Sunday, December 28, 2008

Book Meme and Facts

Babysitter tagged me for a meme- and even though I'm not one to really do these type of things, I figured it was something for me to do tonight while Mr. NMF is out at a Chanukah Mesiba.

Thanks for the tag! (Oh, and I'm not tagging anyone- because all those who I might have tagged were tagged by others already. Sorry!)

I really actually liked the idea of this meme, because I love to read. (I read so quickly though, that it doesn't even pay for me to buy books anymore- I finish them before I get home.) (I think that and blogging go hand in hand- if you like to read, you usually also like to write, and so the saga continues.)

Book Meme

Here are the rules:
Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal/blog along with these instructions. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST. Tag five other people to do the same.

"She sank slowly into the sofa. Nathan loomed in her inner vision: a stone figure, cemented in complacency. Well, he could afford to be complacent; he'd accomplished something in his life. He was owner of a flourishing surgical practice that had already won him considerable renown both home and in the States. In addition he'd lately begun playing a prominent role in Jewish community affairs. Dr. Nathan Perl was a man to be reckoned with.
While she, Eva saw with sudden and sad clarity, was nothing more than a pretty appendage, a bauble to hang from a dashboard, as her husband sped ever faster along his particular road to fame and achievement.
Good-bye, Nosson..."

This is from Between the Thorns, by Libby Lazewnik. I was looking for some Jewish reading material over Shabbos, and randomly selected this book, which is why it is on my reading table closest to me. It is written in a good style- not so intellectual- but the main plot of the book is that the characters are so stereotypical- they exhibit such perfect examples of certain character traits. In fact, my neighbor's husband banned her from reading it during Shana Rishona (the first year of marriage) due to the fact that almost every couple in it seems to have major Shalom Bayis (marriage) problems.

Eva believes that Nathan is too caught up in his professional world to truly care about her, even when she starts achieving professional renown herself. However, she comes to realize that he was the impetus behind her success- and they both embark together on the struggle to raise their children as Torah Jews.

This is an interesting conundrum. People oftentimes believe that if one spouse has a large profession- the other spouse either has to be demure and meek, or another over-achiever as well. Never does it seem to happen that one spouse supports the other, and vice versa, as both achieve something large- but not over-achieve.

In the Torah- we have a bit of a different viewpoint. Women are catagorized as being an "Aizer K'negdo"- a helpmate against him. Men are taught to respect their wives- give them more honor than themselves. And Rabbi Akiva's famous wife, Rachel- who encouraged her husband to learn Torah when he was a 40 year old ignoramus- and eventually became Rabbi Akiva- is a classic example of how a Torah relationship could work. Rabbi Akiva, after 24 years away studying Torah, comes home, and Rachel throws herself at his feet. His students try to push the 'crazy woman' away, but Rabbi Akiva stops them. He says, "If not for her- I would still be an ignoramus. All my Torah, and all the Torah that you [the students] have learned- all belongs to Rachel, my wife."

Through the Torah point of view- there is no competition- no trying to outdo one another- and none of the other as well- that one spouse should be demure and meek, while the other an over-achiever. There is a balance. R' Avigdor Miller says in his book, Career of Happiness, that a man does end up being the captain of his household, but the wife is still the first mate. And, should be taken seriously as such.

I'm still a newlywed- so I don't know so much. But, I hope to learn and to grow.

Oh, and the second part:
7 random facts about me:
1. I love to read- anything and everything. I used to read law journals, for example, or the encyclopedia. I used to love to sit in Barnes and Noble-and just read, for about 4-6 hrs. at a time.
2. I have a craving for art and beauty. I love collecting items like beautiful embroidery, art (which I also paint myself), small chatchkas- anything that is truly lovely.
3. It's all B4S's fault I started blogging. Go ask her about it.
4. Favorite food? Coffee. Especially iced coffee. Yum.
5. I haven't traveled all over the world- but I would love to. Especially Paris, London, and Venice. Maybe one day....
6. I used to make balloon animals for fun, for neighbor kids and babysitting jobs. Who knew?
7. I could spend all day just looking out at the view of Yerushalyim from my apartment. No matter the weather.


Anonymous said...

I'm in a room full of sefarim, and a Staples catalog. Do any of those count for meme purposes? :-D

nmf #7 said...

Sefarim yes- Staples catalog, I'm not so sure. Although their sales lately are excellent :)
Should I tag you?

The Babysitter said...

Yay you did it too!

Very interesting about that book, I haven't heard of it before, but the way you describe it, it does sound stereotypical. That's funny that your friends husband said she can't read it. I actually heard once that you shouldn't read shalom bayis books too much cause then you will start creating problems that weren't there by imagining that they are there based on the symptoms of what the book says. When I was younger I liked reading parenting books, and also marriage books. I had planned on reading the whole "10 minutes a day to a better marriage" but I didn't get too far, maybe I'll start continuing that again.

Great comparison, and it really can work the Torah way!

I would love to see some of the stuff you painted.

very cool about the balloons, whenever we would try they would always bust, so that's a great talent!

I sense your love for Israel in those lines.

nmf #7 said...

Babysitter- my pleasure.
Libby Lazewnik writes many Jewish books- mostly not my speed. But, when I was at a friends' house a long time ago- I read the prequel to this one, and loved it.
This one is not my favorite, but the sequel to this one- Give me the Moon- is much better. (That is, if you're looking for Jewish reading.)
As for the painting- maybe one day I'll get up the guts to post some of it- but right now- it'll stay on the canvas and the walls of my house.

The Babysitter said...

I remember reading some of her stuff in the Yated when I was younger. I know she wrote a script for one of my HS plays. But I hadn't known she writes adult related books. I haven't read Jewish books in a long time, so maybe I'll check that one out.

"it'll stay on the canvas and the walls of my house"

that's where it belongs!

nmf #7 said...

I'm not a major Jewish book reader- but it is one of the novels that I don't feel like chucking at the wall due to bad writing. (Albeit as she is cliche).