Friday, July 24, 2009

Classics Challenge 2009

Classics have always been my personal favourite and in my 'growing up' years I remember being totally intrigued by Jane Austen's works. There was a time when I was engulfing so many classics as it transported me to a world so different than mine. However after a while the number of classics read started dwindling to a point where I forgot how it feels to read one . To re kindle my love for classics I have joined the Classics Challenge hosted by Trish .
I have opted for the 'Classics Snack' where I need to read 4 classics by the end of the year .
My list so far (subject to change) :
1. Animal Farm - George Orwell
2. Anne of Green Gables - L.M.Montgomery
3. Little Women -Alcott
4. (Thinking which one to choose ...suggestions are welcome )

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a novel which provides an unique insight into the Russian Revolution of 1917. Orwell in a very creative manner analogizes human traits and raw animal characteristics. He conveys that how greed , ignorance and all the negative factors can prevent us from creating an Utopian World.
The book starts off with how all the animals in 'Manor Farm' decide to drive out their master because they felt they were being treated cruelly. The animals got together and framed 7 commandments that they would follow once they ruled the farm themselves. After successfully de -throning the master , the pig named Napoleon takes full charge of the farm. Napolean the pig actually depicts the traits of Joseph Stalin.
Napoleon becomes a total tyrant and he becomes a self proclaimed leader. He disillusions the other animals into thinking that their lives were much more relaxed , while in reality they were actually stressed . In a very tricky manner he amends the 7 commandments and fools the gullible animals. The highlight is when he amends the commandment 'All animals are equal' to 'All animals are equal but some animals are more in equal' . He uses this commandment to his complete advantage and all the pigs start misusing their power and start behaving like humans.
The book amazes me because of the fact that in 150 pages, Orwell communicates such a heavy topic in a light herated manner using animals that talk . It is indeed ingenious. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes classics. This book would be my second entry for the Classics challenge hosted by Trish .

Friday, July 17, 2009

After 'virtually' globe trotting to various countries due to the orbis terrarum challenge, I realised that it has been a while since I read anything simple and Indian ...and what could be better than curling up with an R.K.Narayan book on a summery day ,sipping coffee andthoroughly enjpying the experience.

"The English Teacher" by R.K.Narayan is a spiritual journey of a man in his quest to reconnect with his deceased wife. Though the subject may sound heavy and unfathomable , Narayan in his true style has made the book quite interesting. This story from its various incidends seems to be set in the pre independence era (or rather just before the Britishers left India).

The story is about the life of Krishna , a professor teaching English in Albert Mission School.He leads a regular mundane life which suddenly seems to spicen up with his daughter and wife moving in with him. His marital bliss doesnt last long as his wife passes away due to typhoid. The rest of the book is about how he deals with his wife's loss , raises his daughter and finds a way to communicate with his dead wife.
Krishna in trying to come to terms with his wife's death finds that life is just a big illusion. He starts reflecting on life in a new manner. He finds inner peace and contentment due a unique communication that he establishes with his deceased wife.
The book is full of vivid pictures of south Indian traditions and practices. It kind of makes people like me imagine how my fore fathers would have lived. It is so simple , crisp and very well written. This 140 page book is a nice read for anyone who is a great fan of R.k. Narayan and his Malgudi days :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

For the orbisterrarum challenge I leaped all the way from the woods of Canada to contemporary Britain. After reading a classic like Anne of Green gables I moved to a completely different genre book - Bridget Jones's diary
The book as the name suggests comprises of the diary notes that a 30 something spinster (oft quoted as 'Singleton' in the book )makes every single day . The book is an ensemble of all the incidents and happenings in the life of Bridget Jones .
Since most of us would have seen the movie , the book is no different . It revolves around the life of Bridget who is single and who just loathes the one question - "When are you getting married ?" . In an attempted humorous way , the book talks about her relationship first with her cold , infidel boss Daniel and later with a more sensible Mark Darcy. Apart from that there are rambles about how she makes resolutions to lose weight and cut down on alcohol etc.
The one annoying character in the book was Bridget's mom. She proved to be extremely nagging and over flirtatious. Also she was extremely critical of everything that Bridget wore and said. In fact the preface of the book says " Thanks to my mom for not being like Bridget's " :)
Apart from that the book was a mediocre read. A very mundane account of the happenings in Bridget's life. I would definitely not call it a "must read". However anyone who has not seen the movie and would like to read the book might find it interesting.


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