Book Reading Can Actually Improve Your Life

1. Heart of Darkness :-

Joseph Conrad was a Polish novelist who lived most of his life in Britain and didn’t learn English until age 21. The young Conrad lived an adventurous life involving gunrunning and political conspiracy and apparently had a ruinous love affair that plunged him into despair. He served 16 years in the merchant navy. In 1894, at age 36, Conrad reluctantly gave up the sea, partly because of poor health and partly because he had decided to embark on a literary career. In Conrad’s haunting tale, Charles Marlow, a sailor and wanderer, narrates his physical and psychological journey in search of the mysterious Kurtz. Travelling to the heart of the African continent, he discovers how Kurtz’s domination of the local natives has transformed him into a depraved and abominable tyrant. Marlow’s struggle to plumb his experience involves him in a radical questioning of not only his own nature and values but the nature and values of his society. A masterly blend of adventure, character development and psychological penetration, Heart of Darkness is considered by many as Conrad’s finest, most enigmatic story.

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2. Arms And The Man :-

Arms and the Man is one of George Bernard Shaw’s most glittering comedies that takes place during the 1885 Serbo- Bulgarian War. Raina Petkoff is a young Bulgarian woman engaged to the gallant and chivalrous Sergius Saranoff, hero of the recent Bulgarian victtoorryy over the Serbs. Raina idolizes Sergius, but is, however, distracted by the abrupt arrival of ‘Captain Bluntschli, a Swiss mercenary who fought for the Serbian army. He takes refuge in her bedroom after the battle and although he is initially threatening, reveals that he carries chocolates instead of bullets. As the Petkoff family, their servants, and the soldier himself scramble to keep their secrets and preserve their ideals, they are forced to question their romantic notions about war, love, social class, and themselves. The play ends with Raina renouncing her idyllic love for her fiance and proclaiming her love for Bluntschli, her chocolate-cream soldier.

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3. Pygmalion :-

Professor Higgins claims to his friend Colonel Pickering that he could pass off  a cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a duchess by teaching her to speak properly. She asks Higgins for lessons and he takes her as his pupil. In the course of her education she emerges not merely as a presentable lady but as a beautiful lady of increasing sensitivity and accomplishment. To Higgins, however, she is just a successful experiment. This immensely popular romantic comedy by George Bernard Shaw is not only a classic in its own right, but has spawned numerous plays, stories and films (including its memorable official celluloid adaptation Professor Higgins claims to his friend Colonel Pickering that he could pass off) a cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a duchess by teaching her to speak properly. She asks Higgins for lessons and he takes her as his pupil. In the course of her education she emerges not merely as a presentable lady but as a beautiful lady of increasing sensitivity and accomplishment. To Higgins, however, she is just a successful experiment. This immensely popular romantic comedy by George Bernard Shaw is not only a classic in its own right, but has spawned numerous plays, stories and films (including its memorable official celluloid adaptation My Fair Lady) all over the world.

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4. The Apple Cart :-

The Apple Cart, which was completed in December 1928, is a wry political satire by George Bernard Shaw. Its plot concerns a monarch who is assaulted by his elected cabinet. They feel that the king is too meddlesome and threaten to resign if he does not sign an ultimatum, which in effect would strip him of his authority and turn him into a powerless figurehead. Either way, the king would be doomed, without a cabinet or without power; his dilemma is the play’s catalyst. What follows is political debate, as many sides and problems are discussed and revealed. Added to the commentary on politics is a brief interlude on marriage and adultery, as well as a scene with an American ambassador mocking full democracy and capitalism. Coupled with Shaw’s astute insight and sparkling wit, the play succeeds brilliantly in exposing ‘the unreality of both democracy and royalty as our idealists conceive them.’ His adept portrayal of Breakages, Limited, offers foresight and perspective into the ‘destruction, waste, and disease’ brought by private capitalism that are all too topical today.

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5. The Return Of The Native :-

The Return of the Native is widely recognized to be one of Thomas Hardy’s most representative works. In this tale of doomed love, passion, estrangement and melancholy, Hardy brilliantly explores the theme that is so familiar throughout his fiction: the diabolical role of chance in determining the course of action. When Clym Yeobright (the ‘native’) returns to Egdon Heath from his studies in Paris, he decides to reject his chosen profession and instead marry the lovely but capricious Eustacia Vye. Clym’s passion for Eustacia leads to his estrangement with his mother, Mrs. Yeobright, who disapproves of the alliance. Prior to Clym’s return, Eustacia loved Damon Wildeve; that is, until he proposed marriage to Clym’s cousin, Thomasin Yeobright. To further complicate things, Diggory Venn, a reddleman, secretly admires Thomasin.

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