Saturday, March 11, 2006

Mrs. Dalloway, Eragon & Amir

In the last few weeks I’ve read the most amazing books. Without further ado, I’ll just start with the first one: “The Hours by Michael Cunningham.

Many of you must have heard of this title in connection with the movie staring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman. Nicole Kidman had also won an Oscar for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf. I had seen bits and pieces of the movie before I read the book, and I hate to say this, but I couldn’t quite follow what was going on. The performance by all three actors was really good though, and that’s quite an understatement! But when I read the book I could understand it so much better.

The first time I heard of Virginia Woolf was in connection with the Elizabeth Taylor movie “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” I have never seen it and don’t know what it is about. The next time I came across Virginia Woolf was in my third year of BA, when we had to study a poem and an extract from her book “A Room of One’s Own” in English Lit. She was one of the founders of the Bloomsbury publishing firm, the same one that now publishes the “Harry Potter” series!

“The Hours” is about the lives of three women – Virginia Woolf, Clarissa Vaughan/Mrs. Dalloway and Laura Brown, all set in different points of the 20th century. Cunningham interweaves events that happen in their lives with the events that occur in Woolf’s novel, “Mrs. Dalloway”. It is just brilliant the manner in which the narrative slides back and forth between the lives of these three women. I was totally drawn into their world, and it was like I was standing in the room with them, watching their lives unfold before my very eyes!

Another factor that garnered my interest, as a student of clinical psychology, was that mental illness is present in the lives of all the protagonists. There is this line in the book that I really liked: “…sanity involves a certain measure of impersonation, not simply for the benefit of husband… but for the sake, first and foremost, of one’s own convictions.” Makes you really think doesn’t it?


The other book, rather books, that I’d read are the first two in the “Inheritance” series by Christopher Paolini: “Eragon” and “Eldest”.

And for this I gotta thank Monk, as he was the one to suggest that I give these books a try. These two books belong to the same genre as “Harry Potter”, “LOTR”, “Simoqin Prophecies” etc. I love this genre because it is to do with MAGIC and FANTASY!! I guess it’s to do with my desire to possess magical powers! Who wouldn’t like to possess some kind of power that would elevate them to a position above almost everybody else? But what I really liked about the “Inheritance” series is the concept that the energy it takes to accomplish a task using magic is equal to the energy that would take to do it without the help of magic! This adds a very human twist to magic.

The adventure is set in a land called Alagaësia populated by human beings, dragons and other magical creatures.

Paolini was only 19 years old when he published “Eragon”! I find that incredibly cool! His protagonist, Eragon, is himself only 16 years old. He is working on the third and final book in the series. If any one of you is a fan of magical tales then “Eragon” and “Eldest” are a must read!


The third book that I’d read is “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.

It is set in Afghanistan and America, and tells the story of two Afghan boys, Amir and Hassan. It is told in first person, in a very matter of fact manner, but the emotions and feelings are very much in evidence in each and every line. The turning point in the novel was so shocking that it knocked the breath out of me. And I’m not being overly dramatic by saying so.

“The Kite Runner” is a story of courage and redemption and finding your place in the world. It has been a while since I have been so moved by a novel. Even though it is not a thriller, it was simply unputdownable. I’ve already added it to my ‘favourite book list’.

So there they are now, the books that I’ve enjoyed reading these past few weeks. Books have seemingly replaced the weekly movie ritual that used to take place when I was in Hyderabad, with my parents dragging me to see the worst movies ever!! They are such movie aficionados that they want to see every single movie that hits the screens, and I have had to sit through horrors such as Pyar, Ishq aur Mohabbat, Baaz – A Bird in Danger, and more recently, Kyun Ki…, Shaadi No.1, and Garam Masala!

Anyway, I think this is gonna be my last post for a while now, because I have to start working on my second file submission, and if I want to avoid getting panic-stricken as I’d gotten last November, then I better start in advance! :D

May be I’ll be able to squeeze in short posts now and then, but I make no promises!

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

ello affy!
I have not read any of the books u have mentioned but wud love to. virginia woolf, for some reason, I always thot was an overrated writer, and Nicole Kidman an overrated actress. How was she in the movie, by the way?

The man in the box said...

Eragon I've read and it is quite a delight. I am somehow not sure of including Harry Potter in the same genre as LOTR or Eragon. And if you're into fantasy try to read The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Supposed to be the baap of LOTR, the mother of all fantasy novels and the grand-dad of all series, with 13 books.

I have an e-book if you're into that kind of reading.

exasparater said...

cant understand whats going here...

DalzRulz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DalzRulz said...

Hi again, sorry bout the deleted comment. some confusion. I have yet to read ur new post, by the way...I know u were not defending rani, did i say something to indicate otherwise :)

Squared said...

Nothing beats a good read, man! Have not read any of them, but have watched "The hours". Nice movie. Movies are almost always worse then the books they have been based on (with few exceptions), so I guess the book must be good.

And now go back to your file submission :-)

Manish said...

hmmm nice review ! Will love to read The Kite Runner..I really like that kind of setting & storyline.
wishing u a happy HOLI!

DalzRulz said...

Hi, as the general consensus goes not all good books make good movies because try as they might to retain the orginality, the movie ultimately reflects the sentiments and interpretations of the film maker. I have seen The Hours and loved it, will try to read to book too sometime.

Arz000n said...

Think I've seen that Julianne Moore wala movie on Zee MGM sometime back..

and you read lotsa novels lady :)

Right now Im about to finish "One night @Call center"...dunno which one I will read next....

Happy Holi to you Phoenix!!

the Monk said...

I've seen both movies, and both are pretty good...she writes pretty well, Virginia Woolf...glad to know that you enjoyed Eragon...I'm not much of a fantasy fan myself, but I enjoy HP and this one...why don't you try His Dark Materials, since you liked this one..it is quite different from the usual fantasy stuff (and it's my all-time favourite fantasy series...one of my all-time favourites, period)...

rayana said...

ive read some of those magasines too and all i can say it was brilliant.. i love to read the other ones hope i have copy heks anyways ive been enjoying some of ur entries hope you can visit my site too...
ezt28.blogspot.com

thanks....

s0ulasylum said...

hmm.. eragon was a good read.. I shd look for 'The Hours' the next time im in the lib.. I'd much rather read a book than watch the movie version.. the whole 'loses its essence somewhere along the way' cliche rings true for me :)

niki yokota said...

parents dragging u to see the worst movies ever!? lololol
thats very funny, phenix-chan!!
i also hated my dad dragging me for drive every weekend. haha~
all books look wonderful. esp i want to read that the kite runner.
was it sooo shocking? awww~
thank u very much! looking forward to ur short posts then..(^o^)/

:..M..: said...

I'm sure you already know that the original book was called 'Mrs. Dalloway' by Woolf. It was a book I couldn't get a hang of for a while. I loved the movie. Watched it a cpla times!

I'm gonna read the Afghan boys book that you've talked about. It sounds interesting.

Oh hey, if you're into wit and Wodehouse sorta books, I'd recommend Henry Cecil. Quite a hilarious read.

In Hyd now, lemme know if you think of coming by or shoot me your mobile number (my PDA is busted).

amitken said...

:) someone's become a book worm... thats good, reminds me to finish off the book i have been reading (rather, not reading) from more than a month now :p

all the best for your file submissions.. and yes, i did not change my alias, after reading ur last post i just felt like becoming Eldor ;-) heheh...

niki yokota said...

awww~ scruffy is sooo CUTE!!
he kept licking that bone..lol
thank u million phoenix-chan!!!!

PuNeEt said...

oyee inna lamba post
lemme come back

a bit tight schedule

cheers

Keshi said...

not much into books these days...was before...but thanks for the reviews...someday soon I will get back on track with books :)

Keshi.

rebel_on_loose said...

Whoa Urvashi u've sure got a flair for reading...n writing!
Yea i'd seen the trailers of The Hours n know it'd created quite a buzz in the Oscars.
"sanity involves a certain measure of impersonation, not simply for the benefit of husband… but for the sake, first and foremost, of one’s own convictions"
I just replaced 'husband' with 'wife' and it made perfect sense to me too! :)

Haven't heard/read much of Paolini though.
O yea 'The Kite Runner' is a sure candidate for my 'To Read' list.
Heard a lot about it.

BTW u should try some books by Dominique Lapierre - 'O Jerusalem' and 'Freedom at Midnight' in particular ... Non Fiction both.

Diana said...

i have read that bookkk bt i have a feelin that these books lose their charm when they are transformed into movies. what do say about this?

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Athy!
Have you read any of Virginia Woolf's books?? Jumping to conclusions as usual! Kidman was good in the movie. Totally deserved the Oscar!

Hi TMTB!
I included Potter and LOTR in same category coz both are magical adventures, though of course Eragon & LOTR have more in common. I've not heard of The Wheel of Time, but will keep an eye out for it.
I would read nay kinda book!

Hi Dalz!
Yeah, I thought something about your reply did indicate that. Yeah, I agree with you, no movie has till now been as good as the book from which it was adapted.

Hi Squared!
Yup! Totally agree with you! File work still not over. :(

Hey Manish!
The Kite Runner is really, really good!!

Hi Arz000n!
Ya, the movie keeps on coming on Z MGM.
I looove reading!

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Monk!
Both movies?? Which 2 movies are you talkin abt? I haven't come across "His Dark Materials", but will keep a look out for it.

Hi Rayana!
Thanks for visitin my blog. I hope you do get a chance to read the other books.

Hi Soul!
Right! I agree with you, but I'm always interested to see how a book gets translated on celluloid.

Hi Niki!
Hehe!! Parents always force us kids to do silly, boring stuff!
The Kite Runner is a must read!
I got the idea of Scruffy from you, so Thank You! :)

Hey M!
I have mentioned in this post itself about 'Mrs. Dalloway'.
The Kite Runner is a must read!! Can't stress that enough!
I like Wodehouse, esp. the Blandings series!
I'll be in Hyd only after 3 months now. :(

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Puneet!
When you comeing back?? :D

Hi Keshi!
Thanks for visiting my blog. Will definitly return the favour once I'm done with my assignment! :D
Books are all I got now!!

Hi Rebel!
Hehe! Thanks!
If you like magical adventures, you'll definitly like "Eragon" & "Eldest".
I've heard of Dominique LaPierre, never read though. I prefer fiction to non-fiction.

Hi Diana!
Thanks for visiting my blog. Will definitly return the favour once I'm done with my assignment! :D
I agree with you. Books are always better than the movies!

Phoenix Rises said...

Hey Amitken!
I've not become a book worm, I always was one! Only thing is I'm getting a chance to read more books now. Ironical, coz I've never been this busy with college and intership before!! LOL!!

Thanks! File work is still going on. :(

And now you have changed it back to Amitken?

Phoenix Rises said...

Hey Exasperator!
You sound confused.... Don't know what else to say!

niki yokota said...

awww~ March 11.. :)
time flies, affy-chan?? when is the new post? sob sob..
take care!!

PuNeEt said...

am back...
:-)

some nice reviews...
am not much into reading...
only offlate started a bit

the hours sounds too good
will go for that ;-)

so u too going in silent mode like me ...
tk cr

Cheers

Arz000n said...

Where have you disappeared lady??

Łóòň Ġãĺ said...

hey hibernating?

u been tagged!

amitken said...

heyyy!! next post?