Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Jane Austen Book Club- My Version

I saw 'The Jane Austen Book Club' film yesterday and was very impressed, as I always am with almost anything Austen. The film is based on the book by the same name and is about how 6 people form a book club and read 6 of Austen's novels- 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Sense and Sensibility', 'Northanger Abbey', 'Emma', 'Persuasion' and 'Mansfield Park'. The reading and discussion of these books, changes their lives. After all, 'Austen is the best antidote to life'.

I was thinking about it the whole time and was online obviously. And then I struck up the idea to have my own Jane Austen book club online. And we now have our members. The film had 5 women and 1 man in the club, but I doubt I can find a man willing to read Austen( their loss!) so we 6 girls have decided to begin our experiment.

6 Women, 6 Books, 6 Months( hopefully)

All the 5 others were so excited to be called on board. So many different people, so much to discuss. I can't wait =)

We're about to begin a journey to discover Austen, and in the process, life.

I'll of course keep you updated with what happens in our book club. Meanwhile, happy reading =)

Sadly, I'm now off to a boring holiday that I don't want to go to. The place is irritating, I've been there several times and it does nothing but irritate and depress me. I'm hoping for my books to give me company and save me. Amen.

Monday, April 27, 2009

'Nineteen Minutes'- Jodi Picoult

Recommended to me by:

In her words 'This is the book teenagers across the World must be reading. Not that book written by the woman with the thesaurus that set Feminism a 100 years back'

4 1/2 on 5

One teenager goes on a shooting spree, killing ten of his schoolmates and injuring several others. Why? That's what this book is all about. What made Peter Houghton a killer? Who is responsible for that? Uncomfortable questions. Questions everyone would shy away from. Questions that would haunt and change lives. And Jodi Picoult asks them all in this brilliant book.

It is a very depressing tale. Sorrow, grief, anger, hatred- you can feel it all. But when Picoult takes you on a journey to find what makes the 'bad guy' a bad guy, you know this is something worth learning. As I read through the book, I sometimes just zoned off, asking to myself questions like 'What is behind someone suicidal? What is behind a killer?'And as this book answers: 'Society' or rather, its attitude.

Something that starts out as teasing each other, moves on to bullying and leads to acts unimaginably horrific. Nineteen minutes changed lives completely. But those nineteen minutes were the result of being oppressed and hurt for years.

Picoult sure is a gifted writer to keep you hooked to the book for more than 450 pages. The characters are alarmingly realistic- you can feel the pain and find yourself sympathetic at times to even the killer. After all, he is the victim of society.

The plot is stunning, especially towards the end. This book is a must-read for everyone, especially High School students because what starts out small and inconspicuous might just be the biggest monster unleashed on society, by society.

Believe it or not, I found asking myself this : "What made Ajmal Amir Kasab do what he did? Why?"

Now that's what a good book does.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

'Eat, Pray, Love'- Elizabeth Gilbert

Rating: 1/5

I expected a lot from this book..something like a Meg Cabot meets Helen Fielding, but I ended up with this purely boring concoction of useless details and a severe case of 'ramble-itis'. This is the story of 'one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia'

'Everything', in Elizabeth Gilbert's dictionary means Eating, Praying and Loving.

Eating in Italy is the only bearable part of the book. By the time I finished that part, I badly wanted Pizza and well, I learned to say 'Attraversiamo'( which is Italian for 'let's cross over')

Praying in India is well....boring. I'm not spiritual and even if I was, I doubt I'd be able to happily read through pages and pages of repetitive quotes in search of God. By the time I finished this part, Kundalini Yoga was the only thing I remembered and this conveniently preachy character, Richard from Texas( who's not fictional)

Falling in love in Indonesia is the end of my struggle to finish the book. Elizabeth Gilbert finds a man- thank God she does, and the pain ends for me. That's the only thing I remember about this part and oh, medicine men, history and tradition of Indonesian names.

This book doesn't have a plot. It's pointless. Sure, there are portions that are real witty and very funny, but several times in one page, I found myself saying " Ok..what's the whole point of all this?" All I can say is, Elizabeth Gilbert is sure lucky to get paid for the whole trip to Italy, India and Indonesia,get a book published about her journey and then have a film starring Julia Roberts made out of it.. Next time we're all planning for for a holiday, lets make sure to mail a publishing house about it. You never know, you could be the next Elizabeth Gilbert. Or hopefully, not.

Friday, April 17, 2009

'Paths of Glory' - Jeffrey Archer

As promised, here is my review of Archer's latest book:

Rating: 3/5

The first thought that crossed my mind as I finished the book was that though this was a good book, it wasn't really anywhere near Archer's best. The book is based on the real life story of George Mallory who made a great expedition to conquer Mt. Everest. I'm not really interested about mountaineering, so the book wasn't too interesting, especially when parts of the story got repetitive.

The narrative is fun, you have trademark Archer witticisms, some memorable scenes, but there's something missing. It's perhaps the thrill or the lack of it, that is the hole in the wall. There weren't any 'twists', 'Aha!' moments or segments that surprised me. I didn't feel the excitement, reading a book about one of the most thrilling and adventurous sports in the World. After a point, what kept me going was not the story or the narrative, but my urge to know what happened in the end.

Not Archer's best, definitely. But readable, especially if you're looking for a fun and good read.

To do:
Look up 'George Mallory' in Wikipedia =)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My reads

At last..after all my creepy exams are done, I went to the library and came home with a couple of famous, renowned, acclaimed books. I can't wait to read and review them here and at my favourite Goodreads of course =)

Here are the books I'm currently reading:


On my to-read list:


And just so you know some of the other books I've already read and enjoyed (or not):


Keep looking out for my reviews! Ciao!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Tale of an Insatiable Bookworm- Part 2

NOTE: Yes, I do write a lot.

Continuing from Harry Potter, I immersed myself into a sea of books be it sexy-yet- not- too- intelligent Sidney Sheldon, hard core Robert Ludlum, captivating John Grisham books or Arthur Hailey. Agatha Christie marked another fandom which I made myself a part of. Whodunnits never go out of style and the more I read Christie, the more I got stumped, the more I delved into each of her books, each of which surprises and astonishes me at one point or the other.

And then of course, the other great fandom- Austenian literature captivates me. To be honest, it was Matthew Macfadyen who first did, not to mention my British weakness, but then I knew I had to read the book, just like I did for HP and I fell in love with Mr. Darcy and 'Pride and Prejudice' *See blog id* So much so that 'The relevance of Pride and Prejudice ' was my topic of analysis in an exam for which I received a Distinction. But it is 'Sense and Sensibility' that is my favourite Austen, perhaps since I can relate well to the positions of Marianne and Eleanor. 'Northanger Abbey' is easy, swift and great to read. George Knightley makes 'Emma' a great read, adding to Austen's brilliance in making the heroine a flawed character. The moment I start comparing my life or society in general with Austen's books and wonder aloud about what Austen would have done in today's scenario, it is cue for my family to flee away from me. Whatever.

Popular books( Bridget Jones' Diary, Size 12 is not Fat) , award winning books( The Color Purple, The Inheritance of Loss') , biographies( The Kennedys, Rajiv Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth II etc), autobiographies( M.K. Gandhi, Richard Branson), non-fiction( The Argumentative Indian), historic non-fiction ( Freedom at Midnight, Indian Summers, The Tudor Era) have charmed me too. There are just so many books, so little time. But to review them, analyze them, enjoy them, what better place to start, than online?

I review on Goodreads too, so I shall paste my reviews/views/comments/rants/lists both here and there. In the mean time, happy reading! =)

The Tale of an Insatiable Bookworm- PART 1

The things I remember most about my childhood are the books I read.

My Mum tells me that I've been addicted to books since age 5 : A story about a Teddy bear who receives a surprise birthday party, which lead me, apparently, to ask my mother to plan a 'surprise' party for my birthday. Which she did.

The Tinkle comics phase hit me as it did every Indian child who loved books. Suppandi, Tantri the Mantri, Shikari Shambu, Kalia the crow and so many more characters were my best of friends. I remember begging my Mum to give me the money needed to buy Tinkle. I was addicted and I clearly remember putting a great scene till I got those comics that I wanted. And I slowly shifted to other Amar Chitra Katha books and enjoyed them loads too.

Then, it was all about Enid Blyton. The Famous Five especially, meant the World to me. I adored Timmy the lovable dog, Julian, Anne, George, Dick and especially Uncle Quentin Kirrin. The fact that they were stereotypes, didn't matter to me then, though now I cringe a hundred times when I read cliches or stereotyped books. I loved their adventures ( which of course, happened periodically ) and especially Blyton's mouth watering descriptions of ' roast potatoes, lettuce sandwiches: delicately cut and neatly packed, bottles of ginger beer, lemonade, orangeade, creamy scones, a huge, rich, chocolate cake and some soda to wash it up'. Come on, admit it, you loved it too.
And then, my Mum handed me my first Nancy Drew. The introduction to mild, Disney-ish romance in the books made me adore them ;) I wasn't that fascinated by the actual 'mystery' though, nor did I adore the Hardy Boys. It certainly was a new level, yet I had a knack of guessing the villains well before Nancy did.

Harry Potter struck me like a lightning hitting the cable, the moment I watched the first film. I knew I had to read the books. Read them I did, love them I do, research them I did, adore them I do, miss them I do. HP is the biggest fandom I'm proudly a part of. Be it spouting and quoting lines from the books, or engaging in fully fledged analysis, or even conducting Quizzes that were very popular where I live, I've come a long way. Thank you J.K. Rowling for gifting us the Magical world of Hogwarts and the amazing characters(Read: Sirius Black) who come with it.


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