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 flipkart.com 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.

Cheers

 

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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

Being a Book Reviewer with Reviews Conspicuously Absent

I am astonished at myself. I created this blog to review books, nothing more and nothing less. Yet, over the past few weeks I’m surprisingly finding it increasingly difficult to review the books I read. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, I’ve been increasingly reading books of a genre that escapes description due to its sheer complexity. It’s like, when someone asks me what the book is about, I say, “It’s about this man, and he does things, I guess…” I feel like it isn’t what the book is about that makes it so fantastic, but the way it’s been narrated and put together. Take High Fidelity, for example;  it’s about a 35-year-old record store owner who splits up with his long-term girlfriend. I told my friend this and she asked me why I’m reading such depressing books! But the book isn’t  depressing at all, it’s funny and clever and gripping with such simple yet wonderful insights that one can’t help loving it. It’s just so…real. And the music! I want to listen to every single song mentioned in this book. And it made me feel like signing up for singing lessons despite having sub-zero musical talent. I don ‘t know why. I was just so excited about music and everything to do with it after reading it.  How would I review it, though? I don’t know! Is it about relationships? Is it about music? Does it teach any valuable life lessons? The answer is both yes and no to all these questions. It just tells a story, and does it well. The rest is up to the reader.

Also, I am against spoilers.  I can’t do a review if it gives the plot away. So I usually make up for it by simply describing how a book made me feel, and this works pretty well for me.  Except, most of the books I’ve been reading have given me the same feeling of excitement and exhilaration; a feeling of something having changed within me after reading the book and a deep desire to keep writing myself. This is great for me, of course, but it’s absurd for my reviews because people would think I’ve gone nuts if I wrote this in every review I write. It would also become a tad repetitive. I don’t know the reason for this. It might have to do with the authors I’m reading or it might have to do with the fact that I’ve begun to read again after nearly a year and I’m particularly thrilled by this. The book review part of my blog (the supposed main part) is suffering greatly as a result.

On the other hand, I’ve been itching to write and I’ve been going around confessing personal things on my blog, which is completely uncharacteristic of me. Surprisingly, people have found this interesting and I’ve gotten a lot of appreciative comments from friends, family and family of friends, as well as strangers. I’ve also gotten a number of followers which is immensely surprising to me, because I was convinced, and still am  a little, that blogging is the equivalent of setting letters in a bottle into the ocean.  I’m immensely grateful to all my followers and the little orange plus on the right of the webpage, which sends a little shiver of glee through me every time. I’m not sure but I think that’s what inspiration feels like. 🙂

Keep reading and writing everyone, it makes being alive feel like a worthy endeavour. 🙂 Cheers.

Certified Plane-Read #2! 11th May

This is a highly belated and overdue award that goes to Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami!!! 

Those of you who haven’t tried Murakami, this is a good book to start with because it will definitely reel you in.

Those of you who already like Murakami, OhMyGOD buyit readit trustme. Ahhhhhhh! This was one of those books where I was left feverishly turning pages and  and was constantly tempted to turn to the last page to know what happens. A couple of times, I put the book down and panted like I had been running because I was overwhelmed.

It’s fast-paced and fascinating. As always, the story is a little outlandish and as always, it left me wondering: How does he THINK of these things? It’s perfect for them longish plane rides.

Congratulations, Mr Murakami, for this high honour. 😀

Cheers.