Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

12 10 2009
Book Cove: Mrs. Dalloway

Book Cove: Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is considered to be one of the best novels she ever wrote. This novel comprises of topics such as the life after World War I, feminism, homosexuality, mental illness, existential issues and the general hypocrisy that went around in the English society.

Mrs. Dalloway is the story of Clarissa Dalloway’s life related in the events of one day, with the exceptions of flashbacks, which will end up with her hosting a dinner party at her house. Clarissa goes around London enjoying the day and preparing everything for her dinner party. She likes giving them since it is a way for her to gather up people and create good memories. Though out the day we can see the coming and going in her present life and the one she had and could’ve have. She had strong feelings for Sally Seton, with whom she had the happiest moment of her life when they kissed. She also wondered how her life could have been if she had married Peter Walsh, a charismatic man, instead of Richard Dalloway the reliable kind of man. She also talks about the way doctors treated the illnesses of war veterans and those with mental illnesses and the disinterest in the patient’s actual state of mind. Something Woolf had battled with her own bipolarity case.

After a full day of doing and thinking, the diner party is already on the way, many of the guests are people she saw during the day or thought about. In the middle of the party she is told that the war veteran has committed suicide by jumping out of a window and she regards this as an effort to preserve the purity of his own happiness. The jumping out of the window was something Woolf had attempted on doing, but did not finish what she started until she committed suicide by drowning.

There has much talk been said about how society influences on one’s life and how sometimes we see no answer but to put an end to it. It is a shame that it is us who impose these rules upon ourselves and even if it maintains an order of chaos, it does not secures happiness. This book was made a motion picture called The Hours original title it had been giving to the novel.





The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

12 10 2009

 

Book Cover: The Sorrows of Young Werther

Book Cover: The Sorrows of Young Werther

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is a literary masterpiece that made its author, at a young age of twenty-four, famous overnight and around the world. This novel made such an impact that it was called the “Werther Fever”, in which men copied the style of Werther’s clothes, the way to express their love and even gave way to copycat suicide. Napoleon Bonaparte said it was one of the great works of European literature. The novel is an autobiographical one of the author, and written in forms of letters that Werther writes.

 

Werther falls deeply in love with Lotte since the first moment he meets her. She takes care of her sibling after his father widowed and is engaged to Albert eleven years her senior. Werther and Lotte develop a good friendship; all the while Werther’s emotions go on like a rollercoaster with the never-ending pain of his love not being returned. So he then leaves Weimar, and tries to live his life, Lotte tells him they should not meet so often because it is not appropriate anymore, but when he returns to Weimar for an aristocratic social and see’s her it pains him more, especially since now Lotte and Albert are married. He then borrows Albert’s guns, on an excuse that he is going on a trip, but he actually uses the guns to commit suicide. In real life Goethe falls in love with Charlotte, but she rejects him and marries Kestner. Also Goethe and Werther celebrate their birthday on Ausgust 28. The difference is that the suicide is taken from Goethe’s good friend Jerusalem, who committed suicide because on the unreturned love of another man’s wife. He had also borrowed a friend’s gun and had the play of Emilia Galotti on the room where he died.

So it was a troubled love since the beginning, Goethe commented that “It must be bad, if not everybody was to have a time in his life, when he felt as though Werther had been written exclusively for him.” This novel is truly exceptionally well written in the name of unreturned love.





White Oleander by Janet Fitch

12 10 2009

 

Cover Book: White Oleander

Cover Book: White Oleander

White Oleander by Janet Fitch is the debut novel of the author. Though it was her first novel it gained the recognition to be one of Oprah’s Book Club novels. This coming of age novel relates the story of twelve-year-old Astrid Magnussen, whose mother Ingrid Magnussen is a self- centered famous poet, and lives life according to her needs and moods, a life L.A. can must certainly give her.

 

Ingrid is wood by a man who she at first finds repulsive but ends up falling for him, just to find out he is a womanizer, she ends up killing him. Astrid is put in several foster homes after her mother is given life sentence. This is how we come to see the different experiences she goes through by living in different houses with different rules, cultural background, stories, personalities, addictions and situations that make her grow into herself. It seems that after five foster homes seems as if Astrid will never find a matching family for her. By this stage her mother has gathered a lot of interest around her thanks to her fans, and makes courts appeals for her case. Astrid must testify that she did killed the guy, but she ends up not testifying after her mother tells her the truth about her father and Annie, the woman Ingrid left her for a year. This gives her peace of mind to why she always had a fear of her abandonment especially from her mother.

At the age of twenty Astrid moves to Berlin with Paul, a guy that has experienced a similar life of foster homes.  She starts making art by buying suitcases and exemplifying the life she had at the different foster homes. She find out that her mother is released from prison, but even though she knows her mother has a big influence of her life, she will stay by Paul and live the life she has chosen for herself.

With this book we can see how much influence a mother has on their children and how their childhood has an impact on the person they become later in life. This book was made film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Renee Zellweger in 2002.





Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane

12 10 2009

 

Book Cover: Effi Briest

Book Cover: Effi Briest

Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane is considered a great novel from the realist movement in Germany and Fontanne’s masterpiece. The story relates of seventeen-year-old Effi Briest who is married off to Innstetten a public servant that doubles her age. With Innstetten being a workaholic, leaving her alone for several weeks and being an outcast of the social aristocracy, Effi founds herself being lonely. Then Major Crampas, comes into her life, and Effi is swept off her feet by his attentions. In the book it is very delicately put that they start a love affair.

 

Later on Innstetten, Effi and their daughter Annie move from Kessin to Belin thanks to Innstetten rise in the public service. After some years Innstetten found out of the love affair, although it had been over for quite some time, divorces Effi and is granted custody over Annie. Effi is subdued to social discrimination and alienation, bearing now an invisible scarlet letter for her adultery. Later on Innstetten challenged Crampas on a duel, in which the later dies. Effi ends up dying at their parents state, though at first not even them welcomed her in their house, and Innstetten was unimpressed with his high ranking and life.

The novel is said to have been inspired by Manfred von Ardenne’s grandmother, Elizabeth von Ardenne. Although there are a few differences on the details, the basic story remains, specially we see the harshness of the social rules that are forced upon us and especially women back in those days and even now. With this novel you can really empathize with what happens when you live your life in order to please the social construct. Thomas Mann said, “If one had to reduce one’s library to six novels, Effi Briest would have to be one of them”. This book has been in several film adaptations, the latest one being in February 2009.





Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

12 10 2009

 

Cover Book Image

Cover Book Image: Perfume

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer  by Patrick Süskind is a novel that has been read by millions of people around the world and becoming an inspiration to a lot of artists. Kurt Cobain from Nirvana wrote “His smell smelled like no other, he was born scentless and senseless, he was born a scentless apprentice” and in this song, Scentless Apprentice, the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenuille is portrayed.

 

Grenuille was born with out his scent, his own odour, but he did have a heightened sense of smell, this created people around him to hate him because of this abnormality. Thus in return he hated everyone and made it his life goal to fin a scent so that he could be loved and accepted by everyone. In his journey he became a well-known apprentice of a perfumer, who taught him all about scents, the names and the way to capture them. One day he smelled a divine scent belonging to a young woman, it was such the intensity in which he wanted to capture it, that he ended up killing the girl. He made it his life goal to capture this scent into a bottle.

He ended up finding a way of capturing the scent from humans, and found a liking to the one belonging to virgin young girls. He ended up capturing the scent of 24 of them and of Laura’s which scent reminded him of the scent he longed to possess. At the end he was captured for the killings and sentenced to death, but by dousing himself with the scent he’d combined made everyone love him and each other creating a big orgy and he flees. In Paris he approaches a group of low-life people and pours all the perfume on to him, creating everyone to desire him, tear him into pieces and eating the remains.

Because of his heightened sense of smell, Grenuille, could see right through peoples desires and finding humanity as imperfect, disgusting and sinful. Through out the whole book we can see the discrimination that humanity has to those different to them. The book has a film adaptation and many other songs have been created after the novel.





A Little History of the World…

20 08 2009

 

Book Cover

Book Cover

I just finished reading the book “A Little History of the World” by E. H. Gombrich, which as the book name says it tells you the history of the world. The difference of this book is that it is written in a way that a child can easily understand it and withhold the knowledge of the book. In fact the idea of the book came from a publishing friend that asked him to write a history of the world for younger readers. Even though it was intended for young audiences, anybody can read it and will be able to enjoy the history of our little world.

 

This book explains everything that has happened in world since the Stone Age to the atomic bomb and everything in between. It talks about the great empires, kingdoms and civilizations that have set foot on the different continents. It talks about the greatness and shame of rulers, prophet’s, kings, god sends, warriors and presidents, with out being benevolent to some and not to others. I believe that what makes this book so great is the objectivity and simplicity in which it recollects and tells the history as historians can possible write about it. Since history has been recollected and written down by the winners.

In the end, when you and if you do read this book, you will have a clear and vast comprehension of what has been going on in your “home” since it was called Pangea.





Hello world!

6 08 2009

Hello world! Welcome to my blog, I do hope you enjoy all the information I post on here and that you learn something new, something fun, something you had no idea about. And with that we can all colaborate in the information we know and have and in doing so expand and out pool of knowledge. So dont be afraid to post whatever comment of piece of information you have. Enjoy and explore.