“Call me Ishmael.” – undoubtedly one of the most powerful opening lines in the history of English Literature.
But, remember that time when you were a toddler and your mom used to flash these otherwise insanely scrumptious candies at you during meals, you pounced at them and somehow they tasted like spinach and broccoli, every time? Well, that is the déjà vu I had throughout the book. I mean, this, to me, is one of the most confusing books ever written- non-fiction concealed inside a very attractive wrapper of fiction. Book? Text book? Dissertation? Thesis?
Continue reading “Moby Dick: or, the White Whale by Herman Melville My rating: 3 of 5 stars”
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
Well, how do you review a book like this? Even before I delve into that, what bowled me over was how short a time it took Orwell to write this book – ‘November 1943 – February 1944’. Sure, it is a short read; a little over a hundred pages. But, what it conveys takes up an entire Constitution or someone’s entire career to convey. This book may be shy in words, but so rich in interpretation, it kind of completes itself in every reader’s mind, at its own pace and morphs into a different dystopia; different, yet same.
It is a brilliant allegory that mocks Stalin in the name of Napoleon. This is a story of Control and power struggle. Every animal mimes a familiar trait –
Continue reading “Animal Farm by George Orwell My rating: 4 of 5 stars”
It’s rare when a book becomes a person and starts talking to you. It’s even rarer when you start heeding this ‘book-person’ more than you do real people! For most part, it was like a conversation; like GK and I were friends forever and he was telling me one of his crazy stories yet again. I’m glad I came across this book.
For me, being able to say that is really refreshing in a way that it’s not my genre. I generally don’t go for YA. I started reading itself with this in the first place, but was soon perpetuated with the same ideas and notions being hurled in my face in the same predictable fashion. The problem with the contemporary Indian authors of this genre is that they try too hard to impress. As a reader, I feel like calling them out and yell, “Back off! I get it…I get it, damn it!” (I am offending so many people right now!) But hey, that’s just my opinion. Continue reading “Teenage Diaries: The Days That Were by Saurabh Sharma My rating: 4 of 5 stars”
This book plays off several shades of the contemporary grunge with a persistent neo-noir gradation. It saturates the cliché and builds it up through every paragraph till it blows into a cumulonimbus of decay. It is a tale of ‘missed connections’ and opportunities. A dystopic dirge keeps throbbing in the background while the four protagonists dance to its tune in perfect psychedelia.
It is hard to go through the book from this frame of reference. We can see ourselves in the pages making love to cellphones and avatars and losing sight of the reality while sinking deep into the mire of a new strain of love, the new romance. No one cares anymore for ‘the real thing’. Is there actually something real? Well, we do not have the time to spare on that kind of discovery. In an age of fast food and digital cash, finding true love seems rather dreary and time-consuming. We have let ourselves be annihilated with lust instead. Modern love is nothing more, but a raunchy escapade. It is more of a habit, a mechanical urge. Continue reading “THIS MODERN LOVE: a novel by Ray Hecht My rating: 4 of 5 stars”
“She seemed to walk in an atmosphere of things about to happen.”
I wasn’t even aware that ‘Anne of Green Gables’ had so many sequels. When I did come to know, I decided not to read them, as sequels are never good enough. And, I did not want to spoil the fun I already had.
But, Gilbert Blythe! He made me do it. I had to know what became of them, even though I know it in my heart! I had to know how it plays over. The best part about this series is, it is so effortless. It is like a pampering spree. I cannot compare this series to any other in this regard. It is like a soothing joyride. The freshness is carried over from its prequel. Many new consequential characters were introduced. The story grows on you. It is like I and the whole of Avonlea are buddies already; as if I lived amongst them somewhere on the island.
I do admit though, it is not better than the first part. But, it could not be. Knowing Anne was the best thing ever to happen. Now, it’s like accompanying her on her journey forward. I was adamant not to go any further in the series. But, then, Gilbert Blythe hasn’t proposed yet. Anne has blushed under his gaze for the first time. And then, her ambitions; she is going to college this season. I have no choice at this point. I am going to read the third part!
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I have never come across anything like this book. It is a rustic, raw, heartfelt and honest novella. It was an extremely different experience as compared to what I have been having for a long time, reading. Let me break it down to you.
First of all, I finished this book in a single sitting. The entire plot played like a docudrama in front of my eyes. It felt like I had somehow discovered somebody’s old journal and had to devour it at warp speed lest I should be found out sneaking.
It was only after reading this book that I realized how much I had missed the good old Indian writing. I am glad that people like Laxman Rao are still carrying on the legacy and doing it so brilliantly. That brings me to the author himself. I literally had goosebumps reading about his life struggles.(Yes, I like to know my authors.) It also felt like this story was a part of him, and not just something he conjured up in his mind one fine day because he decided to write a book.
Continue reading “Love Beyond Social Confines by Laxman Rao My rating: 3.9 of 5 stars”
“But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne with an ‘e’.”
Oh Anne! What a treat you were. This novella is so refreshing and innocent, it actually takes you back in time, and if it is in anyway possible, makes you ten years younger when you’re done! I was so bewitched by this ‘ravishing’ Anne that I dreaded the idea of finishing the book at all.
I never met such a girl. I could never ‘imagine’ such a girl either. What a torpedo of delights! This is one of the best coming-of-age stories out there. I would admit though, that if such a ‘scrumptious’ tiny girl really existed, she would be more intimidating than sweet, for Anne of Green Gables talked and she talked a lot and the only thing she did more than talking was imagining. Every character in the book is so relatable and unique that I cannot imagine a better way to put this story through. This girl is so prudent, yet laced to the roots in an unbelievably commendable fashion. There are so many strong messages throughout the book, yet you never feel them being rubbed on your face. There is something about this story which is simply pristine in its charm and charisma. Continue reading “Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars”
“Every heart has its own skeletons.”
A scandal never gets old. It’s crazy how the human society works. We are trained consciously and subconsciously right from our birth to put up this facade of righteousness around us, while all we covertly scavenge for and relish is the darkness and the fall of anyone but ourselves.
Anna Karenina is a satire on the society, politics, war and the human character. It is also a love story and a hate story. Anna is not perfect. Anna is not righteous by the book. But, when has perfection attracted us so much as the flaws? Anything or anyone who has that power to lure our inner demons, make us feel vulnerable and in danger of melting down the facade we have been building so ardently since we can remember ourselves, is the thing we try our best not to confront and when we do, more often than not, we surrender. Continue reading “Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy My rating: 5 of 5 stars”
“Bah,” said Scrooge, “Humbug.”
This is a story that became the seed for so many stories, Carols, adaptations, television series, movies and what not! What Dickens conjured with three ghosts and a stingy inveterate senile miser, was never done before or could be equaled again with all the elves, fairies and Santa to the rescue.
The tale is spun so seamlessly through the shortcomings and sheer disregard of Christian feelings exhibited by the protagonist Scrooge, the hideousness of his actions, the tastelessness of his selfish attitude and his ultimate redemption in the face of death and fear. Continue reading “A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars”
#18th longest novel of all time.
# “One of the half-dozen greatest novels of the world”- Upton Sinclair
“Liberation is not deliverance.”
Have you ever experienced the satisfaction that comes from reading or watching something so complete that your own life comes full circle to you thereafter?
If you haven’t, read this book. If you think you have, read this book imperatively. If you have, in fact, read the book, pat yourselves on the back.
Les Miserables is Continue reading “Les Misérables by Victor Hugo My rating: 5 of 5 stars”
“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
Well, I love it and hate it. But, probably I love it more. The book is so pluralistic, yet singular in the underlying idea. There are tones and undertones and overtones, yet it is the simplest thing I have ever come across.
This is one of those unwonted books that I have struggled to sit through. But, this is also a book that keeps me haunting back and forth days after finishing it. It actually makes me cogitate and think about things I had given up thinking long ago.
This book is not timeless, at least in my opinion, like the other books in this genre are. I remember myself getting so worked up with some of the ideas Thoreau planted in my brain and I could not see it materialize in the present era. May be it is just me, and technically his ideas are not impossible to execute altogether. But, I don’t find it pragmatic or rather beneficial to anybody today. “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”
I will break it down to you.
Continue reading “Walden by Henry David Thoreau My rating: 3 of 5 stars”
This book is unique in a way that two lines in and the book had me completely. That’s new, because I’m a skeptic and I normally take pages or chapters to finally make up my mind about a book. What Mr. Gatsby did to the people he met, probably this book did to me. Pay attention here, I haven’t said that I liked the content yet. I only said the book had me and my undivided attention. I do not imply that I hated the content either. The book, just somehow, managed to draw the kind of attention foreign to its genre. When you delve into a “great book”, a “classic”, you normally go in slow and give it time (at least I do). But, with this book, when I got in, I was devouring everything wolfish-ly, as if I were reading a thriller or solving a mystery.
Continue reading “The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald My rating: 4 of 5 stars”