Archive for June 4, 2009

Vanity FairVanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray was the book I finished just before I signed up for Classics challenge. I had read it once during my schooldays but reading it now was really a fresh look at the theme.

The title aptly summarises the story.Vanity Fair according to the author ,symbolises the world with all its temptations ,pleasures and cunning deceptions.All that outwardly attracts but always deceives the one who falls prey to these attractions. He has shown his characters as men and women of pomp and show who are greedy , arrogant without any moral scruples.

The novel takes us through the lives of Amelia Sedley and Rebecca Sharp ,the two central characters, their journey through girlhood to womanhood, during the time when Napoleon Bonaparte was threatening the peace of Europe. These women are complete opposites.Amelia , an innocent, lovely, homely girl who thinks ill of none and Rebecca or Becky as she is called , beautiful, intelligent but a cunning go-getter.

Amelia belonging to a rich family never feels the want of wealth,she always considers love and friendship to the most important acquisitions of ones life. On the other hand Becky ,an orphan always dreams of wealth and power .As the story progresses Becky moves up on the social ladder with no scraps of morality left in her.Her concerns for her son and husband are nil in comparison of her love for power and status. Amelia on the other hand has a bad turn of luck and loses the one she loves the most and is left to care for her family which is bankrupt.What these women find in stored for them in the journey of life is the main plot of Vanity Fair.Though I would like to give a little more of the story line I feel that would remove the curiosity out of the readers who might venture to read it.

Thackeray had described the book as ‘novel without a hero’.Very Right.These women are more than enough to hold your attention. According to me Rebecca Sharpe Crawley is one of the most fascinating heroines you will find in literary history.Though not your ideal nice and sweet girl she still manages to stay in your mind even though the book is completed.Lovers of classics would find it a gripping read.I liked it though I am more of Austen genre..

I am a Jane Austen Fan and a solid one at that, having read most of her books not once but many times.Lady Susan ,was one book that somehow didn’t make up to my book shelf until recently.I saw a review on one of the blogs and promptly checked it out from my local library.I knew from the other reviews that it was one of the later published works of the author and it was in form of letters but didn’t realise that it would be so different from rest of her works.By different ,I mean ,the protagonist,Lady Susan..She is not the usual strong minded but lovable characters Jane creates .Lady Susan is very beautiful no doubt ,but also selfish(seriously) and cunning .A combination, we don’t usually attribute to heroines,not to Austen heroines at the least.But this one is!!

The main plot revolves around Lady Susan’s attempts to find herself a good match ,within a short period of the death of her husband and also some one really rich for her teenage daughter , who hates this idea. To fulfill this task, she lands at the house of her brother, Mr Vernon , even though she hasn’t been totally nice to him or his wife in the past.She uses her talents to accomplish her task to the fullest and that really makes it fun to read.Best part is when Mrs Vernon’s brother falls for her even after knowing about her not so nice past history.And not to forget she has an affair with a much married man. The book is in form of letters written by the central characters, unfolding the story in a really nice manner.Certain moral issues are dealt with as is usual with any Austen book and the theme of younger men for older women also comes up in this one.

Not a long winding novel like the rest of her works but a quick read. Funny,rather interesting work of an author the literary world loves so much.I would recommend it to any classics or Austen fan.This book is my second entry for my Classics challenge 2009. Two down three more to go.

Books Read In 2008

Posted: June 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

My Favorite Reads-June 4

Posted: June 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

Alyce at At Home With Books has started this new feature of My Favorite Reads every thursday.Nice concept . Here, books that are on the bookshelf ,that have been read longtime ago but haven’t been reviewed will be introduced. I rummaged through my book pile and found one book that I feel has been read and loved by all during childhood, but not sure if anybody has gone back to it since then.

My choice for this week is A Bear Called Paddington by Micheal Bond. I know its a kids book but when you start reading it now,after so many years , it definitely brings back really nice memories and also momentarily makes you forget that you are all grown up now and are not supposed to be seen with this 🙂

Synopsis from the back cover of the book :

Mr and Mrs Brown first met Paddington-a most endearing bear from darkest Peru- on a railway platform in London.A sign hanging around his neck said, ” Please look after this bear.Thank you.”So that is just what they did.

From the very first night when he attempted his very first bath and ended up nearly flooding the house ,he was seldom far from imminent danger.Jonathan and Judy were delighted with this havoc and even Mr. and Mrs. Brown had to admit life seemed little more filled with adventure with a bear in the house.

Paddington celebrated his 50th birthday last year and a 50th anniversary edition was brought out by Houghton Mifflin Company for the first time with colour illustrations by the original illustrator Peggy Fortnum ( really nice illustrations)

This cute bear has captivated the imagination of children for half a century now and the theme is still appealing.If you find literature for children fascinating or if you read out to your kids ,this must make it to your top 10 reads.