Yours truly is still here. Read two books.
The Adventure of English by Melvyn Bragg
As the title says, the book treats English as the protogonist and traces how it was born, how it grew, how it almost died and how it came back to conquer the world. There are chapters on the various english dialects. American and Indian, in particular. I finally learnt why american english is spoken with an even stress on the syllables while britons speak it with hump and thump. Noah Webster’s little book on spelling and pronunciation is the reason, sez Bragg. Bragg’s love for the language comes through very well. There’s quite a procession of words. I liked aisukurimu – the japanese adaptation of Icecream. So cool. Indian english is given a few pages. I wasn’t satisfied with it but that’s probably because I was expecting a lot more than reasonable. Nuf said. Read it.
The second book is a classic novella that was on my reading list for sometime. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
First the style. Conrad’s story takes the form of a narration within a narration. A listener tells us a personal story that he hears from another man. I’ve not read any story of this form before. Conrad is a master. The style is brilliant. The story is about a seaman’s journey into Africa during the time of slave trade. It deals with human nature at its most corrupted state. Conrad has been called a racist after he published this story. I don’t agree. He may have been but that does not alter the effect of the story on a discerning reader. I recollected another story I read that is related to the dark themes handled in this story. Lord of Flies by William Golding.
I picked up both books from the local library.