Monday, August 26, 2013

A Journey Back to Wuthering Heights

My first encounter with the classic literature Wuthering Heights was in my junior high school years. It was one of the recommended reading material for the juniors’ Literature class, although it baffled me that we never did quite discuss the book thoroughly, but was only mentioned in passing. I actually tried reading it then but unlike
Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, I did not find it compelling enough to hold my interest. The complex nature of the story was too much for my fifteen year-old mind then.


But after re-reading this book after so many years, I understood why I could not have appreciated it then.

Love that is on the brink of being destructive and obsessive, mental (and physical) abuse, domestic violence and revenge that draws the soul to downward spiral, are not exactly what a fifteen year old would be able to relate to, enough to encourage any attempt to ponder what lies beyond the surface.

I still cannot feel any empathy to Catherine and Heathcliff's star-crossed love. Based on my earlier pre-conceptions, WH was sold to me as love story of the ill-fated couple. That is all there was to it-- ill-fatedness. But no redemption at all especially for Heathcliff’s dark obsession to possess what is beyond his reach.

I found Isabella Linton, though a minority in the story, as the most compelling character in WH. She has transformed from a somewhat foolish young girl that was blinded by her infatuation to Heathcliff, to a woman who found the will and tenacity to fight back and break free from a tragic life under Heathcliff's abusive ways.

If something was worth a 5-star in this book, it would be Isabella Linton's transformation as a woman of strength.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Latest Book Stash for Long Weekend Reads

If you are facing another long holiday weekend, going for a long drive (and not driving) or simply, enjoying a lazy day in your usual “lazy day corner”, here are a few books for a good, light reading. This assumes, of course, that we are of the same wave-length on the choice of good reads.


Strengths Finder 2.0

I have long been sold on the idea that we ought to play to our strengths. Always worked for me. The pre-requisite is knowing your basic strengths, assessed in a purely objective point of view. This book describes the thirty different types of strengths and provides a detailed description of how a person possessing those qualities can leverage it to keep them motivated, progressive and effective.

I have two of these kinds. The first book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” was given to me as a gift. The latest edition is now called Strengths Finder 2.0. It comes with a unique code that you can use to access the website Strengths Finder that will facilitate the assessment of your strengths. After taking the assessment, it will summarize your top five strengths. You will have to refer back to the book to have a deeper understanding of what those strengths mean, how it affects the way you think, operate, relate to people and so on. If you work with people, this book also helps guide a manager of others how you can develop the talents of your people based on their unique strengths.



The Little Book of Talent

Everyone has their unique set of talents. But how does talent differ vs. skills? How do you develop those talents to their fullest potential? This book is a compilation of 52 tips on how one can improve skills and develop talents. I like this book because the concepts were simplified and you can readily adopt them. Key here is being able to flex those mental muscles and turn what you have read into actual practice!

Classy

This was an accidental purchase for me while I was looking for the book The Food Rules. What is class anyway? Is it something that you are born with? Does being classy equate to being part of an elite circle and surrounded by all things posh?

This is a book that is worth reading especially for young women who aspires of growing up to be a lady and not a tramp. We see a lot of women today, young/not-so-young/young-once who embrace fleeting, trivial things that leaves a bad taste in the mouth in the hope of being classy but ends up being trashy. My daughter was interested in this book and I had to guide her through it.

This book include highlights on the following: how to dress sexy without looking like a skank, how to avoid sticky situations that lead girls to making bad decisions (think about homemade sex videos, those pictures that will haunt you to the grave, etc), behaving in public, why you are what you read, why one should avoid the rumor mill, and many more! The tagline: Because if you are not a lady, chances are you are a tramp.