Friday, December 30, 2011

The Jane Austen Book Club by karen Joy Fowler

Basic plot

A group of Jane Austen book lovers gather together to discuss her works and in the process find that life is not as straightforward as Miss Austen wrote it to be. If only though, it was. Jocelyn, Sylvia, Prudie, Allegra, Bernadette and Grigg do not really have alot in common with each other other than their taste in books but they find their monthly gatherings a welcome respite from their own complicated lives.

What I liked about this book

The characters have very interesting lives which serve as sub-plots to the story. The quaint and quirky flashbacks through their lives in essence are more the core of the book than the actual book club itself. The reader is able to understand how each character became the person they area and how different their personal perspectives are on Miss Austen and life in general. The concise summary of all of Jane Austen's books which are mentioned found at the back of the book was very helpful, especially for someone like my since I have only read Miss Austen's Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility.

What I disliked about the book

I would have to say, the actual book club discussions themselves. Strangely enough,  people discussing books does not a fascinating read make. It also bugged me that I could not gauge how old these people actually were and had no way of matching them to the people on the cover which depicted the actors from the movie (based on the book) even after finishing the book. Perhaps that was not the book's fault ;)

A quote I liked from the book
She closed her eyes, which made them disappear but not usefully so.

And since it is a Jane Austen book club:
"The mere habit of learning to love is the thing."- Jane Austen 1775-1817

Rating: 3.5

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Visiting Baby Sarah


Last Sunday, I dropped by to see my good friend Hanim and her new baby, Sarah. It was my first time at their gorgeous home and first time meeting the rest of her family too. We had a nice time just chatting away and munching on delicious chicken pies and cupcakes. I can't wait to bring my kids along for a play-date next time. *Hint* Hint* (Fishing for another invite haha).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cik Jil & Karido - The love story

Last Friday night ... (no this is not the Katy Perry song) ... a dear friend got married. Even though, I have only known her for less than 3 years, Zil is of course one of the UKM Wondergirls. A little nickname I coined for the small group of postgrad students studying with me at UKM (Still in present tense since I have yet to go for my viva). As a group we've not only spent a lot of time with each other (most of it eating..hehe) but we've also been through tough times together, so I consider each one of them my sisters. 

The first time we heard about Khalid ... we found out that Zil was not single and not available. Khalid was far away though, in Japan. So mostly Khalid or Karido as we liked to call him was merely a name on Zil's lips and a smile each time she opened her laptop.

The first time we met Khalid ... he dropped by with Zil at one of our lunch outings at Ani Sup Utara. That time, H1N1 was rampant so he was wearing a face mask. Truly a strange way to be introduced to a group of talkative women. Understandably he didn't talk much.

The first time we really got to know Khalid ... was at their engagement ceremony. He was so friendly and cheerful (of course) that day. Joking with all of us. Yup, Khalid was one of us now. He was bound by promise to our Zil.

And so, on 23/12/11 (also Khalid's birthday- smart move, so he will never forget) ..we saw our beautiful sister Zil transform into a ravishing princess and married to her Prince Charming. They will make a wonderful couple, Zil with her beauty and kind heart, with Khalid who is truly a really nice guy. I wish them all the best.

Congratulations Zil & Khalid. May your lives be filled with love ever after.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Unions and reunions

Earlier this month my friend from med school Dilla got married. It was a gorgeous event held at Dewan Jubli Perak Kuantan. The bride and groom were ravishing and the food was great. Everybody looked really happy especially all her friends. It was a sort of mini reunion for us since it has been a long time since that many of us had been able to gather in the same place at the same time. I think we took more pictures of ourselves than of the happy couple. So if any of the other guests were wondering what all the hullabaloo was about, it was just a bunch of 30(+) year old doctors remembering the joys of friendship and being 20 again. Hehe.

I think only after 20+ pictures somebody had the smart idea to have the wedding/stage as a backdrop instead of the curtains haha.

Congratulations to Dilla & Redha. 
May your lives be filled with joy, laughter and love.

PS: It was great seeing all of you. I have missed you all very much. Hope we'll all get a chance to get together again soon.

All pics credited to Ayeen :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Lights of Alborada by Gianni Riotta

Basic plot

Nino Manes escaped his prisoner of war camp in Texas to reach his village in Italy. He had a wedding to stop. Clutching a letter from his sweetheart telling him that she intends to wed their English teacher in forty days time, he risks his life to prevent this. After all, what is life without love? Joined by the unlikeliest of traveling companions, a fake American lieutenant and a waif-like prostitute, his impossible quest is fraught with daring escapes from Military Police, bounty hunters, land mines and even ferocious wild beasts. 

What I liked about this story

I must admit that reading the synopsis made me buy the book. The die-hard romantic in me could not resist such a tragic story of enduring true love. The author has a lovely way of describing people, places and emotions that verges on poetic. The characters are likeable, especially the enigmatic and charming lieutenant.

What I disliked about this story

As with most authors who dwell on descriptions, sometimes, the pace of the book fell short, slightly dragging it's heels. I was also not keen as to the fate of the characters, personally, I would have taken the story in another direction. 

A quote I liked from this book

The daring route that lets you overtake yourself when you have lost your past, and accept rebirth in life's uncertainty. Humble and close to those around you.

Rating: 3.5

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bye bye Birdie

Before the BIG snip (with Usu)

It's been a rough week. Last Sunday my eldest son, Yousof went for circumcision. At six years old he was one of the younger ones there. When we arrived at Klinik Al-Amin, he was given number 70 (the last one for the day). As we waited for his turn, I think I was more nervous than him. When I asked him if he was worried he replied "Tak takut sebab Upin & Ipin kata macam kena gigit kerengga je (I'm not scared because Upin & Ipin [cartoon characters] said it's just like an ant bite)". When it was his turn, he bravely went in by himself (no parents allowed) and came out 15 minutes later smiling. He said he didn't feel anything and just kept his eyes closed the whole time. 

Didn't hurt at all

It was only later in the car ride home that he started to feel the pain. This was because the local anaesthetic that they had given had worn off and the painkiller that he took had not set in yet. That evening and throughout the night, I felt more helpless than I have ever felt. It was heart-breaking to see him in pain. I had done all I could to ease his pain including adding another analgesic but being a child, the pain continued to bother him. So I simply stayed by his side, comforting him and coaxing him to sleep. Toilet trips and dressing the wound was a nightmare too. For the first 3 days the swelling at his glans penis (front part) was very obvious and did not recede. By the 4th day the swelling subsided but was replaced by a black discolouration of the whole area. With very minimal experience in wound healing after such a procedure I consulted my lecturers (Dr Emad, Dr Saad, Mr Salleh), also getting input from my parents, Dr Wahab and even went to visit the clinic again. Finally, I am reassured that this whole traumatic experience is just part of the healing process.

NOW it hurts!

I have learned two very important lessons throughout this. Firstly, there is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain (worse yet when you are the one who has to grit your teeth and inflict the pain - cleaning/dressing the wound properly so it does not get infected). Secondly, as a doctor (or anyone with a medical background), it can sometimes be difficult to be truly objective with the ones we love. It is easy to be either of 2 extremes, too complacent or too anxious. We tend to miss things or let them pass because we think we've seen worse or we know exactly what is going on, or we tend to over-analyze and jump straight to morbid worse case scenarios because of all the things we've learned and seen.

I am thankful to so many people for helping me get through this week, frazzled but sane. To my brother Izzat, my sis-in-law Zila & Umairah- thank you for coming down to Kuantan and giving us moral support that weekend. To Mr Salleh, Dr Emad, Dr Saad, Dr Wahab and Dr Naznin- thank you for your input and much needed second opinions. To Dr Norsidah & Dr Yusoff- thank you for lightening my load by covering for me at the Kulliyyah. To my parents- thank you for coming to Kuantan and always being there to support me when I need you the most.

I am hopeful that when it's Hamzah's turn, it will be plain sailing.

My turn next?


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