Books, Memes, Reviews

Loyalty, Revenge, and Growing-up – Emotions Run High Here.

Playing catch up is not really cool.. but sometimes, we end up having to do it, everyone of us (well, many of us, not all and I am one who gets caught up in the catching up cycle every once in a while). Ski-break week for the kids’ schools was last week and with nary a snow flake in sight, and lots of coughing going around, it was a break spent indoors mostly.  Now break is long over, and here I am (the kids were the ones with the holiday and I vacationed – indoors – with them!) with this post where Emotions Run High !!

So, I did do a lot of reading and reviews for any I miss today will come soon.

For the Short Story Reading Challenge – Deal Me In 2018, here is my pick for the last three weeks and my list of selected reading can be found here.

Week 7 Deal Me In The Card:  3 of Clubs (and I soon need to get cool cards to use for this – starting with either the Alice deck or the Jane Austen deck – you can check them out here)The Selection: Tagore’s ‘My Lord, the Baby’  – you can read it here. My clubs deck is selections from my copy of the Reader’s Digest ‘Great Short Stories of the World’

My Thoughts: I think I fell in love with Tagore’s writing when we first learned the words to the poem ‘Heaven of Freedom’ in school. This was one of the many songs we would sing in assembly in school. I found the music for it here so you can have a listen too here. A few years later, again at school, I read the story ‘Kabuliwala’ in our Hindi fiction textbook and I fell in love all over again. Kabuliwala can do that to you – easily tug at your heartstrings – and my review of this story (read for last year’s Deal Me In) is here.

Back to My Lord, or rather, finally moving on to the short story I need to talk about here: ‘My Lord, the Baby’ is the story of Raicharan, a ‘manny’ assigned to taking care of his master’s young son while he himself was but a child. When both are grown up and move on to the next phase on their, Raicharan is next given the care of his young master’s baby and what follows next, is a series of sweet events followed by those that could be called unfortunate. Tagore’s portrayal of affection, loyalty, parental love, devotion, guilt, and a vast array of human emotions are as with other stories he has written, brilliant here too. Read the story to find out for yourself.

To Sum It Up: brilliant.

Week 8 Deal Me In The Card:  9 of Diamonds

The Selection: Eleven by Sandra Cisneros – you can read it here. My Diamonds deck is poetry/essays and stories from an online source. The story is also in a collection of shorts by Cisneros ‘Woman Hollering Creek: and Other Stories’

My Thoughts: Are you really as old as you are? How old are you really? If you are 40, aren’t you also 39, 38, and every other age you were before – as Rachel, the eleven year old in the story says of growing old – ‘kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one.‘ Rachel is eleven, and wishes she were anything but eleven, on this – her eleventh birthday – when she is faced with a cottage-cheese-smelling-ugly-red sweater that nobody has claimed but everyone has decided must be hers. What better way to be totally, horribly embarrassed on her birthday than this, oh, she surely wishes she were way, way older so she knew how to handle the situation, or way, way younger so she could totally cry it out and not worry about it… all the feelings that go on in a eleven year old’s mind when faced with her version of the worst thing to happen (on her birthday), the sheer unfairness of it all – brought out in brilliant prose filled with similes and metaphors that hop and jump all over the story.  I felt like I was eleven again, reading this story, the joy of being eleven in this case, of discovering a story with layers like that of an onion!!

‘Only today I wish I didn’t have only eleven years rattling inside me like pennies in a tin Band-Aid box.’

To Sum It Up: Loved it like I love dessert…

Week 9 Deal Me In The Card:  10 of Spades

The Selection: The title story from the collection ‘Stone Mattress’ by Margaret Atwood – you can read it here. My Spades deck is stories from an online source.
My Thoughts: While I keep hearing rave reviews about the book and the TV series based on the same for ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood, I somehow never got around to reading it. And when this week’s pick of the draw ended up as the 10 of spades, I read me some Atwood in the form of a short story titled ‘Stone Mattress’, and I am glad I did. Now I wonder how many times I have said that already over the past few years when I read a short story by a writer new to me..too many, I am guessing. And it is true once again. Atwood’s writing in this story is pure fun, pure wickedness, and all woman! I loved it. Verna is definitely one smart chick (well, a old woman, as she herself says once in the story) and reinvents herself and the origins of her name each time she hooks a new husband. And Bob – well, he was not to be one, a husband to Verna, I mean, but he ended up having the same fate as her husbands – end-of-life-for-him, thanks to a beautiful and really ancient (read 1.9 billion years old) stromatolite.  This reminded me of another equally wicked read that I read in our accompanying fiction text in high school (and that reading did increase my love for short stories since the selection there was just wonderful, and I do thank those persons in the education board who were in charge of these books!) – Roald Dahl’s ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ which is in many collections of his short stories – one of them aptly named ‘Tales of the Unexpected’.
To Sum It Up: Wickedly awesome

So what about you? Have you read any of these stories? Or these writers? Your thoughts? And do you love to read stories where emotions run high.
As for me, I will read more of the stories in Atwood’s ‘Stone Mattress’ and definitely read Cisneros’ ‘The House on Mango Street’.

9 thoughts on “Loyalty, Revenge, and Growing-up – Emotions Run High Here.

  1. I haven’t read any of these books or heard of them, but I really have been wanting to start reading regularly again.. Maybe I’ll start with one of these!

  2. I read The Stone Mattress collection a while back (and used at least a few of the stories for prior Deal Me Ins, I think – or at least other reading challenges). But I definitely remember this one. Atwood is one of my favorite writers.

    I haven’t explored Tagore or Cisneros yet, though the former has been recommended to me more than once. I will have to maybe use one of my wild cards on him in this year’s Deal me In.

    P.S. It’s always been one of my favorite features of this challenge – since they’re “only” short stories, even if you fall behind a bit it doesn’t take too long to catch up with your reading.

  3. These all sound so interesting. I been wanting to start reading for pleasure again and been meaning to look for some good books to read. I’ll look into these! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I haven’t read any of them, actually. But I loved the one with the idea that you are every age you have ever been! What a neat idea. So presumably, you would have access to the person you were, the traits you had, at any of those ages.

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