Tag: reading

The Lord Of The Rings Audio Book

J R Tolkien

Is The Lord Of The Rings Audio Book Suitable For Tolkien Purists?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy has taken the world by storm over the last few years. J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic stories have been given a new lease of life thanks to the fantastic cinematic world of Peter Jackson. His film adaptations captured the spirit of the original novels and created a whole new army of Tolkien fans. They were released in three installments as The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003). As an aside, in 1978 th…

The Lord of the Rings trilogy has taken the world by storm over the last few years. J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic stories have been given a new lease of life thanks to the fantastic cinematic world of Peter Jackson. His film adaptations captured the spirit of the original novels and created a whole new army of Tolkien fans. They were released in three installments as The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003). As an aside, in 1978 the animator Ralph Bakshi created an animated version of the story, attracting more fans to the world of the Shire and Middle Earth (though not to the same degree as Jackson’s creation).

However, despite the popularity of the novels and the films, many people are unaware of the wonderful Lord of the Rings audio book. The audio book is attracting a sizable fan base, although purists might sneer at the idea of an audio book version of the novel. However, the classic text read aloud brings a whole new dimension to the story and may even provide new insights into the plot. Also, consider the convenience of being able to listen to the novels whilst on the move: in the car, on the train or plane, for example. Maybe you’d like some entertainment whilst sunning yourself on the beach but can’t stand the glare of the sun on the white pages of a book!

Are there different versions of the Lord of the Rings Audio Book?

Yes, there are several versions of the story, but perhaps the best known is read by actor Robert Inglis. This is a mammoth work which runs to forty six CDs! The recording is first rate and is completely uncut, which means that you’re going to need quite a few days to get through the entire collection! For LOTR devotees this could be the first choice, especially if authenticity is your primary concern.

However, there is another extremely popular Lord of the Rings audio book produced by the BBC. You need to be aware that BBC audio books are usually in a radio-theater style rather than a simple, straightforward reading of the novel. This might be preferable if you are seeking a more entertaining, or fun, experience. The choice between the two styles of audio book is ultimately up to you and your personal preferences.

How much will all this cost me?

As you can imagine, forty six CDs is going to cost quite a bit of money. Think of it, though, as an investment in your future entertainment. In fact, the CDs could cost you up to $100 if bought brand new in the high street. However, thanks to the marvel that is the internet, it is possible to locate discounted, used copies from a number of suppliers. If cost is an issue for you then it would certainly pay to shop around on the web and locate a number of suppliers to compare prices.

Even die-hard Tolkien fans will find the Lord of the Rings audio book an entertaining experience.

Classical Definition of Ghazal

Arabian Woman

Talking About Ladies

Summary:

Ghazal ! The word originates from arabic, meaning, “way or mannerism of talking to or talking about women.” Thus in fact it s an expression of love! But in this ever changing world the ghazal has become a reflection of the life around us, and now there is hardly any sphere of human interaction which the ghazal hasn’t touched.

Ghazal ! The word originates from arabic, meaning, “way or mannerism of talking to or talking about women.” Thus in fact it s an expression of love! But in this ever changing world the ghazal has become a reflection of the life around us, and now there is hardly any sphere of human interaction which the ghazal hasn’t touched.

To better understand the finer nuances of Urdu ghazal it is imperative to understand the structure around which a ghazal is woven!
Classical Definition of Ghazal
Briefly stated Ghazal is a collection of Sher’s which follow the rules of ‘Matla’, ‘Maqta’, ‘Beher’, ‘Kaafiyaa’ and ‘Radif’. So to know what Ghazal is, it’s necessary to know what these terms mean.
To understand these terms easily , we will take an example.
1. koi ummid bar nahin aati
koi surat nazar nahin aati.
2. aage aati thi haale dil par hasi
ab kisi baat par nahin aati
3. hum wahan hain, jahan se humko bhi
kucch hamaari khabar nahin aati
4. kaabaa kis muh se jaaoge ‘Ghalib’
sharm tumko magar nahin aati

What is a Sher ?
It’s a poem of two lines. This definition is deceptively simple. Please note that, every Sher is a poem in itself ! A Sher does not need, anything around it, to convey the message. All the 4 stanzas in our example are independent poems, Sher’s.

So Ghazal is necessarily a collection of two-line-poems called Sher. [ So the Rafi solo “rang aur noor ki baaraat kise pesh karu” is NOT a Ghazal, as every stanza is of 3 lines, and not 2. ]

What are other restrictions ? Many, and important ones.
[ Any collection of Sher’s is not Ghazal. Some good examples are ; the famous Mukesh song from Yehoodi, “yeh mera deewaanaapan hai” ; and the title song of “dil apana aur preet parayi”. Each stanza in these songs can be considered as an independent Sher, but they are NOT Ghazal’s. To understand, why, we have to wait till ‘Kaafiyaa, ‘Radif’. ]

What is ‘Beher’ ?
‘Beher’ is the ‘meter’ of the Sher’s. It can be considered as the length of the Sher. Both the lines in the Sher *MUST* be of same ‘Beher’. And all the Sher’s in one Ghazal *MUST* be of the same ‘Beher’. There are 19 (!!) kinds of ‘Beher’. But in simple terms, ‘Beher’ is categorized in 3 classes. Short, medium, long.

Small :
ahale dairo-haram reh gaye
tere deewane kam reh gaye
[ Also Talat song, “dil-e-nadan tuze hua kya hai” ]

Medium :
umr jalwo me basar ho, ye zaruri to nahin
har shab-e-gam ki seher ho, ye zaruri to nahin
[ And by Gulzar, “ruke ruke se kadam, ruk ke baar baar chale” ]

Long :
ai mere humnashin, chal kahin aur chal, is chaman me ab apanaa guzaaraa nahin
baat hoti gulon ki, to seh lete hum, ab to kaaton pe bhi haq hamaaraa nahin
[ The filmfare winner, “Manzile apani jagah hai” !! Yes ! It IS a Ghazal. And the Shayar is Prakash Mehra !! surprise , surprise !! ]

So Ghazal is a collection of Sher’s of SAME ‘Beher’.

What is ‘Radif’ ?
In a Ghazal, second line of all the Sher’s MUST end with the SAME word/s. This repeating common words is the Radif’ of the Ghazal. In our example, the ‘Radif’ is “nahin aati”. [ Sometimes, the Ghazal becomes known by its ‘Radif’. eg. “jaraa aahista chal” sung by Pankaj Udhas. On RMIM we all know one Ghazal by the ‘Radif’ as “aahista aahista”, don’t we ? or is it 2 or 3 ?

What is ‘Kaafiyaa’ ?
‘Kaafiyaa’ is the rhyming pattern which all the words before ‘Radif’ MUST have. In our example the ‘Kaafiyaa’ is “bar”, “nazar”, “par”, “magar” etc. This is a necessary requirement. Something which is followed even in the exceptions to all these rules.

So Ghazal is a collection of Sher’s of same ‘Beher’, ending in same ‘Radif’ and having same ‘Kaafiyaa’. [ That’s the reason, why “yeh mera diwanapan hai” etc. are NOT Ghazals. There is no common thing which can be called ‘Kaafiyaa’ and ‘Radif’. ]

What is ‘Matla’ ?
The first Sher in the Ghazal *MUST* have ‘Radif’ in its both lines. This Sher is called ‘Matla’ of the Ghazal and the Ghazal is usually known after its ‘Matla’. There can be more than one ‘Matla’ in a Ghazal. In such a case the second one is called ‘Matla-e-saani’ or ‘Husn-e-matla’. In our example, the first Sher is the ‘Matla’.

What is ‘Maqta’ ?
A Shayar usually has an alias ie. ‘takhallus’ eg. Mirza Asadullakhan used ‘Ghalib’ as his ‘takhallus’ and is known by that. Other examples are ‘Daag’ Dehlvi, ‘Mir’ Taqi Mir, Said ‘Rahi’, Ahmed ‘Faraz’ etc. There is a Sher in a Ghazal, the last one, which has the Shayar’s ‘takhallus’ in it. [ A Shayar, can use the ‘Maqta’ very intelligently. He can “talk to himself” like one in our example. I have lots of favourite Sher’s which are ‘Maqta’ of some Ghazal. Some gems are

koi nam-o-nishan puchhe to ai kaasid bataa denaa,
takhallus ‘Daag’ hai, aur aahiqon ke dil me rehte hai

and

jab bhi milte hain, to kehte hain, “kaise ho ‘Shakil’”,
iske aage to koi baat nahin hoti hai

The first one uses the meaning of the ‘takhallus’ to create the magic, and the second one is just simple, simply beautiful. ]

To summarize, Ghazal is a collection of Sher’s (independent two-line poems), in which there is atleast one ‘Matla’, one ‘Maqta’ and all the Sher’s are of same ‘Beher’ and have the same ‘Kaafiyaa’ and ‘Radif’

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James Bond

James Bond

History and All Things James Bond 007

 

History and All Things James Bond 007

By Ben Smith

Being James Bond 007…Bond…James Bond…All the ladies love him and the men want to be him!

Originally a fictitious character created by author Ian Fleming, who incidentally was a keen Ornithologist and named James Bond after a Caribbean Bird Expert in his first Bond novel – “Casino Royale”! Ian Fleming had no idea of the hype and unrivaled phenomenon that was to come with his character and Bond materialised into one of the best known and best loved spies the world has ever known.

Who plays Bond? Well only the most debonair, sexy, handsome, suave and sophisticated, charming actors need apply with chiseled features and a voice that would melt an iceburg, ageless and timeless and totally unstoppable. Each of the actors who have played Bond have all given the Agent their own brand of spice and originality shaping and changing the character slightly. Actors to have played bond are David Niven, George Lazenby, Sir Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. Of course, until recently, Bond had a certain well groomed, never a hair out of place look until, in addition to the prerequisites above, the rugged Daniel Craig broke the mould and added a bit of roughness and edginess to the character.

Of course without the music the Bond films would be silent and not as intensely action packed. The title sequence, the music, the talents of the composers such as John Barry, Monty Norman and David Arnold, to name just a handful, have all made unforgettable music and help invoke the passions and danger that is Bond. Those theme tunes are often named after the title of the film – but not always – on the odd occasion the Film Theme will differ from the Theme song and these are highlighted below:

James Bond Theme (Dr No, Monty Norman Orchestra 1962), From Russia With Love (Matt Munro 1964), Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey 1964), Thunderball (Tom Jones 1965), You Only Live Twice (Nancy Sinatra 1967), Look of Love (Casino Royale – Serigo Mendez and Brasil 66 1967), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (John Barry Orchestra 1969), We Have All the Time in the World (Louis Armstrong 1969), Diamonds are Forever (Shirley Bassey 1971), Live & Let Die (Paul McCartney & Wings 1973), The Man With the Golden Gun (Lulu 1974), Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me – Carly Simon 1977), Moonraker (Shirley Bassey 1979), For Your Eyes Only (Sheena Easton 1981), All Time High (Octopussy – Rita Coolidge 1983), Never Say Never Again (Lani Hall 1983), A View to a Kill (Duran Duran 1985), The Living Daylights (A-ha 1987), License to Kill (Gladys Knight 1989), Goldeneye (Tina Turner 1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (Sheryl Crow 1997), The World is Not Enough (Garbage 1999), Die Another Die (Madonna 2002), You Know my Name (Casino Royale – Chris Cornell 2006), Another Way to Die (Quantum of Solace – Alicia Keys and Jack Black).

Of course last but not least, his favourite tipple has always been the iconic Martini…Shaken not Stirred…

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Victorian Literature

Victorian Authors

 

Victorian Literature

By Angelina Grey

The Victorian era or the Victorian period refers to the period of June 1837 to January 1901, as it was the period when Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire. The Victorian era is known as a period of prosperity and development for the British Empire. The period was marked by industrial development, rise of a larger stronger, as well as more educated middle class.

The era was preceded by the Georgian period and succeeded by the Edwardian period. A major feature of the Victorian period however has been the development in the field of art and culture. This period is characterized by intense and prolific adventurism in the field of literature, especially by novelists and poets.

The 19th century was witness to the growth of the novel as the leading form of literature, as far as the English language was concerned. Pieces by pre-Victorian writers like Walter Scott and Jane Austen, had mastered both closely-observed social satire, as well as adventure stories. Popular works were able to set up a market for novels amongst the reading public. The 19th century is many a time considered to be a high point in British literature, along with other countries like the United States of America, France, as well as Russia. Books, along with novels in particular, became omnipresent, and the Victorian novelists were able to churn out masterpieces, with continuous appeal.

Some of the most illustrated and talented Victorian novelists include Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lewis Carroll, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Benjamin Disraeli, George Eliot, George Meredith, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Philip Meadows Taylor, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Anthony Trollope, George MacDonald, G.M. Hopkins, Oscar Wilde and William Thackeray.

Victorian novels, used to be influenced by the large extensive novels of responsiveness of the preceding age. As it is, they often were more of idealized portraits of the difficult lives, where hard work, perseverance, love and luck would win out in the end. They portrayed a scenario, where virtue would be rewarded and the evil would be suitably punished. This formula was a striking feature of the earlier Victorian fiction. The situation, however, became more complex, with the progress of the century. By the 1880s and 90s, books became more realistic and at times even grimmer.

As it is, the Victorian age continues to be a major chapter in the long and illustrious history of the English language. The works of the period are often very relevant in contemporary times.

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