REVIEW “The Secret Life of Bees”by Sue Monk Kidd

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Set in the troublesome times of the 1960 Civil Rights Movement is the troublesome story of Lily Owens.  After the death of her mother she is raised by the black housemaid Rosaleen on her dad’s peach farm. Whilst Rosaleen tries to bring love and happiness into Lily’s life her dad, whom she only calls T.Ray because “he’s not much of a Daddy figure” resents, ignores and abuses her.

A series of events leads the fourteen years old Lily to run away together with Rosaleen.  The only thing Lily has from her Mother are two silk gloves, a picture of her and a mysterious picture of a black Mary that seems to be coming from Tiburon, South Carolina. Led by this picture the two set out to Tiburon and find the black Mary on a honey label which shows them the way to the pink beekeepers house.August and her sisters June and May. They take Lily and Rosaleen in and in this safe place Lily finally starts to flower.Finds friends, love and worth.

Which seems to good to be true. And somehow it is, considered, that a young white girl lives with three black sisters in a time where racial discrimination is daily business and runaway daughters are most likely searched for.

The author Sue Monk Kidd somehow manages to combine these two sides in one humorous and poetic novel. Her style of writing is clear and somewhat lighthearted even though the subject is not. Still the book isn’t missing a true meaning. Mostly delivered through the conversations with August in the book it talks about forgiveness, oneself and others and ultimately about love.

Wiyanna Markowis

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Review: “My Sisters Keeper” by Jodi Picoult

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“I understand, you were invisible too” is not something you want to hear a thirteen years old girl say about parent- children relationships. But that is exactly how Anna Fitzgerald feels. Invisible. Her older sister Kate suffers from a rare form of Leukemia and Anna’s fetus was carefully selected to match her older sister, so that she could donate the blood of her umbilical cord. Or better, so that her parents could donate her umbilical cord. Now thirteen years later Anna has not only donated her umbilical cord but bone marrow, Lymphocytes, blood, tissue and is supposed to donate her kidney, but she doesn’t want to, so she goes to court.

The book follows this legal process over two weeks. As Jodi Picoult writes the book from different perspectives, we not only hear Anna’s inner Voice but also that of her Mother who fights like a lion to keep Kate alive and suffers from the circumstance that she herself is not able to provide what Kate needs. We get to meet Brian, Anna’s father who is lost between what is right and what is wrong, what is morally, what ethically correct. A firefighter at home and in his Job. We meet Jesse, Kate’s and Anna’s older brother who struggles to find his own place. He is neither the one who needs saving nor is he the savior so who is he in this family? We get to meet Anna’s attorney and some more characters.

Through this style of writing Jodi Picoult manages to show the complexity of this family drama. She shows that no matter who is talking and how different the opinions are, in his way everyone is somewhat right and tries to do his best.

During the conversations in the book it becomes clear that behind every obvious explanation lay many hidden reasons. Reasons that are sometimes so unexpected, that they leave the reader surprised. As does the ending of the book which is so extraordinary I wouldn’t believe anyone who  says he had guessed it from the beginning.

 

Wiyanna Markowis

Review “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t read “Eat, Pray, Love” (by the way: what are you doing with your life if you have not yet read “Eat, Pray, Love?)

At the ending of “Eat, Pray, Love” We see Liz slowly falling in love with her brazilian lover Felipe. We meet them again at Dallas Airport in the United States where Felipe is refused to enter the country ever again unless they manage to get a more secure visa, which means a fiancée visa followed by a marriage. For the both of them who vowed never to marry again this is just a little bit problematic but as Liz puts it she loves Felipe so much she “would even marry” him. What a romantic proposal…

As Felipe has no business whatsoever without being allowed into the U.S. and they don’t want to separate they set out to spend their waiting time in different countries in Asia in the hope, that their financial resources will last long enough. Whilst Felipe just tries (and struggles) to get comfortable in their new situation Liz tries (and struggles) to get to know everything about marriage to find a way to be happy about their “sentence to wed”. She takes us along on that journey humorously discussing the different aspects about marriage, how it changed over time and still is different depending on which corner of the world you visit. What the book misses in description of the places they visit is compensated with insightful revelations about matrimony.

No matter if you are already married, planning on getting married or never want anything to do with this business at all, this book will make you laugh and see many “natural” perceptions  you might have about the subject of holy matrimony in a completely different light. It is definitely worth a read!

Wiyanna Markowis

REVIEW “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo

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Some people don’t like reading old dusty classic books. Some people don’t like reading very long books. Well, the book “Les Miserables” is both of these things and still I would recommend you to read it. The book follows (admittedly with some detours) the life of Jean Valjean. A man who was convicted to galley “service” for stealing a loaf of bread.

After finishing his sentence and being out on parole he realizes bitterly, that even though he served his sentence for society he always will be convicted. The book follows him on his journey through the Paris and France of the beginning of the 19th century as he tries to turn his life towards the good.

This search for good plays out over more than one thousand pages. The author deliberately decides to leave the main storyline several times in such a way that the book becomes more like a long walk in a park than a thrilling rollercoaster ride, a phenomenon that lacks in many of the modern day novels. He slows down the pace of everyday life and reveals that even though the book was written more than 150 years ago many of aspects are still true today. Victour Hugos book “Les Miserables” has been called the conscience of the 19th century. And he can also be called the conscience of the 21th century for that matter.  In his work he shows, that there is a higher moral than the social standards and laws of the moment. Good and bad can not always be rightfully decided in front of a court. And how judgment can be true for eternity.

Maybe we should take this point of view on some of the things that happen in today’s day and age… How will our, nowadays ‘accepted’ and ‘right’ actions, be judged upon in 150 years when our self centered reasons no longer matter and the only thing that is remembered are the consequences of our actions.

Wiyanna Markowis

In the Belly of the Fish – New Release

Pilgrims is delighted to share the news of new release of the book In the Belly of the Fish: Matsyendranatha and the Chakra of the Yoginis by Stella Dupuis.

In the Belly of the Fish is the story of the mythic master Matsyendranatha through the eyes of women-goddesses, the Yoginis. The most important Tantra treatise written by the great scholar Abhinavagupta from the 10th century honoured Guru Matsyendranatha as the father of Yoga.

In Kathmandu Valley he became the God of Mercy: MACHHENDRANATH.

In the Belly of the Fish is a positive and joyful novel adorned with picturesque legends and esoteric knowledge that can be implemented in our daily life when confronting challenging situations.

Stella Dupuis is a Swiss novelist born in Panama. She studied marketing and advertising in Switzerland and Sweden before launching a successful business career in Latin America and Europe. Since becoming a writer seven years ago, she has published four novels in Spanish and English. In her work she depicts a yearning for a spiritual destiny that transcends blind commitment, stereotypes and religious fanaticism. For many years, Stella has also been teaching Yoga and Meditation in many countries. She is the author of Memoria de Viento (In the Wake of the Wind), La Puerta de Jade, Teli-Ka Mandir and The Yogini Temples of India: In the Pursuit of a Mystery.

Please CLICK HERE to get more details about the book.

Forthcoming Titles – Fiction

9788177697681

Paths less Travelled
By Matthew S. Friedman

Paths less Travelled represents a very simple, gentle love story between two young people – the boy was from a devout Hindu household and the girls from a traditional Muslim home. What makes it different from most other books is that it looks at the emotions associated with a love situation, more from the boy’s perspective than the girl’s – something that is less often the focus of other stories. The love that is explored is raw, unrefined, masculine and spiritual.

Matthew S. Friedman has worked in the field of international health and has traveled extensively, visiting over thirty countries around the world. Currently based in Thailand he still continues to take a great interest in the cultures of South and Southeast Asia. Amongst his other published works are Tara: A Flesh-trade Odyssey, The Gorkha Urn, Time and Proximity, Nepalese Casted Religious and Cultural Lamps and Nepalese Casted Vessels, Decanters and Bowls.

Maya - A NovelMaya – A Novel
By Dr. Ruby Gupta

Maya alludes to one of the basic themes of Hindu philosophy that this world is nothing but an illusion. The protagonist Viren, travels from India to the US and back to the newly formed State of Chhattisgarh, in India. His journey becomes an unconscious journey into the self – a quest to understand the existential angst. This is the larger connotation of the title.

Maya is also the name of one of the central characters, a beautiful mysterious woman who stays alone in a dilapidated fort. Viren repeated interaction with her intrigue him; and he begins to question the purpose of his current lifestyle. Their conversations about life and mysticism form the core of the novel.

Dr. Ruby Gupta, recipient of the Pratibha Samman Award for journalism in 1998 she was also selected a GSE program member for the USA by Rotary International in 2004 was initially a student of science who later switched to creative writing, dabbled in journalism, went on to acquire two gold medals for literature, and finally ended up with a PhD. Her published works include two books – Khushwant Singh: Reality and Myth and A Collection of Short Stories.

For more information and ordering please click here

New Releases

Cuckoo and the Pigeon

The Cuckoo and the Pigeon: A Collection of Bhutanese Folktales
by Ngawang Phuntsho
ISBN: 9788177697674

With the youth of today distracted by so many outside influences, such as television and internet, movies and magazines, the telling of folk tales by grandparents at the fireside has been dying out. It is hoped that this unique collection of traditional folktales from Bhutan will help to revive and preserve this tradition.

Charmingly told and full of meaning, these tales will amuse both young and old. They will appeal particularly to children.

As well as being a source of entertainment for all ages, such stories will teach the young and remind the old of the mysterious ways in which right and wrong can manifest themselves in everyday life.

dark mermaid

The Dark Mermaid
by Amar Shrestha
ISBN: 9788177697490

Kali is a 12 year old girl, born Kalawati, living in Birganj, a sub metropolis of Nepal. She is a local swimming champion, bright in studies and popular with others. Unfortunately, she is afflicted with asthma and her parents decide to send her to Darjeeling for her studies, as the weather there is more compatible for her health. She joins Mount Hermon School and the story continues.

For ordering please click the link.