Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Back To The Classics Challenge 2012

PhotobucketThis sounds like a fun challenge for next year. It's being hosted by Sarah at Sarah Reads Too Much. I haven't done a year long challenge before and I really enjoyed choosing my books which are as follows:

Nineteen Century Classic      
Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope. I haven't read any Trollope before and have been meaning to. This is the first in the series of the Palliser novels.

Twentieth Century Classic
Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald. This has been on my TBR shelf for a while now, so it's a good reason to get it down.

Re-read Classic
Wuthering Heights. It's been a while since I read this, so it's due a re-read.

Classic play
A Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare. I never read plays and I very very rarely go to the theatre so this will stretch me a bit I think.

Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. I'm working my way through Agatha Christie's books at the moment and I suppose I could've used one of those. But I've been wanting to read some Holmes since the I saw the BBC production with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock.

Classic Romance
Tristan and Isolde. This was the hardest one to pick. I don't read a lot of romance. No idea how this one will go.

Translated Classic
Anna Karenina. I think the only Russian novel I have ever read is Crime and Punishment, so I felt this was a good opportunity to read another one.

Classic Award Winner
The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter. Winner of the John Llewellyn-Rhys Prize in 1968.

Classic set in a country you will realistically never visit.
Tales From The Thousand and One Nights. I've been wanting to explore this book since watching Richard E Grant's tv programme about the tales.

So, there's at least some of my reading sorted out for 2012.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Obscure Logic of the Heart by Priya Basil

This is the fourth book I have received in the Transworld Book Challenge.

Transworld Book GroupLina and Anil meet at university and fall in love. From the first their relationship is difficult. Lina comes from a strict Muslim family and she can't tell them about Anil, who isn't Muslim. There is the problem of distance to overcome, when they graduate Anil goes back to his home in Kenya, where he is establishing himself as an architect. Lina goes to work for the UN, first in New York and then in Sudan. Anil's friends, especially his best friend Merc, are set against the match, saying it can't possibly work.

Anil is determined to make it work. He tolerates Lina's chronic lateness, her reluctance to commit, the fact he can't meet her family. Lina is torn between the pressure Anil puts on her, and the effort of deflecting her family's suspicions. Her problems are exacerbated when her mother finds a cache of letters from Anil which make the nature of their relationship clear. Lina tells her parents that she won't see Anil again, but of course she does.

Their family backgrounds are completely different. Lina's parents are solidly middle class. They are good people, but very rigid. Anil's family are very wealthy and influential. His mother holds parties to which she invites the great and the good. His father is a savvy businessman, but how he makes his money presents Lina with a professional dilemma later in the story. They welcome Lina into their home and are very generous to her, but cannot understand why she won't commit to their son.

One of the best things about the Transworld Book Challenge has been that it has introduced me to books that I never would've come across. While I'm glad to have read this one, I have to say that it wasn't really my cup of tea. I didn't quite get the love story, I didn't feel that it was a love so strong that it would overcome all the hurdles placed in front of it. I felt that Lina was a much more strongly drawn character than Anil - I would've liked to get to know Anil better. I sympathised with his friend Merc when he said that Lina was just string Anil along, I was irritated with her as well. I wanted her to decide one way or the other.