Friday, October 21, 2005

Book report

I have recently finished two books that have weighed on my mind. The first one was given to me by Miss Allie. Cause Celeb by Helen Feilding, where the main character jumped from the celebrity world of London to a refugee camp in Africa. The juxtaposition of her two lives and the dichotomy of the attitudes of the people in these stories struck me. How shallow is the west? How can we get so wrapped up in our own privlidged lives and shut out millions who have so little? Even someone who has seen such poverty first hand forgets about it when she gets back to the states. It really made me think about my own attitude lately and how much I take for granted. I have a fantastic fiance who is still with me for whatever reason, a fabulous family who loves me more than I can ever measure, a formidable fleet of friends who are not related to me, but still stick around, a job, a house, food. Most Americans and Europeans don't have it as good as me, let alone those in the third world. We are going to India as Americans in January, and even though I will never truly see the country as a native would, this time I will try my best to remove the designer sun glasses from my cosmetically enhanced eyes.

The second one takes place in Thailand: Bangkok 8. It was written by an American but you would never know it. Like Memoirs of a Geisha, the author seems to truly understand the Thai and Buddhist world - at least to an American audience. It was a culture to which I never gave much thought, but after reading the book, seeing the red light district, the businesses, the countryside, the jungles through both American and Thai eyes is something I really would like to do. I don't think my sheltered Sharon background would be able to handle some of the scenes described in the book, but it fascinates me nonetheless. Reincarnation plays a big part in the main character's life, and it makes you wonder about your own past lives. Are we unhappy now because we did something wicked in the past? Are we upper middle class Americans because we paid our dues earlier? I always thought reincarnation was invented by the Hindu kings as a way to keep the masses in check. The Buddhist way of looking at things, however, is a bit less clinical. It helps you come to terms with your the things you cannot change and motivates you to improve the things you can.

10/20: yogurt with granola, turkey burger, a HUGE salad, baked fish, hot chocolate / 1.5 hours of card, some abs


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10:51 AM  
Blogger si gracieuse said...

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i'm so checking that out.

and i hear you, even going to romania, which i guess i would consider a "second-world" country even though those apparently don't exist politically anymore, made me appreciate what i have in my life so much more. i mean, we have enough electricity to have FANS in the summer, which is more than i can say for most of the houses there.

but at least we're AWARE, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of spoiled citizens in this country.


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