Book Reviews

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley Book review

It’s been a while since I’ve read this gorgeus book – poetry in the form of a monstrous story. Man trying to be God by creating life – in his own form and shape – and then having to deal with the birth of identity, free will and intelligence. Does it sound familiar to you? A creature, after receiving the gift of thought, starts doubting the purpose of his existence and hating his maker? A mis-understood lost soul only looking for affection and upon receiving none going out to destroy?

“I, who irretrievably destroyed thee by destroying all thou lovedst”

images.pngFrankenstein is a literature classic as it deals with concepts of Man vs God, Man vs Man and inner doubt about the ethics of creation. It’s still valid today as it was nearly two hundred years ago as it poses the question: If man is able to create life, should he?


A poem for those who were left behind

He would not stay for me, and who can wonder

A. E. Housman1859 – 1936

He would not stay for me, and who can wonder?
He would not stay for me to stand and gaze.
I shook his hand, and tore my heart in sunder,
And went with half my life about my ways.


Sonnet 104 -To me, fair friend, you never can be old, Shakespeare

To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were, when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,


Heaven * George Herbert * The echo poem

wood_nymphs_by_adysmithO who will show me those delights on high?
Echo.         I.
Thou Echo, thou art mortall, all men know.
Echo.         No.
Wert thou not born among the trees and leaves?
Echo.         Leaves.
And are there any leaves, that still abide?
Echo.         Bide.
What leaves are they? impart the matter wholly.
Echo.         Holy.
Are holy leaves the Echo then of blisse?
Echo.         Yes.
Then tell me, what is that supreme delight?
Echo.         Light.
Light to the minde : what shall the will enjoy?
Echo.         Joy.
But are there cares and businesse with the pleasure?
Echo.         Leisure.
Light, joy, and leisure ; but shall they persever?
Echo.         Ever.


Why I loved King Lear * Shakespeare

Let it be so.

Thy truth then be thy dower.

For by the sacred radiance of the sun, The mysteries of Hecate and the night, By all the operation of the orbs From whom we do exist and cease to be— Here I disclaim all my paternal care, Propinquity, and property of blood, And as a stranger to my heart and me Hold thee from this for ever. The barbarous Scythian, Or he that makes his generation messes To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom Be as well neighbored, pitied, and relieved As thou my sometime daughter.

Then that’s the way it’ll be. The truth will be all the inheritance you get. I swear by the sacred sun, by the mysterious moon, and by all the planets that rule our lives, that I disown you now as my daughter. As of now, there are no family ties between us, and I consider you a stranger to me. Foreign savages who eat their own children for dinner will be as close to my heart as you, ex-daughter of mine.



The Voice * Thomas Hardy Poem * Love!

o_death__come_near_me_by_silvertwilights-d6kdqrkWoman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!

spirit_of_the_forest_by_rob_joseph-d71h5kqOr is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?

Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)

Book Reviews

A tale of two cities * Charles Dickens

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.

These famous lines, which open A Tale of Two Cities, hint at the novel’s central tension between love and family, on the one hand, and oppression and hatred, on the other. The passage makes marked use of anaphora, the repetition of a phrase at the beginning of consecutive clauses—for example, “it was the age . . . it was the age” and “it was the epoch . . . it was the epoch. . . .” This technique, along with the passage’s steady rhythm, suggests that good and evil, wisdom and folly, and light and darkness stand equally matched in their struggle. The opposing pairs in this passage also initiate one of the novel’s most prominent motifs and structural figures—that of doubles, including London and Paris, Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay, Miss Pross and Madame Defarge, and Lucie and Madame Defarge.

Book Reviews

VOX – Nicholson Baker – Book Review

Vox is the story of two voices, his and hers: two strangers who, having met on a telephone chat-line, switch to a private, one-on-one connection – and find it impossible to hang up. Literate, humorous, erotic, Vox is a classic of bedtime reading.

There are many things – many intimate things – to talk about. Not jobs or old lovers or favourite films (nothing that could be described as the normal stuff of a normal conversation) but only, exclusively, the stuff that a normal conversation never allows.


What people think about when they are alone in the dark confines of their bed (or, for that matter, in the brightly lit photocopy room of a deserted office). Or the moments – reading a book, watching a video, taking a shower – when the mind wanders and cannot be stopped…

These voices – his and hers, these strangers brought together by the anonymous workings of a transcontinental communications technology – are young and self-aware and relentless in their determination to discuss everything. And I mean everything.

There is this segment at the start of the book where he is talking about Tinker Bell (Disney’s Peter Pan). See excerpt below:

“And she’s tiny, she’s a tiny suburbanite, she’s about five inches tall.

This insubstantial, magical, cutely Walt Disneyish woman. But then this thing happens. She pauses in mid-air and she looks down at herself, and she’s got quite small breasts – ”

“I thought you didn’t like that word.”

“You’re right, but sometimes it seems right. Actually, most of the time it’s the right word. Anyway, she’s got quite small breasts but quite large little hips and large little thighs, ans she’s wearing this tiny little outfit that’s torn or jaggedly cut and barely covers her, and she looks down at herself, a lovely little pouty face, and she puts her hands on her hips as if to measure them, and she shakes her head sadly – too wide, too wide, Oh, that got me hot. This tiny sprite with big hips. And then a second later she gets caught in a dresser drawer among a lot of sewing things and she tries to fly out the keyhole but – nope, her hips are too wide, she gets stuck!”

“Sounds sizzling hot.”

This back-and-forward continues in a delightful crescendo and all I wish, as a reader, is for them to meet. They click so well, even if their only discussion matter is the physical and the erotic, fantasies of the most private kind.

But what are their fantasies really all that fantastic?

What kind of novel is Vox? Literate and contemporary and intensely erotic. It is the most dangerous book about safe sex you’ll find. And I must say, it outranked 50 Shades of Gray in my books for tantalizing scenes.


Nicholson Baker writes with the heart. I’ve had conversations like this. You’ve had conversations like this. Whether or not they tended to the erotic doesn’t matter, the point is: we’ve all spoken to another person that we’ve been interested in, and they’ve returned the interest, and we know the way we talk and what we talk about.

This novel perfectly captures this, and by the end of it, I felt utterly sad that these two, imperfect, beautiful, interesting and sexual characters were just that…characters. Never have I felt so cheated before, or so thankful that I had been, if only for a moment, able to glimpse into the minds of these two extraordinarily ordinary people, through one simple phone conversation.

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About the author

Nicholson Baker2 cr. Jerry BauerNicholson Baker was born in New York in 1957. He is the author of eight novels, including The Mezzanine, Vox and Room Temperature, all published by Granta Books, and five non-fiction works, including a book about John Updike, U & I, and Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, for which he won the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award.