Tag Archives: Romance

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

It has been forever since I read a young adult novel. I thought I’d outgrown them but when I went back home and sat at that most loved spot by the window, I remembered countless such summer days through my teenage, completely absorbed in ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ and ‘The Hunger Games’. ‘Fangirl’ was the only young adult novel on my reading list and I decided to give it a try.

TLDR- I wasn’t disappointed.

The book traces Cath’s freshman year in college. Her twin, Wren, decides she wants to interact with more people and hence lives a life of her own, completely alienating Cath. Thus deserted by her ‘built-in best friend’ and with a supremely weird and unapproachable roommate (who comes with a boyfriend who forever hangs out in her room), Cath navigates the intricacies of college life. Cath’s obsession with Simon Snow, a fictional boy-wizard and her success as a fan fiction writer bear no weight in her new universe.

The premise is new. While certain sub-plots ended a bit unresolved for me, the overall experience was quite a refreshing change from the challenging books I had been setting out to read for long. Much attention is paid to character depth and this is one of the high points of the book. Rowell traverses through a range of relationships, the twins’, their relations with their dad and estranged mother, and with the variety of people Cath meets. But none of this is what the book is about.

‘Fangirl’ is a celebration of fandom and nerd power. It is a huge shout out to all the people whose souls belong in an alternate world. In more ways than one, Rowell propagates the idea of fan culture and deems fandom an important, even necessary part of life. With such an unequivocal stand, her love for fan culture permeates through the entire book and leaves you wanting more.

The structure of the book is interesting, with the narrative interspersed with extracts from the Simon Snow series and Cath’s own fan fic writings. Basically two stories for the price of one.

9/10 would recommend. A breezy narrative with no major jolts that takes you through the pain and joys of starting new and growing up.

‘Winter Solstice’ by Rosamunde Pilcher

‘Winter Solstice’ by Rosamunde Pilcher is one of those books you can curl up in sofa with, a strong cup of tea by your side. It makes no pretenses about it, it’s a true-to-form Christmassy story of love, hope and living.

Five lives intertwine one Christmas in the most remarkable of ways-a grieving widower, Oscar Blundell, finds solace in his friend, a sixty something Elfrida Phipps, with the heart of a sixteen year old girl. Carrie and her niece, Lucy, meanwhile, are thinking about giving Christmas celebrations a miss this year and so is Sam, recently separated from his wife. All five of them find refuge in the most unlikeliest of places-Estate House in Scotland, of which Oscar owns half.

The book demands nothing more from the reader than following the storyline. There are no bad guys here, just the commonplace problems of common people. It’s a book designed to leave you comforted and satisfied at the end. However, that doesn’t make it any less interesting. It’s a charming book, replete with Pilcher’s trademark humour and touch. Beautiful descriptions, well-sketched out characters and great pensmanship make this one a delight to read.

A book to spread the Christmas cheer around!

Before Sunrise

Because ‘Boyhood’ affected me very deeply, I wanted to see Richard Linklater’s acclaimed trilogy ‘Before Sunrise’ and its sequels. Sadly, I was only able to do so today, a whole three months after I watched ‘Boyhood’. Linklater’s signature long takes and the ever engrossing script make for excellent viewing. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy fit their roles to perfection!

It’s a slightly surreal feeling to realise that one stranger,one night can change the course of your entire life. The film portrays the emotion of sharing and understanding a person beautifully. The long take scene on the tram and the scene when Julie talks about God and says-

“I believe if there’s any kind of God it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.”

are wonderfully etched out. Never a dull moment, never an unwanted frame.

A film for the ages.

Persuasion

‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen is right on top of my ‘Would definitely recommend’ list. In my opinion, this is one of Austen’s under-rated works, which is a pity, since it is a great book. While much space and time has been time and again devoted to an analysis of her other books, most notably ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Emma’, ‘Persuasion’, sadly, often remains neglected. This is Austen’s last work and was written in a race against failing health.

While I do agree that unlike her earlier novels, ‘Persuasion’ might seem to lack the literary finesse we have come to expect from Austen, it nevertheless stands out on its own and merits its place among the best literary works of all-time. persu

It follows the story of Anne Elliott, a sensitive and sensible young lady in her late twenties. However, she is always overlooked by her father and elder sister, who have scant regard to her feelings and comfort. Her only solace in life is her friendship with her late mother’s good friend, Lady Russell. Life is idyllic and devoid of surprises or reasons for excitement. But when the family is forced to quit their house due to her father, Sir Walter Elliott’s financial carelessness, it sets into motion an interesting chain of events.

The house is rented out to recently retired Admiral Croft and his wife. It so happens that the Admiral’s brother-in-law is none other than Captain Wentworth, Anne’s old flame. Seven years ago, they had courted briefly but Anne had broken off her engagement to him since Lady Russell and her father didn’t approve of the young man, owing to his inferior social standing. Meanwhile, Anne decides to spend a few days with her younger sister at Uppercross Cottage before joining her father and sister at their new lodgings in Bath. Here, the Captain and she end up being thrown among mutual acquaintances, forced to see each other and socialize everyday. Add to this the Musgrove sisters, both of whom seem intent on capturing the Captain’s heart and Anne herself, whose feelings for the Captain remain unresolved and there you have it.

Constancy is a virtue that is often under-valued in people. Austen throws light on this fact very beautifully and the novel is a sheer delight to read. Those who have read her other works might feel this book is devoid of the intricate detailing that goes into an Austen novel.

The trademark one-liner character introductions are very much as effective as those in her earlier ones. Sample this-

“Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister: her word had no weight, her convenience was always to give way; she was only Anne.”

And Anne! Oh how I love her! She is undoubtedly, THE best heroine Austen has ever created and one can’t help but adore her as the novel progresses. By the end, you’re prone to think her character as perfection itself. The following line gives you an idea of just how sensible she is-

“She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped.”

Bottom line is, it is a ‘must-read’ novel. I keep re-reading this classic and every time I do, I have this warm glow in my heart and a big grin plastered on my face. I just love this one!pers

There have been two film adaptations of the book-one in 1995 and the other is a television film adaptation released in 2003. The 1995 version is better, in my opinion, since it stays closer to the book.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114117/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0844330/

Here’s a link to read the ebook-

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/105

Cheers!