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Audible Audible Escape Audiobook review Georgette Heyer Humour Regency romance

AUDIBLE ESCAPE GEMS:THE CORINTHIAN BY GEORGETTE HEYER(I am in love with Richard Wyndham!)

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer is one of my top favourites of her books besides Venetia and others that I have read so far. The Corinthian starts with Richard’s mother and sister practically goading him to marry a suitable lady(actually a specific lady which has been decided on for several years)which starts as a very comical encounter between him and his mother and sister and his brother-in-law(who was sort of forced to come to join in on the goading but is miserable and wishes to be somewhere else).

You see,that is what is so special about her book,every character,every scene has a special importance. It’s as if every character is a spice in her wonderful recipe of a book.

This book has such a vivid impact on you because of the fact that every character,every scene is done with a precision which is Georgette Heyer’s style. The character of Sir Richard Wyndham doesn’t appear superfluous or overwhelming because she explains it vividly,his circumstances,his habits in his earlier youth and the events and interactions of him with other people which made him so bored and eventually sardonic.You like Richard not because he is some ideal,strong-charactered man but because he is through with all those follies and utterly bored and therefore cynical of other people’s supercilliousness. He is done with them.And then an encounter with Penelope changes things.

Well,before you jump to presumptions let me tell you that though this trope is done many times and you might have watched movies of a similar style,but I think you should give it a try. Because Penelope doesn’t change him,she is just young(19) and not yet bored as Richard is.Richard is amused by that.That thing in no way clouds his judgements or the general view of the world.Penelope turns out to be a fun pal. The execution of this somewhat clichèd theme is done with an accuracy which doesn’t border on out of the blue and weird plot which make you roll your eyes but with quality humor and charm which is Georgette Heyer’s style.

So,if you don’t want to miss out a considerable dose of funny and healthy romance,you can listen to the Audible Escape’s gem-The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer, narrated by the extraordinary Georgina Sutton who breathes life in each and every character by her unbelievable voice acting!

Categories
Audible BBC Radio Drama collections Classics Jane Austen

ENCHANTING AUDIO DRAMATISED VERSIONS FROM AUDIBLE:PRIDE AND PREJUDICE(BBC RADIO DRAMA)

Now we have the whole movie versions for just our ears with the rest to imagine in our minds with the aid of beautiful pieces that serve as background music for the movie that is playing in our ears.Also to assist the whole thing we have the sound of carriages,horses,doors closing,the winds,the rains,the bells-everything to make it just perfect. And also we have it short,that is,for those of you who find descriptions of scenery and other stuff a bit tedious,well then,these short two-hour dramas are just for you.

Full of dialogues and less narrations of the era’s culture,habits etc. because you can feel it already through the music and the sounds of cups and plates serve as a direct insight,so I say it’s a win-win situation.

And such narrators as that.My personal favourite was Mrs Bennett.The exasperation,the giddiness,the erratic nature is perfectly captured by the narrator as is the silliness of Lydia and Catherine by the respective narrators. Mr. Darcy’s voice has that authority and command with the huskiness that gives his masterpiece of a voice a final touch.

Mr Bingley’s voice has that gentleness and submissiveness as befits his character,so is Jane’s voice. In this way we can easily discern the temperaments of our characters just by the amazing voice acting without reading long character descriptions.

And…the background music is Regal and beautiful and completely fits the period of the novel.All in all it is a treat for the ears so don’t miss it out.

(p.s. Don’t buy the separate Pride and Prejudice audio for 1 credit instead buy the whole Jane Austen BBC radio drama collection for 1 credit,in that way you’ll get the dramatizations of all Jane Austen’s works,well,except Love and Friendship and,you’ll also get Emma,it’s there,although its not included in the description).

Buy this for 1 credit

Instead of this for 1 credit

Like me,who ended up buying both!

Categories
Adult fiction Book Review Margaret Atwood

MARGARET ATWOOD ASTONISHES ME AGAIN:PROSE LIKE THAT WOULD SUCK THE LIFE’S BREATH OUT OF YOUR SOUL…

The Robber Bride is the sixth novel written by Margaret Atwood in 1993.

The Robber Bride is a book about three women who are in their middle ages right now and also about the woman named Zenia whom they have encountered at some point in their lives and boy what an encounter they have had!

Without giving much spoilers, I would like to tell all the reasons why you should read this book.First of all,the way Margaret Atwood writes her characters is almost uncanny.All the three characters-Tony,Charis and Roz are different in their own ways but when you read their chapters you can’t seem to shake yourself of the fact that the author has the personalities of all three of them imbibed in her-otherwise how is it possible that she can write so exquisitely!

Especially the character of Charis-I loved how it was written.I love those mystical elements in her persona.Such books are written to be read more than once.And with Tony,you can almost believe that the author thinks like Tony and so will you when you read the chapters of Charis and countless number of other protagonists she’s written over the years!

Her intellligence,her power to think beyond are nicely captured in the most delicious,entrancing and page-turning prose ever written.You never get bored.You never get tiresome.Her sentences are short but so powerful that you can fill the gaps yourself.

She doesn’t write the whole thing down,insttead she prompts and prods your mind in such a way that you are evoked.There really is something mystical about her books,especially this one and Cat’s eye.

A great many books of Margaret Atwood have the undertone of the World Wars that have actually happened during the author’s time especially the Second World War and we see this in this book as well.

The childhood of our three protagonists is affected by the war as their families-especially their parents were affected by it.We see it in Roz’s sometimes overbearing and erratic personality in making herself trying to fit in(even though she is a rich and successful career woman),Tony losing herself in her historic wars and Charis being Charis.

Whatever those characters faced in their earlier years has resurfaced in their personality traits and that process is shown in a little but impactful words.

Also I would like to add that I loved the relationship between Tony and her husband,West.I know there were some hitches but it had a nice feel,a nice tone to it.Out of the few romantic couples I like in books and pop culture these days(except in classics!),I liked their romance.It was cute,heart-warming and memorable.

Overall this book is a great work of intellect.It digs deeper into your soul through its characters’ psyche,through its bizzare and sometimes overwhelming scenes(which make it more interesting)and after you finish the book still you’ll want to go back and read it again because you’ll be sure that there’s a lot yet left to disclose.

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Book Review

CAT’S EYE BY MARGARET ATWOOD

Cat’s Eye is a book that is very close to my heart because of the fact that I think at one point I have gone through all those phases which relates me not only to the protagonist but also to almost all the characters in her book.

In this book,nobody is the villain(although in the beginning you might feel otherwise).But gradually you start understanding that childhood bullying is toxic but growing up,becoming an adult in no way saves you from the poisonous feelings arising from jeoleousy,intrigue and scorn.

Do we really feel pity for the pitiable or are we helping them just because there is a really tiny portion of ourselves filled with glee.Margaret Atwood deals with such intricacies of the human mind and heart that you might think that she is looking straight into your soul.

Such complexities of the human mind,such weaknesses and the power to overcome that weakness coming with another weakness often renders the characters pitiable and we start seeing ourselves in it.

We do pity Elaine in her childhood and sort of hate Cordelia and her gang for what they did to her.But is it really inside an thirteen year old girl to be that vicious or there is more and why does Elaine repeatedly remembers her.Is it because she wants to show Cordelia her current status or is she regretful of something she did to her.

When you start getting deeper you’d realise that things are not what they seem and that our treachereous emotions make us do certain actions that give us a great sense of delight and superiority but in reality we are wounding us deeper than we know.

And by the time we realise it,it is too late.

Margaret Atwood with her brilliant prose and pace makes us realise that the person standing opposite to you might be the same as you and the only way to cure your wound caused by them is to forgive and forget.

Because that person standing opposite you might just be the mirror reflection of you.

Categories
Book Review

EMMA BY JANE AUSTEN

Jane Austen’s works are often long and detailed which might feel tedious to some readers but once you are in,you really start appreciating the author’s take on people’s behaviour and the reasons behind it.

Every minor character,be it some distant Lady or Aunt-all their nuances are explained by the author giving the reader a distant insight into the lives of the people in that era.

And here’s the thing-Jane Austen wants you to believe that she is just giving the detailed description of the life surrounding her and that the female protagonist’s actions are justified because you know the reason behind that-due to Jane’s detailed description of the character’s mind but then bam! you are proved wrong and then you go back to the text realising that the author is just relating to you the workings of the character’s mind,she is in no way justifying her actions,she is leaving that for you to decide.

Because she so artfully and thoroughly describes you the workings of the mind-you start thimking,”Well! that is reason enough”.But then comes the second character’s perspective and you start seeing things in a clearer light.

And that is what Jane Austen wants to tell us-When you enter inside someone’s mind-the intentions and the thoughts are so noble that you seldom mistake their actions and think them to be as noble as their thoughts.But that’s not the case.The little nuances or selfishnesses that we shrug off might actually sabotage their noble deeds.

The little vanities in our character that we take for granted might actually become a vital ingredient in hurting other people’s feelings.

I heard a person say that we think that we’ve figured out the person in front of us because our high intellect and past amity with our fellow creatures backs us up but here is where we go wrong.

And I think that that is what happened between Emma and Miss Bates(though I must admit that I watched the movie first,the 1996 one-starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam)-so that gave me a clearer insight and consequently I didn’t like her attitude towards Miss Bates in the book from the start.

Same thing happens with her and Harriet-she fails to grasp the inner workings of Harriet’s mind and assumes that she knows her better than herself(mind you,that’s a very dangerous attitude!) and we have all those fixes as a result!

Also,because of all this tangle,Emma starts doubting herself and falls into an even more complex labrynith taking Harriet with her.Also because of all that she fails to observe the little partialities shown to her by Mr Knightly or even if she does notice them she,based on her assumptions takes them to be tokens of a life-long friendship.

Because of all these entanglements and assumptions backed up her vanities and people’s trust in her intellect and understanding,Emma leaves no room for circumspection which results in her grossly miscalculated actions and misery for her friend Harriet.

In a sense Emma can also be termed as a coming-of-age novel because it is the story of Emma gaining perspective of her society,understanding people’s behaviours,getting to see their true colours(I am looking at you Mr Elton!) and consequently knowing herself-shedding off her vanities,her assumptions and becoming truly empathetic.

I bought this book second hand and got this movie-tie-in edition!Cheap buying has its perks!
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Audiobook review

THE COLOR PURPLE BY ALICE WALKER

I listened to the Audiobook version narrated by the author herself.

I was shocked and startled from the beginning of the book.

The novel starts with a young black teenager Celie who maintains a diary in which she writes letters to God telling him everything that goes on with her life.

The book follows the trials and tribulations of a poor black woman who suffers a lot,including getting raped by her father and getting preganent consequently,getting sold off to a husband in marriage,abused and beaten by her husband and spending a major part of her life being a helpless submissive who just accepts things without raising any voice,just in order to survive.

But she finds her silver lining in the form of Shug Avery-who is an opera singer and also the mistress of her husband.She shows her that there is more,much more to life than just being a hopeless and pitiable creature.

The novel follows her journey to find happiness,love,her orientation,her self-esteem and ultimately God.

The one thing I like about this book is that all the characters-whether they are the ones who hurt others or the ones who are hurt by others-they all have a perspective.

This book is not only about Celie but also about Albert,Shug Avery,Nettie,Harpo,Sofia-they all recover themselves of their past wounds and become a better version of themselves.

Celie doesn’t shy away from revealing the deepest secrets of her heart,the feelings of jealousy,agitation that she sometimes got in her moments of insecurity made her all the more realistic and humane.And that made her character arc more interesting and satisfying.

And the one thing that I loved about this book is that the author wrote it the way she talked.She didn’t feel any qualms in writing the prose with some grammatical errors and I think that gave more credibility to the story.

All in all,The Color Purple is a story about embracing yourself,not changing the way you are,not pitying yourself and finding happiness and embracing it in the form you want to because that is when you feel truly connected to everything-the trees,the birds,your surroundings and everything becomes pleasent and soothing inside out.And that is when you realise your real worth and find your self esteem making you independent and strong.

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Book Review

THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL BY ANNE BRONTË

I have read and listened to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and also I have read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.Do you know what is common in both?Yes,you got it -The Rake or ‘The Bad Boy’.Although in Jane Eyre Mr. Rochester does realise his follies and tries to improve himself and in Wuthering Heights-well you know what Heathcliff was and remained for the rest of his life-insufferably cruel to everyone except for his Catherine?

But sometimes I wonder what if he had ended up with Catherine in the Earthly world-would that have worked?I don’t know ?Maybe it might have.But that’s up for debate.What I am going to talk about is another book written by the youngest Brontë sister which also has a rake and he does end up with the female protagonist.

Sometimes I think that Anne Brontë was more sensible and genuine in dealing with these types of relationships on paper.Although I love Jane Eyre with all my heart ,I can’t help realising that whatever Anne did with her story and characters seem more realistic and prevalent in the present scenario.

She showed how most of our romantic notions could be mere illusions which might make us pay heavily at the end.

The male protagonist here is a charming rake who promises Helen that he would dispose of his old habits because her love has reformed him?

But can that actually happen?Can old habits really die this fast on an encounter with a passion for a person you merely know?

Is it that easy to reform a person?Wouldn’t that just make the character unreliable and unstable?

Mr Rochester was not reformed by Jane Eyre-he learnt and realised his folly the hard way.And Heathcliff and Catherine didn’t reform each other.They were together because they were the same-ruthless and harsh.

This book is an eye opener.A person cannot be transformed unless he/she wants to.Anne Brontë’s prose is magnetic and enchanting like her sisters.Though I find her the boldest to not shy away from any ugliness and disclose everything completely making the reader understand the reason behind every character’s actions and it’s consequences.

p.s.Buy the edition which starts from

‘To J.Halford Esq.’

and not the one

‘You must go back with me..’

Like I did.

That edition is the complete one.

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Book Review

COTILLION BY GEORGETTE HEYER:Not our usual sardonic and reserved guy but more of a ‘nice’ guy….

Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion differs from her other books in terms of her male protagonist who is not very elegant in his speeches,nor does he makes sardonic remarks,nor does he looks bored and says nothing at all at balls or gatherings but is very kind and indulges everyone whether silly or ignorant and is excellent at small talk.Come on,what isn’t there to love!

Our male lead here talks mostly in slangs,doesn’t care much about himself in terms of reputation or status(though he is rich and dresses nicely).All in all he is a genuine guy and his character arc seems more organic.

I fell in love with Freddy Standen’s character instantly after seeing his easy manner of talking,not caring much about the consequences of all the kindnesses that he frequently bestowed upon people and his easy manners.

Frederick Standen doesn’t come out as a character in lines with Mr Darcy or Mr Rochester but more as a guy next door who is not your typical badass or alpha male guy but more of a character who is awkward in displaying outlandish modes of affection which makes him more imprinted on your memory.All in all Freddy is a ‘nice guy’.And that is why a lot of more critical readers won’t find him problematic as they are prone to do with the ‘Rochesters’.

And I loved it that there was a character more in lines with the aforementioned characters and how intricately Georgette Heyer displayed his character arc making the readers and Kitty realize the flaws of a ‘bad guy’ and why Freddy would be a much better match for her which shows Heyer’s genius because mostly her characters are rakes or ‘bad guys’.

I recommend this book to those who want a break from all the Mr Darcys,Rochesters for a moment and want to read Georgette Heyer play with various character types and surprise you with their delightful yet satisfying ending.

The all absorbing prose which might make you tedious but then instantly relieve you of your tediousness by its comic timing is why you should have a little patience to delve completely in Georgette Heyer’s prose.

I mean,it is my personal experience-the more patient you are with a book,the longer it lasts in your memory.

And if you love Regency period and want some proper,witty,heartwarming and non-trashy romances-Georgette Heyer’s books are the perfect match for you.

Categories
Classics Dystopian Science fiction

WE BY YEVGENY ZAMYATIN (translated by Natasha Randall)

‘We’ is a dystopian novel written by Yevgeny Zamyatin in the year 1921 and was banned in the Soviet Union until 1989.It’s a dystopian novel that reflects some of the elements that are relevant in the modern day world.

‘We’ starts out as the musings of a very important member of the One State known as D-503.He is a mathematician and working on a very important project.Therefore the book has some mathematical language in it.His ideology is simple and clear regarding everything- in this world everything is as simple and uncomplicated as a mathematical formula.And this man wants to keep a record of this perfect and simple world which has perfect synchronicity regarding time and work alloted to all the citizens.

That is to say,every person in this One State gets up at the same time and goes to bed at the same time.

Even the work hours are predecided for each and every citizen and all of them work at the same time simultaneously.

Only two hours ,that is between 1600-1700 and 2100-2200 are the free hours which are usually reserved for Sex Days and those are the only times when the blinds are drawn,because,you see,everybody lives in glass apartments.(also they have to issue a pink ticket for the Sex Days along with the registration of their partners).

There is no freedom,only transparency and D-503 firmly believes in the formula that no freedom=happiness.

He mocks the ways of the Ancients(people before the hundred year old war)and ridicules them for having such frivolous notions about happiness.

Throughout the novel,one can see that D-503 really appreciates his world.This perfect world covered with glasses reflecting the Sun rays uniformly all over the State.

Where there are no unpredictabilities and everything is uniform and decided.

But then,he also comes out contradicted in many places.

Personally,in my point of view,his contradictions are influenced by the presence of his lover I-330,it’s clear from his records that he deems his world to be a perfect one and has none of the issues like the protagonist of ‘1984’.

Whatever he does,he does it so as to make I-330 happy.

One thing more,the prose of the novel is such that at times it reminds me a little of Margaret Atwood.

The author writes things as he sees them,so much so that sometimes you might feel that you are watching someone else’s dreams.

The other aspect of this novel,which I like most is the way in which D-503 puts his opinions of his perfect world.

The author is so eloquent over here that you might start wondering whether this kind of a world is not bad after all-the author has done it intentionally as he is trying to show that why D-503 and all the other citizens are so well-pleased with this kind of life-style.

The philosophies and opinions for the the One State and against the One State are so deft and detailed that they do an amazing work in understanding why the different characters in the novel act,think and behave the way they do.

But then at some points ‘We’ presents a frightful scenario with scenes,ideologies and lifestyles which,unfortunately,are not very difficult to relate to in this world.

In a way,these dystopian novels whether it be ‘We’ or ‘1984’ or ‘Brave New World’-they all are the predictions of the world as it would become based on the goings-on of the early 20th century and the intellectuals who have written them have been proved right in many a ways.

Categories
Adult fiction Biographical fiction historical fiction

READING MY FAVOURITE AUTHOR AFTER A LONG TIME:ALIAS GRACE BY MARGARET ATWOOD

I don’t know if it’s only with me or a lot of people but I like those books of Margaret Atwood which haven’t won the Man Booker or were just nominated for it compared to the ones that have actually won the award.

Coming to the book review,this book is classic Margaret Atwood.The same beautiful use of imagery to weave certain thoughts or the portrayal of emotions through that addictive prose in which Margaret Atwood is so good at.

The use of metaphors along with such beautiful prose makes the reader want anything but to devour each and every page of the book.

In that sense Margaret Atwood truly “holds your attention”.

The amount of conviction the reader gets after reading the events due to the brilliant prose style is a key factor in not letting your mind wonder.

The story is based on the true murder case of Nancy Montgomery and Mr. Kinnear that happened in the nineteenth century in Canada.The two convicts arrested were the stablehand-McDermott and the house maid Grace Marks.McDermott was hanged but Grace was kept in the Penitentiary on the account of some obstacles which couldn’t completely prove her guilty.

One of those being Grace’s ever changing accounts of the incident,lack of evidence,her calm and serene composure and the biggest of all-the holes in her memory,where she can’t even remember certain time periods of her life.

This book explores the concepts of Neuro-hypnotism,somnabulism(sleep walking) and multiple personality disorder.

Margaret Atwood has brilliantly mixed all these phenomenas in order to construct a complex but deeply layered character of Grace.The reader never stops wondering what happens next.And on the top of that,the strange and vivid dreams of the characters in this book gives a certain amount of chill,a sense of premonition and some symbolism which keeps the reader glued till the very end.

For fans of Mrgaret Atwood this sure is treat!