Dec 7, 2018

Top Girls

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Author: Caryl Churchill

Genre: Modern Drama

Published in: January 1, 1982

Themes: Feminism, and Marxism. 

Review: A play that every feminist, and/or socialist must read. 

Caryl Churchill through 'Top Girls' cleverly brings forth the pseudo-feminism prevalent under the patriarchal capitalist system. The book's first scene that has been criticized for it's irrelevance to what follows, performs as a quick recapitulation for the readers of the oppressive history of women — which serves as a touchstone of feminine values, and when juxtaposed with the values of the modern day woman, unveils the ugly truth of being a feminist under the capitalist system.

This is perhaps the only play that has no active male characters in it. Churchill did not feel the need to have them, because many of the women in the play shed their femininity to survive in the corrupt and oppressive world.

I feel that the play would seem plain and simple — except for the apparent complexity of the overlapping dialogues that initially seem intimidating, but gradually the readers acquaint themselves to the technique — and nothing out of the ordinary if it's read superficially. In fact, it may even seem bland, because of the unconventional structure, dissimilar to the patriarchal tradition of five stages in a plot; therefore, it has no rising action, no climax, and no proper conclusion; if any, it has been summed up in one word "frightening". However, I still believe that if one reads between the lines, there's much to take away from this play.

Oct 23, 2018

The Book Thief

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Author: Markus Zusak

Published in : 2005

Genre: Historical Fiction 

Review: I had been experiencing readers block lately. Books failed to keep me engaged; however, 'The Book Thief'  did not. A story narrated by death; a little girl with the sheer love of reading; and a historic setting of Nazi Germany; this brief description is enough to make one want to read the book. 

When a story is set in the times of a holocaust, it's a given that it's tragic and heartbreaking. I pictured Jews being treated worse than animals and questioned how humans can be so cruel to another mortal; it seemed as if the story was set in the age of barbarism. The authenticity of the holocaust is indubitable, but the inhumanity makes you question it. Death, too, wonders how the same thing - as the human race - could be both "damning and brilliant". 

Although bound to perform a gruesome duty, death is portrayed as considerate and caring. For instance, we find death disclosing us the future mishaps, so that "perhaps [it would] soften the blow for [us] later". In truth, death is not cruel, it does what it has to, it has no choice; the actual barbarians are humans, who despite having a choice, choose evil over good for their own benefits. 

The novel also signifies the power of words; they can be a means of obliteration and chaos, and they can be a means of felicity and joy. Words brought despair to Liesel, and words "brought her to life". 

Unfortunately, as I write this review, as I endeavor to empathize the pain of Jews, that I certainly can not fathom, the same lot, the same people, are funding the executors of a second holocaust. Somewhere, another Liesel is living in fear, another Liesel has lost her family. Death, today, roams the streets of Syria and Palestine. 

All in all, this book is amongst my favorites, for it offered a lot: a captivating plot, emotional theme, memorable characters, relatability, and more. The ending, given the setting, obviously couldn't be on a happy note; it was tragic and brought me to tears. Had death not been kind, and avoided foreshadowing, the ending would have been absolutely heart wrenching. 


Oct 15, 2010

Darkest Powers - Kelley Armstrong

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Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published Date: July 1, 2008 (The Summoning); April 28, 2009 (The Awakening); April 6, 2010 (The Reckoning)
Details: 400 pages (The Summoning); 368 pages (The Awakening); 400 pages (The Reckoning)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review: The Darkest powers series is one of the best series I've ever read. When it started to become well-known in my social group, I decided I'd give it a try... never suspecting that it would have me so taken. Chloe Saunders, a typical tenage girl, when suddenly finds herself bumping into strange people - who are not people at all - she is submitted to a mental house. There she unravels mysterious secrets, finds herself asking questions and bumps into stuff that doesn't make any sense. Slowly, she finds out that she has been gathered there for a purpose - a purpose she has to run from to save her life... and her friends'. The series takes you running with it; saving lifes, fighting dangerous powers, escaping... and in between it all those small teenage moments when there's no-one in the world but that one special person. Those of you who don't read this series, are definatly missing out on something pretty great.

I recommend this series to everyone; it will have people of all ages intrigued and it's suitable for younger people too.

Oct 5, 2010

Pants on Fire - Meg Cabot

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Author: Meg Cabot
Published Date: May 1st, 2007
Details: 272 pages, hardcover
Review: When I started this book, I had no doubt it would be a cool read. All books I've read by Meg have been awesome. What I didn't understand, though, was the title. Pants on Fire? Weird name. As I started reading the story, I found that it was taken from 'liar, liar, pants on fire' - one of my favorite saying! It's really funny how Katie always ends up lying! It sounded so... teenage-ish! Just like I used to do. The story is also heart-touching when she's with Tommy. Fighting against her desire to be with him just so she can stay famous was a real struggle.. but at the end, she chose what was right. This is a must read!


I'd say that youngsters shouldn't try out this book... it has alot of intimate stuff. But I found the book fun, funny and nice to read.

Oct 4, 2010

Haunted - R.L.Stine

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Author: R.L. Stine
Published Date: July, 1990
Details: 164 pages
Review: R.L.Stine really hit it this time... I love this fearstreet part! It is so emotional and heart-touching... I didn't know he could write like that! He's totally gruesome, horrific and all that, but man, no way sentimental. Well, I was proved wrong when I fell in love with a ghost! Yep, a ghost who comes to the past to save the girl who kills her because he can't see her being killed. Confusing, eh? Well read it yourself and tell me if I'm wrong... isn't this book just great?
Recommended to everyone!

Sep 29, 2010

Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex - Eoin Colfer

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Author: Eoin Colfer
Published Date: July 20th, 2010
Details: 357 pages, hardcover
Review: The seventh book to Artemis Fowl came out just a few months ago to shock it's readers by something unusual, totally different and absurd. Artemis Fowl has become nice! Unbelievable... isn't it? Well, the fairy world is in trouble, Arty has become a good, old teenager and so without his stunning mind and clever ways, all havoc breaks out. Butler has been tricked into leaving Artemis alone... with the news that Juliet, her sister, is in trouble. The fairies diagnose Artemis with Atlantic Complex - OCD, we'd call it - but the main thing is, will they be able to cure him in time so he can help? Will the fairy world be finally taken over without our mastermind to help? Well, you gotta read it to find out...

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

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Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication Date: 24th August 2010
Details: 400 pages
Review: The third book of 'The Hunger Games', Mockinjay was released in August 2010 to leave it's fans aghast. Unlike the first two happily-ever-after books, the end of this realistic book leaves the readers to either cry over what happened, curse for what could have happened and happy for the good turn in things. While half of the readers will say That Suzanne ended the third book expertly, others will debate on for hours of what things shouldn't have happened. Personally, I think that I disliked a few things and was a little bit disappointed by the turn in events. However, I was happy that Panem was free at the end... I understand that war brings sadness even if there is a happy ending, but well, you have to read it yourself to judge.
The book is very emotional, it makes you cry at times, laugh at times, and bang your fists with anger at times! I wouldn't recommend the book to those who want a complete happy ending because you'll just be left depressed then. An ideal read for realistic-lovers!

The Mediator: Shadowland - Meg Cabot

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Author: Meg cabot
Published Date: December 28th, 2004
Details: 304 pages
Review: We all know how Meg Cabot writes the most amazing Young Adult books. Shadowland: The mediator, first book of the mediator series, is no exeption. Introducing to the world Susannah Simon, the mediator, Meg Cabot takes her readers into a world of ghosts; bad and good. In the first book, Suze (Susannah's nicname) moves to California from New York. The reason behind this is her mothers mariage to her stepfather. Suze now has three step-brothers to deal with, who she names, Sleepy, Dopey and Doc; and a ghost called Jesse living in her room. Then Suze finds herself being haunted by the ghost of her new boyfriends, girfriend. Will she escape alive, or be killed in the process of saving the ones around her? I'll leave that to you to find out by reading Shadowland: The Mediator.
I'd recommend this book to all teenagers, young and old alike. Whoever likes a good action-filled, ghost novel will love this book.

Sep 18, 2010

The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella

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Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publication Date: December 31st 1999
Details: 400 pages
Review: Ok.. So I don't know why, but all the books I've read by Sophie Kinsella--Remember me, Can you keep a secret and of course Undomestic Goddess--were about business womens and there characters were pretty much similar. And most of the story was surrounded in offices. So I wanted to read this book but the lawyer thing was making me confuse whether to buy it or not. But then I took the risk and bought it, and I am glad that I did. Not that it doesn't contain too much boring office scenerio. But when Nate enters the story, it just gets better and better, page by page. So I really enjoyed the other half of the book. One thing which always annoys me is the unnecessary stuff. And She should first decide that whether she wants her book to be an adult novel or not. She just hangs it in b/w. I mean all the books I've read could have been suitable for even a pre-teen, just by cutting that very teenie minie mo small amount of adult stuff added in it--which I'd really not want a kid to read. So she should really decide before writing a book that what market she wants to target. Kids or adult. She tries to do it both way. And then I don't feel like recommending it to young kids, even if I really want to. And thats really annoying. Anyways, I think the first half was very slow and I just wanted to get over with it ASAP but then as I said the other half of the story was really nice. So overall its a good read.

Sep 11, 2010

Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

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Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 27th 2009
Details: Hush, Hush #1, 391 pages
Review: Hush, Hush was really creepy, mysterious and sexy. The intimate scenes were written nicely, without using any unnecessary details. So it was age appropriate. Personally, I really liked the book. But as a critic, I would say its pretty much messed up. So it falls into the 'Buy at your own risk' category.

Nora's character was of an average highschool girl. I won't say much about her, cause it was patch's character which was complicated. So Patch is this fallen angel--a bad guy--who is really creepy and mysterious and is after Nora's life. What I liked about him was his teasing behaviour. It was sexy, cute and also creepy at the same time. And later in the book, he actually falls in love with Nora. But despite of being in love with her, a point comes when patch's teasing behavior actually turns into coldness. Now isn't that stupid. If he really loved Nora, then why was he trying to scare the hell out of her all the time? Why wasn't he going easy on her? I think, that till the very end, Becca Fitzpatrick wanted the readers to keep thinking that maybe patch really is trying to kill Nora. It made things more mysterious. But there were other ways too to keep Nora--and the readers--in doubt about it. Instead, Becca Fitzpatrick did it the other way, she made patch look scary and cold all the time. And then in the last couple of pages Nora falls in love with Patch. I really couldn't get my head around it. After all Patch did to her, how can she just fall in love with him like that. Not that she can't. But it all happened in a rush, which didn't feel right.

Methinks, that Becca Fitzpatrick should have let the romance be ON b/w Nora and Patch. And then--Patch being so mysterious and secretive--creating misunderstanding b/w them would have kept the suspense alive. Things would have gone on and off b/w them. But if Patch always had to come out of nowhere and if Nora always had no other choice except to trust him, then why not make it a 50-50 deal. There was enough suspense already. No point killing the romance just for the sake of adding more suspense. Also, the stuff going on in the bio class didn't make any sense. I couldn't get that how the assignments were related to bio.

Anyways, I am looking forward to the next book crescendo. Hush, hush was really nice. And I enjoyed it. But Patch really needed to go easy on Nora, he cared for her, but he should have showed it by being nice. Being secretive doesn't mean you act mean to hide your affection. Anyways, now that they both are in love already, I hope that crescendo would be better and without any errors. :)
 

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