Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Middlemarch - George Eliot

Date of Reading: 18/10/2007
Author: George Eliot
Subtitle: A Study of Provincial Life
Publisher: Collier Books
Place: New York
Year: 1962


         Most of the Indian Universities include this in their curriculum, but mine is an exempted one. This is lucky as we have enough worries without this horribly boring book adding to the burden. Well, that's the case of all Eliot's works. They look downright dry but if you can finish it, then the aura will never leave. I still remember even the character names, which is unusual. And the dying scene of Casaubon, with Dorothea running towards the garden ready to give the promise, lingers in the mind too.
          Middlemarch is a province in Britain and the life of its people is the theme of the novel (as you can imagine 'people' here applies only to the upper class gentry). 
         Mr. Brook is an unmarried gentleman and his two nieces -- Dorothea and Celia -- lives with him. Book opens with a description of Dorothea, about her simple, puritanic and high religious nature. Sir Chettam, their neighbour has his eyes on her as a prospective wife, but she marries Casaubon, a clergy man of wealth and high knowledge who is old enough to be her father. Chettam later marries Celia.
         Lydgate is the doctor in the town and he marries Rosamond Vincy, the mayor's daughter against her father's objections. Soon his bride's extravaganza makes him bankrupt. Fred, Rosamond's brother is in love with Mary Garth, the estate manager's daughter; but she won't have a good-for-nothing fellow like Fred. In order to win her consent he begins to work for her father and makes some money. They marry and have three sons   in the course of the novel.
          After an year of not-so-pleasant marriage life Casaubon dies leaving his wealth to Dorothea with the strange condition that she should not marry his cousin Will Ladislaw. At this point there comes a man called Raffles and he blackmails Bulstrode, Vincy's brother-in-law. His first wife was Ladislaw's grandmother who had a daughter -- Sarrah -- in the first marriage. Their wealth was amassed through crimes and on finding this Sarrah leaves home and marries Will's father. Bulstrode keeps her dwelling place a secret, inherits his wife's money and comes to Middlemarch after her death.
          Now Raffles stirs the past again and the word spreads; Will won't take any part of that evil wealth. So when Raffles dies everyone thinks Bulstrode has something to do with it and he is forced to flee from Middlemarch with his wife. 
         Dorothea comes to the rescue of Lydgate and pays off his debts. He dies at the age of fifty leaving behind four children; Rosamond marries another wealthy physician. And for Dorothea, she marries Will Ladislaw disregarding the condition in the will  and consequently loses her position as the heiress. They move to London and at the end of the novel they have a son.


     

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

Date of Reading: 09/10/2007
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher: The Zodiac Press
Place: London
Year: 1956
 
        Is this the worst novel of Austen? I will say no, we have 'Northanger Abbey' to consider. But do remember, the worst of Jane Austen doesn't mean its a one starred book.
        It might be the influence of 'Pride and Prejudice' that put out the shine of this one. The parallels are too obvious -- three sisters, one tricked by a villain and finally the happy marriage after tribulations. But the male counterparts here are rather weak and plot also lacks the perfectness of the former novel. Mood is grave and please don't attempt to read this immediately after 'Pride and Prejudice', you are going to hate it.
         After the death of Mr. Henry Dashwood his widow and three daughters are to move to Barton cottage as the property is bequeathed to John, the son of his first marriage. The dying father has made him promise to look after his family, but the influence of his wife changed the mind of John.
        The three sisters are Elinor, Marianne and Margaret. The eldest one had a liking to Edward Ferrars, the eldest brother of Mrs. John Dashwood but as the family of his is not in favour, this comes to nothing (at least for now).
        At their new home, they get Sir John Middleton and Lady Middleton as neighbours and also make an acquaintance with Colonel Brandon who falls for Marianne at first sight. But this is nothing to her as her affections are laid elsewhere. She is once saved by Mr. Willoughby on a rainy day and he fits to her description of her perfect knight-at-arms. But after some courting he leaves to town suddenly, making Marianne all the more perplexed and devastated.
         Then comes the Miss Steeles and the youngest one Lucy discloses to Elinor that she is engaged to Edward Ferrars for four years; the news is kept in secret for fear of his mother. Elinor takes the news valiantly and during winter they visit London with Mrs. Jennings. Mr. Willoughby is found to be engaged and Colonel Brandon reveals another treachery of his to his niece who has been molested and left pregnant. Soon the news of Edwards engagement comes to open and Mrs. Ferrars disinherits him as expected.
        On returning to their place Marianne gets a terrible fever and Colonel Brandon comes to help. Later Edward also comes to visit and announces that his brother Robert has married Lucy, their engagement being a childish affair. In the end Edward marries Elinor and Colonel Brandon weds Marianne. Sense in the title represents Elinor and sensibility Marianne.

--- film (1995) is more interesting, especially the part of Marianne done by Kate Winslet. It won an Academy award and is nominated for six others including Best Picture. 

        

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Icon - Frederick Forsyth

Date of Reading: 06/10/2007
Author: Frederick Forsyth
Publisher: Corgi Books
Place: Great Britain
Year: 1996

          Thrillers or detective novels are best when it comes to train journeys; especially if you are in an Express or Superfast which goes slower than a Passenger and is held down in different stations for reasons I know not what. It is on one such journey that I came upon this novel -- a random search in the library revealed the worn out book in the corner and it looked like a good one too for the three hour ride home.
          I never got a chance to read any more of Forsyth, but thanks to this absorbing tale, much fretting is avoided, though the train was late by one hour. Isn't that what great about books? For Keats escape may be through imagination, for Coleridge the opium, but to some others like me its books.
         Now about the story; its a gripping action thriller interspersed with many flashbacks (which is the most interesting part) and as usual of the books of the period reflects the cold war in its extremities, ie., the good American saving the world from the evil Russians. Its a relief that now the place of Russians is taken by aliens and wizards or sometimes vampires and Greek Gods.
          Hero is Jason Monk, and ex-CIA agent and the setting is the Russia of 1999. Igor V. Komarov, the leader of UPF (Union of Patriotic Forces) is expected to be the next President. Meanwhile, Leonid Zaitsev, the office cleaner of the party headquarters, finds a black document on the table of  Akopov, the secretary. Its written by Komorov and is about his plans of killing the Jews and other terrorists in Russia. Zaitsev passes it to British Embassy and soon gets killed along with Akopov by Colonel Grishin, the personal bodyguard of Komarov.
          Now Monk is approached by Sir Nigel Irvine, the former chief of British Secret Intelligence. He has worked in Russia before with four agents who is later murdered by Colonel Grishin as their identities are leaked from headquarters. Though he finds out the betrayer, CIA throws him out in humiliation. Now is his chance to strike back.
         Monk works diligently this time in Moscow, meeting important Russian figures and revealing the Black manifesto. In spite of Komarov's attempts papers get the news and his rates go down. Sir Nigel plans to bring back the tsar. Grishin tries to capture Moscow on New Year's Eve but Monk's timely intervention spoils the plan; he kills Grishin. Russia returns to the rule of tsar.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Heart of the Hunter - Linda Anne Wulf

Date of Reading: 20/07/2012
Author: Linda Anne Wulf
From: the publisher in exchange of an honest review
Publisher: Hydra Publications
Place: USA
Year: 2012

           There are only a few books that made me forget food and this is one of them. Or so I thought till I reached the middle. What the story lacks is a good editing; some of the scenes are definitely in excess -- forest searching scenes which contribute nothing to the progress of the story and the bedroom scenes bordering on boredom (which actually makes it look like cheap fiction using sex as a marketing strategy) are only some of the instances.
            But excepting that the work is great, a beautiful Gothic romance. Setting is superb -- a castle with secret passages, surrounded by a dark forest which is haunted by a murderer. In several ways Fianna reminds us of Jane Eyre.             
         Hunter in the title can be applied to three characters -- Geoffrey, Fianna and Gareth -- and each of them are hunted too. Geoffrey hunts (or haunts) Fianna, she in turn is after Gareth (a slightly different way of hunting) and Gareth is after Geoffrey; thus they form a complete circle. The idea of introducing the villain's mental proceedings so as to give some clues to identify him is also excellent; a technique brought into perfection by Orhan Pamuk in 'My Name is Red'.
          Cover design too is much to be appreciated; I must confess that it made me choose this work. Names of the characters are also well chosen -- rhythmic and suitable for the atmosphere. Morgan reminds one of Morgana, the witch. Well, there must be something supernatural within the Morgan family, how else a dead father can give warnings to the daughter?
          Setting is Warwickshire. Fianna Morgan, the eleven year old girl, is been warned all her life not to enter Dinsmore wood. But what can one do when the adventure spirit set in! Sliding in secretly, she discovers a man digging to bury a dead woman. He feels her gaze, chases her but her running and the help of an unknown boy saves her that day.
          Eight years later, after the death of her father when their cottage burns down, together with her mother and little sister Brenna, she takes refuge in Lord Graham's manor and there meets the saviour again in Lord Graham's son, Gareth. Though at first cold, he soon confesses that the murderer is his own father and when Fianna's mother disappears one night she suspects foul play and joins with Gareth in searching the forest. As always, the love blooms.
   [Halt! better stop here if you haven't read the story. I don't want to ruin the suspense]
         Gareth finds that Fianna's mother is the once betrothed cousin of his father who later eloped with the gardener's son; she was with her mother safe and attending her. The villain is revealed to be Geoffrey Graham, the eldest brother of Lord Graham who shares his likeness and is believed to be dead. When Fianna gets captured, she shoots him down. Story ends with the marriage plans of Gareth and Fianna.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Zahir - Paulo Coelho

Date of Reading: 15/09/2007
Author: Paulo Coelho
Translated by: Margaret Jull Costa
Publisher: Harper Collins with India Today
Place: New Delhi
Year: 2005

          Though I like 'Alchemist' and even admire 'The Fifth Mountain', I was never a fan of Paulo Coelho. With this book I have stopped reading him altogether. Not that the book is bad, just it is not my type.
          Zahir, in Arabic, means visible, present, incaple of going unnoticed. It is someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. This can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness.
         One day a renowned author discovers that his wife, a war correspondent, has disappeared leaving no trace. Though time brings more success and new love, he remains mystified -- and increasingly fascinated -- by her absence. She becomes his Zahir. Was she kidnapped, blackmailed or simly bored with their marriage? The unrest she causes is as strong as the attraction she exerts.
         His search for her and the truth of his own life, takes him from South America to Spain, France, Croatia and eventually, the bleaky beautiful landscape of Central Asia. More than that, it leads him into a new understanding of the nature of love, the power of destiny and what it really means to follow your heart.
         Esther, his wife has left him because of her unhappiness. Through her friend Mikhail the narrator finds her in Kazhakisthan. He changes his name to 'Nobody' to begin a new life as per the custom of the village. For him love is the most powerful thing. Marriage doesn't mean keeping only one partner. Esther was pregnant by somebody but that doesn't prevent their union.

Lines I Liked:

"When someone leaves it's because someone else is about to arrive -- I will find love again".

"freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose -- and commit myself to -- what is best for me".

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer

Date of Reading: 18/07/2012
Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: Ace Star
Place: USA
Year: 1950

          A story with a powerful heroine is always a delight and this hasn't disappointed. Something in it makes us spellbound to the core; there is nothing more to say. Though labelled as a romance, any indication of love is shown only at the very end, to give it some perfection it seems. That's good, because much of the pleasure is derived from Sophy's grand actions and clever repartee with Charles. There is nothing lacking in her, and no one could be this much proficient in both feminine and masculine arts. No wonder, her military friends nicknamed her as Grand Sophy. A must read work for anyone interested in a little fun.
         Sophy Stanton-Lacy comes to London to  stay with her cousins as her father Sir Horace has gone to Brazil for some diplomatic mission. Time period must be 19th century as there is some reference to the battle of Waterloo. Sophy is no ordinary girl -- being in constant travel she knows people and places, can handle a horse as well as a man, a good shooter and also has a clever head for business and also for understanding people. To this must be added her ability to bring up tears at will.
         What she encounters here is a house with internal turmoils. Her uncle Lord Ombersely has sunk the house with debts and now the elder son Charles Rivenhall is in charge of everything as he inherited a fortune from his great-uncle. This stern and hot tempered, son and brother causes much discomfiture to the family members. He is engaged to Miss Wraxton, a 'very tiresome girl' in Sophy's words. His sister Cecilia's condition is more pathetic -- she is infatuated with Augustus Fawnhope, a poet with no means. Charles, of course, prohibits the union and is in favour of Lord Charlbury. Hubert Rivenhall is also seems to be in some sort of fix.
Georgette Heyer
         Sophy springs into action without a moment to lose, and this whole novel is all about her attempts of making everything right. Cecilia and her poet lover is constantly put together against the firm objections of Charles and in the end her eyes are opened to the true love of Charlbury. Sophy's scheme succeeds and Charles is liberated from his engagement; Hubert's debt problems are also cleverly solved by her. Story ends with her engagement with Charles.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Daniel Deronda - George Eliot

Date of Reading: 06/07/2012
Author: George Eliot
Publisher: Wordsworth Classics
Place: Great Britain
Year: 1996

        I have found this book in a list of must read books of English literature. My pride has suffered much, I must say, for how could there be a George Eliot must read work which I haven't even heard about? Anyway I set out to read this and well, its pretty good, I confess. Eliot's second best (haven't yet found a rival for 'Mill on the Floss').
          The novel first appeared as a serial of eight instalments published in 'Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine' from February to September 1876. It explores 19th century Judaism and also examines the oppression of 19th century women in an increasingly imperialist, patriarchal English society.
        There are some things that are confusing though. For instance, why is it titled 'Daniel Deronda'? Both Gwendolen and Deronda has equal parts to play and as Gwendolen's life is far more interesting (at least for a contemporary reader), then why this partiality? All other female characters are shallow, especially Mirah who are nothing but the usual representation of an immaculate woman which exists only in a man's imagination - tender as rose and pure as snow! There is scope for a great sequel concerning Gwendolen's future life; there is no doubt that she can be great, but how?
          Narrative frequently shifts between the two central characters, Gwendolen Harleth and Daniel Deronda. Gwendolen is a brave, pretty girl brought up with high expectations of marriage which will secure the position of her family as it includes her mother and sisters. When Sir Hugo Mallinger's nephew, Mr. Grandcourt, comes to stay in Diplow, the opportune moment arrives.
        Gwendolen is inclined to accept his hand but soon finds out that the suitor has a secret mistress and children. She promises them she won't marry him and goes abroad for a while as an escape from Grandcourt. There she meets Deronda, the ward of Sir Hugo, but no cord of friendship arises then. When news arrives that her mother has lost her entire wealth, she has no choice but to marry Grandcourt. The search for a job was futile as there are no profitable jobs for a woman to do. The guilt of breaking her promise haunted her and she turns to Deronda as a spiritual counsellor. Their relation is often misinterpreted by others.
          Deronda was brought up as a ward of Sir Hugo's unclear of his origins. When he saves Mirah, a charming Jewess from attempting suicide, a new chapter opens up. She was running from her brutal father and is in search of her mother and brother from whom she was forcely separated as a child. Deronda's search leads him to Mordecai who sees in him a new dawn to Judaism. Nothing will persuade him to believe that Deronda is not a Jew. He turns out to be Mirah's brother and her mother was dead.
          Soon revelation comes out of blue; Deronda's mother, appearing for the first time informs about his Jewish birth. His father is dead and as the mother hated their religion, she left the child in the care of Sir Hugo to be brought up as an English man. 
         Meanwhile Gwendolen's life is in decline. She is just a slave to her husband's will and consequently unhappy. But his sudden death through drowning releases her at last though his fortune is bequeathed to the illegitimate son. But Gwendolen is content with her meagre wealth and she decides to live in a more fruitful way taking Deronda's advice.
         Deronda marries Mirah and together they go to east to acquire more wisdom and to awake the Jewish people. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Empyreal Fate - Rachel Hunter

Date of Reading: 11/07/2012
Author: Rachel Hunter
Subtitle: A Llathalan Annal Part 1
From: The author in exchange of an honest review
Publisher: Hydra Publications
Place: USA
Year: 2012
          'Empyreal Fate' is the first book in the series of 'A Llathalan Annal' and envisages an epic story. Book fares as an introduction and the real story has just begun towards the end.
          Smooth and elegant!, that will be the description I prefer though mixed feelings rise within. Language could pose a threat to some, but if you are acquainted with the style of Walter Scott novels, no need to perspire. Words are well-chosen and charming; Rachel has successfully created a medieval atmosphere.
          There is something missing though -- the humour element, the essence which I think make the readers take any work to their hearts. Isn't that the reason we love Dumbledore or Gandalf or Rhett Butler? The characters, Pinoque and Sethran, could have served this purpose. The first one, the companion figure, is apt to take the place of a Fool but is not given much role. As for Sethran, usually the communication between a father and daughter is full of repartee (even in real life) but alas! here it is not so.
          The rape scene came as a shock as it was totally unexpected in a fairytale kind of novel. Yet much discomfiture is aroused from the way its effects are described as if the lady's body is scarred beyond repair. Isn't that a pre-modern notion? Is it not the man who has lost his real innocence? Freiysuira who in the story stands for God or Fate, asking the Princess to surrender to be seduced, is incredulous too. Her words reeks of masochism.
           Ending is also vague. If it was a series published for a magazine, then stopping at the middle of the action would have been perfect. Here the hero has not yet realised his mission, no evil is vanquished and I felt like the character of an Italo Calvino novel -- betrayed. Still I like the book, otherwise why did I spend an evening imagining the possible outcomes?
Here is the story:
         Llathala is an imaginary land where magical and non-magical creatures roam. The western region is shared by man and elf, men in the city of Erandor and the elves in Androth. As always the race of man is in a wretched state with a brutal king, and it is around the farm boy, Darrion, the story revolves.
         To ease the hunger of his family, he goes to hunt in the forbidden forest of Illex, and there meets with the elven princess, Amarya. His elder brother, Drevan, considers this as treachery but when he is shot down by an elf, Amarya comes to the rescue. Far from being grateful, Drevan reports to the king and Darrion is forced to flee to the forest.
         Amarya is also in trouble. She is blackmailed into accepting the hand of evil Sir Laeryen and on the day of the engagement he brutally rapes her too. A vision warns her that this is inevitable to ward off the coming disaster to her people. She must not be a distraction to Darrion, the key to Llathala's future.
          But at the ceremony, Amarya refuses Laeryen and flees to the forest to Darrion. There Drevan kills her; she dies in the hands of her lover warning him against Drevan and the possibility of him possessing the evil sword, Daeanu.
        You do have great potential Rachel. It is great to publish a novel at the age of 19. All the Best!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Movie Review : A Beautiful Mind

Starring: Russel Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany and Christopher Plummer

          Which is the nicest part in a beautiful film? I think it is THE END -- where when the screen is clouded with darkness and the names of the behind the screen people starts to appear, we feel content and happy; happy to be lived long enough to see this wonderful artistic creation too. The urge to clap comes without compulsion and something is changed within.
          I always had much awe for the Nobel Prize winners, though a disappointment always lingers. Why are they all so old? It seems great inventions come with great experience which needs an infinite time. 'A Beautiful Mind' is the story of one such great genius, John Nash, a mathematician.
          The story begins when, John Nash, the mysterious West Virginian genius joins Princeton University. He is shy, awkward and most of his classmates consider him a psycho -- needless to say, he has no friends except Charles Herman, his roommate who is the witty element in this earlier scenes.
          He won't attend classes, says it dulls the innovative spirit and after much struggle comes his breakthrough project. This earns him a position in Wheeler Labs, his dream. After some years he is recruited as a code breaker by William Parcher of the Defence. Surprisingly enough he meets with his soul mate Alicia and marries her.
          Everything goes rather well until he is attacked by the Russians on the deposit point. Parcher comes at the nick of time and kills the attackers, but from then on John is terrified and is full of suspicions. He is admitted to a mental hospital and is found to have schizophrenia.
         Along with Alicia, the spectators are also shocked to learn that Charles, his niece and Parcher are delusions, a trick of Nash's abnormal mind. He has to undergo shock treatment for three months and must continuously take medicine.
          This weakens him and when he stops the medicine secretly, it begins all over again. But this time realisation dawns as he sees that the niece hasn't aged a bit. With Alicia's support, he begins to control it without medicines. His former friend, Martin Hansen, who runs the Maths department at Princeton now, allows him to roam around the familiar surroundings of the college.
         After about twenty years, he learns to ignore the imaginary persons though they are still there. He is now teaching at Princeton and the greatest tribute comes in 1994 through Nobel Prize. A must watch film for sure though it somewhat distorts Nash's life.
--- movie is inspired by a best-selling, Pulitzer Prize nominated 1998 book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar.
--- nominated for eight Oscars and bagged four.  

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Versatile Blogger Award


Thanks to Amy, I have got a Versatile Blogger award.

There are a few rules one must follow before accepting the award and they are as follows:
  • Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging.
  • Let the nominated bloggers know that they have been nominated for this award.
  • Share some random facts about yourself.
  • Thank the blogger who has nominated you.
  • Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post.
7 Random Facts about Me:
  • My secret wish is to die in a library
  • I always read the end of the book after finishing the first chapter
  • Like ice-creams, obsessively
  • Hate cooking or any other chores in the kitchen
  • I like cricket
  • I have zero fashion sense
  • I once tried to learn the whole dictionary
15 Blogger Nominations:
Congratulations to all the winners!!!



Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien

Date of Reading: 08/09/2007
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Publisher: Harper Collins
Place: London
Year: 1999

         The Hobbit is a tale of high adventure, undertaken by a company of dwarfs, in search of dragon-guarded gold. The leader is Thorin, the last king's son but as the members constitute the number thirteen, they ask Gandalf the wizard to suggest one more person. His choice is Bilbo Baggins of the Bag End. Young Bilbo is of course reluctant to the idea of adventure, but who can resist Gandalf?
          The gold which was originally stolen from the dwarfs, is on the safeguard of the dragon, Smug. If they can come out of it successfully, Bilbo is promised the fourteenth share of the gold. During the journey he even surprises himself by his resourcefulness and his skill as a burglar. Encounters with trolls, goblins, dwarfs, elves and giant spiders, conversations with Smug the dragon, and a rather unwilling presence at the Battle of the Five armies are some of the adventures that befall Bilbo. But there are lighter moments as well: good fellowship, welcome meals, laughter and song.
         At last the dragon gets killed by a man named Bard but Thorin is adamant; he won't give the gold to men of the Lake. The attack of the goblins soon unites them all, though Thorin, Fili and Kili gets killed. It is during this journey that Bilbo gets the ring from Gollum which turns out to be the central element of the sequel Lord of the Rings. He is also gifted with the Sting and the Mail.
        The fourteenth share proves too big to be transported to Shire and so Bilbo declines. On the return journey he is blessed with the gold of the trolls which is enough to make him rich. This was lucky as his too much caring relatives has grabbed his possessions thinking him well out of the picture.
          It is a complete and marvellous tale in itself, but it also forms a prelude to 'The Lord of the Rings'. Not as good as the famous sequel, but worth reading though.
--- the films in two parts, 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' and 'The Hobbit: There and Back Again' is scheduled to be released on December 2012.
          

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Lord of the Rings

Date of Reading: 31/08/2007
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Publisher: Harper Collins
Place: London
Year: 1995

          Magnificent! There is nothing much more to say.
         I have read 'Harry Potter' series before and so this one appeared as a perfect prequel - a world where Men rule, Elves are free and powerful (nothing like the H. Potter series), and Dwarfs and Hobbits also thrive among others. [The book does have a prequel - 'The Hobbit'].
          One can't help notice some similarities: Wizards always seems to be the trouble makers - the Dark Lord as usual has a coming back. One might even believe in the Buddhist rebirth philosophy. Dumbledore could be the reincarnation of Gandalf, and Harry of Frodo. Sam can take the part of Ron and well, it's a pity that there are no powerful women characters.
          Novel was originally published in three volumes - 'The Fellowship of the Ring', 'The Two Towers' and 'The Return of the King'. I have got it all in a single volume which as assumed is really huge. Movies are brilliant too, in fact I like them better than the book. Last one swept the Oscars - won all eleven of the Academy Awards for which it was nominated, tying it with Benhur and Titanic for the most Academy Awards received for a film. No wonder it is the third best-selling novel ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.
           Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him the Rings of Power - the means by which he will be able to rule the world. All he lacks in his plan for dominion is the Ruling Ring which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Hobbits are small, peaceful people who lived in a place called Shire.
          Bilbo leaves the Ring which can make the wearer invisible, to his heir Frodo. Gandalf, the wizard, advises him to leave home and destroy the Ring by putting it into the Crack of Doom in Mordor. Sam, his gardener and his friends, Merry and Pippin accompanies and a Fellowship of the Ring is formed for this venture. Besides them, it includes Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, and Boromir. At the end of the first book, Boromir dies and the Fellowship is broken. Frodo and Sam continues the journey alone.
          'The Towers' is all about battles and the last book witnesses the victory of Frodo and the fall of Sauron. Aragorn is crowned as the King and the four friends return to Shire. After spending two years to complete his book of adventures, Frodo leaves to haverns with Bilbo and Gandalf.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Shopaholic and Baby

Date of Reading: 14/06/2012
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Title: Shopaholic and Baby

          A calm, quiet and peaceful time, that is what every pregnant woman expects or is supposed to get. I don't know if anyone had to go through the agonies that Becky suffered; may be a lot of them fear the same. After all, will there be a story without troubles? This novel can't be surpassed by other shopaholic novels in providing pure comic relief.
          Becky's baby is shown fine and healthy in the scan in spite of the little accident she suffers, and now she is immersed in shopping baby things; shopping cures morning sickness too, which is an added advantage.
         When she hears about a new celebrity obstetrician who has just moved to London from New York, the temptation is too strong to resist; she makes an appointment and succeeds in persuading Luke. Venetia Carter, the doctor, turns out to be Luke's ex-girlfriend; they were together in Cambridge and had dated an year. This discomfits Becky a little, but . . . one has to be open-minded nowadays.
          Luke has got problems with the company as usual. He spends time with old friends (which turns out to be Venetia) and exchange messages in Latin. Becky is alert now and even employs a private detective which she soon regrets and calls off. But the guy turns up with some proofs of Luke being infamous with women and Becky realises that they are about Iain Wheeler of Arcodas group, Luke's new client.
         Her job in The Look is not that promising either; the shop has had a bad beginning. So she brings her designer friend Danny from America and they are back to the track.
         Terror strikes when Venetia confides to her that Luke and she is having a relationship and they want a divorce after the birth of the baby. Her nightmare has become a reality and to save the marriage, she writes a long tearful letter to Luke in Switzerland, hoping that they could start over again. Luke comes back immediately declaring that nothing is going on. He thinks Becky has misinterpreted Venetia's words.
          He has got serious troubles with the Arcodas group; they are harassing the employers. He doesn't want to distress her at this time and that was the reason for his moodiness. Becky provides the evidences concerning Iain's dealings and everything springs to action. The deal with the Arcodas is broken and the company is hemorrhaging money. They have to give up buying their new home.
          Before her much expected birth, she counters Venetia again and proves her true nature to Luke. They go back to the former doctor and their daughter, Minnie, is born.  
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