review: rooftops of tehran

20 January 2018

book info:
on sale: now
copy from: public library
pages: 348
review written: 21.12.17
originally published: 2009
edition read: Penguin NAL 2009

title: Rooftops of Tehran
author: Mahbod Seraji

In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran's sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend Ahmed, joking around one minute and asking burning questions about life the next. He also hides a secret love for his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. But the bliss of Pasha and Zari's stolen time together is shattered when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah's secret police. The violent consequences awaken him to the reality of living under a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice...

my thoughts:

This book was first published in 2009 and I remember adding it to my list around that time but never actually reading it since I preferred checking out library books to buying them (a child's allowance is often not enough to cover a single book). I decided I would wait until the library got a hold of a copy in order to read it. Now, eight years later, I am finally writing the review for this book.

The book takes place in a small Iranian neighbourhood where everyone knows everyone. The main character, Pasha, is a remarkably intelligent and well read boy, was relatable in every way. Perhaps his young age allowed him to show qualities we all have but try to suppress or its just the nature of his character, but Pasha's growth through love, jealousy, and pain was well expressed. I think because it's from the perspective of a boy, the narrative was easily understood, almost like a young adult novel. Not to mention, Pasha's education made him a little more "Western" compared to the others such that he shared similar views. For example, and this is a point made in the book, Pasha criticises Iranians for "falling in love" upon sight instead of getting to know the other person first. He pursues romance the same way a Westerner would. While this made it easier to understand from my own perspective, I wished that I could've glimpsed an entirely Iranian point of view. While the book was written about Iran pre-revolution, I felt as if it was written for Westerners. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, as I still enjoyed the book, but I think there could be a lot of improvement.

My favourite part about the book was not actually the story or the characters, rather the setting and the time period. Seraji attempts to illustrate a scene of Tehran before the Iranian Revolution, before Iran became the way it is now. Tehran is a modern city full of houses with yards and pools and young scholars, homes of wives making tea, and school children playing games in the streets. The best of Rooftops of Tehran may actually be the most subtle element of story telling - setting. Here's the first few sentences of the book:

"Sleeping on the food in the summer is customary in Tehran. The dry heat of the day cools after midnight, and those of us who sleep on the rooftops wake with the early sun on our faces and fresh air in our lungs" 

As I was reading, I inadvertently compared the book to a watered down, young adult Iranian "The Kite Runner." It's an unfair analysis, as Rooftops had be reading almost without break until the very end. I got so eager with the pace of the plot that I skipped only a few pages to realise I needed to read every single word carefully to understand. It's an exciting and quick read unlike The Kite Runner, which was exciting but far more literary.

Overall, this book was decent but it didn't impress me too much. I'd recommend it to younger readers or simply curious readers who are looking for something entertaining and cultural. I'll give it three umbrellas.

Summer Book Giveaway

05 July 2016

Hello everyone!
  It's been a long time since I've had a giveaway and as I was cleaning out my storage boxes, I discovered a box of books that I enjoyed so much as a teen that I felt it was worthy to keep throughout all the giveaways I had in the "hay-day" of this blog. However, it's unlikely that I'm going to read them again or keep them on the shelf anymore, so why not pass it along to readers who might actually enjoy them? 
 These books must seem really old by now but they were actually new and popular books once. Why not give 'em a go? I haven't really been keeping up with how blogs are run nowadays as since I've had this blog from October of 2008, I've run giveaways the same. I tried Rafflecopter once but I didn't quite like it so please use the form below :) 

Thank you all so much for sticking with me on this incredibly long voyage of book reviewing here on Pages and welcome to all the new followers who're helping me continue sailing <3 nbsp="" p="">

Package 1

Anatomy of a Boyfriend: Daria Snadowsky
Glimmerglass: Jenna Black
Empty: Suzanne Weyn (ARC)

Package 2

Cinder: Marissa Meyer (ARC)
Passion: Lauren Kate
Intrinsical: Lani Woodland


  • Must have a US Mailing Address (If you are international and are willing to pay shipping fees, comment below!)
  • Must fill out the form below by September 30th 2016
  • Must be a follower of this blog via Google Friend Connect
Fill out the form here

review: seven brief lessons on physics

23 June 2016

book info:
on sale: now
copy from: public library
pages: 96
review written: 21.6.16
originally published: 2014
edition read: Riverhead Books, 2016, translated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre

title: Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
author: Carlo Rovelli

Originally published in an Italian newspaper called Il Sole 24 Ore, this series of short lessons is compiled into a tiny book that covers the most interesting developments in physics since the twentieth century. The 7 lessons are: The Most Beautiful of Theories, Quanta, The Architecture of the Cosmos, Particles, Grains of Space, Probability, time, and the heat of black holes, and Ourselves. The author, Carlo Rovelli, is a theoretical physicist who is one of the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory, which he explains "briefly" in one of the chapters. It is only when one truly understands a subject that one can condense it down to the most simple of explanations. Rovelli does just that in this orchestral non-textbook novella. My interest in theoretical physics and astrophysics had mainly been cultivated by the television programmes my brother insisted on watching when we were growing up. Programs on the Science Channel were his favourite and the stunning visual graphics that illustrated complex concepts drew me in, but never really made me stay. On a whim, I decided to see if I could kindle that interest and therefore started with the shortest and most promising book that could explain in layman's terms the math intensive, highly theoretical aspects of a field of science so beyond me that I still can't truly comprehend its subject matter.

I'm surprised it took me so long to read such a short book. Despite the brevity of each chapter, the content material was so rich, it took longer to digest. What I enjoyed most was the literary merit Rovelli deserves for not only explaining concepts in simple terms, but weaving it into a poetry that makes it pleasurable to read for those non-science sort of readers. For example, here are a few quotes that I enjoyed deeply:

" Einstein...soon came to understand that gravity, like electricity, must be conveyed by a field as well: a "gravitational field" analogous to the "electrical field" must exist"
"And it is at this point that an extraordinary idea occurred to him, a stroke of pure genius: the gravitational field is not diffused through space: the gravitational field is that space itself. This is the idea of the general theory of relativity...."
"We are not contained within an invisible, rigid infrastructure: we are immersed in a gigantic, flexible snail shell. The sun bends space around itself, and the Earth does not turn around it because of a mysterious force but because it is racing directly in a space that inclines, like a marble that rolls in a funnel. There are no mysterious forces generated at the centre of the funnel: it is the curved nature of the walls that causes the marble to roll. Planets circle around the sun, and things fall into space because space curves"
"In short, the theory describes a colourful and amazing world where universes explode, space collapses into bottomless holes, time sags and slows near a planet, and the unbounded extensions of interstellar space ripple and swag like the surface of the sea...."

The choice of ordering the chapters was well thought out like the rest of the book. Everything falls into place to make for the easiest comprehension. As I'm reading more books on quantum theory, I've come to understand that choosing what to cover first is a struggle. Physics is like a philosophy within itself, challenging ideas of the creation of the universe and trying to make sense of everything around us. Thus, it's easy to ramble and jump from thought to thought. Rovelli controls this urge and carefully details both history and knowledge giving the sense of time and progression of human history. I almost imagined it was as if I were riding the gravitational waves in the "sea" of space in a sailboat.

While the content of this book may appeal to those of a science background, I have no doubt that the English loving bookish literary readers will enjoy the pure beauty this novel has to offer. For this, I give full marks. I would recommend this to anyone of any age. I implore you to read this brilliant book and if you enjoy it, acquire a personal copy to look back and enjoy whenever you're in the mood.

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