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Showing posts from May, 2013

Friday book list # 7: Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey

Books mentioned in Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey. Non-fiction: The Books of Knowledge . (Encyclopedias) 'Short Account of the Life and Works of Jai Jeewan Lal Bahadur, Late Honorary Magistrate, Delhi,with Extracts from his Diary Relating to the Time of Mutiny, 1857' (family history, not clear whether it was printed or a private book) 1066 and All That (full title: 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates, by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman). 'The Biography of Emperor Akbar' by Abul Fazl (real book but I couldn't find the official title) Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management Our Viceregal Life in India by Lady Dufferin  Folk tales, fairy tales and religious texts: Bhagwat-Gita Grimm's Fairy Tales The Ramayana (the Tulsidas version, properly called the Ramcharitmanas ) Fiction: Godan by Munshi Premchand Pl

Top Ten Tuesdays: Books about or taking place in India that I recommend for one reason or another, written by outsiders

Top ten Tuesdays is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . Visit the hosting blog to read more lists. Today is freebie day , so you can never know what to expect until you click on a link to visit a particular blog. I am an indophile and will probably continue to visit India for the rest of my life. My only regret is that it would take several lifetimes to explore it as thoroughly as I would like. Naturally, I read a lot of books about India. These are some that I liked for one reason or another.  T en recommended books about India by outsiders : City of Djinns by William Dalrymple. The author traces the history of the city and tells the story of his own stay there. I didn’t explore the city much on my first visit to India, indeed I found it to be rather overwhelming, dirty, noisy and crowded, but after reading this I decided to give it a chance when I went there again, and have found it quite endearing ever since, albeit only in small doses. Holy Cow!

My Brontë project

I have gotten a bit ahead of myself by posting some reading journal entries for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall before posting an introduction to my little Brontë project. For one reason or another, the Brontë sisters have been on my mind lately. First I got into an enjoyable discussion about Jane Eyre and then I had two occasions, within a short interval, to mention my horrid experience of reading Wuthering Heights . Then I reread Stella Gibbons' gem of a novel, Cold Comfort Farm , in which one of the characters, Mr. Mybug, is writing a life of Branwell Brontë, who he claims wrote all the novels attributed to his sisters. This naturally brought up the titles of some books by the Brontës, including Shirley and Villette, and it occurred to me that I really should read them. This led to a decision to read all of them, because Why Not? JE and WH may be the most popular of the sisters' oeuvre, but the others wouldn't be mentioned so frequently in other books and literary di

Reading journal for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, part 3

Since I'm on my coffee break at work I decided it was a good time to write down more of the thoughts I am having about this book. I like the story so far. I am a little further on into Helen's narrative than I was last time, and things are progressing . Her narrative is diary entries, whereas Gilbert's opening narrative is letters to his brother-in-law, but this is no "dear diary" kind of thing. She is clearly writing for an audience (the reader), but since she of course doesn't know she is a character in a book one must assume the audience is, who? Herself? Or was Anne just being clumsy when she wrote it? The man who I assume will turn out to be the cause of all her troubles and the father of her son is the charming but obviously somewhat rakish (to the reader and certain of the characters, although not Helen, who seems to think he is just a lovable rascal) Mr. Huntingdon, which brings me to the names of the characters. Gilbert's surname is Markham

Reading journal for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, part 2

Remember the scene where Gilbert tries to give Helen the book?  Love it. It's so lovely, with the lovesick swain trying to win his lady's favour with a gift, and his mortification when she insists on paying him for it. I think it may also be a pivot point, the place where she begins to regard him in the light of more than a friend, even though she acts as if friendship is the only way for them:      But, while I gazed, I thought upon the book, and wondered how it was to be presented.  My heart failed me; but I determined not to be such a fool as to come away without having made the attempt.  It was useless waiting for an opportunity, and useless trying to concoct a speech for the occasion.  The more plainly and naturally the thing was done, the better, I thought; so I just looked out of the window to screw up my courage, and then pulled out the book, turned round, and put it into her hand, with this short explanation:      ‘You were wishing to see ‘Marmion,’ Mrs. Graham

Friday book lists # 6: Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Here is a special one for the books-in-books registry: A book in which all the books and other published materials mentioned are imaginary, because the book itself takes place in an imaginary world. Poetry: Oi! To his Deaf Mistress, by Robert Scandal Publications: The Times (newspaper) Bu-Bubble (fashion magazine) Satblatt (dwarf newspaper) Bows & Ammo The Inquirer The Tanty Bugle Back Street Pins Stanley Howler's Stamp Monthly Giggles, Girls and Garters Golem Spotter Weekly Fretwork Today A couple of doubly imaginary ones , i.e. titles mentioned that may only exist in L-space as observed from the Discworld: Pride & Buns Great Spoons of the World Non-fiction and reference: Compendium of Odours by Brakefast (in 22 volumes) Trumpet of Equestrianism by Sprout The Speech of Trolls by Postalume Five Hours and Sixteen Minutes Among the Goblins of Far Uberwald by J.P. Bunderbell Discomforting Misusage by Birdcatcher Die Wesentlichen Ungewisseiten

Booking through Thursday (a day late): Reading habits

Today's question on Booking Through Thursday is about changing reading habits: Have your reading habits changed since you were a child? (I mean, I’m assuming you have less time to read now, but …) Did you devour and absorb books when you were 10 and only just lightly read them now? Did you re-read frequently as a child but now only read new books? How about types of books? Do you find yourself still attracted to the kinds of books you read when you were a kid? My reading habits haven't really changed that much, except I am possibly more choosy about the books I read, and I read more. As a kid, I would devour any and all books that came my way, regardless of the quality. Quantity was the main thing. These days I think more about what I am reading and not just any book will do, but since I also read faster, I go through more books. Back then, I would become so absolutely absorbed in what I was reading that I would forget about hunger, pain

Reading journal, entry no. 1, for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – full of potential spoilers so beware. May also contain bad grammar and egregious typing errors because I want to get back to the book and read more.

I‘m reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë and really feel I need to write something about it at this point. For those who have read it, I am at the point where Gilbert‘s narrative has ended and Helen‘s narrative has just started. I deliberately didn't read about the story before I started reading it and just about the only thing I knew about it before commencing is that it's probably a romance. Such a storm of emotions already, falling occasionally over the verge into highly enjoyable melodrama: Gilbert falling violently in love with Helen (quite believably, I think, people being prone to fall for those they see as unavailable), H repelling him but eventually showing signs of loving him back (not quite as realistic as his feelings for her as it isn't explained why she would love him), and G assaulting the man he believes H is having an affair with, possibly in the belief that the victim has seduced her and is using her, or possibly because G is, when it come

Friday book list # 5: Narrow Dog to Carcasonne by Terry Darlington

Books mentioned in Narrow Dog to Carcasonne by Terry Darlington. This book actually has a list of references at the back, which was a tremendous help to me because I clean forgot to start jotting things down until I was on chapter ten. This list, however, is not copied straight from that list, as some of the references are not to titles but rather quotations or allusions, and I did find one or two titles that were mentioned in the text but not in the list of references. And of course the fictional books are not included in the list. As before I have only included anything when an actual title was mentioned. For many of the poems they are not given in the main text of the book but only in the reference list. Publications: The Guardian Guide Navicarte (probably a partial title) Le Monde  Le Sénonais libéré Whippet Breed  Standard by the Kennel Club Novels: Le Charretier de la Providence (by Georges Simenon ). The link goes to my review of this book. Jack the Dise

Friday book list # 4: Gaudy Night, by Dorothy L. Sayers

(?) after the title means I'm not sure if it's a real publication/book. Literature mentioned in Gaudy Night , by Dorothy L. Sayers. There were so many authors mentioned in this book that I didn't jot them down and have only included actual titles. I listened to an audio version of the book and the titles were gleaned after the fact from my print copy by scanning for italicised phrases. Therefore I may have missed some and this is by no means a definitive list. Fiction: The Aeneid (by Virgil ) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll The Anatomy of Melancholy (by Robert Burton )  The Bible Brave New World (by Aldous Huxley) "A Chaucer Folio" "Kai Lung " (by Ernest Bramah ) - no particular title is mentioned "Three Kelmscott Morrises" The Man of Property (volume 1 of The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy) Religio Medici ( The Religion of a Doctor ) by Sir Thomas Browne  The Search by C.P. Snow  "A Shakespeare First Quart

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light & Fun

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish . This week we post the top 10 books we go to when we need something light and fun. My list is below, and you can find more here . I like visual humour, so it is really no surprise that more than half my choices are picture books of some kind. The rest are reliable light and humorous novels. In no particular order: Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie. He's 30. She's 40. She has a funny dog. It's a match made in heaven. Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett. Golden age Hollywood in a fantasy setting with horrible monsters from another dimension, blazing egos and talking dogs? Yes please. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. English humour at its finest. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. Takes me back to what it was like being six years old. The Hitch-hiker‘s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. A classic. One of my Lucky Luke comic books. One of my Calvin & Hobbes collections. One of m

Friday book list # 3: Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers

(?) after a title means I'm not sure its a real book/publication. Literature mentioned in Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers. Newspapers: The Morning Star and The Evening Banner (?). I know the Star exists, but am not sure about the Banner . It may have at the time of publication (1933). Non-fiction and reference: The Directory of Directors Bartlett's Familiar Quotations The Globe edition of the Works of William Shakespeare The Children's Encyclopaedia The Times Atlas Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (as Brewer) Novel: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (mentioned as Alice in Wonderland ) (by Lewis Carroll ) In addition, P.G. Wodehouse and Edgar Wallace are mentioned, but none of their books.

Reading report for April 2013

I read 20 books in April, all but one of which I started and ended within the month. The exception was Tim Moore‘s Nul Points , which I was reading last year but set aside as I found it somewhat bleak. I picked it up again and finally finished it, discovering that either I wasn‘t in the right mood when I first began reading it, or the last three chapters were more upbeat than the previous ones. I even got some laughs out of it. It's not as good as some of his other efforts, but as always very informative. This time around he was digging into the history of the Eurovision Song contest and going around interviewing the people who came last in the contest with zero points. Of the 20 books, 8 were TBR books, which puts me at 31 TBR books read this year, which is not bad at all. It looks like I may reach the goal of 50 before the end of the summer, and since I am currently reading more of them than I am buying, the purpose of the TBR challenge has been achieved. I have been spri