Monthly Archives: April 2014

Have A Little Faith – Mitch Albom

Rating: 6/5

“And, as is often the case with faith, I thought I was being asked a favor, when in fact I was being given one.”

Okay this is my favourite Mitch Albom book to date haha. This is a TRUE story (well true stories actually cause there are two stories in one) and it’s basically it’s about 2 different people Mitch Albom met – a pastor and a rabbi and how they have impacted his life. I guess this book is particularly special to me cause Mitch talks about how he grew up as a Jew in a synagogue and how his faith wasn’t that strong – like y’know when you grow up with something, your identity is kinda forged for you already.  With funny anecdotes about his experience with faith as a kid, exchanges with his rabbi (someone who seems so holy and possibly unreal before Mitch got to know him better), extracts from the rabbi’s sermon, how Mitch starts to explore his faith along with getting to know his rabbi better after being asked to write his eulogy upon his death and Mitch learning more about a local pastor with an extremely tragic past who is probably the least likely candidate who’d become a pastor, this masterpiece is heartwarming, relevant and thought-provoking.

 

(I cried at the eulogy bit HAHA)

 

jacobs_year-living-biblically.jpg (800×1235) 

Rating:4/5

If you’re agnostic, atheist or belong to a non-Abrahamic religion, DO NOT gloss over this post just yet. I know I might as well put up a post reviewing the bible. But fear not, author A.J.Jacobs is agnostic. Intriguing, no?

Jacobs is a New Yorker, seeking an understanding of religion in a secular world. N.B. I say religion and not God. Ethnically Jewish, Jacobs is on a discovery journey of his culture and history. In trying to explore the less popular laws of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, Jacobs’ journal brings about much laughs and thought provoking reflection. To amp up the funny, Jacobs takes the laws of the bible literally (e.g. Stoning adulterers and avoiding women during their monthly cycles). Balancing the funny are his encounters with religious leaders, the religious and the secular, be it in the form of family, friends or perfect strangers. The relationships forged are spiced with religious forethought and can have pretty surprising and heartwarming effects. His actions help believers and non-believers question the inherent value of religious tradition and why some still stick on. Is there room for such odd beliefs in the modern world? Is tradition and law a subset of religion, and religion, God?

In this hilarious and moving recount, I cannot help but reflect on this community I have been born, raised and free-willingly accepted. Whether you’re reading this book for laughs or entertainment, I promise there is a takeaway from this honest journal. 

And can we take some time to appreciate the beard. You should read this book because, of

  1. Jacobs’ dedication to grow a whole year’s worth of facial hair. Hello dedication.
  2. Jacobs lives in NYC. Think awkward stares which accompany the unsaid, “Is he a terrorist?”

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Honest and funny, Amy Chua definitely captures the essence of Asian parenting: wanting nothing but the best for your child. By giving them the best and expecting the best. In this mother-knows-best memoir, Chua dictates the joys and struggles of parenthood. Chua’s eyebrow raising disciplinary action provides humor as well as reflection. Looking back, I don’t think I would have stuck with the piano if not for my mother practically sitting me down at 5.30 p.m. everyday. Chua’s extreme parenting doesn’t seem all too bad in my humble (double) Asian opinion.

Much of her daughters’ success is attributed to Chua’s own socio-economic prosperity. Could her daughters be so successful had it not been for their parents wealth? Therein lies another question, what happens to the rest of society who have no such luck? Will such amounts of gumption like Chua’s suffice in producing prodigy children?

Whilst Chua is no master of words, she makes a point in elaborating divergent effects of Western and Asian parenting. An easy and entertaining read, this memoir of victory cries and personal struggle is thought provoking. In my limited understanding of the girl child born in the year of the tiger, Amy Chua is not a family curse, but a totem to look up to.