Feb 22, 2011

Three Cups of Tea

When mountain-climber Greg Mortenson undergoes tremendous stress during his feat to climb K2- the second highest mountain in the world, and rumored to be the hardest incline to summit- and loses his way repeatedly despite having a guide, he stumbles onto the tiny town of Korphe, Pakistan. The town's inhabitants help him regain strength, feed him, and find his guide for him- practicing the hospitality that is ingrained in them from birth. Mortenson resolves to repay them, but what can he give them that will mean more than a simple "thanks" or a handful of money? How about an education- a school for the eighty children that teach themselves in a gathering on the side of a mountain? Normal people would go home and forget about it- end of story, no book, no miraculous happening. Mortenson isn't normal. Mortenson, a homeless nurse-in-training, goes back to the states and, living out of the back of his Buick La Bamba, tries to raise money for a four room building that he wants to gift to a bunch of Pakistani children.

This story is a touching one, one of trials and endurance. It grips the reader and pulls them in from the very beginning, and though I am still in the very middle of it, I have felt that I have been walking alongside Mortenson throughout his entire journey. I can't wait to finish it, and I'll give you an update once I do!

Feb 14, 2011

A Streetcar Named Desire

Tennessee Williams
When Tennessee Williams was dubbed one of the greatest playwrights in American history and was given some of the highest honors a writer can achieve, he deserved them. With plays like The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof along with classic films like Camino Real and The Rose Tattoo. At least six of his plays were turned into movies, and several starred on Broadway, the first being The Glass Menagerie. He won a Pulitzer Prize for A Streetcar Named Desire, one of his more well-known plays.

Vivien Leigh as Blanche
A Streetcar Named Desire is the tale of a woman, once young and beautiful, tortured by her past and running from the present. She goes to live with her sister, the pregnant Stella, and her husband, the animalistic Stanley Kowalski. She dislikes her situation, and so creates a world of her own. A world without much light, a magic world, a world where she is once again young, pure and beautiful. Where her past isn't shadowed and she hasn't made mistakes. Blanche is so revolted by stark lights that she puts a Chinese lantern over the bulb at the Kowalski's house and then exclaims "Oh, look, we have created enchantment!"After Stanley uncovers her horrible secret (sorry... can't tell!) she tells Mitch, the man who was romantically interested in her "I don't want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don't tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth."

Blanche is over-the-top, drama at its best, insane and- though not loving it- living it in style. She wraps herself in ornate (though fake) clothing and accessories, which often irks Stanley. Stella and Stanley's passionate and eventful love life perplexes Blanche; she wonders how her once calm sister could have fallen head-over-heels for a "brute." Blanche believes Stanley to be immature, uncivilized, uncultured, and boorish. She calls him a pig, a brute, and a "Polack", with which Stanley promptly retorts, "People from Poland are Poles. Not Polacks."

Old Streetcar
The ending is climatic and very dramatic, though a bit unsatisfying for the reader. The play as a whole is well thought out and well written, but the ending is one of those ones that makes the reader want to go back and make it a happy ending. You can't help but wonder where Blanche's future will lead at the end (but I can't tell you why, 'cause that would totally ruin it). Tennessee Williams wrote a moving play that twines readers into it's lines, capturing them in the drama and making them want to know the fortunes of the unfortunate inhabitants of Elysian Fields. A Streetcar Named Desire rates a 7 on the "ADDICTING SCALE" due to its good content, but depressing ending. After all, desire is the opposite of death, and while reading this book I did desire to read further of A Streetcar Named Desire.