Saturday, 22 July 2017
By Robert Frost
This poem, ‘Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening’ is a very descriptive poem about a travelling man who stops by a dense forest, on the darkest evening of the year. He simply can’t tear himself apart from the scenic view, which is almost sacred to him. The horse appears to be just a companion for the man, helping him through the bitter winter cold. This gives me the indication that this may be a melancholic poem. It appears to a Realistic Fiction or a Memoir.
In the first stanza, the poet writes:
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
When I read this, the simplest interpretation is that the woods he was stopping by was owned by an acquaintance who lived in the village and who would not see the poet stop to watch the snow fill up his lovely woods. It could simply be an expression of a stolen moment of wonder and joy as he watched the snow fall down.
Alternatively, the lines: “He will not see me stopping here, To watch his woods fill up with snow.” seem to represent, perhaps, a close relative, who may have passed away. Is it possible that Robert Frost’s family member, relative or friend had passed away and he was expressing his deep tragedy through this metaphor?
In the second and third stanzas, the poet writes,
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
These stanzas really bring out the poets beautiful descriptive style. His words paint a picture in my mind of a dark and almost gloomy atmosphere. A dark beauty comes through but the poet’s reference to the darkest evening of the year, makes the night seem most daunting, tragic evening of the year.
My favourite, though, is the last stanza, where the poet writes,
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
As I read these lines, I feel the resoluteness coming through: when people pull themselves away from the darkness and back into the light. Sadly, though, I found another meaning in the innocent word, ‘sleep’. The first time he states: And miles to go before I sleep, I feel that he may be referring to how long he actually has till he reaches his destination. However, the second time he states this, I feel that he may be referring to how long he has before he too gives into death or if indeed, he is having an illness, he’s almost reassuring himself that everything will be alright and he will live and die peacefully. The beauty of this stanza is that there are so many different ways to interpret it. Other than my explanation above, for example, it could be that the poet wanted to remind us that we need to stop once a while in our busy lives, to embrace the beauty and nature all around us, but then continue with our duties and priorities. It could, on the other hand, also just be a literal meaning, where the poet is just taking a break from the real world for some inspiration, symbolizing the burden he feels to live in the real world.
Overall, this poem is definitely a poem that makes you think. Literally ‘stop’ and think. To me this is a great example of the miracles of literature and has been ‘Stopping’ people in their own metaphorical ‘Woods’ to think about it!
Sunday, 28 May 2017
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
This book is called, ‘MISS SPITFIRE’, written by Sarah Miller. It has been named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. When I first picked out this book, I didn’t realise that it was written in the perspective of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s fiery teacher. Many people don't think about Annie Sullivan when they mention Helen Keller. Helen was a child prodigy, but so, indeed, was Annie.
When Annie nervously departs to Ivy Green, Helen’s house, her story unravels very quickly. Meeting Helen proves to be a disastrous event, as Helen seems to have as much of a temper as Annie did. The two vicious ladies struggle to work together, despite Annie’s desperate and occasionally harsh attempts. It is only when Miss Spitfire (Annie) persuades Helen’s reluctant and pitiful parents to let the two be alone in another house does discipline begin to form. Annie makes Helen independant and obedient, and somehow forms an unbreakable love for the fiery Helen. I was impressed by Annie Sullivan’s desperate attempt to better Helen Keller’s plight.
I could relate to Annie Sullivan and her temper, as I used to have one as ferocious. Helen's anger was borne simply out of frustration and the inability to express her feelings. I could also relate to Annie’s struggle to teach Helen. It opened a huge door in my mind, about empathy and understanding not only the outcome- but the struggle Annie and Helen went through to become what they were. Helen may have had an intriguing story, but Annie Sullivan shared that story, if not partially owning it.
My favourite moment in the book is the way it concludes with the famous ‘water pump’ incident where Helen’s big breakthrough happens and her life transforms. Annie tries to teach her words at the water pump, when something clicks within Helen and instead of her usual indolent and fiery disposition, she becomes eager to learn words, name objects and can’t let go of her teacher’s hand! From then on Helen’s ability to communicate effectively & her willingness to learn unleashes her.
Sarah Miller’s delicate style of writing, just flowing on and on in great depth and emotion about the story really touched me. I think it’s remarkable to have captured and jammed together all of Annie’s feelings- from anxiety, to uncontrollable wrath and then affection. This story took place quite sometime ago, and even though Sarah Miller is writing in today's date, I still can sense that it took place in an older time period. There were also flashbacks to Annie’s childhood days, weaved into the story so gracefully that I often didn’t realise the flashbacks.
I love that this book is called, 'Reaching Helen Keller' and not, 'Teaching Helen Keller'. It was what intrigued me when I first noticed this book. But its apt because the book is about Annie’s journey of how she got across to stubborn Helen and actually unlocked her to finally express herself freely.
Overall, I would call this an excellent, worthy and fabulous read and really recommend this book to young adult readers and middle schoolers. A must read before you finish secondary school in any case. I devoured this book with pleasure, reading until my eyes stung. If you are deciding what to read next, this is a definite go-to book.
Sunday, 12 March 2017
This book is called, ‘ANNE OF GREEN GABLES’, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Before I assist Anne in narrating her story (though she would be happy to do it herself), I want to ask you a single question: Have you ever known or faced the woe and bore an orphan experiences? If you have, well, you’ll be able to sympathise with Anne. If you haven’t, remain fortunate and be grateful for everything you have.
Anne Shirley had a thoroughly tedious life before she encountered the Cuthberts. If it hadn’t been for Anne’s sprawling imagination, Heaven knows how she would have survived in the Orphanage. However, after prolonged days of anticipation, Anne finally finds a foster home! Initially, the Cuthberts hadn’t wanted a girl. However, it is only when optimistic Anne arrives, that they start to accept her as family. Once again, it’s her considerate disposition and imagination as fervent as her hair that saves the day! Avonlea, the place where the Green Gables Household is situated, is an adventure! Anne has found her most intimate friend for life in Avonlea, Diana Barry. They attend the local school together, where Gilbert Blythe, a young boy who got off to the wrong start with Anne, struggle to form a friendship. In the end, however, the two realise their feelings for each other. Though trouble always seems to loom on Anne, she never makes the same mistakes twice! (I wish I were like that.) This, along with her impulsive and talkative personality, makes her a joy to be around!
L.M Montgomery! Wherever you are, from beyond this Earth, I hope this message reaches you. Oh, the book was truly wonderful, fantastic! Anne was so riveting and talkative (like me) and her speeches and daily talks took about two whole pages! She was always very descriptive in what she said. The first paragraph of each chapter is simply lovely : L.M Montgomery describes the season in perfect, picturesque terms. Here’s a passage from one of the chapters:
Spring had come once more to Green Gables- the beautiful capricious Canadian spring, lingering along through April and May with a succession of sweet, pink chilly days, with pink sunsets and miracles of resurrection and growth. The maples in Lovers’ Lane were red-budded and little curly ferns pushed up around Dryad’s Bubble. Away up in the barrens, behind Mr. Silas Sloane’s place, the Mayflowers blossomed out, pink and white stars of sweetness under their brown leaves. All the school girls and boys had one golden afternoon gathering them, coming home in the clear, echoing twilight with baskets and arms full of flowery spoil.
Isn’t that just blissful? It’s just so delightful for me, to read such descriptive and touching writing, of scenic views and delicate flowers. And ripe seasons. I also could connect to Anne of Green Gables in other ways. Especially Anne and her personality. For example, when Anne was shivering in the Woods, I was smiling to myself and making a connection to the time I jumped and got startled by every miniature sound in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. In the Daunting Woods, it was Anne. It’s great when you can actually relate something that happened in the book, to something that happened in real life.
And I loved the way Anne talks about her writing. Her writing in the story, is oh so soulful and heartwarming. I feel something in me want to read more, and more, and more! She writes about unbreakable friendships, then hate and bitterness, love, rescuing and many other romantic things. Finally, another thing that is quite helpful to me in this book, and will probably help others too, is the vocabulary and style of writing. I genuinely took a lot out of this book, in description, and speech. I sometimes do look back at Anne of Green Gables for description help (it’s like a ‘Descriptosaurus’! :P). It motivated me to keep my own Little Dictionary around me and add interesting words and phrases to it for later.
If you are looking for a good read and are a middle school reader between the ages of 9-13, I would absolutely recommend this book as your next read. In fact, you absolutely have to read this book. It’s a classic! A must-read in my opinion. The other books in this series are : Anne of Avonlea or Anne’s House of Dreams. I am yet to read these. But if you have read them, tell me what you feel about it!
I would give this book a 10 out of 10 rating!
FIND OUT WHAT I MEAN BY READING ANNE OF GREEN GABLES!
YOU CAN BUY IT HERE ON AMAZON FOR $8.99!
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Sunday, 5 March 2017
This book is called, ‘HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD’, written by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. Unlike what you might expect, it’s only edited by J.K Rowling. It all begins with Harry Potter’s miserable son, Albus, struggling under a colossal family legacy he never desired. Albus and his friend, Scorpius Malfoy, go on a perilous journey back in time to save a man who was killed. His death was deemed unfair, though nothing can really halt Voldemort. Or his daughter for that matter. Can Albus, Scorpius and Harry fight against Voldemort’s manipulative daughter?
Unlike J.K Rowling’s other novels, this one has been written in playscript form. Though it is comparatively agreeable, even interesting to see a different form of writing, I very much preferred the original Harry Potter books. The playscript is fun to read, but I find the more descriptive nature of the books magical. To me, the bliss of reading is in the description. The playscript is a very light read (as I had been warned by an adult, when I first received a copy). Whereas, the actual Harry Potter books, take on much greater depth of characters and emotions.
However, I have to give credit to John Tiffany and Jack Thorne for this book. They have miraculously weaved their own style in and out of the book, leaving utmost suspense in the air in places. We have no hint of who Delphi is, at first. She is in fact, cleverly, portrayed as ever so innocent. However, the way she reacts to everything in the book makes her shrouded in an unsolved mystery. I also admire the way that these two writers were able to co-author this book. Though a light read, the plot is still quite complex : we are thrust in and out of the different scenes, questions being raised ahead, only to be answered in many scenes later.
This book, like so many other in the Harry Potter series, contains more than one, simple genre. Any conversation about Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, will be a long conversation, I assure you. This is a book of revenge, sacrifice, mystery, love and growing up. So many varied genres bundled up in one bestseller!
Overall, I would call this a good read and really recommend this book to all ages. Yes, all ages. It’s not very often that you find books, which are recommended for middle year readers, young adults and adults, so I find it quite remarkable. I would recommend though that if you have never read any of the other books in the Harry Potter series, you should first read a few of them before you read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. There is an assumption that you already know who the characters are, so there is little context given to the characters or the setting. In that sense, even though it is a good read, it only makes sense after you have read some of the earlier books. And if you are a confirmed Harry Potter fan, then this is a MUST read, if only to be ‘in the know’ amongst the Harry Potter Club.
Wednesday, 2 November 2016
This book is called, “THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH”, written by Ali Benjamin. It is a deep story about growing up and forgiving. The main character is Suzy and she doesn’t talk anymore. Not after her best friend, Franny, who was an excellent swimmer drowns while swimming at sea. Suzy assumes that the only possibility for Franny to have drowned was that a deadly jellyfish stung her and she couldn’t fight it any longer. Determined to uncover the mystery of why her best friend died, Suzy goes to great lengths; she researches a few Jellyfish Experts and finds Jamie in Australia. Jamie, inspite of not being in her presence, becomes Suzy’s source of confidence. Suzy then decides to fly away to Australia, where Jamie is, to try and meet him face to face. So, Suzy steals some money from her parents and brother and then makes her way to the airport alone- without adult supervision and without informing her parents. Children are allowed to travel in the States alone if they are twelve and above but Australia is out of the United States of America. Although she is teenaged, she is denied access and starts to cry until her mother and brother arrive. Suzy explains her intentions to the two of them and then apologises about the money. She finally realises that Franny maybe just died and she’ll have to give her up. Suzy starts to talk again and all is well.
My Feelings and Thoughts about This Book:
- This story was very visceral. Everything seemed so realistic and it seemed like I was Suzy, getting hurt so badly by a friend but determined to try and uncover what killed her. It talks about the pain of giving up and having to let go of something and somewhere inside, I was touched.
- I actually cried reading this book. There were little diary entries dating back in time to when Franny and Suzy were ultimate best friends and then the diary entries started to show the time when Suzy and Franny grow apart from each other and become frenemies. On one occasion, Franny was so mean to Suzy that she even spat on her! I cried a bit that time. This is quite a big thing since I’ve hardly ever cried over a book before.
- At first, after reading the blurb to know what this fantastic story would be about, I thought that since it’s a mystery story and the blurb focused on trying to solve the mystery, it would be in third person. But, I was so wrong. This book, despite the fact that the main plot was to try and discover what killed Franny, is about growing up and letting go. So, Suzy has written this herself in first person.
I WOULD GIVE THIS BOOK A 8 OUT OF 10 RATING!
FIND OUT WHAT I MEAN BY READING THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH!
YOU CAN BUY IT HERE ON AMAZON FOR $9.79!
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This book is called, ‘HOOT’ written by Carl Hiassen. It is a touching story about saving owls and fighting for what you believe in. The main characters are Roy, Beatrice and Mullet Fingers (Napoleon Bridge Leap). Roy is a teenaged boy who is bullied by the big, Dana Matherson. One day, he sees a boy running as fast as the wind. He is intrigued and determined to find out where that boy was running to and why. But then, the next day, Beatrice ( a teenaged girl) steps in to tell Roy to mind his own business. She does this because she wants to protect her step-brother from getting found out and put in an orphanage. But, Roy doesn’t stop his investigations and soon uncovers the mystery of Mullet Fingers’ (Beatrice’s name for him) mysteriousness. He wants to help the owls. He gets snakes, to feed the owls. Finally, Beatrice, Mullet Fingers and Roy agree to work together to save the owls from getting completely destroyed. They will get destroyed because the Mother Paula Pancake House are creating a new branch in Coconut Cove. These are one of the places where owls burrow. So, Mullet Fingers tries to annoy and scare the Mother Paula Company off by spray painting the Police Squad Car with black paint, putting alligators in the Truck’s Toilet Bowl and many more tricks. Beatrice and Roy are fearless. They try their best to scare of the dangerous dogs, beastly people and delay the Construction. At the Opening Ceremony for the All-American-Pancake-House, Roy and Beatrice bring along friends and many posters. Everyone protests for the Pancake House to be torn down since the company has no authority to bury the owls. And, thanks to Roy and his researching skills, we got to know that Florida is possessive about their birds and protects them. Even the actress playing Mother Paula, Kimberly Lou Dixon, is against this. ‘I don’t wanna work for a company who would bury helpless owls just to sell a few Flapjacks.’ The owls are saved and all is well. Mullet Fingers or Napoleon Bridge Leep is on the run again.
What I Feel about This Book:
- I think this book was a very powerful book. It left a big impression and mark on me. In the days after finishing the book, I used to smile and nod to myself when I came across a bird in school. I felt more passionate about taking care of these helpless creatures who rely on us for food and shelter. And when we are as cruel as the Mother Paula Company, these birds can’t carry on. They will need homes, which are about to get buried. They need food which is normally found on the ground and in trees, which is going to get broken down to build the Pancake House.
- I could relate to this book and some of the big incidents because in one of the adventures I’ve had in my own life, I’ve made a handmade bird nest with my friend; also, a few of my other friends have spotted a bird who was hurt and tried to help it recover.
- Roy’s family and Beatrice’s family is different in many ways. Firstly, Roy’s family is much more enthusiastic and supportive of Roy in what he feels is good. Of course, they do question him but then they finally see the good meaning in it. Whereas in Beatrice’s family, they wouldn’t even care what their daughter and stepdaughter did. Roy’s family interacts with Roy and the parents get along well but Beatrice’s stepmother is always fighting with her father because she has bought a lot with his credit card.
- Mullet Fingers vandalized the construction site and the Detective’s Squad car. He wasn’t justified in doing this because he has absolutely no right to take the law into his own hands. However, he was right on one hand since Mother Paula’s hadn’t the authority to bury helpless owls. In the end, Mullet Fingers managed to show many people how owls were getting hurt and how Mother Paula’s new branch would bury these owls. He even showed Kimberly Lou-Dixon (Mother Paula) who didn’t know about this terrifying process that the company would bury owls.
- I like how Mullet Fingers earned his nickname from his stepsister: it was because of his ability to catch a mullet fish with his bare hands (and fingers). It made me think that since I have a passion to write stories and often have flashes of ideas, my nickname might be: Story Lightning! Or, since I like testing the pH of the water, I might be called: Hydrogen Tester! What would yours be?
I WOULD GIVE THIS BOOK A 9.5 OUT OF 10 RATING!
FIND OUT WHAT I MEAN BY READING HOOT!
YOU CAN BUY IT HERE ON AMAZON FOR $6.00!
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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
This book is called ‘HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE’. It is written by J.K. Rowling . It’s about a boy named Harry Potter who has to live with his horrible relatives because his parents were killed by a Wizard. Yes. A Wizard. Now young Harry is actually a Wizard himself, but doesn’t know it because his relatives treat him even worse than a human. Petunia and Vernon (Harry’s Aunt and Uncle) are trying to keep this secret from Harry and their son because they don’t want anybody to know about their relationship with the Potters. But when mysterious letters start dropping and a big hairy man comes and looks for Harry, it’s going to be almost impossible to keep the secret. The big hairy man’s name is Hagrid. Despite the fact that Pertunia and Vernon have moved thrice to get away from the letters, Hagrid reaches them and manages to get a letter to them. He is the Keeper of the Keys in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Finally, Petunia and Vernon let Harry go with Hagrid to Hogwarts for a year and Harry makes some incredible new friends; Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are two of his new best friends. Hermione is a very clever girl although her parents are Muggles (not wizards or witches). Ron is quite silly but sometimes makes great conclusions and adds a lot to the story. Together, they solve the mystery of the Philosophers stone and Harry meets his dreaded enemy- Voldemort. (Yes, I actually said his name.) In the end, Harry manages to destroy the Philosopher’s Stone. But, the story doesn’t end there... You’ve got to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to know what happens next.
I LOVE the Harry Potter Series and am a HUGE fan. So instead of sharing what I like (which is everything), I want to share some interesting details and facts today :
Did you know this about Harry Potter? :
· That JK Rowling included King's Cross Station in her stories because her parents met there for the first time.
· That she described the Euston station (instead of the actual Kings Cross Station) in the book.
· That she made Harry Potter an orphan because her mum died at the time she was writing it so she wanted to make the readers feel the sorrow she was experiencing.
· That there is a Harry Potter Studio in Leavesden near London? I have been there and loved it. It is a giant, lovely place with lots of halls, corridors and the real movie sets. At the Entrance, you can see the flying car from the ceiling and you can see Harry's room under the stairs! I bought Hermione's wand but mum says that the only magic it did was make '25 pounds disappear' :) There is also a Harry Potter Walk in London I highly recommend for any Harry Potter fan.
· That there are 2 titles for this book: one book is called Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and one is called Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. Well, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone is JK Rowling’s true writing, with hardly any edits; but Sorcerers Stone has been edited by someone a lot so they changed the title to mark the difference.
I WOULD RATE THIS BOOK 10 OUT OF 10!
FIND OUT WHAT I MEAN BY READING HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE!
YOU CAN BUY IT HERE ON AMAZON FOR $6.74!
YOU CAN BUY IT HERE ON GUARDIAN BOOKSHOP FOR £20.50!