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Wednesday Book Musings

Should we be apologetic for what we read? Could it be embarrassing to admit that some of us do read YA fiction because some of it offers great advice on life! It was with such thoughts when I read this article on why reading fiction has become more important than ever. On Kindle, I have had access to some great fiction books that I would have otherwise not read as paperbacks. One among them is Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde whose another book, Pay it Forward was made into a movie. The reasons for explaining our literature choices are more important these days is because all of us get labelled and categorized by our literary tastes in a book club. On Goodreads, when I see a healthy mix of fiction, non-fiction, history and sociology books it makes me realise this variation in our reading is essential for our thinking caps to grow and expand so as to behave sensibly in public. The moral code for behaviour is set pretty hard for people who read a multitude of subjects and do not shy away from expressing their innate thoughts about the same. 

A few days ago, I was going through my Kindle books and realised that I have a lot of half read fiction books there which is perhaps because I don't like them. So I proceeded to delete them before taking another look at a few of them. It astonished me to see my interest in these stories develop deeply than my first reading. Some of them are categorized as Women's Fiction and narrate powerful stories of women's collaborative and sisterhood. A lot of them are historical fiction as I love reading more about Scottish, Irish and English history. The fictional stories make room for amazing writing details that are considered too ornate for today's hard-hitting plots and times. I never realised I had Mystery books in there too. None of them read yet. So tonight, I make my first foray into a reading mystery on Kindle- The Woman on Orient Express written by Lindsay Jayne Ashford. As I understand from some skimming, it plots a mysterious fictional tale involving the great Agatha Christie. Since I have not read any book by her although I can rattle off names of her books, I am looking forward to this journey on the Oriental Express. 

There are some interesting contemporary fiction stories that I read in the last six months. One of them is Not Quite Perfect by Gretchen Galway and one thing that I noted common for a lot of this genre is that every book gets classified as a romance novel. This was less of a romance and more of a coming-of-age story of a seemingly old 28-year-old woman. I believe we can start new ventures and fail at them at any point in our lives but it becomes difficult more so for women. This story is about April, who has not held a proper job and is hence known as a Serial Temporary worker. It's a fictional scenario but really speaks volumes about corporate work culture and jealous people who try to sabotage spirits of hard-working people. Very relatable and some great writing here. Life is messy, chaotic, unpredictable, unnerving too but it really takes a steely nerve for a person to be able to stand on their solid ground and prove themselves. I like this one for its gutsy protagonist and her unbeatable spirits. Sometimes, we ought to fight back in a mean way.

Another is Coulson's Wife by Anna J. McIntyre. This had a very unlikely plot and made me gasp with sadness for the protagonists in the end. Why do we complicate love so much? We end up sacrificing ourselves on the altar of selfless love and really tearing lives apart. Love in the time of a turbulent period in American History like the First World War has had countless stories written about. This one, in particular, is a reminder of how women's role in society changed with the onset of war. Also, what it must have been to suffer through a misery of a lifetime seeing your love apart from you and then dying in your arms. I was so involved with Mary and William's lives that I wished they had gotten their love with each other instead of leading such half-lives because the society wouldn't have approved it. All of these rules of conduct and public behaviour are created by mortal men and when they shatter someone's life like because of their unbendable strict codes, it pains me to acknowledge that I am also a part of this same society that has thrust this culture of shame upon us for loving each other. 

I suppose, literature has given us stories to remember and some to take lessons from and it has also made us aware of the succinct definitions of love and being human in all eras. 


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मज़ाक एक बहुत ही गंभीर चीज़ होती है. ~ विंस्टन चर्चिल
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घूमते फिरते मैं—मेघ एकमात्र जैसे घाटी-पहाड़ मंडरा रहा था एकाएक देखा क्या—भीड़, समवाय सुनहरा, सुहावना डैफोडिल की ~ विलियम वर्ड्सवर्थ
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सूर्य की पहली किरण से सूर्य की अंतिम किरण तक

क्या हुआ जो युग हमारे आगमन पर मौन?
सूर्य की पहली किरण पहचानता है कौन?
अर्थ कल लेंगे हमारे आज के संकेत।  #दुष्यन्तकुमार आज मुझे खामोशी की आवाज़ सुननी थी। मगर कही सुनाई नहीं दी। रोजमर्रा की जिंदगी में इतने सारे हादसे होते रहते है की उनका महत्व कम हो गया है। उन्हें बार बार दोहराने का कोई फायदा ही नहीं। पहले किसी दोस्त को मन की दुविधा कितनी आसानी से बता दिया करती थी मैं, आज उसी दोस्त को मेरी बातों का बोझ न लगे इसी विवंचना के कारण मैं खामोश हो जाती हूँ। कितनी अजीब बात है की हम में से कई लोगों को एहसास तक नहीं होता जिंदगी की इस टेढ़ी-मेढ़ी झंझटों का और यदि एहसास हो भी जायें तो उसमें से बाहर कैसे निकले ये एक नयी पहेली सामने आ खड़ी उठती है। कुछ साल पहले तक मुझे खुदसे बहुत शिकायत होती थी की मेरी जिंदगी किसी और की तरह क्यों नहीं है। जैसे मैं किसी और को अपने नजर से देखती थी तो उनकी जिंदगी मुझे बड़ी परिपूर्ण लगती थी और खुदकी बहुत कष्टप्राय। यह एहसास श्री. मुन्शी प्रेमचंदजी की कहानियाँ पढ़कर द्विगुणित हो जाता था। फिर धीरे- धीरे बात ऐसी समझ आयीं की ना ही किसी और के सुख से हमें अपने दुखों का कलम करना चाह…