Shweta enjoyed reading Judy Finnigan’s Eloise: What secrets did she take to her grave?
This haunting meditation on female friendship and motherhood is the debut work of Judy Finnigan, broadcaster, journalist and Book Club champion. The character Eloise has died and her friend Cathy, who suffers from depression, is devastated. She realizes that all is not well. Her husband who is a psychiatrist dismisses her concerns but Cathy probes deep and arrives at a secret. This light read was a Sunday Times Bestseller.
Arvind talked about a book of the collected works of Coleridge, which spurred much conversation. People are more familiar with Wordsworth’s Daffodils but Coleridge was well-known at the time for his poems The Ancient Mariner, Christabel, Kubla Khan.
Even though Coleridge’s poems have figured in the school curriculum and may readers are familiar with his works, he was primarily a prose writers. Arvind read out a lyrical passage:
“A man may look at glass, or through it, or both. That all earthly things be unto thee as glass to see heaven through! Religious ceremonies should be pure glass, not dyed in the gorgeous crimsons and purple blues and greens of the drapery of saints and saintesses.”
The discussion turned toward the rivalry between Wordsworth and Coleridge and poetry in general. Some readers found the entire exercise of reading poems like The Charge of the Light Brigade futile. Others felt that appreciation of poetry needs to be taught not for the sake of grading but for enjoyment; take the joy a poem like Lochinvar can give you, for instance. Abhaya mentioned how he preferred the rhythms of Hindi poetry, say the poetry of Subhadra Kumari Chauhan. But so much about poetry appreciation depends on whether the language or context is relevant today. One good way of keeping abreast with poetry and also enjoying the newer rhythms of free verse is to listen to poetry podcasts like these: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/series/74641/poetrynow
Poetry and art are subjective experiences and the goal, if there is any, is to evoke a feeling. What do you make of this poem by Ezra Pound?
The apparition of these faces in the crowd:Petals on a wet, black bough.
Stephen is a big fan of cyberpunk and sci-fi. He spoke about Tiger! Tiger! by Alfred Bester. The story is set in the twenty-fourth century begins with a man called Gulliver Foyle who marooned in space and how he takes revenge on Vorga. Bester’s settings are breathtaking and touch on sci-fi staples like teleporting and mega-corporations. The mega-corporation theme somehow led the conversation to the idea of naming characters after the companies where they work and even how in the US, slaves were often named after their owners. Ideas about how the World Wars led to all technological prowess and how companies play the role of conglomerates that dictate policy were discussed. Stephen mentioned that Bester did have a problem with female characters as well but this is not surprising as the book was published in the 1950s.
More books in Part 7.