Jane Austen’s Emma.
This book was a part of my syllabus for MA. I have to admit back then I didn’t read the book properly; there wasn’t much time so I simply went through it. Recently, I decided to read it thoroughly and I did. Emma is the first novel written by Jane Austen which I read. The novel revolves around the titular character Emma Woodhouse who is in a way an unlikely protagonist.
Emma is a person who thinks she has everything that she needs which she does but she believes she doesn’t need love or marriage in her life. Her beliefs are contradictory to her actions. Emma likes to interfere in other people’s love lives; she fancies herself as a good matchmaker. When Emma meets Harriet Smith she decides to take Harriet under her wing. While Harriet is younger than Emma she in a way looks up to her.
Mr. Knightley is Emma’s sister Isabelle’s brother-in-law. Mr. Knightley warns Emma of her ways constantly; he is the voice of reason in her life but she never listens to him. I like the relationship between Emma and Mr. Knightley, it’s sort of will they or won’t they situation which is always fascinating for me. Jane is another character who is the only one Emma envies. Jane is talented, sensible, well-mannered and a bright girl.
Emma is a different novel in the sense the protagonist is not always likable. Sometimes, you can’t help but feel a little annoyed with her. The way she acts or decisions she makes made her unlikeable for me at times. It’s because of this that the novel is satisfying in the end. Emma becomes a better person and to an extent realizes her flaws. The growth of Emma’s character is natural and not forced.
Like I said before I liked the relationship between Emma and Mr. Knightley. The way Emma realizes she wants to be with Mr. Knightley is slightly funny but still realistic. As a reader, it’s always a good feeling when there is such a satisfying end to a relationship you root for. The fact that there was a happy ending for Jane and Harriet as well was a bonus for me.
I enjoyed reading this book. The story is light-hearted and engaging with unique and quirky characters. The writing of the novel is flawless; it is witty and amusing. Language-wise this book is not the easiest but not too much; it is easy enough. I was surprised by the fact that a protagonist seemed annoying to me at times, it hardly happens to me. Overall, I think it’s good. A light, fun and engaging book overall.
Book-to-Movie Adaptations: My Favorites.
These days fifty percent of the movies which come out are based on books. Books are a great source of material. Some of these adaptations honestly don’t live up to the expectations or digress from the books so much that it becomes somewhat annoying. There are some books which are so amazing and popular which I loved seeing adapted for the big screen.
1) Harry Potter Series.
I know most people who read the books didn’t like the movies much because they left out scenes. I saw the movies first because I was 4 or 5 years old when the books released and then read all the books back to back after I saw all the movies. I love the books and the movies; there is a lot in the books which didn’t make it to the movies but still, I feel they tried to incorporate what was most important to the overall plot.
2) The Last Song.
The first book I read written by Nicholas Sparks was the Last Song and I really liked it. The movie adaptation does the book justice at least I think so and the main situations in the novel are maintained in the movie as well. Though they have made slight changes to some things in the movie it doesn’t seem out of place or drifts too much from the book.
3) To Kill a Mockingbird.
This book is a classic and deservingly so; it is an amazing book. I saw the movie years after reading the novel and I really liked it. The movie stays true to the book which will always win bonus points from me, and it generates the same emotions which the book did. The actors are simply perfect for the characters.
4) The Fault in Our Stars.
John Green’s book The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favorite books of all time; no matter how many times I read it I weep like I did the first time. The movie too had the same exact effect on me as the book. I loved seeing the characters of Hazel and Gus coming to life on the screen and it was exactly how I imagined it while reading their story. Yes, it is a sad movie and a sad book but it’s worth the sadness.
5) The Great Gatsby.
In the case of this movie, I did like the books more than the movie because it left an impact on me that the movie didn’t. It’s a really good movie and I enjoyed it very much. Maybe it was slightly different than what I had visualized it to be but overall I have seen this movie more than once so I guess it doesn’t matter if I liked the book better or not.
These five movies are the ones who are adapted from really good books and do justice to the story of these books. I am sure there are many more adaptations which are just as good or maybe even more but these are my favorite ones so far.
Reading books with historical themes is an enduring and satisfying experience for me because I like history in general. I found a lot of literature based on and around the time of the World Wars and these books are some of the best books I have read. The central theme of these books might revolve around and during a World war but these books have so much more to offer.
1) A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway.
Ernest Hemingway’s this novel is set during the World War I and its protagonist is an American soldier stationed on the Italian front. Its main focus is on the love affair between our protagonist Henry and an English nurse Catherine during the times of the war. The story is unpredictable with a mix of interesting characters. Once I started reading this book I realized it is not what I expected but it exceeded my expectations. The writing is beautiful and to the point; you through every emotion along with the characters.
2) Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank.
I read this book for the first time when I was 15 when we studied the Second World War in history class. Reading it again seven years later there were a lot of factors which I hadn’t thought about or understood when I read it as a teen. Anne’s beliefs, her perspectives on life were so different and unique; she was far more mature for her age. It’s a beautiful book in form of letters Anne writes in her diary. The end of her letters in abrupt which makes you wonder what happened to her after that; thankfully my copy has an elaborate afterword which didn’t exactly make me feel better after reading it.
3) Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Sepetyus.
This book was a rollercoaster experience. The historical context of this book is Baltic Deportations during World War II; it was something I hardly knew anything about or read anything related to. The book is heartbreaking yet there is a sense of optimism especially in the characters of the story. As I said in my review of this book, for me, the characterization in the novel is something else and it makes you care about each of them.
4) All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
The book is set in Nazi-occupied France during the World War II. The protagonists of the novel are a French blind girl Marie and a German boy Werner. The book is such a page-turner, it’s hard to keep it down because you need to know what happens next. The book is slightly longer than it should have been, at least I thought so but its really good. The bond between Marie and her father is so beautiful and her connection with Werner is so strong in such a short span of time. It is just a really good book.
I am sure there are many more books set around the time of the World Wars which are equally good or even better. The books I mentioned above are my personal favorites of this genre though there are still a number of books on my historical ‘want to read’ pile.
Sometimes, do you wonder when you open your eyes in the morning that all the bad things happening in your life are just a nightmare? The moment you open your eyes, things will change; they will get better. But life isn’t that simple is it?
This feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach refuses to go away. Your hopes, dreams, expectations have only one enemy and that is reality. Nothing seems to be going your way, you feel lost and defeated. One thought swirling in your mind all the time, if this is all life is going to be like for you?
The unanswered question is the biggest reason for your frustration. So many doubts overwhelming your mind all at once and there seems to be no end to the negativity in your head. Where is the thrill, the magic you have always wanted? You can’t seem to find the path to your destiny. Is growing up really this complicated? You wish someone would understand you, give advice and not judge. Be there by your side making sure you don’t fall.
Why does every aspect of life seem harder when you are stuck. As far as you can see there is only a road and you have no idea.
My review of the book,
“Between Shades of Gray” – Ruta Sepetys
I found this book when I was browsing through the lists of War and Historical novels on different site. This book immediately caught my attention because it takes place during the World War II and it’s about a Lithuanian girl. Now when it comes to studying the history of World War II, the Baltic States were never more than mentioned in textbooks. Basically, this is a part of History which I never read or studied about before and it completely fascinated me.
The book is about Baltic Deportations with the main focus on Lithuanian citizens who were deported by the Soviet in 1941 to prison and labor camps. The protagonist of the story is a fifteen-year-old girl named Lina and her family when they are taken from their home and sent to a labor camp somewhere in Siberia. Lina and her mother and brother are together while their father is separated from them that night. The author doesn’t spend much time focusing on the lives of Lina and her family when they were still at home together in the beginning and starts straight up with the night they are taken away. The story is not by any means an easy read.
The descriptions of the treatments these prisoners were given and their living conditions are crudely depicted; there is no sugar-coating just the harsh reality. It makes you cringe while reading it. The emotions of the characters and their reactions to the harsh situation they face are very realistically and naturally portrayed. It never seems out of place or over the top because there are so many characters which are important to the plot and each character’s personality is reflected in the writing.
Lina, her mother Elena and her younger brother Jonas have to learn to survive through brutal conditions with people who share a similar faith to them. Elena is a powerful character as she holds their little group together throughout the terrible ordeal and is incredibly kind. Andrius is a guy who Lina and her family meet on the cattle train on the way to Siberia. He is sort of a love interest for Lina though that is never the main focus and he is so much more than that. Lina is a good artist and is constantly capturing their stories on paper in drawings and sketches. She draws in hope of leaving clues behind for their father to find them and also preserve their stories and sufferings.
It is unbelievable to expect such kindness and care in such situations but throughout the story, all the characters help each other survive and are always kind to one another no matter how little they themselves have. It shows that even in worst situations compassion and kindness actually help someone survive. At no point, Lina gives up or thinks that she doesn’t want to live anymore even though the circumstances keep getting worse. These characters show so much spirit and survival instinct all the while helping each other through it.
This book breaks your heart from start to finish and it is quite difficult to get through because of the powerful depictions. The plot moves ahead at a good pace with flashbacks about the life before capture which somehow is parallel to Lina’s present in the camp. Lina’s drawings in a way preserve the memories of fellow survivors and their sufferings, the stories which were unheard of for decades that followed. The stories about the Baltic states are largely unheard of and this book depicts the displacement and genocide of people who were deported by the Soviet Union. It is a hard-hitting book but it is a book which you should read, it is a part of history which is relatively unknown to many.
Once just give me a sign; show me that you need me.
I won’t give up if I know that you still care.
Fight for us; show me you still need me in your life,
And it will be okay again.
It will never be the same but it might be better.
One sign from you; once just once so I know you still care,
And I promise I will never give up on you again.
I need to know that you want me to be a part of your life,
Because it can’t be all on me.
You have to fight for us too.
“I’ll forever wonder how it could have been between us
But it’s a question which will never be answered.”