Monthly Archives: May 2012

Week 8: The book this week is Malgudi days

So there it is, I missed reading the book last week i.e. Week 7, although things weren’t very tight nevertheless it was a tiring week and I couldn’t bring myself up to go through a book. So now I have got to compensate for that in the weeks to come.

This week has started well and we are waiting for the monsoon in this part of the world. In 2 weeks time it should start raining here and it will be green all around, that is what I look forward to every year. And reading a book in such a pleasant weather is one of the joys of life that can’t be equated with anything else.

So while I am still dreaming about the upcoming rainy season, I have picked up a book which is not less than a pleasant drizzle.

The book this week is “Malgudi days” by R.K. Narayan. Now if you are an Indian and you are above the age of say 10 years then I am sure that you must have heard about Malgudi days. Many of us have seen the TV series and have long adored the characters and stories from it.

This is one book which is in our blood and whenever one talks about it, it gives an altogether refreshing feeling. The short stories of Malgudi by R.K. Narayan are the household tales. The stories revolves around the small town of Malgudi in south India.

This book is even internationally recognized and irrespective of nationality, religion and region it has been adored by all.

And I am very excited to start this book. You rarely get such feeling with books which I am experiencing right now, a feeling of freshness, mystery and anticipation and a lot more.

I would be looking forward to write a review of this book and one thing I can tell even before reading this book, that you have to read this book whatever anyone says about it.

Till next time. Happy Reading!


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Review: Wise and Otherwise

Last week it has been tiring with many things to attend to, so couldn’t let you guys know about the book for the week 6. But fortunately I did manage to complete a book this week. The book for week 6 was “Wise & Otherwise A Salute to Life” by Sudha Murty. Many of us know her as wife of Dr. Narayan Murty but she is much more than just that. She is an academician, a prolific writer, a humanitarian and involved with many charities.

The book “Wise & Otherwise” is a collection of 51 short stories taken from author’s own life and life experiences. Most of them are short but 51 stories do take up around 270 odd pages.

The book is  an average read, it is more sort of a personal Diary/blog which a person might maintain and narrate his/her experiences. In some stories the author has tried to present different experiences of her life, in some she has depicted the human nature and some others are just a statement on the society today.

Some stories are nice but none of the story stands out, after a few days you won’t even remember a single story that is highly probable, nevertheless you will find it a decent read when you are reading it once. The good part is the stories end in 3-4 pages, so you don’t get to a point where you start getting bored.

Mainly stories are from IT background and author’s experiences with running charities and social projects through Infosys foundation. The one story that I liked was where a tribal chief in Sahyadri hills explains the author that there is humility in receiving too. And no matter how poor you are, there is always something that you can give to others.

All in all an average read, if you have nothing to do then you can read the book, will keep you satisfied although won’t leave a lasting impression.


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Review: The Devotion of Suspect X

I received the book “The Devotion of Suspect X” by Keigo Higashino through the BlogAdda Book Review Program.

First things first, I am happy with the book and it’s a decent read, as I mentioned last time, that I was expecting that the book be a thriller as I wanted to read something different and it has been a long time since I read a crime thriller.

The book is of suspense/thriller/mystery genre and it does a good job at that, you can go on to read it and might not get bored for the most part of it but it being a hit and selling more than 2 million copy (as the book claims on the jacket) is surprising to me as the book is not that great. It’s not a book that you can’t afford to miss. I certainly have read many better thrillers than that.

The freshness that the book brings is by setting the story at the Japanese backdrop and life style. I haven’t read many Japanese novels so it was good a story being played out in that region.

The writing however was ordinary, it doesn’t raise any feelings for the characters involved, neither tickles you, nor angers you and certainly doesn’t get your pulse racing, the main reason for that I think is that the spirit of the story is lost in translation, as the story is translated from Japanese to English. And that is the biggest loss for this book.

The story has its flaws and sometimes appears pretty ordinary except for in the end where there a few twists but they are also not that shocking and could have been expected.

The story revolves around a divorced mother Yasuko Hanaoka who works at a lunch box place escaping from her abusive husband Togashi, whom she end up killing (accidentally) but then her neighbor (a genius mathematician) who happened to have crush on her, helps her in disposing the body.

But Ishigami (the genius that he is) also plots a cover up, very detailed so that Yasuko and her daughter never get caught for the act. Detective Kusanagi starts investigating the crime and the person he happens to take advice from Dr. Manabu Yukawa, the Physicist turns out to be a classmate of the mathematician Ishigami.

The entire investigation revolves around Yasuko and Ishigami and no other names popup during investigation that was a dud, Yukawa involvement in it. From there follows a series of twists and turns in the story where Ishigami tries to outmaneuver the police and Yukawa to protect the mother and daughter and when everything fails he plays his trump card.

The rest of the book is about the investigation and reasoning “how it was done?”, “who done it?” leading to a sad end.

The plot wasn’t that great but a good attempt was done. What happens in the first few pages that is what is maintained in the rest of the book, nothing new happens, no startling discoveries or anything. You keep on waiting for a big shocker till the end of the book but nothing like that comes, although there are twists and turns in the end but as I said earlier doesn’t shock you or make you love the story.

The good points were the way the Mathematician Ishigami and Physicist Yukawa’s characters are portrayed. The quote from the book “Which is harder: devising an unsolvable problem, or solving that problem? ” that theme was good. How Ishigami was involved in math problems all day long and the rapport both the characters share with each other was good. The interactions between Ishigami and Yukawa are exciting and interesting but the point where Yukawa explains why he started to suspect Ishigami is good but it could have been better and not that simple.

But all in all a decent read, don’t expect too much from it, it can server well as a lonely day read but nothing of the sort that you will remember after a month or so.

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Week 5: the book this week is The Devotion Of Suspect X

Before I could finish my last book “The Namesake” I already had the next book in my hand that I have to finish this week.

The book “The Devotion Of Suspect X” by Keigo Higashino has been provided to me by BlogAdda through their Books Review Program.

I don’t know much about this book except that it is translated from Japanese and on its cover it says that the book has sold 2 million copies and I think it could be a thriller. If it is thriller, it would be great, something different to read for me.

I haven’t really been able to move forward with this book except for the first few pages and may be I will dedicate more time over the weekend. And I hope to finish it by the end of this week itself.

At the same time I am pondering over the next book(s) I should read, should I get a new book, should I read from the ones already at home or should I join a library and get a book?

Well it’s kind of confusing, library I either ways want to join, which one and when are the two difficult choices.

Often there is a disagreement between my head and my heart, regarding buying books and reading it. Is it really worth buying the book and read it, can’t I just rent it from a library? What will we do after reading the book once? It will take space and not serve any purpose

But then mind says that writers should be given their due, a book should be bought and if you enjoy it on your first read, the purpose is solved, the book price recovered, now you can choose to keep it and read it at a later date or just give it to someone else for reading. But then I am very possessive about my books, not everyone takes care of your books like you do and if I read a book again or not I like to keep them in good condition, that means no pen, pencil usage, no dog ears, not leaving them to decay.

What do you think about buying books for reading? Let me know.

Till next time, Happy Reading!

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Review: The Namesake

So I slipped off the target this time, although not so badly, I could finish “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri by Monday this time instead of Saturday or Sunday.

I have heard so much about “The Namesake”, although more so in terms of the movie and in a few instances book too. And everyone who has either read the book or watched the movie have praised it. Although I have not seen the movie but I have watched its trailer starring Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Kal Penn. All 3 actors are my favorite. And the weird thing was that as I was going through the book, I was able to visualize the scenes of the movie with Irrfan and Tabu in it. Both are such fine actors and our film industry is lucky to have them. I can’t even begin to think of any other actors able to do justice to those role of Ashima and Ashoke.

But coming back to the book “The Namesake”, as I mentioned I have heard so many good things about this book even before I started reading it, so my expectations were high. And it just feel a tad bit shorter than that.

It’s a beautiful book and has been written with so much understanding and warmth. Ashima and Ashoke’s journey to the America and settling down there has been so beautifully depicted. How a name ‘Gogol’ seems to affect their lives in so many ways and how they adjust to become parents of ABCD children is well written.

It is clear that Jhumpa Lahiri has seen the two cultures (Bengali and American) too closely, the minute details and nuances of the two cultures have been beautifully brought out.

I have had experienced a few of the things when I was in states and that’s how I can relate to it.

Indian children (for that matter children of any other culture) first trying to dissuade themselves from their roots only to try to reach it later. An identity crisis that you encounter in a foreign land when you are born in America and want to live like Americans but then your roots not letting you go to far.

Discovering your identity and your roots becomes a big task of your life and sometimes you are able to make peace with your conditions and sometimes you always remain restless.

Gogol’s life and it’s challenges, changing his weird name, he trying to get away from his parents only to return back to them, dealing with his father’s death, then associating himself with a Bengali girl, getting married all have been so beautifully written by Lahiri. Hardly anyone can understand those challenges, those hardships, those confusions of being born in a different country and trying to make place for yourself, at the same time keeping your roots intact.

I personally liked Ashima’s character and Gogol’s character a lot, they have been beautifully depicted and carved throughout the book.

Place where I think I was a bit unsatisfied was that I thought that the name has relevance to the entire story and it might have something to do in the end of the book, but the name “Gogol Ganguly”  was only partly the focal point of the book and it more sort of depicted the life and times of “the gangulies”. Also the way Gogol was able to return back to his family after his father’s death and leave Maxine and her family so easily didn’t appear so convincing to me.

There was a point in the book, i.e. after Nikhil’s marriage to Moushumi, I thought the book has reached a conclusion and should end but then started Moushumi’s story, which wasn’t uninteresting but I thought it drifted from Nikhil and his family and until a few pages I wasn’t sure what to expect in the end and the end itself was just average.

But this is one book you should read, the beauty of the book is its writing and the way such a complex subject cultural identity, rootlessness and trying to save family traditions has been handled with such ease. Jhumpa Lahiri has done a very good job but it could have been better.

So that’s about it for this week. If you have read the book or watched the movie, do let me know your views.

till next time, Happy Reading

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