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Elham

Elham

Currently reading

Days of Throbbing Gristle
Kevin Cole
The Colonel
Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre
Simone de Beauvoir
A Room of One's Own
Virginia Woolf
Les Misérables
Victor Hugo, Charles E. Wilbour, Peter Washington

The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood The blind Assassin. Who is the blind assassin? Let me write a few words about the title itself. A blind person who kills somebody? A killer who kills people blindly? A mercenary??! Or maybe someone who prepares the death of her/his beloveds by her/his neglection?

Neglection can kill like a knife in your soul…

You have to make yourself ready for a novel which is not going to reveal itself until the last chapters. You're going to be confused a little and make assumptions and conclusions. A dream inside a dream, inside another dream…

The prose is wonderful. Not something that takes effort to read. Something creative, simple and beautiful. This one was the second book which I read by Atwood (I read The Handmaid's Tale first) and I must admit I loved it more. It resonated with me, made me excited and then cry.

The story is about two young sisters; Iris and Laura in the middle of 20th century, living in a small town in Canada. So we have war, communism and economic recession ahead. The story is narrated by 83 Iris, the older sister. And since every thing will be cleared at the end of the story, you have to analyze the personality of each characters yourself after you finish it.

Spoilers ahead

I am not sure with which of these characters I'm going to empathize. Laura, our innocent character?! She's more likely to be someone coming from the generation of her mother and grandmother who devoted their whole life to the good and charitable actions. She is the one who thinks she is responsible for making a change in Alex Thomas, a former student of theology who lost his faith in god and became a communist. Does she love him?! Yes, she does. But in her own pure and heavenly way.

And then Iris?! Our more likely realistic character. She is smart. She knows that if she had sacrificed herself once and had a bitter marriage doesn't mean that she can't love again. Love only once in your life with all your heart and live the rest with memories. Maybe she just played badly as an older sister?!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré It's close to midnight
And something evil's lurkin' in the dark
Under the moonlight
You see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream
But terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze
As horror looks you right between the eyes
You're paralyzed

'Cause this is thriller
Thriller night
And no one's gonna save you
From the beast about to strike
You know it's thriller
Thriller night
You're fighting for your life
Inside a killer
Thriller tonight, yeah



Harry Potter is here. Harry Potter is there. He's everywhere and nowhere. So, I finally picked it up in one of the most beautiful and rainy days of April and read it.

Harry, an innocent little boy who lost his parents and lives with his cruel aunt and they certainly love their pig-like boy more than Harry. Well, this is enough to make a little 7-year old reader cry. He might feel he is that oppressed Harry and his parents are like Harry's aunt because they like his sisters and brothers more.

Harry is weird. When he is around strange things happen. He is special but he doesn't know that. The little 7-year old reader might think he is special too. He might say to himself "I finally show to the world (my parents) who I am."

At school he wears bad clothes. He is neglected by the community. And then one special day someone comes and saves him. He becomes a hero and the story ends happily. The 7-year old reader might feel very good and will be satisfied.

There are many other common feelings between Harry and that little reader. Looking at the story in this way, it is like the other classical novels; Cosette in Les Misérables, Judy in Daddy long legs or Oliver Twist...

Everybody says that Harry Potter is a well written story. I think it is really good but I have read no other child story in this type to compare with. But how can 30 of my GR friends be wrong?!

I was really saddened when I realized that Ms. Rowling turned down Michael Jackson's 'Harry Potter musical' idea. The creator of Thriller and Ghost music video (both of which I watched for million times).

The foolest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller

Hahahahaaa....Hahahahaha...


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The Attack

The Attack - Yasmina Khadra, John Cullen I live in an Islamic country. I have some Muslim friends. By friends, I mean real ones that I can count on them whenever I need their help. They say their prayers, observe Ramadan and one of them wears Chador. But they have one special characteristic that is so important for me: They are open minded people. They read contemporary as well as classics, Islamic literature as well as American literature, the Quran as well as The Satanic verses! I feel quite comfortable when I speak or even live with them. When I asked them, well you have read so many books about other religions and so many skepticism books, so why then are you still remain Muslim?! Most of the times, they would answer: " We grew up with these beliefs and they are now part of our existence, it's just easier to follow them because we use to live by this way of living." I am sure they are not blind followers, their beliefs are personal and politically we have same viewpoints.

Nobody can stand a dogmatic person, even for a second. Islam is such a religion that is mixed up with everything. Its instructions begin from the smallest personal life issue to the important political decisions. Each Muslim should follow a special Imam. When someone believes in Islam, he or she actually accepts not only Allah as his/her god but also his/her whole life and society based on this religion. According to Islam, one who doesn't accept Jihad is not a true believer. Which means a true believer is someone who is ready for every kind of call of war that Imams order. So, a Muslim is more likely to be a dogmatic person. In an Islamic country there's no freedom of speech for people who are not Muslim or even believe in another branch of Islam.

Today, the last Friday of Ramadan, is International Quds Day. Hundreds of Iranians march against Israel and express solidarity with the Palestinian people. Government sends help to Palestine and Israel is probably very scared of Iran's atomic activity.

This is a war of dogma, terrorizing and destroying. More than 60 years of fighting for a piece of land?! Why can't they come to a compromise?! Al-Aqsa Mosque or Solomon's Temple?! Yasmina Khadra, wrote this book considering both sides of the war with conversations between the protagonist, Dr. Amin Jafaari, and Islamic characters, exploring the real reason that how someone could come to the point that could leave all her dreams and burst herself in a public place. This book is about war, terror and also love. How can a lover become a suicide bomber?!...

دو جستار دربارۀ فلسفۀ سیاسی فمینیسم

دو جستار دربارۀ فلسفۀ سیاسی فمینیسم - Jane J. Mansbridge, Susan Moller Okin, Will Kymlicka, نیلوفر مهدیان This book contains an article from [b:Contemporary Political Philosophy An Anthology|31905|Contemporary Political Philosophy An Anthology|Robert E. Goodin|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386745646s/31905.jpg|32121] and a chapter of [b:Contemporary Political Philosophy An Introduction|31911|Contemporary Political Philosophy An Introduction|Will Kymlicka|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386923743s/31911.jpg|32127] by Will Kymlicka.

In the first section which is an article by Susan Moller Okin and Jane j. Mansbridge, feminism is introduced as a political stance more than just a systematic theory; a pluralist movement which is based on the experiences of all the women who resist against male domination. Feminism with all its plurality and therefore differences has one clear, simple and extensive goal and that is to end men’s systematic domination of women. Feminist theory also has one overarching goal – to understand, explain and challenge that domination, in order to help end it.

In the next part three central questions of feminist social science and political philosophy are raised: 'How did male domination arise?', 'Why was it so widely accepted?' and 'What are its consequences?'

In order to find answers for these questions comparison is made between feminist theory and the philosophy of some of the greatest philosophers like Aristotle, Rousseau, Kant, Mill,...

Among all these philosophers, Mill seems to be more aware of women's liberty and rights in his time. He advocated women's voting rights, but when it comes to democracy and participation in public affairs for women, he assumed in one of his books that most women would choose freely a domestic life in which such participation was sharply curtailed.

The next part is "The Personal is Political" which insists on the fact that domestic concerns are not trivial and what goes on between a man and a woman in their home, even in their bedroom, is created by and in turn creates what goes on in legislatures and on battlefields.

In order to discuss about differences between women and men, feminists have taken three approaches: Sameness, Difference and Dominance.

The first approach insists more on the common aspects between men and women and challenges the assumption that natural differences would generate different situation in life or work. In contrast, in the second approach differences are the reason for considering different situation (or privileges) for women.

The third approach reveals the roots of political and economic domination of men on women. As Simone de Beauvoir pointed out in The Second Sex how women became the Other by the dominant class, the most pervasive struggling must be against this issue. MacKinnon explains how male domination covered all aspects of life:

Men’s physiology defines most sports, their needs define auto and health insurance coverage, their socially designed biographies define workplace expectations and successful career patterns, their perspectives and concerns define quality in scholarship, their experiences and obsessions define merit, their objectification of life defines art, their military service defines citizenship, their presence defines family, their inability to get along with each another – their wars and rulerships – defines history, their image defines god, and their genitals define sex.

In the second section sexual equality and sexual discrimination, the public and the private, state and civil society and ethic of care are discussed.

While until the 20th century many of male theorists believed that women are naturally tended to belong to family, husband and children and not to the political and economical activities outside home, liberals accepted this fact that women are like men "free and equal beings" and adopted anti-discrimination statutes. However these statutes have not brought about sexual equality:

In the United States and Canada, the extent of job segregation in the lowest-paying occupations is increasing, and there are concerns about the 'feminization' of poverty

In fact, if sexual equality wants to be effective it must take into account gender issues earlier. As Janet Radcliffe- Richards says,

if a group is kept out of something for long enough, it is overwhelmingly likely that activities of that sort will develop in a way unsuited to the excluded group. We know for certain that women have been kept out of many kinds of work, and this means that the work is quite likely to be unsuited to them. The most obvious example of this is the incompatibility of most work with the bearing and raising of children; I am firmly convinced that if women had been fully involved in the running of society from the start they would have found a way of arranging work and children to fit each other. Men have had no such motivations, and we can see the results.

At the end a big part of this section devoted to explaining the difference between ethic of care (the way women think) and ethic of justice (the way men think) and different opinions of feminists on them:

One consequence of the traditional patriarchal public-domestic distinction, and of the relegation of women to the domestic sphere, is that men and women have become associated with different modes of thought and feeling. Throughout the history of Western philosophy, we find political theorists distinguishing the intuitive, emotional, particularistic dispositions said to be required for women's domestic life from the rational, impartial, and dispassionate thought said to be required for men's public life.

جهان به کجا می رود؟

جهان به کجا می رود؟ - علی افضل صمدی یک کتاب کوتاه در عین حال خواندنی برای کسانی (مثل من) که تاکنون در زمینه محیط زیستی مطالعه ای نداشته اند.

مطالب زیاد وآموزنده ای داشت که من تا به حال نمی دانستم. اینکه دمای کره زمین 2 درجه سانتیگراد افزایش یافته است را همه ما میدانیم ولی اینکه این دو درجه ناچیز (!) چه عوارضی دارد، چیزی است که کمتر مورد توجه قرار گرفته است.

عامل اصلی گرمتر شدن کره زمین چیست؟

چه کشورهایی بیشترین سهم را در تولید گازهای گلخانه ای دارند؟

معاهده کیوتو به چه منظور ایجاد گردیده است؟

انرژِهای تجدیدپذیر یا انرژیهای تمیز چه انرژِی هایی هستند؟؟

اینکه انرژی اتمی خوب است یا انرژِی تمیزی است یا تجدید پذیر یا....؟؟ آیا انرژِی اتمی میتواند جایگزین مناسبی برای سوخت های فسیلی باشند؟

آیا تاکنون نام حادثه چرنوبیل را شنیده اید؟؟!

و درنهایت...جهت نجات سیاره مان، زمین، چه باید کرد؟؟

دانلود رایگان از سایت شخصی دکتر صمدی:
http://www.aliafzalsamadi.ir/

The Age of Reason

The Age of Reason - Jean-Paul Sartre I always thought I have already read many of Sartre’s greatest works: Nausea, Le diable et le bon dieu, The flies, Dirty Hands or The Words. But yet, this one is another outstanding novel. It is also the first part of the trilogy The Roads to Freedom, so I will still have a long journey ahead with Sartre.

This is full of Existentialism.

There are so many characters with their special concerns. Mathieu-a philosophy teacher who seems to be Sartre himself, Marcelle – Mathieu’s mistress, Boris Mathieu’s student, Ivich Boris’s sister , Lola a middle aged woman who loves Boris and Daniel- Mathieu’s friend.

The main character is freedom which shows itself in different forms and every character seeks his/her freedom or loneliness.

Mathieu a 35 years old man has been with Marcelle for seven years but after Marcelle’s pregnancy he’s not sure he loves her any more. He wants to be free and fears marriage. He’s trying to find money for abortion.

Daniel tries to kill himself several times but fails.

Ivich struggling for entrance exams for medicine but fails.

And Boris who thinks he’s getting older and fears old ages.

Sartre says human is condemned to be free. But what does this freedom mean? There’s no God and only human exists and he is responsible for his actions. There are a lot of limitations out there which threaten our freedom: Loving somebody, attending university, working, … Indeed if we want to remain free we only must stay at our rooms and do nothing. Life is the biggest limitation!

How can we be free with these limitations? Sartre explores his characters extensively regarding to this issue. He puts them at the moment of decision and only in this moment we see the real meaning of his philosophy: Each character reveals his/her true self, each one is free to follow what he/she wants. Only at this moment they are honest with themselves.

My favorite part was the last 20 pages which is a conversation between Daniel and Mathieu, the two strongest characters. And the last paragraph:

He had finished the day, and he had also finished with his youth. Various tried and proved rules of conduct had already discreetly offered him their services: disillusioned epicureanism, smiling tolerance, resignation, flat seriousness, stoicism- all the aids whereby a man may savor, minute by minute, the failure of a life. ..He repeated to himself: “It’s true, it’s really true: I have attained the age of reason.”

The Sweetest Dream

The Sweetest Dream - Doris Lessing In The Sweetest Dream devotees of communism are some overexcited, smelly youths with greasy unwashed hairs who have sweetest dreams about the future of their ideology. This is England in 1970.

The historical-fiction aspect in this novel is so strong that I sometimes felt I was reading a real historical book. All the meetings, family gatherings and discussions are revolving around politics.

A big family, consisting of Frances and her two sons: Colin and Andrew, Julia -grandmother, Johnny-Julia's son and Frances' ex-husband and many friends of Colin and Andrew- Rose, Sophie, Danial… They are all living in Julia's big house.

Johnny is a famous communist leader. He always comes to this house for dinner with his new fellows. He stands by the window- not sits at the table and speaks about politics. He is a bad father. He never understands his sons – doesn't know anything about affection or love. He gets married three times- and each time he says I finally find my real fellow my real wife!

Strong characters are female – as I expected. Frances, Julia and then Silvia. Three women with different ages and from different generations. And aren't they a representation of the writer, herself, for different parts of her life?! Considering that Doris Lessing wrote this book in 2001, when she was 82, I can imagine Silvia as young, Francis as middle aged and Julia as 82- Doris Lessing.

A big part of this novel is devoted to Zimlia a fictional country in Africa, which some say it is Zimbabwe, in which Lessing lived there some years. Silvia went to work in an African mission hospital voluntarily as a doctor. This is the time of new revolutions, new miseries and new diseases like AIDS.

Feminists and defenders of women's rights in this novel are some radical, self-centered women, like Rose Trimble, a journalist who divorced her nice husband because of his smiles after having been bombard by his wife's nonstop speeches about women.

I think this is a novel which could be written only by an 82 female writer who witnessed a big part of history, who was herself a communist, feminist and conservative in special periods of her life.

The Secret Rose Garden

The Secret Rose Garden - Mahmud Shabistari, محمود شبستری image

I consider myself as an atheist/agnostic person, so I shouldn't have liked this Islamic collection of poems so much and rated it 5 stars, but I have some certain reasons for doing so:

1. It is a very well written piece of classical Persian literature in its own kind. I can't remember the last time that I read a fascinating book in Persian and told myself "What a treasure!", so I couldn't resist.

2. Is it really necessary to be a Muslim/religious person to like a masterpiece which is talking about God, beliefs and morality? Isn't it possible to switch off your atheist part of your brain for a few hours and just enjoy the contents? For an agnostic it wouldn't be difficult to read something without prejudice though.

3. Reading a classical religious book is easier than reading a contemporary religious book, because you know that many years passed, people those days had different ideas which by passing years they have been changed. You can easily enjoy the total theme.

This book was written in an asking and answering form. Mahmud Shabistari is one of the most celebrated Persian Sufi poets of the 14th century. Sufism was one of my interests before turning to atheism and as far as I know it is so different from Islam. In Sufism the first important step in your mystical path is to switch off your mind and know your God only through your heart. It was a nice experience to me, but unfortunately I finally asked that cursed question: "But, what does it all mean?!"...

LET reason go. For His Light
Burns reason up from head to foot.
If you wish to see that Face,
Seek another eye. The philosopher
With his two eyes sees double,
So is unable to see the unity of the Truth.


This book is also a good place to start reading classical Persian literature. It is a short book and the language is simple and so sweet that you can't put it down. And if you are the one who wants to start Persian poetry with Rumi's Masnavi ...Not a good idea!

Zaboor-e-Ajam

Zaboor-e-Ajam - Allama Iqbal We had some of Iqbal's poems in our literature course at high school. This one is the first collection of his poems that I read and really liked it, specially the last 50 pages which one of the poems was "New The Secret Rose Garden ". Some of the poems looked familiar to me. For example "Bini jahan ra khod ra nabini" which I realized that it was a lyric for Mohammad Esfahani 's "Shab Afrooz" song!

Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot - Samuel Beckett Didi and Gogo are waiting for Godot. They are waiting, but he never comes. Every day, he sends a boy to inform them that he cannot come today and will definitely come tomorrow.

This waiting is so boring for them. They even decide to hang themselves on a tree to escape from this boredom. Fortunately, Pozzo and Lucky come. They talk, laugh, sing, make Lucky dance,…. And that's all!... (I have a master degree in summarizing!)

***

Waiting for Godot is a play written by Samuel Beckett in 1948. It is known as "the most significant English language play of the 20th century". Beckett wrote this play first in French (En attendant Godot) and then translated it into English himself.

Didi and Gogo (which are nicknames for Vladimir and Estragon) are characters created to show the absurdity behind the action of waiting. As the matter of fact, this play is not only about absurdity but also it is absurd itself. You are watching a play in which nothing really happens. Just some ordinary and sometimes meaningless acts (yes meaningless and irrational). I was disappointed at first, but little by little, I realized that this is another Sisyphus, another The Stranger, another The Nausea! How masterfully Beckett demonstrates this Existential world of philosophy; this time on the subject of Waiting:

Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Someone to come and change your life
Waiting for Future
Waiting for a Miracle
.
.
.
image

You may like to check wikipedia .

Sound track:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-E53gmeO-8

Dubliners

Dubliners - Jeri Johnson, James Joyce This is my first experience of Joyce and I really liked it. I read it in Persian and unfortunately the translation wasn't so good, but even with that translation it was so clear to me what a treasure it was.

Joyce knows everything; every small step, every small gesture. He lives in the present moment. He sees the people: how they feel, how they think, how they speak. A genius psychologist; a genius writer!

Reading this collection of short stories shows me every little emotional experience in life should be valued. I can't write a story based on them, but who knows, maybe Joyce could!

میرا

میرا - Christopher Frank, لیلی گلستان لوس، بی مزه، بچه گانه

اصلا نمی دانم چرا گودریدز اینقدر این کتاب را می آورد جلوی چشم من. فکر می کردم حالا چه کتابی باید باشد!

مخصوصا چون دقیقا قبل از این کتاب، خاطرات ندیمه مارگارت آتوود که آن هم دیستوپیایی است را خواندم اصلا نمی توانم بیشتر یک ستاره به میرا بدهم.

Malone Dies

Malone Dies - Samuel Beckett I like the dark space in this story. I like the existence of reality. Sometimes we need someone to remind us Nothing is more real than Nothing!

En Trente Trois Sur La

En Trente Trois Sur La - René Char I used Google Translate to read these 33 poems. Not a good idea...

Some of my favorite parts:

Une femme suit des yeux de l’homme vivant
qu’elle aime.


************

Oiseau jamais intercepté
Ton étoile m’est douce au cœur
Ma route tire sur sa raie
L’air s’en détourne et l’homme y meurt.


************

Des yeux purs dans le bois
Cherchent en pleurant la tête habitable.


************

L’air était maternel
Les racines croissaient.

یک بحث فمینیستی قبل از پختن سیب زمینیها

یک بحث فمینیستی قبل از پختن سیب زمینیها - فاطمه اختصاری "Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."

- Leonard Cohen

غزل های پست مدرن و سبک جدیدی که تا به حال با آن برخوردی نداشتم.

دارم جدا
.
.
.
می افتی از این سقف آجری
از دختر بزرگ! و خداوند چادری!!
از هر چه بود بودن و به هیچ چی شدن
از شک بین خالی و پر، خالی و پری
تو مثل چند عکس تکی گوشه اتاق
خیره به خود نشسته ای و غصه می خوری
داری جدا
.
.
.
ولم کن از این حرف های پوچ
من خسته ام

image

Exitstencilism

Exitstencilism - Banksy All the pictures in this book are included in [b:Wall and Piece|114683|Wall and Piece|Banksy|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327904853s/114683.jpg|110426].

But what does Exitstencilism mean? According to urban dictionary it is the way a dumba** spells "existentialism"! (large, sexxxy word, meaning the universe is a large mass of pointless chaos. based apon the idea that people actually care about their own pitiful reality.)