Book recommendation from Toby: The Caged Virgin


My mom reads alot of books, but rarely recommends one. She recently sent me this e-mail.

I have only read the first 4 chapters of this book but it has been so
interesting and somewhat scary, that I’m going to recommend it. It is written
by Ayaan Hirsi Alia, a Somalian woman who escaped from a “arranged” marriage and found refuge in the
Netherlands. She really explains a lot of things about
Islam and suggests what the West could do to help. I don’t necessarily think
you need to buy the book…I got it at the library….but it is very interesting
reading.



		

	

Blog Book Club: Eat, pray, love

I was in a book club a while back and the things I liked most about it were that I had help finding good books (I’m not great at choosing books so I rely on Oprah and various book awards). I also liked hearing other opinions about characters, motivations, plot etc. I wonder if I could get a book club started online. Has anyone read a book recently that they would like to discuss on a blog? If so let me know and I’ll read it.

I recently read the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. According to google this is her official website. http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/bio.htm. I found it worth talking about and would recommend it with some reservations. Firstly, the writer is a bit of a nut. She seems excessively clingy and insecure in her relationships with men (my interpretation of her descriptions). There is a line in the book where she says something like (when you are in a deep depression) if you find a bit of happiness, grab it by the ankles and let it drag you out of the mud. For some reason this struck me as a passive, victim-like attitude. Although I must admit the imagery of this description is certainly memorable! The other reservation I am expressing mainly for my mom. The author is extremely liberal and somewhat naïve. I don’t think my mom would be able to see past the rare isolated political comments and liberal attitudes in order to get anything useful out of the book.

The thing I liked most about the book was that the author is searching for something important (God, inner peace, spirituality?) and she is not biased by religion. The first part of her book is sort of a recovery from a stressful divorce and bout with depression. She spends all day eating wonderful pasta dishes in Italy and learning the Italian language for the sheer beauty of it. This entire third of the book is about pleasure. Next, she feels well enough to try meditating at an Ashram (I haven’t really researched this much, but it sounds sort of like a cult– but in a good way). Here she finds inner peace (my over-simplified interpretation). I liked that learning to meditate was a struggle for her, but something she was eventually able to ‘accomplish’. The last part of the book takes place in Bali where she learns to balance pleasure with her newfound inner peace, while interacting to some extent with the real world. I love that she was able to learn so much about herself on this personal journey. It made me want to try to be a better person too. I’ve always wanted to learn to meditate (or hypnotize myself) in order to better control my emotions/thoughts and just relax. It also brought up an interesting point that I’d love to discuss. How does any of this apply in real life. I still have to get up in the morning and work with certain people that make my life miserable and deal with issues that are petty or boring or difficult. I even have my doubts that the author is as changed as she thinks she is. It’s easy to become a different person in a different setting. But at the very end of the book she meets a wonderful man who she describes as nearly perfect (again my interpretation). I would predict she is headed for a repeat of whatever relationship problems she’s had in her past (no-one is that perfect).

Comments appreciated.