Tag: personal

Mrs. Dalloway: Book Review

Mrs. Dalloway

–    Virginia Woolf.

I have been meaning to read Virginia Woolf’s books for years and finally, I read one. Mrs. Dalloway is the first book I read written by Woolf and there is not much to say other than that it is an amazing book.

Mrs. Dalloway is the most well-known novel by Virginia Woolf. The book was published in 1925. This novel details a day in the life of the high-society Clarissa Dalloway, who is the main character in the story. The setting of the story is important; it is set in the post-World War I England. There is just one day described in the novel is the day Clarissa is making preparations for a party. All the events that take place in the book occur during this one day. I thought this set a nice pace for the novel.

Once the story begins and the plot starts to unfold the secrets about Clarissa’s life that didn’t seem probable at the beginning. It was something I didn’t exactly see coming but it was an interesting surprise. The plot has two interwoven stories; one of Clarissa Dalloway and one of war veteran Septimus Warren Smith. The narration is from a third person point of view which gave an accurate description of the emotions these characters are experiencing. The narration definitely digs deep into the thoughts and emotions of the characters and has been described really well.

Clarissa and Septimus Warren are two characters who seem unconnected in the start but their stories actually run parallel to each other. The shifts in the narrative from Warren to Clarissa gave me enough time with both characters and in a way helps to understand them. The story shifts back and forth from the past to the present. This element of time, movement from past to present is used perfectly to hammer home what the characters think about the past while in the present. It is difficult to explain but it is intriguing never the less. It made it easier as a reader to empathize with these characters.

The effects of World War I are clearly depicted through the character of Smith who is having a hard time adjusting to civilian life and is broken by his experiences during the war. Mrs. Dalloway, on the other hand, seems to have everything she could want but in reality, is clearly struggling to cope with her emotions. The themes of love, loss and mental illness are depicted in a unique and powerful way which is somewhat subtle at the time but constantly present at the same time. The end of the novel stays true to the story and in a way seems unresolved. There is no forced happy ending to this novel. I prefer a resolved ending personally but the way the novel unravels it is not that surprising.

I liked the writing; it might be the first time I read a book whose plot takes place over one single day. The pace of the story is good, sometimes it might become too much so it cant be read overnight. The story and writing are so relevant to its themes and makes them relatable. The novel is a must-read.

Buy on Amazon

Best Movies of 2018 (So far)

Best Movies of 2018 (So far)
1) A Quiet Place

b1

A horror film with elements of science fiction, A Quiet Place is completely different to what I expected. It is not a typical repetitive horror flick. It’s set in a world where sightless alien monsters hunt people by using their super hearing. The story revolves around the Abbott family. The story has limited dialogues given its plot and most of the conversations are in sign language. It is an intriguing and terrifying movie and its definitely one of the best movies of the year.

2) Raazi

b2

A Hindi spy thriller, Raazi is based on a true story of a young girl set in the 1970’s in India and Pakistan. The movie keeps you on the edge with its pace and compelling narrative. The cast is perfect for their respective roles and every character is real and empathetic in a way. This movie is one of the few instances where I saw the movie before reading the book. I really liked this movie for its plot and characters. It is one of my favorite movies.

3) Avengers Infinity War

b3

I had to add this one. As a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, this movie was much anticipated and it totally lived up to its hype. I loved every second of the movie; it was a culmination of ten years of worth of story and character building. Seeing some of my favorite superheroes interacting with each other for the first time made me very happy. The pace of the film was really good and stakes so much bigger. That ending broke my heart and now I have to wait a year to find out what happens next. Now, its one of my favorite movies.

4) Love, Simon

b4

A teen romantic comedy and drama film; Love, Simon is such a good movie. It is often just marketed as a gay romantic comedy but its so much more than that. The characters are fresh and you can relate to them, sympathize with them. Its funny yet at times it touching. The characters are charming and have a depth to them especially Simon’s portrayal by Nick Robinson is amazing. It’s a nice film and is different than a typical teen romance story.

5) Thoroughbreds

b5

One of the best psychological suspense thrillers I have seen recently. Thoroughbreds is an odd combination odd darkness and humor. Amanda is a wealthy teenager with some problems who is friends with Lily; they both bond over their hatred of Lily’s cruel step-father. The whole movie revolves around the girls plan to kill the step-father. It’s a gripping tale and says a lot about human psychology.

6) You were never really here

b6

You were never really here is a crime drama film based on a book by the same name. It’s a story about Joe who uses violent methods to rescue girls from trafficking. Joe suffers from PTSD and is tired of fighting yet it’s the story of his redemption. Its movie is an overwhelming and compelling ride. It’s brutal, sad yet enigmatic especially the ending. It’s a completely different kind of experience. This movie is a must-see for cinema lovers.

This list is based only on the movies I have had a chance to see this year. These are one ones I really loved. I am sure there are many more movies to add to this list which are just as amazing that I haven’t seen yet.

Only Once (Short story)

Only Once.

“Diane’s older son Chris, remember him? He is an engineer, just moved back here a month ago.” my mother said. I knew it was too much to expect her not trying to set me up.

I nodded uninterestedly. “Good for him,” I answered.

My mother sighed. I could feel the anger building up in her but she tried to be patient with me. “I think you should meet him. He is a decent fellow.”

I groaned, focused on my plate slowly losing interest in the food and this conversation while she continued talking. “It will be nice for you to go out once in a while. You haven’t been on a date in years approximately in three. Why do you never approve of the boys I choose! I only want you to be happy.”

The concerned tone of her voice as she finished her lecture made me cringe inwardly. It didn’t help with the irritation I was feeling. I know she wants the best for me but forcing me is not the way to go. “Mom I am happy.” she looked skeptical but I continued. “Really, I am. I have you and dad, I have great friends, a pretty good job where I make quite a lot of money if I may say so myself and a cute little place of my own. I have everything I want so why wouldn’t I be happy?” I asked putting a fork full of food in my mouth. Praying she will let this topic slide for now.

With no such luck she continued, “Aren’t you lonely? It’s nice having someone next to you through thick and thin.” she suddenly paused. Her voice was barely a whisper “You haven’t dated anyone since…Jayden.”

I stiffened. After all this time just hearing his name makes my heart beat faster; he still has such an effect on me, he always did and he knew it. It never really lessened. “I don’t know what happened between you two but it’s been three years. It’s time to move on, he is not going show up one day and whisk you away,” she said softly.

I closed my eyes. The pain of losing him was still fresh; it was always there. I simply hid it better or I learned to live with it. “Is it wrong to have hope?” I whispered more to myself than to mom but I know I sounded wishful but I couldn’t help it.

“No sweetie. It’s not wrong but you can’t spend the rest of your life hoping. You have to stop sometime.”

She is right. It’s nothing different than what I try to convince myself all the time. He is not going to come back. We belonged in different worlds. The world where we are meant to be doesn’t exist. We tried, it didn’t work. I said awful things to him I can’t take back and he didn’t choose me which he can’t change or won’t. I told him one day if things were different maybe we can find a way to be together. I won’t find someone like him again even if I tried; he was perfect for me in every way. I felt safe, understood and most importantly happiness whenever I was with him. Now it seems ironic!

I believed that but every day I believe a little less and a little less. I worry that I might completely stop believing in this, in him. Without that where do I stand? I know what I felt for him was once in a lifetime. I will fall in love again, someday but never like that. Not so completely and madly that I couldn’t think about anything but him; an all-consuming kind of love. Never again. It happens only once.

Favorite Quotes from the Harry Potter Books.

My Favorite Quotes from the Harry Potter Series.

Harry Potter is undoubtedly one of my favorite book series. I pick any book from it once in a while to read it again. Re-reading these books is just as enjoyable to me as they were the first time. There are many good quotes in the books but some of them are my favorites.

images

1)    This first quote is from the Philosopher’s stone or Sorcerer’s stone. The part where Harry starts sitting in front of the mirror over and over again to see his parents, it is sad. I mean he is eleven years old, so when Dumbledore says this to him it makes perfect sense in the story.

images 1

2)    This one again is from Dumbledore but to be fair he does have many inspirational lines throughout the series. This one is from the Prisoner of Azkaban, it is quite early on in the book and it’s a part of Dumbledore’s speech at the start of the New Year. I just like this quote.

images 2

3)    Order of Phoenix is an intense book because Harry is conflicted, sad and angry after the events in Goblet of Fire. This quote is something Sirius Black says to Harry when Harry opens up about his emotions and it’s perfectly apt for the situation. In a way, it makes Harry realize that he might have a choice.

b41de6e73bdc708fd6d0bd278ed6839c

4)  This quote is from the seventh and the last book. Yes, another quote from Dumbledore but he has some the best lines throughout. The situation when it is said its a little of a bittersweet situation as its almost at the end. It’s funny yet thoughtful. It appeals to the dreamer in me.

d32be8a70e4d2bfe052d051e68ed819f

5) Hermione is such a great character. This is something she says to Harry in the first book when she is 11 years old. It kind of completes a story arc for her character. In the beginning, she is very proud of her intellect, she should be but she accepts she is not perfect during this situation. It shows character growth and that is so satisfying as a reader.

 

There are many more quotes which I really like from the Harry Potter books, the list could go on and on. These are the ones that are my absolute favorites because they fit the context so well and are inspirational in a way.

 

 

Buy on Amazon –

Jane Austen’s Emma: Review.

Jane Austen’s Emma.

This book was a part of my syllabus for MA. I have to admit back then I didn’t read the book properly; there wasn’t much time so I simply went through it. Recently, I decided to read it thoroughly and I did. Emma is the first novel written by Jane Austen which I read. The novel revolves around the titular character Emma Woodhouse who is in a way an unlikely protagonist.

Emma is a person who thinks she has everything that she needs which she does but she believes she doesn’t need love or marriage in her life. Her beliefs are contradictory to her actions.  Emma likes to interfere in other people’s love lives; she fancies herself as a good matchmaker. When Emma meets Harriet Smith she decides to take Harriet under her wing. While Harriet is younger than Emma she in a way looks up to her.

Mr. Knightley is Emma’s sister Isabelle’s brother-in-law. Mr. Knightley warns Emma of her ways constantly; he is the voice of reason in her life but she never listens to him. I like the relationship between Emma and Mr. Knightley, it’s sort of will they or won’t they situation which is always fascinating for me. Jane is another character who is the only one Emma envies. Jane is talented, sensible, well-mannered and a bright girl.

Emma is a different novel in the sense the protagonist is not always likable. Sometimes, you can’t help but feel a little annoyed with her. The way she acts or decisions she makes made her unlikeable for me at times. It’s because of this that the novel is satisfying in the end. Emma becomes a better person and to an extent realizes her flaws. The growth of Emma’s character is natural and not forced.

Like I said before I liked the relationship between Emma and Mr. Knightley. The way Emma realizes she wants to be with Mr. Knightley is slightly funny but still realistic. As a reader, it’s always a good feeling when there is such a satisfying end to a relationship you root for. The fact that there was a happy ending for Jane and Harriet as well was a bonus for me.

I enjoyed reading this book. The story is light-hearted and engaging with unique and quirky characters. The writing of the novel is flawless; it is witty and amusing. Language-wise this book is not the easiest but not too much; it is easy enough. I was surprised by the fact that a protagonist seemed annoying to me at times, it hardly happens to me. Overall, I think it’s good. A light, fun and engaging book overall.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

Frustrations in Life

 

 

Sometimes, do you wonder when you open your eyes in the morning that all the bad things happening in your life are just a nightmare? The moment you open your eyes, things will change; they will get better. But life isn’t that simple is it?

This feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach refuses to go away. Your hopes, dreams, expectations have only one enemy and that is reality. Nothing seems to be going your way, you feel lost and defeated. One thought swirling in your mind all the time, if this is all life is going to be like for you?

The unanswered question is the biggest reason for your frustration. So many doubts overwhelming your mind all at once and there seems to be no end to the negativity in your head. Where is the thrill, the magic you have always wanted? You can’t seem to find the path to your destiny. Is growing up really this complicated? You wish someone would understand you, give advice and not judge. Be there by your side making sure you don’t fall.

Why does every aspect of life seem harder when you are stuck. As far as you can see there is only a road and you have no idea.

3c2054d5803d40167f01a4816ccebb05

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetyus: Book review

My review of the book,

“Between Shades of Gray” – Ruta Sepetys

*SPOILERS*

I found this book when I was browsing through the lists of War and Historical novels on different site. This book immediately caught my attention because it takes place during the World War II and it’s about a Lithuanian girl. Now when it comes to studying the history of World War II, the Baltic States were never more than mentioned in textbooks. Basically, this is a part of History which I never read or studied about before and it completely fascinated me.

The book is about Baltic Deportations with the main focus on Lithuanian citizens who were deported by the Soviet in 1941 to prison and labor camps. The protagonist of the story is a fifteen-year-old girl named Lina and her family when they are taken from their home and sent to a labor camp somewhere in Siberia. Lina and her mother and brother are together while their father is separated from them that night. The author doesn’t spend much time focusing on the lives of Lina and her family when they were still at home together in the beginning and starts straight up with the night they are taken away. The story is not by any means an easy read.

The descriptions of the treatments these prisoners were given and their living conditions are crudely depicted; there is no sugar-coating just the harsh reality. It makes you cringe while reading it. The emotions of the characters and their reactions to the harsh situation they face are very realistically and naturally portrayed. It never seems out of place or over the top because there are so many characters which are important to the plot and each character’s personality is reflected in the writing.

Lina, her mother Elena and her younger brother Jonas have to learn to survive through brutal conditions with people who share a similar faith to them. Elena is a powerful character as she holds their little group together throughout the terrible ordeal and is incredibly kind. Andrius is a guy who Lina and her family meet on the cattle train on the way to Siberia. He is sort of a love interest for Lina though that is never the main focus and he is so much more than that. Lina is a good artist and is constantly capturing their stories on paper in drawings and sketches. She draws in hope of leaving clues behind for their father to find them and also preserve their stories and sufferings.

It is unbelievable to expect such kindness and care in such situations but throughout the story, all the characters help each other survive and are always kind to one another no matter how little they themselves have. It shows that even in worst situations compassion and kindness actually help someone survive. At no point, Lina gives up or thinks that she doesn’t want to live anymore even though the circumstances keep getting worse. These characters show so much spirit and survival instinct all the while helping each other through it.

This book breaks your heart from start to finish and it is quite difficult to get through because of the powerful depictions. The plot moves ahead at a good pace with flashbacks about the life before capture which somehow is parallel to Lina’s present in the camp. Lina’s drawings in a way preserve the memories of fellow survivors and their sufferings, the stories which were unheard of for decades that followed. The stories about the Baltic states are largely unheard of and this book depicts the displacement and genocide of people who were deported by the Soviet Union. It is a hard-hitting book but it is a book which you should read, it is a part of history which is relatively unknown to many.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

Sign

Sign

 

Once just give me a sign; show me that you need me.

I won’t give up if I know that you still care.

Fight for us; show me you still need me in your life,

And it will be okay again.

It will never be the same but it might be better.

 

One sign from you; once just once so I know you still care,

And I promise I will never give up on you again.

I need to know that you want me to be a part of your life,

Because it can’t be all on me.

You have to fight for us too.

 

8b4b2150be89b4333e33f3b595862e30

A Wish

A Wish

I wish you could see what I see,

I wish your heart could skip a beat like mine does,

For you to get entangled in a whirlwind of emotions like I do every time I look at you,

I wish you would realize how easy it is for us to share our lives with each other.

There is so much between us that is too hard to ignore,

Yet in some way, you remain oblivious to it,

I wish you would feel about me the way I feel about you; all at once with all my heart,

I wish.

a2e672da00338ed6d8a0adef8acbf747