Archive for December 2014

33.2 Million Dollars for a Painting: Irrelevant



I am reading a book by the time I am writing this. You are probably reading this after I have done reading the book. The book (I don’t think I should mention the title or the author) told a story with arts (paintings) as a theme. Thus, it included a few famous old paintings, said to be painted by master painters called The Impressionists.

I really do think the book made a good job in providing me new information about arts. I know a bit about Impressionists now. I don’t want to explain what is The Impressionists here, so, if you want to know what they are, you can just google them, right? If you are able to read my blog here, surely you have no problem to use Google, ain’t ya? 

In the book, the main character sells paintings up to 33.2 million dollars. Isn’t that impressive? It was not a fictional creation only but based on a well-detailed research by the author.

But still, the main problem here is that I do not understand classic paintings at all. That’s it. 

The Bathers by Cezanne

Throughout the book, I have not at all convinced that classic paintings like The Bathers by Cezanne represent life and they are all valuable. This book mentioned about Degas and some of the Impressionist artists. I googled them and look out for the paintings mentioned in the book. I found them to be very unexplainable and unimpressive. I cannot see what lay behind their paintings.
The book mentioned about a painting of Berthe Morisot with a Veil.  

I went up and googled the painting to see the images. I imagined myself putting up such a painting in my study room and thought, how disturbing it is. Some people might say that I am not appreciative at all for the beauty of art.

I am Christopher Delaware. I do not know or comprehend how pieces of painting value so much.

My kind of favorite.

But I have nothing against other kind of artists, you know. I always amazed by good paintings for the fact I cannot draw anything at all. I am impressed with people who can draw faces precisely, animators, who create cartoons characters and even, comic illustrators, who draw comic characters to tell a story.

Through pictures, we tell stories. Animators and illustrators, they conjure stories to tell something to other people. Just like book authors. They write stories, to tell something. No one write something for nothing. Words are created so that we will be able to communicate. I believe so do arts; to communicate a message to whoever is looking.      
        
So, what used of the paintings that cannot be fathomed at all? And how can they be so exclusive and high in price, is a big question to me.

When the world vitally requires big hearts, I do not understand why a person should buy a painting that costs thousands or millions. Obviously, those paintings are for fame and a trophy for someone’s wealth. As if saying, “Look at me! I am rich enough to buy a piece of nothing with a million.”

Berthe Morisot in the Veil by Manet


To you who are reading,
There are people who sleep where they supposed not to.

There are people who are going through day by day, clawed by killing hunger.

There are people who suffer dread cold for they have no proper clothes to protect their fatless body.

There are people who are being murdered for no explainable reason at all.

There are people who do not have the opportunity to feel a bit of delight at all since their world has been dominated by pain and sufferings.

Cezanne

How can some other play with money and buy unworthy arts to display their wealth? How can we spend so much for a never lasting entertainment? How can we spend so much for nothing much?

I do not say that every and each of us should live a life of poverty or constant hunger. No. What I am trying to say here is that, we should stop living for fame and start living to give. Give, give and give. 

If you have extra money, you give away your extra money. If you have extra food, you give away your extra food. If you have extra clothes, you give away your extra clothes.


In this life, we might not be able to give everything, but surely, there is always something to give, right?

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Short Essay: Mother

I have been doing short stories nowadays. I found it hard to continue my short novel after years leaving it behind. But I know my heart won't let me stop writing. Here goes another story. 

Mother




Remember those days when the folks told you that mothers are saviors, a hero behind a man? Mothers will come to you when you reach a blunt path. Mothers will hold your hand and tell you that everything is fine. Mothers will put you under a blanket and let you sleep while she fights storms and rains all alone.

Maybe, my mother was everyone’s mother. She was always there for everyone to open up a new path for them, tell them that everything is fine and fight all those who-knows-what with the media and the government on her own, as it appears on the TVs' screen. But then, here comes the problem. She never opens up a new path for me or tells me everything is okay or fights anything that I know for my sake.

My mother was the wife of the Mayor of Portland, Mayor Fred Oliver, Hana Oliver. Full red wine lips, hazel shaped eyes with sky blue shades for her delicate iris; her hair is silky in golden color that goes perfectly with her sun-tanned skin. Every day, I nearly got blinded by her beauty. Every day, I got hit by a wave of awe looking at my mother. It seems like meeting a new person every day, in the morning. Well, she is a new person every day to me, a stranger.



Mayor Fred Oliver, my father, on the other hand was fond of me. He will try to talk to me every day, even though his schedule seems to be very likely requires all his attention and energy. But then, we never talk anything personal, only some school stuffs and a small portion of my life. He might did not have much time to spend with me, but I know he makes efforts to be affectionate towards me by asking me about simple and small things. My mother, however, was a whole different story.

She never cares, not even once I feel her ‘love’ towards me. When I was younger, I asked her why she never kiss me or hug me or even hold my hands like other mothers did. She told me, with a sharp tone that she has no time to waste like other mothers because she needs to take care of my father and the whole city. She then added that I should be capable of taking care of myself.

Since the question and the reply, I shut my mouth and heart from asking other questions that equivalent to the one I have asked. Until one day, I was awake by the sound of glass clattering onto the floor. I silenced myself and listen closely. Of course, it was my parents. My father’s study was just across my bedroom and I could hear voices from the other side of the door.



If I told the maids in the house that my parents always arguing and screaming to each other, they will never believe me. My parents were so good in keeping secrets; I think they could even win the Oscar award. Private rooms were located on the top level of the house while the housekeepers’ room was at the most bottom level. My parents never argue with each other in front of anyone else, they only fight during the nights, in their rooms or my father’s study or sometimes, in my bedroom. I was the only witness of everything and yes, I played the game of keeping secrets as well and very good at it.

Slowly, I paced out of my room and crossed the wide hallway to my father’s study. I never wanted to know what they were quarrelling about, it was just that night where my curiosity secreted my adrenaline and gathered up all my courage to stick my right ear to the study’s door. I used to do this eavesdropping years ago, but then, I stopped when my father spotted me peeking through the ajar.
My mother was screaming something to my father, something that obviously has silenced my father. 

He never let her win a fight before, not that I know. But it was different that night. My mother shouted out my names repeatedly at my father and told him to stop staring at my picture. It stabbed me right away to the heart and even before my mother could tear herself and cried hysterically, I was already lying on my bed, cursing myself for doing something I shouldn’t. It wouldn’t hurt me if I know how to keep my body from taking unintelligent actions; the one that was going to rip out my organs into small pieces.

Lena Oliver


I never know my mother hated me so much that she couldn’t bear the idea of my father was looking at my picture. I cried silently into my pillows and eventually, dozed off to a dark but a safe sleep. 
The next morning, I woke up feeling hazy and tired due to the sadness that overwhelmed me last night. I met up my parents at the dining table for breakfast. My father smiled and greeted me the way he used to, every morning. I smiled and greeted him back. My mother also pushed her gaze to me and forces herself to a smile like nothing ever happened the night before. Again, I played the game as well unwillingly.

After a few minutes, my father told me that he just left a document on his study table and asked me to pick it up for him. My mother tried to object by asking one of our two maids to do it, but my father told her that he needs me to do it since the document was some kind of a very confidential government document. My mother rolled her eyes and let me, excuse myself to pick up the document.  

I saw the document directly, soon after I opened the room’s door. I walked to the strong-looking table and pick it up, forcing myself not to peek into it. Once I had in my hand, a piece of paper dropped onto the newly cleaned rug. When I touched the paper, I found out that it was not just a paper, it was a picture. I flipped the picture and stared at the woman in the picture. She looks familiar, very familiar. I tried to register her to my parents’ list of friends that I know, but I did not think that this woman is one of them.

Magdalena


I turned the picture and noticed a sloppy handwriting faded by time on the other side. It said:

“Dear Fred, please take good care of my daughter. I know Hana hates me, but please, I promise I will go away if you accept my daughter in your house. She is ours. Magdalena.”

Magdalena? So, my parents named me after a friend of theirs? Is she a friend or……?

“Lena!” my father burst into the room. His face was pale and all panicked. My mother followed with her face calm and smooth as if relieved with the fact that I found the picture. 

“I told you to keep her away from the room,” a smirk flashed across her face. 

“Father…?” my throat let out a strangled voice. I couldn’t get another word out anymore. My eyes started to blur and my hands were shaking the picture violently.

“Is that why you never loved me? Is that why you hated me so much, because I am not yours?” I turned my gaze to my mother – no, the woman I thought was my mother.

“No, Magdalena. You are wrong. I hated you so much all these years not because you are not mine, but because, you are hers,” her voice loud and stabbing into every inch of my skin.



I did not wait until my father says a word to explain himself. I stormed out of the study, picked up my school backpack and started to fill them with a few pieces of my clothes and some money and quickly darted out of the house to the garage to take out my bike. My father did not come to stop, not at all. I allowed the hatred feelings crawled and grasped my heart.

After a good hour of cycling, I reached my destination, the beach. A small house with faint cream color that I used to see every time I cycle to the beach was standing in front of me. I let my bicycle fell onto the curb near the house. I stepped out to reach the red door of the house. My hands were about to knock the door when suddenly, it opens itself to me, a woman appeared. The woman in the picture materialized herself into my sight.

“Magdalena? That’s your name?” I asked her, rushed. Her eyes gone wide and for a moment, I know why she looks so familiar since the first time I saw her. I resemble her so much. My dark, but see through eyes and wavy dark hair come from her. No wonder why she is so kind to me since the first time we met at the beach and how affectionate she is to me. She is my mother, all this while known as Aunt Mag to me. It make sense now.



She saw my hand and the picture that I have been holding since I first got it into my palm.

“I know I promised to leave them if they take you in. But no, I couldn’t leave you, Lena,” she whispered quietly, and the next thing I know was that I was in her arms, crying my heart out while she brushed her hands through my hair and whispered a calming chant into my ear, enclosed my cold heart with her warmth.


So, it is true. Mothers will come to you when you reach a blunt path. Mothers will hold your hand and tell you that everything is fine. Mothers will put you under a blanket and let you sleep while she fights storms and rains all alone.


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Review: I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson



So, I finished this book entitled ‘I’ll Give You the Sun’ by Jandy Nelson. At first, I thought Jandy Nelson is a ‘he’. I truly did, maybe because of the Nelson, until one day, I googled up ‘her’ name to search for her list of books. Apparently, Jandy Nelson is a ‘she’ and had written only two books so far. The other one entitled, ‘The Sky is everywhere’. I bet she has something with the nature. She talked about the sun and sky so far. Can’t wait for what will come up next.

The book is beautiful!!! I really mean it. I read this book only in 2 days, which is good, considering it has 371 pages. It was supposed to take 3 full days before I finished it, but yeah, the book is so good I barely put it down. The book is so good that I hugged it while taking my nap. It feels like hugging the characters themselves. My version is the US hardcover one, which happened to be very rough and hard and so not-easy-to-hug but I just didn’t care. I was so much in love, I feel good by just hugging the book itself.

You have it all in just one book. Name it, you have it. It has mysteries, art, natures, childhood memories, family, love (forbidden ones included), school, friendship and even ghosts. It has it all. It gives you a mixture of feelings; you will never know how to describe it. Before I reached the 50th page, my tears started to roll down my cheeks because again, the book is soooo goooood. Jandy Nelson is such a freaking good author.



About the book:

It has two points of views. One is Noah’s, the other is Jude’s. They are twins. Noah is the younger one (a couple of hours younger), Jude is the older one. It started with Noah's point of view when they were both 13 until 14 years old and then, Jude’s point of view come subsequently, telling us what is happening when they are both 16, which is considered as the present.

It is so cool and I love the way Jandy Nelson put it together, but still able to keep everything on the track and not confusing at all. You can see what happened in the past by Noah’s eyes and the present by Jude’s eyes. Cool!

Noah and Jude were used to be best buddies when they were younger. They used to play all kinds of freaking good games that use highly their imagination. And they have this one game where they divided the natures between the two of them. The sun, moon, sky, grass, trees, ocean and all! I never thought of that, you know. You don’t play a game like that, but of course, Noah and Jude did. 



Noah used to describe him and Jude as a half of each other. If the other is not there, the other one will not be either. That’s how Noah sees it. They used to tell secrets to each other, not keeping away anything from each other until they grow older. That’s when everything started to change between them. Noah and Jude started to keep secrets from each other.

In this book, Jude holds half of the secrets and Noah holds the other half, which, actually meant to solve their unsolved problem. The secrets are actually very closely related to each other, but since they are not talking heart by heart with each other anymore, no one knows the truth.

The most heartbreaking part is when you found out about their dead mother, Dianna. She is like a parachute (the way she is being described in the book) to her kids, but then, suddenly, she died. And both Noah and Jude thought that they were responsible for the death of their mother.

Things happened that day and it all seems to lead to the death of their mother. It is a mess! But the truth is, no one knows anything but their own version of the day.



The characters:

Noah:

So cool! At first, with all the bully scenes, I thought him as a very small kid like the one in the Wimpy Kid. Haha! But then, a few months after that, he started to change into a ‘King Kong’ (he used this to describe his size).

I truly love him for whatever he is. An excellent artist, a highly imaginative kid and a gay. Let’s us not talk about being a gay, ok? It’s kind of a sensitive issue to me and this is my first time reading from the point of view of a gay. I don’t know how to respond to this yet.

In the book, Noah is one excellent artist I wondered how the paintings look like. In the book, Jandy Nelson put up brackets where she will write what Noah is imagining in his artistic brain. It is so cool and very humorous as well, I love it! He is certainly the most creative character I ever met so far.
The fact that Noah is falling apart from his old self after the death of their mother is so upsetting. I mean, come on, he has all the potentials in the world to be one great artist, but then, when the spirits all flew away from his body, he is not that cool artist anymore. It is hurtful.



Jude:

Super ridiculous! Not that I mean she is stupid or something, but she is so funny and colorful on the outside. Very wild, but highly put her faith in superstitious things; this is very funny and unbelievable. While Noah knows how to draw, Jude knows how to draw with sand. Cool, huh?
She can even talk to ghosts!

I really thought that her grandmother is just being funny by telling her that she has some kind of a ‘gift’ but it turns out that she really does have the ‘gift’. She talks to ghosts who are her grandmother and her mother, but mostly, her grandmother.

When Noah just lost his artistic feelings after the tragedy, Jude started to believe that what she did is the reason why her mother died. She started to be the invisible girl and totally an introvert. She wore all these baggy sweatshirts and begins to carry onions in her pockets just to make sure no boy will want to be anywhere close to her so that no bad lucks will come chasing her and Noah and their father.



Oscar:

What a lovely English bloke! Haha! Seriously, at the beginning of the book, Noah told us about a parrot that belongs to their neighbor’s house that keeps on asking the same question: “Where the hell is Ralph?” for 24/7.

It turns out to be that Oscar’s name is Oscar Ralph and surprise!!!! Oscar is Ralph!

Oscar is a broken young man that lost his mother too. He used to be a model for Noah’s drawing once. Noah drew Oscar when he was 13, and that is when Jude first saw Oscar, as her brother’s drawing. Jude gave up everything in the world and let herself to have the flowers only just for the drawing of Oscar, who actually she did not yet meet. Three years later, Oscar found Jude in a church and Jude is so sure she knows Oscar, but she can’t make it when and where.

Oscar is so charming and a real player. Before he meets Jude, he hangs out with other girls and blows them away anytime he likes.



Lesson:

I learnt that everything in life got messed up when you started to lie to yourself and other people. Not being true to yourself will lead you to a messed up life. Noah and Jude supposed to be one soul, supposed to understand each other, but just because of some issues, they started to fall away from each other and suffered in their own.

If Noah tells everything to Jude and so does Jude, everything will settle down and the two years after the death of their mother won’t be such a waste.

So, you know what, just be true to yourself and to other people as well. You might think that you are like the most evil person ever, but trust me, no one can be more evil than the other one. We are all human. We are the same. That’s why we have friends and family and of course, God himself, so that we won’t break and messed up so easily. Just be true!

But yeah, I love this book. Highly recommended to everyone out there.

My rating: 5/5 stars


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I can't mark the book since it belongs to my sister, so I copied them down here. To those who do not yet read The Death Cure, please go away. I don't want to spoil you. 



Pg 187

Newt:  I’m sorry, guys. I’m sorry. But I need you to listen to me. I’m getting worse by the hour and don’t have many sane ones left. Please leave.

(When Thomas opened his mouth to argue, Newt held up his hands.)

Newt:  No! No more talking from you. Just please. Please leave. I’m begging you. I’m begging you to do this one thing for me. As sincerely as I’ve ever asked for anything in my life, I want you to do this for me.


Pg 189 – 190

Newt: Now you guys leave. No more discussion. I’m sorry.

Minho: You’re going to shoot me? Old pal?

Newt: Go. I asked nicely. Now I’m telling. This is hard enough.

Minho: Newt, let’s go outside.

Newt: Go! Get out of here!



Pg 194

“Thomas had no idea how to respond, no way to express the sorrow that filled his chest. He sank down next to Minho on the ground and sat there without saying a word as the Berg rose higher and flew away from the Crank Palace.

Newt was gone.”


Pg 195

Minho: Why did he do that? Why wouldn’t he come back with us? Why would he point that weapon  at my face?

Thomas: He never would’ve pulled the trigger.


Pg 198

“Kill me. If you’ve been my friend, kill me.”

Thomas read it over and over, wishing the words would change. To think that his friend had been so scared that he’d had the foresight to write those words made him sick to his stomach. And he remembered how angry Newt have been at Thomas specifically when they’d found him in the bowling alley. He’d just wanted to avoid the inevitable fate of becoming a Crank.

And Thomas had failed him.



Pg 246

Brenda: Just don’t let yourself get killed. Well?

Thomas: You be careful, too.

(Brenda reached up and kissed him on the cheek.)

Brenda: That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard you say.

(She rolled her eyes again but smiled. And her smile made everything seem a little brighter to Thomas.)

Thomas: Make sure they don’t screw things up. Make sure all the plans make sense.

Brenda: I will. We’ll see you in a day or so.

Thomas: Okay.

Brenda: And I won’t get killed if you don’t.

(Thomas pulled her into one last hug.)

Thomas: Deal.



Pg 252

Newt suddenly twisted around and grabbed Thomas by the hand holding the gun. He yanked it towards himself, forcing it up until the end of the pistol was pressed against his own forehead. “Now make amends! Kill me before I become one of those cannibal monsters! Kill me! I trusted you with the note! No one else. Now do it!”

Thomas tried to pull his hand away, but Newt was too strong. “I can’t, Newt, I can’t.”

“Make amends! Repent for what you did!” The words tore out of him, his whole body trembling. Then his voice dropped to an urgent, harsh whisper. “Kill me, you shuck coward. Prove you can do the right thing. Put me out of my misery.”

The words horrified Thomas. “Newt, maybe we can –“

“Shut up! Just shut up! I trusted you! Now do it!”

“I can’t.”

“Do it.”

“I can’t.” 

How could Newt ask him to do something like this? How could he possibly kill one of his best friends?

“Kill me or I’ll kill you. Kill me. Do it!”

“Newt…”

“Do it before I become one of them!”

“I…”

“KILL ME!” 

And then Newt’s eyes cleared, as if he’d gained one last trembling gasp of sanity, and his voice softened. “Please, Tommy. Please.”

With his heart falling into a black abyss, Thomas pulled the trigger.


Pg 259

He jumped and landed in a soft spot – a fresh snowdrift. 
All the while, his insides were numb.


He’d killed Newt. 
He’d shot his own best friend in the head. 

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Review: The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner


***spoilers alert***


1. Do I suggest anyone to read this?

Well, yes, to those who started the first book and continued the second book and think that the third book will never worth the reading. Actually, at first, I thought the third book will be full of craps but my curiosity is my biggest sin. I really want to understand WICKED so I struggled up to finish the third book. And I really think that the book is not much of disappointment and worth my time. 


2. Do the conflicts resolved? 

Yes. Hated to say this since the ending seems to be a bit confusing but yes, I think the conflicts is resolved with the memorandum written by Chancellor Paige. Obviously, there’s nothing much about her in the book but I guess James Dashner did a great job by placing two pages of memo written by Paige for the last two pages of each book. It tells us everything that we needed to know. 

So basically, WICKED failed to find a cure and Paige decided to go against the majority of the WICKED. Chancellor Paige used Thomas and his friends to bring the other Immunes to a safer place to save the civilization. 


3. Is the writing beautiful? Did it come with quotes?

Yes. I wrote them and made a special document for them. Will be published soon on my blog. This last book has the most beautiful scenes and quotes ever since it have all those heart-breaking moments of Newt being past Gone. 


4. Does the book are described in details? 

Yes, it is. But I really hope James Dashner described all the things he should have emphasized on instead of wasting his words on other unnecessary things. I would like to know what happened to Chancellor Paige and Jorge. I really do. I also want to know Teresa’s feelings towards Thomas. She seems to put her everything to save Thomas’s life and it is not fair that she died without having the chance to explain her feeling to Thomas. I also want to know what memories the other Gladers and the girls from Group B have gained. See. There are still a lot of mysteries left behind unrevealed. 


5. Do I understand the book as a whole?

There are a lot of places where I barely understand. I need to go through the sentence a few times and read loudly to imagine some of the places mentioned in the book. Especially, on the way out of the Maze. 
Sometimes, I don’t even get Thomas and what is so wrong with him. There are scenes where I can’t understand what he is trying to do or what the plan is all about. Whether it is just so complicated or I wasn’t paying much attention where I supposed to. 

But, as a whole, I do understand the plot and the conflicts. 


6. Does the book have a good pace?

Yes. I only took three days to finish the book and it is a page turner kind of book. It also has small chapters which make it easier for me to read it. I totally love the pace and the small chapters. It just keeps me going. 


7. Do the characters are memorable and relevant?

They are memorable. Especially, Thomas, Minho, Brenda and of course, Newt. I will remember Newt the most. They have different roles in the book. Thomas is the weird one. Minho is the strongest and shortest temper. Newt, very nice and calm. Brenda, the savior. 

But I really do think that some of the characters’ actions sometimes do not make much sense too. They tend to complicate simple things and I hate that. In this book, Thomas is a bit less selfish, but still, you can sense the selfishness in the air. 


8. Does it make me go on because I am so desperate to know the ending? 

Yes. It is. I really want to know what happen next so I was so desperate to reach every new chapter. 


9. Do I think about the book all the time I closed it?

I tend to think about it after I finish the book. You know, to refresh everything and make sure I understand everything that happened. 


10. Did I cry or gasp throughout the book?

I cried badly when Thomas killed Newt. It just, you know, heart-breaking. I think the whole scenes involving Newt, Minho and Thomas are trying to accept the fact that Newt is infected is my favorite scenes of the entire trilogy. There is when the feelings are more real than the others. You can sense the pain these shanks were going through. 


11. Is it my favorite?

It is a good book, however, it is not one of my favorite books. 



My rating: 3/5 stars

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