The Blood of Flowers

by Anita Amirrezvani

In 17th century Iran, a girl and her mother leave their village to live with their half uncle after the death of her father. In the big city of Isfahan, they are treated more like servants then family. However, the girl’s talent in carpet making is soon recognized by her uncle, who teaches her the craft like she were his son. Nonetheless, she is a girl, and without a father and a dowry, her future looks bleak.

This is a beautifully crafted book. The author’s description makes everything comes to life: the bustling bazaar, the exquisite carpets; and every character, with flaws and strengths, love and hate, stands out as real, life-like person that develops and changes, not caricature of kindness or evil. Even a beggar has his moments of kindness and cruelty.

In the afternote, the author mentioned that she spent nine years researching and writing the book, and the effort shows: little details of life that makes the story real, folktales that cast a magical air, and trivia about carpet making that entices the reader.

I also like how the author portrays an array of Persian women. There is woman locked in unhappy marriage arranged by parents, (which Western readers fully come to expect) but there is also woman with loving husband who refused to take a second wife even if her first is barren. Sigheh is a temporary marriage contract that can in some way be viewed as legalized prostitution. For many women it is a disgrace, but for one woman, it is thanks to it that she can carry on a relationship with her childhood sweetheart.

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Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 12:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Read-a-Thon: The End

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

I started out late so my most-daunting hour occurs much later than others. I think 4am is the worst. I thought I would take a power nap and almost slept through the end.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

I would recommend The Host, Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau series and James Patterson’s Maximum Rider series for their ability to be a pageturner. I have however found my books quite interesting, although not positive that everybody would agree.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Hold it on a day that I won’t have to work… would be a great improvement. : D

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

It went pretty good. I didn’t really participate much in the challenges this year, as I had so little reading time I couldn’t afford more distraction. There are some that are interesting and I’d probably participate if I were in a more leisurely mood.

5. How many books did you read?

Read six. Only one was really read from cover to cover, the rest were started but not finished, or started at an earlier day and finished today.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

Smile or Die
The Valleys of the Assassins
Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody
The Blue Fox
The Adventures Of Ulysses
So Far from the Bamboo Grove

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Definitely So Far from the Bamboo Grove, a memoir about a young Japanese girl trying to escape from Korea to return to her home country when WWII ended.

8. Which did you enjoy least?

I’m afraid it’s The Blue Fox, despite its high Amazon rating. I guess I was reading it to fast to let the mood sink in, and it’s the type that requires you to read and think.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’d love to participate again, as a reader.

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Read-a-thon Hour 24

I was in my couch all ready to speed read my way through the 24th hour, when my husband told me that he would like me to come along to a breakfast meeting he has, because he is not feeling well (looks like I have passed my cold on to him, as I am now 100% my peachy self.) It took me 10 sec to decide what my priorities are, so I took a shower, grabbed a book, and went out with him.

Time: 8:00am

Currently Reading:

Bamboo Grove

So Far from the Bamboo Grove
by Yoko Kawashima Watkins

It’s a memoir, written for children, about the author’s life as a 11 year-old Japanese who grew up in North Korea. Towards the end of WWII, her mother escaped from North Korea with Yoko and her sister. They made it back to Japan, where they lived at the train station and rummaged through garbage for food.

Reading Location:In the car

Total Pages read: 632

Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26
The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 292
Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 62-274
The Blue Fox pg 1-112
The Adventures Of Ulysses p 41-172
So Far from the Bamboo Grove pg 1-85

Total Time spent reading: 8 hr 05 min
3:30pm – 3:50pm Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26 (audio CD while driving)
5:00pm – 5:10pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 242
(visit friends’ blogs, play online games…)
5:50pm – 6:30pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 242 – 292
9:30pm – 12:00pm Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 62-197
12:30am – 1:40am Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 198-274
1:40am – 2:00am The Blue Fox pg 1-46
2:45am – 3:40am The Blue Fox pg 47-112
3:40am – 5:40am The Adventures Of Ulysses p 41-142
6:50am – 8:00am The Adventures Of Ulysses p 143-172;
So Far from the Bamboo Grove pg 1-85

Other Readers I have visited and Cheered on:
Noumena
Dancing-Dog
shaunesay
mhs160
mhs160
Kanaye44
Elsi

Books I have munched on:

Smile or Die
Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich

Books I have finished:

The Valleys of the Assassins
The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
by Freya Stark

Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody
Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody
by Michael Gerber

The Blue Fox
The Blue Fox
by Sjón

The Adventures Of Ulysses
The Adventures Of Ulysses
by Evslin. Bernard

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Read-A-Thon Hour 22

Maybe reading about Uysses is not a smart choice. I got visited by Hypnos and before I know it, it is 6:50! Actually, I was in the guest bedroom where the clock hasn’t sprung forward, so at first I thought I still have two hours to go…

Time: 6:50am

Currently Reading:

The Adventures Of Ulysses

The Adventures Of Ulysses
by Evslin. Bernard

The Blue Fox was a somewhat bizarre tale. Can’t say I like it but it was a certainly unusual one.

Reading Location:On the guest bedroom bed.

Total Pages read so far: 482

Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26
The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 292
Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 62-274
The Blue Fox pg 1-112
The Adventures Of Ulysses p 41-112

Total Time spent reading so far: 7 hr 05 min
3:30pm – 3:50pm Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26 (audio CD while driving)
5:00pm – 5:10pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 242
(visit friends’ blogs, play online games…)
5:50pm – 6:30pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 242 – 292
9:30pm – 12:00pm Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 62-197
12:30am – 1:40am Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 198-274
1:40am – 2:00am The Blue Fox pg 1-46
2:45am – 3:40am The Blue Fox pg 47-112
3:40am – 4:40am The Adventures Of Ulysses p 41-112

Other Readers I have visited and Cheered on:
Noumena
Dancing-Dog
shaunesay
mhs160
mhs160
Kanaye44
Elsi

Books I have munched on:

Smile or Die
Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich

Books I have finished:

The Valleys of the Assassins
The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
by Freya Stark

Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody
Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody
by Michael Gerber

The Blue Fox

The Blue Fox
by Sjón

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 7:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Read-A-Thon Hour 19

My midnight snack ended up being a Tim Tam, the unofficial BookCrossing Candy, and some jujube honey tea. I got that from a Korean grocery store; jujube is like a date, and the honey is like a thick jam/preserve. I melted it in hot water and it’s sweet and warming. I usually buy the citron honey or the ginger honey, and come to think of it, this jar was a gift. Either way, it’s delicious.

Time: 2:20am

Currently Reading:

The Blue Fox

The Blue Fox
by Sjón

Happy to report that the Barry Trotter book (a Harry Potter parody) gets even better as I read on. Totally love it by the last page.

When I got The Blue Fox, I know it will be a Read-a-thon book. Thin, large print, short chapters with tons of blank space. Well, it’s 2:30am!

Reading Location:Back on the living room couch

Total Pages read so far: 343

Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26
The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 292
Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 62-274
The Blue Fox pg 1-46

Total Time spent reading so far: 5 hr 10 min
3:30pm – 3:50pm Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26 (audio CD while driving)
5:00pm – 5:10pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 242
(visit friends’ blogs, play online games…)
5:50pm – 6:30pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 242 – 292
9:30pm – 12:00pm Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 62-197
12:30am – 1:40am Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 198-274
1:40am – 2:00am The Blue Fox pg 1-46

Other Readers I have visited and Cheered on:
Noumena
Dancing-Dog
shaunesay
mhs160
mhs160
Kanaye44
Elsi

Books I have munched on:

Smile or Die
Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich

Books I have finished:

The Valleys of the Assassins
The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
by Freya Stark

Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody
Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody
by Michael Gerber

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 2:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Read-A-Thon 16

Okay hubby is sleeping. All alone in the dark with a reading light. : D I find my reading pace a bit slower than I’d like. Need to turn it up a notch. Looks like I am missing out on all the mini challenges and memes. I’ve wanted to do the mid point one, but then what am I supposed to say when I am just starting out?

Anyway, feels like time for a snack break. Hmmm… what should it be?

Time: 12:10am

Currently Reading:

Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody

Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody
by Michael Gerber

Didn’t like it much when I started, but once I get into it it’s actually quite good. Now well into the book it feels like meeting old friends again. I love seeing “Ermine” back to her brilliant self in the rescue mission. There are some ingenious spoofs: Sniff Powders you buy at Seers, The Ministry of Magical Corrections lands a lucrative contract to use Earth Eaters to chew up rocks into fine sands for Rollin’s beach, Barry almost has his life sucked out of him by Marketors at the publishing firm, and the Trappist monk who tries to catch Barry. Amidst all the silliness and a pretzel-like ending, the author manages to poke fun at the book-to-movie business, and delivers some profound, wise thoughts.

Reading Location:On the bed in the guest bedroom (hubby is sleeping in bed)

Total Pages read so far: 224

Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26
The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 292
Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 62-197

Total Time spent reading so far: 3 hr 40 min
3:30pm – 3:50pm Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26 (audio CD while driving)
5:00pm – 5:10pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 242
(visit friends’ blogs, play online games…)
5:50pm – 6:30pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 242 – 292
9:30pm – 12:00pm Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody pg 62-197

Other Readers I have visited and Cheered on:
Noumena
Dancing-Dog
shaunesay
mhs160
mhs160
Kanaye44
Elsi

Books I have munched on:

Smile or Die
Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich

Books I have finished:

The Valleys of the Assassins
The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
by Freya Stark

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 12:21 am  Comments (2)  

Read-A-Thon Hour 14

Okay, finished my first book. Or rather, finished reading the last 60 pages or so of the book I’ve been reading for weeks.

Time: 9:30pm

Currently Reading:

Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody

Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody
by Michael Gerber

Up after some much needed sleep, I am ready to finally start some serious reading! With a not so serious book…

Reading Location:In the living room on the sofa.

Total Pages read so far: 88

Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26
The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 292

Total Time spent reading so far: 1 hr 10 min
3:30pm – 3:50pm Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26 (audio CD while driving)
5:00pm – 5:10pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 242
(visit friends’ blogs, play online games…)
5:50pm – 6:30pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 242 – 292

Other Readers I have visited and Cheered on:
Noumena
Dancing-Dog
shaunesay
mhs160
mhs160
Kanaye44
Elsi

Books I have munched on:

Smile or Die
Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich

Books I have finished:

The Valleys of the Assassins
The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
by Freya Stark

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm  Comments (2)  

Read-A-Thon Hour 11

Okay, finished my first book. Or rather, finished reading the last 60 pages or so of the book I’ve been reading for weeks.

Time: 6:50pm

Currently Reading:

The Valleys of the Assassins

The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
by Freya Stark

Boy was I sleepy. A few times the book slipped off my hands. I have to go take a nap now. I had been up since 3am this morning for work.

Reading Location:In the living room on the sofa.

Total Pages read so far: 88

Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26
The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 292

Total Time spent reading so far: 1 hr 10 min
3:30pm – 3:50pm Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26 (audio CD while driving)
5:00pm – 5:10pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 242
(visit friends’ blogs, play online games…)
5:50pm – 6:30pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 242 – 292

Other Readers I have visited and Cheered on:
Noumena
Dancing-Dog
shaunesay
mhs160
mhs160
Kanaye44
Elsi

Books I have munched on:

Smile or Die
Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich

Books I have finished:

The Valleys of the Assassins
The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
by Freya Stark

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Read-a-thon Hour 10

Can you believe it it’s officially hour 10 and I am personally just starting my Read-a-thon! It has been a crazy long day at work, from 4 a.m. – 3 p.m., so I just got home after a quick bite of pizza, and now I’ve changed and settled down to get some reading. I know I won’t last long before I need a nap but I want to get started before sleeping, or else I never would!

Time: 5:14pm

Currently Reading:

The Valleys of the Assassins

The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
by Freya Stark

Finishing up this book to take to my friend at the BC convention.

Reading Location:In the living room on the cushion.

Total Pages read so far: 38

Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26
The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 242

Total Time spent reading so far: 0 hr 35 min
3:30pm – 3:50pm Smile or Die: pg 1 – 26 (audio CD while driving)
5:00pm – 5:10pm The Valleys of the Assassins: pg 232 – 242

Other Readers I have visited and Cheered on:
Noumena
Dancing-Dog
shaunesay
mhs160
mhs160

Books I have munched on:

Smile or Die
Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich

Books I have finished:

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm  Comments (1)  

Dewey’s Read-A-Thon

I’ve signed up for the read-a-thon and was so looking forward to it, but now I don’t know if I’ll be able to participate much.

First off, I have to work that Saturday. Second, I have been down with a very bad cold. I couldn’t remember being sick like that, but even using the computer, reading a book, walking around, eating a meal, normal little tasks totally drain me of energy. Imagine staying home from work for three days and not able to read a page of books. Just looking at the page gives me headache. When my husband heard this, he commented, well, you really are sick!

I hope I will be significantly better by Saturday, but just want to post this, so any visitors won’t be disappointed if they come by and not see much going on. Sorry!

Published in: on April 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm  Comments (1)