A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: January 2012 (Page 1 of 3)

I’m Developing a Crush on GIFs

this is the best.


Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84”: A Book Review

In one line: Not as good as advertised.


After lots of raving recommendations to read “1Q84”, by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, I finally forced myself out of my reading-comfort zone and finished the book.

Set in a world of parallel universes, religious cults, and imaginary creatures, this book could definitely be classified as fantasy, which is my favorite reading genre.

Yet, while the book is so beautifully written that it is hard to put down, I was not impressed.

Maybe because I spend the bulk of my reading-time getting lost in the greatest fantasy and sci-fi around, I was not mentally nor emotionally satisfied with the under-developed plot in “1Q84”. It reads like a book meant to appeal to the generic bestseller list, as opposed to those of us who really treasure good fantasy fiction.

Murakami is definitely an exceptional writer. I’m sure that many things were lost in translation, but I was still completely taken by the beauty of sentences and paragraphs. The words fit together magically, and that is never an easy feat. Yet, beautiful sentences aside, the book’s build was too stretchy. There were many times, especially towards the beginning and the end, when the only thought on my mind was “Enough repeating!” It just felt like he stretched things on purpose to make the book of epic length.

Over all, I’d give it a 3/5, and mostly for pretty sentence structure. In terms of plot, there is nothing new nor particularly interesting. In terms of character development, most characters were not that interesting, and in fact, copy-pastes of each other.

I’d recommend it if you want to dip your toes into fantasy. But, if you already have read real works of fantasy and sci-fi, stick to the pros.

Other book reviews on AndFarAway:

The Millennium Trilogy
The Mists of Avalon
All My Friends are Superheroes 
The Lord of the Rings
His Dark Materials
Harry Potter
Blood and Gold
Fatal Identities
Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Alchemist
Eleven Minutes

But I don’t understand

Haruki Marukami in “1Q84”: “If you can’t understand it without an explanation, you can’t understand it with an explanation.”

The truth behind that sentence is profound. Obviously, you can understand many things you can’t comprehend by delving deeper into the subject. Yet, deep understanding is not artificial.

I can’t understand math, no matter who explains it to me. I can’t understand death. I can’t understand some decisions.

Understanding is subjective. It isn’t about the explaining.

Anyway, I really liked that sentence, so I thought I’d share.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago

While going through the millions of pictures that have piled up on my hard disk throughout the years, I came upon an annoyingly nostalgic picture:

mommys little angels =P

This picture was probably taken during the year 2000 in Hasa, Saudi Arabia, on one of my dad’s family excursions. It brings back many, many memories- our bi-annual road trips, abayas, the warm winters of Saudi Arabia, and most importantly, the fact that I was once the tallest Assi.

Naturally, when the boys saw this picture, they all rolled on the floor with laughter, “Inti. Konti. Atwal. Mena?”

Yes. Ana. Kont. Atwal. Minkom. Tsawaro.

Today, I am the resident midget.

Originally published in July, 2005.
This post is a part of the “NotSoFar Archive Project”. After eight years of blogging, the project aims to help you rediscover old posts, as well as go back in time. Somehow.



What are you craving to eat today?

I know what I woke up craving.

1. Halawet Joben

2. Atayef Asaferi Beshta

I know. It’s creepy. I have no idea who wakes up craving so much ghee, fat, sugar, and cream. Fortunately for myself, I’m safely tucked away in Garden’s Street, with no 7alawanjeyeh anywhere near.

What did are you craving today?

Good Design is Joy: Designer Mothanna Hussein

Again, there’s nothing more pleasurable than coming across sheer talent. Especially when that talent is Jordanian.

Here’s the work of Mothanna Hussein, who I randomly came across on Facebook. Genius.

Some of his work:

Good Design is Joy: Designer Mohamed Mousa
Digital Art from Saudi Arabia: Saudi Digital artist Yousef AlShaikh

Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”: World Cover of All Covers by Zapatou

I know I don’t need to illustrate how frickin’ awesome the Internet is, but my god, when I find such projects, I fall in love with the Internet over and over again.

This Adele “World Cover” was created by seamlessly integrating 70 different “Rolling in the Deep” covers from YouTube. That’s 70 different voices, 70 different styles, 70 different ages, 70 different people, 70 different accents. It’s AMAZING. Lovey-dovey kind of amazing.

For a complete list of versions included in video, you can visit this link.

The song “Rolling in the Deep” has been covered over 350,000 times on YouTube alone. Imagine is SOPA came through…

What’s your favorite? Mine must be one of these:

Wow. The Internet is genius.

From the Department of Things That Cheer Me Up: Alice


Pictures of Hashima Island; Urban Decay Beauty

Hashima Island was once a coal mining facility owned by Mitsubishi Motors, and it was once the most densely populated place on earth, packing over 13,000 people into each square kilometre of its residential high-risers. It operated from 1887 until 1974, after which the coal industry fell into decline and the mines were shut for good.

With their jobs gone and no other reason to stay in this mini urban nightmare, almost overnight the entire population fled back to the mainland, leaving most of their stuff behind to rot.

The result? Something beautiful and yet really weird.

Here are some pictures:

You can view the rest here.

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