BOOKS THAT WENT OTT

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Apart from the books that eat up your entire soul by its enriching storyline and charismatic characters, there are some books that eat up your brain due to a not-so-promising storyline and equally dull characters. I understand that writing a novel, figuring out the plot and carefully selecting the characters to fit the circumstances without making it over-dramatic and absolutely genuine is NOT easy (No offence, writers). So, I, like many others have stumbled upon some books that we didn’t quite really erm enjoy?  I have been a part of such a sad situation before and trust me when I say this; it is definitely not an experience worth looking forward to. I mean, come on, nothing is perfect. We mess things up and so do the writers (AHEM).  These books failed to make an impression as far as I’m concerned and my reviews, although brief, are solely based on my experience as a reader.  (I might sound a little too blunt but then it’s the disappointment talking).

  • 3 MISTAKES OF MY LIFE: The greatest mistake of my life, probably. If you’re a Chetan Bhagat fan and you’re reading this then please go hide your face somewhere and do not come back. If a movie has to be described in words then it’s a Chetan Bhagat novel.  The movie ‘Kai Po Che’ was quite a success at the box office and Chetan Bhagat’s script writing skill was brought to light. He should just stick to writing movie scripts and that is it. Equally nerve-wracking was his apparently national bestseller ‘One Night at the Call Center’ and ‘Five Point Someone’. He saved himself with his book ‘Two States’ which was without a doubt a Bollywood flick but not as horrendous as his earlier works.  ‘What Young India Wants’ is a book I haven’t read and neither am I planning on reading it. In other news, I’ve heard he is FINALLY writing scripts for Bollywood directors. WAY TO GO BHAGAT!

 

  • THE ZAHIR: Quite carried away by Paulo Coelho’s ingenuity as a writer and his philosophical knowledge that was boldly displayed in his international bestseller ‘Alchemist’, I decided on reading this novel. Little did I know, I was going to be left puzzled and not very sure of where I was heading with the story or if at all I understood the story? This made me reach a conclusion that there was NO storyline. I couldn’t figure out what the whole book was about.  Was the protagonist searching for his wife? ERR. Oh and I haven’t finished reading ‘Veronica Decides to Die’ yet. No more Paulo for the time being.
  • THE ACCOMPLICE: I have no idea how and when I got hold of the book. I also have no idea what Eirrean Corrigan was thinking when she wrote the book. The plot was something that has been written and enacted in movies since time immemorial. Nothing new there. I guess it was more suited to the age group 16-17 since the story and the psyche of the characters was custom made to fall under the teenage years.
  • Oops I fell in love: Before you judge me, I got this book cause’ I really wanted to read a light-hearted story You know the kind of books you prefer reading when you’re taking a break and you want to just lie down and relax on your couch. Well, things never go as planned. It was just another failed Bollywood script. The author, Harsh Snehanshu, didn’t quite nail it. The other day I read a review on his book that said it was a cute love story and that the writing was fresh and humorous. Sorry to burst your bubble, it was anything but cute or humorous or even fresh.

(That’s it for today. I can’t recall any other novel falling under this category as of now)

“The worst memories stick with us, while the nice ones always seem to slip through our fingers”

 

On a brighter side, I’ll be posting a review on ‘The Fountainhead’ shortly which is one of the greatest books written in the history of writing books. Stay tuned!

Have you had any bad experience as a reader? Feel free to share and comment!

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REVIEW: RAINWATER

Author: Sandra Brown

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

256 pages

Sometimes you read a book that completely changes the way you think, the way you would normally think. You come a cross a book which effortlessly describes every emotion, every situation in a way you had never imagined. Sandra Brown in her rather unusual novel has given her readers a taste of what it is like to survive in a time where economic depression, prejudice and racial discrimination have had people kill themselves. Rainwater is a book that teaches life lessons learnt the hard way. I have not read any of Sandra Brown’s novels and since it was my first, I was quite intrigued.

The year is 1934 and Ella who is a single mother works day in and out to take care of her ten year old son, Solly. Ella runs a boarding house, earning as much as she can to ensure her son, an autistic child, lives a hassle free life. The behavior and abnormality of Solly is misunderstood since the story is dated back to 1930s where handicaps and oddity were not known of. Solly’s demeanor becomes uncontrollable and there comes a point where you would want to reach out to Ella and help her in any way you can.

Mr.Rainwater is a boarder who comes to stay at Ella’s house. Much to the readers bewilderment, he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and does not have enough time in his hands. It is amazing how Sandra Brown has pictured Mr.Rainwater’s impeccable character in her readers minds. His arrival also marks the beginning of an untold mystery. Even with an illness, he shows great courage and grandeur. In no time, he manages to develop an unnatural bond with Solly. A bond that only the two of them can understand. Ella, surprised by Solly’s show of affection towards Mr.Rainwater comes to realize that there is something about him that is very powerful. They start sharing an intimacy that is unknown to them. Solly, if I may say, unites the two. The other characters have an important part to play and add a sense of closure to the story.

Time does not favor them, situations backfire and you will see the characters struggling through circumstances. Although the ending is extremely shocking and uncalled for, I would definitely recommend reading this piece of fiction. It is not always that you pick up a book which keeps you glued till the very end. I, for once, enjoyed reading every page. It is a perfect blend of  a love story with captivating drama, life events illustrating hazards and cruel dispositions of the earlier time. Highly enthralling and equally devastating, Rainwater is a must read.Image

REVIEW: AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED

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Author: Khaled Hosseini

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Rating: 4/5

“A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.” 

Reviewing a book written by an author as brilliant as Khaled Hosseini is nothing but narrowing down his hard work and his contributions to storytelling. I really do not intend on judging or giving my views on how he writes or what he should have written. I have been an ardent fan of his work ever since I read ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and no matter what happens I can never forget the experience it gave me. There is an extreme sadness in his work. Everything he writes has an emotional element strongly attached to it that is forever engraved in your heart and you can’t do anything about it. It decides to just stick with you throughout. You don’t read his books because you like to read. You read because you want to and the world will only seem less cruel after you have read his book. If you haven’t read his previous book ‘A thousand Splendid Suns’, I’d recommend you to read it first before you put your hands on his latest novel.

The minute I got hold of the book, I knew I was going to get addicted to it. The story starts with a story.  The tale of Abdullah and Pari who were caught in the web of unforeseen circumstances, forced to live their lives without each other. In this novel, the relationship of a brother and sister has been beautifully narrated. The world seems to crash for Abdullah when his little sister is adopted by a childless albeit wealthy couple. The fear, anguish and anger that Abdullah undergoes when he is separated by his sister will make you cringe. He cries but there isn’t anyone to hear him.  Pari was nurtured by him, brought up by him and had in the course of time become an inseparable part of his life. Fate, as you may say, had other plans (I somehow wanted to read more of Abdullah and Pari’s childhood).  The author has tried to merge in the stories of many other people who were associated with the main characters in different ways. The storyline seemed to go a little hay wire but then it regained its force. Since Khaled Hosseini is a wizard when it comes to writing, one realizes that the words have been written effortlessly. You traverse through different journeys, experience varying emotions and ponder and think and are finally left in awe.

“Gone.
Vanished.
Nothing left.
Nothing said.” 

Half way through the book, you forget about Abdullah and Pari. This doesn’t last much longer as Khaled Hosseini manages to grab your attention to a point where you are completely hooked to the book. The characters are many but their lifestyles are surprisingly very different. You wanderlust to various parts of the world; Afghanistan, Paris and the United States.  From my personal experience I can say that you will have to unwillingly do some other work to get your mind off this book for some time.  In contrast to the popular notion, this book was not as heart breaking as his earlier work but it did leave a very strong impact. It was more of a roller coaster journey having its ups and downs and finally reaching a static point. You are thrilled by the ride and yet you want to try it one more time. That’s Khaled Hosseini for you; He makes his readers hungry. His ingenuity and skill is what makes it worthy of being read.

 

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind.”
  • “The finger cut, to save the hand.”
  • “It was the kind of love that, sooner or later, cornered you into a choice: either you tore free or you stayed and withstood its rigor even as it squeezed you into something smaller than yourself.”
  • “You say you felt a presence, but I only sensed an absence. A vague pain without a source. I was like a patient who cannot tell the doctor where it hurts; only that it does.”

Cause’ it is never too late to start again.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall began it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Few quotes sometimes completely give you the answer you’ve been wanting to hear. Today is over, nothing can be done about it. Forget it. Start again. There’s always room for improvement. Just remember, it’s you who decides what you want to be. Choose wisely.

Wake up, people. Its Friday!

Morning, everyone. Firstly, TGIF . All those people who’ve been planning on partying this whole weekend and also those who have also been planning to get their much needed sleep, hope you get to enjoy your idea of a weekend. Whatever, have fun. I woke up this morning before my alarm could ring and I wasn’t really glad to realize that I still had some time to sleep which is considering how particular I am about sleeping, very abnormal. Nevertheless, college is starting from today after the tiny break ( oh, my alarm just went off) . I think I’m a little excited about college or maybe its the thought of not staying at home which is comforting. Anyways, now that I’ve got my cell phone back after a decade its relatively easier for me to constantly update my blog no matter which part of the city I am. Smartphones, blessing in disguise. The other way round, too. Since my smartphone didn’t turn out to be that smart. . I should be off now cause’ the last thing I want would be not getting attendance. They say,’Time flies when you’re having fun.’ Applies here. Looking forward to reading and writing! Good day!

Confession

“There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.”  Bertrand Russell

I have a confession to make. The avid reader in me is dying. It has been quite some time since I haven’t managed to give my undivided attention to reading or reviewing books. Blame it on my I-Will-Do-It-Tomorrow sort of an unhurried disposition or lack of initiative on my part. Time has also been a constant deterrent (Perks of studying in a horribly strict college, whose prior motive is: Drive the students’ bat-shit-crazy). No, honestly, there has been just way too much going on, with the usual ‘I have exams, OMG and I haven’t started studying, OMG” locale and the utmost interest in extra-curricular activities has to the nth degree taken over my life. Okay, this is pretty weird but I don’t even remember the last book I read. I have once again to my utter disappointment started reading Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho and this is my third attempt at completing it. Sounds more like giving repeated exams and successfully failing at it despite earnest efforts. Not blaming the book, but it does require a lot of patience and a clear, hassle- free mind to read Paulo’s complicated yet logically constructed stories. Oh, the other book that I have been ignoring is the classic Gone With The Wind. This book has been tasting all sorts of dust particles and is probably going to eat some more. However, the good news is. I have managed to recall the last book I had read. It was Rainwater by Sandra Brown, which had me glued to the plot and I fancied reading every word of it! 

Before I completely undergo a transition where the thought of reading makes me doze off, I’ve decided i’ll read atleast ONE book in a week and then post my reviews. It’ll be more like a Weekly Book Challenge. There are a number of books on my bucket list ranging from International and National bestsellers to the books that didn’t quite reach the top charts but had their own intricate and enthralling storyline. I despise reading or choosing to read a book based on its reviews or on recommendations. I make this assertive statement because I have been gravely disappointed at the hype around some (We’ll get back to this later, though). Coming to the point, I am actually looking forward to this reading spree, now that I’m running low on excuses. See you guys later!

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” ― Louisa May AlcottWork: A Story of Experience

 

Happy Tuesday to all and to all a good day! Let’s celebrate today with some New Releases. As always the book’s blurbs are provided by their publishers.

HARDCOVERFICTION

Benediction by Kent Haruf
Bracing, sad and deeply illuminating, Benediction captures the fullness of life by representing every stage of it, including its extinction, as well as the hopes and dreams that sustain us along the way. Here Kent Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of a small town and reveals, with grace and insight, the compassion, the suffering and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants.

Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill
Something is missing from Ewan and Colby’s lives. Residing in the corners of their memories is their time in Limestone Kingdom, a realm filled with magic and mystery, a world where only some may travel amongst the menagerie of mystical souls and sinister demons.

Join…

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That Night

(Figment of my imagination)

I was angry. An argument with my friend at a party got out of hand. Things wouldn’t have gotten worse if the tone in which it was said would have been taken into account. It is rightly said” To err is human”. Well I don’t put all the blame on her . Truth has its own forms. Infuriated as I was I dashed out of the room, down the stairs, through the hallway and in no time i found myself walking down the road. I felt a gust of cold wind rush through my face, it’s when i realized how cold it was. It was midnight , stars shining with all its blaze and the moon appeared as beautiful and luminous as ever. I saw a number of people sleeping on the streets, people with no shelter ,wrapped up in thin blankets trying to protect themselves from this BITTER cold. Ignoring the world around me, i kept on walking.“This was the third time this month that we fought, i wasn’t going to take it anymore”. I thought to myself. My mind on war, preoccupied with the events that had followed, i didn’t notice a girl sitting on the footpath .As soon as i heard a cry i looked around to see, where it was coming from. My eyes met the glaze of the girl who looked at me with frightened eyes, eyes that were sore due to constant weeping, eyes that spoke more than words could. I went up to her. It’s when i realized the dilemma she was in. Her clothes were all torn and shaggy , her hair brittle and dirty. Her little feet were swollen and i could see cuts and bruises on them which she had got walking barefoot. She looked scared and hungry, helpless as I  was I stood there staring at the little girl in utter disbelief. For a moment neither of us spoke, she because i was a complete stranger to her and i because the sight that i saw left me speechless. After a few minutes of silence , I  gathered the strength to talk to her. At first she didn’t speak, I  could see the horror in her eyes, my presence was not liked by her. I somehow wanted to help her. A part of me said that I  should go back home ,it was getting late while the other half of me felt a sense of obligation towards her. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath , i had taken my decision i wasn’t going to leave this poor child alone in this cold. I  gave her a pack of chips i had in my purse.( I wonder how junks come to the rescue even in adverse situations.) However, before i could hand over the packet to her , she snatched it from me. I watched her empty the packet , the way she started licking it. She hadn’t  had a meal for days, which was evident. I regretted having eaten the other packet . She looked at me again, but this time her eyes told a different story…………….

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A Face only a Mother can love

I woke up to my mother’s loud but affectionate voice that always worked a million times better than an alarm clock . She opened the windows , letting the bright sun break the darkness that lingered in and around me . This was her usual routine. I took a glance at my mother who still radiated beauty , her slightly brown hair tied up in a neat bun , she looked as serene as the white snow and as lively as the spring. Her hands constantly moving as she folded the bed sheets , her eyes sparkling , throwing beams of warmth and love and hope. She would talk about the neighbors cat who was nothing but a menace , about her favorite daily soap while she would still continue cleaning up every little thing that’d hamper the hygiene she’d never failed to keep. For once , I couldn’t stop staring at her. Her voice fading away as I was encircled by a ring of thoughts that took me into a land of dreams. There, I saw my mother sitting under a tree . This time she looked completely different. Startled , I stepped back . My mother had lost her charm , her energy , her radiant beauty. Her eyes were now dark and empty. She looked old. That’s when I was hit by reality. I moved towards her . The closer I went , the more excruciatingly painful the sight appeared. The next moment I found myself running while I struggled to catch my breath . I called on to my mother to stop but she didn’t seem to listen . I saw her going away from me , I could see her body becoming smaller as she moved farther , I cried for her to turn back , I cried for her to listen but my voice seemed to encircle around . ‘Stop, please stop!!’ , I screamed. I stumbled and fell hard on the ground. Ignoring the pain I kept running . But she wouldn’t stop. Didn’t she love me ? Wasn’t she supposed to pick me up and make things alright ? Tears streaming down my cheeks , I felt dazed. My vision became blurred and I finally stopped breathing. 
I could feel the familiar touch , sense the familiar smell and at once breathed a sigh of relief. As I began to peel back layers of my own consciousness , my feelings of isolation and desperation lessened. I felt my mother’s strong hands tightly wrapped around me while her soothing voice played like music in my ears. Like a piece of stardust , something deep inside of me began to illuminate my soul as I met her shining eyes . ‘I love you, my child’ . She whispered. ‘ I love you too , mom’ , I said and crawled into her arms and slept for what seemed like eternity.

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