Poem | “Hope” is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

Emily DWhen the going gets tough, the tough read uplifting poetry.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of Me.

Continue reading “Poem | “Hope” is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson”

Stories Are Treasures, Books Are Things

When I enjoy a book or feel a lot of feelings about it, I like to interact with the text. I look up the words I don’t know, highlight my favourite quotes (initially in pencil; I return to the quotes when I’ve finished the book and highlight the very best with a marker) and comment on the story: from “I love this” and “yay” to “so dramatic” and “uuugh”.

Similarly, I delight in reading what other people have written in the margins of their books. My grandfather always puts a little pencil mark in front of passages he enjoys. As a result, whenever I borrow a book from him I feel like it comes with an extra dimension: I’m both reading the book and simultaneously following his reading of it. Continue reading “Stories Are Treasures, Books Are Things”

Unexpected poetry: How can a moment last forever

roses3Last year a live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson came out. I was quite excited for it, but somehow the snob in me did not expect the film to affect me very much. Come on, I know the story, right? It only goes to show that switching off your inner snob can be quite worthwhile. The text that struck me most comes from the song that Belle’s dad sings about his wife (and is repeated a few times by other characters too):

How does a moment last forever?
How can a story never die?
It is love we must hold onto
Never easy, but we try.

Continue reading “Unexpected poetry: How can a moment last forever”

Book | The Bastard of Istanbul – Elif Shafak

One rainy afternoon in Istanbul, a nineteen-year-old, unmarried woman walks into a doctor’s surgery. ‘I need to have an abortion,’ she announces.

Twenty years later, Asya Kazanci lives with her extended family in Istanbul. All the Kazanci men die in their early forties, victims of the mysterious family curse, so it is a house of women. Among them are Asya’s beautiful, rebellious mother, her clairvoyant aunt and their hopelessly hypochondriac sister. Into the midsts of this madhouse comes Asya’s feisty American cousin, and she’s bringing long-hidden family secrets connected with Turkey’s turbulent past in her wake… Continue reading “Book | The Bastard of Istanbul – Elif Shafak”