Astonishing discoveries!

So like I said a couple of months back, I’ve been on a book-reading spree. Nothing fancy, nothing new. Just catching up on good old classics.

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Right from my childhood, I’ve abhorred Classics. I’ve always loved books which are fast-paced, cover multiple countries across the globe, use at least 3 different languages, and don’t let me put them down. Which explains why Sidney Sheldon is my favourite author!

All the same, I couldn’t just keep reading Sidney Sheldon forever. I used to have this mindless desire to read all the “famous” books – Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, Catcher in the rye.. you name it, I wanted to read it! And so I did read them all.

However, I hated the slow-paced writing style, the obscure words and sentences that made no sense to me whatsoever. Well, I read them when I was in middle school, when my vocabularly was far less developed, and my knowledge of people and the world was extremely limited. Bad idea. I ended up not understanding a word, and hating Classics without knowing what they were about! 😦

However, persistent as I am, I tried reading Emma 5 times.. but never got past the first 30 pages! As I grew up, that mind-block against Classics continued, until I slowly stopped reading them altogether. New authors were waiting to be discovered, new “famous” books waiting to be read and reviewed – The Shiva trilogy, Ashwin Sanghi’s books, Chetan Bhagat and the like.

Until suddenly one day, I downloaded the Kindle app on to my phone.. the Kindle Store offers Classics free of cost – and I wanted to try out the Kindle experience without spending any money *classic Indian mindset* 😛 I picked ‘Three men in a boat’, having heard that it is a very funny book, and if nothing else, I may have a few laughs after all…

Boy, was I wrong! I enjoyed reading the book immensely! 🙂 True, there were still parts that made my eyes glassy and vacant, but there were also many more parts that made me laugh, some that made profound sense that I wanted to incorporate as life lessons, and no lack of understanding whatsoever. Towards the end of the book, I realised that I may have just grown up enough after all!

And so I decided that I wanted to try my hand at one more, just to see how far I can push myself. So I re-read Pride and Prejudice, enjoying it a lot more this time around, and empathising a lot more with Elizabeth Bennett (the first time around, I thought she was a bit of an arrogant idiot :P). And then I re-read Little Women, was transported to a magical old-world American society and immersed in it joyfully.

And here comes the cherry on top – I bravely downloaded Emma. I started reading it, and with every page, my mind kept threatening to give up, because the story just wasn’t going anywhere. But I decided to power through the book, and somehow I did. And then came the best surprise – as I progressed, there came a point in the book after which I wasn’t able to put it down! 😀

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And then realisation hit me like a lightning bolt (excuse the cliche).. Jane Austen is never going to write like Sidney Sheldon, and she shouldn’t! She most definitely has an extremely boring style of writing:

1. The setting is very small – the entire story takes place in a single small village consisting of probably 5 families in total.

2. So it is just the people who carry the story forward. There are no interesting places/descriptions to entice you.

3. She writes in chronological order of events – like this: “Once upon a time there was a girl called Mary who lived with her father…”. There is nothing in this sentence that would make you want to read the next sentence. At least the first 100 pages of Austen’s books are usually like this.

4. Hers are novels of manners – describing the manners of upper-class English folk in the early 19th century Georgian era. Who can relate to that? Seriously?!

However, despite a good many flaws, the one strong point of Austen’s writing is the strength of the depiction of her characters. Only when I got really hooked to Emma, of all books, did I realise that what was making me religiously read the book inspite of the insipid writing style, was the characters.

I am not saying I like Emma Woodhouse, but the way her flaws were portrayed and her character depicted got me hooked to know how life was going to turn out for her after all. Ditto with Elizabeth Bennet.

I’m not going to presume to be arrogant enough to decode Jane Austen, but this was just my humble discovery of myself – what works for me in a book, and how I should never ever trash a book or an author based on reading a gist or a single page. Each book has a million wisdoms to impart, and at the very least, all I can do is endeavour to read them. 

Anyway, this post wasn’t meant to be about Jane Austen. It was supposed to be about me rediscovering Classics. So next on my list is Sense and Sensibility. And then PG Wodehouse. And then Atlas Shrugged. And then we’ll see.

But even I got a little tired of 19th century English, and had to take respite in a modern-day vampire fantasy novel full of fangs and thrills. Once again, #lessonlearnt – I, who usually don’t try new authors unless someone recommends them very strongly, tried reading Richelle Mead, and fell in love with her writing style in the very first chapter!

So yeah, life has been full of such surprises of late – just that they’re all happy surprises! 🙂 Even the fact that I’ve managed to write such a lengthy post is a huge surprise!

On that bookish note, toodles! 🙂

The 30-day Harry Potter challenge continued… (Part Tres!)

The final part of this series, I promise! 🙂

21. Favourite version of the sorting hat song:

The one it sang during Harry’s sorting! 🙂 It goes like this:

A thousand years or more ago
When I was newly sewn,
There lived four wizards of renown,
Whose names are still well known

and then goes on to extoll the virtues of the 4 houses and their heads..

22. What is your most burning question for J.K. Rowling?

Why didn’t you let Snape live? I would have loved to see how the relationship between Harry and Snape developed, once Harry found out the truth? It would make for an extremely interesting 8th part if Snape is made Harry’s Godfather! 😀

23. Some sad moments in the series:

Do you even have to ask? All the deaths were extremely distressing – Sirius, Albus, Dobby..

24. One character you would bring to the muggle world:

Arthur Weasley! That man deserves some fun in the muggle world! 🙂

25. A character that you would like to write fan fiction about:

Severus Snape! I think by this point we can all safely agree that I’m head-over-heels in love with Snape 😀

26. A character whose portrayal on screen didn’t impress me:

Cedric Diggory! 😡 He is described as awesomatically handsome in the book.. look what they showed on screen! 

Andddd.. that’s the end of the Harry Potter challenge! Never mind the inconsistency between 30 in the title and 26 in the post. 😛

Although I’m not going to be posting any more Harry Potter challenges for a while, I can’t promise not to post anything about Harry Potter itself.. ah! What about that fanfiction then? Great idea for next post, eh?! 😀

Wake me up when August begins…

I know I’ve shamelessly plagiarised the title of this post from a popular song, but of late, I’ve been wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life?! And so this is going to be a real-quick post where I rant 😦

Everyday I wake up to the incessant shrill ring of the alarm (the fact that the alarm tune is one of my favourite songs doesn’t mitigate the irritation unfortunately). I wake up as tired as I was when I went to sleep, with a huge yawn and a confused jumble of “Things-to-do-today” going through my mind.

15 minutes later, even before my coffee (or rather tea, in my case), I am slightly more awake, with a resolve to enjoy/live life to the fullest today. I plan the “things-to-do-today”, but actively, and with more clarity and purpose. Please note: this list contains such stuff like “finish reading these many chapters in that book”. Because, of late, I’ve realised that a working woman + homemaker finds it impossible to find time to read a book!

And then I start doing them. and all goes to hell!

I cook, clean, make the bed, light the lamps, wash the clothes (I just put them in the machine and hang them to dry afterwards, but hey! that occupies a good 15 minutes of your time and energy!), have lunch, clean up afterwards, and by this point, I am so damn tired that I just want to relax and watch a good TV show. But I look at the clock.. and it is already past 12 PM. 

My cab to work will come in around 1 PM, and I groan, thinking that I haven’t even decided what to wear today, and I can’t wear that cute top that is super comfortable and makes me look super sexy without making me look slutty, because I just wore it to work a couple of days back!!! 😦 My cupboard is so messy that when I open it, all my clothes fall on top of me! I still make a valiant effort to rummage through it and find something decent, but alas! my wardrobe fails me again, and I end up highlighting my eyes and wearing lipgloss to make sure that people don’t notice the fact that salwar-kameezes don’t really suit me.

I have no time or energy left to try a hairstyle that might make me look younger. So I pin up my bangs, tie my hair up with a scrunchy and head to work. Meanwhile, I’ve made a mental note to buy new clothes + clean the wardrobe during the coming weekend so that I don’t have such a tough time the following week. 

By this point, I’m not feeling so great, and am happy to enter the air-conditioned office, as, if nothing else, I will at least get to sit and get some rest in the A/C. But then work is in full flow that day, and I don’t get a moment to move my eyes away from the computer screen. While at work, I suddenly get all upset and cranky about not being able to do what I want to do with my life, and am simply eating, sleeping and paying bills.

I resolve to read that book, because how many books I read in a week/month, and how frequently I read them, and also how fast I finish reading a book, are my metrics of the quality of my life. If I’m able to finish a book within a week, it means that I’m doing great! Whereas, if I’ve been reading/trying to read it for more than 10 days, and haven’t got even halfway through, then something is seriously wrong with my life! Profound right?! 😛

So anyway, at the time of writing this post, I am in the latter phase. So I try and multitask, by eating dinner with my right hand and holding my mobile phone in my left – reading the book on my Kindle for Android app. I don’t get past a chapter, maybe 2 if I stop to drink a juice/milkshake, before my dinner break gets over. I trudge up to the office, feeling worse than before, because I was reading an important scene and I’ve had to stop.

But anyway, work has to go on and such.. my shift gets over, and I go home, barely have the energy to change clothes, and fall on my bed (My husband faithfully has a glass of milk/horlicks ready for me – the only reason my health hasn’t taken a beating yet). I’m almost asleep.. when I suddenly remember that I forgot to set the alarm, and so I wake up and set it…

and we’re back again to the alarm ringing shrilly and incessantly (go back to the top and repeat the reading), because the next day is exactly the same!

And finally, the weekend comes. I repeat the cooking, cleaning part, but I don’t have to go to work! 😀 So with the afternoon being free, I make plans like a superwoman to finally clean my cupboard. And afternoon does come.. but then I realise that I’m too tired to do any sort of work just now.. the laptop sits in a corner and stares at me invitingly with puppy dog eyes. I decide that after all the hard work that I’ve put in throughout the week, I deserve a bit of leisure (never mind the fact that I somehow managed to catch 2 of my favourite shows that morning, while cooking during breaks).

So I start lazily going through my Facebook and Twitter feeds, and end up on WordPress “just to check if anyone has commented on my previous posts”, and before you know it, I’m ranting here about my pathetic schedule! What happened to the cupboard, you ask?! Ah! it remains blissfully untidy, I’m afraid. 😀

Such is life! There are tons of things I want to do in  my life, but it seems more and more difficult to find the time to do anything at all. Maybe it is my poor time management skills, maybe my schedule is really that stupid, or maybe it is simply impossible to have it all! 

But from today, I’ve resolved (I mean, really resolved) to make time for myself  to do the things I’m really passionate about, like reading, blogging, learning more languages, travelling etc. I don’t know how well this is going to work out, but with a little proactive effort, hopefully anything is possible!

Okay, now that cupboard is glaring at me threateningly.. I better go!

Until I find the time to blog again, cheers! 🙂