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Reflection

Midnight’s Children Read-Along : One Week to Go!

Time flies! We are in November now and we are one week before we begin reading the Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children together. I am very excited, hope you are too! Do you have a copy of the book with you right now? Beg, steal or borrow a copy if you don’t. If you wish to start reading now, it’s not a problem at all. Do remember to come back here and check what the group members have to say about the book and keep the discussion going!

So here’s the plan:

We’ll begin on the 12th November, Friday (00:00 Greenwich time) and ends on the 12th December, Sunday.

At the beginning of each weekend, I will post a weekly post with book-club discussion questions and you can post your thoughts and discussion about what you read throughout the week. It is absolutely fine if you don’t have a blog, just paste your reviews and your thoughts on the comments box. If you have a blog, send me a link to your blog post.

On the following weekend, I’ll do a quick wrap-up post on everyone’s and my progress.

At the end of the challenge, I’ll post a short quiz about the novel and you can show off your great memory skill and see how many of the questions you have got it right (without resorting to cheating or referring to the novel, that is!).

An introduction about the book:

Midnight’s Children won both the 1981 Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for the same year. It was awarded the “Booker of Bookers” Prize and the best all-time prize winners in 1993 and 2008 to celebrate the Booker Prize 25th and 40th anniversary. Midnight’s Children is also the only Indian novel on Time’s list of the 100 best English-language novels since its founding in 1923.

Midnight’s Children is a 1981 book by Salman Rushdie about India’s transition from British colonialism to independence. It is considered an example of postcolonial literature and magical realism. The story is expressed through various characters and is contexted by actual historical events as with historical fiction.

Noted director Deepa Mehta is working on the forthcoming film Midnight’s Children and is collaborating on the screenplay with Rushdie. The casting is still in progress. Mehta has stated that production will begin in September, 2010. (Source: Wikipedia)

There is still time. Round up your friends, grab a copy of Midnight Children and come read along with me this November!! 😀

Here’s the participants list again (in order of sign-up):

Wilfrid Wong

Adrian of Reading Monk

Mel U of Reading Life

Bina of  “If you can read this”

Vishy of Vishy’s Blog

Jessica of Park Benches and Bookends

Stu of Winston’s Dad Blog

Rob McMonigal of Book Stew

Birdy of Life Word Smith

Pete Karnas of What You Read

Sign up now and I’ll add you in!

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.

Discussion

17 thoughts on “Midnight’s Children Read-Along : One Week to Go!

  1. I am really looking forward to this and hope to learn a lot from my fellow readers

    Posted by Mel u | November 5, 2010, 2:32 am
  2. I’m on holiday when this one starts but I am still participating, I have my copy on the kindle so am completely obilvious to the size of the thing.

    Posted by Jessica | November 5, 2010, 8:45 am
  3. thanks for reminder Jov ,all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | November 5, 2010, 12:52 pm
  4. I’m so looking forward to this! Got Midnight’s Children from the library yesterday! 🙂

    Posted by Bina | November 5, 2010, 8:30 pm
  5. Nice post, Jo! Can’t wait for Friday 🙂 I haven’t started reading the book yet, but I am hoping to start soon and I am looking forward to reading your post on Friday and other readers’ posts too and learning from them.

    To set the ‘controversy’ ball rolling – I found this quote in your post interesting – “Midnight’s Children is also the only Indian novel…”. I don’t know whether it is taken from Wikipedia. I don’t know whether ‘Indian novel’ means a novel with Indians as main characters and with the setting as India. If that is the case, then I would agree with that. (By the same token, we can call ‘The Ladies No.1 Detective Agency’ series of novels by Alexander McCall Smith, Bostwanian novels). But if ‘Indian novel’ means that it is written by an ‘Indian’ author, and Salman Rushdie is an ‘Indian’ author, then I don’t agree with it. I personally feel that Rushdie is a British author who wrote about India, in the same way that Jhumpa Lahiri is an American author who writes about India, Rohinton Mistry is a Canadian author who writes about India, V.S.Naipaul is a British-Trinidadian author who writes about India sometimes and Lisa See is an American author who writes about China. I would love to hear what you think about this 🙂

    Posted by Vishy | November 9, 2010, 8:47 am
    • Vishy, wow you got my head cracking this morning! It is good that wiki put it this way, “Indian novel”, if it were to be “Indian Author” it will be misquoted and I would be in trouble! ha ha :D. Let me quote an example of Arabic literature, because I am closer to it and has been following blogs on Arab literature closely. What qualifies as an arabic literature? An Arabic literature as it is discussed in that blog is a piece of literature written by an Arabic (by ethnicity, not by nationality) author in Arabic language and translated to English to reach the wider audience. That is in pure sense, but if an Arab (regardless of his or her nationality) publishes an English book say based on Palestine or Middle Eastern conflicts as a background, that’s an arabic lit too! In converse, interestingly I have observed a westerner (an outsider to the culture) who writes about Arab culture or settings, are not featured heavily, but sometimes it is loosely refered to as middle eastern novel, but not an arab literature.

      I suppose people haven’t given it much thought about the definition, as long as it is published by an Arab, or published in the Arab language it will be an Arabic literature.
      So referring to your example, Midnight’s children is a novel about India, written by an overseas Indian by ethnicity, therefore in every way I look at it, it is an Indian novel.

      I am a great advocate on a world without borders, embrace differences, yet never to forget my root. So nationalities are of immaterial to me. The Middle Easterners are the SAME group of people, it is borders that made them different, (hence Isreali, Palestinian, Jordanian, Qatari), in this sense the Arabs are more holistic and proud of their ancestry, no matter where the diaspora of their race go in the four corners of the earth, they belong to the Arabic race.

      Many people do use stereotypical “terminology” to describe certain things, it is only natural because our brains need to make sense of the world around us, so we box them according to our understanding.

      So in conclusion, Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Rohinton Mistry are all Indians. They have Indian parents, they practices a certain degree of Indian traditions (anyway I am not going to go down the line about how they are actually brought up….!), family cultures are rooted in India… by ethnicity they are all Indians. Do you not agree?

      This is interesting, would you like me to feature it as my blog post and see what other ppl think? 😀

      Posted by JoV | November 9, 2010, 12:31 pm
      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic, Jo 🙂 I found your thoughts quite interesting. I liked very much your comment – “I am a great advocate on a world without borders, embrace differences, yet never to forget my root. So nationalities are of immaterial to me.” Your example of what is regarded as Arab literature was quite interesting and explanatory.

        I am still confused, though 🙂 When does an ‘Indian’ cease to be an ‘Indian’? (Or a ‘Chinese’ a ‘Chinese’ or an ‘Arab’ an ‘Arab’) Is ethnicity enough to suggest a person is Indian or Chinese or Arab? Or is it the way a child is brought up that suggests that? For example, many people think that V.S.Naipaul is Indian, though he himself thinks he is British-Trinidadian. What about Lisa See? Is she Chinese because one of her forefathers was Chinese? And to take a more famous example – what about Obama? Is he Kenyan because his father was Kenyan? (When he was sworn in as American President, people celebrated it in Kenya). In India, we have an interesting case – there was a gentleman called Verrier Elwin, who came from England and settled down in India, did a lot of research on tribals in India, published books and articles on it and married a tribal girl. What about him? Is he Indian? All fascinating questions 🙂 I feel that these questions arise most of the time because of narrow national boundaries and the way we compartmentalize things to understand them, as you have beautifully put it.

        If you think this is an interesting topic, you can feature it in your blog post 🙂

        Posted by Vishy | November 9, 2010, 1:19 pm
        • Vishy, to answer your questions, here are my thoughts:
          An Arab never cease to be an arab, a Chinese never cease to be one either. to compartmentalise, ethnicity do suggest what a person is, but in wider context, an outsider may consider his other backgrounds (educational, nationality, etc). V.S Naipaul is a Trinidadian Indian (No matter what he wanted to say), does this make sense? I was hunting high and low abt Lisa See’s background, her forefather is Chinese? then she could be 1/4 or half Chinese. Obama is half African. Verrier Elwin is English (can be Scottish or Irish etc) but holds an Indian nationality. But he will not be an Indian in pure ethnicity sense. 😉 As my email strongly concluded, we mix mesh nationality, ethnicity, religion to define a group of people. it’s not anyone’s fault that we get this wrong! 😀

          Posted by JoV | November 9, 2010, 4:01 pm
  6. Woah. Time flies! This is exciting. I will notify my readers this week through my site and through Facebook!

    Posted by Wilfrid | November 10, 2010, 2:36 am
  7. I am waiting for tomorrow to get started! Had been a bit busy lately and couldn’t get much reading done. But I hope to keep up with the readalong! Anyway, no harm in plunging right in and beginning! 🙂

    Posted by Birdy | November 11, 2010, 10:31 am
  8. Also, I am borrowing your pic of the Readalong to post on my blog with a link to your blog 🙂

    Posted by Birdy | November 11, 2010, 10:32 am

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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