ِAnimal Farm – George Orwell


book: Animal Farm

Author: George Orwell

Number of pages: 141


1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy

2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend

3. No animal shall wear clothes

4. No animal shall sleep in a bed

5. No animal shall drink alcohol

6. No animal shall kill any other animal

7. All animals are equal

Because of being mistreated and underfed by human the human race, the animals of Manor Farm decide to create a just, progressive world for themselves. They start a rebellion and take over the farm (chasing away all the humans), calling it Animal Farm.

The pigs, the smartest animals of them all, lead the rebellion. The two main leaders are Napoleon and Snowball, who are always in disagreement with each other.

Later, Snowball disappears and Napoleon remains the leader of Animal Farm.

Above are the seven commandments agreed upon, but when the pigs start to fiendishly punish and kill animals, editing the Seven Commandments each time to make excuses for ruthlessly breaking the rules and acting like humans, the other animals start to contemplate on whether life was better off before their revolution.

The style of the book was simple and straightforward, so it was easy to read.

Memorable characters in the story included Boxer, the diligent, determined horse whose slogan is “I will work harder”; and Benjamin the pessimistic donkey whose opinion is firm throughout the story until the end: that life is unfair.

After reading it for the third time, Animal Farm still continues to be my favorite book.

Most of the parts in it were ironically funny, and Orwell didn’t put exclamation marks or present the novel in a way that that made you feel he forcefully wanted you to laugh.

Animal Farm is called a ‘fairy story’, but like Orwell’s other novel, 1984, it is an anti-totalitarianism novel; yet Animal Farm can be enjoyed as a classic novel.

You will love this book, so pick it up.

My rating: 10/10

Animal Farm SparkNote

Switched back to Blogger

I’m very sorry to confuse everyone, but I’ve switched back to Blogger again. This blog which you are reading is now is the one which I will be updating.


a new home

I haven’t been posting or responding to your comments lately because we have just moved to The United States the day before yesterday! My father and I are staying at a place called Ithaca in New York state, since he’s coming as a visiting scholar at Cornell University.

I’m very excited to be here and I’m also curious about how different my school will be from that in Sudan. The schools are on holiday here, so we will search for schools after the holiday.

We’re currently staying at my dad’s friend’s house till we get to buy some stuff for our home.

I’ll tell you once we settle.

Oh, and I’m turning 13 today! It sure will be an unforgettable birthday.

2008 books

This is a list of the books I’ve read in 2008 (in no particular order). Click the title to see my review. Sorry, most of the reviews are linked to my other Wordpress blog.

  1. The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  2. The Film Club – David Gilmour
  3. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  4. A Taste of Melon – Borden Deal
  5. Season of Migration to the North – Al-Tayyib Saleh
  6. Love in the time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  7. One Hundred years of Solitude  - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  9. Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  10. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  11. Shopaholic Abroad – Sophie Kinsella
  12. Dubliners – James Joyce
  13. The Thief and the Dogs – Naguib Mahfouz
  14. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  15. Blackbird House – Alice Hoffman
  16. Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  17. The Diamond Girls – Jacqueline Wilson
  18. The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
  19. The ABC Murders – Agatha Christie
  20. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
  21. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  22. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  23. Youth – Joseph Conrad
  24. The Alchemist – Pablo Coelho
  25. The Reader – Bernhard Schlink
  26. Animal Farm – George Orwell

The Reader – Bernhard Schlink

The Reader is a book by the German author, Bernhard Schlink.

On his way to school, a 15-year old ill with hepatitis named Michael throws up and is assisted by a stranger old enough to be his mother.

After Michael gets better and pays a visit to the stranger, whose name is Hanna, he and Hanna fall in love with each other. Soon, Michael is obsessed with her and starts visiting her daily at her apartment.
Hanna doesn’t tell Michael a lot about herself, and after Michael betrays her, she disappears.

In part two, Michael is a law student, and Hannah is being tried for a crime regarding the Nazi.
As Michael observes the hearings, he realizes that Hanna has been concealing a secret – one that she considers more shameful than the Nazi ones - all this time.

This was a haunting and mysterious read, yet it is written simply.

The Reader is absorbing and unputdownable. It makes you want to finish it in one quick read.

The story was very wise and you could feel the guilt and perplexity of the protagonist. It leaves you thinking even after you’ve finished the book.

This is a book you should add to your reading list.

The story is now a motion picture starring Kate Winslet (Titanic) and Ralph Fiennes.

My rating: 9 ½ (a memorable, worthy read)

Buy at amazon

The Reader movie site

Switched to Wordpress

Hello readers,

I’d like to announce that I’ve switched my blog to wordpress.

I’ll still keep this blog, but I’ll be updating my new one.

My new blog address is http://zawan.wordpress.com/

please visit me there



CNN Business Traveller: reading

This month's edition of CNN Business Traveller (hosted by Richard Quest) is about reading and books: the things I'm most interested in!

I watched it twice on TV, and it was very good. Anybody who is a traveller or an avid reader (or both) should watch this edition.

It will introduce you to some historical bookshops such as Shakespeare & Company (in London).

It compared the new books of the future: Sony's e-Reader and Amazon's Kindle. And 3 city guides were laid side-by-side to see which one showed you the most exceptional of places.

Did you know what "readers in residence" and "writers in residence" mean?

You can watch the 30-minute show below.

Visit the CNN Business Traveller site to learn more and know when the show airs.



The Catcher in the Rye


Title: The Catcher in the Rye

Author: J. D. Salinger

In The Catcher in the Rye, an odd teenager called Holden Caulfield narrates his experiences in New York after being expelled from his fourth prep school, Pencey.

Holden states that he is undergoing mental treatment, and throughout his narration he criticizes and judges people and likes to stand out from the crowd. He alienates himself from the world: he says he doesn't like the adult world because it is full of deception and betrayal, even though he's a lying fiend himself. He prefers the innocence and honesty of childhood.

Holden wants to find an identity in New York, but he falls into a lot of trouble. He misinterprets people's actions and irritates everybody he meets.

His little sister, Phoebe, is an important character in the story because Holden accepts her advice and she shows the reader Holden's faults.  

Some people were offended by the slang in Catcher in the Rye, but I think it's ok. It also makes the book stand out among others.

This is a very good story because I could empathize with the phases Holden goes through, especially loneliness and being rejected by people. Holden Caulfield is a very unique, memorable character. He is naive yet intelligent, but the people around him don't understand him nor appreciate him for that.

I think that any teenager should read this book because they can relate to it and the narrator, a teenager himself, speaks very openly.

The Catcher in the Rye SparkNote


The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Image:Kite runner.jpg
image via wikipedia

Yesterday, I finished reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, which is definitely a favorite of mine.

During their childhood, Amir and Hassan shared an inseparable friendship, despite their different beliefs, ethnicity and status.
Hassan is supposed to be the son of Amir's father's servant.

After a kite fighting tournament, Amir witnesses Hassan being raped by the bully, Assef, and doesn't defend him, which haunts him all his life.
Now Amir is an adult living in the United States and he has a chance to atone for what he had done in his childhood.

The Kite Runner is set in Afghanistan during the period of its invasion by the Soviet Army and the ruling of the Taliban.


Gripping and poignant, The Kite Runner is very well written. The twists and events in it are totally unexpected and moving.

Khaled Hosseini successfully manages to put you in the state of emotion of his characters. I like the way he portrays many different feelings, especially panic.

While reading, the story shifts to memories from the past very neatly.
I'm also very impressed at how the characters and events all link together in the end.

The story is heart-warming yet it is very realistic.

The Kite Runner is not just a dramatic story of a long-lost friendship; it vividly shows you through the eyes of the protagonist the effects the war left on Afghanistan.

The Kite Runner is a stunning read about friendship, betrayal and guilt. It also gives you an insightful understanding of the writer's homeland and its people.

If you haven't, you must pick-up this book and read it.

My rating: 10/10 (outstanding!)

I'm very eager to read Khaled Hosseini's other book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I'm also looking forward to seeing more from this author.

The Kite Runner has been made into an Oscar-nominated movie. Visit the official site.

Khaled Hosseini's website

Buy the book at amazon now

Love in the Time of Cholera

Buy the book at Amazon

After impatiently reading the last pages, I've finally finished Love in the Time of Cholera.

The story begins with the accidental death of Dr. Juvenal Urbino, the husband of a woman named Fermina Daza.

Then it switches back to the past, when Fermina is a young teenage girl who keenly falls in love with Florentino Ariza, a telegraph boy, and soon their correspondence with each other through letters becomes an obsession.

But when Fermina Daza unexpectedly marries the prestigious and wealth doctor, Juvenal Urbino, Florentino is devastated, but has a strong will to wait for the death of the doctor.

After fifty-one years, nine months, and four days of patience and long-suffering for Florentino, Dr Juvenal Urbino is finally dead. Florentino and Fermina are now in their seventies. Will Florentino be able to win back Fermina's heart again?

Right from the first page to the last, I've been absorbed into Marquez's captivating world of love, devotion and wit.

Not only does he make you eager to know what will happen to the two lovers in the end, but he will lure you into his magical world of brilliant, unique imagination.

Through his humane stories and characters, Gabriel Garcia Marquez again proves to be a master storyteller.

I've read three books of his now, and I think he's the most talented and powerful writer ever.
I am sure you will treasure this book as much as I have.

I am also looking forward to watching the 2007
movie adaptation of Love in the Time of Cholera.

Read my review of
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by the same author.

A book site for teen readers

TeenReads is a wonderful site for books for teens.

It's focused on the newest and latest Young Adult books with reviews and author interviews.

There are lots of contests and giveaways on TeenReads.

What I like the most is their 'Ultimate Reading List', which includes over 300 titles of a good combination of classics, nonfiction, young adult books and modern fiction, which you can read from during the summer holidays. The list is regularly updated with the latest, best titles.

Also, at TeenReads you can know which books have been made into movies and keep up with the latest.


The Thief and the Dogs

The Thief and the Dogs is a popular novel by the Egyptian author, Naguib Mahfouz.

After being imprisoned for four years, Said Mahram is finally out of jail; he is seeking revenge.

All those who have betrayed him are now leading their own lives.
His wife and his once best-friend, Illish are now married and estranging him from his daughter, Sana. She is now six years old and doesn't remember him. Rauf Illwan, who was once his partner-in-crime and mentor, is now a wealthy businessman who wants nothing to do with him.

Driven by revenge, Said wants to take vengeance on all those people even if it the last thing he does, but eventually everything goes terribly wrong: he shoots two wrong people, gets caught stealing, and is being chased by the police.

Was revenge really worth it?

This was a very thoughtful, absorbing novel which is worth buying. It also has a very good message behind it.

My rating: 10/10 (highly recommended)

Naguid Mahfouz is a well-known, nobel prize-winning Egyptian author (passed away in 2006).
He has written over a hundred short stories and many novels.

Dubliners - James Joyce

photo via Wordsworth-editions

Dubliners is a book of 15 short stories written by James Joyce, which is about the life of middle-class people living in Dublin. It is set in a period where people were searching for a sense of identity.

I thought the stories were very ironic and realistic. My favorite stories were A Little Cloud, a story of a man who thinks he leads an unsuccessful and unhappy life because of his family, and The Dead, about a man named Gabriel, who later discovers how insecure he is and something else he didn't know about his wife.

Some of the characters and events in Dubliners, particularly those in The Dead, were actually based upon Jame's own life.

Basically, the stories in Dubliners are about people discovering themselves.

I loved this book because each story leaves you thinking long after you've finished reading it.
The conversations between the characters were fun to read.

I read it as a Wordsworth book, and the introduction gave me a very good understanding of the stories.

my rating: 9/10 (must-read)

update: Stevie pointed out the sequel to The Dead, The Ugly, written by a young Irish writer called Anne Pignone in 2007 (click here to read it)