Monthly Archives: April 2012

Week 4: the book this week is The Namesake

It’s Monday so soon and I thought I would start a book on Sunday but couldn’t happen. The book that I am picking this week is “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri. I have heard rave reviews about the book and apparently it is a Pulitzer prize winner.

Also it has been turned into a major motion picture. I have wanted to read this book a long time and watch the movie too but somehow didn’t happen.

So I hope to start and finish the book by this week as promised. Tomorrow being a Public Holiday, I might find some more time to read and cover up for the lost day (or may be not get the chance to read it at all).

And while I start this book, there is another book on the way that I should be getting delivered this week, I will keep it a secret until I receive it ūüôā

So I will get on with the reading and you guys continue the reading too.

Till next time, Happy Reading!

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Review: The Bridges of Madison County

This was the second time (as far as I¬†remember) that I was reading “The Bridges of Madison County” by Robert James Waller. A long time back I had read this book and I had loved it then and I loved it even more this time (may be the age is catching up).

The book is a romantic poetry as I would like to put it. It’s romantic poem, it’s a beautiful song whenever you read it. It’s a bible of die-hard romantics, and even if you are not the one I’m sure you will find this book very good.

The love story between Robert Kincaid and Francesca Johnson will remain immortal whatever the era is. In this era where love is so convenient and people change partners like the dresses they wear, this story of a woman falling in love with a man in just 4 days that she spent with him and always thinking about him and continue being in love with him throughout the life is really refreshing.

Many of us can’t even love the person with us throughout the life, loving someone lifelong whom you just met for 4 days is unthinkable. But then the love shown between Robert and Francesca is not the normal love as far as I could understand.

There is one beautiful sentence in the book which summarizes the love between the two, it is when Robert is pursuing Francesca to go along with him, he says

“I have one thing to say, one thing only; I’ll never say it another time, to anyone: and I ask you to remember it:¬†In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.”

That’s the kind of love both of them shared. It’s important to understand (although it is said umpteen times and in number of movies and ways), there is really one person who is made for you in this whole world and until you find that person you are incomplete, you will remain restless. The day you find that person you world will become peaceful, you would not search for anything or anyone no more. But the problem is that not all of us find that right person in our lives, sometimes we might be born many times and we can’t find that person.

But if you do, you would love him or her the way you have never loved anyone. And your life of a nomad will end. In a very dramatic manner I think that is probably when you will find ‘moksha’ ¬†or will attain nirvana.

In the end a very beautiful book. If you have never read it, buy and read it now. If you have read it the re-read it, you can never get enough of it.

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Week 3 the book this week is The Bridges of Madison County

There are some classics which stay with you forever. The Bridges of Madison County is one such book. If you are romantic or not it doesn’t matter, hardly anyone can resist the charm of this classic. I first read this book a long time back, may be 10-12 years back and then went on to see the movie too (which in my view was also good, Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep they are classic too) and even after many years the story is relatively fresh in my mind.

Now why do I pick this book this week? No special reason but today when I was back from office and was looking for a book to start this week I climbed up the ladder (literally) to find a few books in my book box sitting on top of the loft (as the ones sitting down are either all read or are good but I am not in the mood to read any of them). So I pulled out a few books, a couple of them I remember I left in the middle (which is strange even for me as I don’t like to leave any book in between) and few unread one and between those books I found “The Bridges of Madison County”.

As you can’t resist a cheesecake, so can’t you “The Bridges…”. And as it has been long since I read it so I think I’m gonna go for it.

So there I am in week 3 with all you guys and all my books. Hopefully I will get enough time in the upcoming weeks as I plan to finish a few classics. Also I am thinking of subscribing to a library with so many books to read in the upcoming days.

Hoping you guys are also reading something good. Till next time, Happy Reading!

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Review: Vengeance of Ravana

So in time (or slightly early) I managed to finish the book for the Week 2, i.e. Vengeance of Ravana by Ashok Banker.

The Vengeance of Ravana is the penultimate book of the Ramayana Series which is beautifully arranged, illustrated by Ashok Banker. The final book of the series “Sons of Sita” is yet to be released.

Ramayana Series is based on Indian Mythology Ramayana which is the epic written in a new manner by Ashok Banker. I will try to write a review of the book itself here and later would follow it up with the write-up about the Ramayana Series (as promised earlier).

I have admired, adored, fell in love (and many more adjectives I could go on to use) with the Ramayana Series, the penultimate book I delayed reading deliberately as I wanted to keep my relationship with the series going on (I did the same with the HP: Half blood prince).

To begin with I didn’t know what to expect from the book as all of us have heard stories about Rama ascending to the throne of¬†Ayodhya¬†but what happened next only a few know (story of¬†luv-kush¬†is although known to masses but wouldn’t that be the story in Sons of Sita?).

Vengeance of Ravana is an average book compared to the other books in the series. All through the series the one thing I admired the most was the manner in which the author has portrayed the character of Rama, “Maryada¬†Purshottam” the one who always beholds and adhere to “Dharma”. And he seemed to have all the¬†frailties,¬†all the flaws and all the powers (considering every human can achieve with that rigor and practice) of a normal human being. He was portrayed as a character who always took the righteous path even in the face of adversities. And as the reader goes through the series he starts to adore and love Rama (and not necessarily starts worshipping him).

Vengeance of Rama is a disappointment in that regard as it reveals and impresses upon the reader that Rama was indeed an amsa (avatar), as the book calls it of Vishnu and he took birth in the form of Rama the king of Ayodhya to wipe out the menace of Ravana (which is due to another reason, that reason is due to another reason and that reason is again due to a different reason). So in short the reader is led into myriad reasons & gods and goddesses of Indian mythology and I thought it slightly drifted from the story of Ramayana.

The story begins at the point when Rama returns to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. He has a nightmare one night about Ravana coming back, talking to him. Then there is the story of Atikya (another son of Ravana) who comes at the gates of Ayodhya with his mother Mandodari to avenge the death of his father. Then another revelation comes, when Mandodari declares that Sita is the daughter of Ravana.

Later¬†Mahadev¬†(god Shiva) comes to the mortal realm through a¬†Vortal¬†(opened by Yama) to talk to lord¬†Narayana¬†(who is in the avatar of Rama) to come back to¬†swarg¬†lok¬†to look into the other pressing issues). There is a great confusion that I felt as a reader, as to when does Rama’s nightmare is going on and when are the things happening in reality. Everything mixes up, there are so many revelations, so many characters suddenly (Valmiki,¬†Atikaya, Ravana of earlier age, Yama,¬†Mahadev, etc.) that towards the end the reader suddenly seems¬†to loose¬†the plot. May be a bit more elaboration or breaking it into two volumes or even better not including the part where the revelation of Rama as Vishnu and Sita as¬†Laxmi¬†is done would have been better in terms of “Ramayana”.

Even the term “Vengeance of Ravana” was explained in different (and many) ways and in the end you might scratch your head as to what exactly was the Vengeance of Ravana? The last few lines do try to soothe the nerves where it says that Ravana’s Vengeance was that¬†Adharma¬†will always prevail and even eons after eons Vishnu will have to take avatar to root out the evil. Arya nations would fight¬†among¬†themselves, brothers will fight with brothers and that would be the true Vengeance.

I think it was a problem of plenty, where the author tried to manage lot of details in one book such as Rama’s return to¬†Ayodhya, Rishi Valmiki and his Role, Story of¬†Atikya¬†and¬†Mandodari, light on Bharat &¬†Shatrughan’s¬†role, Revelation of Rama as avatar of Vishnu, Story of why Ramayana happened or what will happen in future, why Ravana did what he did, Sita being Ravana’s daughter, etc.

In the end Rama accuses Sita of hiding the truth about her and his children and sends her into exile.

Now after reading the above it must not be construed that the book has many flaws (none at all) or is not worth a read. The readers of the Ramayana Series will surely read it and for anyone else it would not make much sense unless he reads the entire series. But the point I am trying to stress here is that as a fan of Banker and his Ramayana Series I found this book an average read. He could have done much better if only he has uncomplicated the book a little or not included the part of Rama being an avatar, things would have been more beautiful.

Nevertheless I enjoyed the book and would most definitely read the last book “Sons of Sita” as soon as it is released. Till then I am thinking of Starting Banker’s “Krishna Coriolis”, you see the thing is “Once a Banker’s fan, always a Banker’s fan‚ÄĚ!

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Review: Talk to the Hand

As I mentioned in an earlier article “Talk to the Hand” was an instinctive pick as I haven’t heard about the book from anyone. ThImagee title was impressive and the brief mentioned on the jacket was something that pushed me to go with this book.

So in my first week I completed the book “Talk to the Hand The utter bloody rudeness of everyday life (Or six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door)” by Lynne Truss.

The title itself is self-explanatory as to what the book might contain. In short the book talks about how ¬†the manners are a pass√© and the world overall has become rude and from young children to waiters in a restaurant nobody seems to have patience, compassion and it has become difficult to go out in the world and face it day in and day out. She mentions six reasons how rudeness is affecting us and why we should just “stay home and bolt the door”.

I found this book brilliant, funny and engaging. And I am glad I picked this book for the first week!

What Lynne Truss outlines is nothing very dramatic nonetheless it’s good to see it in writing. It’s not a “how to” book, it doesn’t give any advice; it for sure is no panacea for dealing with the disease called rudeness. To me it appeared as an outcry, a vent to the frustration and just a way to lighten your head by stating the way how the world is today.

I too share the same feelings and same frustration in dealing with people in today’s world. How waiters won’t listen to your order properly, how bus conductor would give you a dirty stare if you are unable to hand him the exact change, how children today and the world in general has become comfortable with the word “eff off” (in Truss manner).

So the six reasons she mentions are:

1. Was that so hard to say? – She looks into the state of today’s world where words like thank you, sorry and please are on the verge of extinction (or are already extinct), people find it too hard to say and only place where you can hear such words is automated machines.

2. Why am I the one doing this? – With the¬†DIY¬†tactic becoming the norm of the day the customers are no longer treated as customers but system operators who would listen and fix their own dish washer,¬†internet¬†connection and pretty soon cars and air conditioners too. The customer support center has become a joke, from calling to activate the new credit card to letting the credit card company know that you are travelling overseas (so that they don’t block your card) there is hardly any respect left for customer and we often time ask the questions to ourselves why we have to do it?

3. My bubble, my rules – The issues of “Private space” where people think that they should not be disturbed and this personal/private space has extended to the public spaces too. A person’s mobile phone starts ringing while he is on a local train, he picks it up and instead of saying he is on a train and will call back he starts off with the conversation for a long time, oblivious of anyone present on the train, within his “personal space”.

4. The universal eff-off reflex – You see children on the skateboards, screaming in front of your house and you tell them to slow down and in an instant you get the reply “eff-off”. The word has become so common that it has lost its sensitivity. From a child to an eighty year old anyone can eff-off you and if you haven’t kept off with today’s world you might as well be in a state of shock. Gone are the days when people used to apologies for the wrong doing, today they would say “eff-off” and mind your own business.

5. Booing the judges – Respect has gone for a toss in this new world. Disrespecting, booing the judges or¬†honorable¬†people has become the new ‘respect’. On reality TV shows if the public adored contender is criticized by the judges they are booed, people indulge themselves in throwing eggs and pancakes and water on celebrities‚Äô faces. Now no one wants to be a celebrity. If you can dishonor, humiliate one why become one?

6. Someone else will clean it up – The worst form of disrespect as the author says is disrespect towards everybody. People now go with the idea that the whole world is their property and they can do the shit they want and someone else is there to clean it up. No one wants to take the¬†responsibility¬†of their actions. A drunkard will say the ‘beer has gone mad’, a person would throw out the burger box out of the running car, someone will overtake you without a signal and when you expect an apology from them, all you get is a “eff-off”. Talk to the Hand as the face ain’t listening.

The author also looks briefly into British mannerism and how some of that has now become irrelevant in the current world. She cites many books on manners their evolution and extinction, how rudeness is all prevalent. She also points out that the issue of mannerism is subjective. What is considered as good manners for some might not be so for others or for people staying at other places. Also, that the manners are ever evolving and have to keep up with the changing world.

In conclusion I would say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it’s a must read for anyone who is wondering as to where all this rudeness is coming from and where have the manners of the old world gone. You can share your frustrations and pain with Lynne Truss while she tickles you with her jibes on the rude world. She is brilliant in Talk to the Hand.

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Week 2 – the book this week is Vengeance of Ravana

The good news (specially for me) is that I finished the first of 52 promises. Which means I have finished my first book of (Week 1) which was “Talk to the Hand” by Lynn Truss.¬†hurrah!

I have so much to say about the book and have to post a complete book review for the same but as I mentioned earlier, this week I have been travelling so it will take sometime for me to complete the write-up as anything short will not do justice.

In very short the book is brilliant, it’s funny. It’s what I wanna say to the world.

So as soon as I completed the first book I moved on to the second book and the book this week is “Vengeance of Ravana” book 7 of the Ramayana Series by Ashok K. Banker. It’s genre is Indian Mythology.

If you have been with me for sometime you will remember that I mentioned about this book and the Ramayana Series a little while ago.

I finally decided to finish the Ramayana Series with “Vengeance of Ravana“.

Ashok K. Banker’s Ramayana Series is brilliant and never ever such a thing has been attempted. It’s a feat that no one can equal.

Ramayana Series has 7 volumes of which I have complete 6 a long time back and kept the last book pending to keep my relation intact with the series.

I want to write a lot about Banker’s work and although I well knew nothing I write or anyone write¬†can do justice to his great work in the field of Indian Mythology.

In the days to come I will write (intend to) a few articles about my experience with Banker’s Ramayana Series (not necessarily a review) and as a reader how was it going through it and some good and not so good (there is no element of bad) that I encountered during my tryst with the Ramayana Series.

But until them, I will continue with my book of this week. And I should return back home sometime this week and then the first thing I intend to do it write the review for “Talk to the Hand”.

Drop me a line if you have anything to share or have any questions.

Till next time Happy Reading!

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Travelling with the book

I thought of posting my progress with the book (and not the review yet), I am half way through the book and as it happens with all of us there are always challenges that we need to tackle to keep up our promises. So this week quite a lot of things have been happening  for first couple of days I could give ample time to the book but last couple of days have been kind of tight and not able to get my hands on the book.

But today I am travelling so I have the book with me and hopefully the travel will provide me enough time to finish the book. Isn’t is a good feeling to travel with a book?

One good book can be the best companion you can have on travels, I love to keep at least 2 books with me in case the travel is longer and I end up reading the first one ūüôā

Do you like reading too when you travel? How many books do you carry while travelling?

So I hope to be done with “Talk to the Hand” by the end of this week and start on a new one, which I haven’t decided yet. Any suggestions?

Hopefully I would be post the review in time. In case not I would once I’m back and in the meantime start with a new book.

Till next time… Happy Reading!

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