Book Review — I Capture The Castle

Yes, a book review post at long last! Hurrah!

Disclaimer: This is a young adult book, which might or might not be your cup of tea, so read the pot at your own discretion. It’ll make me happy if you read it though. :3

In one of my earlier posts, I lamented that I had to study Corporate Law instead of reading I Capture the Castle. Not easily deterred by the pile of work I have, however, I managed to procure the book and finished reading it. And I’m glad I did.

I first heard of this book in Jacqueline Wilson‘s My Secret Diary, which is an autobiography of her teenage years. I read it years ago, of course, but I still have vivid memories of her speaking of this book and wanting to read it. For some reason though, I assumed it’s out of print like Noel Streatfeild‘s books apparently are.

GUYS GUYS GUYS THIS IS FIVE MINUTES LATER AND I HAVE BEEN MINDBLOWN! There are paperback reprints of Noel Streatfeild’s books on and they’re affordable too! Wow, I never loved online book shopping more than I do at this moment! 

I found that out when I did a Google search to link you guys to her.

Yes, to get back to the point, I assumed that book was out of print, BUT IT WASN’T! Dun dun dush! And the rest is history! Well, not really. Not yet, anyway.

One thing I discovered as soon as I opened the book is that the author of this book, Dodie Smith also wrote 101 Dalmatians! My first thought: “Wow, that’s a book?” I know, I know, I’m awful, and have been living under a rock or something, but there it is.

Okay, let’s finally get to the book.

I am somewhat biased towards this book because I’m inclined to like books that are in a “diary” format for some reason. It started, of course, with Anne Frank, but it’s also true for L.M. Montgomery‘s less known Emily series, particularly Emily Climbs. My favourite Jacqueline Wilson book was also Secrets for this very reason. (Although Midnight was a close second)

Naturally, I loved it.

Aside from being somebody’s journal, it’s also beautifully written. The story is interesting and it’s set against the charming backdrop of a crumbling castle and it captures the innocence of childhood perfectly, even though, or perhaps because, it’s done through the eyes of a somewhat precocious teenager.

When I read stories of teenagers who are completely unaware of their charms, or who are completely unaware of the attention they are receiving, it irritates me. I think, “Really? It never once occurred to you?” I feel like it’s something that’s put on to seem modest or unassuming. I often wonder if I’m absurdly over-analytic or if everyone else is as good as I am as feigning ignorance of things they aren’t supposed to know. Good God, I’m digressing again.

My point is, (Yes, I had one) it’s refreshing to have the uncertainty and confusion that comes with being a teenager shown more than forced childishness.

I really adore Cassandra. We could have been friends.

I also felt like the ending was true to life, and achingly simple and beautiful.

More than anything else, I love the title. Being able to capture something in words is every writer’s dream and it’s a utopian ideal that I can’t stop aspiring towards, and it’s heartening to know that Cassandra can’t stop either. Hats off to the author though, for managing to do a great job of it.

Yes, most of my love of this book stems from the writing aspect, which forms a major part of this book, but the other parts about familial worries, love, jealousy, are all also themes which have been ingeniously depicted in this book.

It’s a multi-layered and beautiful YA book which every teenager and 20-something should read. It’s entirely charming and i definitely recommend it to everybody.

Just to make sure I wasn’t biased, I made a friend without literary ambitions read it. She affirms that it’s a lovely book. So there!

Do you guys have any books that you read far too late and still loved? Any beloved books of childhood that you rediscovered recently? Any young adult books that you think I absolutely must read? Let me know.

P.S: To clarify, this isn’t the only book I’ve read recently. To know what I’ve been reading, add me on Goodreads. I’ve begun to document my reading quite religiously on there. To know what I thought of the books I read… Well, that’s a bit more complicated. But I am trying hard to get back into the reviewing groove. Promise.




Summer Reading Suggestions!

Well, my summer is officially over and I’m still struggling to stop reading and start studying. I’m trying. Promise.

But, for those of you lucky bugs who are on their summer break, or those of you who have taken the year off(*coughtanyacough*), here are some very interesting suggestions that i came across while “doing research” for a project. Ahem. Yes. Don’t look at me like that!

There are a few books on the list that I want to read. I hate my life. Why must I study Corporate law when I could be reading I Capture The Castle?

Anyway, here’s the image of the list. It’s extremely well-organized. 🙂 Enjoy. 🙂

Summer Reading List

Profession of Faith and Shameful Confessions

Reading is my religion. It’s true. I’m absolutely devoted to it, it’s on my mind all the time, and I have a fanatic hatred of all other religions and an equally fanatic need to convert all non-readers. You see?

However, after the past three months, I’m going to go to reader hell.  I’m a terrible blogger, always have been. I’ve begun and abandoned countless blogs without any sense of shame whatsoever. What shames me about these past three months is how terrible a reader I’ve been. I barely read, and when I did, it was chick-lit. Chick-lit! I was depressed after a semester than was epic in its awfulness, and I slept a lot and walked around like a zombie on cold medication. I am not going to count the books I read during this period because frankly, they were appalling. It’s also because I got nothing from them except “DON’T be a lawyer. It’s an awful life.”(Undomestic Goddess), “Family screws you over, and so do friends: only your dead ancestors will always be there for you.”(Twenties Girl) and “Be an irresponsible kook or that super-mature hot guy won’t notice you and fall for you.”(Some Shopaholic thingy-I can’t tell them apart, really.)

It all started with a fateful day in mid-February where a little adventure left me with a torn ligament in the ankle and some type of brain damage as well, it would seem. My brain has been hazy and buzzing annoyingly ever since and it’s only just beginning to clear.

I will summarize my activities in these three months as well as my hazy, doped memories let me. (I must clarify at this point, that “doped” only refers to a state of mind and did not involve any sort of consumption of narcotics or other controlled substances. I promise, mommy. )

(I read Making History by Stephen Fry in January by the way. I’m yet to review that. I must state right now, in case I die an untimely death and my God and other fellow readers in reader hell hold it against me forever that I didn’t give this book a well-deserved testimony.IT WAS BRILLIANT. Completely hilarious.)

I read one decent book called Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples. It made me think further about converting to Islam. I have been toying with the idea for some time. Yes, this is despite not having a Muslim boyfriend. ( It was an accurate picture of the pitiable state of Afghanistan and Pakistan and their people due to the Taliban. (A poignant subject decently portrayed.) There wasn’t much character development though, and all the people seem to just be metaphors of the struggling populace and not characters unto themselves. I don’t know if you know what I mean. Also, the ending was meant to be touching but it mostly just alarmed me.

While we’re on the topic, I also read Kite Runner, which made me hate, detest, love and pity the protagonist, all at once. I liked Hassan too. The Taliban are only in the backdrop of the main story but you can still feel their shudder-inducing presence. It didn’t make me cry as much as A Thousand Splendid Suns but I did. I cried. It doesn’t hurt you as much but it does and it makes you think of a lot of things. There are so many things to take away from this book. Read it.

I read The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. It’s a lovely book, albeit with a disturbing portrayal of paedophilia. I really liked it. You won’t regret reading it. The protagonist reminded me of a friend of mine for a few reasons. I won’t name her. Also, I want to be a lawyer attending trials like the ones in the book. It would torture me, but I still want to.

I started and didn’t finish Name of the Rose but I will get back to it. I went on a near-psychotic Enid Blyton re-reading phase. I finished about 30 of those in 3 days. Then I started by chick-lit spree, like I said, and I read about 20 of those. Following that, I read Memory Keeper’s Daughter which couldn’t hold a torch to Kim Edwards’ other book, Lake of Dreams, which is pretty decent. It basically put together a bunch of the most irrational characters and made a story about their irrationality.

Then I reread a lot. My brain just stopped working. My exam results, when they come out, will vouch for me on this.

Then I came home after my semester ended. I didn’t read some more. I went out and bought a bunch of books anyway, because, hey! I’m cool like that! I firmly believe that the purchase of books is a distinct activity with therapeutic qualities and is entirely unconnected to the actual reading of those books. That’s another fun thing that can be done with books. The list is as follows.

  1. Gazing at bookshelves
  2. Smelling new books
  3. Buying new books
  4. Imagining being a character in a book
  5. Actually reading
  6. Talking about good books
  7. Bitching about the movies based on the books
  8. Adding books to a long wish list
  9. Going on websites about the authors
  10. And of course, blogging about the books

I began to read Dracula but it irritated me. I read two new Wodehouse books, which I swear by as anti-depressants even though a certain close friend of mine appears to abhor him.(-Coughladybugcough-) They were Galahad at Blandings and Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin. I didn’t like the second one too much.

Then, I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. What a book! I really loved it. It’s a guide on writing and so funny and clever and honest. I don’t know if I would read her other books, though. I think not. They seem to target specific audiences and would only appeal to that particular sub-group. Well, so does this one, I suppose, but I happen to be a member of this particular audience. Well, I’m glad that I am, because I would have missed out on some of that charm, otherwise, and that would honestly have been an absolute shame. It’s different from the other books I love because it de-hodgepodged my jelly brain and I loved it anyway. Look, it’s gotten me writing already and I only read it yesterday!

I am now reading Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Wish me luck, okay? Let’s hope I stick with it.

I feel like I’m missing out on things. If my PTSD-fied brain permits, I will tell you more as I remember.