Too Much What?

I love reading not only for pleasure, but for symbolism and metaphors. I know I should not admit these kind of things publicly, but it’s true! Underneath it all, I am the ultimate geek that jumps for joy when I see beyond the written word and just for a moment, find myself looking through the author’s eyes, and understand them and their purpose. However, there are days when the author just shuts me out and says “ha ha, you ain’t getting this one!”. Unfortunately I have had one of those experiences, and it kind of sucks. As a passionate supporter of Canadian authors, I try to read as much Canadian literature as I can, not only because I enjoy it but also because I want to create more awareness of it and its complexity and beauty. Canadian literature explores many new realms that I feel American audiences would appreciate, and in the future I will be sure to share many wonderful titles here.

Recently I decided to reach back into the archives of Canadian authors and pull out one of the pilgrims of Canadian writing, Alice Munro. I have enjoyed many of Munro’s works during my years as an undergraduate, and have always found her writing complex and real. This time around, I found that same complexity, but could not achieve a level of complete comprehension that would have allowed me to enjoy her writing with the same pleasure that I have previously experienced.

“Too Much Happiness”, is a series of short stories primarily focusing on many female protagonists. The stories all have an element of darkness in them, and a base sense of death and sexuality. It’s hard to describe, but in my opinion its this kind of writing ability that separates good writers from great writers. Even though I had difficulty deciphering the deeper meaning behind Alice Munro’s characters  experiences, I was still intrigued and very aware that there was something more, I just couldn’t see it yet. Perhaps it is a matter of viewing the characters objectively instead of subjectively. As a Canadian, I felt that my personal opinions and knowledge of certain areas referenced in the short stories perhaps led me to make assumptions about the characters that created limitations on my understanding of the deeper meaning. In this case, familiarity worked against me, and left me asking questions that I don’t know are meant to be answered. Perhaps in this case, my readers can lend their views and tell me what they think!

Return from Hiatus…….yet again!!

I must apologize, I fell off the face of the earth again! What can I say, life really did get in the way. A lot has changed since my last post! Firstly, (and most importantly) I am no longer a grad student! I graduated this past summer and did the walk in my velvet cap :) A few months later I got married to a wonderful man and dived head first into reality and have come to a scary realization: I am no longer a grad student  swimming indulgently through the pages of my beautiful books searching for meaning and symbolism, and wrapping myself into the warmth of literature. I am now a wife, a partner, and at times a culinary genius (or so I like to think):P.

Marriage truly is a wonderful journey that does change your life in a way you never expected, and you find it easy to lose yourself in the land of “we” and “us”.  And its important to catch yourself and not lose yourself completely. So here I am, rediscovering me and the first love of my life: the written word.

Stay tuned readers, more book reviews and literary ramblings are brewing!

Reader’s Bliss!

I love the freedom of shamelessly reading several books a week! The freedom to read any genre or author I choose! Being able to enjoy the book, the story, the characters, from cover to cover without having to map out an analysis for another essay……ahhhh bliss!

Well with such bliss comes great rewards….another book review!!!! I was travelling recently, and with no classes, upcoming papers or reading requirements to complete, I strolled into the airport bookstore with my eyes wide open and my wallet in hand. I was ready to spend! Now I must admit, usually the bestsellers do make for good plane reading but sometimes, the titles just do not appeal to me at all. So during this delightful venture, I came across an interesting book. For some reason the name clicked in my mind and I remembered a conversation I had at a wedding just two days ago, when someone pulled out their e-reader to ask me about a book they were reading. Now if you bring your e-reader or any book to a wedding, then it must be a pretty good read. I decided to trust their opinion and picked up a copy for myself. Lets just say I got the book 3 days ago and I finished it yesterday.

“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett was the perfect start to my reading binge that will be spanning the next few weeks. I picked up the book simply 3 times and it kept me reading for hours. For those of you, who like me, enjoy books that take you to another time and place (and read with a southern accent in your head), would surely enjoy this one. I don’t want to give away too much, but its a touching story about a group of women in a  small town in 1960s Mississippi, struggling to understand and change the world they live in. I love a book that can take a tough issue like racism and write a story that says what needs to be said without passing judgement or demeaning either side. It’s a skill that many writers do not possess, but Kathryn Stockett has done an exceptional job with it. It may not be in the New Hot Fiction section of your local bookstore yet, but its worth looking for!

The Return….again

Once again I have returned from an unintended hiatus. Yes it was a rather long break but sometimes even a nerd like me has got to put in her bookmark and chill out. I’m still making my way through my Harry Potter adventures and am surprised that it just keeps getting better and better.

I am currently kicking myself everyday for making the brilliant decision to take summer school. Why I torture myself like this? I do not know. However, I have entered a completely foreign territory – 18th century Restoration plays. Yes, it is as awful as it sounds. Well maybe I’m exaggerating. It’s definitely not my cup of tea but it has its amusing points.

To be quite honest, some of the plays I have read have left me blushing and slightly violated. So much for a more innocent and conservative time! People are fornicating with everyone and anyone all over the stage! And I’m pretty sure there was no birth control at this time so the scarlet letter must have been a popular fashion statement! And not to seem prudish, but wasn’t good hygiene also a tremendous feat?

I have entered the world of adultery, incest, and prostitution topped off with some comic dialogue. Definitely not the type of literature I will look back on beyond the duration of this class….

Express yourself

So a few weeks ago I was approached by a friend of mine who wanted to write a letter. Not just any letter but a love letter- or more accurately a love email. And being her writer friend, she assumed I would know how to conjure up one of these. One of the things she asked me was why it was so hard for her to express her feelings. I didn’t know how to answer her at the time but I got to thinking about the idea of expression in words and remembered a quote I saw somewhere a few years ago:

“Literature is protest. No writing is innocent”

It made me think that like a love letter, any kind of writing is an expression of the mind and the heart. Not to say that we’re all just writing love letters all the time, but even this simple love letter was like a form of literature. It was protesting her feelings to her beloved, and the writing had the purpose of receiving an answer or a reaction.

Back to the question of why some people find it so hard to express themselves. Well, this is my take on it, there are two types of people.

Some of us can easily write down our thoughts because we want them to be heard. And even if no one ever reads what we have to say, we are content with the fact that it is said in some shape or form.

On the other hand there are those who fear the very same thing. Their fear isn’t that people will hear them, rather that no one will. That personal expression carries a bigger weight and therefore is more difficult to express. And if that expression isn’t heard or acknowledged, they feel vulnerable and exposed.

That’s just my take on it. Good news is she did manage to write the letter herself – currently awaiting a reaction from her ‘audience’.

I only have one thing to say…..

Die paper die!!!!

If it wasn’t for Jane Eyre, corsets, and crazy fashion – I would vow never to look at another piece of Victorian literature again, let alone take a whole class! However, these periodicals are fascinating! Paper in progress – must…..pull….through!


Welcome to! I’m Tasneem and this is my world! Well not my whole world but definitely a special part of it. I’m a graduate student working towards getting my Masters in Literature and also an aspiring writer/novelist. This blog is a place for me to share my experiences as a graduate student and a book lover. Literature has given me such joy in my life, and I want to share that with others. I hope you’ll enjoy what I have to say and make me a little part of your world too!