lets do this for this summer
The Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen
The Battler by Ernest Hemingway
Kaleidoscope by Ray Bradbury
The New Atlantis by Francis Bacon
The Depressed Person by David Foster Wallace
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
lets do this for this summer
Stack your Rack
The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. - Mark Twain
A Bloody Invasion
Jasmine was an eighteen year -old lady-like girl with a perfect elegance and prestige with long, glossy and curly dark brown hair, big shining blue eyes and delicate facial features and a skin like porcelain, though marked with some scattered spots. She was a simple girl and she wanted to lead a peaceful life without any type of problems. She liked talking about her prestigious bookshelf, her recently bought magazines and CDs, her new class mates ‘behaviour, the bravery and virility of her best friend, her new French multi –coloured curtains, her new bought pink boots, her spoiled little dog and her best singers’ concerts .She was not awkward or clumsy, though, people who didn’t know her closely, came to regard her as such. She was conservative as she tried as much as she could to behave in accordance to the house’ strict rules.
She also liked shopping in the town centre and buying smart clothes and fashionable ornaments for her room. Her room or let me say her kingdom contained a big golden glass in the form of a heart, a big wooden wardrobe, on which small pieces of paper containing verses of Quran, various English grammatical rules and some irregular verbs were pinned, small red pillows thrown everywhere in the room, a laptop always placed on her bed and a splendid bookshelf on which a variety of books were well organized. Also, posters of her favourite singers were stick on the walls: Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Abdehalim and Fayrouz ,yet, the corner where her bookshelf was placed was specialized with an antique touch, with a wall covered with French paper of flowers and birds and with a traditionally ornamented carpet laid on the floor.
What she hated about herself was that she sometimes seemed coward just like an ostrich that dig its head into the soil to avoid facing problems. She also loathed her friends or relatives when they proclaimed that she looked naïve with no motifs. What made them think so might be because of her limitless spontaneity and exceptional kindness. Indeed, in spite of the depth of her thoughts and the greatness of her mind, no one was able to see her qualities or comprehend her personality and no one could ponder the significance of her speech as well as silence. Also, no one could imagine that that spontaneous calm girl could hide such a strong energy and intelligence. But what was special and maybe ridiculous about her was that every day, Jasmine would have a dream that she used to narrate to her mother and even her father each morning to decode its symbols. She even would resort to her dictionary of dreams to understand the significance of her dream components. This strange hobby made of Jasmine a victim of her sister’s tricks and jokes. “I saw you in my dreams yesterday; you were wandering in bewilderment, and then suddenly fell in a terribly shallow hole! And do you know who did you find in the hole?”.Her sister said once. “Who?”.Jasmine quickly asked. “All the old – but single ladies of our family lay there, desperate and lonely”. Her sister added with a malicious smile. Jasmine would faint indifference toward her sisters ‘jokes , but , be sure that , she would devote time to thinking about her sister’s dreams and its implications , even if she knew that her sister was , almost always , just kidding.
There is one important thing I have to say: Jasmine had got two lives. You may be surprised to hear that, but this is the truth: A life within her family members, a life of fun, happiness and jokes and another inner life of dreams, of literature, of profound thought, of fantasy and of loneliness. Once she would leave the living room, she would plunge herself into the ocean of fantastic daydreams which were the fundamental components of her second life. No one knew about her second life, even her sister didn’t know about it, and no one could imagine what kind of life it was and what type of dreams she would have .Jasmine had suffered from the lack of privacy in her room, fortunately, she won the argument of the obligation of having a room for one’s own as she had constantly complained about the lack of privacy in the room that she used to share with her sister. They used to quarrel for everything. Their last conflict was because, Jasmine’ sister spent the whole night talking and joking with her fiancé on the mobile phone, turning deaf ears to Jasmine serious annoyance and her sleepless nights due to that behaviour. “Having a room for one’s own is a necessity! Said Virginia Woolf” She would argue. “Who is she?” Her mother would ask. “A great mind, a wise writer” .She would enthusiastically answer.
It was a cold night of January. Jasmine had watched the news with her father then they had a small conversation about whether working women should stay at home after marriage and as usual, it was her father who rose his voice to end up the discussion with a statement that, for him, was the only and the best answer to such issue: ‘A good woman should stay at home to raise her children and take good care of her husband ’. Jasmine nodded with her head as a sign of agreement. The girl was possessed by a sense of obligation towards her father, she would do happily everything to please him, she would even imprison herself in her room or go to the end of the earth for her father, whom she loved and respected. After that, the girl started to give a detailed report of what she had done that day : “, I went to school at eight and I finished at twelve, then I spent two hours in the library and here I am. “You are a good girl, I am proud of you”; her father would say. Jasmine would have the feeling that she existed only to offer pride and satisfaction to her father, her mother and her brother. Not far away, her sister, her uncle and her brother were having a serious conversation around delicious hot cups of tea with spearmint. Their conversation was about the news that had just been announced:
“Attacks against Muslim people by Muslim extremists.”That is horrible “. The good girl exclaimed!. Then her eyes fell on the news headlines on the screen.
(Sixty eight of the American people not follow their president concerning the war against Iraq).
(Spain , USA and Britain declared Monday a last chance for democracy).
(The united nation secretary confirms the war against Iraq can be considered legitimate).
She worriedly red the breaking news headlines with a serious concern and then, headed to her utopian kingdom, her room. She picked Nathaniel Hawthorne ‘ Scarlet Letter’ from which she had read forty pages at the previous night, she laid on her sparkling white-sheeted bed and started to read: “When the young mother of this child stood fully revealed before the crowd, it seemed to be her first impulse to clasp the infant closely to her bosom……..In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile and a glance that would be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbours”. The story was about a big scandal of forbidden and illegitimate love, the fruit of which was an innocent baby, who, described in that scene, was held by his rebellious young mother, turning its little face aside from the vivid light, as if it avoided facing the daylight and the eyes of the townspeople and the neighbours, out of disgrace, out of shame and sorrow. Three more pages from the novel had been read by Jasmine , after that, she switched on her lap top and logged secretly on a chatting site as she felt an urgent need for talking freely and externalizing her inner thoughts and expressing her point of views without being afraid of her father’s or her mother’ reactions …….).
In the cyber space, she could say freely that she wanted to bury her worries and frights deep in the ground, that she wanted to rush away from the house, even for just one day, to the moon, into the nature, into the darkness, without worrying about time or space and without thinking of the return to home before the nightfall, before darkness lean over the city, without carrying the burden of what people would say about her. She would content herself with having instant discussions with some chatters, the relation with whom would end as soon as she switched off her computer as her brother used to secretly inspect her electronic letters. He was skilled at computer sciences and used this skill in scrutinizing the mail boxes of his sisters just like a professional spy.
Jasmine wrote her username and her age: Docile, 18 years old, from Tunis. She received 52 messages in just two minutes, 60, 70, 100….1000 messages all received from male chatters.
You must wear the hijab
It was the first message that she received and the sender was a man.She had totally ignored the message but shortly afterwards, she received another message.
You‘d rather wear the veil instead of chatting at night.
This is not the first time that she received such rude types of morals and silly pieces of recommendations.
But, you are doing the same! .
She quickly wrote.
I am a man.
I said I am a Man!
He wrote it with capital letters this time .
And I am a Tunisian woman ‘’.Have you ever heard about her?
Filled with rage, he started to send obscene words, so Jasmine nervously and quickly blocked his user name then switched off her lap top and laid on her bed .She had a very special relationship with her bed as she felt that it was the safest shelter she could resort to and on which she would cry as much as she could. As she was exhausted after a long busy day, she fell immediately in a heavy sleep.
Out of a sudden, her dog rose up and started to bark loudly and violently as if it saw a terrible thing. She opened her eyes, fumbled for her mobile phone to see the time. It was three am. “What is the matter with you Fredericco?”.She wondered worriedly. She struggled hard to fall asleep but in vain. The most ridiculous thoughts came to her mind and an inner struggle awoke.‘No purpose lies behind his ill-treatment so why does he keep blaming me? ‘‘Should I leave him?’. ‘Should I confess about my innocent love relationship to my mother or should I hide my feelings?’“Should I leave him ?”. ‘No ‘I should wait, I should be patient’, but I should never tell him the extent to which I love him.’ Does he love me sincerely?”. “Oh my God!. If it is true that he really loves me, so what is the implication behind his indifference?” She thought. “He loves me!” .She insisted trying to expel any threatening thought from her secure consciousnesses.
Suddenly, she heard a noise coming from outside, then, she heard another sound the origin of which became nearer. Doubt took possession of her and the most terrifying thoughts invaded her. All her body was trembling and an expression of terror changed the contours of her face when she heard another sound.’ “Who is that?” She cried anxiously, but no one answered .The strange voices arise and died away but her fear doubled expecting a terrible thing to happen. Beneath the pressure of fear, she left her bed and hurried to the window and stood by it in order to push the invader if he tries to come in. She looked in confusion through the window, as nothing was noticeable; she looked back besides her bed.
The surprise was striking. She stood still for seconds then uttered in a trembling voice: “who are you? What do you want? I’m a conservative girl! I am a good girl so what are you doing here? “They were three strong men whose eyes were full of hatred. The first invader was a long -white-bearded man wearing a white traditional dress and a hat that covered much of his long hair filled with dust. Besides him, stood a broad -shouldered tall blond man with green eyes and blond hair, wearing blue jeans and a fashionable tee-shirt with a gun hidden behind his back. He was standing in full confidence. The third invader was a tall brown handsome man who looked like Omar sheriff with irresistible large brown eyes and a sweet smile, holding a dead red flower.
“Shame on you!”. The first man said in disgrace. “You are not a Muslim woman, you are violating the rules of Islam wearing modern clothes, studying with boys and talking with them”. He added. ‘You are bringing shame to our Muslim nation, you deserve to be killed, and I will murder you!”.He cried.
Suddenly, a voice arouse from the second man who approached her and begun to touch her trembling hands. I came from far distances on the wings of angels to free you from all constraints, I have a strong desire to share the room with you but first, we should get rid of all your old things, of your books of history and geography and religion to establish a new different life. So, let’s destroy this old fashioned room , change all the furniture, burn all the books in this wretched bookshelf, let’s tear your sacred books into pieces and begin together a new life full of freedom .You should help me fulfilling’ my democratizing mission’. She swept a double cry of fright when he held up his gun in a threatening gesture while his face was paradoxically smiling.“ No”!, she cried and then she ran madly towards the door in order to leave the room. Out of a sudden, a spirit showed up on her way, and begun to move hastily towards her: ‘Stop being coward, you should react, you mustn’t leave your room, it is yours and not theirs, you must be brave’.
The long- bearded man cried angrily. ‘You must disappear; otherwise, you will come to a violent end’. The spirit voice rose again: ‘answer them, face them, and tell them that you are more religious than they are even if you are not veiled , tell them how many girls put the hijab to hide their moral ugliness and to deceive people into believing they are angels’. The modern man voice arose:’ you should abandon your beliefs and burn your sacred books’. I will free you from those who control your life. I will free you from all your fixed habits and convictions: “But you are going to destroy my belongings, you are going to turn our world into chaos and disorder”. She answered. My noble ending can justify any means .Jasmine cried in a persistent loud voice: “No! Never! I won’t”. Then, hurried to the bookshelf to pick the sacred book .When she was about to do so, the modern man came over her and snatched it violently . As the atmosphere in the room grew stifling, she lifted up her head to God, then fell on her knees and begun to cry bitterly, tears flew on her pale cheeks.
-“What should I do? I am tired”. She murmured.
-“Nothing could lease you except my love darling “.The third handsome man uttered in confidence, then approached her and gave a big sultry smile. He bowed and raised smoothly her small hands to his lips and kissed them tenderly then said:
-“Why have you expatriated me from your dreams? Why are you always misjudging me and attacking me. What have I done to deserve such scorn?”
-“I left you because your snobbery was killing and your bleakness was strong and because you had never understood the stories that I would tell you and that you thought I was a believer in superstitions and lies, because you would a blame the profusion of detail that I provide in my talk and that you think I was trivial and because you want me to behave in accordance with your instructions.” I have left you because you are a man full of doubts as you doubt every thing I do’.
-“You are seeking an angel then, a sublime man”, he said ironically».
-No, I just hate boorish, fraudulent and selfish men. I expelled you from my life because you were so paradoxical and so intricate that I couldn’t bear you anymore”. She said.The brown handsome man approached her and fixed his glances on her wet large blue eyes trying to manipulate her feelings.
-“I love you”. He said.
-“It is incredible how fast you fabricate lies”.
-“I love you” .He repeated.
-“Do you know that I ‘m able to invade your thoughts and determine who you are, so don’t try to embellish your truth and leave the room as no memory remained from your dead love except bitterness in my heart so just leave……..”
-“I love you”. He insisted.
In that specific moment, the blond man grew very angry and begun to shout and storm at her:
-“Do you love someone else?”.
-“I don’t love anyone; I just want to live in peace”. She replied.
-“You have betrayed me, you have wounded my glory .Who is he? “I will kill you”.
He started to tear her papers and to throw her belongings here and there, and then shouted with rage:
-“You will regret that!”
The three men had a bloody quarrel about who of them will kill her. The narrow room furniture turned up side down. The three invaders were exchanging curses and using obscene words. The poor girl shook her head struggling unsuccessfully to ignore their voices.She was again on the edge of tears. She yearned to cease thinking of them but in vain, so she swept a cry and burst into tears.
-“What a world I am living in!”She said then she ran towards the door searching for release but the spirit showed up again. She murmured.
-“You must not leave, you must face them .You must be strong”. The spirit said.
-“Look at them! They are moving towards me”. She answered in a voice like sober.
-“You have to face them! You must be strong! The spirit answered.
The three invaders, once attacking each other, united against her body. Then begun to beat her hastily, drew her from her long hair and tore her woolen pink pajama. Although the battle was not balanced, she was determinate to defend her dignity, her territory and her identity.
-“I won’t leave! “She said. “I will never leave .She said.”I will never leave “.She insisted
A loud warm voice arouse from the mosque trumpet calling for the dawn prayer .She woke up, removed the thick cover from her head and looked around to see nothing but darkness.“Where are they?” She said then she stood up and fumbled the walls searching for the light to check if there were traces of the invaders then she quickly headed to the mirror and stood before it to see her self. “I was hallucinating”. She whispered. She headed to the bathroom, made her ‘wouthou’ ,then, did her dawn prayer. In her room, she picked the sacred book from her desk, then opened it haphazardly and started to read and for the first time to ponder the significance of each word.
I read plenty of Hemingway as he is my favourite American author
Samuel Beckett, More Pricks Than Kicks
i just learned Wallace committed a suicide, probably due to depression! if I had the choice, i would vote for the depressed person.
wow the Pearl is soo amazing this poll closed too early lol
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