Shelf Control #7

Shelf Control

Shelf  Control is a feature that I borrowed from Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. This feature is all about celebrating the books already on your TBR. To participate, you pick one of the books on your TBR each Wednesday and write a post about it (what it’s all about, what makes you want to read it, where you got it, etc.).

This week I picked a more recent acquisition, The Mystery on Cobbett’s Island by Katherine Kenny.

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I ended up picking this one to feature this week, since Trixie Belden came up in a discussion on the Blog Books and Opinions ten days or so ago, in a post on Old School Book Favourites.

What’s it’s about: This is number 13 in the Trixie Belden series, and in this one the Bob-Whites, the club Trixie and her friends formed early in the series, set off to Cobbett’s Island for a vacation. Here Trixie finds an old letter tucked away in a book with clues to the location of a thousand dollars, hidden years ago, and lost since. But the clues are not too easy to decipher. Where does their treasure hunt take them? Do they actually find it? Well, I’ll have to read to find out.

My edition: First Random House Edition, 2005 (?). I was worried this might have been updated (because I didn’t check to see when I bought it) but was really happy to see it hasn’t been ‘updated to reflect current attitudes and beliefs’. (I seriously cannot understand why this is done–why are children considered incapable of understanding that things could be different in the past–or in any other place for that matter.)

When and Where I got it: At my neighbourhood bookshop–this one was on the shop-soiled table so I got it (hardback) at a fairly good discount. I only added this to my TBR a couple of weeks ago.

Why I want to read this: While I wouldn’t call this my absolute favourite series, the Trixie Belden books are ones I’ve read and enjoyed very much as a child and as an adult, though I haven’t read the whole series. This title was one of those I haven’t read so I certainly do want to read it, and besides, who doesn’t enjoy a good old treasure hunt???

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The Treasure Map from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883)

Source:  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Any Trixie Belden fans here? Have you read this one?

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Bookquotes: Quotes from Books (11)

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Wodehouse in 1930

Image source: By Unlisted photographer for Screenland – Screenland, August 1930 (Vol XXI, No 4); p. 20, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40891112

Only the author of a thesaurus could have done justice to his emotions as he walked. Roget, for instance, would have described him as glad, happy, pleased, elated, entranced, ecstatic and overjoyed, and he would have been right.

–P.G. Wodehouse, Summer Moonshine (1938)

The Shakespeare Project: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act II

This is the second of my posts on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, part of the Shakespeare Project that I started on this blog earlier this month. Read what that’s all about here. The first of these posts on Act I of this play is hereThe summary and discussion below does contain spoilers so please bear that in mind when you read this.

midsummer

Act II opens in the fairy realm, where Puck or Robin Goodfellow comes upon a Fairy, one of Titania’s entourage. Puck incidentally also appears in a much later collection of stories (two, in fact) Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) and Rewards and Fairies (1910) by Rudyard Kipling, where he appears to two children, Dan and Una, and tells them stories from different periods of English history, many a time, through the voices of the characters themselves who he brings into the present.

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Puck (right) in Puck of Pook’s Hill–Illustration by H.R. Millar

Source: By Harold Robert Millar (1869-1940)Restoration by Adam Cuerden [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Anyway, back to the actual play now–the first scene opens with a conversation between Puck and Titania’s fairy, in which we learn of Puck’s mischievous nature, which leads to some interesting consequences for our other characters, particularly the humans. Besides being a jester of sorts to Oberon, King of the Fairies, Puck is also a prankster, playing pranks like pretending to be a three legged stool, which disappears just when the ‘wisest aunt’ is about to sit on it, toppling her over, and such. We also in this conversation learn of the dispute between Oberon and Titania, over a little Indian boy, who Titania has in her care, as the boy’s mother was her friend, a ‘vo’tress’ of her order  and Oberon wishes to have as his page in his entourage. The quarrel is of course not so simple either with both parties having cause to complain of infidelities by the other in the past.

Oberon and Titania

Oberon and Titania from the 1935 Film

Source:By Gilbert Seldes – https://archive.org/details/moviescomefrom00seld, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47511002

Oberon and Titania themselves come onto the scene, where they quarrel once again.  Oberon tries to convince Titania to give up her little page, who for him is but a ‘changeling boy‘ for which Titania has no cause to ‘cross her Oberon‘. Titania of course will not, ‘Not for thy fairy kingdom‘! and leaves. But Oberon is angry, and plots his revenge (wanting to ‘torment’ Titania). He directs Puck to fetch a certain flower, ‘before, milk white, but now purple with love’s wound‘ (a consequence of cupid’s arrow hitting it), which maidens call ‘love-in-idleness’. If the juice of this flower is squeezed into sleeping eyelids, the person will fall madly in love with the first creature he or she sees when he or she awakes. He plans to squeeze some of this into his Queen’s eyes while she is asleep so that she falls for some vile creature she lays her eyes upon–‘Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull, On meddling monkey or on busy ape‘, and since he has the antidote as well, he hopes this will lead her to hand the page over while she is under it’s influence.

Just as he is making his plans, into the woods walks Demetrius with Helena in tow. By this point, Helena has told Demetrius of Hermia’s elopement (or her plans, anyway) and Demetrius has come in pursuit of Lysander and Hermia, and doesn’t want Helena to follow but she is adamant, and will continue to follow, come what may, caring neither for her name nor that Demetrius doesn’t care for her (or as he claims that he is ‘sick when I look on thee‘), prepared even to be treated as a dog kicked by its master. (Definitely wanted to give her a good shake or a couple of hard smacks but I’ll come back to that later).

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Helena follows Demetrius-Alfred Fredericks (1874)

Source: By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, Oberon has overheard this conversation and feels for the ‘sweet Athenian lady‘ ‘in love with a disdainful youth‘ and directs Puck to squeeze some of the juice in this youth’s eye’s such that the next thing he spies will be the lady. But Puck must recognise him by his Athenian garments, and has no name or other description to go by. So when he does go looking for the Athenian youth, he comes upon not Demetrius and Helena but Lysander and Hermia. The latter two have lost their way in the wood and have settled down to sleep at night, but are sleeping apart from each other at Hermia’s insistence. Puck believes this indicates that this is the couple who don’t love each other, and by a honest mistake and no trick squeezes the magic juice into Lysander’s eyes (and really, with the idea that it is Hermia that he will see when he wakes).

Titania, queen of the fairies, has gone to another part of the wood with her entourage, and after assigning her fairies various jobs, is sung to sleep by her fairies. Drawn as I am to nature descriptions, this was one of the most beautiful scenes of this instalment for me to picture:

‘I know a bank where the while thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the noddling violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with lush woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine,

There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,

Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight’

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Titania asleep in the Woods by Arthur Rackham (1908)

Source:  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

And it is here that Oberon heads and squeezes some juice into her eyes wishing that she will wake only when some vile creature is near her.

Meanwhile Helena and Demetrius pass by the place where Lysander and Hermia are resting, Demetrius still trying to shake off Helena which he manages to do, but with the result that it is she who comes upon Lysander and ends up waking him, and becoming the object of his affections. She of course, is unaware that magic is at work here, and feels she and her plight is being made a mockery of–not wanted by the one she loves and being ridiculed by one who is pledged to another. Lysander, under the spell heads off in pursuit of Helena, leaving Hermia alone. Hermia is in despair and wishes to find Lysander or her death immediately, and so closes this Act.

As in the first instalment (though I am not starting with the first thing that popped out at me), the thing, or rather character I can’t help commenting on is Helena. For someone reading (or writing) in this century, one can’t help but wonder why this person has absolutely no self-respect of any kind. May be on the one hand, one can see her love as so deep that she cares for nothing but her beloved, one can even accept that she continues to care for him when he doesn’t for her, but when she continues to follow (‘stalk’) him when she is clearly not wanted, and consents to be treated as a reviled object just so she can be close to him, it begins to get beyond the limits of acceptable.

And here is where I also found myself contrasting her and Titania, who does love Oberon, but isn’t willing to part with the little boy for his mother’s sake, and for her sake she looks after him. And there is Helena, quite willingly betraying her friend, for the sake of one who cares nothing for her. So if she is reviled and feels herself ridiculed, one might even think she deserves it.

When I wrote on the first Act of this play, it was the negative side of love, in terms of Hermia’s break with her father, Theseus’ wooing of Hippolyta with the sword, and Helena’s betrayal that I felt stood out. But this time around, part of the same lines of events was that other emotion that is (in a way) associated with love jealousy–Oberon is seen as feeling that even by Puck besides being accused of it by Titania. And apart from that quarrel about the little boy, one can clearly see other jealousies on both sides–each accuses the other of betrayal, including with Theseus and Hippolyta. Helena too, is seething with jealously as in the previous Act, wondering what it is that Hermia has or does that she doesn’t, including the secret of her bright eyes.

Then of course is the first thing that popped out at me. The little changeling boy, who isn’t named. I had completely forgotten, though I probably shouldn’t have that he was a little Indian boy. This has in fact been the subject of at least one m.phil thesis (only the abstract is available here). But it is interesting to think of this and the references to the ‘spiced Indian air’ and the (exotic) images these would have conjured up. There are complex questions of race and of imperialism thrown up and there has been writing on that (again only a preview here but a blog here) but I am not getting into those aspects. His role isn’t all that much, though he may be the pretext for their quarrel (which I realise now goes much deeper) but he does get us thinking about the explorers back then and about the search for and finding of India, and about the many colours and wonder the idea would have created.

But all of our players are still not in the wood. The Athenians rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby are still to enter the wood, and we do know some of what lies ahead for them. But all that in the text Act, and next post!

Shelf Control #6

Shelf Control

Shelf  Control is a feature that I borrowed from Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. This one is all about celebrating the books already on your TBR waiting to be picked up. All you need to do to participate is to pick one of the books on your TBR each Wednesday and write a post about it (what it’s all about, what makes you want to read it, where you got it, etc.).

This week’s pick from my TBR pile is the Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope.

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A little about the author: Anthony Trollope, Victorian novelist, and author of forty-seven novels, most if not all, doorstoppers, and several short stories, also worked in the British Postal department, where he rose to a fairly high post, and is also credited with having introduced the mail-box or pillar box.

A little about the book: The Eustace Diamonds is the third of Trollope’s Palliser series of novels. The Palliser books are political novels centered around the politician Plantagenet Palliser  and his wife Lady Glencora and around issues of politics in Britain and Ireland. In this one, Lizzie Greystock, who takes an almost pathological delight in lying marries Sir Florian Eustace. After his death, disputes arise as to the possession of a family heirloom, a diamond necklace, which Lizzie claims for herself. When she becomes engaged to a new suitor, Lord Fawn, the Eustace family lawyers insist she return the diamonds. Matters get complicated when a strong-box containing the jewellery is stolen. Where the diamonds have gone, and who was responsible for the theft makes up the rest of this story with other parallel storylines, I’m sure because there always are in these tomes.

When and Where I got it: This is another that I haven’t actually bought but being a public domain book, simply downloaded through Project Gutenberg. (Trollope’s works are available here). And I did this probably sometime in 2016 after I finished the Phineas Finn, the second of the Palliser books. I did read Trollope last year, but that was a stand-alone, Castle Richmond, as a ‘buddy read’ with the Victorians group on goodreads (my review is here).

Why I want to read it: Well, for one because its a next in series, I’ve read the first two of this one and want to see what happens in the next one, though the Pallisers don’t have as much of a role (or at least not a central role) in this installment. But more than that, because I find I really enjoy Trollope’s books. I’ve read may about 11 of his books so far now and have enjoyed them all (some far more than others, of course)–they throw up issues one can relate to even today, and his endings which I have commented on in one of my reviews as well aren’t always conventional or ‘storybook’. So, definitely looking forward to this one.

Malory Towers Challenge: First Term at Malory Towers

So a couple of months ago I wrapped up my Five Findouters Challenge which was all about reading the Findouters books by Enid Blyton (15 in the series) chronologically (my review of that challenge is here), and then decided to pick up next, this series of school stories by Blyton which I don’t know as well as one of her other school series St Clares which I read countless times as a child. Malory Towers is a series of six books by Blyton (there are other ‘continuation’ books by a different author but I am not going to pick up those here) and is one of her three school series (that I am aware of)—St Clares and the Naughtiest Girl being the other two.

Malory towers

Mammoth ed., 2000: Darrell in the Malory Towers Uniform

In this, the first of the series, we see Darrell Rivers (named after Blyton’s husband Darrell Waters—incidentally I also see from wiki that he was a surgeon like Darrell’s father in the book) ) preparing to set off to boarding school, Malory Towers in Cornwall, since she has just turned twelve (the youngest they take pupils), and is ready in her new uniform to head off to the station to take the train for school (The Malory Towers train arrives at platform 7 not 9¾ 🙂 ). She is nervous but also eager to get started, meet her school mates and settle in, and also to make new friends, since none of her old ones are going to Malory Towers. At the school, her friendly nature and sharp brains ensure that she begins to settle-in in no time, something that cannot be said for the other new girls in her form, the pretty but spiteful Gwendoline Lacey, and the withdrawn Sally Hope. Darrell takes to two ‘old’ students, Alicia and Betty who are also intelligent, but the kind who play tricks often in the form and are happy to voice whatever enters their mind, Alicia especially, and hopes to befriend them soon. School goes on as usual—with classes and work of course, but also games (swimming and tennis since it is the summer term), and also a few tricks. But the class is a mix of girls with very different personalities, and clashes are inevitable leading also to a fair bit of trouble. To top it all Darrell must address her own troubles, not being able to make a friend as easily as she thought she would, and more than that, to control her own hot temper which leads to more misery for herself than she ever thought it would.

Malory towers cover

1946 Methuen ed.

To start off with, a thought that popped into my mind was how this story linked with Blyton’s other mystery/adventure stories (something I’ve never consciously thought before)—while those (like the Findouters books) tell of what the children get upto during the holidays, these deal with term time, so one does get a rounded picture of children’s lives after all.

But anyway, back to the actual book, I though Blyton did a great job in this introductory story of showing us how in school (in books as in real life) we meet all kinds of people—friendly, reserved, brave, cowardly, bright, not so very bright, honest and good-natured, and spiteful (we also have the exaggerated French mistress, Mam’zelle Dupont). One may or may not meet all types in every setting and in that way one might say that these various types have been consciously put in together, but still, I found it made for a believable story. What I liked about the girls were that while many of them have likeable qualities, none is perfect, we see people who can speak their minds but equally those who are unable to and are judged harshly for that. But in this one, while the ‘cowardly’ Mary Lou is looked down upon by her peers, even considered a nuisance at times, unlike in some of her mystery stories (where in an instance or two, it seems as if Blyton herself is judging them harshly), Blyton tries to get Darrell to understand with an incident what being in such a position could be like, could feel to the person, and then she is at least able to understand her better. Darrell also learns an important lesson or two about friendship as well—that first impressions or the ‘glamour’ (not the kind related to appearance) that one associates with people may not always translate to real friendship, that requires people who are able to support you in times of need, quite like the saying goes. The various girls that we see closely have failings in one way or another, and while some are able to address them or at least to begin to address them, others are not. And Gwendoline Lacey—no spoiler that she is the ‘villainess’ of the piece—I ended up wondering about her as well, she is spoilt, spiteful, self-absorbed, and not very likeable at all, but I did end up with the question about why she really was that way—was it only her upbringing (and thus something that could perhaps be resolved unless it was too late) or something more? At the end, finishing the book, while I did read a fun school story, I found on this reading I focused more on the people themselves, on human nature and the various pictures of it that emerged. (And this was a line of thought I think that was partly sparked off by a review by a fellow Blyton fan that I read on facebook—the group Blytonia—just this morning (of different book though): The link to the group is here, sorry I have no idea how to link to the specific review but it is of the Put-Em Rights.

Children’s Book of the Month: Cairo Jim and the Secret Sepulchre of the Sphinx

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This was a chance find on the shop-soiled table in my local bookshop. The cover grabbed me because of the title—an Egyptian setting obviously, the Sphinx, and the ‘hero’—a Tintin-like character hanging onto the Sphinx’s nose. This is the sixth of a series of eighteen books (though according to some listings it’s the ninth) by Australian writer Geoffrey McSkimming, and features archaeologist–poet Cairo Jim who along with his ‘assistants’ Doris the Macaw and Brenda the Wonder Camel works at various dig sites and makes exciting discoveries. His patron is Gerald Perry of the Old Relics Society, and he also has a ‘good friend’, Joselyn Osgood, a flight-attendant with Valkyrian Airways, who appears occasionally (including in this one) helping him on his digs. Attempting to thwart his plans all the time is the arch-villain Captain Neptune Flannelbottom Bone. In this one, Jim patron, Mr Perry has left him instructions to dig at a site near the pyramid of Chephern at Giza but with no information on what he is supposed to be looking for. They later find that he has put them on the trail of clues left behind by Bathsheba Snugg, a founding member of the Old Relics Society, who had disappeared over forty years ago, and who was a translator of the writings of Herodotitis. Meanwhile it emerges that their nemesis Bone is dead and proof has been found. But of course, he isn’t really and when Jim makes an exciting discovery—a huge limestone floor which links to Pharaoh Amehetnehet—Bone puts into action his dastardly plans to discredit Jim’s findings, driving him underground (or rather into the Sphinx), and resurrect himself and his reputation.

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Image source: Sturm58 at the English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

When I started this book, I found it somewhat silly but soon enough I realised that this was probably to do with the way I was looking at it or expecting it to be—rather than only an adventure story this was also somewhat on the lines of a comic (as in a comic book/programme—like may be Scooby Doo or Penelope Pitstop), and when I began to look at it like that, I began to enjoy it far more. The book definitely has the feel of a parody or spoof though it isn’t wholly that either. The characters are pretty quirky—we have a macaw who reads, often quotes, Shakespeare, and can seemingly magically tell the time, and a Camel who reads Westerns and communicates with them telepathically, something neither Doris not Jim realises is happening, often thinking that the other has said something. The villain Bone is yet another of these, in fact much more than ‘yet another’—he is the classic comic book villain, all the way down to the ‘ha ha ha ha ha’ (I described him as such in my mind before he went ahead and actually did that) and the customary ‘arrrrhs’ as a Captain, thinking up dastardly plans. He also quite often speaks in alliteration, especially to his sidekick, a raven named Desdemona (for instance, ‘You blithering bundle of bunglingness!’).

The book has a fair few literary references/allusions which I enjoy in books but unlike say, the Lemony Snickett set (A Series of Unfortunate Events), many of the literary allusions/references in the book are more direct (mostly the Shakespeare ones). But then we do also have Desdemona the raven, who exclaims more subtly ‘Nevermore Nevermore Nevermore’.

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Tenneil-The Raven

Image source:  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

But really apart from these, it wasn’t that I wasn’t having fun with the book initially because it isn’t often that one comes across a children’s book in an archaeological setting—this is probably the only one I’ve read—and with digs and such described quite genuinely (perhaps the comparisons with Agatha Christie that Wikipedia mentions are on this account) even if the clues etc., may sometimes again enter comic book/ parody territory. The discovery they make I thought was pretty interesting and a little more properly archaeological than comic (I could even see that kind appearing in a book for ‘grown ups’, though the latter would have much more explaining to do about the physics of it) That was something I quite enjoyed plus the fact that this was set in Egypt, and I’ll probably read anything in that setting.

So this turned out to be a rather fun read after all, albeit slightly on the silly side (but then, it is meant for children). And of course, it fit perfectly with my theme of Light-hearted and fun reads, and as a bonus, also threw up a quite nice little quote which will appear as my Bookquote next week. Good fun!

Review: Storm in the Village

I loved this book so much so am sharing my review here as well–it appears as usual on goodreads here.

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I’ve read only a few books by Miss Read so far, but each one I’ve picked up has been delightful and this one proved no different. Storm in the Village is the third of her Fairacre chronicles set in the village of Fairacre and narrated by Miss Read, the headmistress of the village school and in charge of the older students, while the ‘infants’ are taught by her assistant/junior Miss Hillary Jackson, who we’d met in the last book. In this one, a storm certainly is brewing in Fairacre when it seems that a new estate—quite literally a new township—for an atomic institute is being proposed on the hundred-acre farm belonging to Mr Miller, right between Fairacre and Beach Green. This means hundreds of new residents, buses, new water and sewerage connections, even a new school. In short, life at Fairacre seems set to be turned on its head, not to mention a farm and a beautiful part of the village set to be lost, and most residents disapprove. This development also doesn’t spell good news for Miss Read for if the new school comes up, Fairacre school is likely to be affected and then, what will she do? But this is not the only storm brewing in the little village. Miss Jackson seems to have fallen in love with a rather unsuitable man and refuses to see reason—ending up a source of anxiety not only to Miss Read but also Miss Clare in whose house she is a lodger. Life in a little English village might not sound like much, but it is never uneventful, here storms are brewing and thunder and lightning getting set to begin. Meanwhile, other more ‘regular’ events, the flower show, baby-sitting for the Annets, a collapsing roof, and troubles down at Tyler’s row also continue. [No bodies though which one begins to expect around every corner after reading too much Miss Marple or the Midsomer Murders 😉 ]

I started my review by saying how delightful a read this was and I’ll say it here again! The thing about Miss Read is while her settings are idyllic, and her descriptions make you want to live in these places and in the houses (Miss Clare’s in particular for me), they are never unrealistic or the stuff of dreams. This is real life in its full flavour with all its ups but also its downs—illness, death, heartbreak, poverty, misery, family troubles—and not all of it always get sorted the ‘happily-ever-after’ way either, but just the simplicity of life she depicts, of life back when one had much less but was in some ways far happier, always leaves one with a happy, pleasant, feeling, a sense of peace when you read them. Miss Read has a lot on her plate in this one, beginning with the skylight smashing nearly on her head, to the impending new ‘development’ in the village (this reminded me a lot of the Miss Marple books, and how they adjusted to the new settlements in the village—The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side), Miss Jackson’s problems, and Miss Clare’s health but she still manages to find many moments of happiness for herself and for others as well. [I just glanced at my review of Thrush Green and realised this is sounds almost exactly like that—but these are the feelings that I have about the book so I won’t change them, that is, not my review]. I also loved how the sections of the book were arranged around the storm theme—from the straws in the wind to the storm breaking and unleashing the thunder and lightning, to things finally calming down again. Needless to say, I adored J.S. Goodall’s illustrations as always. A wonderful wonderful read—I am so very glad she wrote thirty-three books (both series together) and I have so many more still left to enjoy.

Shelf Control #4

Shelf Control

Shelf Control is a feature I picked up from Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies and is all about celebrating the books already on your TBR. Each Wednesday, one picks a book from one’s TBR writes a post about it, usually what the book is all about, when and where you got it, what made you want to read it, and such.

This week I’ve picked a nonfiction title, one themed around the Second World War–Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad.

Farthest Field.jpg

What it is all about: This is a memoir that the author has written about the experiences in the Second World War of his grandfather and two granduncles (Bobby, Ganny, and Manek). The author has been seeing photos of the three in his grandmother’s house–one a pilot with India’s airforce, one a doctor, and the third, who went in the battle from Burma to Iraq. This is the story of a family caught in a changing world, swept up by its violence, a story of loyalties tested, innocence eroded, and of romances devastated. This is a story of the author’s family but also of a par of history that isn’t focused on too much, India and Indian soldiers in the Second World War. It takes us to the home life they left behind, and the battlefields that the war took them to–India, Burma, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt among them.

My edition: Fourth Estate, paper back, 2017.

Where and When I got it: I’ve had this on my shelves for a few months now, though I don’t remember the exact time. And I didn’t actually buy the book myself. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of it. Some one actually gave this to my father as a present, and I picked it up from him to read since it sounded so interesting.

Why I want to read it: It’s history! This is a genre I enjoy reading of course, and more than that this is about a facet of history I don’t really know much about, and which I definitely am looking forward to reading. This is as I gather from a few reviews I looked at, as well as from a glance at the prologue, not one that can be clearly classified as non-fiction as the author has fictionalised some aspects–the thoughts, feelings of characters etc. I don’t think I’d really mind this–I mean why pigeon-hole everything? (Even Dava Sobel’s A More Perfect Heaven, which was essentially non-fiction, had a segment in the middle imagining a scene where Copernicus is convinced to have his work published, and while more clearly compartmentalised, I quite enjoyed reading that but as well). So looking forward to reading this one soon!

Do you like reading historical fiction/non-fiction set in the Wars? What are some of the books on the theme that have impacted you the most? I can’t really use the word enjoy for this period in history (though I can think of one book that I did–a Nancy Mitford) as there is so much pain, so much that disturbs you, and yet this is one facet of history that you can’t afford to ignore.