A BOOK REVIEWER’S Prayer + Promise + Warning.

YOU MUST NOT READ MY REVIEWS for I will let my heart judge the words, without any inhibitions.

When I am holding a book, my mind is no longer the master. For it is my belief that once you let too much reason in, it muddies the effect the story has on you on a much deeper level. 

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Having read a book, I will jump straight into the review with emotions hanging over my head like a sword, threatening to destroy me lest I pour them out on the paper. It pains me to not be able to talk about what I read right away so I will always be very passionate and most insistent while talking about the merits and the faults of a story.

I will not be led by anything other than what my feelings dictate.

There will not be one shred of dishonesty in what I write. Everything will be in strict accordance with the feelings invoked and the thoughts reflected upon during the course of the reading. So you can imagine that it will, sometimes, prove to be a daunting read. And I am okay with that.

When the reader is wholly invested, in a book nothing but a true account of every movement of their mind, owing to the story, will ever give them satisfaction. So that’s what I do. My reviews are much too intense and hold true to only what I thought about the book, not influenced by anyone or anything else. In that way, they will be brutal, and forgiving accordingly.

You must not be in a delusion that you will be told a detailed account of what happened with whom, who did what, and how it all ended for them. No. The only things you will find in my reviews are what moved me, what incited feelings of passionate hate or ardent love, of ignorance and indifference or that of continuous awe. That’s all I can offer you by the medium of my humble writings.

But frankly, why would you want to know anything else anyway?

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Isn’t the real reason why we read book reviews to know what the reader FELT about it? Not what happened, but their REACTIONS to the said events? THAT’S the beauty of every single review out there, isn’t it? Their singularity, their originality.

You must not read my reviews for they will be an honest account of my shattering heart and all the reasons behind it.

They will be raw, overflowing with emotions, and you might then be inclined to suppose that I am blind to the faults of the book. I am not but to think so is your choice.

You must not read my reviews because then, you will HAVE to read the book concerned with as much an open heart and suspended belief as I did, to experience, IN IT’S FULLNESS, the story those pages hold.

YOU MUST NOT READ MY REVIEWS IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO DO THAT.
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Such are my thoughts on review writing, how they should be and why a reviewer must NEVER be forced to do otherwise. Doing justice to a book, according to our opinions on it, is all we are required to do and THAT’S ALL WE WILL DO.

EVER.

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[A BLOGGER’S LIFE] A RAT RACE // Surviving in a World Where EVERYONE Wants to be THE BEST//

I don’t remember the last time I felt pure joy while reading a beautifully written blog post. I sure felt enchanted BUT my heart was impaired, just a little bit. With a hint of envy.

How are they writing such gorgeous things?

Why can’t I too?

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Such were the background thoughts that kept me troubled. And the sad thing is that I lost the chance of learning a thing or two from those amazing writers because I was too invested in my jealousy, that awful feeling clutching my mind in its trap – making me feel like I was doing something wrong.

The blogging world is as harsh as it is friendly. Sure you will find some awesome people here, writing beautiful things but you will also feel your heart getting corrupt as you will grudge them their talent. And then, you will try twice as hard to reach their level.

Now imagine that there are hundreds of bloggers going through this exact same process, thinking the exact same thoughts, taking the exact same steps. 

EVERYONE is in the race to become perfect. Doing their best. And then some. To reach the top.

When this realization strikes your mind, you become ruthless in your efforts, not even stopping to take notice of what you are missing out of in the process. 

My view, however, is a bit different now.

I like to imagine the world to be much more generous. I believe that THAT PEDESTAL AT THE TOP is wide enough for all of us to stand together and enjoy that unparalleled feeling of accomplishment.

And as far as I have seen, that’s the only way to surviveIf you start getting too competitive and forget to be kind, then you trample the dreams of others and trust me, building your own castles on the graveyard of someone else’s hopes and wishes is no way to live grandly. You will not be happy because there will always be a sneaking fear that someone might come from behind and knock you off. 

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But if instead of being nasty, you lend a helping hand to your fellow bloggers and friends, provide them with resources and advise them on the things that might help THEIR blog grow as well, then it won’t just be beneficial for them but for you as well.

No man is an island.

Together is the only way forward. We grow by helping others. And the road to success is wide enough to accommodate everyone. Then why not make some friends, help them grow and enjoy the trip?

Why make becoming successful a  tedious task when it can be so much fun instead?

Don’t you adore that feeling when someone you generously helped succeeds in their endeavor? The fact that you contributed to their success makes you feel lovely, doesn’t it? So why not support all those wonderful blogs – help them instead of being envious?  It doesn’t cost you anything. And it CERTAINLY WON’T AFFECT YOUR OWN SUCCESS! It will, however, add a hundred times to your personal satisfaction. DONT YOU WANT THAT? Don’t you want to feel lovely? Generous? Kind? Good? Beautiful? 

We are drowning in our dream of BEING THE BEST. The water is soo far up our heads that it has made our thinking all fuzzy. We have forgotten the very simple fact –

“THE BEST” isn’t a title that can only be awarded to one person. Hell, EVERYONE CAN BE THE BEST! And it’s when all of us are helping each other realize each other’s dreams that we become THE BEST VERSION OF OURSELVES.

Every single of us is trying our hardest to succeed, feeling exhilarated that we finally made it, but if we reach there with a rope made of twisted and broken dreams, our excitement will be short-lived because believe it or not, even at the top of the world, you need someone to share the view with you otherwise it’s just a hollow accomplishment.

You’ll soon become lonely and ultimately lose the passion that kept the flame burning because the reason behind that passion was a corrupt one – ENVY AND A DESIRE TO OVERTAKE SOMEONE ELSE’S SUCCESS. Such a hunger eventually subsides, leaving you aimless and devoid of hope.

Why condemn yourself to go through that?

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] A Beautiful, Little Fool// Zelda’s letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald//

“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”

The Great Gatsby is one of those stories that never leave my heart. I might not always be aware but it always stays in the background. I can hear the slow and tragic music in the depth of my being – clear and inviting.

And while reading Zelda Fitzgerald’s letters to her husband I couldn’t help but imagine her as much of a fool in love as was Gatsby.

Continue reading “[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] A Beautiful, Little Fool// Zelda’s letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald//”

[A READER’S LIFE] Confessions of a VERY picky, VERY moody, VERY stubborn reader.

Reading is a habit I formed very early in life. One of the very first books I read was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. That kid irked me in the beginning, to be honest. I only had the abridged version of the book and since I read it a very long time ago, I have forgotten most of what happens with him but there is ONE THING I DO REMEMBER and I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY:

”Tom”
No answer.
”Tom.”
No answer

And then Aunt Polly just loses it!

Continue reading “[A READER’S LIFE] Confessions of a VERY picky, VERY moody, VERY stubborn reader.”

[AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE] Some of MY FAVORITE POSTS!!

I know its been a while since I did one of these and I was actually thinking of starting to do this once a week but that’s JUST NOT POSSIBLE with everything else that has been going on these days! 

So I have decided to do my AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE twice a month instead. ❤

Without further ado, I present to you some of the best posts from some of my favorite blogs!!

[WARNING: This is going to be a loongg list! WHAT CAN I SAYYY??!! I LOVE TOO MANY BLOGSSS!!]

giphy-5 Continue reading “[AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE] Some of MY FAVORITE POSTS!!”

[RE-READING] A Tale as Old as Time – THE BEAUTY and THE BEAST

It was a dark and stormy night.

The ground seemed to shake with an unnatural aversion towards the living. I was at my grandparents’ house for the day. Mumma wanted to go to a book fair and it was really far from where we lived so they decided to make a trip of it and left me with grandpa and grandma. I was 9. I don’t remember much of that night except two thingsthe gods seemed angry, and I wanted to go home. 

Sitting by the little window in my room, I saw as the lightning struck the heavens again and again as if desiring to break it open. I remember imagining angels flying out; I remember imagining my dragon in our backyard, protecting us from it all. 

There was a war in my head –

angels against demons,
light against dark,
thunder against peace,

BEAUTY AGAINST BEAST.

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I was on the dragon’s back now, flying up up up, rain on my face, and my insides in a knot. My head was rested against the dragon’s nape, clutching him as tightly as I could, putting all my faith in him. I knew he won’t let me down. 

And he didn’t.

The next morning, it was sunny again. All the flowers seemed to be blooming with a renewed happiness, swaying side by side in celebration. And I knew we had won the war. 

In the drawing-room were my parents, waiting for me. The house smelled of stories and I when looked around, they were all around me. Mumma had brought me so many books from the fair. Each one was more beautiful than the other. They came with a promise of adventure and I was excited to start my next one. And my mother handed me the most beautiful book I had ever held in my hands – written on its cover in gold was,

THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

I remember being intrigued by the title. And as I let it swirl around in my mind, I was transported back to my dragon’s back. We had had so many adventures together, you see. He was my first best friend. He still is. 

I remember excusing myself and going back to my room and getting lost in this enchanting tale of love and redemptiona tale as old as time.

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BEAUTY.

The youngest of twelve siblings.

She is the heart of this story. And I remember how much I wanted to be like her. Even today, re-reading this beautiful story, I was struck by how much I still want to be her, to have her patience, firmness of character, her strength of mind. 

”She was a perfectly beautiful young creature, her good temper rendered her adorable.”

When the father of this army of sons and daughters was reduced to poverty and the selfish vanity of the daughters came crashing on their heads, it was Beauty who made the best of circumstances.

The hand of fate is cruelest on those who take their fortunes for granted and so most of the merchant’s children were miserable, wretched that the splendor and glory which was theirs had been snatched away from them. But the youngest one, although sad herself, realized soon enough that cursing the gods for their cruel behavior was no way to go through this crisis. She made the best of the circumstances she was in. She did the work that was required of her, without a shred of complaint, no matter how she felt at heart, and soon enough she started deriving real joy from the adversity her family was thrown in.

Who but the kindest and loveliest of souls can be capable of that?

It’s no doubt then that it was Beauty who chance threw in the way of the realization of her wildest dreams. I am in awe, still, of how with the sweetest of disposition she cared for her family.  Even when her sisters were jealous of her positive outlook.

”Every intelligent person, who saw her in her true light, was eager to give her preference over her sisters.”

Is it really a matter of doubt that people regarded Beauty’s firmness of mind and her strength of character as her greatest virtue? Could her sisters truly not see that anyone, who understood the importance of such virtues, could not help by fall in love with this sweet soul?

Real world is harsh, as we are reminded of at the beginning of this story when the merchant loses his place in society and all the suitors who were apparently in love with his herd of daughters soon dissociated themselves from them and scattered away like peas, in hidden places.

And when you are dealt with a firm blow at the hands of fate, it’s not money and beauty that matters. What’s more important is with what disposition you deal with those circumstances? How far are you willing to go without falling? With a smile on your face, just one more day. Your strength is tested in such times as these when you are left alone and nobody, not even the friends who claimed to love you, come to your aid. How you emerge from it is the true test which everyone is subjected to at one point or another in their lifetime. So was Beauty. And she showed real firmness of character by putting on her bravest smile for the sake of her family, the people she loved. 

Beauty is as beauty does.

She was called by this name due to more reasons than just her physical appearance. Although her charms were many, the greatest virtues that rendered her form so lovely and her face so kind was the lack of vanity and jealousy. Pride, is a different issue altogether. Every man has some, as they should. But vanity is a fault and must never be indulged in. A habit of reveling at the nature of circumstances others in is a crime against the pure nature of the heart and it’s this unsaid crime her sisters were accused of. It’s no wonder then that however pretty they were, it was only Beauty who caught the hearts of people.

Her beauty did not diminish with her father’s wealth. If anything, it increased tenfold!

A steadiness of heart and control over mindless excitement – both happy and sad – is a virtue only the most intelligent possess. They don’t become overcome with grief due to loss or overjoyed due to happy circumstances owing to the knowledge of the fact that life is a tide; the highs and the lows are to be expected. They understand that just like the sea is never constant, neither is life. However, bad things may seem to be, they can always turn lovely, and the other way around as well. So, isn’t it just good sense to never indulge in the extremities of our fickle heart?

The Beauty and the Beast reminds us that things can always get better or worse. And we should live our day to day life accordingly, without losing sight of this simple yet powerful truth.

My younger self didn’t draw all of these lessons from the story though. I had finished reading it by the time we set out for home. It was a peculiar feeling really. I had read many many stories before but this one stirred my heart like none of the others did.

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Beauty and Beast’s love was all I could think about.

I remember sitting in the backseat of our car, listening to my parents talk but my mind was elsewhere. All I wanted was to go back to my dragon. He was flying beside our car, making sure we were safe.

I looked at his majestic form and fell in love with him, convinced that I was the beauty and he was the beast.

(That’s all I cared about at that time anyway!)

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So, have you read The Beauty and the Beast in its complete form?
How has your perception of the story changed over the years?
What are your favorite fairy tales? And favorite re-tellings?
What was the first book you ever read?

I WANNA KNOWWW!!

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] PASSION + JEALOUSY// Love Letters//

He is angry.
He is irritated.
Many days have passed and yet there is no news of his beloved. She doesn’t write.

WHY DOESN’T SHE WRITE TO HIM?

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Maybe she is ill. Maybe something bad happened to her. Oh, god, what if she is hurt somehow because I wasn’t there to protect her, to care for her? What if she someone else has caught her eye – someone who gives her attention when I couldn’t, who loves her more than me? But surely that’s not possible. Is it?

Love is toxic in the most delightful yet painful way.

You find yourself obsessing over the littlest changes. A single missed text, an unanswered call, and your thoughts go spiraling down, imagining the worst things possible. Isn’t that the truth? 

As all the dark thoughts gather in his mind, turning his every waking moment into a torment, Bonaparte pens down his anxieties and fears hoping that his jealous yet passionate urgings will convince his wife to write more often before loses his mind.

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//MY AESTHETIC// It took me SOOOOOO loooong to make this onee!!! SO YOU BETTER LIKE IT!!!

Napolean Bonaparte to Josephine Bonaparte
Verona, 3 Frimaire, year V [1797]

To Josephine, in Milan

I love you no longer; on the contrary, I detest you. You are a wretch, truly perverse, truly stupid, a real Cinderella. You never write to me at all, you do not love your husband; you know the pleasure that your letters give him yet you cannot even manage to write him half a dozen lines, thrown off in a moment!

What then do you do all day, Madame? What business is so vital that it robs you of the time to write to your faithful lover? What attachment can be stifling and pushing aside the love, the tender and constant love which you promised him? 

Who can this wonderful new lover be who takes up every moment, rules your days and prevents you from devoting your attention to your husband? Beware, Josephine; one fine night the doors will be broken down and there I shall be.

In truth, I am worried, my love, to have no news from you; write me a four-page letter at once made up from those delightful words which fill my heart with emotion and joy.

I hope you hold you in my arms before long, when I shall lavish upon you a million kisses, burning as the equatorial sun.

Bonaparte

One look at his words, even a fleeting one, and your mind is filled with his troubled thoughts, his worry, his MAD ANTICIPATION.

I don’t blame Bonaparte for the hint of anger in his letter. And although everyone may not agree but to me, such a letter – with gentle reprimands and jealousy –  is one of the best ways to convey how much a person means to them.

He wants every bit of his wife reserved for himself. No exceptions are allowed. Even when he is gone, he wants her to devote as much thought to him as he does to her.

Granted, it’s always just a phase in the long-run of relationships but ISN’T IT THE BEST??
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SO? What did you think of Napolean Bonaparte’s letter to his wife?

How you imagine his wife would have felt at the receipt of this letter? 

Which lines were your favorite?