YA Challenge

Posted by Divya at Wednesday, November 25, 2009 6 comments Links to this post

Well! I finally geared up some courage to brace the long list I am committing to with this challenge -

YA may be a new area i am venturing into. There are books like 'the book thief' that I read without knowing it was YA and loved it. So this time i am making the plunge knowingly :)

Suggestions are welcome. I have come up with a list from blog surfing, googling et al

1. Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott (inspired from Shona's review )
2. The boy in striped pajamas by John Boyne
3. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer(i wish to understand the hype behind it!)
4. The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
5. Prophecy of the sisters by Michelle Zink
6. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
7. - 10. The last 4 in the Harry Potter Series
11. Play Me by Laura Ruby
12. The dead and the gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (read Shona's review here)

Until next time.. Happy thanksgiving and holidays everyone! Hope to catch up on challenges of 2009!

I Won!

Posted by Divya at Wednesday, November 25, 2009 2 comments Links to this post
I won the giveaway of the hardback copy of hosted by Shona -

Mood - Excited to read the book! :) :-D It will be my first of Michelle Moran.

A disobedient girl

Posted by Divya at Monday, November 23, 2009 5 comments Links to this post

By Ru Freeman

My last but one destination for the Orbis Terranum, was Sri Lanka; a land so familiar yet strangely unknown. This debut novel of Ru Freeman was a charming peek into Sinhalese-Sri Lanka - A breather of class, political turmoil and the women who are caught in the web of unperceivable changes.

At the center of the novel is Latha, the protagonist, who is difficult to be loved, but stands out for her dignity and unbreakable spirit. She is introduced to us as the servant, who also doubles as the childhood companion of Thara, the one bestowed with luxuries and status that money can buy. The life of these two women, since the time they are girls is interwoven with a great many moments of humility, love, pain that comes with it and an unattainable secret. It is interesting how by social strata Latha the server and Thara, the giver, are different, yet in life they are so impossibly human with the same wants.

As Freeman brings this uncanny friendship through immensely eloquent writing, she surprises the reader with the character of Biso, a mother of three running from a tyrannical husband. The reader is thrown into a pendulum ride alternating between Latha and Biso, chapter after chapter; while she leaps through Latha’s life in years, the story of Biso spans seventy two hours. Although the link was difficult to make as the book warmed slowly, the parallelism of the narrative takes shape eventually. Once the stories of Latha and Biso are tenuously tied, it is only an anxious wait through pages, unknowing what tragedies loom to the finish.

The men in the novel, from Mr. Vinthage to Gehan, are all displayed as weak. But in the back drop of the intriguing women – insolent and domineering Mrs. Vinthage, determined and ambitious Thara, resolute Latha, sensitive and bold Biso, the men are but unfastened links to bring their lives together.

Freeman’s writing is beautifully expressive. One only needs to close the eyes and imagine the tea estates, rich and poverty stricken Colombo, the political unrest and the calming sea-smell that wafts so easily. I totally loved the descriptions of food and flavor that more than aid in ones understanding of a nation. Even the use of Sinhala language in the right places for that perfect affection and impact left a wonderful after-tone.

If there is anything I would change about the writing, it would be to let the story flow and not be confined to the strict cyclic chapter intervals. Her characters, so brilliantly human with flaws manifold, stood their ground and did not emanate sympathy and sadly didn’t make it easy to love them either. As the novel ended, I could feel the heart-break, but it wasn’t walloped enough to leave me exhausted. I could close the book and not be haunted.

I definitely look forward to more from Freeman and recommend this book to all who wish to take a peep of Sri Lanka from a discreet stand point.

Challenges Challenges!

Posted by Divya at Monday, November 23, 2009 1 comments Links to this post
Challenges are way too tempting.. Since this one allowed cross-over, I believe I couldnt help but indulge beyond my worry that I have more on my plate than I can handle. To think of it...2010 has not even begun! sigh!

I go with the easy level -
1. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf - An author i am intimidated by and reading one of her books might alleviate that i hope!
2. The tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult. I loved "My sister's Keeper".
3. Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie - Another author, I havent been bold enough to behold.

Phew! I am stopping right here!

The diary of Anne Frank

Posted by Divya at Tuesday, November 17, 2009 1 comments Links to this post

When Hitler had come alive in our textbooks of tenth grade, I had developed an uncanny interest in the holocaust, beyond what education demanded. This powerful and heart-breaking diary had been my first venture towards that at the age of fifteen. And I had been pleasantly surprised at how much Anne seemed like a familiar teenager to me back then. I had even stolen her idea to address her diary entries and created an imaginary friend Maya for my intermittent diary-keeping.

I re-read this diary recently and it had evoked the same emotions I had felt almost ten years ago. Anne is in no way the perfect person. She had inhibitions, immaturity, resentments and everything that marks the coming of age of any teenager. But, someone with this normal life had to be succumbed to fear and mortal hiding makes it enduring.

Anne writes to Kitty, as she christens her diary, about her life since her thirteenth birthday. The entries begin when her family is at their home in Netherlands though they are already facing restrictions, like, unable to travel by car for being jews. She writes about her whims as a school girl, of friends, of boys who have a crush on her; it almost seems like nothing can go wrong. Almost a few pages hence, the dramatic change of events occurs and her family goes into hiding; then on her writing takes a new direction. It is almost difficult to imagine how such close confinements can render members of the same family to display their worst and best sides.

Anne writes about the differences, jealousies and other frustrations that can only arise with close kin. She expresses envy towards Margot, for being the perfect apple of the eye to her mother and in later entries her relationship with her mother only deteriorates further. She considers her relationship to her father closer. As she matures, she finds the kinship with Margot and even remarks “She's not nearly so catty these days and is becoming a real friend.”

Adding to the troubles of hiding, Anne’s family is also accompanied by Pels family. Though she detests Peter in the beginning, they finally enter into a romantic hold, with whom, Anne even shares her first kiss. However, she is ambivalent towards the senior Pels and often blames them for sarcasm and selfishness.

Beyond all the difficulties faced, Anne often hopes to return to school after the war, has ambitions to be a journalist, and wishes a life like it had always been. To show such maturity and sanguineness in the time of dark and death may in itself be strength of character displayed by Anne. She is open to her feelings, evident from her narrative and willingness to edit the previous entries to be made readable to all.

Take in Anne’s two years, to understand the many ways living in hell had been during the worst world war. Read her entries to take in life of the innocents, who were only as human as we all are, looking forward to sunny days after the doused ones. Anne, who had never stopped dreaming or living, is definitely the most alive exemplary of a fateful end...

South Asian Author Challenge

Posted by Divya at Tuesday, November 17, 2009 1 comments Links to this post

Looks like i am on a challenges roll for 2010! :)
South Asian authors have been my favorite, for driving the story home! And since I have many on my wishlist.. here goes my list for the challenge -

1. The Toss of a lemon - Padma Vishwanathan (india)
2. The splendor of silence - Indu Sundaresan (india)
3. Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh (Burma)
4. Salt and Saffron - Kamila Shamsie (Pakistan)
5. When memory dies - Sivanandan, Ambalavaner(Sri lanka)

Might be adding more depending on time!

Re-Reading Challenge

Posted by Divya at Monday, November 16, 2009 2 comments Links to this post
Since I am already in the re-reading mode.. I thought the challenge was apt

Here are my three books -
1. Emma, Jane Austen
2. Doctors, Eric Segal
3. God of small things, arundathi roy

Happy reading everyone!

Hooked to Harry Potter

Posted by Divya at Monday, November 02, 2009 2 comments Links to this post

The box set of the HP series is my early birthday gift! Currently I am on the second book. Re-reading the series hasn't ever been so much fun before, though only next to malory towers! Hope to complete all the challenges during the holidays!! More reviews soon. :)

Joined the Harry Potter Challenge to keep the momentum!!

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