Category: Uncategorized

My reading plan for 2019

Fiction

1. in search of lost time- Marcel Proust

(I’m currently reading by way of swans. This is my biggest project)

Total books-: 7

2. The age of reason- Jean Paul Sartre

3. To the lighthouse- Virginia woolf

4. Dead souls- Gogol

5.A house for Mr.Biswas- V.S. Naipaul

6. War and peace- Tolstoy

7. The Charterhouse of Parma- Stendhal

8. The Red and the black- Stendhal

9. Germinal- Emilie Zola

10. The counterfeiters- Andre Gide

11. The scarlet letter- Hawthorne

12. Sentimental Education- Flaubert

13. A mind at Peace- Tanpinar

14. Brave New world- Huxley

15. The Golem- Gustav Meyrink

16. The Man without qualities- Robert Musil

Philosophy

17. Either/ or- Søren Kierkegaard

18. Thus Spake Zarathustra- Nietzsche

19.Fear and trembling- Søren Kierkegaard

20. The Rebel-Camus

21. The myth of Sisyphus- Camus

22. Mythologies- Roland Barthes

23. Being and nothingness- Sartre

24. The genealogy of morals- Nietzsche

25. Human all too human- Nietzsche

26. The social contract- Rousseau

Advertising

27. The book of Gossage- Howard Gossage

28. How to write a good advertisement- victor O Schwab

29. The Robert collier letter book

30. on the art of writing copy- H.G.Lewis

Rereads

1. The Art of memory- Francis Yates

2. Nausea- Sartre

3. Essential Kafka- Kafka

4. The stranger- Camus

5. The fall- Camus

Journey to the end of the night- Louis Ferdinand Celine

Finished Celine’s Journey to the End the night yesterday.

This novel is widely regarded as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. It took me 13 long days to finish it.

This one is obviously a different book, and I dare say a special one.

Plot

Told in first person, this is all about the travails of Ferdinand Bardamu, a medical student,the alter ego of the author himself. It all starts during the war years, when Bardamu joins the army, but after witnessing some terrible events he starts doubting his own sanity. During that time he gets acquainted with Leon Robinson, another fellow soldier, who would haunt him throughout the story.

After returning from the front, Bardamu starts an affair with Lola, an American woman, who would ditch him sooner, after hearing his views on Patriotism (Bardamu despises the wretched war), plunging him in to the abysses of insanity.

Later, he starts making out with Musyne, a promiscuous woman, but it also ends badly.

Broken, he then shifts to Africa, boarding a ship where the passenger would treat him with contempt and suspicion. There too he would witness the selfishness and thuggery of human beings, making him depressed. Sold as a slave to a ship to America, he reaches this great country, where again he’d be meeting Lola .Their encounter ends badly and he returns to France, to work as a doctor,  and also works sometime at an asylum where he meets the interesting figure of Baryton, who would find his own spiritual salvation by studying English. Here he again meets Robinson, which culminates in the murder of an elderly woman named as Henrouille, and eventually in the murder of Robinson by his lover, Madelon. The novel ends when Bardamu goes to the police station to depose before the cops.

Character Sketches

Ferdinand Bardamu

A medical student. He is a womanizer and a pessimist.

Leon Robinson

A thug. He gets killed in the end by his lover, a cunning woman named as Madelon. Robinson is so self centred. He is also the murderer of Grandma Henrouille.

Madame Henrouille

A wicked woman. Her only ambition is to get rid of her mother in law, Grandma Henrouille, and with the connivance of Robinson she achieves it.

Lola

A woman, a beautiful one with lofty ideals about patriotism and masculinity. She gets pissed off when Bardamu tells about his own ideas on war and patriotism.

Baryton

The superior of Bardamu at the asylum. He hates the lunatics, and he finds his own spiritual salvation in English. Bardamu teaches him English, and finally he leaves France in search of his ‘destiny’.

Madelon

A cunning woman. She develops an affair with Bardamus and at the same time dotes on Robinson. In the end, she kills Robinson.

Comments

Celine views Patriotism and racial superiority  as absurd things. In this aspect, there are parallels between Bardamu and Paul Baumer (the protagonist of All quiet on the Western front) albeit in a different way. This is a misanthropic universe no doubt about that.The whole plot reeks of a fetid pessimism. Bardamu is helpless,at times a  wicked misanthrope, who has his own moments of altruism though they are rare.

Rating

5/5

Reading Proust : Day 1

Finally started to read The way by Swann’s. The first page is, what should I say, absolutely marvelous.

Favorite line-:

“I could hear the whistling of trains, which, now nearer and now farther off, punctuating the distance like the note of a bird in a forest, plotting the  distances, described to me the extent of the deserted countryside where the   traveler hastens  towards the nearest station: and the little road he is following   will be engraved on his memory by the excitement he owes to new places,to unaccustomed, activities,to the recent conversation and the farewells under the   unfamiliar lamp that follow him  still through the silence of the night, to the imminent sweetness of his return.”

The Essential Kafka- Franz Kafka

Recently I finished reading Kafka.

It was a huge collection, comprising most of his brilliant works, like The Trial, The Castle, The Metamorphosis, Letter to my father, In the Penal Colony and some small fables.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading his works.

Words such as Kafkaesque have been in the dictionary for a long time, standing for something unimaginable, bizarre…

I felt like I could really picture the gloomy figure of Josef K, his travails, his jeremiads, the brutal indifference of Fraulein Bustner, The stratagems of Leni, the advocate and the corn merchant, the cunning of Freida, the sad lives of Olga and Amalia…. And the distant figure of Herr Klamm…Even after reading the book, The Kafkaesque atmosphere would haunt you for a long time…

Josef K represents in a way the loner, caught in the landslide, facing an indifferent world, which is giving him the cold shoulder. He is at a loss, about everything. People are so indifferent, to the extent that he cannot distinguish them from crazy apparitions.I term my time during this collection as something strange, filled with Kafkaesque dreams and sensations…

When Kafka writes about his relationship with his own father, I felt really disturbed. This man was so sensitive, even to the smallest details, and so discerning as well.Kafkaesque ironies haunt the reader back and forth, pulling him in to the abysses of melancholia.

In the penal colony is sort of a crazy story. It’s sort of a parable touching the absurdities regarding crime and punishment.

I felt sorry for Gregor samsa and was on the verge of tears when I realized the betrayal of Grete. For Kafka, metamorphosis was something that throws light up on the inexplicable brutal realities of life…

One of the best works of Kafka, Metamorphosis still haunts me…

Kafka was a genius. I love this man.

Charulata- Rabindra Nath Tagore

Charulata is a novella by the Great Rabindra Nath Tagore. It’s all about the love affair between a married woman, named as Charulata and her husband’s cousin, Amal. Charu, as she is affectionately called, married to Bhupati, a news paper owner, and Amal happens to live with his family, and an affair starts between them. Charu, smitten by the Intellect of Amal, unconsciously falls for him. This novella is all about the complications and problems that are supposed to be there in that kind of an affair.

This novella was published in 1901 as Nastanirh ( The broken nest) and was later made in to a movie by the legendary Satayajit Ray.

A good read. A small, beautiful gem of a novel from Tagore.

On the Heights of Despair- E.M.Cioran

I closed my eyes after finishing this book and thought about the futility of life and surprisingly, a chain, a perceptible pattern of thoughts started to come out and torturing me, at the very instant.

After pondering about what Cioran says for some time, I resigned to (though with some melancholy) the thought of seeing the world as it really is.

This is a sad book, I am not denying it..

In a sense, it’s a really dangerous book and read it at your own risk.

Man’s fate- Andre Malraux

This novel is widely regarded as the magnum opus of Andre Malraux. It won the Prix Goncourt, as probably Malraux would have found some of his experiences (he was in China during those turbulent years) handy when writing it.

This novel is about human bonds, ideals, love, betrayal, hatred and everything. It primarily focuses on four young men- Kyo Gisors ( half French and Half Japanese, son of a well known Frenchman known as Mr.Gisors), Chen ( a fanatic who idealizes death), Katov, the Russian toughie, and the Belgian- Hemmelrich.

They have a plan – toppling the established order and bring revolution to China. But it fails, and Chen gets killed during a botched attempt to assassinate Chiang Kaishek .Kyo and others gets captured, and they eventually get killed or commit suicide.

I really liked Kyo Gisors . He is the sober one, the intellectual. Unlike Chen’s extreme suicidal ideations, Kyo has a pragmatic approach to everything, especially towards revolution though his relationship with his wife, May is bit strained.

Mr. Gisors is an opium addict,a well respected figure among the French population in the city. He loves his son and fear for his fate. He is close to Chen as well.

Baron Clappique is the most colorful character in this novel- The Mythomaniac, who conjures up stories after stories to hide his miserable present state.

Other characters include Mr. Feral; representing the French petit bourgeoisie and his girl friend Valerie (she ditches Feral as he saw her only as a sexual object. She is the most underrated character in this novel in my opinion).

This is an excellent philosophical novel, a poetic one. Malraux was a genius and so my five stars….