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Posts tagged ‘World Literature’

Spinning Experiment…

New month, new beginning, new reading and new reading experiments….that seems to be the flavor for the month of April. I know that it’s a bit late to share April reading plans and lately I have not managed to stick to any of my planned readings , due to work pressure; but perseverance is the key to success and I preserver!

To begin with, I am participating in the Classic Club Spin#9 and it has spun #2 which in my list is Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”. I have been dreading reading this book for some time, though many wise people have told me that this is a brilliant piece of work, but my heart quails, but perseverance…I have ordered the book and now await the delivery. (Some books are better read as books and not Kindle, especially the one I consider “challenging”)

I have also heard a lot of great things about Isabel Allende’s “The House of Spirits” – it’s a family saga, set over three generations in some of the most difficult time in Columbian history. I have not read much outside the tradition Anglo- American literature, but this year, I had planned to change that and this seems right up my alley for start into world literature.  I was sooooo hoping that the Spin would have spun me this one, but it did not and woe was me. But then I decided, that I really do not have to wait for the Classic Club spin, it is one of the books that I planned to read anyway and now is a good time as any!

Science and I have never been good friends – Newton was enough for me and I did not want to know more! But recently under the influence of several blogging inspirations, especially one, (Stefanie, I am so looking at you!) I began to wonder how bad it can get.  Therefore another tentative experiment was to get the much acclaimed and but never read by moi Stephan Hawkins “A Brief History of Time” and Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species”. I have already begun reading the first and I must say I am quite enjoying it and if Science and I had not been skeptical of each other’s abilities (especially the part where Science is skeptical of my abilities), I would have been more garrulous in my praise. But it’s early day in our relationship and we will see how things pan out. I had ordered Origin along with Brief, but Amazon delivered Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Humiliated and Insulted”; I am not sure how Origin is related to this or even in alphabetical stack rank Charles Darwin is way ahead of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, but that’s Amazon for you. However they have promised to replace the book and I await the correction.

My final experiment is to read this very obscure historical fiction published in 1842 called “Windsor Castle” by William Harrison Ainsworth. The book apparently has Gothic overtones and traces Henry VII’s wooing of Anne Boleyn in the company of ghosts. It should be interesting at any case!

Naturally with such extensive experimental reading, I needed some comfortable fall back options; therefore I am also doing some re-reads – two well-loved books that I have not revisited for some time – Edward Rutherford’s “Sarum” and Robert Byron’s “The Road to Oxania”. The first is a work of historical fiction, a Michener style telling of the story of Salisbury, through 4000 years of history via the fictitious families that reside on these lands. The latter is considered a classic and one of the foremost travelogue of present day ; Robert Byron travels in the company of now infamous Christopher Sykes and through Iran and Afghanistan and documents some of the most beautiful architectural essay on the monuments of these lands, most of which no longer exist, thanks to hard working efforts of Taliban and other such groups!

That’s what my reading landscape for April looks like….I am really hoping that this would be a better reading month and I persevere again 😉

In the society of Friends and other such mortals…..

As a child I was very lonely and did not make too many friends; in fact I downright hated going out and the thought of party – any party whether my own or my parents filled me with foreboding. I absolutely hated the social gatherings that my parents organized or attended. I was bored out of my senses and the constant feeling of inferiority, did not help in my making friends with the very small number of kids from my age group.  As it is, I was born very late to my parents and most of their friends had kids who were more than 10 odd years older to me, making me feel even odder. I think I was the only kid who ever went to dinner parties with her books….my only get away from being forced into companionship of much older or much dumber companions. Anyway, I grew up hating socializing and swearing to become a misanthrope and never troubling with company of anyone!  That is what I though until I went away to college ……

And surprise surprise……I was suddenly a social butterfly, albeit an intellectual butterfly, who chose to go to only selective dance through the night parties, but hell, I had a choice to pick any I wanted and what’s more, I was always flooded with invitations! (I am not going to dwell on why this change happened!! I do not know and one day I have enough money, I will have a psychologist go over my case and post his diagnosis on the blog!)

rmon664lThings did not change as I got myself a job and moved in with my best friend. Despite her being a more or less confirmed and declared recluse, our house over the weekend bursts with friends and going outs etc etc. She does not per se like so many people coming over, including Mr Soulmate (she does not approve of him….like I do not approve of her men and we both think we can do much better and deserve so much better and all the nine yards! Sound familiar?), but she has developed a certain amount of tolerance from being forced to attend the gatherings that I organize and has even deigned to become friends with some of my friends.

As for me….I love it! I love being surrounded by people, especially friends who make me laugh and are completely crazy! I love surprise visits even at 4:00 am in the morning when I have read for hours and am about to drop off and suddenly the bell rings and I open the door to see some of my closest friends giggling and screaming surprise!! I love breaking out the drinks and cooking impromptu Spanish omelets (I defy you to find Spanish omelets of the type I make anywhere!!!!) and instant noodles for food and then settling down to talk for hours broken only by interludes for more food.

corp friends.It’s not like all my close friends have the same level of intellect or same literary interests.  I have one set that can talk about books, music and Renoir for hours and they have nothing in common with the other set who embody the very core of corporate life style – dining out, spas etc; but the thing is that each of these sets are such fun in their own way that the two parts of me – the writer and project manager is equally entertained and refreshed by these gatherings! And at the end of the day, all the conversations moves in the same order regardless of the set – intelligent, argumentative, food breaks, witty, silly and then just funny…..a testimony to friendship; in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

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