Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Review On "In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri"

The most indispensable thing that every writer needs to have, regardless of the language is the love for it. After having experienced the success of becoming a qualified writer of the English language and after having won the Pulitzer prize for her book "Interpreter Of Maladies", this writer of epigrammatic force, Jhumpa Lahiri, gives up the language that she has mastered and is well-versed in and goes down to learning to write and to speak in another language as a beginner, to procure a sense of belongingness and to fight the feeling of revulsion. Her journey from learning the basics of the Italian language to publishing a book in the same language is unraveled in her book " In Altre Parole". "In Altre Parole" was written by Jhumpa Lahiri in Italian and translated to English by Ann Goldstein. I would highly recommend this book for all the avid readers of the English language.

"In Other Words" is about how Jhumpa Lahiri goes on a trip to Florence with her sister and falls in love with the Italian language and how this love for an unknown language takes her miles (literally). In spite of being a prolific writer of the English language, Jhumpa Lahiri has not translated the book herself as it makes her feel disoriented and alienated and she doesn't enjoy the power of her English language over that of her Italian. "In Other Words" is a book of self-reflection. One can even consider this book as a guide to learning another language as it explains all the hardships and methods of mastering a foreign language. I personally felt a philosophical touch in the book. Jhumpa Lahiri's continuous efforts, hard work and perseverance provide inspiration to the readers. Even though this book has been translated by another author, it hasn't lost its flavour. One can be promised to experience the usual conspicuous and flawless writing of the author.

The connection between the author and the Italian language is pictured as a sublime one as it does not have an earthly relationship to be compared with. Her main intention of learning the Italian language is to find shelter (even though a fragile one) under a particular language and to get rid of her loneliness. The relationship that she has with the language is not a constant one, it changes as her knowledge of the language grows stronger. She compares the language to a lake, to a person that she has fallen in love with and to an infant because a word, a life, a person and a language mean the same to her. Soon, the English language becomes a shore that gives her support to swim in the lake, a former lover that she is tired of and a hairy adolescent. The author's cognition on the subject of languages is clearly seen when she says that technology can shorten the distance between people but not the distance between languages. According to her, a language is a tremendous and mysterious element which can be accomplished only by hard-working and perseverance. She moves to Rome, along with her family to get an insight of the Italian language and when she is away from Rome, she feels the anxiety that two lovers feel on separation. When reading in the language, she feels like a guest, but when writing in the same, she feels more like an intruder. Writing in the language gives her desperation and hope. She doesn't stop even when her efforts seem like a leap into the void because according to her, 'the idea of impossibility is what hinders a creative mind'. She compares her writing to the famous city in Italy, Venice. She believes her writing to be impalpable like the reflection in the Grand Canal and to be nebulous like the fog in Venice. Jhumpa Lahiri reckons writing as 'an extended homage to imperfection' and 'imperfection inspires invention, imagination and creativity'.

The two allegorical short stories in the novel namely "The Exchange" and "Half-Light" add a magical touch to the book and offer the readers an enchanting read. The usage of a lot of oxymorons make the novel more alluring. I totally disagree with Jhumpa Lahiri on her opinion that a book is alive only when it is being written and that it dies once the process is over, because I certainly know that this book will live forever in the hearts of its readers!

I hope you enjoyed the review, if not please don't hesitate to leave a comment!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Every good book teaches you something and helps you grow as a person and in that sense, I grew up with little scout, the protagonist of the novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird". Having read " To Kill a Mockingbird", the ending of the story let me imagine a 'happily ever after' and a sequel to the novel meant a halt to my imagination. On knowing that a sequel was found, I was both excited and shocked! I was nervous too as I became aware of the advantage that this book has in ruining my opinion of the first book in the series. But after reading this book, it became clear to me that this book was completely different from its prequel and all thoughts on comparing the two books faded away.

First of all, this book was heavily hyped and so arouse bigger expectations. However, this book was competent as a separate novel, it has failed to be a good sequel. Even though, this book has its flaws, it also has the requisite constituents of a good book and so I would recommend it to readers of all kind.

I personally enjoyed reading this book as I got to meet the same characters that I grew up with. This book has a nostalgic touch when Jean Louise, the protagonist, reminisces her childhood, taking us back to the good old days of "To Kill a Mockingbird". Even though this book is portrayed many years after its prequel and so times, people and their opinions have changed, Jean Louise remains the same old tomboyish, curious little scout in attitude. Atticus' brother and Jean Louise's uncle Jack Finch, has been given much significance in this book. This book teaches us that our personal opinions are what gives us our individuality and that difference of opinion is an indispensable part of everyone's lives. The message that this book conveys is insightful and sagacious.

My opinion on this book will certainly differ from someone else's opinion on this book as we all relate a book to our own personal lives. According to me, this book is all about growing up, facing reality and accepting the truth. The author beautifully explains the hardships of growing up and of growing independent. Like every young adult, Jean Louise grows up too and wakes up to reality one day. The pangs of betrayal and the pain that it inflicts upon Jean Louise is felt by the reader too. what makes her move on, accept reality and understand the importance of listening to people of different opinions is the rest of the story!!!

I hope you enjoyed the review, if not don't hesitate to leave a comment!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

An appraisal of "Annihilation of Caste by Dr.B.R.Ambedkar"

I am in no place to assess a man so intelligent and selfless as Dr.Ambedkar, or any of his works. So, I would just like to present my personal opinion of how edifying the book was. This book is an eye-opener on the ruthlessness of the caste system. Before reading this book, all I had known about the caste system was that the people belonging to the minority groups had reservations in the education system. I can now feel the respect that has grown inside me for the system of reservation of seats in educational institutions. I would like to thank Dr.B.R.Ambedkar for this. I would recommend this book to all the young citizens of India, on whose hands the future of the country lies.

The book begins with an introduction "The Doctor and the Saint" by the great Indian critic Arundhati Roy. The introduction is very didactic and provides all the knowledge that one has to have about the caste system, untouchability, Dr.Ambedkar's humble crusade against the caste system and M.K. Gandhi's opposition to the crusade. The writing style is very prolific. It is the best orientation that a reader can ask for before plunging into the "Annihilation of Caste". Arundhati Roy's introduction is astounding and clearly shows her inevitable dedication for the welfare of the society. She has comprehensibly unravelled the brutality of untouchability and the pointless significance given to it in India.

The speech "Annihilation of Caste" was written by Dr.B.R.Ambedkar for a conference held by the Jat-pat Todak Mandal to which he was invited to preside over. The conference itself was cancelled because Dr.Ambedkar's speech persuaded the idea that in order to annihilate the caste system, it is necessary to reform or annihilate the Hindu religion itself. Dr.Ambedkar's opinions on the caste system was not encouraged by the members of the Jat-pat Todak Mandal and they asked him to leave out certain points which substantiate his audacious denunciation of Hinduism. But Dr.Ambedkar refused to do so!

Being an untouchable himself, Ambedkar understood the inhumanity of untouchability and all through his childhood, he fought against the odds and came up in life, well educated, with the only aim of bringing equality and abolishing the practice of untouchability. In his speech, he explicates how the caste system plays it's role in oppresing the lives of the people socially, morally and economically.

Living in a country and always dreaming of its futuristic and developed state, instead of focusing on the most pressing issue and the consequences that this issue can inflict upon the lives of the people, is like being trapped in a dark room with the key in our hands. Dr.B.R.Ambedkar has given each and every one of us the key to a developed India that the country has always been dreaming of! The "Annihilation of Caste" is the first and the crucial step towards a developed India!

I hope you enjoyed the review, if not don't hesitate to leave a comment!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

This is my first time reading a classic so old as to have been published in 1886. Many critics say that this novel is one of the greatest works of Thomas Hardy and I could see that crystal clear when I was reading this book.

Thomas Hardy's naturalistic writing and the rendering of the ordinary life of the people in the 19th century is what makes the novel a magnificent one. Casterbridge- the fictitious village described beautifully by Hardy represents all the remote villages of England in the 19th century. And thus, I would recommend this book for all the lovers of English literature.

As the subtitle of the novel- The life and Death of a Man of character- itself suggests, this story is about the life of a man who comes to Casterbridge in his twenties and sells his wife and child, under the influence of alcohol and is left suffering for the rest of his life for having committed such a heinous sin. The protagonist, on the journey to his final destiny- Death, experiences fame, sufferings and betrayal. Thomas Hardy's bleak conception of the world is perspicuously shown in his novels in which the protagonist suffers in unbearable circumstances and as a result learns his true place in the universe.

This novel has very strong characters. The change in one's emotions according to the situations is pictured perfectly by Hardy. The main charm of this novel was its allegorical flow in which modernity and tradition are contradicted. The plot of this novel has been carefully constructed to amuse the readers at every turn. I was tantalized by the characterization too. The perfect and alluring phraseology of the novel was the biggest appeal to me. For example: when one of the main characters comes to know a life-changing truth, the author says that the character tries to " adjust her filial sense to the new centre of gravity ".

Now, I would like to end my review by quoting my favourite lines from the book:

       " The highroad into the village of
          Weydon-Priors was again carpeted
          with dust. The trees had put on as
          of yore their aspect of dingy green,
          and where the Henchard family
          of three had once walked along,
          two persons not unconnected with
          the family walked now. "

I hope you enjoyed the review!!! I will be back soon with more interesting reviews!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Ashima and Ashoke, a  newly married couple and immigrants from Calcutta, India move to America to spend the rest of their lives there.  This journey throws many challenges at them in the upbringing of their first child, Gogol. In the compulsion to choose between the cultures, will Gogol still be able to live life his way without breaking his parents' hearts?

I loved reading this book because of its detailed writing and the rich language. I also love the way the two cultures are explained and differentiated deeply. Even though the plot is not very well developed, the zealous writing style makes up for it and conceals all the flaws. So, i would surely recommend this book for all the young adult and adult avid readers of fiction.

I felt that the story was weak in the area of plot development, as I mentioned earlier. I also personally felt that the novel consisted of some offensive content because it has the mention of living together relationships. The story would have been more better for me if it had more positive aspects. I was disappointed by the story not being able to fulfill its true potential and to meet my expectations. The writing style aroused me to expect more of the story.

I felt the story was especially strong in the area of exhibiting the bonding of a family. I was captivated by the way the sentimental scenes of the novel were explained. The biggest appeal for me is how the author enchantingly takes the readers along the journey of the protagonist, through all the ups and downs of his life. I was riveted by the flow of the book, which makes the reader feel that it is impossible to put the book down once they start reading it. I was completely enthralled by the way the author ends each and every paragraph, leaving the reader, pondering upon the last lines of the last paragraph for minutes, before starting with the next paragraph. I felt that the author was able to clearly present a perfect mixture of both the cultures as her personal life too is intertwined with both the cultures!!!

I would like to end my review by quoting my favourite lines from the book:

"Do I remind you of that night?"
"Not at all," his father says eventually, one hand going to his ribs, a habitual gesture that has baffled Gogol until now. " You remind me of everything that followed".

So folks, what are you waiting for? Go and grab your own copy of the book!

Hope you enjoyed the review, if not please don't hesitate to leave a comment!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Review on " The Perks of being a Wallflower " by Stephen Chbosky

This book turned out to be different from all the other books I’ve ever read. Maybe after reading every book, I end up feeling this way but this time it was a completely different experience. I’ve already read a book called “The catcher in the rye“ which has been written on the same genre as this book. These books are known as the coming-of-age classics. I don’t understand why they are called classics because I thought the classics were supposed to teach you something! I usually read a book and write review only after interpreting the inner meaning of the story. All the books I’ve ever read has always had a message in them that has enlightened me. But in these books, I did not find any such message but only the phases of life that an average, shy and a conservative or reserved adolescent goes through.

It’s the popularity of the book that drove me into reading it. Many of my ‘adolescent’ friends seem to love it. Well, it was also an advantage reading this book because as a literature student and as a person with passion for writing, I think I’ve to try reading books in all genre. I feel I’ve just visited the arena which I’ve never been to in the world of books!

Charlie, a fifteen year old adolescent writes letters to a person that he has not met before in person  but has only heard about and thinks that this person can understand Charlie’s feelings completely. He writes about what is going on in his life after he has joined high school. He writes about the darkest incidents that have happened in his life like the suicide of his best friend Michael and the death of his favourite aunt Helen that none of his high school friends are aware of.

Charlie is portrayed as a very shy, conservative and a not-so-popular or uncool kid as he puts it. So, he obviously does not have many friends. The only friends that he gets in his high school are his seniors, Patrick and his stepsister Sam who’ll turn out to be his BFF s later!

From my point of view, I think Charlie has a sort of mental disorder. In his high school life, Charlie meets Bill, his English teacher who finds out Charlie’s potential and acts as a guide and a counselor in Charlie’s life. The hidden potential which is unleashed by Bill is Charlie’s writing ability. Bill gives Charlie books and asks him to read them and to write essays on them. Soon, Charlie thinks that he has a career in writing. The first book that bill gives him is the famous classic “To kill a mockingbird”. The only thing that I could relate to was this part of Charlie’s life because the first book that I wrote an essay about is “To kill a mockingbird” and I also have a character like Bill in my life who buys me books and encourages me to write essays or reviews on them! ( Lucky me!!! )

 After getting himself introduced to Patrick and Sam, a different chapter of Charlie’s life opens up and its sure not up to any good. It’s a world of first dates, drugs, smoking, drinking, abuses and stuffs. These things mess up Charlie’s life even more and add up to his depression. But there are also days when Patrick, Sam and Charlie go on their fantastic car trip with their favourite song playing in the background making them feel “infinite“! A typical high school life as portrayed in the movies!

In Charlie’s life, there are also family attachments and supports and quarrels with his sister. There are also frequent family trips to meet his grandparents and cousins. Even though Charlie and his sister have quite a lot of quarrels, it is Charlie who helps his sister out of her toughest times!

As there cannot be an adolescent story without infatuations and love triangles… I’m coming to it. Charlie falls for Sam who falls for Craig, a popular kid at school. And Charlie starts dating Mary Elizabeth and has to break her heart as he feels he couldn’t pretend anymore!

In the meanwhile, Bill keeps on giving him books and Charlie continues to write essays on them. The story ends as his seniors who are the only friends of Charlie graduate from high school and move out. As a result of this, Charlie completely surrenders to drugs and is affected mentally and is hospitalized. After he gets discharged from the hospital, he reminisces all the things that had happened in his life in the past one year and he says that, this is going to be his last letter and he asks the reader of the letter not to worry about him. He says that there are going to be ups and downs in his life just like his past but in the end everything is going to be fine!!!

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!!! if not, don't hesitate to leave a comment!!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Beginning!!!

Hi!!! I am Mahmudha Shukra. I am doing my first year in English literature and i am seventeen years old! It's my indelible love for reading that inspired me to write... yes, i write! I write a lot.. i write when something interesting happens in my life... i write when i feel bad about something... i write when there is no one to share my feelings with... i write when i feel like i've had the worst day ever! I write even when i feel bored and have nothing else to do! well... thats a lot of writing right??? so, by now you would've come to a conclusion that i love reading and writing. So, i've created this blog to write... but this time, its different because i'm going to write...but not about myself or my feelings but about the books that i read. You can even call it a "Book Review"! I'm going to write about my opinion about the book. And i will also give a brief summary of the book, so that the reader of this blog understands what it is all about! So i'll be back soon with a hopefully good review of a book that i am going to start reading!!!!!!