Hollydolly Books

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Location: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

I am an avid book reader. I prefer to read books by Indian authors or books set in India. I am also very interested in the Hindu religion/philosophy, so I do quite a bit of reading in that area. I also enjoy attending my local Hindu temple. It is so beautiful there, and the people are so gracious. They also serve delicious food. It is served with such love it is a joy to partake. I also am a real armchair traveller, so travel literature is a real favorite . I have also become a practising Buddhist, so I do a tremendous amount of studying, which I love. I enjoy going to my local Buddhist temple for study and meditation. Just to walk into the shrine room and see the beautiful serene statue of Buddha is very calming. I am also attending Yoga classes regularly, which I enjoy very much.I am also trying to improve my meditation.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Can You Hear The Nightbird Call - Anita Rau Badami

I have just finished this amazingBook: It is the story of three women, who become linked together with love and tragedy. This all takes place over a period of fifty years. It starts with the partition of India and Pakistan, and it ends with the horrific explosion of Air Flight India no 182 in 1985.
Bibi-ji, steals her sisters fiance, and she returns with him to Vancouver. She becomes obsessed with the disapearance of her sister during the violence of partition. Leela is her neighbor, always struggling to do the right thing and to fit in. Nimmo back in India is made an orphan by partition, she is in a life long struggle to rebuild her life in Delhi.
This is a truly moving engrossing story. Rich with warmth and humanity. The characters just step right out of the story, grab you and never let go.
This story is told with such beauty. I was very sorry when it ended.
As I read somewhere, "Badami paints the mundane details of daily life with the rich colours and tantalizing aromas of Indian culture."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kite Runner

Well, after having this book sit for so long on my shelf, I have finally got around to reading it.

Hosseini's first novel -- and the first Afghan novel to be written originally in English -- "The Kite Runner" tells a story of the friendship between Amir,who is the son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, and Hassan, the son of his father's servant. Amir is Sunni; Hassan is Shi'a. One is born to a privileged class; the other to a minority. One to a father of enormous presence; the other to a crippled man. One is a reader; the other illiterate.

Hassan is born with a hare lip.

Yet Amir and Hassan live and play together, not simply as friends, but as brothers who have both suffered the loss of their mother . Their story travels across Afghanistan's history, like a kite under a gathering storm.

This unusual story is also about the relationship of fathers and sons, men and their countries. Loyalty and blood are the ties that bind their stories into one of the most moving and exciting books of this year. I loved it from the start to the finish. At times it made me mad, made me sad, but I loved it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Song of the Cuckoo Bird

After reading “Serving Crazy with Curry, by Amulya Malladi I couldn’t wait to get into “Song of the Cuckoo Bird”. Well, I was not disappointed. This is a truly delightful book, which kept me turning page after page, and not wanting to put the book down.

“Song of the Cuckoo Bird” is the story of a group of people who live in an ashram called “Tella Meda” (The House with the White Roof). The people who live there are really poor and they do not have anywhere else to go. One of the main characters who lives there is a girl called Charvi. When she was born her father declared her to be a deity, and she looks upon herself as a deity. From the time she was born people in the village bring her offerings, in turn, her family give people a place to stay, with food and blessings from the goddess.
Another main character and my favorite is Kokila, whose name means "Cuckoo Bird". The story is mostly seen through her eyes. She comes to live at the Ashram, an orphan who is married at the age of 11. She is meant to stay until she has her first period, then she will be sent to her husband. However, she decides she does not want to return to her husband, she wants to stay at “Tella Meda”.
So many people come and go at the Ashram, some return, some never to be seen again. This is a story that will make you smile, and yes, it will make you cry. But is a beautiful story. Friendships are made, love is found, and all are wound up in the life of “Tella Meda”, The House with the White Roof.

Shortcut To Nirvana

I have just watched this amazing documentary. I came upon it quite by chance at my local library. (Have since purchased my own copy)

Plot Synopsis: (Amazon.com)
Every 12 years over 70 million pilgrims gather at the meeting of India's holiest rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna, for a spectacular spiritual festival: the Kumbh Mela. This documentary takes a voyage of discovery through this colorful event through the eyes of several Westerners and an ebullient young Hindu monk, Swami Krishnanand. Featuring encounters with some of India's most respected holy men and exclusive footage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

I just soaked up the beauty of this documentary from the opening credits. I must admit I did not know too much about the Kumbh Mela, I think I had read about it briefly in the book "Holy Cow". It is just wonderful to see people of all castes and religious beliefs coming together.It left me with the feeling that the beauty of "Kumbh Mela" had come right into my home and left the sights and sounds to linger on.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dalai Lama Peaceful Day

Today I was having a bad day. I just meditated for a short while with the picture above of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Just thinking peacful thoughts with the image of this wonderful man is amazing. All the thoughts of a bad day drifted away and thoughts of all the things in my life I have to be grateful for came to the surface.I feel so very humble.

I started practicing Buddhism about two years ago, the changes it has made in my life are amazing. I find I am more compassionate, certainly more mindful of my fellow human beings, and the planet in which we all share. To me I accept Buddhism, not as a religion, but as a way of life. That is what is so beautiful. As the Dalai Lama says:-

"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness"

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Second Book in Winter Challenge.

The time is 1975, in India, in an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a state of emergency. The country is on the edge of chaos.

Four main characters form an unlikely relationship. Two tailors, an uncle and a nephew fleeing the horrifying caste violence from their village, a widow, desperately trying to cling to her fragile independance from her brother and a young student from the northern mountains. The story follows their lives closely, how they come together and form fragile frindships at first. It also vividly captures the very real and disturbing caste violence from this very shocking time in India's history.

However, this book is beautiful written. The people , smells and sounds of India leap out at you from every page. It wonderfully portrays how important friendships are in difficuilt times, and also how very fragile they can be.

It is not what I would call an easy book to read, but the story is uplifting, following individuals who struggle so hard to exist in absolutely appaling conditions but can still laugh, love, and find joy in their lives.

I am so glad I read this book. It remains with me still, long after I turned the last page.

Winter Classics Challenge

The Good Earth
Pearl S Buck

Rudyard Kipling

Out Of Africa
Karen Blixen

The Moonstone
Wilkie Collins

Yoga Sutra
Geshe Michael Roache