Thursday, 23 April 2015

Review:Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

There are a plethora of books in the market today which have been made into movies.This seems to be the latest trend.As an avid book lover,I have always felt that one should always read the book before watching the movie.That way both the author and the film maker get their due credit.But in this case I did not even know that Gone Girl was based on a novel until I saw the credits on the screen.I was a wee bit disappointed as I wanted to read the story first.It does not really make much sense to read a thriller if you already know the climax but since I had heard such amazing stuffs about Gillian Flynn’s writing ,I could not resist reading her most famous work.
                                                                  For all those who haven't watched the movie or read the novel,Gone Girl is a thriller story about a couple(Nick and Amy) who are stuck in a dysfunctional marriage .This book is an attempt to understand the darkest depths of human psyche.The story is sluggish but in a good way.It gives the readers ample time to get used to the philandering husband,the psychotic scheming of a manipulative wife and the overall messed up situation.In any thriller novel,white characters are boring,the black ones are necessary and the grey ones are the most interesting.This book does not have any of the three.All the characters seemed pretty inconsistent to me and I could not relate to any single one of them.In fact I felt that all of them suffered from bipolar disorder,swinging from one extreme to another as the story progressed.
                       Now let’s come to the most talked about feature of this book-it’s climax.I found the finale quite baffling while watching the movie so when I read the book I was expecting the ending to be a bit more well explained.It turned out to be little less absurd than the movie but still not to my liking.Also I hate how the author went complete 360 on Nick’s character-a noble soul who is ready to stay with a psycho killer just for the sake of his kid.His narcissism and misogynistic attitude was equally responsible for all the mess.So why does he get to be the good guy in the end?It did not seem fair.
                  May be I would have liked the book better if I had not watched the movie first.Now I feel my imagination of the novel is limited to the scenes of the movie.The twists and turns of the story may not catch the reader off guard but the writing style is impeccable.Gillian Flynn has once again proved that she has supreme control over her vocabulary and phrases.The book has strong undercurrents of feminism,which is expected from Flynn.Overall a decent read but no way justifies the hype surrounding it.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Review : The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson

If you are planning to visit or move to USA in the near future,then you are better off without reading this book.Bill Bryson does everything in his power to tarnish the so called “American dream” and he does it with impeccable style and suave.There are very few writers who can be sarcastic and hilarious at the same time.Bryson is one of them.
                    The Lost Continent is the story of a road trip across USA covering almost 22500 kms(Yes.Kilometers,not miles.Metric system rules).The author visits his hometown after spending 10 years in England and as soon as he is back,the travel buff sets out on a quest to find the perfect town which he likes to call Amalgam.This is just not a travelogue-It is a book about childhood nostalgia and unfulfilled dreams.I do not feel this is the ideal travel guide to the American continent.Bryson does not even mention the famous attractions of the country.He just drives his Chevy through the most boring suburbs of the most monotonous towns across USA.Sometimes even those tedious towns surprises him with their fresh scenic beauty or an interesting historical monument and other times he just drives for days on the concrete metal road interspersed with similar looking gas stations,motels and fast food chains.
                                 Bill Bryson is not a very likeable person.He is highly opinionated,snob and even a bit racist.As a person ,I hate him.As an author ,I absolutely adore him.The phrase “politically correct” does not even exist in Bryson’s dictionary.He is brutally honest-a characteristic that is rarely seen in modern day authors.He unapologetically goes on to bash everything that in his opinion is wrong with the American culture-blind consumerism,falling standards of education,obesity(The list is quite long).
                 Every book,even as awesome as this one,has its highs and lows.The first part of the book where the author covers the midwestern and east cost of USA, is superbly written-crisp and witty accounts of his visit to Philadelphia, New York and many other places.The second part,covering western America,becomes very dragging at times.Also,the author takes it for granted that the reader is familiar with American history.There are pages where I felt completely lost and had to look up few historical references,which was kind of annoying.
        All in all,if you are a serious nationalistic,this book is definitely not for you.Whereas if you are one of those few people on the face of this earth who are able to laugh at themselves,then you are in for a treat.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Review : Theo and the Forbidden Language by Melanie Ansley

We all need a bit of magic to break the shackles of monotony in our lives.Sometimes we find that enchantment in nature and sometimes we find it in books.Theo and the forbidden language is definitely one of those stories which casts a spell on the readers and transports them to another dimension.
                      After reading the blurb , I was a bit skeptical because I could never imagine a rabbit as a hero who fights a war for his people.This was mainly because of two reasons.Firstly,we do not have many rabbit/hare protagonists in the literary world(except Watership Down).Secondly,I always thought rabbits were these furry creatures who eat carrots and love being cuddled,not fight battles with steel armours and razor sharp swords.So I started reading with some apprehensions but by the time I had finished the tenth chapter ,I was completely in love with Theo.The storyline was vibrant and  action packed.The author has also been successful in creating some very memorable characters -Brune,the muscular bear;Noshi,the wise leader ;Indigo,the fierce rabbit warrior.The story of how Theo conquers his own demons is beautifully written.It makes the character of Theo much more relatable.This book sends out a poignant message that everyone has weaknesses but we can all become champions by believing in our strengths.
                                                          I felt the plot was predictable-shy protagonist embarks on a quest which leads him to his destiny(combo of harry potter,lord of the rings,star wars).But apart from that I think the magical world created by Melanie is very believable and easy to follow.It would be a perfect read for any fantasy lover,especially kids above the age of 10 .

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination

Thanks a lot Nita for nominating me.I would request my readers to have a look at her book blog BOOK CHOOSE .It is very fresh and genuine.

Let us just peruse the rules of this competition :

  • Thank the person who nominated you for this award and post a link to their blog.
  • Select 15 blogs that you follow regularly
  • Nominate those 15 blogs for VBA
  • Let your readers know 7 unique facts about yourself.
Below is the list of blogs which I would like to nominate

  1. Ashley                Marginalia: A Reading Log
  2. Shomeret           Shomeret:The Masked Reviewer
  3. Katerina            The Realm of Books 
  4. Natalia               Book Cupid
  5. Jennifer Blake   Heartland Reading
  6. Jonel Bokyo       Pure Jonel
  7. Simon Thomas  Stuck in a Book
  8. AJ Strekel          Read all the things
  9. Leanne               All write-y then 
  10. Sophie Cordeo  Seameless Reader
  11. Harvey               Bookmarked
  12. Jullianne            Outlandish Lit 
  13. Shanny               Shanny Reads
  14. Allen Olu           Allen
  15. Jerri Aubrey     As the page turns
Now comes the fun part.I have always found it difficult to write about myself but I am going to give it a shot

  1. I recently took a break from my corporate job so that I could read as many books as I like and travel the world.
  2. I am a fitness freak.
  3. I love skateboarding.
  4. Kill Bill is my comfort movie-I can watch it anytime,anywhere.
  5. My favourite genre is Autobiographies and memoirs.
  6. I can spend a whole week in my bed just watching FRIENDS marathon.
  7. I try and keep away from romantic novels and movies.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

Some love stories are like wine which have a pleasant after taste,some others are chilled beer which soothes your soul and some are like a cheap booze which just reeks of mediocrity.The Museum of Innocence falls in the third category.The plot was weak to begin with and it became worse as the story progressed.
                         The protagonist,Kemal Bey is a lazy spineless son of a wealthy father whose only obsession in life is to sleep with this girl,Fusun,who by the way is his cousin.His idea of an ideal life consists of 3 things-
1-Making love to Fusun
2-Having dinners with his finance,Sibel.(And also sleeping with her)
3-Drinking raki(anise flavoured alcoholic drink).
Now let us come to the female lead ,Fusun who I honestly feel suffers from split personality disorder.Her thoughts and actions never seem to match.Then there are her parents who encourage their daughter’s ex lover to try and woo her in front of her husband.Understanding such dysfunctional characters is beyond my intellectual capacity.The first 250 pages are about Fusun’s body-her hair,her breasts,her neck.The next 250 pages are about the things which had some sort of skin contact with Fusun-her cigarette butts,her scale,her pen,etc.The last 250 pages are about Fusun’s seesawing life dreams-A movie star or a driver or a painter.(before she ultimately decides to be a trophy wife).One rarely comes across such a excruciatingly long and painful piece of narration.
                                The only thing worth reading in the book was the depiction of Turkey and its colourful culture.The author has been successful in giving each neighbourhood of Istanbul a character of its own.My personal favourites are Beyoglu and Cukurcuma and I wish i get to visit them someday.The lifestyle of the elite as well as the lower middle class is very well described.Just after the Valentine week ,I had promised myself that I will make a genuine effort to read more romantic novels this year but if the modern love stories are anything like this book then I guess I am better off without reading them.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Confessions of a Cynical Romantic

I have always loved book stores .I spend more time perusing books than browsing latest trendy outfits. My local book shop is like a second home to me; well at least most of the book shop. There is this one section which is completely alien to me-the romance section. I cannot recall a single instance where I have spent more than 5 minutes in the Romance alley of a book store. Like every other girl, I went through that “Mills and Boons” phase during my teen years but since then I have read very less love stories.
   So this Valentine's day, I was searching for an inspiration that awakens the comatose romance- lover in me. That is when I came across this list which is perfect for someone like me. My favorite romance novel is Erich Segal’s Love Story which I felt should have been included in this list. Do let me know which love story you read this Valentine's day.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

My Favorite Harry Potter Memes

I just finished reading the Harry Potter series for the nth time and every time I complete the last book, the tears just start flowing. These hilarious memes did cheer me up though.

WOW!!!I did NOT know that.

Harry was always the “good boy”.

It gives me shivers to think of the havoc this pair would have wrecked, if they had the invisibility cloak.

Why so serious, Sirius?

Oh Leo!! First the Oscars and now this L

Every nook and corner of the internet world is full of Harry Potter memes.Do let me know which ones are your favorite.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Review:A Town Called Dehra by Ruskin Bond

I absolutely adore Ruskin Bond and have been doing so since my childhood. He does not write about world wars or bank heists or long forgotten heroes .Instead, he writes about the most magical place on this earth-Dehradun and that’s what makes him my favorite. I would like to believe that this book is Bond’s love letter to the Doon valley.
                            A town called Dehra is a collection of short stories revolving around the day to day events of the author’s early life in the city. Few of the stories are excerpts taken from his debut novel-The room on the roof. These tales are about the people in Bond’s life who influenced him the most-his Tonga fearing grandmother, poor but proud Bibiji,young and carefree Somi.My favorite story is the one where the author talks about the heart and soul of Dehradun –The trees. Bond is totally correct when he says that Doon is one of the few places in the world where trees are a match for man.My family shifted to Dehradun in the late '90s and the moment I got off the train, I was left awestruck by the huge Banyan tree in the middle of the railway platform. Over the next few months I discovered that almost every house in the city (including mine) had an orchard in the backyard. Papaya, mango, guava and litchi trees were in abundance and still are. Even now, whenever I visit the valley, the majestic sal and shisham trees are always there to welcome me.
                                 For me, reading a Ruskin Bond book is like swimming in a sea of nostalgia. I am transported to a time where life used to be much simpler-the Parade ground was still green, the forests of Rajpur road were not converted to shopping malls, the roads had lesser number of vehicles. I sometimes feel sad that Dehradun is no longer the quaint, sleepy town that I grew up in but the fact that Ruskin Bond has immortalized it cheers me up.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Review : Song of the Sea by Jade Varden

 I am not a big fan of the young adult fantasy genre because most of the YA fiction books that I have read in the past year or so have had very immature content. Therefore, when Jade asked me to review her latest work, I was a bit skeptical but the blurb looked interesting enough and I was in mood for some light reading, so I decided to give it a shot and I am so glad I did.

                           Reading this book was like reading a Disney movie screenplay but unlike most of the Disney movies I watched during my childhood, this story had depth to it. The story of Brenna‘s search for her mother is inspiring and relatable.The writing is fresh and crisp. As a reader, I just fell in love with the female protagonist-she is smart, hardworking and has an undying passion for sailing.She is also silly when it comes to the matters of heart, but then which teenager isn't. I believe the target audience for this book is the school going younger generation and Brenna is the ideal heroine for them. She is not some love struck teenager who believes in dancing to the tunes of her prince charming. She is a mature, determined girl who is ready to face the challenges of life. In an era where media is dominated by shallow female portrayals, strong characters like Brenna are needed. The author has also been successful in portraying the futility of war. The youth of the world need to realize that we do not own land water and air and therefore fighting over these resources will ultimately lead to the destruction of mankind.

                          The only thing missing from this book was the lack of focus on the other characters. I would have loved to read more about Nixie and Kyle. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The YA fantasy genre needs more books of this kind.