Gift of Stories: Five Memorable Books

I thank God for the gift of stories. Books have been my constant companion this 2013, offering me entertainment, comfort, and solace through the dullest of days and the emptiest of nights. And this 2013, I’ve been able to read thirty-plus books, according to my Goodreads “read” list. Hurray! So which were the five most memorable? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The List:

  1. 1984 by George Orwell. Big Brother is watching you. I’m so happy to have finally read the father of dystopian novels. Winston and Julia are very memorable characters. And all the talk about Newspeak, Ingsoc, and thoughtcrimes — I tell you, even though the book’s a bit highfalutin, you must read it.  After reading the book, I knew I had to watch the film filmed in 1984, too. But when I got to the third part where things got depressing — I realized I just couldn’t finish it anymore. The movie, not the book. The book I finished. And the picture it painted of the possible future (and what may also be happening in the present) is very chilling. An officemate was telling stories about his hometown in Iraq the other day. Somehow, I realized parts of the world are actually, in a way, living the nightmare that is 1984.
  2. After Dark by Haruki Murakami. Simple yet surreal. Murakami tells a tale of what goes on after dark — from midnight to dawn — in Tokyo, Japan. It juxtaposes scenes of Mari and Eri, two sisters in which the former shuns sleep and the latter embraces an eternal one. A couple of other characters are thrown in as well, and their stories also gets told as the night unfolds. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more Murakami after this.
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. So now I finally get why so many women have swooned over Mr. Darcy! It took me a while to plow through this book, but once I got to the middle, I knew it was worth it. Read my more detailed review here, wonderful people. ;)
  4. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol. I liked Through the Looking Glass more than Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland because it had more elements of surprise in it. Probably because I’ve seen far too many adaptations of the first Alice book already. But TTLG had Humpty Dumpty in it and The Red Queen who kept offering Alice biscuits even though the poor girl was practically dying of thirst. So… yeah. TTLG, FTW!
  5. Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley. No, I haven’t been spending the whole year reading “just” fiction. And no, please never ever reduce fiction to “just” fiction, because you get as much from them (and sometimes even more) as you do when you read business or inspirational books. Anyway, enough literary ranting. Deep and Wide. This thought-provoking book by Andy Stanley about the way churches “do things” made me want to rethink a lot of things. Sometimes we spend too much time being church-y that we forget about being relevant, you know? But then there’s the danger of trying to be too relevant and then losing the spirit of it all.

Thus ends the list. More books await this 2014. :)

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via https://mariscribbles.com/2013/12/11/gifts/

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Thoughts on Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice
Author:
Jane Austen
Genre: Classic Literature
Purchase: Download for free (Project Gutenberg and Kobo)

Summary: Prejudice meets pride when middle-class Elizabeth Bennet encounters well-to-do Mr. Darcy, a dashing young man who has come into town accompanying Meryton newcomer Mr. Bingly. He (Mr. Darcy, not Mr. Bingly) is stiff and haughty but eventually falls in love with sassy Lizzie. She hates him passionately but soon realizes that she might be having feelings (other than disgust) for him, too. But will Mr. Darcy get over his pride and humble himself enough to really woo her? Will Miss Bennet overcome her prejudice and just let Mr. Darcy love her? Yes. No. Maybe.

***

After countless attempts of reading and of only being able make it through to Chapter 2, I was finally able to finish this book through and through. It was the pacing and the prose that made me want to surrender. I felt that the story moved too slowly. And there was too much conversing. Sometimes I didn’t know who was speaking; sometimes I didn’t know who were the people actually present in the scene.

But because I wanted to know why this book made so many women sigh and swoon, I trudged on diligently until I got to the 61st chapter — until I got to the very end.

I must say, despite having to “trudge through”, I liked the book. Very much.

Favourite lines (some spoilers are up ahead):

The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news. (Chapter 1, on Mrs. Bennet)

He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped that he would never come there again. (Chapter 3, on Mr. Darcy)

“That is exactly the question which I expected you to ask. A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment. I knew you would be wishing me joy.” (Chapter 6)

“But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out.” (Chapter 6)

He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention. (Chapter 11, Mr. Darcy falls in love)

Mr. Darcy corroborated it with a bow, and was beginning to determine not to fix his eyes on Elizabeth, when they were suddenly arrested by the sight of the stranger. (Chapter 15, Haha! I am Team Darcy!)

He had ruined for a while every hope of happiness for the most affectionate, generous heart in the world; and no one could say how lasting an evil he might inflicted. (Chapter 33, one of Elizabeth’s prejudices against Mr. Darcy)

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (Chapter 34, Mr. Darcy makes his confession. And all the women swoon.)

She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. (Chapter 50, Ayii!)

There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects. (Chapter 58)

Elizabeth’s spirits soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her. “How could you begin?” said she. “I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning but what could set you off in the first place?” “I cannot fix the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It was too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” (Chapter 60)

“I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” There you go. Sigh. Swoon.

If you have the patience for classics, read it and fall in love all over again.