Archive for the ‘Books’ Category
Name: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad)
Author: Gabriel García Márquez
Language: Spanish (Translated in English)
Publication date: 1967
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely acclaimed novel which is considered to be the author’s masterpiece. Gabriel García Márquez won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. It was originally published in Spanish and has been translated into 37 languages. It has sold more than 20 million copies.
This novel presents metaphoric, critical interpretation of Colombian history. It presents different national myths throughout the story of Buendia family’s rise and fall, where many strange events occur; war, forbidden love, death, etc. The magical realist style, thematic substance, symbolism and metaphors are the main things that make this novel unique and interesting.
One Hundred Years of Solitude narrates the story of seven generations of the Buendía Family, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, to find a better life and a new home leaves Riohacha, Colombia with his wife (and first cousin) Úrsula and found the town of Macondo. And in this ordinary town of Macondo many extra-ordinary events take place. As the story developes generation after generation many children are born in this family, and each of them has their own story, but finally all of them are linked by the same curse of living in solitude. The novel follows the surreal events and magical occurrence that take place in very small towns to very ordinary people.
Only a few novels change people’s lives. And this is one of them.
Name: War and Peace (Original title Война и миръ)
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Language: Russian, with considerable French (translated in English)
Genre(s): Historical, Romance, War novel, Philosophical
Publication date: 1869
Pages: 1,225 (first Published edition); 1,475 (2006 paperback issue)
War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, published in 1869. The work is epic in scale and is considered one of the most celebrated works of fiction. It is regarded as Tolstoy’s finest literary achievement, along with his other famous work Anna Karenina (1873–1877).
War and Peace defines in graphic detail events leading up to the French invasion of Russia, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as seen through the eyes of five Russian aristocratic families. Portions of an earlier version were Arrange serially in the magazine The Russian Messenger between 1865 and 1867. The novel was first published in its entirety in 1869. Newsweek in 2009 ranked it top of its list of Top 100 Books.
This is a massive book: both in length, and scope. It’s a chronicle of 2 or 3 decades of several families and interconnected characters in Russia. There is a main character (Count Bezhuov), but he is the main character by default, because there are so many characters to which so much time is devoted. The story has so many aspects that a main storyline can’t be given. It goes into every facet of life in Moscow and St. Petersburg society, as well as a soldier’s life in the Napoleonic Wars. On top of this is Leo Tolstoy devoted chapters and chapters to his direct philosophy on war and life in general.
Tolstoy himself, somewhat enigmatically, said of War and Peace that it was “not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less an historical chronicle.
War and Peace conceded as a must read book once in a life.
Author: Mario Puzo
Genre(s): Thriller, Crime
Publication date: 2000
Omertà was published posthumously in 2000. This is the final book in Puzo’s mafia trilogy. The first two were The Godfather and The Sicilian.
Omertà follows the story Astorre Viola. He is the son Don Zeno. After the death of Don Zeno in Sicily, Don Raymonde Aprile adopts Astorre as his “nephew”. Don Aprile lives in New York, where he is known as a fair but merciless Mafia head. Don Aprile has children but he doesn’t want them to follow him in illicit business. To save them, he sends them to private boarding schools and only sees them on holidays. Aprile considering Astorre his nephew picks him as the one who must protect the family after Aprile dies. And when Don Aprile is shot dead by hit men, Astorre vows to track down the men responsible.
A cycle of violence follows, involving organized crime, the police and the FBI. Who actually wanted the Don dead is a mystery as there are alot of people who could benefit from his death. But the question is, who actually got the Don killed? This is the mystery which is solved as the story unfolds.
Name: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Publication date: April 10, 1925
Pages: 218 pages
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published on April 10, 1925, today widely regarded as a paragon of the Great American Novel, and a literary classic. The Great Gatsby has become a standard text in high school and university courses on American literature in countries around the world, and is ranked second in the Modern Library’s lists of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.
The novel takes place following the First World War. Nick Carraway, is a young bachelor from a patrician Midwestern family, who graduates from Yale in 1915. After fighting in World War I, he returns to the Midwest before settling in New York City to “learn the bond business.” Despite his wealthy upbringing, Nick lives very modestly. Nick narrates this story of his brief duration living next door to the wealthy Jay Gatsby in the early 1920′s. Gatsby’s wild and lavish parties, complete with aglitter lights, orchestras, champagne and tremendous buffets, never fail to attract socialites to his mansion and garden in droves. But it is not for the people that he throws these parties: It is to impress the one woman he has loved and obsessed upon for years, and for whom he has worked to rise from rags to riches. Her name is Daisy, and although she once long ago had a brief fling with Gatsby, she is now married and has a child. Nevertheless, he has not given up on her. Nick is related to Daisy, and so is placed in the centre of things between them. He watches with a kind of horrified captivation as the frivolous Daisy, always a spoiled and shallow rich girl, toys with the people around her, and as Gatsby tries to claim his place between her and her husband.
The Great Gatsby has been filmed six times and is being filmed for a seventh. An operatic treatment of the novel was commissioned by the New York Metropolitan Opera to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the debut of James Levine. The work, which is also called The Great Gatsby, premiered on December 20, 1999.
In October 2008, the BBC World Service commissioned and broadcast an abridged 10-part reading of the story, read from the view of Nick Carraway by Trevor White. In 2010 a casual Hidden Object game called Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby was released by Oberon Media.
Name: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde
Genre(s): Gothic fiction
Publication date: 1890
The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel that mainly deals with the subjects of hedonism, self obsession, morality, the difference between right and wrong and bad influence. It is a very dark novel full of wickedness.
The novel tells the story of a young man named Dorian Gray. He is strikingly beautiful and handsome. Because of his beauty he is the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is very much impressed by Dorian’s beauty and becomes very fond of him, thinking his beauty is the cause of a new style in his art. When Basil’s friend Lord Henry Wotton meets Dorian the story develops amazingly. Dorian becomes beguiled by Lord Henry’s world view. Lord Henry influences Dorian to develop a new sense of hedonism. In Lord Henry’s view only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realising that one day his beauty will evanesce, Dorian, fancifully evinces a desire to sell his soul to guarantee that the portrait Basil has painted would age instead of himself.
Dorian’s wish is mysteriously fulfilled. The portrait of him ages while he does not. This thing plunging him into heinous acts. Dorian indulges himself in his money and social fame and forgets everything else. Caught up in evil pleasures, he loses sight of everything valuable to him and becomes his own worst enemy.
Each sinful act is displayed as a disfigurement of his form or through a sign of aging on the portrait while he himself remains unchanged. But for how long can a person get away with all he does?
Name: Little Women
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Genre(s): Coming of Age
Publication date: Vol 1 in 1868 and Vol 2 in 1869
Little Women is a book that revolves around the lives of four March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and their mother Marmee. The March sisters struggle against poverty while their father is away serving as a doctor during the Civil War. They suffer many privations but still remain happy and make the best of what they have got. Its a story of a tightly knit and loving family who face many challenges in life but stick together no matter what.
The story charts the childhood games, problems, their domestic adventures, their efforts to increase the family income and their friendship with the neighbouring Laurence family and lessons of young girls becoming young women.
The book explores the sisters’ relationship with eachother and with their mother, love and care for their father, and their emotional connection with their friends and acquaintances. Its a very nice story which perfectly depicts the feelings of young girls. It’s a novel about family bonding, love, friendship, patience, tolerance, and the agony of loss of loved ones.
Name: And Then There Were None
(Original title: Ten Little Indians)
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre(s): Crime novel, Mystery, Suspense
Publication date: 6 November 1939
‘And Then There Were None’ is Agatha Christie’s best-selling novel with 100 million books sold to date, which made it the world’s best-selling mystery ever. It is one of the most-printed books of all time and Publications International lists it as 7th most-printed book of all time.
The story revolves around ten people who are invited to an Indian Island, off the coast of Devon for a vacation on the weekend of August 8th, by the mysterious Mr. U.N. Owen. They arrive on the island for one reason or the other. Strangely though, their host and hostess are nowhere to be found. They are told that their host and hostess, Mr. and Mrs. U.N. Owen are currently away and then the guests are shifted into their rooms. Each guest finds in his or her room a framed copy of an odd nursery rhyme “Ten Little Soldiers” hanging on the wall. They are stuck on the island with no way out as the weather is not favorable for boats to arrive. Tragedies begin and one by one they being are murdered. There is no one else on the island but the ten guests, and this leads them to believe that the killer is among the ten. One by one they all die, in the ways as written in the nursery rhyme, “and then there were none”.
The poem is as follows:
Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Soldier boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Soldier boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two Little Soldier boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Soldier boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
Name: A Little Princess
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Genre(s): Children’s literature
Publication date: 1904
Sara Crewe, a 7 year-old girl is sent to live at Miss Minchin’s boarding school in London by her father, Captain Crewe, who loves her dearly and instructed that his daughter is to be given a private room with a parlor, a maid, and anything else she might want in his absence. She is a favourite to all, but her beautiful clothes, personal maid and carriage set her apart from the rest and create jealousy in Miss Minchin, the graspinghead of the school.
Sara is a bright, imaginative, generous and empathic little girl who loves books and storytelling. Her greatest joy is to ‘pretend’ things to make life more magical, both for herself and those less fortunate than herself.
On Sara’s eleventh birthday, when the news of her father’s death in India arrives, she is suddenly and tragically thrown into poverty, as her father lost all his fortune due to investments made by a friend. Sara is left without a penny and Miss Minchin turns Sara into a servant, demanding her to work without pay in exchange for food and a place to live. Sara is given a room in the attic next to Becky, the scullery maid she became friends with.
Even then Sara does not lose heart and keep a stronghold on her bright imagination and tender heart to prove to those who mistreat her that even through adversity and want she can remain ‘a little princess’.
It is a heartwarming tale of a little girl’s constant affection and goodness through wealth and destitution. No one can read this book without shedding a tear.
Name: The Body in the Library
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre(s): Crime novel
Publication date: 1942
Agatha Christie is a British writer and is best remembered for her 80 detective novels. Roughly four billion copies of her novels have been sold, making her the best-selling writer of books of all time. Her books have been translated into at least 103 languages.
The Body in the Library is a great work of detective fiction. It features Agatha Christie’s fictional amateur detective Miss Marple.
In the beginning of the book a body of a young woman is found Colonel Bantry’s library early in the morning.The dead young women is wearing an evening dress and heavy make-up. Mrs. Bantry, who is a friend of Miss Marple, immediately calls in her to investigate the crime.
The young women is identified as a dancer who worked at a hotel nearby and was not connected to the Bantrys in any possible way. It is also found out that the young lady was really close to a rich old man and his family and that he had been planning to adopt her. Soon afterwards, a charred body of another young woman, who is believed to be a girl guide who had disappeared on the same day as the dancer, is found in a burned-out car.
These both murders seem unrelated, but Miss Marple throught her insightfulness and experience as a detective starts investigating and in the end finds a connection that enables her to solve the mystery.
Name: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen
Publication date: 1811
Sense and Sensibility is a novel about Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, two daughters of Mr Dashwood by his second wife who after his death are in an unfair manner deprived of their family inheritance by their elder half brother, Mr John Dashwood and his avaricious wife, and find themselves in greatly reduced circumstances. Under these circumstances the sisters and their mother are obliged to leave Norland in Sussex for Barton Cottage in Devonshire, which is a cottage on a distant relative’s property, and there in their new home they experience both romance and heartbreak.
Even though there is a great contrast between the sisters’ characters and greatly differing views on love and marriage, Elinor and Marianne sincerely love and understand eachother. They both encounter the sense and sensibility of life and love and find out that their ideas need some modification and in the end find the kind of love they would never have expected or wanted. Sense and Sensibility is a novel sparkling with wit and irony and a detailed review of the matters of head and heart.