A quick update before beginning today’s blog, I celebrated my blog’s six-month anniversary, two weeks ago! Isn’t that amazing? And being the forgetful nelly that I am becoming overburdened by the unending college assignments, I completely forgot to share this happy news with you guys! Well let me make it up to my readers with multiple posts this week.
It feels so good to be back doing book review posts, which beautifully combines my love for reading books and writing!
Alright then, here’s the review for today!
Book- To The Lighthouse
Author- Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf had been an unexplored author on my TBR list, right from the time, I was introduced to her works in literature class, a few years back. From the excerpts of this book that I had read before, I felt that her writing had a story of its own. A story curated from fragments of her life, waiting to be told.
Experiences, perceptions, ambitions and emotions of the various members of the Ramsay family and their friends Lily Briscoe, Charles Tansley, August Charmichael and William Bankes form the crux of the story. The novel begins with James (the youngest son of the Ramsay family) expressing his desire to visit the lighthouse only to be demoralized by his father. The story is then moved forward by introducing life choices of other characters and how Mrs Ramsay directly or indirectly influences them. The book also encompasses how drastic global events affected the protagonists, ultimately helping them find the closure they had been seeking all their lives.
I found this novel quite intriguing because of that fact that it lacks a narrator of any sort. Instead, perspectives of the characters are used to spin the story. Extensive symbolism is used by the author for both her theme and characters. Each character in his/her own way depict an individual of the modern society, struggling to carve an identity to be remembered for eons, yet making peace with the fact that they are lacking in some or the other way seeking their true happiness. I have been a book geek since times immemorial, yet I had never come across a book, until now, in which I could relate to every character in one way of the other. Kudos to Miss Woolf for achieving such a feat!
a) The novel offers an unique writing style.
b) The plot is layered in so many interesting themes, in such a beautiful manner, that you find it hard to put down the book before finishing it.
c) Instead of providing guidelines for the reader, the author weaves an intriguing web of words for the readers, to frame their own opinions and statements.
To be honest, when I first began reading this novel, I felt that I would probably toss it down in my DNF shelf, for the narrative was running haywire in so many directions, leaving me utterly confused. But I am glad, I kept my eyes and mind glued to the text and kept on reading one of the finest pieces of literature I have ever laid my hands on. It has now become one of my favorite books!
Do you remember how I frequently write about a dearth of honest endings in novels? Well, I think I found my closure after reading this novel. It is a masterpiece which has an unique narrative style and a splendid ending which justifies all it characters.
One more aspect which makes the story, phenomenal, is the realistic portrayal of common people being affected by the drastic global events. While reading the novel, you never feel that the dimensions of common life and global phenomena dim each other, at any point.
This story has all the flavors of life from love, loss, betrayal, resentment, protest, deceit, loneliness, happiness, wrapped in the perspectives of common charterer arcs. All you need is a little patience to understand and enjoy this story.
I would totally recommend this book to everyone who is looking forward to enjoying an authentic piece of modern literature. And for book worms like me, there is an added advantage, it’s quite short, so can easily be finished in a day or two. 😛
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Hello readers and fellow book lovers! Have you come across lines/dialogues/quotes so well written, that you have to close the book and stare into nothingness for a while pondering about the words? Don’t even ask me how many times this happens to me…
In today’s blog, I bring you a compiled list of my favorite book quotes that might bring a smile on your faces. So, sit tight and be prepared to be blown over by awesomeness!
10. “Just live well. Just live.” Me before you by Jojo Moyes
As if the entire story wasn’t heart wrenching enough, the author had to include an emotional letter ending with such powerful lines. Reading these lines fill me with much zest to live and explore no matter whenever or wherever, I happen to skim through these. Ever having a bad day? Just remember these two lines by Will to Lou and you’ll be good to go!
9. “ You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The book which captures women power and blurs racial differences in its truest sense, also captures the essence of self worth.Just the three words you need to remind yourself, every time you venture out to prove your worth.
8. ” You are mad. Bonkers. Off your head…But I’ll tell you a secret…All of the best people are.” Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
Some deep thinking going on here. And in the novel. Some hard hitting words which leave you mesmerized and dazzled and craving for more.
7.” It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart”. Hunger Games by Suzzane Collins
Mind blown! Such crude words which everyone feels but is too afraid to acknowledge. What can I say more about it?
6. ” No one can put a price on losing everything” The Sun is also a star by Nicola Yoon
A girl on the verge of losing everything. A boy on the verge of changing everything. They meet, fall in love and are separated. How painful can their story be? And in midst of that this quote to suck the breath out of you! Why universe, why?
5. ” It’s wrong what they say about the past. I have learned about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out”. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Chills, right? Such powerful words that hit you right through the bones. I fell in love with the novel, I read it the first time and more so with its degree of depth and realism. Isn’t it amazing how you relate to these words at the first glance irrespective of age, race, nationality, gender etc. Please take a bow Mr Hosseini, for crafting such a masterpiece.
4. “ Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect” Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
First of all. a belated happy birthday to the queen who made our childhood awesome! Whew! Words just fall short when I try explaining my euphoria whenever someone talks of Harry Potter. Its characters, its stories, its plots, everything is just magical. As magical as this quote which is filled with silent sadness and serene hope, enough to last a lifetime.
3. ” Survival is a state of mind”. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Just two words. MIND BLOWING!
2. ” Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation”. Eat. Pray. Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Who would have thought a true account of discovering one self would become would inspire a young girl, miles apart to begin anew? This is by far one of my favorite books and quotes.
Now time for the best one…
” This part of my life, this part right here. This is called happyness”. The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner
A novel which tells the story of a father-son duo struggling to live the life of there dreams and teaching us to live in the moment. This quote is a treat to read, understand and live by as soon as you finish reading it.
What are your all-time favorite book quotes? Tell me in the comments section!
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You know how you have to come up one thing you learnt at the end of summer programs and remember the lessons for the rest of your life? You want me to throw my light on my lesson learnt this summer; people take blogging way too seriously, and I need to catch up soon…While gaining this enlightening insight I came across some amazing book tags and fell in love with them. I saw this one at the amazing abooknation and knew from the first glance, I would be doing this book tag for sure.
Cheers to my spirit of trying something new this summer!
#1: How many books are too many in a series?
As long as the story is interesting with great character arcs and gripping plot I am fine with any number of books that the author wants to include in the series. My only condition being, releasing the books quickly!!!
#2: How do you feel about cliff-hangers?
Never read them until you have the next book in the series right next to you…
#3: Hardcover or paperback?
Hardcover when you have to make your book shelf look aesthetic and paperback when it’s time to go pocket-friendly (which seems my only choice, now-a-days :P)
#4: Favorite book?
A book I would swear by, is ‘Doctors’ by Erich Segal. It’s the right blend of emotions, drama, mystery, fiction, reality and all the elements you look forward while reading a book. Although, I wasn’t keen on reading this book before, but I guess, reading this book was one of the best decisions of my life, so far!
#5: Least Favorite Book?
Why does this happen to book lovers? This is the most difficult question, that we have to answer. Trust me, it’s hard. Jokes apart, I haven’t come across a book that I have detested reading yet and I hope, I never will.
#6: Love Triangles, yes or no?
I am always up for love triangles in books. They always leads to exciting events and reactions from the characters, that gives us more pages to read and bask in our fantasy world a little longer.
#7: A book you are currently reading?
I am reading Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler at the moment, heavy read, I know.
#8: Last book you recommended to someone?
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy, a book which I collabed with another blogger, on. Link here (Part I)and here (Part II).
#9: Oldest book you’ve read? (publication date)
The Swiss Family Robinson which was published in 1812. For the heads up, I own one of the oldest editions of that book!
#10: Newest book you’ve read? (publication date)
My book, ‘AN INWARD ODYSSEY’; a collection of poetry which was published last December!
#11: Favorite author?
Don’t have one. I go through different phases of reading, wherein I try different authors and genres and whichever one I like the best, more books of that particular author/genre are added to my bookshelf .
#12: Buying books or borrowing?
Buying, it’s always, buying. I am extremely offended by the idea of borrowing/lending books, and I am not even sorry for my strong opinion.
#13: A book you dislike that everyone seems to love?
Now, that’s an interesting question.I would say, P.S I love you by Cecilia Ahern.
#14: Bookmarks or dog-ears?
My heart is torn into two, when people dog-ears pages of their books. How cruel! It’s ALWAYS bookmarks!!!!
#15: A book you can always reread?
For the record, I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series seven times, then outgrew them. So I think rereading books is a good idea only till the time you are reading your favorite portions of the novel.
#16: Can you read while listening to music?
Music is my go-to companion for every chore, every task I have to accomplish even when I am writing poetry or any other literary piece. However, this companion needs to leave the room, when I am reading. I can either concentrate on the glistening words or the heartfelt lyrics at a time.
#17: One POV or multiple POVs?
Reading both kind of works, I think I lean more towards multiple POVs. It’s always better to know each character from their own perceptive as it adds more depth to the story.
#18: Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?
Knowing my amazing time management skills, it’s either the entire book or the ever growing list of chores that I have to tend to. So, sadly, I have to divide the book over the span of multiple days to play justice to my role both as a responsible human being and a book craving bookworm!
#19: Any book that changed your life?
This is my favorite question! ‘Born A Crime’ by Trevor Noah is one such book that hilariously taught me life lessons and made me realize how fortunate I am living my life, the way I want to. I suggest everyone should read this book, once in their lifetime.
#20: Who do you tag?
Anyone and everyone who wants to do this tag.
I know, it’s been a long time, since I have done book reviews. Well, now I know, why learning time management skills in school would have been a good idea…
Never mind, I would now make up for the lost time with numerous posts, I promise!
Hello people! Today seems to be a wonderful day! Can you guess why? We are finally out with the final part of our collab! DRUMBEATS!!!
You may recall our reviews of the book “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” (Linked Here;inkandthoughts and Here;lifeofchaz ), but do you know what really happens behind the scenes? Well if you don’t, here are a few things you should know about how the magic of “collabing” works.
Things That Go Into A Collab
Trying to get Chaz to read the book for two and a half months.
Trying to explain to Chaz concepts one-hundred times because he never understands the first time.
Trying to work with ten hour time difference living on opposite sides of the world.
Waking up at 3AM to finish writing posts and making Instagram posts. Take a guess, as to who did that…
Attempting to book plane tickets to India in two days, and then cancelling because a certain “someone” threatened the other about their collab answers.
Hiding out in a car to escape mothers to talk to bloggers in the U.S after staying up all night.
Losing hope that the post will ever be done.
Being astonished when “someone” finally finishes the book and writes up a post.
Learning what Instagram is and what “Boomerang’s” are.
Surviving after talking to each other for weeks on end.
A small sneak peek for the readers, who thought it would be easy to work on a collab. Trust me, it is not, especially when two dumb heads come together to talk about intellectual things. In between taking jabs at each other, every now and then and cracking lame jokes, we tried to perfect our art of coming up with philosophical answers. This final draft pays testimony to our numerous attempts of answering these questions and polishing them till they were the best (at least for us)! So please don’t judge us too harshly!
Bhagyashree’s Brainiac Questions to Chaz
1) Being a foreigner to the novel did you have any preconceptions or notions about the story? How did they change after completing the novel? What are your thoughts about the author after going through her works? Would you continue reading her works here after?
I had no idea what this story was going to be about. It’s funny because when I looked it up, I saw the word “romance” somewhere in the synopsis and falsely assumed it was a love story. (I told that to Bhagyashree and she could not believe me!) My thoughts could not be more different than what they were starting the novel. Roy now reminds me of a strong political writer, and I think I would probably read another one of her works if she continues to publish. I am looking into reading her first novel now as well!
2) How did you interpret the title both at the beginning and at the end of the book? Do you think the story plays justice to the title or it talks about finding acceptance in pain?
I’m honestly still not sure what to think about it. (This is the hardest question out of all of them!) The characters ended up in their own little communities together, but it’s hard to imagine any type of happiness after all of the pain the story weaved through. I did not think this was going to be a happy story in the beginning though.
3) The book talks about how political turmoil affects people from all walks of life and their adverse reactions to situations concerning them thereafter. Do you think the author justifies them or piques the reader’s sympathy towards these people in any way? Or it is just an attempt of condemning these actions?
I think that the author does a great job in portraying these struggles in the way that she does not try to pique sympathy with over-the-top techniques. I had mentioned in my review about the “rawness” of the story, and in that sense the author just shows what is happening. It is up to you if you want to feel bad or not, but the story is not going to wait for you to make a decision.
4) The author challenges the very idea of attaining happiness by orthodox means through her characters. Do you believe an individual’s circumstances come into play here more than his/her own choices? How do you think the lives of these characters would have turned out had they succumbed to the guidelines entrenched with rules and boundaries?
I think that Roy is trying to abolish the old rules and boundaries that society has put up ever since we can remember. We are in a big turning point as far as social movements go, and the author celebrates that with the choices that she has her characters make. The characters may have had an easier life if they had confined themselves to the old rules, but it is clear that they would not be truly happy if they never remained true to themselves.
5) The novel talks about development in the sense of losing grasp of one’s roots. Do you share the author’s acceptance that this is the way forward? Do you think reading and writing about the struggles of the ‘silenced’ would help make society more empathetic towards these people and eventually alternate avenues of development would emerge?
Yes – telling the stories of the silenced does go a long way in making people more empathetic. We have seen examples of it happening before ,with, every social movement that has succeeded. If you look at the world’s history you can follow the lines of each movement and how they succeeded. These stories play an important part in the development of those movements. I am in full support of it and in full support of losing grasp of one’s roots. Just because the roots are there, it does not mean that they are worth losing. (In this case they are!)
6) There are a variety of social issues discussed in the novel ranging from social inequality, exclusion, domestic violence to depression and political turmoil among others. Which of these varied themes according to you needs to be extensively written and widely read in the current times?
Would it be a cop-out to say that all of them should still be explored? While there are progressive movements that are in different stages than others, and some of them much further along, we have seen that it is important to keep writing about them even after the movement has come to a “success”. Everyone should be able to experience the freedoms that they deserve, and the battle for them is unfortunately not close to being over, but at least we are living through the most progressive time in recent history.
Chaz’s Clever Questions to Bhagyashree
1) Media can portray only the negative aspects of certain events and culture to skew people’s perceptions which end up making them blow certain things out of proportion. Do you feel this novel portrayed anything unfairly?
That is the beauty of this novel, it never presents anything with a backdrop of fairness or impartiality. It presents the facts as they are, leaving it on the shoulders of the capable readers(like both of us, an oxymoron in itself, isn’t it ) to form their own opinions. I won’t say that the novel has portrayed anything in negative light, but yes, it would have been a good idea had the author included other perspectives than just the characters themselves. And a more, well-mapped plot, that does not include everything that the characters (or the author herself) come across, would have mellowed down the story for people like us. Although, when we talk of Roy, as a precocious author, we can’t really expect that to happen, so I guess what we are left is, broaden our understanding!
2) How important is a well structured plot for you? Did you feel the same way I did, or do you think that the message of the story is much more important than making sure the story beats are in the right spot?
I believe both a well-structured plot and powerful message go hand in hand, in the making of a great story. One without the other fails to create the charismatic impact that the author wishes to cast on his/her readers. On one hand the plot steers our imagination on a well routed path, the message of the story, on the other hand, lets us run our imagination wild, on uncharted lands in search of interpretations. I disagree with the notion that the author should focus on either of the two things while carving a story, but surely, the plot shouldn’t have too many backstories and character arcs framing spontaneously, like we have in the book. That just leads to the reader losing momentum of the story.
3) We had spoken about if this book was required to read in schools in India. With so much discussion on censorship lately, do you feel works like these should be encouraged to read? How young is too young to introduce these dark themes during class?
Roy’s works have always tackled the dark realms of truth in an unpretentious manner. Once you decide to read her novels, you can expect yourself to be drawn in a labyrinth of reality, that you are aware of, but fail to acknowledge its presence. Censoring stories like these, would mean holding back the links which connect people with the reality behind the farce reality. So I believe works like these should definitely be encouraged to read right from the time we learn to distinguish between right and wrong and form our own judgments and opinions. Coming to the last part of your question, you can’t expect a scenario where kindergartner kids are debating on these issues, can you? (But then, you would be dealing with the smartest set of kindergarten kids on this planet, a bit unrealistic no?) I understand your concern about the impact this novel revolving around relatively dark themes can have on young minds, so I ‘ll say, teenagers on the brink of adulthood and people beyond this age bracket with their well developed analytical and conclusive skills, would be the best audience for the book.
4) Pain is everywhere in this story. Do you share in any of the pains and struggles that some of the characters in the story faced? Which of the struggles are you fighting against the most in your own life?
Each character in the novel deals with different kinds of pain and battles his/her own victories. Acceptance of an identity, pain of losing loved ones, trying to be befitting in a world you don’t belong to and the courageous struggle to start anew are some of the core threads discussed in the story. It wouldn’t be a misnomer to say, we are bound to face the pains and struggles of each character in some way or the other in our long, long lives. Given a choice, I would go for the pain and struggles of accepting and adapting to a change, faced by the country, rather than any specific character. Now that more makes sense, since about to start college. Lol!
5) There are a lot of themes involved in this novel that have to do with family relationships, especially motherhood. We saw Anjum ripped from her family, and family ripped from her, plus the same for the other characters. How important is it to listen to your family? Should they control who you really want to be?
Family is an exceedingly important part of who we are, what we do, the choices we make and how we lead our lives. However, I don’t believe being a part of a family should entirely dictate the terms of our choices and the way of our living. There is a very fine line between looking up to your family for guidance and acting according to their predictions up to the point you suffocate your freedom. The entire burden of balance lies on this willowy line. I guess as long as this line doesn’t slant too much on either side, you’ll be fine. A hard task surely, but worth trying. If not anything, you would have some great things to laugh about, later on!
So this brings us to the end of my first collab ever. I hope as much as I enjoyed working on it, even you guys would enjoy reading it. I would love to hear what you people think about it in the comments section.
A big shout-out to my fellow blogger-turned-friend Chaz, who helped me remain calm during moments of panic at the inability to finish the post on time (or was it the other way round?) and making my tedious wait worthwhile. Let’s collab once again next month, what say? ;P
I would love to continue working on such fun collabs in the future. Well, fellow bloggers you know whom to reach out to, if you feel interested enough to read a book together, review it maturely ( or immaturely, same thing) and discuss the book, in every creative way possible. You guys already know my Instagram handle and my mail id, i you want to reach out to me.
I would be eagerly waiting for your reviews and messages!
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