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Posts from the ‘Resolutions’ Category

The First of the First….

Ah! Well, the much looked forward to December is now gone and January beckons! Without breaking into my usual song and dance histrionics about the misery of getting back to routine and moaning the loss of much beloved vacation time, I must say, I do not feel too bad, not too perky either, but more like zen, knowing that this too shall pass!

And while it passes, it’s time to make plans for 2017. The plan for 2017 is to have no plans! I mean it!! I have huge mammoth work effort coming up that will test my organizational and project management skills and this project could make or break my career. Therefore for this year alone, the only place I want to focus on planning is at work! That’s it! Everything else I will take it as it comes; the idea will be to continue improving myself, like run more marathons and maybe do a trek and of course, write more; but outside of that, there is flow chart and project plan to stick too!

This campaign naturally extends to my reading plans for the year! I decided late in 2016, I was too involved in trying to track reading plans and this year with work going through the roof, there is no way I will be able to do justice to any reading challenges or plans. Instead I will read like I used to initially, picking up what I like and joining my friends when they read something really interesting or host an event that really gets me excited! Therefore in a stark departure to several years of define reading challenges, this year, I stand independent and do not join any!

Having said all of that, as far as books and temptations are concerned, I will always be TEMPTED to join some or the other reading event. In that spirit, I will be joining Dolce Bellezza as she hosts the read along for Captivity by Gyorgy Spiro for this month. It’s a historical chunkster set during Roman Empire, narrated from the point of view of a Roman Jew as he captures the time between Christ’s death and the outbreak of the Jewish Wars. With such a premise, can I but say, that I am really really excited about this one!! Jane is hosting Margery Sharp Day and since she introduced me to this brilliant author last year, I have become a Sharp devotee. Naturally, there is no way I will miss this event to celebrate her works and I will be joining Jane and other to read Britannia Mews by Margery Sharp. If life seemed simple, so far, I have a tendency to make things a twinge more complex and therefore I will be joining Ruth and Cleo as they navigate The Well Educated Mind Histories Reading List and kick start the project with reading Histories by Herodotus. There is no way in the world, I will finish this book in January alone and I am sure, I this reading project with my ideas of reading some Eastern histories will turn into a 10 year effort! Like I said, complication is my middle name! Besides all of this, I have finally gotten around to reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I have also started on Ravenspur, Part 4 of the War of Roses Series by Conn Iggulden. Finally, I still continue with the serialized reading of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, as part of O’s brilliant and innovative Reading Event.

So much for not having a plan….if this does not look, challenging, I am not sure what is. But then the idea was to read good books, and good books are never easy to read. Therefore, without further ado, let’s get started!

Happy Reading All!

May-ish Reads

Ah! May…..the fire breathing months on Indian plains, where the sun burns and earth scorches and you wonder if hell is like this! Joy! Naturally, so joyous a month will begin with something depressing and nasty and it did – to celebrate the May coming, the weather here turned nasty and between pollens and pollutants, my lungs practically gave away! I have spent the last two weeks in bed, trying to work from home for projects that will not wait and read on books that required little if any brain work! Needless to say I am completely and disastrously behind all my reading schedules!

I have not read a single page from Murder at Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe for my April reading for the 12 Months Reading Challenge and here is May where I had committed to reading Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis for the theme of An American Classic. I have not turned a page in my Women’s Classical Literature Event cum Classic Club Spin 12 reading of Willa Cathar’s Death Comes to the Archbishop and I am not even getting started on how much I have to catch up on my Reading England Project or my epic read alongs like The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser and Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens! I am behind, behind and way far behind in all my reading plans! The plan for May is therefore to re-group and catch up! I am not starting any new book until I finish all my spill overs from March and April. I am not even going to start on Arrowsmith, till I have finished everything else. But there are exceptions and I am only human with absolutely no self control when it comes to books and this I have committed to read along with Cleo and Hamlette for Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, but the good part is that it does not start until the end of May, so I should have made some significant inroads to my overloaded pile. And knowing its May and it is the anniversary of The First War of Independence in India, I will for sure go back and read one of my most favorite and one of the best work of fiction based on the event – The Shadow of the Moon by the inimitable MM Kaye! Like I said  I have enough and I mean ENOUGH to read on my plate and this one time I really really need to stick to the schedule!

Therefore I bid adieu and head back to plunge in the tottering pile of books! Hopefully I should find my reading rhythm again, but until I plough through the significant amount of that pile, I keep my post short and well, I cannot really do sweet!

About Moving on and Reading Ideas…

In the words of the ever-wise Jane Austen, I must say that “I must have employment and society” and though the circumstances under which Mr. Wickham made the statement and mine are wholly different, there cannot be any denying of the fact that I must either resume life as soon as possible in the best way, despite the recent events in my past,  or I will probably need professional therapy! I really dislike opening my posts on such a depressing note and therefore without much ado, I will plunge forward and share with you all my reading plans for September and October!!

Naturally, with Halloween around the corner, Carl has unveiled his RIP Challenge 2014. I have been looking forward to this event for some time and have even bought books in anticipation of the reading event!! The rules are as always simple, read or watch any of the following genres and participate in the Perils as per your interest and time. The event runs from September 01st to October 31st. The genres include –

  • Mystery
  • Suspense
  • Thriller
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Gothic
  • Horror
  • Supernatural

I, of course, peril my sanity by signing up for Peril The First which involves and I quote directly from the site – Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be King or Conan Doyle, Penny or Poe, Chandler or Collins, Lovecraft or Leroux…or anyone in between

My reading list for this event goes as –

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – Clichéd I know, but I have not read this in couple of years and this is as good a time as any to revisit this old friend!!

Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell – As I have often declared, Gaskell is one of my favorite authors and I have held on to reading this book specifically to read it through this challenge.

Angelica by Arthur Philips – This is yet another book that I had held off on because I wanted to read it as part of this event. I had heard some great things about this one and I really look forward to reading it, with all the lights in the apartment blazing!!!!

The Sign of Four – How can I even think of participating in this event without homage to the master of mystery and thriller??? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Last Year it was the Hounds of Baskerville and this year it’s yet another revisit with The Sign of Four.

This was my plan for the RIP event; but while scrolling through the other events at Carl’s post, I came across Peril of the Group Read. Again quoting directly from the Carl’s post, “For the third year in a row bloggers Andi and Heather of The Estella Society are hosting a readalong in conjunction with R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril. This year’s readalong runs from September 1st through October 1st, and the chosen book is Shirley Jackson’s classic, The Haunting of Hill House.The Haunting Hill House had been in my TBR for some time and this seemed like as good a chance as any to finish at least one book from my ever-growing list. I have already begun reading the book and I have not been able to sleep for two nights in a row with lights off….review to follow soon!!!

In other reading news, I still have to finish my Classic Spin read for the month, “Katherine” by Anya Seton; I had barely begun reading this book, when everything else took over and I had to exchange this book for some lighter reads until I was back in my gear again.

I also have the The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters by Michelle Lovric to finish from last month and I have finally bought Penmarric by Susan Howatch and The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon by Richard Zimler in an unintended book buying spree on one of those stressful days of past weeks. I also bought The Complete Works of Christina Rossetti in a fitful remembrance of my mother!

Finally, I am also very much looking forward to the Margret Kennedy Week hosted by Jane between 6th to 12th October! I plan to read “The Feast”, another one lying in my TBR list for a while and the author’s nonfiction work, Jane Austen, if I can get my hands on it!!

That is my reading agenda for now. I am sure; I will edit and add some more books in this list, while others may be left behind for a better moment. But the idea as always is to read and read more and then to read some more….

This and That….

It’s been a trying week from technology perspective. First last week, on a bright Saturday morning, I woke up feeling at peace with the world in general and with great ambition of penning ..er…it is typing some magnificent words in prose for my never –will-be –completed novel. I made myself a large cup of tea, switched on my laptop and then sat down to write in earnest; the screen went blink and fuzzy in 5 minutes and then completely white. No amount rebooting and lopsided shaking (Yes! It works!!) could get the screen to display anything but the pristine whiteness, something that did not help my rising temper. Frustrated by the evening I dropped it off to a repair center, who called me a day later and said that it would take 4 days or so to fix it and the reason my screen had given up living, (I do believe that inanimate objects have a soul!) is because some tea had fallen in its junctures (you know the place where it connects to the motherboard!) Oh!!! Sob! Sob! Wail!!! Naturally the repair would not be cheap (More Sob! Sob! Wail!!!) and just when I thought I would have some extra cash in my hand! The road to hell is truly and honestly paved with good intentions! Finally after 5 days when I got the laptop back, the internet stopped working due to a terrible storm that hit this part of the world and finally after another two days of enforced hiatus from the cyber world, last evening my entire technology related puzzle fell into place and now everything is working as it is supposed to. Or so I thought…then suddenly I realized by Blackberry’s keypad has stopped typing ….they will not type a thing!! This to me who texts more than she calls…and I DO NOT have the energy to chase down Blackberry Customer Service anymore!!

In other and brighter news, my best friend and flatmate, decided to take pity on my ghastly week and treat me to an awesome Italian dinner last night. Lots of cheese, cream and an amazing ice cream pudding made the world a much better place (I am aware of cholesterol and all that…but everyone is allowed an indulgence!!) The evening got better when we made an impromptu detour to our favorite bookshop where I promptly dispensed with all my remaining savings in buying all the below –

bpic

It’s not like either my flatmate or I needed new books…we had plenty to in our reading list, and I know I need to really save and well there are reasons for not buying anything but this is what happens when I go there – everytime!!

Bookstore

Hence the splurge and I could almost justify all the books I bought…almost!!I had lost my copy of Rebecca and Sherlock Holmes and no collection can be called complete in the absence of these two books. At the shop owners recommendation and he really knows good books and what I like, I bought Robert Galbraith (aka J.K.Rowling’s) Cormoran Strike novels. My sister had ranted and raving about Guy Gavriel Kay ‘s The Lions of Al-Rassan, so naturally I had to pick that up and then Jane had such high praises for The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters by Michelle Lovric that I could not let that go either. I also picked up for my history reading project War and Gold by Kwasi Kwarteng (Yes! I have been reading History…just not blogging about them…don’t ask me why!! And finally for a no better reason than a whim, I also purchased Bernard Cornwell’s Stonehenge.

Considering the troublesome nature of the week and the temptations that lie waiting in form of brand new unopened novels, I keep this post short! I hope your week went better than mine and your weekend as wonderful if not better!!

Ring in the New…..

It’s the 1st of January and a brand new day of a brand new year! Like every year, this day today holds out so much promise of life and all that we wish to seek! So in the way of seeking new adventures,  I thought instead of doing resolutions of what I shall and most likely shall not end up doing this year, I would rather map out some reading projects for the year, inspired by my two blogy mentors/inspiration/guides Stefanie and Jane. (I don’t think either one of them signed up for it, but I kind of adopted and relegated them to that role!)

Prior to reading about their reading projects, (which I followed quite closely) I was always hesitant and uncomfortable with a reading plan – planning somehow meant work! Could have been a Project Manager hangover where I work through MS Projects and Project Plans through the day or it could have been a hangover from my undergrad days where a systematized reading of English Literature, almost killed my love for fiction and literature! (Hence I ran away to do a Masters and pursue a Ph.D in International Politics!) Needless to say I was not a project reader.

New Year is however about new adventure and so I take a leap into a new challenge and sally forth bravely with the following reading projects –

  1. 2014 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge – I have already gone yada yada about this project in my earlier post and I think I will spare you the tedium of re-reading about it all over again
  2. A Century of Books – This is completely Jane’s idea; I have been mulling over it for some time and some encouragement from Jane and a coincidence of ideas about the time period we both were contemplating, made this kind of like a prophetic  thing to take up! I mean this was like faith – here I was thinking about doing a Century of Books effective 1850-1949 and an hour later I turn on my laptop and Jane had written about the same thing! The rules are simple and extremely flexible – read a book published for that year with a different author and then you naturally post about it. So basis each year of the Century, one book and one author and one related post over a period of 2 years! 2016 should see me significantly more well-read!
  3. Books on History – I am not quite sure when and how did this happen; but until a couple of years ago I used to read History as voraciously as literature and was even contemplating doing a second Masters in History. Then all of a sudden I stopped – no idea why! But now is as good as a time to take this up and I plan to read at least a minimum of 12 history books this year – one book every month; not restricting myself to geography/country/politics!
  4. Poetry – I AM NOT A POETRY PERSON!!! I often get many astonished glances that a person who reads practically any written word should not like poetry; but somehow I never quite managed to gather my liking for rhymes and sonnets, except perhaps Emily Dickinson and Robert Browning! But new adventures means trying to develop new tastes and trying new things and Stefanie has shared some lovely works on Poetry – so poetry it is; but only 4 volumes in no order or preference. Will come to that later if and when I develop a taste, until then 4 volumes for 2014; what and who will I read, I still have to decipher!

That’s the agenda for 2014 – I promise to do a review of this plan on June 01 2014 and then December 31st 2014!

To end, it is always important to plunge right in after deciding on the plan of attack; I end this blog with poem by Lord Tennyson. I believe this one is quite famous. In fact a non-poetry person like me also knew it, but I love the theme, the optimism and the concept so here goes – Happy New Year and best wishes of all the good things life has to offer, hope they all come true in 2014!

In Memoriam,

by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light:

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind

For those that here we see no more;

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,

And ancient forms of party strife;

Ring in the nobler modes of life,

With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,

The faithless coldness of the times;

Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes

But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.

At The Very Beginning…..

I have always argued that I am better writer/blogger and more discerning reader because of some of lovely, inspirational and absolutely marvelous blogs that I have the most rewarding bliss to read/follow. Flowing from this, I present to you this post, that had its germination in A Year in First Lines by Fleur, who in turn took the cue from The Indextrious Reader. The concept is wonderful and extremely unusual – “Take the first line of each month’s post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year.”

If this is not fun, what is???? Thus, without any further ado, let’s plunge right in and kick-start the journey from January 2013!

January 2013

It’s the first of the brand new year again and someone sent me text with a quote that goes as follows – “Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” ― Brad Paisley from Back to Where We Started From…..

February 2013

There are many things that comes to us a legacies – a house, jewelry, money, an old piano…..the list I guess could go on. At any case, legacies are of great importance, for they bind us to a past that is inherently our own and through which, in many cases, our identity derives from; from All Those Legacies….

March 2013

This blog is in response to the March Meme of The Classics Club. The subject is Jane Austen…now how can I ever pass out on opportunity to wax eloquently on my all-time favorite author – the very witty, the very talented and an acute observer of all the fallacies of human nature from Liking Jane

April 2013

It’s always difficult to start when you have come to a halting skating stop. But you have to start again, especially if it is important to you! From At-tempting Madame Bovary

May 2013

And now for The Baker’s Daughter from Baking Breads and Tales in Wartime Germany

June 2013

Is there anything called Happy Sad? From The Happy Sad Syndrome

July 2013

I know I have to still write about Charles Dicken’s Great Expectation and I promise I will do it this week for sure, but while I drown myself in my other life, aka, the Project Manager, this Meme, I just could not let go! So Classic Club’s 2013 July Meme is – What classic book has changed your view on life, social mores, political views, or religion? from The Most Inspiring Them of All…..

August 2013

So I did the disappearing act again but I was travelling on business for 4 whole weeks and the project implementation kind of sucked all life force out of me, leaving me with no time for anything I hold remotely close to my heart – eating, travelling, writing; the only indulgence I had been reading and that too with limited timeframes. From And for the August Path….

September 2013

So the Classic Club’s September Meme is contributed by Brona from Brona’s Books –Rereading a favorite classic at different stages of your life gives you different insights with each reading. Is there one classic you’ve read several times that also tells a story about you? From Once Upon a time and Everytime …

October 2013

I read this article on Huff Post where social psychologists David Kidd and Emanuele Castano argue that reading classics like Tolstoy,Chekhov etc enhances what they term as “theory of mind”. From Alleluia for Reading!

November 2013

I thought it was a good day to sit back and think just how many things I have gotten myself into for the month of November and muse over the fact about why do I take on more than I can manage and why do I keep making myself a guinea-pig for all Sadistic Gods who take great pleasure in laughing at me – considering there is no one else to blamed for the soup I get myself into except ME!! From Just a Bit More Than Usual

December 2013

Finally vacations here….I can’t believe it actually here and by the time I can actually believe it, it will be 6th January and back to work! From The Vacation Finally Commeth…

That’s the list and here are some conclusions I drew as I complete this – Some of these posts begin on one vein and end up on different tangent all together; (My MIND WANDERS is an understatement!!). It seems like I have derived a lot of my ideas from The Classic Club, so a big Thank You to the Club and all its members for making me read and think more. Most importantly, I need to work on sentence constructions; I mean did you see some of the opening sentences??? They are like 4 lines long….seems like I write the way I talk….Definitely a work on for 2014!

However this was fun and I think should you try it, you would quite enjoy it as well!

Back to Where We Started From…..

It’s the first of the brand new year again and someone sent me text with a quote that goes as follows –

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” ― Brad Paisley

I thought this is very apt; as most of you are aware I am unusually fond of New Beginnings, even it means a new beginning at the middle of the year. So while I set new chapters for the 2013 book, which I will enumerate shortly, I need to face facts and see how I did in my 2012 plans, which some niggling conscience tells me that I did a disastrous job –

  1. Earn more –  Well I did but I spent it all so that’s no good
  2. Lose weight – Lost 5 pounds to a goal of 30 pounds…..oh! Brother! This was so no go!
  3. Write rigorously and get published – Write I did and a lot more but I need to do      more. I attempted to get published but did not get through; but did not follow-up either
  4. Compatible partnerships – The tricky one; Still in no man’s land, but definitely      becoming a rock solid formation and may be heading towards an island      formation. So some points scored here.
  5. Save and cut debts – No! Did not manage any saving and incurred more debts! Ouch!

new-year-cartoon

The scorecard does not look good, but I am the eternal optimist and I will make yet another goal sheet or rather chapter plan for 2013’s books and I am extremely confident that I will make more success of it this year (Ya! Ya! I know you are scoffing, but there is something called the eternal sunshine of unbound optimism!)

  1. Lose Weight – 30 pounds and no less.
  2. Save and cut debts – I will probably earn what I do today, but I need to be more frugal
  3. Write more and get published – Complete the incomplete works (at least 3 at this point) and send them for publication. Attempt minimum of 5-6 publishing houses/agents.
  4. Compatible Partnerships – Create an island and set the foundation for a larger land mass like a continent, which is sustainable for centuries.
  5. Read more – Not only what I like but some more works the Lecito List as well some difficult works like Balzac and Dostoyevsky

I am not sure if this is ambitious or not, but like I said, I am an eternal optimist and unless I begin how will I end?

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