Books, classics, Essay

Depression and The Yellow Wallpaper

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Before reading The Yellow Wallpaper I did not even know that a state of mind called Postpartum Depression exists. Wikipedia describes it better:

[…] is a type of clinical depression which can affect both sexes after childbirth. Symptoms may include sadness, low energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced desire for sex, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. While many women experience self-limited, mild symptoms postpartum, postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and have lasted over two weeks.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is written in 1892 as journal of a woman who failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country and is forbid by her doctor and her husband to write. The novella can be regarded as the a autobiographical work of the author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. She was a prominent figure during the first-wave feminist movement in the United States. Much of her life’s work was influenced by the experiences of her early life. [You can read the full review of The Yellow Wallpaper here].

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Books, classics, Non-Fiction, philosophy, Reviews

Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau

My Rating: 4/5


Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity

This is a call for self-honesty and harmony with nature in the writings of Henry David Thoreau.

Walden was published in 1854 written during the reign of transcendentalists of which Thoreau was a central figure. Transcendental was a philosophical movement that was influenced by romanticism, Platonism and Kantian philosophy in which one must examine and analyse the reasoning process which governs the nature of experience. German philosopher Immanuel Kant developed the base idea for this movement.

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5 Stars, Books, classics, Non-Fiction, Reviews, Stoic Philosophy

Meditating with Marcus Aurelius

Writing a review of Meditations is a hard task since there is too much to describe and discuss in one post considering the idle length of a blog post, or of a book review or to have your attention till the end of the post, but it is not enough. I rejected the idea of writing a review before writing this review, several times. But as Marcus Aurelius said:

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for – the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He is considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers and what we read today as Meditations is actually a personal notebook written by Marcus, for himself. He divided his work into 12 shorter volumes that comprise today the Meditations. One might question, what to learn from a man who is now a part of wandering dust, who is dead for almost 18 centuries? Wisdom. Wisdom is the crux of life.

In each of the 12 volumes, Marcus’ writing is clear as he describes the virtue of one’s life as a plot that progress as the essence of how universe as a whole works. In his journal, he reminds himself with understanding of universe is recursive in nature.

Everything have always been the same, and recuring, and it makes no difference whether you see the same things recur in a hundred year or two hundred, or in an infinite period.

There is no point in loathing how one’s life is and Marcus writing helps one in endurance. He offers wisdom on how tackle endurance without affecting one’s mental or physical state, constantly reminding us of the solo life we have. From the start of the book, Marcus focuses on the logos, the reasoning, the rational part of our minds, our thoughts our actions, each totally depended on one another. He emphasis the importance of work and discourages the distractions and desires we all have to deal in time. The presence of oneself, the conscious moment, and in that moment he encourages one to be patient and control our actions accordingly. His words shine a beam on the tolerance of nature and how one dislikes, disapproves of another, and reminds us that everyone have faults, thus, one should not concentrate his physical and mental energy on anger.

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Authors, Books, classics, Infographic

Introduction to The Bard

A cavalcade of Shakespeare’s Characters Source: Wikipedia

I know, most of you are familiar with the terms: The Bard, and the Bard of Avon. Recently, the world celebrated The Bard’s 400th death anniversary on April 23, 2016, and the Bard himself is unaware of.

Why “The Bard”?

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

It is almost summer everywhere and I was wondering the other summer day why is the Bard is called The Bard. In general terms, ‘bard’ means a poet. In medieval times, all bards were travelling poets who made living out of performing and telling stories. Thus so, edging out the Medieval times, our Bard was a performer in plays and loved to write plays himself.

Why Celebrate his Death Anniversary?

The reason being Shakespeare’s birthday remains unknown to us till date.

400 years, you say?

It has been four centuries since William Shakespeare wrote his last words that are still influencing the English language and a reader’s mind. Shakespeare introduced near about 1700 word to the language through his comedies, tragedies, histories and sonnets.  Such as fashionable, and eyeball. Some of them are insulting.

Where to start with Bard?

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Books, classics, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

People have been reviewing Great Expectations for 150 years. It’s the essence of a classic to survive such a long time and still being read. It is also a writer’s name that adds to a classic’s character, but that is not always the case. However, with Charles Dickens it is the former case and readers have expectations. I do. Whenever I start reading a Dickens novel, I expect it to be long, and contain all the elements of a story telling. Certainly, Dickens is one of the masters of the art.

The story is of an orphan,Pip, who from the beginning of the novel is not an ideal protagonist who have to be heroes or emotionally and physically strong. The story in short is tale written in first person narrative is about a person and his “great expectations”. It is the tale of self-understanding and perception. As a young boy Pip, lives with his sister ad her husband, kind soul, of whom he is fond of in his childhood. One day his presence is at demand in front of a strange woman who lives in a grand house with her niece. This is the starting of Pip’s “Great Expectations”. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens”

Books, classics, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Most of the times when you see a book, you read its blurb at the back of the cover and then only few remains in your memory. Until you go to a deep sleep or you pick the book and start reading it. That’s what happened with me when I took William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury in my hands.

The title of the  novel is taken from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, act 5 scene 5. It’s a tragedy. This is not a spoiler, I am just making you aware of what you have to deal with once you are deep down a hundred pages. The tragedy is about Compson family in America, featuring Caddy, Benjamin, Quentin, and Jason. Four siblings who are synonyms of rebel, immature, sensitive and obsessive, and brutal. It consists of four chapters, and the first two ones are the most difficult ones I have read.

The first chapter use a narrative technique known as the Stream of Consciousness. You might have seen it in James Joyce’s Ulysses but in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, the mode is at its best. Nobody could have written it better. Or someone might, but that’s just a rational hypothetical converse. The second chapter is the silver lining between intelligence and torment. It stretches the narrative technique to its extreme. There are no punctuation at times to associate with the stream of text so one has to read it very carefully. The non-linearity of both the chapters will highly demand one’s attention. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner”

Books, classics, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Martin Eden by Jack London

Jack London’s Martin Eden is a rare book that would indulge any reader from page one. It is also rare since it does resemble the typical American writing as one can observe in the writing styles of American writers of early twentieth century. It’s a powerful book, one that will definitely have an impact on its readers and will leave a reader thoughtful in the end.

Set in San Fransisco, this semi-autobiographical work is the story of a sailor called Martin Eden who pursues ambitiously, dreams of education and literary fame. For a start with help of the girl, he falls in love with, he educates himself feverishly and becomes a writer, hoping to acquire the respectability sought by his society-girl. However, fame is a cruel mistress and takes her own time to develop but that doesn’t mean it will knock on one’s door. Martin pledges towards his writing everyday, once he feels confident of himself being an intellectual he starts writing articles, essays and stories and sends them to magazines and newspapers all across the country.  Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Martin Eden by Jack London”

Books, classics, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy

You can go on reading books after books for fifteen days or you can read Tolstoy’s undoubtedly masterpiece: War and Peace. How was it, you ask? Easier than I expected. Choosing the right translation plays a major role when you are reading books written in languages you are not familiar of.  We will talk about that more, later.

Saying that I haven’t read Tolstoy before will be an understatement since I remember my failed attempts with Anna Karenina, twice I think. The Confession is a petite novella and is lying on my shelf just like that for months. Not a single attempt-to-read yet. War and Peace is humongous. Lots of characters introduced in first few chapters will seek you attention. Don’t start this book before going to bed. Especially before going to bed when you are starting to read it. The characters introduced in those first few chapters may help you doze off to sweeter dreams, thus you might end up loosing any interest that was the result of earlier motivation.

With lots of characters comes a lot more story lines. Tolstoy does a fantastic job in describing those story lines along with timeline of historical events, recounting them deeply and the blending of the fictional characters along with the historical ones. In short I can say, War and Peace is about five families during Napoleonic War in Russia. But that doesn’t satisfy me at all. It is about a lot more than that. It explores of human emotions during various circumstances including, war, patriotism, money, love, marriage, betrayal, forgiveness, gossip, et cetera.

The book is divided into five volumes. First one starts in 1805 when Russia is at war with Napoleon Bonaparte’s France. Tolstoy introduces his list of characters at an evening gathering held by a socialite. This party introduces us to many of the characters such as Pierre Bezukhov, and Prince Andrei are major ones. The major part of the story is either played in St. Petersburg or in Moscow. Rest are shown in various fields and outposts where the French and the Russian army are getting net to neck. Tolstoy makes the reader familiar by indulging some of the major characters in war at this time. The war is interesting if Tolstoy is describing it to us. At some point in the book Tolstoy arguably defies historians and the events described by them. He certainly disliked their way of forging with historical events. He also denies the fallacy that history is a production by some great men, instead suggesting it is the result of minute moments and decisions made by a large number of men and women. Many of the events described by him are graphic and you will end up visualising them in front of your eyes just as you see reality merely by reading Tolstoy’s words. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy”

Books, classics, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Notes From Underground is not doubt one of the most challenging books I have read in years. It needs a reader’s attention from the page one and till the last page. It must be read when you aware that you are conscious and you are reading the book. This book needs time absorb in a reader’s intellect. It has the power of to kick you in your guts straightaway from the first line of the book. The narrator introduces himself as a man who lives underground and refers to himself as a ‘spiteful’ person whose every act is dictated by his spitefulness. Many people would say that Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella marks the beginning of the modernist movement in literature. Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis are some other contenders.

It is a two part novella and addresses the reader directly. First person narration is contributed by a forty something man, a retired mid-level government bureaucrat, who ruminates in his poor apartment. If somebody remember reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, they will some similarities between both of the work. Both works manage to share a solitary, restless, irritable protagonist and a feeling for the feverish.

This narrator is portrayed through Dostoyevsky’s words as a sensitive, intelligent, idealistic and morally paralysed. In the first part of the novel the protagonist, after introducing himself, complains about everything: industrial capitalism, scientific rationality, and any sort of predictive, mathematical model of human behaviour. He points out that some people love things which are not to their best advantage. His objection continues that the scientific trend is trying to define a way for a society that will function for man’s best advantage and the theory will prove a man to be a rational being and in this utopian society not a single man would need to suffer but the narrator argues that without suffering there will be nothing left that of a man’s desires. With the scientific way, the freedom to choose life in one’s own way also subsides. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky”

Books, classics, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens  is a book full of quotes. It is the book, in which the lines must be quoted and not para-phrased. I remember first picking up this book when I was fifteen but never finished. Until last year, when I finished the book. Charles Dickens has been a very important personality in my life. I got to know him when i was thirteen when I remember reading Oliver Twist which had an impact over me at that time.

Dickens characters always has never failed to amaze me but A Tale of Two Cities is all about the storyline which is set during era of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. It is a story of love, betrayal, courage, and of sacrifice and redemption. A Tale of Two Cities begins with Miss Lucie Manette and Mr. Jarvis Lorry make a trip to Paris because they believe they’ve found her father. Dickens describes their venture as on their, “way to dig someone out of the grave.” After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter.

Years later after Doctor’s release, Lucie and Dr. Manette take part in the trial of Charles Darnay, who is found innocent, and Darnay seeks Lucie’s hand in marriage. When revolutionaries learn that Darnay is related to an evil aristocrat, they imprison him the next time he is in France. Sydney Carton determines he can bring value to his life by rescuing Darnay. The novel successfully cover the theme of self-sacrifice and self-worth. It also provides social commentaries on British and French culture and politics.  Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens”