“a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with”
This book is such a soft exploration of dark themes, tw death/of a child, suicide, murder and what comes after it.
If you have experienced that deep loss of loosing someone you loved I’m sure you would have wondered alot of things mentioned in this book, ofcourse we can never know for sure but the author provides a very helpful and hopeful picture of what comes next.
I love that this book has diverse character representation. Also how kind and patient everyone in the tea shop is, while they deal with death all the time.
This book has many things to love but somehow I didn’t felt the profound impact like in the reviews I read. I mean it’s an amazing book one of the best books I read this year but it didn’t hit me like that at the end. I’d definitely give this book a 4⭐/5
Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert (1857), is a haunting tale of a young woman who, obsessed with her own happiness, eventually causes her family’s ruin.
The story opens with a young man, Charles Bovary, beginning his career as a country doctor. He meets a young girl, Emma, and falls madly in love with her and they marry. The book is principally about his new wife, and her misguided views of life.
Going through this book I felt the core of human nature haven’t changed much, in the book Emma Bovary, dislikes the monotony and dreams about having the “finer” things of life: wondrous passion, giddy romance, inordinate wealth, fantastic possessions, and delicious idleness. She searches for a way to quench the thirst of her romantic desires, first embroiling herself in one affair, and then another, while spending money far beyond her means, while failing to see that the ingredients for her happiness are right before her: her husband who loves her immensely despite her faults, a lovely healthy daughter, and the relatively successful doctors practice they could have. While initially not having a huge effect on her life, her insatiable desires end up destroying her and her family.
She believes that her happiness can only come by spending more money and having more passion; yet, the more she seeks this, the emptier it becomes. Then, to complete the cycle, she pines for the past, falsely believing that she used to be happy. To achieve that while spending money far beyond her means. She takes money without her husband’s knowledge, and gets into large amounts of debt.
Her debts build to a dramatic point, where foreclosures are issued for her household items. In this miserable state, she turns to the same men she had affairs with men for money but is refused. Not being able to raise any money, and being desperate to hide the truth from her husband, she takes arsenic and dies.
Charles, having loved her to the last, is left heartbroken, and eventually dies of heartache. The book closes with the fate of her daughter, Berthe, now an orphan. She first lives briefly with her grandmother – until she dies – and then resides with a distant aunt, who sends her to work in a cotton mill.
She was not happy – she never had been. Whence came this insufficiency in life – this instantaneous turning to decay of everything on which she lent?
The book ends as a heartbreaking tragedy and I couldn’t help but wonder how many times we too drown in materialistic things and desires while ignoring the actual things that matter, people who love us; and forget that our time is limited and human desires are limitless! Where do we draw the line in our consumerism is something personal but I genuinely feel this masterpiece is as or probably more relevant today.
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This book has everything I like. Mythology, war and a love story in the midst of the war. Also the prophecies, in a sense you know what’s gonna happen and the protagonist try to avoid it, and doing so they somehow end up fulfilling the prophecy eventually. This book is a perfect amalgamation of love, pride, sacrifice and pain.
Also not just talking this book but many of the ancient civilizations were so above the heteronomy. Why and when did we go from ‘whoever one chose to love was one’s own business’ to ‘it’s a sin and crime’
Now coming to the book ; This book is a wonderful retelling of the story from the original lliad focussed on Greek hero Achilles & Patroclus, his lover and companion.
The original Iliad is quite homoerotic to say the least, but as it’s been remade or retold through history, the queerness of the epic was often erased, but this book hones in on it and beautifully reclaims it.
The book takes us through the lives of Achilles and Patroclus as they grow up.. Usually in movies and Trojan mythology he is depicted as a ultra masculine war machine but here because we get to see a young boy. Ofcourse he is a perfect golden child who aces at everything. But he is also funny and friendly, loves to play harp, tries to please his mother, fulfill his princely duties at his father’s kingdom. Especially his interactions with Patroclus humanise Achilles in a beautiful way, he opens up to Patroclus, he shares his fears and dreams.
Patroclus stands as a contrast, not just in a sense that Achilles is a demigod and he is a mortal but in so many. He starts as a disgraced exiled prince but with Achilles he is happy, he feels welcomed and valued. He thrives with Achilles as he struggled with the idea of not being good enough many times during his life and all this is before, they are romantically involved or go through the Trojan war.
This is beautiful story of growing up, companionship, pride, prophecies, heartbreaks and war.
Alice Walker’s epistolary novel first published in 1982 went on to win the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Although I’m always abit cynical about award winning books but when I started to read this one it became apparent to me why this book has been so popular for years.
Celia the protagonist,initially writes letters to God, as she tries to get things off her chest, but through the corse of the book she starts to write to her long lost sister Nettie, as she finally finds her and they go back and forth, so we read letters from both of them. And the contrast between their lives become stronger and stronger. The book deals with many strong themes from racism to homosexuality with such tenderness that the characters truly breathe out of the book, you can feel everything they go through and how they evolve throughout the span of decades.
Celie is abused emotionally and physically by her mother and beaten and raped by her ‘pa’. She ultimately becomes pregnant twice during this incestuous sexual abuse phase, and both of her babies are taken away from her.
Celie lives with the thought that the babies were killed but one day she comes across a little girl who looks just like her,growing up in a comparatively well off family which gives her a sense of comfort knowing that the child is alive and well.
But in mean time her mother passes away and her father marries another woman and nettie her younger sister gets involved with a much older widower.
The man wants to marry Nettie but her father marries off celie to him, trapped in a loveless abusive marriage Celile goes through similar cycle of physical and sexual abuse from her husband. While she takes care of the kids and house and works day and night, the poor thing.
But one day when her husband brings his mistress the blues singer Shug Avery home celie falls in love with her truly and deeply. Also Avery’s presence highlights everything missing from celile’s life. She is potrayed as a strong beautiful woman who lives her life on her own terms has her own money, she is her own master and celie looks up to her, as in her world women don’t have any of this.
One more character I would like to mention is Celi’s stepson’s wife Sofia, who is again a very strong woman. She stands up for herself and cannot be scared she gets in to physical altercation with her husband whenever he tries to physically abuse her, ask for what she wants. Although she is seen as rather impulsive but is definitely one of my favourite characters in the whole book.
Nettie meanwhile runaways and has gone to Africa with a family who are missionaries, although she writes to celie throughout the years but her letters don’t get to her sister for decades, but through her letters we get to know some of the local African cultures and lifestyle and her life as a missionary there. There is also a family secret and racially motivated lynching.
Over all the book is amazing and its ofcourse heartbreaking to what all people went through just because of the amount of melanin in their skin. The book deal with so many themes and strong subjects from racism to homosexuality but they are potrayed with so much humanity, the characters truly breathe out of the book, you can feel the things they face throughout the decades and how they evolve as people.
One thing that really got me was the determination and resilience of Celie, she starts as a very naive and innocent young girl who remains faithful and resilient during so many adversities but her ultimate display of strength lies in her forgiveness to both her life and the people who did her wrong.
If you read only one book for the #blackhistorymonth my suggestion would be this.
I’m personally not a very big fan of ‘Self-Help’ books, no hate to the genre but sometimes I feel the books are too out there for my taste personally, so if you are like me, this is not one of those self help books. The book is actually believable and grounded in reality and presented with research and scientific backups.
I loved the real life instances and lessons from lives of everyday people from different walks of life and also global role models like Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and Gandhi.
The book is aptly described as a “user manual for life”. As the author explains
” My goal in this book is to help us find universal laws of human nature that can guide us to our true nature—our highest potential—and to demonstrate that when we live in harmony with these laws, we create the conditions for outer success and impact.”
The main teachings of the book can be summarised in the idea of what the author calls the “five Core Energies”—purpose, wisdom, growth, love, and self-realization, and how to work with them in everyday life to live a more concious, harmonious and purposeful life. One thing if I could change would be making the book little shorter otherwise a great book.
Thank you so much @wandering_diaries and the author for the review copy all opinions and pictures are my own.
In Ecce Homo Nietzsche writes: My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it… but love it.
If you could go back in your life and change something, what would you do? Erase something that you regret. It seems as though there were options to have done differently, for things to go differently.
Would it change anything? Well according to Nietzsche .. No
There was no option to have done differently and there is no other way for things to go for the fundamental things to life in general, you have no control over it and cannot change it. Idea is things we perceive and interpret as negative and somehow avoidable are part of much bigger picture and everything we are and have done is bound closely together in a web of consequences. It assumes that even if somehow we change those decisions and things went differently, we would not still find ourselves in a similar state.
To believe that every decision you’ve made is the best and only decision you could’ve made at the time with the information you had and the state. So there’s no point in loathing and it’s best to accept things just as the are completely.
So comes the Idea of “amor fati” ‘love for the whole of it’. One of the most beautiful aspects of Nietzsche’s thinking that we recognise that things really could not have been otherwise. And for Nietzsche, achieving this state is the greatest gift of life. This idea can then be used to construct the lens through which we see the beauty and acceptance in everything. Not blaming yourself or anyone for what happened or entertaining the thoughts of ‘what if?’ but thinking about how much you can love your life right now and how! And perhaps sometimes the only way to experience the beauty of things is to think about things in a beautiful way.
These precious days by Ann Patchett, thank you @bloomsburyindia for the #gifted copy of this wonderful book.
I loved this book, if you are a fan of the author I’m sure you are gonna love it, and if you haven’t read her beforehand, this book would definitely be a good place to start.
Its a nonfiction essay compilation of various relationships in Patchett’s personal and professional life including with her father and stepfathers; her decision not to have children; the close friendship she develops in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic with Tom Hanks’ assistant Sooki Raphael. Patchett’s life as a writer, from her earliest grade school writing, through college and graduate school, magazine writing, novels and ultimately selling books at her Nashville independent bookstore Parnassus, is woven throughout.
Twenty-two essays (plus an introduction and epilogue) that were written during the COVID lockdown, when she found writing fiction impossible but still needed to put pen to paper Patchett describes These Precious Days as a sequel to her 2013 essay collection This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Of course it helps if you have a personal connection to the topics she covers, and with 22 to choose from you’d likely find something that speaks to you.
The award, created in 1996 after the Booker Prize failed to list any women-authored titles in the prior years, honors books written in English by women. This year’s slate includes books by six American authors, five British authors, two writers from New Zealand, one Turkish-British author, one American-Canadian writer, and a Trinidadian writer.
They are works of fiction translated into English from 11 languages and originate from 12 countries across four continents – including Hindi for the first time,” stated the announcement on the Booker Prizes.
This is the first time the translated text of a Hindi novel has been long-listed for the prestigious literary prize, according to the statement on the official website.
Tomb of Sand has been translated by Daisy Rockwell. The judges described the narrative as “loud and irresistible”. The novel is set to compete for the GBP 50,000 prize, which is split evenly between the author and translator.
Geetanjali Shree’s translated Hindi novel Tomb of Sand, translated from the original Ret Samadhi, that narrates the story of an 80-year-old woman who is depressed after her husband’s death, has been long listed for the International Booker Prize 2022.
Here is the Longlist.
•Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith
•Careless by Kirsty Capes
•Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejidé
•Flamingo by Rachel Elliott
•Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
•Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey
•Salt Lick by Lulu Allison
•Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
•The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
•The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini
•The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson
•The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
•The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
•The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
•The Sentence by Louise ErdrichThis One Sky Day by Leone Ross
It’s been a year since Peter and his pet fox, Pax, have seen each other. Once inseparable, they now lead very different lives. Pax and his mate, Bristle, have welcomed a litter of kits they must protect in a dangerous world. Meanwhile Peter—newly orphaned after the war, wracked with guilt and loneliness—leaves his adopted home with Vola to join the Water Warriors, a group of people determined to heal the land from the scars of the war.
When one of Pax’s kits falls desperately ill, he turns to the one human he knows he can trust. And no matter how hard Peter tries to harden his broken heart, love keeps finding a way in. Now both the boy and fox find themselves on journeys toward home, healing—and each other, once again
I loved this book, even more that the first one, ofcourse it’s more heartbreaking than the first. Peter is left orphan after the war and he seems to have been in a very closed of state of shell shock, (PTSD ) Determined to not love anything or anyone from that point, he is going away for a few weeks with the water warriors but in his mind he has planned to leave forever, leave behind his grandfather and vola and start a new life someplace where no one would bother him.
I felt so bad for Peter at this point, although he is kind of acting out and being an unreasonable child but loosing everything, your parents,your pet ,your old home, basically every that gives a child a sense of comfort and belonging would do that to you. And this is such a heavy topic but it’s dealt very lightly and beautifully here. Peter embarks on this journey and along the way he is able to grieve and grow, and find a sliver in the walls he has built around himself. The moral is again golden, you can always find hope, love and a reason to move forward.
I loved how the story came in sort of a full circle at the end.
So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
In April, 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, a party of moose hunters found his decomposed body. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.
While I was looking for the reviews for the book on Goodreads it had the most polarized views I have ever seen. People either think McCandless was a privileged, arrogant, selfish & fool or the misfortuned but courageous hero who grew sick of the society’s consumerism, lust for money and things alike and flew in the face of everything he grew up with to find a better way.
I tend to believe the latter if you were wondering,
Now coming to the book After graduating from Emory University in Georgia in 1990, McCandless traveled across North America and eventually hitchhiked to Alaska in April 1992. There, he entered the Alaskan bush with minimal supplies, hoping to live simply off the land. On the eastern bank of the Sushana River, McCandless found an abandoned bus, Fairbanks Bus 142, which he used as a makeshift shelter until his death.
In September, his decomposing body, weighing only 67 pounds (30 kg), was found inside the bus by a hunter. McCandless’s cause of death was officially ruled to be starvation,although the exact circumstances relating to his death remain the subject of some debate. I felt the author being a solid adventure writer himself made a more comprehensive story out of few journal pages and books found in McCandless possession. Krakauer admits he kind of saw his younger self in McCandless and shares some of his parallels to explore and understand the compulsions that drove Chris McCandless to follow his unique path to his destiny.
McCandless was a smart kid, a college grad, who came from money. His parents were messed up, but really. whose parents aren’t?
After college, instead of going to law school he gave away $25,000, burned his credit cards, and set out to see the west. He like everyone, had his share of dreams and demons, and he set out to follow his dreams and fight his demons.
I don’t appreciate what he put his parents through. Not informing him about his whereabouts, they are left wondering and fearing for the worst. (I mean send a letter to them a month, just to tell them you are alive)
As much as I love McCandless urge to be his own person, living without any mordern means, seeing the wild in its entirety and better understanding and defining himself along the way , I cannot help but think of the ‘what ifs’, the deadly mistakes that could have been avoided, why he was so socially withdrawn, was he depressed, may be he needed some love and attention from his family. Why he was not properly prepared? and the tragedy, of course, is that we will never know the answers The tragedy, of course, is that the lessons he learned about the value of friends and family – he learned too late.
Alexander McCandless seems like a smart guy, who could have done great things, told amazing stories from his adventures if he just have been more practically prepared. But atleast he did what he wanted, lived on his own terms and he was happy something not many people can say.