Archive for the ‘Challenges 2009’ Category


Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Publisher: Random House Childrens Books
Pub. Date: August 2007
ISBN-13: 9780375835339
200pages
My Rating : 4 out of 5

Book available at Flipkart , Amazon, Indiebound

From The Book Cover:

It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be—and where the next great band is playing.

My views:

Its been days since I read something romantically funny and I realised I had made the right choice within 5 minutes of starting this book. If you love music and you love romance, you will not leave this book till your done.

Nick and Norah take turns telling the events that bring them together.Nick has been recently dumped by his girlfriend Tris. He hasn’t been able to get over her even though it’s more than 3 weeks now. Norah hasn’t seen her ‘The Ex‘ boyfriend Tal since he left for a kibbutz in south Africa dumping her for not being what he wants. She hasn’t got over him .

So what happens when Nick and Norah meet ? Fireworks.. A kiss that is meant to cause jealousy in Nick’s Ex turns out to be the beginning of a new bond. Both the characters are well written and the style of writing is so similar that we never once realise that it’s written by two people. What I loved the most are the music references in the book .

Another good point is the development of minor characters of the story.Tris (Nick’s Ex ), Dev( Nick’s Band’s lead singer ) are two characters to watch out for. Though the story takes place in the span of one night , all minor characters are sketched in a detailed manner. It’s important because through them we are able to understand Nick and Norah better.

It’s funny , witty and lovable . It’s a really refreshing read. Go for it..

Point to be noted : It’s reading age group is 15 years and above . Let me warn you that it has it’s share of mature content , sexual references. If you don’t care about that ,then go ahead what are you waiting for!!

Book : Sea Of Monsters (Percy Jackson And The Olympians )
Author : Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion/Miramax Kid
Pub. Date: April 2006
ISBN-13:
9780786856862
Pages :288

My Rating :4 out of 5

Book available at : Flipkart , Amazon, Indiebound

From the book cover :
After a year spent trying to prevent a catastropic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson—a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any “normal” friends.

But things don’t stay quiet for long. Percy soon discovers there is trouble at Camp Half-Blood: The magical borders which protect Half-Blood Hill have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and the only safe haven for demigods is on the verge of being overrun by mythological monsters. To save the camp, Percy needs the help of his best friend, Grover, who has been taken prisoner by the Cyclops Polyphemus on an island somewhere in the Sea of Monsters—the dangerous waters Greek heroes have sailed for millenia—only today, the Sea of Monsters goes by a new name…the Bermuda Triangle.

Now Percy and his friends—Grover, Annabeth, and Tyson—must retrieve the Golden Fleece from the Island of the Cyclopes by the end of the summer or Camp Half-Blood will be destroyed. But first, Percy will learn a stunning new secret about his family—one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon’s son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.


My views:

The first book was good .It got me intrested in Greek mythology and also made me eager to read the second one. The second book definitely lives up to the expectations. It has our hero Percy Jackson along with his friend Annabeth Chase and a new companion Tyson going on a quest to find the Golden Fleece and also rescue his friend Grover who is communicating with him through his dreams and seeking his help. The monsters are there and so are the gods , and we also get to meet various other mythical creatures who help them in thier quest. Also Percy has a very important lesson to learn in matters of his family (Being the son of an immoratal being he has a very big extended family ).

Rick Riordan’s writing style has finally sunk in for me. For the first book I had a feeling of it being a bit ragged at places but I had no complaints with this book. It made a good read. The characters are developed well and the mystery surrounding prophecy involving Percy is well highlighted. Will have to watch out for it’s development in the next book.I also realised the author had left hints in the first book which I hadn’t noticed ,those which were important in reading this book. Over all, this book makes you want to pick up the third book as soon as you are done with this one. That’s a good thing because author has created an atmosphere in such a way that it’s too hard to resist .

The reading level might be for young adults but that musn’t stop you from picking up this book . I have already started the third one. I just couldn’t resist 🙂


Book: Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
ISBN:0141319135
ISBN-13:9780141319131,978-0141319131
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

My Rating : 4 out of 5

Book Available at : Flipkart , Amazon, Indiebound

Harry Potter fans have always wondered if they could ever love any other series as they loved HP . The answer to that is NO. Harry Potter is something you cannot replace, it was special. It will always hold that dear place in the reader’s mind but that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy other fantasy series . My sister absolutely refused to read other books for a few days once she read the last book and realised that Harry Potter is never gonna make a come back but that was until she found Percy Jackson 🙂

Percy Jackson And The Olympian series is about Percy , a half blood ( heard term before ? ), a semi/demi god , who gets to know that his father is one of the Olympian gods. As if that info wasn’t shocking enough, he comes to know that his life is in danger from monsters who come sniffing for him.Percy is hurriedly taken to a summer camp, Camp Half Blood at Long Island, where half blood kids of various gods learn archery, Greek , sword fighting etc etc.A training camp for heroes. Percy who has been expelled from every school he has ever joined ,due to his ADHD and some really weird happenings ,finally realises he belongs here because all this comes naturally to him. While he discover which of the gods is his father , he also has to face his fate which has decided that he has a quest to undertake . Along with his friends Annabeth and Grover he sets forth to meet what destiny has en stored for him .

Book has a great deal of mythology which makes the reading fun and informative more so for kids . Legends are interwoven in present scenario with finesse. It’s the first one in the series and it does make you want to read the rest of them. There are places in the book where the narrative is jagged and you feel lost but the storyline makes up for that.The plot about prophecies and a powerful villain who is plotting to rise to power does give a sense of de javu but that’s where the similarities end. The book does stand apart in a league of it’s own. It’s more of bravery than magic.

Great news.. The Everything Austen Challenge has been upped to 12 Austen themed things by Laurel Ann at Austenprose . That would be two books or movies per month. I have updated my list to include little more of Jane Austen.

Here’s my revised list :

Books By Jane Austen

1. Northanger Abbey

2. Sense And Sensibility

3. Emma

4. Mansfield Park

Movies :

1. Persuasion

2. Becoming Jane

3. Emma

4. Pride And Prejudice

Books Inspired By Jane Austen’s Works:

1. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

2. Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo

3. Prada And Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

4. Lost Memoirs Of Jane Austen – Syrie James


Book: The Jane Austen Book Club
Author: Karen Joy Fowler
ISBN:0452289009
ISBN-13:9780452289000,978-0452289000
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 2007/08/28
Publisher: Penguin Group
Number of Pages: 288

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CHAPTER ONE

in which we gather
at Jocelyn’s
to discuss
Emma

We sat in a circle on Jocelyn’s screened porch at dusk, drinking cold sun tea, surrounded by the smell of her twelve acres of fresh-mowed California grass. There was a very pretty view. The sunset had been a spectacular dash of purple, and now the Berryessa mountains were shadowed in the west. Due south in the springtime, but not the summer, was a stream.

“Just listen to the frogs,” Jocelyn said. We listened. Apparently, somewhere beneath the clamor of her kennel of barking dogs was a chorus of frogs.

She introduced us all to Grigg. He had brought the Gramercy edition of the complete novels, which suggested that Austen was merely a recent whim. We really could not approve of someone who showed up with an obviously new book, of someone who had the complete novels on his lap when only Emma was under discussion. Whenever he first spoke, whatever he said, one of us would have to put him in his place.

This person would not be Bernadette. Though she’d been the one to request girls only, she had the best heart in the world; we weren’t surprised that she was making Grigg welcome. “It’s so lovely to see a man taking an interest in Miss Austen,” she told him. “Delightful to get the male perspective. We’re so pleased that you’re here.” Bernadette never said anything once if it could be said three times. Sometimes this was annoying, but mostly it was restful. When she’d arrived, she seemed to have a large bat hanging over her ear. It was just a leaf, and Jocelyn removed it as they hugged.

Jocelyn had two portable heaters going, and the porch hummed cozily. There were Indian rugs and Spanish-tile floors of a red that might hide dog hair, depending on the breed. There were porcelain lamps in the shape of ginger jars, round and Oriental, and with none of the usual dust on the bulbs, because it was Jocelyn’s house. The lamps were on timers. When it was sufficiently dark out, at the perfect moment, they would snap on all at once like a choir. This hadn’t happened yet, but we were looking forward to it. Maybe someone would be saying something brilliant.

The only wall held a row of photographs-Jocelyn’s dynasty of Ridgebacks, surrounded by their ribbons and pedigrees. Ridgebacks are a matriarchal breed; it’s one of their many attractive features. Put Jocelyn in the alpha position and you have the makings of an advanced civilization.

Queenie of the Serengeti looked down on us, doe eyes and troubled, intelligent brow. It’s hard to capture a dog’s personality in a photograph; dogs suffer more from the flattening than people do, or cats even. Birds photograph well because their spirits are so guarded, and anyway, often the real subject is the tree. But this was a flattering likeness, and Jocelyn had taken it herself.

Beneath Queenie’s picture, her daughter, Sunrise on the Sahara, lay, in the flesh, at our feet. She had only just settled, having spent the first half-hour moving from one of us to the next, puffing hot stagnant-pond smells into our faces, leaving hairs on our pants. She was Jocelyn’s favorite, the only dog allowed inside, although she was not valuable, since she suffered from hyperthyroidism and had had to be spayed. It was a shame she wouldn’t have puppies, Jocelyn said, for she had the sweetest disposition.

Jocelyn had recently spent more than two thousand dollars on vet bills for Sahara. We were glad to hear this; dog breeding, we’d heard, could make a person cruel and calculating. Jocelyn hoped to continue competing her, though the kennel would derive no benefit; it was just that Sahara missed it so. If her gait could be smoothed out-for Ridgebacks it was all about the gait-she could still show, even if she never won. (But Sahara knew when she’d lost; she became subdued and reflective. Sometimes someone was sleeping with the judge and there was nothing to be done about it.) Sahara’s competitive category was Sexually Altered Bitch.

The barking outside ascended into hysteria. Sahara rose and walked stiffly to the screen door, her ridge bristling like a toothbrush.

“Why isn’t Knightley more appealing?” Jocelyn began. “He has so many good qualities. Why don’t I warm to him?”

We could hardly hear her; she had to repeat herself. The conditions were such, really, that we should have been discussing Jack London. . . .

Most of what we knew about Jocelyn came from Sylvia. Little Jocelyn Morgan and little Sylvia Sanchez had met at a Girl Scout camp when they were eleven years old, and they were fifty-something now. They’d both been in the Chippewa cabin, working on their wood-lore badges. They had to make campfires from teepees of kindling, and then cook over them, and then eat what they’d cooked; the requirement wasn’t satisfied unless the Scout cleaned her plate. They had to identify leaves and birds and poisonous mushrooms. As if any one of them would ever eat a mushroom, poisonous or not.

For their final requirement they’d been taken in teams of four to a clearing ten minutes off and left to find their own way back. It wasn’t hard, they’d been given a compass and a hint: The dining hall was southwest of them.

Camp lasted four weeks, and every Sunday Jocelyn’s parents drove up from the city-three and a half hours-to bring her the Sunday funnies. “Everyone liked her anyway,” Sylvia said. This was hard to believe, even for us, and we all liked Jocelyn a ton. “She was attractively ill informed.”

Jocelyn’s parents adored her so, they couldn’t bear to see her unhappy. She’d never been told a story with a sad ending. She knew nothing about DDT or Nazis. She’d been kept out of school during the Cuban missile crisis because her parents didn’t want her learning we had enemies.

“It fell to us Chippewas to tell her about communists,” said Sylvia. “And child molesters. The Holocaust. Serial killers. Menstruation. Escaped lunatics with hooks for hands. The Bomb. What had happened to the real Chippewas.

“Of course, we didn’t have any of it right. What a mash of misinformation we fed her. Still, it was realer than what she got at home. And she was very game, you had to admire her.

“It all came crashing down on the day we had to find our way back to camp. She had this paranoid fantasy that while we were hiking and checking our compass, they were packing up and moving out. That we would come upon the cabin and the dining hall and the latrines, but all the people would be gone. Even more, that there would be dust and spiderwebs and crumbling floorboards. It would be as if the camp had been abandoned for a hundred years. We might have told her too many Twilight Zone plots.

“But here’s the weird part. On the last day, her parents came to pick her up, and on the drive back, they told her that they’d gotten divorced over the summer. In fact, she’d been sent off just for this purpose. All those Sunday drives together bringing the funnies, and they couldn’t actually stand each other. Her dad was living in a hotel in San Francisco and had been the whole month she was gone. ‘I eat all my meals in the hotel restaurant,’ he told her. ‘I just come down for breakfast and order whatever catches my fancy.’ Jocelyn said he made it sound as though that were the only reason he’d moved out, because restaurant eating would be so swell. She felt she’d been traded for shirred eggs.”

One day several years later he called her to say he had a touch of the flu. Nothing for her to worry her darling head about. They had tickets to a baseball game, but he didn’t think he could make it, he’d have to take a rain check. Go, Giants! It turned out the flu was a heart attack. He didn’t get to the hospital until he was already dead.

“No wonder she grew up a bit of a control freak,” Sylvia said. With love. Jocelyn and Sylvia had been best friends for more than forty years. . . .

There’s no heat with Mr. Knightley,” Allegra said. She had a very expressive face, like Lillian Gish in a silent movie. She frowned when she was making a point, had done this since she was a tiny girl. “Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax meet in secret and quarrel with each other and make it up and lie to everyone they know. You believe they’re in love because they behave so badly. You can imagine sex. You never feel that with Mr. Knightley.” Allegra had a lullaby voice, low, yet penetrating. She was often impatient with us, but her tones were so soothing we usually realized it only afterward.

“That’s true,” Bernadette agreed. Behind the lenses of her tiny glasses her eyes were round as pebbles. “Emma is always saying how reserved Jane is, even Mr. Knightley says so, and he’s so perceptive about everyone. But she’s the only one in the whole book”-the lights came on, which made Bernadette jump, but she didn’t miss a word for it-“who ever seems desperately in love. Austen says that Emma and Mr. Knightley make an unexceptional marriage.” She paused reflectively. “Clearly she approves. I expect the word ‘unexceptional’ meant something different in Austen’s day. Like, nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to set tongues wagging. Neither reaching too high nor stooping too low.”

Light poured like milk over the porch. Several large winged insects hurled themselves against the screens, frantic to find it, follow it to the source. This resulted in a series of thumps, some of them loud enough to make Sahara growl.

“No animal passion,” said Allegra.

Sahara turned. Animal passion. She had seen things in the kennels. Things that would make your hair stand on end.

“No passion at all.” Prudie repeated the word, but pronouncing it as if it were French. Pah-see-ohn. Because she taught French, this wasn’t as thoroughly obnoxious as it might have been.

Not that we liked it. The month before, Prudie’s beautician had removed most of her eyebrows; it gave her a look of steady surprise. We couldn’t wait for this to go away. “Sans passion, amour n’est rien,” Prudie said.

“Après moi, le deluge,” Bernadette answered, just so Prudie’s words wouldn’t fall into a silence that might be mistaken for chilly. Bernadette was really too kind sometimes.

Nothing smelly outside. Sahara came away from the screen door. She leaned into Jocelyn, sighing. Then she circled three times, sank, and rested her chin on the gamy toe of Jocelyn’s shoe. She was relaxed but alert. Nothing would get to Jocelyn that didn’t go through Sahara first.

“If I may.” Grigg cleared his throat, held up his hand. “One thing I notice about Emma is that there’s a sense of menace.” He counted off on his fingers. He wore no ring. “The violent Gypsies. The unexplained pilferings. Jane Fairfax’s boat accident. All Mr. Woodhouse’s worries. There’s a sense of threat hovering on the edges. Casting its shadow.”

Prudie spoke quickly and decisively. “But Austen’s whole point is that none of those things is real. There is no real threat.”

“I’m afraid you’ve missed the whole point,” said Allegra.

Grigg said nothing further. His eyelashes dropped to his cheeks, making his expression hard to read. It fell to Jocelyn as hostess to change the subject.

“I read once that the Emma plot, the humbling of a pretty, self-satisfied girl, is the most popular plot of all time. I think it was Robertson Davies who said so. That this was the one story everyone was bound to enjoy.”

. . .

When Jocelyn was fifteen, she met two boys while playing tennis at the country club. One of them was named Mike, the other Steven. They were, at first glance, average boys. Mike was taller and thinner, with a prominent Adam’s apple and glasses that turned to headlights in the sun. Steven had better shoulders and a nice smile but a fat ass.

Mike’s cousin Pauline was visiting from New York, and they introduced themselves to Jocelyn because they needed a fourth for doubles. Jocelyn had been working on her serve with the club pro. She wore her hair in a high ponytail that summer, with bangs like Sandra Dee in Take Her, She’s Mine. She had breasts, pointy at first, but now rounding. Her mother had bought her a two-piece bathing suit with egg-cup shaping, in which Jocelyn was exquisitely self-conscious. But her best feature, she always believed, had been her serve. Her toss that day was perfect, taking her to full stretch, and she spun the ball into the service court. It seemed she couldn’t miss. Her spirits, as a consequence, were high and wild.

Neither Mike nor Steven spoiled things by being particularly competitive. They split games sometimes, and sometimes they didn’t; no one really kept score but Jocelyn, and she did so only privately. They traded partners. Pauline was such a little snot, accusing people of foot faults in a friendly game, that Jocelyn looked better and better by comparison. Mike said she was a good sport, and Steven said she wasn’t a bit stuck-up, not like most girls.

They continued to meet and play after Pauline went back home, even though three was such an awkward number. Sometimes when they rallied, Mike or Steven would try to run from one side of the net to the other to play on both teams at once. It never worked and they never stopped trying. Eventually some adult would accuse them of not being serious and throw them off the court.

After tennis, they’d change into their swimsuits and meet at the pool. Everything about Jocelyn changed with her clothes. When she came out of the women’s locker room, her movements were cramped and tight. She’d wrap a towel around her waist and remove it only to slip into the water.

Still, she liked when they stared; she felt the pleasure of it all over her skin. They came in after her, touching her under the water, where no one could see. One or the other would swim down to put his head between her legs and surface with her knees hooked around his shoulders, the water from her ponytail streaming into the cup over her breast. One day one of them, she never knew which, pulled the knot of her top loose. She caught it just as it began to drop. She could have stopped this with a word, but she didn’t. She felt dangerous, brazen. She felt all lit up.

She had no desire for anything further. She didn’t actually like Mike or Steven that much, and certainly not in that way. When she lay in her bed or the bath, touching herself more intimately and successfully than they did, the boy she pictured was Mike’s older brother, Bryan. Bryan went to college and worked summers as a lifeguard at the pool. He looked the way a lifeguard looks. Mike and Steven called him the boss, he called them the squirts. He had never spoken to Jocelyn, possibly didn’t even know her name. He had a girlfriend who rarely got wet, but lay on a beach chair reading Russian novels and drinking Coca-Cola. You could tell how many she’d drunk from the maraschino cherries lined up along her napkin.

In late July there was a dance, and it was girl-ask-boy. Jocelyn asked Mike and Steven both. She thought they knew this, assumed they would talk about it. They were best friends. She thought it would hurt someone’s feelings if she asked one and not the other, and she didn’t want to hurt anyone. She had a strapless sundress to wear; she and her mother went out and bought a strapless bra.

Mike showed up at her house first, in a white shirt and a sports jacket. He was nervous; they were both nervous; they needed Steven to arrive. But when he did, Mike was shocked. Hurt. Furious. “You two have a great time,” he said. “I got other things to do.”

Jocelyn’s mother drove Jocelyn and Steven to the club and wouldn’t be picking them up again until eleven o’clock. Three whole hours had to pass somehow. Glass torches lit the pathway to the clubhouse, and the landscape flickered. There were rose wreaths and pots of ivy animals. The air cool and soft, the moon sliding down the sky. Jocelyn didn’t want to be with Steven. It felt like a date now, and she didn’t want to date him. She was rude and miserable, wouldn’t dance, hardly talked, wouldn’t take off her cardigan. She was afraid he might get the wrong idea, so she was trying to clarify things. Eventually he asked some other girl to dance.

Jocelyn went out by the pool and sat in one of the lounge chairs. She knew that she’d been unforgivably mean to Steven, wished she’d never met him. She wasn’t wearing stockings and her legs were cold. She could smell her own Wind Song perfume mixing with the chlorine.

Music floated over the pool. “Duke of Earl.” “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” “There is a house in New Orleans.” Bryan sat down on the end of her chair, making her blood skip. Probably she was in love with him.

“Aren’t you the thing?” he said. The only light around them came from under the water and was blue. He was turned away, so she didn’t see his face, but his voice was full of contempt. “There’s a word for girls like you.”

Jocelyn hadn’t known this, hadn’t even known there were girls like her. Whatever the word was, he didn’t say it.

“You had those boys in such a fever. Did you like that? I bet you liked it. Did you know they used to be best friends? They hate each other now.”

She was so ashamed. She’d known all summer there was something wrong with the way she was behaving, but she hadn’t known what it was. She had liked it. Now she understood that the liking it was the wrong part.

Bryan gripped one of her ankles hard enough so that the next morning she had a bruise where his thumb had been. He slid the other hand up her leg. “You asked for this,” he said. “You know you did.” His fingers grabbed at her panties, pushed them aside. She felt the slick surface of his nails. She didn’t tell him not to. She was too ashamed to move. His finger found its way inside her. He shifted his weight until he lay over her. He was wearing the same bay aftershave her father had worn.

“Bryan?” His girlfriend’s voice, over by the clubhouse. “True Love Ways” playing on the turntable-Jocelyn would never like Buddy Holly again, even though he was dead, poor guy-the girlfriend calling. “Bryan? Bryan!” Bryan slid his finger out, let go of her. He stood up, shaking his jacket into place and smoothing his hair. He put his finger into his mouth while she watched, took it out. “We’ll catch up later,” he told her.

Jocelyn walked down the watery path through the torches and out to the road. The country club was in the country, up a long hill. It took twenty minutes to drive there. The roads twisted and had no sidewalks and were surrounded by trees. Jocelyn started home.

She was wearing sandals with one-inch heels. She’d painted her toenails, and in the moonlight, her toes looked as if they’d been dipped in blood. Already there was a raw spot on the back of one heel. She was very frightened, because ever since camp she’d lived in a world with communists and rapists and serial killers. Whenever she heard a car coming, she stepped away from the road and crouched until it passed. The headlights were like searchlights. She pretended she was someone innocent, someone who hadn’t asked for anything. She pretended she was a deer. She pretended she was a Chippewa. She pretended she was on the Trail of Tears, an event Sylvia had recounted in vivid if erroneous detail.

She thought she’d be home before her mother left to pick them up. All she had to do was go downhill. But in the beam of a passing car, suddenly she didn’t recognize anything. At the bottom of the hill was a crossroads she never came to, and now she was going up, which she shouldn’t be doing, even for a short time. There were no street signs, no houses. She kept going forward only because she was too ashamed to go back. Hours passed. Finally she found a small gas station, which was closed, and a pay phone, which was working. As she dialed she was sure her mother wouldn’t answer. Her mother might be out, frantically looking for her. She might have packed all her clothes into the car while Jocelyn was at the dance, and moved away.

It was midnight. Her mother made a horrible to-do about it, but Jocelyn convinced her that she’d only wanted some fresh air, some exercise, the stars.

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“What strikes one first is the voice: robust, sly, witty, elegant, unexpected.” — Margot Livesey,The New York Times Book Review

“A luxuriant pleasure!” —Alice Sebold

“Part character study, part social commentary, part literary puzzle, Book Club builds on Fowler’s success as an author of highly creative fiction.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Karen Joy Fowler creates a novel that is so winning, so touching, so delicately, slyly witty that admirers of Persuasion and Emma will simply sigh with happiness.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

“Start quoting a few of Fowler’s puckish lines and it becomes damnably difficult to stop. . . The Jane Austen Book Club amounts to a witty meditation on how the books we choose, choose us too.” —San Francisco Chronicle

The Jane Austen Book Club offers a sparkling rumination on the act of reading itself and how beloved books can serve as refuge, self-definition, snobbish barricades against other people or pathways out of the old self to a wider world. [It is] a terrific comic novel about a closed society merrily transforming itself by reading.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s All Things Considered

“[Fowler] does so terrific a job of bringing her characters to life that Austen’s work falls away like a husk. It’s an impressive feat of homage, since Fowler essentially borrows
Austen’s great themes…and makes them her own. Miss Austen would be proud.” —The Denver Post

From the book jacket :

In California’s central valley, five women and one man join to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin,unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her eye for the frailties of human behavior and her ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Karen Joy Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.

Dedicated Austenites will delight in unearthing the echoes of Austen that run through the novel, but most readers will simply enjoy the vision and voice that, despite two centuries of separation, unite two great writers of brilliant social comedy.

My Views :
I watched the movie 2 weeks back and was really looking forward to reading this book as I absolutely loved the onscreen version. I must say I wasn’t disappointed. Actually, I was really happy that I read it. It’s been I while since I liked any movie and it’s book version equally. I guess the mistake I used to do,was to read the book and expect all of the plot and intricacies to be in the movie. That would leave me bitter . So my technique for this one worked. I liked the movie and when I read the book , I loved it even more.

There are very few people I know who haven’t read Jane Austen and fewer among them who haven’t liked what they had read. It’s simple , it’s witty, it’s fun. Her heroines are not perfect but as they move ahead in life, they learn their lessons. Some by falling down and getting hurt ,others by making a total fool out of themselves and some others by just getting over their prejudices . But most importantly they learn. The Jane Austen Book Club members have somewhat the similar dispositions as Austen’s heroines and the problems in their lives might just be solved if they pay attention to what Austen is trying to tell them.

Jocelyn, Sylvia , Bernadette, Allegra , Prudie and Grigg are the members of All Jane Austen All The Time Book Club. They have each chosen a book by Jane Austen and are responsible for it’s discussion. Jocelyn, the initiator of the book club is Emmaish (if I can use that word to address her) She mostly had her friend Sylvia in mind while forming this book club as she wants to pair her with Grigg after Sylvia’s recent separation from her husband Daniel.

Sylvia , who loves her husband and her kids is heartbroken after her husband asks her for divorce.Book club was meant for her to get over her grief. Allegra , Sylvia’s lesbian daughter goes to the extremes of whatever she does. Moods always tend to go overboard with her. Her disastrous love life has made her Jane Austen’s worst critic in the matters of romance.

Bernadette has seen more of life and love than the others but hasn’t given up on either. She sees the romantic side of Austen , the fun , playful side.She loves Jane Austen for being such a romantic.

Grigg ,a sci-fi fan has joined the group at Jocelyn’s request not knowing that Jocelyn is match making him with Sylvia , when he is fast falling for Jocelyn. He buys the biggest Jane Austen complete works book available and feels comfortable reading Mysteries Of Udolpho which is mentioned in Northanger Abbey but has never ever read Pride And Prejudice!!!

Prudie, the high school French teacher has a way of seeing Jane Austen and her books in a very personal tone that usually irritates the rest of them . So does her French in their discussions. A husband who doesn’t share her likings is just one of her many problems.

The lives of these people are connected by one source = Austen and as they go about reading and discussing Jane Austen’s books they learn lessons that can be inculcated in their own lives and probably solve some tricky issues and get over some prejudices.

This book is as much fun as it is thought provoking and even if there is any person (which I doubt there is )who hasn’t read Austen any time will also love reading this book. If you are an Austen fan,then it’s absolutely necessary you read this 🙂 Highly recommended.