Book Review: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

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Blurb:

Her grand attempt to tell what she felt was the story of Jane Eyre’s ‘madwoman in the attic’, Bertha Rochester, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea is edited with an introduction and notes by Angela Smith in Penguin Classics. Born into the oppressive, colonialist society of 1930s Jamaica, white Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway meets a young Englishman who is drawn to her innocent beauty and sensuality. After their marriage, however, disturbing rumors begin to circulate which poison her husband against her. Caught between his demands and her own precarious sense of belonging, Antoinette is inexorably driven towards madness and her husband into the arms of another novel’s heroine. This classic study of betrayal, a seminal work of postcolonial literature, is Jean Rhys’s brief, beautiful masterpiece.

Rating: 3 stars

My Review:

The sky was blue through the dark green mango leaves, and I thought, ‘This is my place and this is where I belong and this is where I wish to stay.’ – Jean Rhys

These lines from Rhys’s famous Wide Sargasso Sea pretty much sums up how the protagonist, Antoinette feels about her origin and her openness to leaving her place for maybe a better and different life. She is Rhys’s character that brings to the forth the idea of female sexuality in an unabashed and unprecedented manner, colored with the hues of violence. She is the answer to your question about the appalling mad woman from Jane Eyre.

Rhys attempts to break through the norms by writing about this woman who is suppressed by the then male-dominated society. In her ode to feminism, Rhys explains the tumultuous relationship between Antoinette and Rochester the reason for her madness and inherent desire to have a will of her own.

In a book about the themes of sexual and emotional oppression, Antoinette struggles perennially on the inside, almost succeeding in making the reader empathize with her. But that’s where the book and the character failed to click with me – while I do understand the world that was, I hate it if the female characters are in the mode of being victimised and don’t attempt to break out of it. Unfortunately, Jean Rhys – albeit being a feminist in her own accord fails to tug the strings of my heart primarily because of this.

However, I am sure there are many takers for her writing for all the poetic and dream-like narration that she offers! I recommend you read it for maybe, you may like it!

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Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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Blurb:

Bronte’s infamous Gothic novel tells the story of orphan Jane, a child of unfortunate circumstances. Raised and treated badly by her aunt and cousins and eventually sent away to a cruel boarding school, it is not until Jane becomes a governess at Thornfield that she finds happiness. Meek, measured, but determined, Jane soon falls in love with her brooding and stormy master, Mr. Rochester, but it is not long before strange and unnerving events occur in the house and Jane is forced to leave Thornfield to pursue her future.

Rating: 5 stars

My Review:

“I am no bird, and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.”

Jane Eyre is a memorable character – she is honest, she is independent and more important, she is a great woman! Such were my thoughts about Jane after I read this epic classic by Charlotte Bronte. In times when women were submissive and couldn’t or rather didn’t have to think for themselves, Jane was like a breath of fresh air. Reading this book made me think how on earth could Bronte go on to write this about a good 160 years ago and not face any bashing for it?

This question led me to do some research and guess what I found – Charlotte Bronte got Jane Eyre published under the pen name – Currer Bell. It is easy to guess why she would have done that. Coming back to Jane, she was an epitome of endurance of character and unfading strength. Jane led a difficult childhood living with her relatives and then at a boarding school, where she did go on to become a teacher as well. As lackluster as her life seems to the reader, we can’t help but wonder if there would be an end to the hardships she goes through.

Jane then moves on to work as a governess for a little French girl. This is where she meets Mr. Rochester whom she gradually falls heads over heels in love with. Both he and she are shown to be witty and smart and provide some of the most interesting banter in the book. Complicated yet alluring – that is how I would describe him. “Reader, I married him” summarizes the end for you – our admirable Jane marries Mr. Rochester. But hold on! The most interesting part is the way these two part ways and still end up together. I am inclined to say they were star-crossed lovers destined to be together.

I absolutely adored the writing in this book. Its eloquent to the point – not more, not less. Its complex yet offers a seamless flow which makes it unputdownable. I am going to have to say it – this is the best read that you can treat yourself too if you want a dash of romance, gothic literature and naturalism in life.

Book Review: Femme Fatale by Guy De Maupassant

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Blurb:

A selection of Maupassant’s brilliant, glittering stories set in the Parisian beau monde and Normandy countryside. Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin’s 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions. Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

One can always trust Maupassant to take the most basic of human emotions and spin stories of awe and interest. Femme Fatale is no different in this aspect. It’s a compilation of 4 stories all revolving around love and lust sprinkled with a heavy dose of amorality.

In this one, he dives into stories of prostitution, infidelity, lesbian love to name a few. And how! He is so sublime with the way he brings these emotions to us. There is an undeniable authenticity in the way he speaks through his characters. There is a bit of bourgeois of Paris as well and if you know me, that definitely hit it off with me.

Maupassant’s writing is usually dark and scandalous exposing the cynicism he carried throughout his life. This not only makes him superb to read but also relevant to quite a large degree in today’s world. All in all, definitely worth reading.

BOOKTUBEATHON 2017 | Books, Challenges and Fun

It’s BooktubeAThon time again! That one time through the year when book readers from across the globe come together to participate in a readathon that lasts a week. Coupled with video and instagram challenges, this challenge promises to be fun as always.

So I have not participated in a BooktubeAThon ever but this year, my friend Beatriz pretty much sold me the idea of it and here I am.

If you are like me and figuring it out as we go along, let me tell you a little bit about BooktubeAThon. This is an annual readathon initiated by Ariel Bissett. You can check more about it on her Youtube channel.

So this year, the challenge has commenced on 24th July and will run till 30th July. And what you need to do is read 7 books in this one week. And of course, participate in the mini challenges that run throughout. Now I have been a tad bit stupid and put together a highly ambitious list of books that I will read this week. While I am already a little overwhelmed looking at this list, I am so very stoked to participate in the challenges and get to know more and more book lovers.

The 2017 Reading Challenges:

treatyourself.

Read a book with a person on the cover – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Published in 2016, this one is tells the story of Sam and Clementine, an ordinary yet busy married couple trying to balance work and family life. It is supposed to be a story of intrigue, lust and betrayal. The cover of the book is quite intriguing as you can see.

Read a booktube hyped book – Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Need I even say more? This is probably one of the most hyped books of 2017. Paula Hawkins shot into limelight with her super thriller release – The Girl on the Train. So you can understand the hype around this one. I have noticed that people have had mixed feelings about this book. I guess I will figure out this week if it’s a yay or a nay.

Finish a book in a day – A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters

Now this is his third book and he has been touted as a beautiful, sensitive, and funny writer. The book revolves around the writer and the 148 diaries he seems to have found in a skip. It sounds like a different thriller – I am currently 128 pages into it and well, he has me hooked.

Read a book about a character very different from you Hollywood by Charles Bukowski

This one is a continuation in the tales of Henry Chinaski who bears a strong resemblance with Bukowski. Now this one is all about Chinaski finding a director and financial backing for a movie and then losing it all. Though I don’t know more about the book, I assume it will have a whole lot of alcoholic behavior, gambling and women. Quite understandably so, I am nothing like the epic Chinaski.

Finish a book entirely outside – Liberty by Virginia Woolf

This is a part of the recently launched Vintage minis by Penguin Publishers. Very famous authors from across the globe have penned some important themes like Depression, Love, Desire and of course Liberty. Virginia Woolf is an author that I have always enjoyed reading and Liberty seems like too good a fit for her to have written about.

Read a book you bought because of the cover – How to fall in love by Cecelia Ahern

Now, I had only read P.S.I Love You by Ahern until this month. Let me just say I haven’t been a huge fan of her writing and then I read Love, Rosie. I have to admit my life can now be divided into two parts – before and after LOVE ROSIE. She has managed to impress me so much so that I added another book by her to this list. And this was the first one in fact, that I read for this challenge. I will do a detailed review of this book next week once I am done with this challenge.

Read 7 books – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley           

And finally, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I have no specific reasons for adding this to my list barring the fact that I was about 20 pages into and then, the challenge started. Makes absolute sense right to add this one then!

So that’s it! My very ambitious reading list for the BooktubeAThon 2017. I hope you found some books that you may like or have read. Let me know. Also, do share your readathon journey this week. I am new to readathons and any advice/experience from you guys will be of utmost help!

The A to Z Bookish Survey Tag

Its time for another bookish tag guys! Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner hosts this A to Z Bookish Survey tag initially on her blog and then her Youtube channel. I know it has been around for a few years now but better late than never right! So let’s get started!

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Enid Blyton, Sophie Kinsella, Nicholas Sparks, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle *I know there are too many of them but that’s just what it is*

 Best Sequel Ever:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Lord of the Rings

 Currently Reading:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

 Drink of Choice While Reading:

Black Coffee or a Flat White. Sometimes I would say, it would be a Red Bull.

 E-reader or Physical Book?

Physical books anytime! I have tried reading ebooks and they actually hamper my concentration and reading speed!

 Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Ned Nickerson – he was Nancy Drew’s boyfriend!

 Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Shantaram. I was not too stoked initially but I am so glad I read this book.

 Hidden Gem Book:

Love Rosie by Cecelia Ahern. Typically, I am not a huge fan of her writing but this one just took my breath away.

 Important Moment in your Reading Life:

It wasn’t so much of a moment but a journey – so spending pretty much a whole lot of time with my brother during my childhood and now has helped me read more varied books and discuss all my thoughts with him. And mind you, he can be very influential.

 Just Finished:

I just finished reading Limitations by Scott Turow. It was a legal thriller – okayish I guess!

 Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I am not a huge fan of erotica (the modern 50 Shades of Grey types) and yes, of course vampires. Its just ridiculous unless of course its Dracula.

 Longest Book You’ve Read:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

 Major book hangover because of:

Very recently, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It weighed me down quite a bit. You can read my thoughts about it here.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

4 and then there are tables. I so need a new one.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Preferred Place To Read:

My couch or my bed

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” – Jack Kerouac

 Reading Regret:

Assuming Harry Potter was for kids when it came out and not reading it. Believe it or not, I haven’t till now!

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Paulo Coelho, Fitzgerald, Thomas Hardy and maybe a wee bit of Stephen King.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

What we Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

Worst Bookish Habit:

I organize my books and then I mess it all up. Leaving it on coffee tables, dining table and bedside tables seems to be favorite thing to do.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis

Your latest book purchase:

The American by Henry James

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

A Court of Wings and Ruin – Yeah, the entire series was way too pacy!

I would love to tag some people because I had so much fun doing this! But you know what, I think all of you read this post should go ahead and do this tag!

P.S. – You may also like the Netflix and Book tag here.