richard brinsley sheridan

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Posts I Think Give You The Best Glimpse of ME

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created & hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s Top 10 is all about us, the bloggers. It’s about posts that showcase our true self, posts we would want people to read if they want to get to know us better, posts that we are proud of and posts that are close to our heart.

1. Happy Birthday Agatha Christie!: Agatha Christie is undoubtedly my favourtie mystery writer. Last year I did a post  celebrating her 121st birthday. What would have the world been like if she had never been born? For me, imagining a world without Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Parker Pyne, Mr.  Quin is impossible!

2. For the Love of Short Stories: Short stories are not popular with everyone. I for one love them! For me it takes considerable skill on the part of a writer to convey emotions that require a whole book to play through in just a few short pages. So, I did an entire post in praise of short stories.

3. What’s Your Literary Wall of Shame?: Every reader has books they want to read, books they are ashamed to admit they haven’t read yet. I opened up about my literary wall of shame and strangely had fun doing it!

4. Dickens and Collins: 7th February 2012 was the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens. To mark the occasion I participated in  Charles Dickens Month and made Dickens related posts all month long. My favourite from these posts was a post called Dickens and Collins, contemporaries, friends and two of my favourite Victorian authors.

5. My Welcome Home posts: In these posts I discuss books that I’ve brought home. I’m a cautious book buyer. Most books that I read are borrowed from libraries and other sources. So, any book that makes my home its home is special to me. Among these posts one of my favourites is my Welcome Home post featuring books of September & October 2011. It contained some of my personal thoughts on reading and the idea of ‘fun’. It is a post that is close to my heart.

6. A Bookish Inheritance: The love of books runs in my family but only on one side. I did a post on this called A Bookish Inheritance which remains one of the very few personal posts I did in this blog.

7. London Lavender: I really love it when I don’t expect anything from a book but the book totally surprised me by becoming a favourite. London Lavender was one such a book. I loved reading it and reviewing it!

8. Girl in Hyacinth Blue: I normally don’t read books I don’t know anything about. I’m also not much of a fan of contemporary books. I picked up Girl in Hyacinth Blue rather reluctantly but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise!

9. The School for Scandal and Other Plays: I had never even heard of Sheridan when I chanced upon a collection of his plays and it took me less than an hour into the book to realize that I had found one of my all time favourite playwrights in him.

10. About Me: And of course the About page of my blog. It is not much but it does give everyone a pretty basic idea about me and what this blog is about.

Booking Through Thursday : Thankful

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

“What book or author are you most thankful to have discovered?
Have you read everything they’ve written? Reread them?
Why do you appreciate them so much?

There are quite a few authors I am thankful to have discovered. This year I discovered Cyril Hare, thanks to fellow mystery reader Bev. My year end discovery of Bill Bryson is turning out to be a good one.

I am thankful for discovering all of my favourite authors. I am thankful for Douglas Adams, Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, John le Carré, Thomas Love Peacock, Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Bram Stoker.

But above all I am thankful for discovering Agatha Christie and Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens was a prolific writer. I haven’t read even a fraction of his works. But I am determined to get there. I have read most of Agatha Christie’s books, all of the Miss Marple mysteries, most of the Poirot books and her plays. Some non-series works and a few Poirot books are left.

A writer becomes my favourite only if I re-read their books. So, of course I have re-read both Dickens and Christie’s works many times.

The reason behind my appreciation for them is that both Dickens and Christie have opened up new worlds for me, they introduced me to genres that I would grow to love. Without Dickens where would my love for the Classics especially Victorian literature be? And without Christie, I wouldn’t know what a vast world of Cosy Mysteries exists out there.

Looking at my answer, I realize I have plenty to be thankful for. Life’s not too bad when you’ve got books to keep you company.

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a bookish meme hosted by Freda’s Voice.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link up at Freda’s site

Today’s sentence comes from the play The Rivals from the collection The School for Scandal and Other Plays by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

DAVID: Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.”

Five Best Books: Genre Reads

In this week’s 5 Best Books we are asked to list our Five Best Books: Genre Reads.

As everyone pretty much knows my favourite genre is mystery, more precisely Golden Age cosy mysteries. I am also rather fond of reading classics. I am very much tempted to do a mystery or a classic top 5 but have decided against it. Seriously, how many more lists can I make with Pride and Prejudice topping the list and Cards on the Table popping up here and there?

Instead I would like to do a list on another one of my favourite genres, plays. Not many people like reading plays. They find all the dialogue going back and forth to be too distracting.  I know of only three people, besides me, who like reading plays! So here’s to a frequently neglected genre that deserves more appreciation from the readers,

1.  L’Avare (The Miser) by Jean-Baptiste Molière– 

L’Avare (The Miser) is a satire written in 1668 by French playwright Jean Baptiste Molière. It was first performed in 1668, in which Molière played the central role of the miser himself.

The first time I read it, I started off intending to read only a few pages. But I ended up reading the whole thing in just two hours. It is so quirky and funny and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

2.  Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller– 

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller premiered in 1949 at the Morosco Theatre, New York City. The original production was directed by Elia Kazan and ran for 742 performances. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play in 1949.

I was and still am greatly impressed by how as the state of Willy Loman’s mind deteriorates the line between the past and present fades away. Towards the end the past and present begin to coincide with one another. This is not a happy play but still it remains a favourite because of Arthur Miller’s incredible writing and strongly portrayed characters.

3.  The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan– 

Sheridan’s first and arguably most famous play, The Rivals, was first staged in 1775. The play was an utter failure on its first night. Undaunted by this calamity Sheridan radically re-wrote and re-cast the play. The play’s second performance was a hit with the public and made the young writer an instant success.

I still laugh at the same jokes even after many re-reads. I particularly like the scenes leading up to the proposed duel between Jack Absolute, Bob Acres, Faulkland and Sir Lucius O’Trigger. Bob’s and his servant David’s nervousness about the duel is hilarious!

4.  The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde– 

The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, first performed in 1895 at London.

The Importance of Being Earnest is my favourite play written by Wilde. The dialogues are so witty that I cannot read even two pages without finding something funny and laughing out loud. An unbelievably crazy and highly quotable play.

5.  Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw– 

Mrs. Warren’s Profession was a highly controversial play. It was banned by the Lord Chamberlain’s office on grounds of ‘glorifying’ prostitution. It was first performed at London’s New Lyric Club, a private club performance for members only and so in no need of censorship. In 1905 the whole crew and cast giving a public performance of it in New York City were arrested.

Interestingly, the play never mentions what Mrs. Warren’s profession actually is. We are able to draw inferences about it from the way the other characters of the play react to her and when she herself recalls the story of her youth. The Victorian society declined to acknowledge that such people (people like Mrs. Warren and her patron Sir George Crofts) exist. Even if they do such women were not to be discussed in public.

The atmosphere of the play is charged with intensity. Frank Gardner’s behaviour with Mrs. Warren and his relationship with her daughter Vivie and Sir Crofts’ attitude towards both of the Warren women are fascinating to watch.

I wouldn’t call this a light, entertaining play that one can read often. But I just find it to be a very interesting piece of literature.

Five Best Books: Re-reads

In this week’s 5 Best Books we are asked to list our Five Best Books: Re-reads. I love to re-read. Many authors I consider to be my favourites are based on of how many times I have re-read their books. All of the authors of this week’s top 5 are my favourite authors. Agatha Christie could have featured as a top 10 all by herself but I have restricted myself to only two of her books, one from Miss Marple and the other from Hercule Poirot. So without much further ado, here are my top 5 Re-reads.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I first read Pride and Prejudice at 11-12 years of age. Ever since then it has been re-read many, many times. Nothing, of course, can match the thrill of the first read but this book never fails to capture my interest. Even though I know how it ends, I still fell anxious about the predicaments of Elizabeth and Darcy. My copy of Pride and Prejudice was a wedding gift for my mom at her wedding nearly 25 years ago. It is falling apart due to its age, the many re-reads do not help either. Time I got my own copy, I guess.

2.  Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie – Even though, I am a Miss Marple fan, for some reason Cards on the Table is the Agatha Christie book I have read the most number of times. The gripping plot is the main reason behind it but all the recurring characters is also a big attraction for me. This book features the most recurring characters of any Agatha Christie book that I have ever read. Colonel Race, Superintendent Battle, Ariadne Oliver, just to name a few. As a ‘bona fide’ Agatha Christie fan that is nothing less than a feast for the mystery hungry soul!

3.  Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie – This is by far one of the best Miss Marple novels ever written. For those who have never read any of Agatha Christie’s works this is a fine place to start. Each re-read feels like the first time to me. The atmosphere of the book and the twisted nature of the main plot, never fails to creep me out. The freshness of the story never dims. One of my all time favourite comfort reads!

4.   Dracula by Bram Stoker  How can a book that I have read and re-read so many times still fill me with so much fear and dread? I know the book almost by heart now. But Jonathan Harker’s experiences in the Castle Dracula, the count’s arrival in England, his encounter with Lucy and her mother, the Count’s evil presence at the asylum, it all still manages to scare me and I’m not a person who’s easily scared. A book worth every re-read it gets.

5. The School for Scandal and Other Plays by Richard Brinsley Sheridan – The School for Scandal and Other Plays is a collection of five of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s most famous plays, The RivalsThe Duenna,  A Trip to ScarboroughThe School for Scandal and The Critic. Every writer has at least one or two duds, in my opinion. But Sheridan’s plays rarely fail to entertain me. As a result, The School for Scandal and Other Plays remains one of my eternally favourite books. Even after several re-reads I still laugh at the same jokes. This one never really grows old for me.