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Calm comes in the strangest ways. Like when you expect a storm.

I haven’t been able to study much for the last few days. Five days it has been, to be precise, since I have done any meaningful school work. I have a paper due on the 19th which requires me to read a recent publication in immunology and paraphrase the work “but not paraphrasing what the authors wrote”. Figure.

So while fidgeting around with my conscience and unease to somehow dupe them into allowing this paraphrasing of another person’s work and securing thirty percent of my course grade for it and all the while miserably failing at the attempt, I decided to add a grandfather for the heroine in my first big work of literature. I am not sure what to call this mammoth “story” that I plan to write yet, but I have named the word file “wishes” for no precise reason. I did write in a few dialogues between the heroines grandfather who is an ex- King: should such a thing ever exist. It is a fantasy novel, you see.

I “searched” for the word file to put in the grandfather’s character. There were a lot of things that turned up. The Elephant Vanishes was one of them.

“Very interesting. I do not remember having such a thing in my laptop.” I whispered to myself and thence I double clicked.

There was a preface by an unnamed person. Then there was a story called The Second Bakery Attack. Then I went on to read Lederhosen and finally Barn Burning. I decided to skip quite a few in the middle since my mother was supervising the progress of this “strictly paraphrasing prohibited” paraphrasing work.

Murakami’s three somewhat settlingly-unsettling short stories have restored the calm in me that I needed to be able to start this excruciating, abhorrent, yet required process. I will now proceed.

ありがとう, 村上 せんせい.


My mind was itching for a good while for writing a BASHING critique against the Twilight trilogy. Every time I tried to write one, my conscience reminded that there is an array of Twilight critics concocting twilight critiques, and ending up as just another fish in the sea was not an alluring option. But while cleaning my room twenty minutes ago, I stumbled across THIS… and all restrictions took flight.

July 2008

I was checking out of a Chapters outlet when the above bookmark caught my attention. God, this bookmark looked so… smart! The white queen on the face side and the red pawn at a catch-me-if-you can distance on a classic chessboard and all fading to black on the sides looked nothing but appealing.

Hence while the cash girl scanned the barcodes, I flipped the bookmark to the other side. It read: “When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt the beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it?” I automatically realized that I HAD no choice but to read the novel behind this lovely quote.

Then and there I made myself promise that I would read this book no matter what. I needed to know what it was about. Well, within a few weeks, the internet was buzzing with news about a movie named Twilight, supposedly made from a bestselling novel of the same name. No wonder it also mentioned that “girls” were crazy etc etc etc about this movie. I went on Wikipedia to check out all about the book, it seemed to be ok. MOREOVER, Breaking Dawn was a sequel to it! Maybe I’ll read the book. Came august, and I realized I was not affluent enough to buy any book of this trilogy.

Well, let’s not get into HOW I acquired these books. The fact is, I acquired a copy each of Twilight, New Moon and Breaking Dawn and over a week and a half of winter term 2009 not attending any classes, ended the trilogy. The simplest and easiest way to cover my response:

  1. Twilight: Sucks. Big Time. BAD grammer. NO literary value.
  2. New Moon: Erm….? Slightly eww.
  3. Breaking Dawn: Will read if I have nothing else to do

Yet, I noted that girls all over the world were freaking screaming whenever “Twilight” was mentioned. I thought that perhaps something was wrong with me. Perhaps I had overlooked something. Hence I invested another week in reading the trilogy over again. No improvement.

Then came the movie. “OMG. It was so bad.” I started to wonder whether the economic depression had anything to do with the quality of BOTH the book and the movie. Another thought came into my mind: Maybe the author and director of the movie are on a pact of making the movie as bad as the book.

Well, now that I am not so bedazzled by Twilight and the beautiful chessboard, I notice that the pawn and the Queen are not on the same colored squares. That, technically, is not just YET checkmate. Yes the pawn can move and then be eaten by the white queen, but Bella being signified by the red pawn and Edward by the white Queen now had a degustatory effect on my voracious mind.

CURRENT THOUGHTS: Will not watch New Moon (though I have heard that it is full of torsos). Might watch Breaking Dawn if the reviews are any good.

Well, if you liked this, you will LOVE Guinew Moon

When I was about 6 years old, I heard the name “Helen of troy” for the first time. My young brain understood that Helen was a name, but I was utterly bewildered at the presence of “of Troy” in a name. That was particularly peculiar to me. My rather inquisitive mind drove me to ask my aunt what “of Troy” meant. To clarify the point, my aunt told me the first version I heard of the tale of “Helen”… of troy”: embodiment of the pinnacle of human beauty of all times.

“Helen was a woman of unmatched beauty of her time. She was married to a king, but was abducted by a Trojan prince. Helen’s husband managed to get her back after a war but the Trojans not accepting defeat, schemed. The walls of the city in which the king lived were well forted and the Trojans could not get in. The Trojans gifted a big wooden horse as big as two houses put together to Helen’s country as a token of friendship. The king accepted the gift. At night, when all people of Helen’s city were sleeping, the Trojan soldiers hiding inside the wooden horse came out and pillaged the city, and reclaimed Helen as their own. You see, in the end, Helen was won by Troy.”

That, is the shortest version of the legendary beauty’s life I had ever heard. I have seen a few movies made in her name and perhaps have read her story in a slightly greater depth in children’s books. But none has moved me to the extent has “The memoirs of Helen of Troy: A novel” by Amanda Elyot (or Leslie Carroll, whatever name you want to call her by).

From the very first page to the very last, it shows the continual metamorphosis of a legendary woman. Carroll tells the whole life of Helen of Troy in a breathtaking fashion. In Carroll’s book, Helen is not the toy of various mighty princes who, at their whim of “carnal desire” can whisk a woman’s life to whatever direction they desire. She is the portrayal of an educated woman, and in many aspects, she resembles a modern, college-educated woman. Indeed Carroll addresses this issue.

Starting from Stockholm syndrome to postpartum depression and regal politics, “The memoirs of Helen of Troy” is a rich narration of a complex life, partly verity, partly fiction.

I believe this book is a must read for every lover of historical fiction. This book effectively embodies the current state of feminist revolution. It enrobes both feminism and post-feminism, and has certainly started the cogs in my brain to look at my own life through a new window. I suggest that all women who have the opportunity read the book. It is an experience.