To Read A Poem

There will be times in everyone’s life when they will be told to settle for something less than what they want and deserve. There’ll be many good books that will go unread because of the decision to just settle for anything. There’ll be many good movies which will remain unwatched. Many nights laying awake wondering, why on earth did I waste my time on that rubbish.

It isn’t possible for me to prevent that from happening to you. My gold could be your rubbish, although I hope it isn’t. I’ve always wanted to recommend some really extraordinary things that I have enjoyed very much and think about quite a lot.

Poetry can be daunting and the idea of reading it can sound exhausting. But you know, like many things in life, you gotta give it a chance or several to find out. I remember absolutely hating the poetry content of my GCSE English syllabus. Fast forward two or three years, I found The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.

Now, it is probably something most people know of and read at some point in their academic life. Of course, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, if a dark, melancholic storytelling with a haunting atmosphere engages your mind and quiets down the chaos in it, it could be yours to love as well.

I am not going to say that I am a poetry genius. Simply because I am not even close. I have been into poetry rather recently and the book I am reading now is a basic one: 100 Best Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith. It has old poems and I don’t understand a significant portion of them. But I do understand some of them, and when I do, it feels like a revelation.

I have always been interested in the universal truth of our existence which is of course, death. I imagine, so does a lot of other people. In the book I mentioned, there’s quite a bit of poetry about death which more or less resonates with my interests. It’s not completely plagued with it, there are happy ones too. Poems about adventure, love and lessons.

So, is poetry worth the time?
Well, I don’t know. I can only speak for myself. Maybe, trying it out isn’t such a bad idea.

Beautiful language, rhythm, stories with atmosphere that ignite something warm and happy or melancholic but resonating – things I adore in a poem. Although, The Raven will always be timeless and the poem that I fell in love with.

My philosophy on reviewing books.

When I review a book, I like to keep in mind that a human wrote the book. It sounds obvious but I have read many reviews where the author is criticised inhumanly.

Disclaimer: I am another hobbyist blogger, which means I don’t get paid to review books or blog. All opinions are my own.

Everybody knows that reviews are biased according to the reader’s preferences. When I am criticising a book based on its plot, I am not talking about the author. Neither do I think my review matters. It’s not complicated to understand that everyone has very different tastes and opinions, so what I find distasteful isn’t necessarily the same for another.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik is a very popular science fiction standalone novel. While I did enjoy many aspects of the plot, I can’t say it was perfect. I thought Sarkan’s dialogues were repetitive and the portrayal of Agnieszka as immensely flawed was almost forced. Kasiya’s individuality declined with every page. (Spoiler alert) The relationship between Sarkan and Agnieszka felt unnecessary beyond words. It seemed like it was simply there to appeal to romance readers.

But it was very close to being the winner of BEST YOUNG ADULT FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION category in goodreads for 2015. That must mean I am of the minority with a somewhat ‘negative’ opinion. My point of sharing these thoughts aren’t to say that the author is awful. She isn’t. The book was written well, although it was quite clear that Ms. Novik fell in love with the word rivulet. Which I completely understand, sometimes when I fall in love with a word, I irritate the shi* out of my sister by repeating it continuously.

Reviews are like passing down information through a lineage of readers to help them make decisions. One will come across positive reviews and negative reviews and eventually a decision of their own. It also arises from a desire to share our thoughts and opinions. Why does this desire arise?  That I can’t answer.

When I am criticising the way a book is written, it is not to say that I am better at writing or the author is incompetent. Usually, it is the Editor’s job to ensure that the book is flawless. At least, in terms of spelling and grammar.

Looking for Alaska by John Green is a book with over seven hundred thousand reviews in goodreads. A majority of which is five stars. I disliked it. Alaska seemed flat, though she was a ‘smart feminist.’ But that’s not why I disliked the book. I was really looking forward to reading the book. Mostly because I loved the cover of it. I know, don’t judge a book by its cover. But this was almost three years ago.

I found that the writing both bored and irked me. It seemed trying too hard/lacking in flow. I liked the philosophical discussions it had but it just didn’t appeal to me. This is not me saying he is an awful writer. On the contrary, a majority of people did love it. I share my disappointment to inform another reader of the flip side of the reviews.

Reviews are important because they help to spread the word. Although, one shouldn’t take a review personally. Usually, my book reviews are positive. When I appreciate something, I want to share that piece of treasure with my fellow readers who might stumble across my blog. When it is disappointing, I also want to inform my fellow readers before they come to a decision.

It is the art of being a human who reads, you see. Not to be taken at heart.

 

Recommendation and review

Our book exchanges were kind of like drug dealing, minus the secrecy. My sister was the medium, her friend the dealer and I, the customer. Of course, I only borrowed. Bibliophiles everywhere understand the reluctance of parting with one’s books.

This friend of my sister’s introduced me to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple series quite a few years ago. I have read more books with Hercule Poirot as the protagonist, but soon that will change.

July was a really good month for me. I have read Jane Eyre, Uprooted, On Writing, Misery, And Then There Were None, Murder On The Orient Express, The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Death In The Clouds, The Mystery Of The Blue Train, Peril At End House, Dead Man’s Folly, The Murder On The Links, (reread) Night Of The Living Dummy II and Why I’m Afraid Of Bees. 

The ones in bold are written by Agatha Christie. I used to read a lot of crime fiction once but then my taste changed. The last one I read was The Book Of You which I received as a gift. It was engaging but nothing I ever want to read again. I am also not a big fan of the type of stories that involve a murder/serial killer, a romance, some sort of backstory of the detective/protagonist. I understand this kind of story is popular but everyone has different taste.

The books written by Agatha Christie are mostly crime centered. We get to know Poirot as an individual with a distinguished personality without chapters being dedicated to his backstory. The only book that managed to actually give me that feeling of ‘I was not expecting that, at all!’ was The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd. This is not me saying I guessed who the murderer was for every book, I didn’t. But that raw feeling of awe was a welcome effect of The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd.

Some people say that her books are similar which I didn’t agree with. As many opinions as there are people. One thing is same: the characters associated with the victim always have some secret. But it is applied in different situations and doesn’t lose its magic to keep the reader engaged. I guess it depends on what type of story is your cup of tea.