Seven easy tips to help you read a classic novel

Remember that quote from Francis Bacon, Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested ?

Classic novels definitely fall in the ‘chewed and digested’ category. They take time to read, have plenty of subtext and often need an understanding of context and background to be fully appreciated.

That said, if one does persevere, it is a rewarding experience giving one a glimpse of a different time, a different perspective, whole different writing styles.

If you’re new at this and want to read classics but have despaired of ever getting through one, here’s help. We’re sharing a few pointers which will ease your reading journey.

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The Stationery Shop of Tehran #BookReview

Sometimes I wish I could flip back the calendar to a time when there was no social media, no bookstagram, no goodreads. I wish I could feel again the anticipation of opening a new unknown book; the excitement of picking one up simply because the title sounded good or the cover was enticing or because a friend mentioned it and finally, I wish I could feel again the pure thrill of stumbling upon a gorgeous read.

Of course, one also had to put up with the duds but that made the good ones that much more precious.

The Stationery Shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali is a good read but I’d heard/read so much about it that I found it underwhelming.

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Remembering Shakespeare’s Fools

Happy Fool’s Day folks!

As we grow older and hopefully wiser, we come to realise that being the fool isn’t such a bad thing, after all.

Accepting and owning that tag can be extremely freeing (as is true of most tags).

The Fool finds pride of place in Shakespeare’s writings. One cannot but love him in all his varied avatars. He can be a conscience keeper, a loyal advisor or even a narrator talking directly to the audience. He might simply be loveable and funny or turn evil under the garb of humour.

He really can be anything at all.

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The Thirteenth Tale #BookReview

These past weeks, I had read and given up on a bunch of books. All good books, ones I had set aside on my TBR with great anticipation. However, the time was just not right, it would seem.

And then, I picked up The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

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Madame Tussaud #BookReview

This year I decided to look at historical fiction beyond WW2. There are so many revolutions and so much history from so many different parts of the world to catch up on, that it seems like a shame to restrict oneself.

It is with this thought that I picked up Michelle Moran’s Madame Tussaud. The book is set in the times of the French Revolution. I hadn’t read anything about it and all I knew was Marie Antoinette’s famous ‘Let them eat cake’ statement which, as it turns out, wasn’t true at all.

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To read from the heart or the mind?

The other day I was hosting a book-club meeting where we were discussing The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that this was one of the top reads of 2021 for me.

Most readers had given the book straight up five stars. A few, including me, disagreed. The book was a singularly uplifting read for sure. That we were going through the Pandemic and really needed a book full of hope such as this one, made it even more special.

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The Other Bennet Sister By Janice Hadlow #BookTalk #BookReview

Have you read Pride and Prejudice

In all likelihood you have. And if you haven’t it’s probably because Austen doesn’t work for you. Don’t judge me if I judge you just a little bit here and wonder: Who ARE you?

Coming back to the book I really want to talk about: The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow. This is a P&P spin off. You might still enjoy it if you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice but you’ll miss the perspective that the book gives.

It tells the story of Mary Bennet – the sister least talked about in the Austen original.

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How not to be a good father – Lessons from Mr Bennet

I always thought of Mrs Bennet as a terrible parent in Pride and  Prejudice. However, as I am re-reading bits of it I am coming to realise Mr Bennet was by far the worse of the two.

I looked at Mr Bennet through tolerant eyes – intelligent and well-read, amiable and easygoing, humorous too. A man, difficult to dislike. And yet, I have reason to change my mind.

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Wrapping up 2021 and Reading Challenges 2022

2021 was a slow year in terms of reading. Intentionally slow. It was a year of deep-reading, of savouring every book I picked up.

I pledged 20 books and ended up reading 37, so I count that as a win. I’d imagined myself stoically ignoring bookstagram, and google recommendations, and blog reccos. I imagined picking books free from it all.

As if that were even possible!

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The Burning of Books #Fahrenheit451 #BookReview

Book: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury

Here’s a question for you — Is it enough to be happy? 

Would it be alright if one existed in a permanent state of happiness, the struggle and strife of life swept away somewhere? Would it okay for one to shut one’s eyes to the reality of life, if that was the only way to be happy?

Would that make one truly happy?

That last one is a rhetorical question, I know.

However, it is in one such dystopian world that Bradbury sets his novel.

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