1. The Alchemy of Desire by Tarun J. Tejpal
Earlier this year I joined an online library called The Readers Club and started reading ceaselessly. I had given four papers in September last year of which I flunked in one. I had to give it again in March this year. Its history now but I had ample of time to read things beyond usual accounting stuff and contrasting that boring subject was this novel I borrowed. With very impressive starting lines and equally magnificent ending lines , the novel tells a compelling tale which shifts from despair to hope to despair again but with love entangled in between the mysterious web all along. A husband and wife and the love between them and very graphic location , the novel is set in, are features which combine to make this novel an interesting read. There came a part in book which altered the course of story. A separate story of a princess and his lover. The main focus of the story is carnal desires of a human being and actions fulfilling those desires are described in great detail. I was disappointed by the extent to which the writer went to achieve his purpose of explaining sex. It could have been a very very good read. I enjoyed it initially, but in the middle of the book, I lost my interest in the story. The best thing about this story is the shift of the main character from the believe in the physical love to his more stronger believe in pure abstract love not involving the human body.
2. Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell
George Orwell is well known for his dystopia ‘1984’. This less known novel is at its heart a disturbing sketch of a very stubborn man, Gordon Comstock, in love with a very lovely, wise and contrary to Gordon, very reasonable woman,whom he annoys a lot. Set in London in 1930s, Keep the Aspidistra Flying is not a very lengthy novel but still it hurts you and you want to kill Gordon not because he is evil or something, but because he is way to stubborn, persistently stubborn, and you feel pity for his sweet girlfriend all the way to the end. The end is very good though. Gordon hates money. He hates status. He is not worried about his status. He sells books to eat food. He borrows money from his sister. I loved how his character remained undeveloped throughout the novel. No change in his thoughts or actions. You will love him in the end. You will love his girlfriend throughout the story. You will like his rich friend throughout the story as well. While reading the novel, i considered him justified in his actions and thoughts, but again my opinion shifted and I loathed him more. Consistent denial of money and the power it brings and the consequent wretched conditions is what this novel is all about. You expect an end which might justify Gordon’s denial but what prevails is the truth, the mighty truth. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Very good read.
3.Moon and Sixpence by William Somerset Maugham
Brilliance and excellence envelope the character which Maugham has created in this book. Based on life of a painter Paul Gauguin, Maugham has written this novel very accurately. The insights into a man’s soul who according to the society has gone mad and you actually start believing it are very openly explained and touch the reader. The purposes of the protagonist remain unexplained even at the end. This is one book I have decided to read again. One of the best books ever read.
4.Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
‘There are as many loves as there are hearts’ says Anna Karenina, a married woman with a son and a husband. Madly in love with Vronsky and determined to destroy herself, Anna, takes steps which a very brave woman wont think of. You wont believe her, you will scream and beg of her not to do it but she does it. She follows love and nothing else. Ultimately she gets what she deserves. Considered by many as the greatest novel ever written, Anna Karenina is truly a masterpiece. Characters seem not a bit fictional. Society seems not a bit unreal. A very beautifully written novel which has won many hearts. It tells two stories. Of Anna and of Levin. Levin is a young landlord with confused ideas which he finally solves at the end. Jealousy, Love, Hate, Pity, Inspiration, Faith, the novel is made of all this and is very engaging.
5. The Razor’s Edge by William Somerset Maugham
Another very good novel by Maugham. It starts off as a promising journey of a young man in pursuit of a meaningful purpose. He leaves his love for it. Goes on travels the world and tries to find knows he not what. I lost interest in the books as it moves on because it turns vague as it develops. Maugham’s other books are much better than this one.
6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
I read a comment at some website which said ‘Life is too short, don’t read Moby Dick’
I read Moby Dick. Though life is still short but I enjoyed a piece of literature, incomparable and fascinating. I know more of whales now than of humans. (I don’t but it was a good line)
You are a part of crew of a ship destined to doom and you are called Ishmael. You go on and join a whaler with your new friend who sells human heads and is a cannibal. You are aboard ‘The Pequod’, the whaler. You meet a captain, a mysterious captain with a wooden leg, he tells everyone that he has only one purpose of the trip, to kill a whale, a white whale, The Moby Dick.
Then you are taken on an unforgettable trip of your life, a journey of three years, to kill a monster which awaits you.
The best adventure I have ever read. I took me three or four months, I guess.
7. The Painted Veil by William Somerset Maugham
Another tale of an adulterous woman but here she is not destroyed, she is too proud to destroy herself. She destroys other. Set in China during the British Government, this novel is very exotic. You can imagine the wonderful locations in between were going on some dishonest acts. Not a lengthy novel but very entertaining. Twists in the plot were amusing. A tragic end. A real picture of human emotions and desires. Very entertaining. Another Maugham classic.
8. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by David Herbert Lawrence
Erotic adventures of a dissatisfied wife. Class differences. Indifference of her lover. Boredom of her husband. This is very controversial novel for its frequent use of banned words in literature. The story is of an adulterous affair between Lady Chatterley and the gamekeeper Oliver Mellors. Lady is sexually frustrated as his husband is injured in war. She realizes that living with mind is not alone. She must be active, physically. The class difference between the two of them creates major developments in the plot.I am quite indifferent to this novel, though I enjoyed the erotic parts.