Top Ten Tuesday: Inspirational/Thought-Provoking Book Quotes (The John Buchan Edition)

Top Ten Tuesday newTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is Inspirational/Thought-Provoking Book Quotes. As a John Buchan nerd, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to construct my list from some of his many books, fiction and non-fiction.

“A man may be tired of the country, but when he is tired of London he is tired of life.” Samuel Johnson in Midwinter

“Of all the good gifts of a beneficent Providence to men…I think that none excels a well-appointed inn.” Samuel Johnson in Midwinter

[…]the true task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” The King’s Grace

“A fool tries to look different: a clever man looks the same and is different.” Richard Hannay in The Thirty-Nine Steps

“Every man at the bottom of his heart believes that he is a born detective.” Edward Leithen in The Power-House

“To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education.” Memory Hold-The-Door

“I have been happy in many things, but all my other good fortune has been as dust in the balance compared with the blessing of an incomparable wife.” Memory Hold-the-Door

“It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.” Mr. Standfast

You think that a wall as solid as the earth separates civilisation from barbarism.  I tell you the division is a thread, a sheet of glass.” Andrew Lumley in The Power-House

“He had never been lonely in his life before he met her, having at the worst found good company in himself; but now he longed for a companion, and out of all the many millions of the earth’s inhabitants there was only one that he wanted.” Jaikie in The House of the Four Winds



Blog Tour/Book Review: The Inside City by Anita Mir

Inside City Blog Tour Poster

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Inside City by Anita Mir. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Unbound for my review copy.  You can read my review below.

The Inside CityAbout the Book

There are ancient walled cities all across the world. This story begins in Lahore’s walled, or inside city, as it is called in Urdu, in what was then India.

It’s fear, Khurshid thought, just fear. Unwatched, her face was grim.

Barefoot, she walked to the wall of her rooftop courtyard and looked out at the city she had, in just three months, begun to love: a bulking city ever teetering upwards, with its twelve giant gates which closed each night, keeping them safe, from predators and marauders, and Dar said, bad dreams, but he’d smiled, so she’d known he was joking, only not what he meant.

A pir (seer) predicts great things for a soon to be born born boy, Awais. The year is 1919 – the year of the Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) Massacre where anywhere from 379-1,000 unsuspecting peaceful protestors were killed by armed British troops. Politics is everywhere and on every tongue. Will the British go? Will they be booted out? And what will happen to India, then?

But Khurshid, Awais’s mother, cares nothing for all that. Her dreams are not of nationhood; they centre on her boy who will give, she’s sure, her life the meaning and beauty she’s craved for so very long. As they wait for the future to unfold, no-one notices how different Khurshid s youngest daughter, Maryam, is. But then her secret is outed. Maryam has a superb gift for Maths.

Though she doesn’t want to think it, Khurshid begins to wonder if the pir (seer) had been right about the house but wrong about whom the gift of greatness was meant for. She checks herself but the idea grows and grows. She tries to teach Awais her burning overpowering hate. But Maryam is one of Awais’s two great loves. He can’t believe what his mother says. He can’t hate Maryam. Or, he wonders, can he?

Awais’s other great love is the inside city, which through a chance encounter, he has started to explore and to map. When Partition, brutal and horrendous, takes place in 1947, it is Awais knowledge of the inside city that will save lives. But will it be enough to save his family as well?

Format: ebook (368 pp.)    Publisher: Unbound Digital
Published: 21st March 2019           Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase Links*  ǀ  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Inside City on Goodreads

My Review

In The Inside City, the author creates a colourful collage that is part coming of age story, part family saga, part history of events leading up to partition and the creation of Pakistan. However, political events only ever act as a backdrop to the story of Awais and his extended family. Episodic in nature and with a large cast of characters, scenes are skilfully evoked often drawing the reader’s attention away from the political to the personal and acting as intriguing detours from wider events.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the ‘inside city’ of Lahore – its architecture, people and history – although uncovering its secrets didn’t come to the fore quite as much as I expected. I felt I really got to know Awais and his sister, Maryam. Their mother, Kurshid’s actions and motivations I’ll admit I struggled to understand.

The book explores a number of ideas, including the role of stories in preserving a community’s history and culture and the act of mapping as a form of appropriation. When partition becomes a reality in 1947, the book exposes the realities of displacement and the segregation of communities who once lived side by side.

Covering a time period from 1919 to 1964 but focused especially on the 1930s, The Inside City takes the reader on a vibrant journey encompassing everything from the love of books, the excitement of train journeys and the lure of adventure to celestial numbers.

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Unbound, and Random Things Tours.

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In three words: Expansive, episodic, colourful

Try something similar…99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai (read my review here)

Anita Mir Author picAbout the Author

Anita was born in Lahore, Pakistan and came to England when she was four. She grew up in County Durham and Wales, and it was only when she moved to Lahore with her family in her late teens that it hit her that mornings weren’t supposed to be pitch black. Pakistan was a shock. And she stayed in shock. Is perhaps still in shock. But it was also love at first sight. Lahore Lahore hai/ Lahore is Lahore. Yep. Another thing that doesn’t quite translate.

Straight out of university, she applied for a job at a newspaper and for some strange reason, got it. Most of her work there was on human rights issues, particularly those pertaining to religious minorities and women. Her lighter pieces she wrote under a pseudonym, which, seven years later, her boss told her she’d spelt wrong.

From journalism, she ambled into development work. The best of her development work was when she was privileged to head two emergency programmes.

Anita kept on coming back to England then to Pakistan then…and one day (still plan-less), just stuck it out in London.

She writes fiction and plays, has had two shorts on (The Space and Soho), been longlisted for several prizes (The Bruntwood, the Soho/Verity Bargate, the Old Vic 12), and had a short story published this year in ‘New Welsh Review’. She likes hearing her director friends tell her, ‘Any minute, you’re going to break through’. In her more reflective moments, of which there are now few, she wonders what she’s supposed to break through to. And if, when she does, she’ll like it.

Anita lives in the un-trendy part of East London and when not teaching, can be found playing basketball with her boy, or else, pouring over Lego instructions with the zeal of someone who’s going to grow up to be a YouTube star.

Connect with Anita

Website  ǀ  Goodreads