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Monday, April 30, 2012

First Page Mondays: Heat And Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the book 'Heat And Dust' by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. 

'Shortly after Olivia went away with the Nawab, Beth Crawford returned from Simla. This was in September 1923. Beth had to go down to Bombay to meet the boat on which her sister Tessie was arriving. Tessie was coming out to spend the cold season with the Crawfords. They had arranged all sorts of visits and expeditions for her, but she stayed mostly in Satipur because of Douglas. They went riding together and played croquet and tennis and she did her best to be good company for him. Not that he had much free time, for he kept himself as busy as ever in the district. He worked like a Trojan and never ceased to be calm and controlled, so that he was very much esteemed both by his colleagues and by the Indians. He was upright and just. Tessie stayed through that cold season, and through the next one as well, and then she sailed for home. A year later Douglas had his home leave and they met again in England. By the time his divorce came through, they were ready to get married. She went out to join him in India and, like her sister Beth, she led a full and happy life there. In course of time she became my grandmother - but of course by then everyone was back in England.

 I don't remember Douglas at all - he died when I was three - but I remember Grandmother Tessie and Great-Aunt Beth very well. They were cheerful women with a sensible and modern outlook on life: but nevertheless, so my parents told me, for years they could not be induced to talk about Olivia. They.....

 - Debolina Raja Gupta

Sneaky Peeky Sunday: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Sorry sorry sorry...As always, I took my weekend in too much of a lazy spirit and completely ignored my dear darling laptop...Not to mention that I was still doing my reading...can't live without that!

So here I am, apologising once again on a Monday morning for Sunday's laziness and updating you about the page I am reading. Its from the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Enjoy!

 'Maybe you ought to go make some friends,' I say. 'Lot a ladies your age in town.'

 She frowns up at me. 'I've been trying. I can't tell you the umpteen times I've called those ladies to see if I can help with the Children's Benefit or do something from home. But they won't call me back. None of them.'

 I don't say anything to this because ain't that a surprise. With her bosoms hanging out and her hair colored Gold Nugget.

 'Go shopping then. Go get you some new clothes. Go do whatever white women do when the maid's home.'

 'No, I think I'll go rest awhile,' she says and two minutes later I hear her creeping around upstairs in the empty bedrooms.

 The mimosa branch knocks against the window and I jump, burn my thumb. I squeeze my eyes shut to slow my heart. Ninety-four more days of this mess and I don't know how I can take a minute more.

 'MAMA, fix me something to eat. I'm hungry.' That's what my youngest girl, Kindra, who's five, said to me last night. With a hand on her hip and her foot stuck out.

 I have five kids and I take pride that I taught them yes ma'am and please before they could even say cookie.

 All except one.

 'You ain't having nothing till supper,' I told her.

 'Why you so mean to me? I hate you,' she yelled and ran out the door.

I set my eyes on the ceiling because that's a shock I will never get used to, even with four before her. The day your child says she hates you, and every child will go through the phase, it kicks like a foot in the stomach.

 But Kindra, Lord. It's not just a phase I'm seeing. The girl is turning out just like me.

 I'm standing in Miss Celia's kitchen thinking about last night, what with Kindra and her mouth, Benny and his asthma, my husband Leroy coming home drunk two times last week. He knows that's the one thing I can't stand after nursing my drunk daddy for ten years, me and Mama working ourselves to death so he had a full bottle. I guess I ought to be more upset....'

 - Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blog Hop With Blogaholic Social Network

Here's the April Blog Hop from Blogaholic Social Network. On from the 24th of April till the 01st of May 2012, this fun Blog Hop at BSN is a wonderful way to meet new and interesting bloggers and make more friends on the way.

If you want to participate in the same, here's what you need to do:
1. Follow my blog (by joining the member list on the side panel)
2. Leave a comment in the post here. Please mention your website link so that I can visit and follow you back.
3. Check out the BSN April Shower Blog Hop page by clicking here
4. Grab the BSN Blog Hop code and paste it on your post in your blog to let others know that you're participating.
This month link up to any post!

Once you add your blog, stop by a few other blogs on the list to follow and leave a comment, let them know you are stopping by from BSN so they know you are a new friend and can connect with you on the community as well!

Feel free to:
  • Share this blog hop on Twitter
  • Post about this blog hop on Facebook
  • Place the link up on your own blog! Just grab the code for your blog (the code is located below the linky list) a great way to fill up a post for a day! If you add it to your blog please copy the full post so others know the rules.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

On The Cover: The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell

 Here's the cover jacket from the book 'The Life of Charlotte Bronte' by Elizabeth Gaskell.

 'Wild, strong hearts, and powerful minds, were hidden under an enforced propriety and regularity of demeanour.'

 Elizabeth Gaskell's biography of her close friend Charlotte Bronte was published in 1857 to immediate popular acclaim, and remains the most significant study of the enigmatic author who gave Jane Eyre the subtitle 'An Autobiography.' It recounts Charlotte Bronte's life from her isolated childhood, through her years as a write who had 'foreseen the single life' for herself, to her marriage at thirty-eight and death less than a year later. The resulting work - the first full-length biography of a woman novelist by a woman novelist - explored the nature of Charlotte's genius and almost single-handedly created the Bronte myth.

 Elisabeth Jay's introduction discusses Gaskell's artistic creation of The Life and its lasting influence. The text follows the controversial first edition of 1857 throughout, and all the variations of the revised third edition are contained in an appendix.

 'It will stand in the first rank, of biographies, till the end of time.' - Patrick Bronte

 'A classic in its own right, still read today as one of the great works of Victorian literature.' - Lucasta Miller

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sneaky Peeky Sunday: The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

Got a little late this time reading. Still reading the same book I was reading last week! So here's another chance for you to get a peek into this lovely book called 'The Swimming Pool Library' by celebrated author Alan Hollinghurst. Enjoy people!

 '....Russell Square anyway. No reason whatever that he shouldn't be there, of course. But he lived in Highgate; and he had been coming from the directions of the Queensberry Hotel.

 The Russell Square Gardens have three wonderful fountains at their centre. Water, shot upwards in high single jets, falls onto huge concrete discs, raised only a few inches above the surrounding paving, and flees away over their concave surfaces into a narrow channel beneath their rims. They are unusable in any but the stillest weather, for even a light breeze fans the falling water away, drenching the paths and benches. Although it was late for such things, they were still working now, and we stopped to look at them without a word.

 The westering sun shot through the upper zones of the planes, picking out the flaky pastel trunks and branches amid the motionless green and gilt of the leaves. Below was a dusky gloom through which people moved, breathing the warm, dusty summer smell. And the fountains pounded upwards, as if to cling to the light, and fell with only the slightest wavering of pulse onto the wide grey discs in front of us.

 Phil must have seen them far more often than I had, but he seemed content to stand and watch. Their mesmerising, impersonal play was a relief. Then first one, and then another, in three downward jumps, was switched off. A painful feeling of emptiness and ordinariness came over me. I turned ruefully to Phil, and looked him up and down for several seconds. As we walked on I wondered if I shouldn't have used the moment to put an arm around him, even to kiss him.

 As we crossed the road to the hotel, though we both became more tense, there was a perceptible shift of power; we were entering his territory. 'We'd better go round the back,' he said. 'We're not supposed to be our front when we're off duty.'

 'No, sure,' I said: then enquired, 'When are you back on duty again?' If it was any moment now, it would alter the whole imaginary campaign.

 'Oh, from midnight,' he said. 'That's why I'm here. I don't live here, you see, but when you're on night duty they give you a room. I'm on nights all this month.'

 'I see. Where do you live normally?' I had a hunger to know these facts and to read things into them.'

So that's it for now friends. Hopefully, I will have finished this book before the end of the week. In case I'm still piled with work and not able to squeeze out much reading time, maybe you'll get another glimpse into another page of this book. But I wouldn't want you to wait for that. Go on and grab a copy...this one's surely a great read.... Till then.....

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, April 20, 2012

On The Cover: Desiree by Annemarie Selinko

 Here's the cover jacket of the book 'Desiree' by Annemarie Selinko.

 'On Napolean's desk there was a death sentence waiting to be signed, and I was going to say to him - well, what was I going to say to him?One could no longer talk to him as one talks to ordinary people.....

 All the passions and intrigues of Bonaparte's court are seen through the eyes of the merchant's daughter from Marseilles, a young woman who became Napolean's fiancee and, ultimately, the Queen of Sweden.

 'An astounding story told with verve, and a swift, fluent and deeply feminine charm. The Napoleonic background is vivid and accurate' - Evening Standard

 'The most fascinating historical novel since 'Gone With The Wind.' - Boston Post

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First Chapter: The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

An amazing book I am reading right now is The Swimming Pool Library by author Alan Hollinghurst. If you wish to read the first chapter, click here

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sneaky-Peeky Sunday: The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

I am reading this amazing novel by Alan Hollinghurst called 'The Swimming Pool Library'. It was a literary sensation and bestseller in both England and America, and is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of gay life before the scourge of AIDS. There are certain readers who may not like the book, and for those of you who may have any objections to this book, I would request you to either refrain from making any comments here, or if you do, please keep them polite and positive. Here's the page I am reading currently:

'...their constraint, thickening up, and aching as it did so after the pounding it had lately been taking.

 At first I used to feel embarrassed about getting a hard-on in the shower. But at the Corry much deliberate excitative soaping of cocks went on, and a number of members had their routine erections there each day. My own, though less regular, were, I think, hoped and looked out for. There is a paradoxical strength in display; the naked person always has the social advantage over the clothed one (though the naked person can forget this, as innumerable faces show), and under the shower I was reckless.

 The effect of this on others, though, was not necessarily a good thing. It would be vain to pretend that all the men at the Corry looked like the stars of a physique magazine. There were gods - demi-gods, at least - but a place which gathered the fantasies of so many, young and old, was bound to have its own sorry network of unspoken loyalties, stolen and resented glances, ungainly gambits and humiliating crushes. This naked, mingling, which formed a ritualistic heart to the life of the club, produced its own improper incitements to ideal liaisons, and polyandrous happenings which could not survive into the world of jackets and ties, cycle-clips and duffel-coats. And how difficult social distinctions are in the shower. How could I now smile at my enormous African neighbour, who was responding in elephantine manner to my own erection, and yet scowl at the disastrous nearly-boy smirking under the next jet along?

 I first met James at Oxford, where he had heard of me but I knew nothing of him: it was at one of the little parties organised by my tutor at Saturday lunchtimes, with red and white wine, and nuts - genially queeny occasions where gay chaplains (chaplains, that is to say) and the more enlightened dons mingled with undergraduates chosen for their charm or connections, while one or two very old and distinguished people sat among the standing guests, holding audience and spilling their drinks on the carpet. I was feeling particularly full of myself: I had been fucking a French boy from Brasenose, it was a hot early summer in my second year, and I had the strange experience, on arriving in the crowded college room, of standing just behind my tutor and one of his.....' 

- Debolina Raja Gupta

First Page Mondays: The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the novel 'The Swimming Pool Libraries' by Allan Hollinghurst.

'I came home on the last train. Opposite me sat a couple of London Transport maintenance men, one small, fifty, decrepit, the other a severely handsome black of about thirty-five. Heavy canvas bags were tilted against their boots, their overalls open above their vests in the stale heat of the Underground. They were about to start work! I looked at them with a kind of swimming, drunken wonder, amazed at the thought of their inverted lives, of how their occupation depended on our travel, but could only be pursued, I saw it now, when we were not traveling. As we went home and sank into unconsciousness gangs of these men, with lamps and blow-lamps, and long-handled ratchet spanners, moved out along the tunnels; and wagons, not made to carry passengers, freakishly functional, rolled slowly and clangorously forwards from sidings unknown to the commuter. Such lonely, invisible work must bring on strange thoughts; the men who walked through every tunnel of the labyrinth, tapping the rails, must feel such reassurance seeing the lights of others at last approaching, voices calling out their friendly, technical patter. The black was looking at his.......'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, April 13, 2012

First Chapter: Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Hey dearies, its a real controversial book, the one I am speaking of here is 'Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother' by 'Chinese mother' Amy Chua. Well, I specifically used the term 'Chinese mother' here because there is a lot of that in the book, you'll understand when you read more.

So if you want to have a peek into the book before you actually decide if you wish to read it or not, here's a look at the first chapter. Read it here
- Debolina Raja Gupta

On The Cover: Pantheon by Sam Bourne

Here's the storyline from the book  'Pantheon by Sam Bourne'.

 'Europe is ablaze. America is undecided about joining the fight against Nazism. And James Zennor, a brilliant, troubled, young Oxford is horrified. He returns one morning from rowing to discover that his wife has disappeared with their young son, leaving only a note declaring her continuing love.

 A frantic search through wartime England leads James across the Atlantic to one of America's greatest universities, its elite clubs and secret societies - right to the heart of the American establishment. And in his hunt for his family, James unearths one of the darkest and deadliest secrets of a world at war.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On The Cover: The Line of Beauty by Allan Hollinghurst

 Here's the blurb from the book 'Line of Beauty' by author Allan Hollinghurst.

'As good as the English novel gets. Almost every sentence is a thing of beauty and the book as a whole will prove itself a joy for ever, the definitive reimagining of the decade of Thatcher and AIDS.' - Jonathan Bate, SUNDAY TIMES

 It is the summer of 1983, and young Nick Guest, an innocent in matters of politics and money, has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens; Gerald, an ambitious new Tory MP, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their children, Toby and Catherine.

 As the boom years of the mid-80s unfold, Nick becomes caught up in the Feddens' world, while also pursuing his own private obsession, with beauty - a prize as compelling to him as power and riches are to his friends. An early affair with a young black council worker gives him his first experience of romance; but it is a later affair, with a beautiful millionaire, that brings into question the larger fantasies of a larger decade.

 'Allan Hollinghurst is in the prime of his writing life, and the immaculate rolling cadences of his new novel are right now the keenest pleasure English prose has to offer.' Anthony Quinn, DAILY TELEGRAPH

 'Hollinghurst can make language do what he wants.....It makes a lot of contemporary fiction seem thin and underachieving. A brilliantly comical and accurate satire upon the high noon of Mrs. Thatcher.' Nicola Shulman - EVENING STANDARD'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Wish List Book Haul - Surprise Bday Gift !!!

So here they are, the books that were on my wish-list, sent as a surprise bday gift by my hubby :-)

The ones that I got are:
All That I Am
Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother
Island Beneath The Sea
The English Patient
Pigeon English
Lucknow Boy: A Memoir
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played With Fire
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
The Inheritance of Loss
The Great Indian Novel
The Line of Beauty
Marley & Me
Heat & Dust

Fyi...If you are based in India, instead of Flipkart, you can also log on to www.homeshop18.com and get some amazing discounts !!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Pile

 This is technically not a post really, but more of a bragging !!! I had updated a reading wish-list earlier in one of my posts....a wish list of ALL the books I was looking forward to read this year, or maybe the next, but sometime soon.....A lot of different books from different genres.

And guess what ? My hubby got me ALL of those books as a surprise birthday present...WOW !!!!! Can't tell you how happy I am....going through each and every book over and over again...

Will share the details with you soon...right now too busy checking out the books all over again !

 - Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, April 6, 2012

On The Cover: Waiting For Sunrise by William Boyd

 Here's the storyline from the book 'Waiting For Sunrise' by William Boyd.

 'Vienna 1913. It is a fine day in August when Lysander Rief, a young English actor, walks through the city to his first appointment with the eminent psychiatrist Dr. Bensimon. Sitting in the waiting room he is anxiously pondering the particularly intimate nature of his neurosis when a young woman enters.

 She is clearly in distress, but Lysander is immediately drawn to her strange, hazel eyes and her unusual intense beauty. Her name is Hettie Bull. The two begin a passionate love affair and life in Vienna becomes tinged with a powerful frisson of excitement for Lysander.

 Later, he meets Sigmund Freud in a cafe, begins to write a journal, enjoys secret trysts with Hettie and appears, miraculously, to have been cured.

 Back in London, 1914. War is imminent, and events in Vienna have caught up with Lysander in the most damaging way. Unable to live an ordinary life, he is plunged into the dangerous theatre of wartime intelligence - a world of sex, scandal and spies, where lines of truth and deception blur with every waking day. Lysander must now discover the secret code which is threatening Britain's safety, and use all his skills to keep the murky world of betrayal from invading every corner of his life.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sneaky-Peeky Sunday: Desiree by AnneMarie Selinko

As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday, here's a page from the book 'Desiree' by Annemarie Selinko. Enjoy!

'....who scribbles novels all the time - and we've got to relieve him. He'll be delighted at your....'

 And then I saw nothing but my giant's back and the yellow veils over her otherwise naked shoulders. Other guests came between us, and there I was quite by myself in Madame Tallien's glittering salon.

 I took refuge in a window niche and surveyed the room. But I couldn't see Napoleon anywhere. There were a lot of uniforms there, but not one as shabby as that of my fiance.

 The longer I stayed the deeper I crept into the protecting window niche. Not only was my dress impossible but my shoes too appeared quite ridiculous to me. The ladies here didn't wear proper shoes at all, just soles without heels, tied round the feet with narrow gold or silver straps so that the toes were left free, and the toe-nails were painted pink or silver.

 I could hear a violin playing in one of the adjoining rooms. Servants in red uniform moved among the guests balancing trays full of enormous bowls, glasses and snacks. I gobbled a smoked salmon roll, but the taste was lost on me because of my excited state. Then two gentlemen came into the window niche and stood near me talking without paying any attention to me. They talked about the people of Paris who wouldn't put up much longer with the rise of prices and would riot soon.

 'My dear Fouche,' one of them said, taking snuff with a bored air, 'if I were in Barras' place I'd shoot the mob to bits.'

 'For that you'd first have to find someone ready to do the shooting,' the other one remarked.

 Thereupon the first man, between two snuff boxes, jerked out the sentence that he had just seen General Bernadette among the guests.

 The other one, the man called Fouche, shook his head. 'Bernadotte? Never in your life. But what about that little wretch who keeps hanging round Josephine these days?'

 At that moment someone clapped his hands, and over the general murmur I heard the twitter of Madame Tallien's voice:

 'Everybody to the green room, please! We have a surprise for our friends.'

 I went along with the crowd into an adjoining apartment......'

- Debolina Raja Gupta