Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Memorable Quotes from Memoirs of A Geisha

The thing that I love most about books is how inspiring they are. Authors have the amazing gift of turning simple words into inspiration and that was definitely no different with Memoirs of A Geisha. In fact, I think Memoirs had even a bigger inspiration impact because of the poetic language that was used. Like most foreign languages, the Japanese language is very poetic and not as straight forward as American English. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite quotes from Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden

"We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to finda new course."

"I'd never understood how closely things are connected to one another. And it isn't just the zodiac I'm talking about. We human beings are only a part of something very much larger. When we walk along, we may crush a beetle or simply cause a change in the air so that a fly ends up where it might never have gone otherwise.. And if we think of the same example but with ourselves in the role of the insect and the larger universe in the role we've just played, it's perfectly clear that we're affected every day by forces over which we have no more control than the poor beetle has over our gigantic foot as it descends upon it. What are we to do? We must use whatever methods we can to understand the movement of the universe around us and time our actions so that we are not fighting the currents, but moving with them."

"He was like a song I'd heard once in fragments but had been singing in my mind ever since."

"Every man has his destiny. But who needs to go to a fortune-teller to find it? Do I go to a chef to find out if I'm hungry?"

"I had to wonder if men were so blinded by beauty that they would feel privileged to live their lives with an actual demon, so long as it was a beautiful demon."

"It goes without saying that men can be as distinct from each other as shrubs that bloom in different times of the year."

"When a man takes a mistress, he doesn't turn around and divorce his wife."

"Grief is a most peculiar thing; we're so helpless in the face of it. It's like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it."

"Neither you nor I can know your destiny. You may never know it! Destiny isn't always like a party at the end of the evening. Sometimes it's nothing more than struggling through life from day to day."

"An en is a karmic bond lasting a lifetime. Nowadays many people seem to believe their lives are entirely a matter of choice; but in my day we viewed ourselves as pieces of clay that forever show the fingerprints of everyone who has touched them."

"No one could tell me whether he would be my ultimate destiny, but I had always sensed the en between us. Somewhere in the landscape of my life Nobu would always be present."

"I don't know when we will see each other again or what the world will be like when we do. We may both have seen many horrible things. But I will think of you every time I need to be reminded that there is beauty and goodness in the world."

"From this experience I understood the danger of focusing only on what isn't there. What if I came to the end of my life and realized that I'd spent every day watching for a man who would never come to me? What an unbearable sorrow it would be to realized I'd never really tasted the things I'd eaten, or seen the places I'd been, because I'd thought of nothing but the Chairman even while my life was drifting away from me."

"Sometimes we get through adversity only by imagining what  the world might be like if our dreams should ever come true."

"Since the day I'd left Yoroido, I'd done nothing but worry that every turn of life's wheel would bring yet another obstacle into my path; and of course, it was the worrying and the struggle that had always made life so vividly real to me. When we fight upstream against a rocky undercurrent, every foothold takes on a kind of urgency."

"How curious it is, what the future brings us. You must take care, Sayuri, never to expect too much."

I've finally decided that the next book I will be reading is Atonement by Ian McEwan. This one might be a little difficult for me because I watched the movie and I HATED it. Like really. It's on my list of worst movies ever, along with Little Black Book. 

But you know what they say; don't judge a book by it's movie!

If I'm don't update before New Years, please have a safe and fun New Years Eve! See ya next year!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Book Review 1: Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden

Title: Memoirs of A Geisha
Author: Arthur Golden

Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: 1999
Publisher: Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

ISBN: 1-4000-9689-8
Price: $10.20 on
Summary: "In this literary tour de force, novelist Arthur Golden enters a remote and shimmeringly exotic world. For the protagonist of this peerlessly observant first novel is Sayuri, one of Japan's most celebrated geisha, a woman who is both performer and courtesan, slave and goddess.

We follow Sayuri from her childhood in an impoverished fishing village, where in 1929, she is sold to a representative of a geisha house, who is drawn by the child's unusual blue-grey eyes. From there she is taken to Gion, the pleasure district of Kyoto. She is nine years old. In the years that follow, as she works to pay back the price of her purchase, Sayuri will be schooled in music and dance, learn to apply the geisha's elaborate makeup, wear elaborate kimono, and care for a coiffure so fragile that it requires a special pillow. She will also acquire a magnanimous tutor and a venomous rival. Surviving the intrigues of her trade and the upheavals of war, the resourceful Sayuri is a romantic heroine on the order of Jane Eyre and Scarlett O'Hara. And Memoirs of a Geisha is a triumphant work - suspenseful, and utterly persuasive."

My Review:
I'll admit, I chose Memoirs of A Geisha as my first book because I knew it was going to be an easy read (and, of course, because I already had it on my bookshelf). I read this book first at the age of 15, possibly even at 16, I'm not entirely positive. I could relate to the narrator, Sayuri, only a bit. While I was around her age, going through some of the same emotions that she may have been going through, you know those teenage emotions :), I didn't understand the depth and the emotion of the novel.

This time around, I am 20 (almost 21! yay!). I've experienced life. I've experienced leaving my home, I've experienced the death of a loved one, I've experienced true disappointment. At this point in my life, I was able to connect with the book as I never could have as a girl of only 15. I better understood why Sayuri did the things she did. I could relate to the pain she must have felt when she got word that (SPOILER ALERT) her parents had passed away. Sayuri's emotions were my emotions. Heck, I even dreamed that I WAS Sayuri (how cool would it be to be a geisha though?).

Arthur Golden did an amazing job of portraying the life of geisha in the early-middle 20th century. From the first page, Sayuri's voice is strong and clear, a voice that needs to be heard. The character of Sayuri is well developed, her background is simple and her future is impressive. With the character of Sayuri, it is possible for a girl to imagine herself in the character. To come from such a simple, even a poor, background and then to grow into a beautiful, charming woman is a dream that I myself have had many times.

Chiyo (Sayuri's given name at birth) was taken from her seaside home at the age of just nine, leaving behind a dying mother and an old father. She was then separated from her sister and was sent to live in a okiya in the Kyoto district of Gion. She doesn't know it at the time, but she is going to be trained to be a geisha. Geisha, despite the western view of the word, means artist, "gei" literally meaning "art" and "sha" meaning "person" or "doer".  Girls hoping to become geisha study dance, music (on the shamisen which is a type of guitar and on the drums), and the tea ceremony, as well as more traditional studies like reading and writing. 

Chiyo goes through many hardships before becoming the geisha Sayuri. In fact, she racks up so much debt at a young age that Mother (the owner of the Okiya in which Sayuri lives), actually stops her training for some time. Thankfully she has a few people watching out for her and Mameha, one of the most beautiful and successful geisha of the time, offers to be Chiyo's "big sister" and to basically show her the ropes of being a geisha.

The book tells Sayuri's stories of her life as a geisha, and what a full life she has lived! According to the book, Sayuri is also one of the most successful geisha of that type. Perhaps because of the peculiar color of her eyes. Sayuri has blue/grey eyes, something which is uncommon for the people of Japan.

The book is exquisite and marvelous. The way that Golden describes the world of the Geisha is breathtaking, I felt like I was actually there. I wished that I was walking through the streets of Kyoto with Sayuri by my side teaching me how to be a geisha. The characters were all well developed and I feel like I got to know each character personally. I took quite a liking to Nobu, one of Sayuri's suitors. It's one of those books that you just can't seem to put down. In fact, I dreaded going to bed at night because I just did not want to leave my dear friends.

This book is definitely recommended reading. It's easy to read, it's beautifully written and it's also educational! I don't often see that combination in books of this sort, but it was wonderful. If you love learning about other cultures, then this book is definitely for you, especially because it's written from the perspective of someone who has lived the life and knows what they're talking about. Arthur Golden did an excellent job of researching and studying for this book. 

Amazon's Customer Reviews has given this book 5 out 5 stars, and I do too!

Overall Impression:

I give his book 5 stars out of 5. It is well written and Golden did a great job of researching the lives of geisha during the early-mid 20th century. It was hard to put down and I'm actually sad that I'm done reading it. I honestly feel that I've lost a friend. The character of Sayuri is one that is easily relatable. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who just loves a good read!

What did you think? Have you read Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden? If you have, I'd love to hear your opinion on the book! Did you love it or was it just a little to "blah" for your tastes? Let me know by simply leaving a comment on this post! I'd love to talk about the book with you!

I hope that you all get lots and lots of books this Christmas!

P.S. Since this is my first book review, I'd like to ask a favor of all those who read it. If you can, please leave some feedback about how you think I did with the review itself.Too long? Too short? Not enough information? I'd really like your comments and suggestions! Thank you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Numero Uno: Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden

To kick off this wonderful reading challenge, I chose Memoirs of A Geisha by Anthony Golden. 

My main reason for choosing it as the first book is because I've read it before, and I've seen the movie. But, I read it when I was a sophomore in high school (which was like FIVE whole years ago), so I definitely need a refresher. 

I also chose it because it just so happens to be on my book shelf. I didn't even have to make the five minute walk to the library (yeah, I've been really lazy lately).

I do remember a the basic plot of the book, and a also a few odds and ends, but I can't remember every detail. I don't remember if I had a favorite part in the book, but I'm sure that I will find one. I know that I did enjoy Memoirs when I first read it. I feel that now that I'm a little older, I'll be able to better understand some parts of the book. 

This time, I'm really looking forward to really digging in and trying to understand what Chiyo (later Sayuri-her geisha name) is going through during her journey to becoming a geisha and after. 

The reviewers on Amazon gives the book 4.5 stars out of 5, so I know that this book is a favorite across the board.

In case you've never read the book or seen the movie, here's the synopsis on the back of the book that I own (it's a paperback with the movie poster image on the front, like in the picture above):
"In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount;
where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained
to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique
and triumphant work of fiction--at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful--and
completely unforgettable"

I expect to be done reading this by at least Monday evening or Tuesday morning, but I don't want to put a time limit on my reading. I will keep you guys posted on any new words I learn or quotes that I love throughout my reading.

If you've read the book before, e-mail me at: tayirl[at]hotmail[dot]com. I'd like to know what you think of the book. I may even use your reviews in my review entry of the book.

If you have not read the book before and would like to join me in reading it, just head down to your local library or bookstore to pick it up, and then start reading!

Hey There, Ho There, How do you do?

I'll give a cookie to the first person who can guess where the entry title is from. I'll give you a hint, it's a movie. 

Well, hello there & welcome to this blog. I'm Tasia and you'll probably know me from my personal blog tayIRL. And if you got here from that blog, then you probably know what this blog is all about. But if not, let me give you a little background on this blog.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon the Day Zero Project. The whole point of the project needs a whole entry in itself, but basically it's a list of 101 things that you want to do in 1001 days. One of the things on my list was to read through a book list. To decide which books I wanted to read, I did some research and looked through a bunch of different book lists. Three stood out to me most: Teen Read's Ultimate Book List, 101 Books to Read Before you Die, and College Board's 101 Great Reads.So, I put the lists together, added a few Pacific Island books that I wanted to read and that's how I got my personalized book list, you can check it out here.

To make sure that I go along with the whole goal thing, I decided to track my progress by making a blog. While my personal blog will be more for the general things on my 101 in 1001 list, I wanted to make a different blog for my Reading goal. My main reason for the separate blogs is my Reading List. It's so long and there are so many things that I want to do with it, I didn't want to completely flood my personal blog with book talk 24/7. That wouldn't be very fun for me, so now I have two blogs!

There are a few things that you can expect from this blog, the most obvious being Book Reviews! No book rubs two people the same way, so my book reviews are going to be my honest opinion of the books. Please understand that my review only reflects my views, not any one else. I hope that my book review will encourage you to pick up a book and read, but negative reviews shouldn't hinder your enjoyment of a book. I'm a picky reader, so I am definitely not bound to like every single book on the list!

You can also expect book suggestions, maybe some giveaways, book swaps, guest bloggers, linky parties and hopefully even a book club thing! I am open to any suggestions that you have regarding this site. Let me know what I can do to make this blog better! 

Hope to see you guys around the blog!
Pick up a book and read with me.