“Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language...more“Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." I'd like to show how "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" connects with "the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age." I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar." I've never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I've entered my story, I need them more than ever. ”
Eugenides is an amazing author and he has done a marvelous job with this story. It’s poignant, humorous, and ironic and I love the narrative style. The only reason for not giving it 5 stars is because it marginally fell short of the huge expectations I had about Middlesex. Somewhere along the journey of the 3 generations, the main narrative which is Callie’s story intrigued me far less than Desdemona and her experiences. (less)
“There's only one rule you need to remember: laugh at everything and foget everybody else! It sound egotistical, but it's actually the only cure for...more “There's only one rule you need to remember: laugh at everything and foget everybody else! It sound egotistical, but it's actually the only cure for those suffering from self-pity.”
The amount of companionship, inspiration and comfort this book has provided me over the years is truly amazing. This is the reason why I am not surprised to find myself with puffy eyes, a red nose and my insides feeling like jelly once again, after reading this book for the fourth time now. Every time as the book approaches its end, I feel like a wound has been opened. Yet, I also end up discovering new reserves of strength in me and a new outlook towards life. (less)
DOUBLE PLUS GOOD This is the scariest book ever written. From the starting sentence to the ending line, it was just spectacular and really creepy. Wh...more DOUBLE PLUS GOOD This is the scariest book ever written. From the starting sentence to the ending line, it was just spectacular and really creepy. What also really impressed me was the skillful way in which, Orwell had not only devised a completely credible society, but had also developed the language, the politics, the motives, and all of it in the very same book. I am also in awe of Orwell himself. Such a great thinker, only he could have written such a story. This one will stay with me for a very long time. (less)
There are many books along with Pride and Prejudice which I shall mention as my favorite novel but, I have to admit, that there are none which I take...moreThere are many books along with Pride and Prejudice which I shall mention as my favorite novel but, I have to admit, that there are none which I take half as much pleasure in reading again and again as Pride and Prejudice. There is something so delightful and exhilarating about reading Elizabeth and Darcy’s unlikely courtship, watching it all unfold with the same feeling of apprehension every year. The wide array of characters and their antics - Mr. Darcy’s haughtiness, Lizzy prejudices, Mr. Collins hilarious proposal, the incorrigible Mrs. Bennet with her nerves and shy Georgiana- all of them are so dear to me. Jane’s prose, the subtle wit with which she presents the society, everything is so heartwarming. Indeed, there is little I can say in her praise which has not already been mentioned in much fancier a language, using more creative expressions. I will only state with utmost sincerity that my life really feels incomplete in many ways without this visit to Elizabeth and her life every year!(less)
The Hobbit is the epic journey of Bilbo Baggins, our titular 50 something hobbit. Bilbo though might as well be 10 year old, since he has almost no ex...moreThe Hobbit is the epic journey of Bilbo Baggins, our titular 50 something hobbit. Bilbo though might as well be 10 year old, since he has almost no experience of the outside world and likes to sit in his Hobbit hole, resting in his armchair having breakfast, supper and dinner and numerous meals in between. That is, until Gandalf the great comes barging in with a dozen of dwarfs, urging him to take up the role of the burglar in their quest to The Lonely Mountains. The dwarfs question Gandalf’s decision, which offends Bilbo and the home loving hobbit agrees sets out with them, on their “epic journey”.
And, what a journey it is! We meet elves, goblins, giant spiders, warts, the great Beorn and of course the Great dragon along our way and pass through Mirkwood, The lonely mountains, goblin’s lairs. Every description is so vivid, the images almost float into your mind when you read it. Every adventure is greater than the previous one, every scenery better. Just when one thinks, nothing better can come after this, another amazing character gets introduced. And amidst it all is Bilbo and they way his character develops through out the story.
Our Hobbit, who is underestimated by all (including himself) discovers strength, wisdom, and courage within hims. He also discovers the magic ring ( THE RINGto be precise), but I wouldn’t give it much credit. Because its Bilbo and his courage which makes him such an inevitable part among his group and this novel. Without him the novel would be just another amazing fantasy saga, with him, it’s epic. He’s so unfamiliar with the larger world in the beginning, always wondering how he could possibly have left without his hat and continuously wants to go back. Still, in crucial situations, he is the one who to rescue the others. He kills a giant spider, and that is the first step toward him discovering strength. He is the first one to go in the lonely mountain (where the dragon lies with his treasure) and he says that it is the bravest thing he has ever done. Bilbo devises the plan to stop the war among the dwarves and the elves and shows immense wisdom in this. And amidst it all, he still remains our humble, simple, naive hobbit, and how does one not love him?
This story has so many different facets. Brilliant adventure, flawless description and still conveyed such an important message. It's funny and wry, and tells us a classic coming-of-age story. Its not melodramatic, still, one feels Bilbo’s pain when Thorin dies. Him accepting gold to be worthless is such an epic scene from the novel. Who would have thought that the subtle details Tolkien uses could move someone so much. Not only Thorin, all the other dwarves (Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin and the others whose name I don’t remember), Beorn, the Elrond king, Bard, even the goblins make such an incredible impression one’s mind. Secondary characters have never been so memorably rendered.
By the end of the journey, Gandalf tells Bilbo that he has changed. And he has! Bilbo comes away from The Hobbit with a couple of sacks of treasure, but what's immensely more valuable to him (and to us) is the respect he wins from all of the people he meets. More importantly, the respect he wins from himself. He gains self confidence and stops caring about what his fellow hobbits think of him. Somewhere along the journey, I, as a reader felt that, in some way, I have changed too. . Bilbo might not be big or impressive looking, but he's still able to change the course of history in Middle-earth. What can be more inspiring for a person and what more can one ask from a book? No book is more flawless, inspiring, touching, adventurous and fun than the Hobbit. I may sound melodramatic when I say this, but every time I read books like this, I feel happy to be alive. A more perfect book has never been written and I am going to cherish it as long as I live.
50000 stars and highest possible recommendation. (less)
A group of British boys get stranded on an island after their plane crashes. At first, the kids revel in their freedom, and lack of an aut...moreRating: 3.5
A group of British boys get stranded on an island after their plane crashes. At first, the kids revel in their freedom, and lack of an authority figure. But slowly, these well educated kids turn into savages, and give way to their natural animalistic side. The political and biblical undertones of this novel are very interesting. So is symbolism of the conch shell and lord of the flies. It has a deeper meaning than what meets the eye.
I think the characters, and their development through out the novel, makes the book what it is. We have a reasonable and calm Ralph, a violent and impulsive Jack, the overweight and intelligent Piggy and the spiritual Simon. No villain or heroes in this novel; we only have perfectly civilized pre-adolescents, who in the lack of an authority figure and a society, react, in different ways. Golding’s portrays Ralph as someone not completely immune to violence, has self doubt and is uncertain about the presence of the "beast". He makes mistakes, is a bit vain, and very very real.Similarly all the other characters too have a lot of depth. Their actions (though horrific) don’t seem so incredulous. They add the real charm to the book and keeps it from being unrealistic.
Now coming to the things that I didn’t like. First would be the abruptness of the ending. Feels like, Golding suddenly had something very important to do, and wrapped up this incredible story, terribly hastily. I as a reader feel cheated about it. We at least deserved a final confrontation between Ralph and Jack. You can’t make so much happen in the last 4 chapters and then end a book like this. Not fair at all!
Secondly, 200 something pages are not enough to have so much happening at the same time. I have come across several novels which have exasperated me with their length, unnecessary information and their detailed descriptions of the scenery. This would be the first novel which has made me crave for more pages (not in the good way, in the necessary way). Golding may not have made it LOTR long, but a minimum of 500 pages is required to do full justice to a topic like this.
Finally, my recommendation would be to read this novel at your own risk. I can understand how many people wouldn’t like it a bit, so I am not taking any responsibility. As for my opinion, I thought that this book offers a very authentic, disturbing and convincing portrayal of man’s descent to savagery and his inherent lust for violence. (less)
Filled with vivid description, very real characters, a 10 year old narrator (always a incentive for me) and a beautiful prose, I think that this book...moreFilled with vivid description, very real characters, a 10 year old narrator (always a incentive for me) and a beautiful prose, I think that this book is epic. I loved it, loved how the author developed the characters especially Briony, I loved the descriptions which made me feel like I was watching the whole novel play before my eyes, the fountains, the house, Leon, Bryony cutting the nettles..I was awed by the way the author described every minute detail (why do people call it boring?), if I closed my eyes, I could even envision their house. Every emotion, every feeling has been so wonderfully described …I am definitely reading more ofIan McEwan's work, he is a genius.:)
Ps: those who have seen the movie, is it good?
Update 2 January, 2012
Just saw the movie. It was beautiful. One of the few adaptations which are true to the novel.(less)
Finally finished the book and my head is literally spinning from the impact. I think it will take a few days for it to completely sink in and only the...moreFinally finished the book and my head is literally spinning from the impact. I think it will take a few days for it to completely sink in and only then will I be able to describe how amazing and creepy this book was. (less)
This book takes an excruciatingly long time to really pick up its pace. To be honest, if I had not bought this book about a year ago, I would definite...moreThis book takes an excruciatingly long time to really pick up its pace. To be honest, if I had not bought this book about a year ago, I would definitely have quit. I have picked it up and abandoned it quite frequently over the year, mostly because about 50 pages through the book, I would start yawning. Now that is a privilege especially reserved for school textbooks, thus my reluctance. But, once you go through those first mind numbing 100 pages, this book is actually pretty decent.
The novel is set in two neighbouring fictional countries: The Old Kingdom to the north, where magic works and dangerous spirits roam the land and the :Ancelstierre, to the south, the “muggle land” with people blissfully ignorant except for those few who live near the border between the kingdoms. The dead refuse to stay dead, and are often raised by evil Necromancers to do their evil bidding. Here the Abhorsens comes to the rescue and puts the dead to rest. Sabriel, our protagonist, is placed with this huge responsibility of being an Abhorsen, when suddenly her father goes missing, thus, likes all fantasy heroes and heroines, she is placed with the duty of saving the world and rescuing her father. Need I mention that great adventure, life threatening dangers, amusing characters and a little romance greet her on this epic journey?
In some aspects, Sabriel definitely follows all the fantasy clichés. Yet, with a powerful plot, decent writing, loveable characters and good pacing (again, not for the first 100 pages!), I cannot bring myself to complain. The world building is amazing, with a lot of care given to minute details. The ingenious concept of death by passing through the seven gates, Saraneth and the bells, Clayrs and free magic soon made me forget about the agony of the slow start, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying the book.
So, 4 stars for the book, although I don’t reckon I would read the next part basically because, there is going to be a different set of characters, and I can’t imagine this series without Mogget.
“Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let...more“Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”
When I was just 10 pages into the book, I knew in my soul that Francie was one character that was going to stay with me for a long long time. Now, after 2 days of furious reading, not bothering about trifles like eating or picking up the cell phone, I can say with full conviction, that I will read this book again and again as long as I live, and I will remember about Francie whenever I indulge in self pity or start cribbing about life. Betty Smith, thank you for giving me Mary Francis Katherine Nolan, my literary soul sister.(less)
I feel like I got hit by a car, got rolled over by a truck and then got dumped from an airplane.
And, then I feel sad that it’s over.
That is what Marga...moreI feel like I got hit by a car, got rolled over by a truck and then got dumped from an airplane.
And, then I feel sad that it’s over.
That is what Margaret Atwood does.
Every line you read feels like a whiplash and still you want to continue reading. You want to finish the book in one day, but the themes make you stop and think about it. She conveys such hard hitting messages through such simple words that it never fails to astonish you. She will have you mentally flinching all through the book, but that won’t stop the sadness from flooding in when the last page is turned.
Then there is the world she creates!
Remember the time when I said I don’t scare easy? Well, scratch that. Her writing, her predictions of the future fills me with such a dread every time I read it. It’s cold, ruthless and so believable. Be it the human element or the environmental/ecological part or even the religious elements, she has everything covered. I had to constantly keep reminding myself that it is not real.
Considering how I freaked I am, I don’t think I did a good job.
Basic storyline : The story starts where Oryx and Crake left off.
It’s the story of two completely different women, Toby and Ren. They have survived the epidemic (the water less flood) Crake created in the previous book. Like I said, they are as different as they can be. Ren’s story is narrated in first person and Toby’s in third. There is continuous juggling of their lives and experience as they explain how they survived. And defying all logic, everything seems effortless. The way their lives merge, and the way characters from Oryx and Crake come in the picture. It is so natural!
The familiarity of the world, with the gene splicing and paintball doesn’t make it any less scary. Jimmy is shown in a new light and it isn’t very flattering. Neither is the portrayal of human race.
There is one irritating factor about the book though. That would be Adam one. The preaching thing and the ‘dear mammals’ part was pretty annoying. Also the plot got somewhat chaotic towards the end. The climax was, well, it was very Atwoodish..
Still, nothings making me give this book anything but 5 stars.
PS: please read Oryx and Crake first because 1) Its an amazing book. 2) You would be missing a lot if you don’t.
I have to say that I was extremely surprised by this book. Sure, I have read Ship Breaker and loved it,...moreGosh, I feel like a megodaunt just trampled me!
I have to say that I was extremely surprised by this book. Sure, I have read Ship Breaker and loved it, but this book still overwhelmed me and literally left me breathless. Some basic concepts are the same - the exhaustion of resources, sea level rising, humans resorting to violence –but it is the political dimension of this novel that makes it far superior to Ship Breaker.
This novel takes a lot of time to get into. For the first 50 pages you have zero idea about anything that is happening. You are dumped into the dystopian setting with the characters liberally using Thai slang, referring to obscure incidences and the plot moving in an excruciatingly slow pace. Gradually, the pacing speeds up and then there are so many twists and turns, political maneuvering, with plagues occurring and assassinations taking place that you are left with your jaw gaping open. The plot is incredibly complex and I love how Bacigalupi handles the political, environmental and social aspects of the dystopian world with equal finesse. The characters are also very well fleshed out, all of them giving new meanings to the term ‘grey shade’. Among all the flawed people in the book I especially grew a soft spot for Hock Seng. The decision he took in the end about Mai leaves you more hopeful about him.
Right till the last line of the novel, Bacigalupi keeps throwing new surprises at you, all leading up a conclusion immensely satisfying and optimistic. 5 stars for this brilliant novel and the highest possible recommendation. (less)