Month: June 2019

House without walls

House without walls by Ching Yeung Russell is a touching novel about the plight of refugees in finding a new homeland. Eleven-year-old Lam escapes Vietnam with her younger brother Dee Dee during the Vietnam Boat People Exodus in 1979, when people from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia fled their homelands for safety. Lam and Dee Dee’s final destination is San Francisco, to live with their father. Their immediate destination was to reach a refugee camp so that they could travel to America. Their sea voyage is riddled with cold, hunger, exhaustion and violent sea pirates. At sea, a kind family takes them under their wing and they spend with them until they leave to America. The plight of the refugees and the disapproval by the new countries was heart touching. In one of the countries they landed, they shipped the refugees back to the sea in malfunctioned boats, with the intent that they will die at the sea and will not return back to their country. This incident almost brought tears to my eyes. The novel …

Primrose’s Curse

Primrose Fernetise, is a beautiful and audacious twelve-year-old girl. Her family is going through tough times. Her mother died and her father fell sick. Primrose goes to the woods in search of a divine flower that could cure her father. In the woods, she meets a group of woodland animals with mystical abilities. They tell to Primrose that the evil sorceress Queen Evelyn Velecrona wants to destroy humanity and it was up to Primrose to save humanity. Primrose and the woodland animals go on a quest to vanquish the evil sorceress. Will they be successful? Reading this story made me feel nostalgic. It is a fairy tale with a solid plot, with twists, turns,and events. I also liked the pictures in the book, which added depth to the reading experience. I felt that the names of a few of the characters were tongue-twisters. They could have simpler names. Also, it was repeated many times that Primrose’s mission was to save humanity, which was not necessary. The book would also benefit from using a simpler language. …

Malala’s Magic Pencil

Malala is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. When Malala was a child, she wished for a magic pencil. She would use the pencil to draw a lock on her door to keep her brothers out and sleep an extra hour every morning by stopping time. When Malala’s right to attend school was threatened, she picked up a real pencil and wrote about life under the Taliban. People all over the world came to know about the atrocities under the Taliban regime. What amazed me when I read this book and her biography is her father. He was an advocate for girls’ education and Malala studied in his school. He supported her education and her desire to write and publish about life under the Taliban. The world would not have a Malala if he forced her to stay at home, cook and clean for their family, as expected in his community. Instead, he gave unflinching support for his daughter, stood by her and made sure she did what she …

The life-changing magic of tidying up

In schools, they teach Science, Math, and English but they never teach about how to keep our surroundings organized. The most essential lesson of life is not taught. Marie Kondo’s book is about cleaning up once and keeping it that way for a long time. The first principle is that we need less to live in an organized manner. Second, there has to be a place for a thing and a thing in its place. Third, decluttering will also change your life, you prioritize your life goals as well. The most useful tip she provides in this book is to clean by category, not by room. Start with non-personal items such as clothes. Pile all the clothes in the center of the room. Each piece of clothing evokes a certain feeling, joy, doubt or distaste. Only keep the clothes that spark joy. Repeat the process with other categories such as books, papers, miscellaneous and sentimental items. Marie Kondo calls this approach as the KonMari method after her name. This book is truly life-changing if we …