Literary fiction

Goodreads review: Room

Book Depository: Room

This was a very different and interesting read for me. It was from a victim’s point of view and I loved that perspective. The narrative is a 5 year old kid who himself does not know much about the world. His mother creates a normal world for him in an abnormal one. Even being a victim, he has no idea what kidnapping, robbery, murder etc is, just like any other 5 year old.

I was reminded of my youngest brother, when he was an year or two. Whenever we used to go to someones house, he kept staring at the ceiling, fascinated by the fan because there wasn’t one in our house and he had no idea what it was. And Jack is the same, he is terrified when he gets to see the real world. But Emma has described his feelings in an incredible manner. I realized the importance of being socially adaptive of things.

My heart literally broke reading about the mother struggling day after day in such an uncommon way, yet so real in so many other ways. She is barely in her twenties, the age where you are suppose to enjoy life, not be terrified of it.

I felt like the part about the escape was a little vague. How can a person who has taken so much care to keep things the way they are, not check the carpet ? But then, even the biggest criminals make tiny mistake at times.

I cannot imagine my life in a single room. Emma portrayed the characters so strong and beautiful. I was forced to think that if they can make the most of life in a single room, why the hell cannot we all ?


Book Review: The Running Man by Stephen King

Ben Richards signs up for The Running Man. What is The Running Man ? For some, it is an entertainment series and a brutal way of getting rid of the poor population. Or it is a way of earning money and feeding their family for others. But nonetheless, it is a very dangerous game in which you are on the run from the government and you get paid for every hour that you do not get caught. Unfortunately for Ben Richards, he falls in the latter category. He has a 18 month old sick daughter and a wife but no job to support this family. Now the question is, will he survive the games ? More like, how long will he last in them ? 

Published: January, 1982
Author: Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction

Goodreads Review: The Running Man

Amazon: The Running Man

I am not a fan of Stephen King, mainly because I do not enjoy horror . But a friend forced me to read this and I loved it. It is a dystopian novel set in the future. And the way he has written the story is worth a standing ovation. Some authors portray something through meaningful quotes but I felt everything through the story itself.

Ben Richards is just another victim of the government now being used as an entertainment. The guy goes against his beliefs for his family and his whole world shatters in the end. I knew from the start what will happen to him but any other thing I really did not expect. There were so many twists and turns being thrown at me that I was processing the previous shock when I started reading another one.

The story itself is so honest portraying the life of an everyday simple man. And how poverty is really the worse things you can imagine. It is one thing to go hungry yourself but it is entirely another to see your kid starve and wait for death to knock at your door.

I salute Ben Richards courage and guts. Being a very bold girl myself, I loved that he did not give a damn shit about what others think or do, about him. He did what he had to and stuck to it, till the end. It was not a matter of his survival. It was a matter of survival of his only kid and wife.

I have to say, I had no idea how all the action was going on because for one second he is in a car, driving, the next he is threatening to blow the whole place up with a bomb, playing a buff and hijacking a plane. It was that fast but I loved it. I think Stephen King really did justice to this book.


Summers In Pakistan

Its been a month since Summer Vacations officially started and all I have done is sleep, eat and waste time. Though, in my defence, it has been very hot here. So there is no way you can go out and do anything outdoors. Summers in Qatar are like Winters in Alaska. Then came Ramadan and I was fasting for 16 hours. Considering all that I really did not do much this summer like always.

Photograph by Saleha Jamil

But summers used to be very different in my childhood back in Pakistan. I remember the excitement and anticipation of going to Wah Cantt from Lahore, where my grand parents lived. They would have already made preparations for us. My Nano would have bought crates of mangoes, refrigerated them, made plans for hunting, picnics and all sorts of things. That used be our fortress where the Piracha kids ruled. My Khala (Aunt) would have baked cakes, biscuits and all kinds of that good stuff. My Nani would have made the Pickles of Mangoes. And so would begin two months of bliss.

In the evenings, us three siblings and Nani would explore the hills around their house. Then she would ring a random house to use their bathroom, because she has Diabetes. And we always ended up drinking different kinds of Lemonade from different people. We could come back home laden, with Samosas, Jalibis etc. Late at night, my Mamo (Uncle) would make us watch horror movies in the basement and then get a scolding from Nani. One of the things we loved, was eating mangoes in the garden, wearing shorts, with Silky aka Nano’s dog beside us, and getting as dirty as we could. We rarely got a chance to do that.

Those summers saw frequent trips to the the Golf Clubs in Abbotabad, Bhourban, Islamabad and Rawalpindi. They saw the swinging championships between all the kids of that lane. They saw us, late night going out for a drink or chips in our case to the grocery store. They saw us sleeping outside under the magnificent sky laden with stars, asking Nani to tell a bedtime story. They saw us asking all kinds of favours from out grand parents. They saw us going all out when my other Massi (Aunt) used to visit us from Rawalpindi.

 Summers at your gran parents house with all of your cousins and family doing whatever the hell you want, what else could a kid ask for ? That happiness and joy is very different. Growing up without a care in the world, looking forward to the summers, then finally sitting in that Daewoo Bus knowing that we are hours away from our fortress.

Those were the days. Now its hot like hell and I am lazy as an ass. But not anymore. I am going to make it worth wile by working on my pending writing and updating this blog, reading more books. Sometimes I do wish that those summers could come back but then I have the satisfaction of having all those beautiful memories.

Henry James has put my feelings rightly into words by saying,

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”