Quick Review

Hello, again! I’ve vanished from the blogging scene for a long while (cons of being an adult and having responsibilities now).

Okay, not many responsibilities.

Okay, no responsibilities.

Okay, I’m barely an adult.

Okay, okay, I forgot my password to WordPress and was too lazy to reset it.

But, I did get around to it now, didn’t I? (don’t roll your eyes at me, reader.)

I have read tons of books in the past month and I’m going to rank them in backwards order for you now, so enjoy:

Rank 8: Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella

If you know me at all, you’d know that Sophie Kinsella is my all time favorite chick-lit author. I LOVE HER. That being said, I didn’t enjoy the book. There’s no use sugarcoating it. I mean, I still do love her writing, but unlike Luke Brandon or Becky Bloomwood or Sam Roxton or Samantha, the characters here in this book don’t stay with me. In fact, it’s been a month but apart from Audrey, whose name I remember for obvious reasons (re: title), I don’t really remember anybody and that goes to show how less of an impact it has made on me.

The story was okay, the idea was actually really nice, but for me a Sophie Kinsella book has always been about the characters and somehow, these characters didn’t cut it.

BUT. The story is actually funny in a lot of places, the writing friendly and affable and very Kinsella, and it can definitely star as a one-time leisure read. (Unlike I’ve got your number, which I do know by heart by now…or maybe that’s because Sam Roxton…hmmm…)

Rank 7: Bet Me, by Jennifer Cruise

Okay, this ranks 7 only only only because the other books are extremely good. This book is light, chirpy, and everything you could expect out of a chick-lit. Minerva and Cal are two adorable protagonists, the situation overdone but comforting, and the entire book is SO DAMN RELATABLE.

I don’t know, I think it highlights how insecure we all are as humans and the idea of soulmates being finding someone who is messed up in a way that fits our own mess perfectly…ah, dream.

Cuddle in on a rainy day, grab a hot chocolate, and read away…

Rank 6: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Let me be frank. I’m not one for the classics. I like my reading language to be in something I can understand easily, and relate to. But then again, I couldn’t really not read Jane Eyre and call myself a reader, right?

I think I can effectively review this entire book in one sentence: Jane Eyre has changed my view on Classic Literature. It is not boring (as previously thought by my hasty, jump-to-conclusions, brain), and there is definitely something to be said about the entire concept of a guy ‘courting’ a girl, as opposed to simply jumping in bed with her.

Of course, there are several elements that are a tad bit too dramatic, but I AM from India, and we DO have Bollywood, so I’m pretty used to drama….hehe.

PS: Um, why don’t we have more girls fan-ning over the sulky, brooding, mystery-man?

Rank 5: The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

I don’t think it’d be a great exaggeration to call this book a Literary Masterpiece. Gripping, beautifully written and achingly beautiful, the world of Theo Decker is going to grip you. Quite simply, it is un-put-downable. I’m going to quote one line used in the book:

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.

All I can say is, the same can be said for books…and The Goldfinch definitely belongs in the ‘all your life’ category

Rank 4: A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

He’s a brilliant author. His writing is so easy to read and so difficult to understand and aaaah-! He kept me awake till nearly 2 in the morning, and then a further 2 hours researching interpretations.

It is a mind-boggling tale, and while I have my own fragile theories on the book, read this is you want an adventure. It’s set in Japan, follows Etsuko and will definitely tease your brain. However, just because the writing is simple, please don’t read it fast…it’s meant to be a slow read with attention to detail…

….and who knows, maybe you will solve the mystery that is this book?

Rank 3: The Essential Rumi (Coleman Barks)

I have become a poetry enthusiast of late. BUT, I need to confess that I’ve loved Rumi before tumblr posted his “deep sayings” everywhere.

Rumi is soul-food, and I’ll leave you with a lovely line titled under ‘Bewilderment: I have five things to say’

What is the body? That shadow of a shadow

of your love, that somehow contains

the entire universe.

Rank 2: The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simmons

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH ALEXANDERRRRRRRRRRR

Phew, now that THAT is out of my system, I can begin. I stumbled upon this book randomly, started it, and did not stop until I finished the 800-or-so paged book. For hours, I was stumbling along the roads of Leningrad and hiding in bomb shelters, living with Alexander-nay, Shura and Tania in a Fifth Soviet building, and dissolving through the magic of her words.

If there is something called magical writing, this is it. The words make me tingle. There are extremely raunchy scenes, definitely, fast-paced and thrilling. But it’s the tenderness beneath it all that made me gasp for more. This book is a MUST READ, simply because of master storytelling, excellent gems of quotes drizzled in between, and for Shura- because he is every girl’s dream.

Love is when he is hungry and you feed him. Love is knowing when he is hungry.

You also have delightfully simple love-murmurings wrapped in silk,

I want you to know that should something happen to me, don’t worry about my body. My soul isn’t going to return to it, nor to God. It’s flying straight to you, where it knows it can find you, in Lazarevo. I want to be neither with kings nor heroes, but with the queen of Lake Ilmen.

And, one of my all time favorites (I may or may not have teared up at this part),

Good-bye, my moonsong and my breath, my white nights and golden days, my fresh water and my fire. Good-bye, and may you find a better life, find comfort again and your breathless smile, and when your beloved face lights up once more at the Western sunrise, be sure what I felt for you was not in vain. Good-bye and have faith, my Tatiana.

RANK 1: *tananannana* Essential Gibran (Hachette India)

Refer to Rank 3 where I mentioned I had become a poetry enthusiast. Khalil Gibran is my all-time favorite poet, and my dad got me a Special Calligraphed collectible edition of his poetry for my birthday. It is marvellous, it makes me tingle from my belly and if you want words that will worm your way into their heart of yours and refuse to leave, this is the book you should be reading. Here is just one poem, to tempt you to go read the book:

If sorrow does not carry you

in her womb, if despair does not

feel pain in giving birth to you,

and if love does not bring you

into this world in its cradle of dreams,

your whole life

remains a blank page in the book

of the universe.

And that wraps up the quick review for this month. I have a couple of interesting reads (and consequent reviews, yes) lined up for the next month, but let me know if you have some suggestions!

Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

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I am of the belief that there are a few kind of books.

1) The ones that you can’t get past ten pages.

2) The ones that you forcibly make yourself finish it, and then just feel relief once it is done.

3) The ones that leave you in a happy glow with that silly soppy smile on your face, and a sparkle in your eye, and then you begin comparing reality to the book and want to curse at how unfair reality is and WHERE THE HELL IS MY PRINCE CHARMING.

4) The books that leave you sobbing.

5) And then there is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It didn’t leave me sobbing. It left me stricken. I literally gaped at the ending, open-mouthed, willing for it to miraculously change, and when it didn’t I shut the book. Found a lovely spot on the wall. And then glared at it.

This was at 1 in the morning. I glared at the wall and then when the wall looked like it was beginning to shrink with all the hate coming from me, I left it alone and closed my eyes. This book was indescribably. The ending, while ghastly, was perfect to give me a jolt.

Nazi, the Holocaust, everything. We’ve heard it all. And it’s always made me sad, don’t get me wrong. I’ve choked up when I saw the bodies, and felt tears stinging at my eyes when I heard stories.

But I’ve never had one impact me as much as this one did. I’m not going to give you spoilers, so you can breathe a little.

And maybe go online and order the book NOW NOW NOW NOW before you continue reading this review.

Yeah, I know the movie is amazing. But that DOES NOT excuse you from reading this book because of the narrative.

It started off simple and sweet. It reminded me, in fact, of an Enid Blyton novel. Simply because the kid was 9.

And then I read the meaning beneath the words. And that was SO profound, I gasped the entire time. The way Bruno called The Fuhrer as The Fury. Not realizing what he was saying.

Heil Hitler,” he said, which, he presumed, was another way of saying, “Well, goodbye for now, have a pleasant afternoon.”

It’s funny when you look through the eyes of a nine-year old, but because you have the mind of a whatever-you-are-years old, you know EXACTLY what that poor kid is seeing.

And then you want to scream and flail your arms and shake him so violently, and say, “BRUNO. THIS. THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING.”

But unfortunately there hasn’t been invented a device where we can go inside the book and be of some use to the protagonist, as yet. And so we watch, silent miserable spectators rooted to our spots as we witness the crimes committed around him.

I especially love how he refers to his sister as the Hopeless Case. Yes, capitalized. I adored the writing style because it takes a great deal of talent to fit SO MUCH of depth and meaning in simple words.

Despite the mayhem that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel’s hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let go.

 

This quote. ^ This is what broke me, in the end. And when I say broke, I mean it. When I recounted the story to my mum today, I was literally quivering and I had goosebumps all over.

This book is a MUST-READ and I don’t use that simply. I mean it. All the history books in the world that have recounted tales from Nazi Germany pale in comparison in terms of how much you are affected.

I WANT TO BREAK SOMETHING. NOW.

I’ve never been this emotional, writing a review. But I felt that I would do it justice only in this state. When I am still imprinted and scarred by all those visuals I have in my head.

Read it, I implore you. Yes, IMPLORE. Gah. And remember, read between the lines. For that is where this most depth lies.

“What exactly was the difference? he wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?”

Book Review: The Finisher

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The Finisher is a tremendous book by David Baldacci. I must confess, it’s also my first Baldacci book which is a bit surprising, to say the least.

The first couple of pages were confusing. He’s substituted several common use words with his own vocabulary, and that can get a bit mind befuddling but we get used to it. We then begin referring to years as ‘sessions’ and day as ‘light’.

The main character, Vega Jane, is kick-ass. Hunger Games, Divergent, and now this. The Finisher. All draw on the theme of a more tough female. A strong female. A smart female.

And I love this new trend, of course. Female narratives are a lot more fun.

Vega Jane has been in Wormwood all her life. And yet, she discovers, that events of late really show her who she is. Which turns out to be everything she had wished for. And maybe a bit more.

It’s not divided into good and bad, Wormwood…it’s divided into characters that are conflicted about their inner goods and bads. And that is a refreshing change.

I loved how the ending wasn’t just a ‘happily-ever-after’. I look forward to a sequel, though, because half my questions were left unanswered.

Do read this, it is kind of brilliant ! 🙂

Book Review: Don’t want to miss a thing

Don’t want to miss a thing is a chick-lit book written by Jill Mansell. I was browsing through the shelves of Crossword, and I found this book. It’s not like the cover attracted me, or anything of that sort. But I hadn’t read chick-lit in a while, and I though I’d pick it up. I also bought 3 other books, reviews coming up soon.

So ? What’s the story ? It’s not too original. The dude is called Dexter Yates. He’s the typical British rich boy, with the babes and the booze and the canary yellow Porsche. (which I adore, btw.) He also, somehow seems to have impeccable manners.

He shifts to Briarwood, when he decides to take care of Delphi, his niece when his sister dies. Along with the help of his ultra-nice neighbor, Molly.

What follows is a fairly predictable tale of how they struggle and enjoy raising baby Delphi, and eventually have to deal with the attraction they feel for each other.

Yet, even though it’s a simple, cliche story, I loved reading it for it’s simple storyline, lovely characters. All in all, a lovely afternoon read.