Are you reading?

Hi all! This is Mrs V here writing to you from Chennai where the weather is lovely if you are just staying home. It is raining lightly and very cool. The clothes aren’t drying but that goes with the territory! My big question for you is this:

questioning.jpgARE YOU READING?

Is anyone going to answer my question?


21 thoughts on “Are you reading?

  1. i just thought that it would be appropriate to provide a closure to things:

    i doubt that i will achieve an A1 in english for ‘o’s and i have decided that my fate lies in CJC, where i am confident i shall spend the next two years of my life.

    even though i know that the question is not directed at me, i shall answer anyway(see nickname). i have been reading ‘The Moonstone’ by a 18th/19th(i can’t exactly remember off hand) century author by the name of Wilkie Collins. he is the father of modern mystery novels and was good friends with the esteemed author of ‘Great expectations'(i shall be damned if anyone does not know who that is).

    however, i do recommend popular titles like ‘Tuesdays with morrie’, ‘For one more day’ and ‘The five people you meet in heaven’. ‘The curious incident of the dog in the night time’ is also good, though i would highly discourage ‘A spot of bother’ by the same author. be warned, these books take patience.

    of course, for serious readers, penguin classics such as ‘Jane Eyre'(my ultimate favourite of all time), ‘Pride and prejudice’ as well as ‘sense and sensibility’ are good choices. i personally feel that the books ‘Emma’ and ‘Women in love’ are not as enticing. emphasis should be put on the PERSONALLY, you may think otherwise.

    for light readers after cheap thrills of teenage love and horror. my persoanl favourite would be ‘Twilight series’ by Stephanie Meyer. though close after comes ‘Interview with the vampire’. Alternatively, ‘The sisterhood of the travelling pants’ can offer much solace during the lonely afternoons. ‘Born confused’ is also an interesting read, touching on rather sensitive issues such as racial discrimination.

  2. The question is directed at anyone who takes the time to visit my blog, and you have no idea how glad I am that you stopped by again. The fact that I asked the question shows how nosy I am as well! Even though it is the holidays now I can’t bear to leave my beloved students and friends alone.
    I remember reading another novel by Wilkie Collins once- The Woman in White. But it was so long ago that I can’t remember whether I liked it or not. Probably not, else I would have read it again in the interim. And you are right about the fact that we owe our current slew of mystery novels to him.
    Have you read Dickens? Great Expectations is a fantastic book- so full of descriptions and characters that most literature nowadays pales in comparison. But maybe that is what people said about Dickens’ work in his day- that it could not hold a candle to the great classics of yore.
    I share your love of Austen and Bronte. Even if I did not know who you were I would have been able to guess that you were female. It takes a woman to really appreciate these books (though legions of men who have read them might secretly disagree!).
    Thanks for all the recommendations. I am sure your juniors will find them very useful. One question for you though: is there any book that you really LOVED? If you had to name just one book that you feel has made a great impression on you, what would that book be?
    Last comment: CJC is not so bad. It is what you do with yourself once you are there that makes the difference.

  3. Reading? Of course I’m reading.. bought 2 new books, specifically, Eldest from Christopher Paolini and Doomspell Trilogy from Cliff McNish, from Shanghai (soooo cheap!!) and planning to bring more for the upcoming L.A. trip to read on the flights.. plus some homework.. evidently I’m flying almost everywhere during this Dec so there isn’t much chance of having time to finish off my homework. Thus this would mean finding time to finish off the whole pile of homework along the next few days.
    Let me list out what lies on my task list:
    – EL homework (Mrs V)
    – EL homework (Compre)
    – HCL homework (Variety)
    – Physics homwork (Textbook)
    – Biology Homework (One worksheet)
    – A Maths Homework (1/4 left)
    – E Maths homework (Untouched)
    [This is for the SCHOOL part, next comes the CCA part]
    – A compilation of 4 reports of max. 500 words each into a report of max. 500 words by 10/12 (Is it possible w/o taking out important points?)
    – Preparations for the Sec 1 Orientation (Which lasts for about a month)

    There, so perhaps I won’t have enough time for anymore book reading..
    P.S. I don’t even know what should be done on the EL holiday homework >.<

  4. Hi Peiyi! One book is better than none. And textbooks don’t count.

    And hi to you too, mystery whiner! So you have a lot of work to do during the holidays. Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes. My dear, this is what it is like to be young. You have an aura of invincibility that you believe in as well. You know you do. Otherwise you would just dump everything and stare balefully at your teachers next year when they ask for your work. You think this cannot be done? I have students who have done it to me the whole year, and there is nothing I can do to them though there are many things no law in the world can stop me from imagining doing!

    The fact is that we all make choices. And all our choices come with consequences. When we do not like the consequences of certain choices we do not make those choices. It is as simple as that. Your choice entails hard work. What are the consequences? The approval of those whose opinions you care about, the respect of your peers and the development of your academic and social profile, to name just a few.

    And the English assignment? Just read the instructions, man! If you have any specific questions then do e-mail me.

    All the best, and happy travelling. It’s a long flight to LA. Maybe you could get some of your homework done too…

  5. there is one book that hard as i may try, i cannot forget. the story and even the words itself are deeply embedded in my mind. the book is Jane Eyre.

    being an english teacher, your very next question would be why?

    the answer is simple. it tells of a love story between two very unlikely characters. the story unravels with many twists and turns and ultimately literally breaks your heart and then sews it up again in red thread so the crack isn’t obvious. however, it isn’t just love between a man and a woman, it is also love between cousins, sisters, teachers and even the maids.

    yet, it is also a book that tells of courage and morals. it also teaches us the value of kinship and regret.

    it tells us of the courage required to forgive. this is shown on two occasions. one when jane’s aunt was on her deathbed and the other when she returned to mr. rochester’s side.

    it tells us of morals. when jane refused to marry mr. rochester after finding out about his previous wife. the fact that she didn’t love money as much as she loved mr. rochester (after all, she only consented to marrying him when he was blind, crippled and penniless).

    though it teaches us many things, it is also a silent fight for the freedom of women from conformity. it is a bid to encourage women to do more than society expects them to do and improve themselves just as men would. it is a bid to allow each woman to find a road that belongs to her, even if it is commonly trodden by men.

    apart from all these factors, if the writer is not skillful, even the most enticing storyline would end up in the reader being miserable. therefore, i conclude that the most resonating factor is the words in which the story is told. Charlotte Bronte allows you to feel the earth shaking and the ground parting in a mere paragraph. she can make you cry and laugh and cry again if necessary. the intensity in which she presents her ideas are so compelling that you know if you don’t read the contents of the next page, the night will be a sleepless one.

    Chapter 12, page 141(the tattered old 1966 version)

    it is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and the milliona are in silent revolt against their lot. nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercisr for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, preciselyas men would sufferl and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making pudding and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. it is thoughless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.

    Chapter 23, page 281

    ‘i grieve to leave thornfield: i love thornfield: i love it, because i have lived in it a full and delightful life – momentarily at least. i have not been trampled on. i have not been prtrified. i have not been buried with inferior minds, and excluded from every glimpse if communion with what is bright and energetic and high. i have talked, face to face, with what i reverence, with what i delight in – with an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind. i have known you, mr. rochester; and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel i absolutely must be torn from you for ever. is ee the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death.’

    ‘where do you see the necessity?’ he asked suddenly

    ‘where? you, sir, have placed it before me.’

    ‘in what shape?’

    ‘in the shape of miss ingram; a noble beautiful woman – your bride.’

    ‘my bride! what bride? i have no bride!’

    ‘But you will have.’

    ‘yes- i will!-i will!’ he set his teeth.

    ‘then i must go – you have said it yourself.’

    ‘no: you must stay! i swear it – and the oath shall be kept.’

    ‘i tell you i must go!’ i retorted, roused to something like passion.
    ‘do you think i can stay to become nothing to you? do you think i am an automaton?- a machine to become without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? do you think, because i am poor, obscure, plain, and little, i am soulless and heartless? you think wrong!- i have as much soul as you – and full as much heart! and if god had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, i should have made it as hard for you to leave me , as it is now for me to leave you. i am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed thorugh the grave, and we stood at god’s feet, equal – as we are!’

    …..(skipping lots of description that i wish i could put down as well, yet, space and time forbids me to do so)

    ‘but jane, i summon you as my wife: it is you only i intend to marry.’

    i was silent: i thought he mocked me.

    ‘come jane-come hither.’

    he rose, and with a stride reached me.

    ‘my bride is here,; he said, again drawing me to him, ‘becasue my equal is here, and my likeness. jane, will you marry me?’

    still i did not answer, and still i writhed myself from his grasp: for i was still incredulous.

    ‘do you doubt me, jane?’


    ‘you have no faith in me?’

    ‘not a whit’

    oh well, i think this is long enough. pardon my habits which may mislead you into thinking that i am some granny with much spare time. i am still very young mind you! lolz

  6. Yea that’s why I’m planning to bring some. It’s a transit flight, stopping at Japan first before boarding another plane.

  7. I’d tried Pride and Prejudice after my sister read it and we watched the movies(as well as the film Sense and Sensibility), but I could manage up until the 40-something-th chapter! Overload of flowly descriptive language, haha. I shall go back to it when I’m sure I won’t come out of it gushing in an intermittent English accent and dreaming of strolling along lovely countryside estates in a Victorian dress!

  8. (I did like Catcher in the Rye, though I could see why it was banned and criticised and all that when it first came out. I thought it was a very meaningful book on the whole.)

  9. Oh,the woman in white.
    THAT book.
    I think i bought it a few years back,but did not really read it cause it is so wordy and thick to me.
    Maybe i should try to read this book soon..

  10. This response is for ‘nosy sec 4’

    Hi my friend! How well you know me and the questions I will ask. While it pains me to be so predictable, I must say that it makes for more efficiency overall. Thanks for the excerpt from the book. It helps everyone to get a sense of how the language flows as well as the way the story is constructed. I can tell you are young, don’t worry. By the time you get to my age you run out of patience to type so much!

    I like the comments you have made about the book. This is what makes these books classics- the fact that they have so much depth and breadth that even decades after they are written they still have great appeal. I guarantee that if you read it 10 years later, you will find more in it than you see now, because of your increased experience and maturity.

    Keep reading, my young friend. In the end an arbitrary grade fades into insignificance compared to the wisdom that follows passion for knowledge.

  11. This response is for Akanksha

    Yes CITR was extremely controversial. That must be the reason for its lasting appeal! Forbidden fruit is always sweetest, even if it is now allowed. The fact that it was once forbidden is enough. But apart from that the way you are forced to get into Holden’s head is pretty creepy, isn’t it?

    I LOVE P&P. From the first line I was hooked. Elizabeth Bennet has always been one of my favourite heroines because she is so wonderfully imperfect. Everytime someone disagrees with the way she handles a situation I am reminded of myself! But at the same time she has admirable courage which I have never had!

  12. Anonymous (how I HATE that word!), don’t get scared off by thick books. You get lots of mileage from them.

    Myst, I hope your trip is going well, homework, reading and all.

    CZL, great to hear from you. Hope you are having great holidays.

  13. reading a book called ‘The Magdalene Cipher’, but i prefer visual types, as in, videos and movies.

    movies are much more enriching in my opinion as it keeps my mind active throughout the entire movie.

    maybe that’s why i don’t really read a lot of books, as they shut my brain down after some time has passed. and i think watching movies help with conversational skills as well(: provided you pay close attention, that is.

    and lastly, a belated Merry Christmas!

  14. after reading what the nosy sec 4 has typed, i just wanted to guess the identity of the person. and i think its catherine tan from 4e4. am i right?!?! ( just rather curious, cos that comment seemed like a review of good books from a magazine or something)

  15. Hi Mrs V,

    After resting for sometime during these few months (you know what I meant) I have been much better and slowly starting to read again (I used to read The Straits Times everytime and novels during evenings, but since Oct, I had no mood and energy to read even the newspaper till recent days).

    As I was rather busy, I had no time to catch ‘The Golden Compass’ movie, thus the best way to keep myself into such fantasy, I picked up ‘Nothern Lights’ aka The Golden Compass book to read two weeks ago. Well, its not bad, not quite fantastic but I am itchy to purchase the 2nd and 3rd books of its Trilogy story soon.

    My plan is, after reading these books, its time for me to keep aside my cash and go to the libraries to borrow books instead. It’s also time for me to borrow children books and teach Kaiyang into reading, rather than playing swords and fighting. He will be starting nursery the day after.

  16. A very good idea. The sooner you start reading to him the better. I started reading to my kids when they were a couple of weeks old. The first books had only mirrors and squishy pages, but it got them believing that fun lay between the pages of book-shaped objects. Later on words came in and although they did not know how to read them, they enjoyed sitting in my lap and listening to me read to them. Of course now they can read on their own, but they still like being read to.

    I hope you are looking after yourself well. And yes- libraries are a great way to save money. Books are very expensive in Singapore.

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