[review] A Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam



Originally published: May 19, 2011
Author: Tahmima Anam
Preceded by: A Golden Age
Page count: 304
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance novel, Domestic Fiction

I was surprised when I first read the first few pages of this book. I kinda like it more than I intended to be, lol I always do. I read this novel because I need to write a term paper based on one of the novels listed under the course outline for British Literature in the 20th Century. I really picked up this novel with the lowest expectations I ever had (No offence btw, Anam!) because almost all the BritLit's novels I do for this subject were a bit.................dry but, spellbinding if I have to admit. I mean, I learnt a lot about post-war literature this semester.

Reading 'A Good Muslim' is a journey full of mirrors along the path that allows me to literally reflect on my own self. Really.

061: Case #1 | People and me (or vice-versa)

Assalammualaikum.

Apparently, whenever I decided to do something (weird mostly) Allah knows better and will send me tremendous things in bulks. Like for example, a fortnight ago - I decided not to engage with any people, unless necessary. I wish my rules for the week applied to class too, but my parents would be furious over it and myself too would be so rugi because hello masuk universiti ni sebab apa? Lol.

There is no way I could avoid engaging with people at all because a matter of fact, I'm on  Earth. So, yep. 

The reason why I decided to do that weirdly weird exertion is just that I could sense that I keep feeling like a prick, getting annoyed to a lot of things. Things that the normal 'me' would not usually care pun. Partly, I guess because it is almost the time of the month. But, I would say - I just want some time alone to be with myself. 

Here's a twist.

060: an update

Assalammualaikum.

Really, it has been a while since I last wrote something in this dungeon. Two months I bet? Lol. Life has been great - it still does, despite all those small sweet catastrophes that happened. All those mini-heart attacks that I received over the weeks. All those small conversations and meet-ups, soon develop into more than what it actually intended to makes up to it.

All praise to Allah and I am happy.

I guess, that might be the major reason why I do not shove anything in here anymore. Or, it might indicate that I no longer think critically because I write to seek answers over questions which linger around my head. Lol. I used to be sceptical over the fact if I happened to abandon my blog over a certain period of times, it is like me letting my best friend forever (the irony lol) go and come only when I am not happy, to wail. Tsk.

I do wish to share everything in here. Bad and good because it is part of my journey. Even those little things like uhm I started wearing a bracelet over my right wrist because I wanted to get used to it, the fluffy doughnut I have for breakfast yesterday (I swear it is soooooo good), how I started spending my three evenings in the weekends to jog but end up triggering my old injuries.

Those kinds of petty things. I like petty small things and I love telling them to people, virtually. I rarely do that in real life. I just don't. It built a connection between people and I get clingy. When I get clingy ... let just say, you do not want to deal with it. My past experiences with people make me built a wall for my own self. I do talk to people, I do share stories but I never realize until one day, a friend confront me - asking why?

Why do I build a wall?

I was taken aback and shocked, obviously. I thought I already share enough yet apparently (after intense reflection) I could conclude that I occupy emotions I deemed silly within my only self. How silly? My own silly-scale. Lol.

I don't open to people easily, unless in the blog. Whatta weird things to do right?
I bare myself to you lol.

059: Growing preferences


Assalammualaikum.

(I accidentally delete my latest post (059: You Look Happier Than Before) and I internally cry a little because I do not have any copy of it. If you wonder what has happened, yes - this happened.)


Source: Google

The transition from teenager to a young adult's life might have changed my preferences over the years. I noticed that there are little things I used to hate a lot as a child I soon develop a liking for them. For example, bitter gourd. 

I used to hate those green bitter things even though I come to acknowledge later that my mom made the best stir-fried bitter gourd. I do not know what makes I suddenly love bitter gourd though. Tiba-tiba, on one fine day in CFS I decided to try a spoonful of bitter-gourd and I surprisingly like it a lot.

As cliche as it may sound at this moment, that is exactly how our life works. There are things that unexpectedly would make us happy - well, for me its the food - which we are going to know only if we decided to try it for the first time. Everything needs a first time after all.

This kind of unintentional incidents makes me slowly realize how flexible I have become over the years. I mean, I have always been that type of person who stands still on the ground, refuse to welcome any sudden changes in my life. I am the type that would go ordering the same menu, over and over again because...just because I hate the idea of embracing new options. I stand on my own opinions too.

But, I guess - I learnt to greet a lot of new experiences, ideas and so does people as I grow up meeting, intentionally/unintentionally people over the periods.

I have to give a pat on my back.

/smile/

May Allah bless you fellas!

ps: I still can't eat bitter bean (petai) though >,< The closest it could get is only on my sambal because I like the color in my sambal lol

058: of two contrasting perspectives

Few months ago, I posted a status on WhatsApp expressing my frustration over the fact of how people nowadays were shaped by the ideologies/norms fixed by society rather than proudly wearing their own ‘clothes’ (mind the incohesive metaphors I tried putting there by the way). 

But you got the gist, right?

It is something that I have been feeling for quite some time, and I guess I just need somewhere to express that. I was shocked, at first, when I received multiple replies regarding that issue. But, there are two persons whom one person I do not normally engage with – we just work together for a programme while another one is a close friend of mine. 

The discussions were crazy. Sometimes, I still do think about it. I was presented with two points of views; Usuluddin and Human Sciences. Different metaphors; from moral codes to ‘air bungkus ikat tepi uia’. I do not particularly accept both ideas but they make good points, there is no way of separating both religion and life (specifically between norm and human nature) – “Even though we choose to follow the flow around us, we also have given all much of our considerations before we follow them” (2018, K.).

Jadi, aku ambil keputusan untuk tak meletakkan kesalahan pada orang-orang yang terpaksa mengikut arus because it may seem like I did. 

Bak kata kawan aku yang lagi sorang “norms are shaped by the society, and those who do not follow the norms would usually be left out.” Hence, it might be the core reason while people chose to abandon their ‘clothes’ and wear what the society has provided for them instead. If they chose to follow the norms heck even if they chose to not to, bear in mind; they must have already considered both pros and cons of it. 

When it comes to the attitudes of the so-called major society, it goes back to attitude. I do not want to irritate myself by going through that topics, you know how devastating Malaysian could be. Maybe next time.

Oh ya, Selamat Hari Raya! May Allah bless us for this holy month :D

057: How about, recently?

I got this for myself as a birthday present on early March, but I sadly left it at home?

Assalammualaikum.


I am probably in the busiest quarter I would get before hitting the final in another three weeks. Time flies, per usual. I cannot recall how many times I really wished weekends to arrive faster… when it just Monday? Lol. Bukan semua orang macam ni ke?
Ok…maybe only me.

Prereg Subject

I think – pre-registration week would be the most cursed week among IIUM students, no joke. Some even cried, and per usual there would be a lot lot LOT of ranting go over the social media. This semester was a bit devastating for me as I had to go manual for few subjects yet only able to reach the minimum credit hours. I reserved any complaints because apparently, I have got more time to spare for ‘entertainments’.

For next semester (Second Year, Second Semester wuhuuu!) I have to get my arms ready. 21 credit hours, I am gonna go through you, bruv.


Me and questions.

I love asking questions… in my head. I do not know if others do have problem like me, but I found it difficult to blurt out questions whenever I am in class. Especially, if I find myself uneasy within that bound.

It’s happened you know. The idea of not being able to feed your curiosity is just… overwhelming. Hence, the reason why I turned green eyes whenever I met people who could bravely, courageously speak up – no matter how ridiculous their opinion and question is.


Recently, I found something interesting. Some people just have a really mind-blowing curiosity which is suppressed underneath their inability to properly address their thoughts or questions. It is bad because people would address your flaws rather than your point, in most cases. However, it is not that bad too because a certain portion of people might notice your ‘uniqueness’ in thought. It just crazy you know.

Therefore, to counter my fear – I decided to put a small tiny little goal. I promised myself that I would speak at least once in one of my Shakespeare classes, a class that I am afraid the most because of the audacity for me to blurt out a point in that class is just terrifyingly scary. Even though I do enjoy the discussion most of the times.

What happened when I did not read?

I could list a bunch if I do really think about the consequences of not entertaining my usual habits. I love reading but lately:

Sleep > Read

I just have that constant need of 5 minutes naps which you know how it actually ends too. Hours, sometimes. I can even sleep while sitting for lectures (juniors, don’t follow me because it’s rude) – to add more, even as I sat on the front row lol. You just have no idea how guilty I am after that but again, it is not something that I can control at that time.

I am just too tired of being tired?

Farewell, Jemari Seni.

If you were an avid fan of any novel under Jemari Seni – this news probably had reached you guys. Of course, I was saddened by this news that happened to arrive when there is only a few days more for Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair 2018. You see, ‘Rooftop Rant’ and ‘Lazuardi’ bring me to them. I even have this dream of wanting to work with them once I finished my degree.



You guys did great, and I sincerely thank Jemari Seni for bringing me authors which I come to find similarities such as HLOVATE and Syud. Not to mention how they did actually get me through all those hard times I have. Taktahulah berapa kali dah aku flip Rooftop Rant setiap kali aku rasa belajar ni susah sobs.

Thank you and may Allah ease everything!

(p/s: I would try to update more?)

056: of questions

Assalammualaikum

The other day, I was doing my revision at the hallway in my department - my favorite spot at the moment besides library - as a friend of mine approached me. I was reading one of the materials in my Shakespeare's class and she came asking,

"Do you think Shakespeare is still relevant to today's world? I mean, its been ages kot and I cannot brain why do we have to learn about that?"

I was flustered, no joke, but to tell you the truth - I kinda expecting that kind of question. It is actually something that has been around for quite sometimes among my colleague - the 'Why's. Why do we have to study Shakespeare? Why do we have to study Beowulf? Why do we have to study Renaissance, Age of Reason, The European Enlightenment? Why do we have to study about Fiqh and Law and basically everything when we actually doing English? 

We just seem to cannot let go the 'Why' questions. It's like we need the answer in order to rationalize the things that on our plate presently. We are probably at the age that we even question our own existence in this world because sometimes I do. But we know the answer right? Heh. We are vicegerent, the Khalifah of this world, sent down in order to live a life worshiping Allah by doing Ibadah (which does not only restricted to the five principles of Islam). 

Back to my friend. I told her the relationship between literature during that time does not only restrained to be a part of entertainment (with moral values sometimes) as it does nowadays. Literature has always been a powerful tool for the writers to criticise the society. Hence the reason why do we need to understand the context/social environment in that time to understand the stories written by them. 

This is not Qur'an by the way, it is a historical text of Malaya - I forgot which Hikayat this is sobs
Well, my friend seems to accept my general answer (because I do not specifically emphasize about Shakespeare). Usually, she would argue but heh she probably rushing to class lol.

You see, there is always a thing about asking questions. Sometimes, it makes you scared but you really want to seek other opinion. Most probably because when we make our own opinions it would usually being biased-ly (or sometimes clouded with) with our very own emotions. For example, if I hate Literature, maybe I would say that learning about all these literary figures who are already dead hundred years ago is useless.

Not to say that I like Literature but uhm you do the math. Lol.

There's nothing wrong with voicing your opinion. There's nothing wrong with asking for help. 
There is nothing wrong with being wrong either.

Heh.
It's really been awhile since I last updated and visited all my blogger friends. Somehow, I feel sorry about that. I promised I would try to update on the regular basis because blogging is a part of my life too. 

What is your opinion about how novels/films/plays or even songs being presented nowadays? 

Until the next time, adios!

055: skin deep worries

Drowned Thoughts by Kelogs
Assalammualaikum.

I think a lot. Unnecessary, necessary. But, I rarely share my thought to people. Sometimes, I do. But another time, my judgement just scream no, no, no and NO big time. Put up a wall, a tall one and just shove everything in the closet.

I guess, one of the best things I could do to not over think about something is to just stop thinking about that in particular and just move on. For example, my first week in the third semester of undergraduate study is a mess because I only occupy the minimum credit hours. I want to add another subject which is Phonetics and Phonology, but I was denied sobs.

Frustrated, I cried.

Hahahahaha, hell no. I just went to Sociology Department and submit a new application to add Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology instead. It was an impulse decision because it was the closest department to DELL. I think, I was rejected but nah sokay. I can handle second time disappointment. And that will leave me with 5 subjects (which I supposedly ace it):

1. English Literature: Beowulf To Johnson
2. Shakespeare In His Age And In Modern Context
3. Semantics
4. Introduction To Political Science
5. Sciences Of Hadith

2018 – My sole goal, the core of everything on the list is just to do things that makes me happy. If it doesn’t then just say NO (and freaking please stop thinking about it). When it’s done, then it is done – isn’t?

I no longer want to spend my time on things that would upset me at the end of the day.

Would you?

Heh, I will see you later!

[review] Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices.

The world lights up with the knowledge of Terra Nova, the mirror planet, and Tara’s life on Earth begins to change. At first, small shifts happen, like attention from Nick Osterman, the most popular guy at Brierly, and her mother playing hooky from work to watch the news all day. But eventually those small shifts swell, the discovery of Terra Nova like a black hole, bending all the light around it.
As a new era of scientific history dawns and Tara's life at Brierly continues its orbit, only one thing is clear: Nothing on Earth--or for Tara--will ever be the same again.

Assalammualaikum.

In my previous post, I did mentioned that I picked this book because I was deemed to do a novel analysis for one of my assessments. I finished this one within two days - forcefully, because I no longer have time to write the paper. Surprisingly, I kinda like this novel a lot than I expected to be. One of the reasons is that I do not normally read sci-fi genre because it just hard to digest. Mind me, but I really love something adventurous with a hint of Greek mythology such as Percy Jackson. 

Reading 'Mirror in The Sky' is a new experience for me. Aside from the fact that this is the first time I was challenged to do an analysis - the genre and issues itself come out stronger than I used to familiarize myself with. In a good sense, I think feminist would really love this novel. Why? Because the whole plot literally emphasize about women empowerment. The characters, the stories. You would not find the girls fighting for something stupid, at least I do feel that way.

The fact that this book actually belong to the Young Adult, considering the main character, Tara Krishnan and people surrounding her as well as the setting, the main theme is quite heavy. Khorana tries to emphasize the idea of racism (because the main character is Indian-American living in Greenwich I think, I'm sorry I can't recalled), women empowerment (the girls basically a goal for any women - an intellectual lol) as well as the idea of believing and how would it impact your life  

The idea about the mirror planet is quite mind-blowing to be honest. Uh, by the way if you read this novel expecting it to be filled with a lot of scientific terms and space - you probably be so crossed about that because it did not. Lol. The mirror planet is always there to tie all the plot. The fascinating part about the plot is that people keep using the existence of the mirror planet to justify their action. In other word, just imagined about all the choices, options and chances you had to forget just because of restricted circumstances you faced are the ones that being taken by the other you in that mirror planet.

Think about the possibilities.
Think about the outcomes.
Isn't it mind blowing and just weirdly makes you deliberate a lot?

One of the examples (and yes my favorite scene) is shown through Virginia Woolf 'cameo' in this book. First of all, you need to know that Virginia Woolf is a great writer during Victorian era and she committed suicide by drowning herself in a river closed to her house. In this novel, Khorana brings Virginia Woolf as a successful woman who managed to stop a war by imploring writers especially women to write after she survived from her attempted suicide. Leonard, her husband just got in time to save her from drowning. 

I almost cried reading that part. It just so sensible and ugh hit me hard.

It is beautifully written taking into account that Aditi Khorana used to be a journalist before she quit to be full time writer :')

So yeah, it has been a while since I last posted any review isn't? I have few in mind but let see if I have the 'feels' to write one hahahahahahah because I just got back to read after a long hiatus. I wish I could include few quotes that I like from this novel but the novel is being borrowed by my friend - so .... yep. Hahahahahahaha!

What is your opinion regarding books with social issues? Do you have any favorite?

Drop your comment below and let's share something new.

Adios, see ya!