Graphic novels challenge

Posted by Divya at Tuesday, December 15, 2009 4 comments Links to this post

I have a couple of graphic novels i wish to read, so this challenge seemed apt to join.
I will take up the beginner level, since I haven't had a taste of adult graphic novels; Also I want to catch up on the Asterix and Obelix saga, I used to love reading them!

1. Watchmen by Alan Moore ( i hated the movie, mostly because it made no sense at all. But the book has rave reviews)
2. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
3. Asterix and Obelix , whatever big collection I can find at the library.

Now that's a nice genre to add to your bout of reading, isnt it?? To join click on the picture above.

A year older...

Posted by Divya at Sunday, December 13, 2009 3 comments Links to this post

.....and three books happier!!

Was also surprised with a wii fit and wii active! Excited!Benefits of marrying someone who supports the reading-drive! :P

On another note, I have lots of reading left to do. Though I am loving the Murakami book, I am not finding the time to pace my reading. Have fun reading everyone!

Reading is sexy!

Posted by Divya at Friday, December 11, 2009 3 comments Links to this post

So, when I read about this wonderful reading project at Veens and the corresponding link to Shona's laborious effort at creating this book list.. I couldnt help but join.. And what is even better.. Its a perpetual project, suits my overflowing stack for the coming year!

So go ahead join!

Happy reading all!

Short Story love

Posted by Divya at Tuesday, December 08, 2009 4 comments Links to this post

5th May 2010

(9) In the south by Sulman Rushdie
It is/was one of the most popular stories in the NewYorker last year. And no one can spin words like this man. I totally loved the writing. For one the descriptions of that "southern" city so described was poignantly familiar and Rushdie's prose like writing only made me smell the smells and feel the feels. That said, the story is very powerful. It can be cause for introspection, I must warn. And very atypical of his writing, he sprinkles humor just enough to warm to the otherwise serious narration.

Dont miss it. Read it here.

14th Dec 2009

(8) Royalty by Anita Desai
This is from the collection Diamond dust:stories by Anita Desai

I have always been a lover of her writing style. This story had a strange irony which only struck me after I started thinking about the story when it ended. The old friends meet again; the swami among them expects to be fed and housed. Not an easy read, but when it ends, leaves you wanting to know more!

(7) The time of the peacock by Mena Abdullah
This is from the collection Story-wallah: Short Fiction from South Asian Writers

A very poignant tale of faiths, childhood, beliefs and simple happiness of life. The writing style was very novelistic and hence it felt incomplete.

11th Dec 2009

(6) A sandshore wooing by Lucy Maud Montgomery
You can find the story here.

A sweet love story as the name suggests; no ironies, twists. Simple. short and feel-good. And yes, you can feel a tinge of 'Anne' Maud's best creation in the protagonist.

10th Dec 2009

(5) Curious case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald
You can find the story here.

Having loved the movie, for its bizarre innovation, I found the short story even more intriguing! Its such a make-you-think piece about how at old age one actually starts living backwards. Also Fitzgerald's style of writing has a tinge of satiric humor, it makes the read a pleasurable one.
9th Dec 2009

(4)The evening gift by R K Narayan
This story is from the collection "under the banyan tree and other stories"

Typical Malgudi scene. A man living hand to mouth, does bizarre work for a rich drunkard. And in Narayan's style ends the tale in sad irony.

8th Dec 2009

I am a huge fan of short stories, especially after my all time favorite author RK Narayanan's Malgudi days. I feel they tell you a lot more than a bulky book would.
I have completed 3 shots so far -

(1)The child's story by Charles Dickens
You can find it here.

A typical dickens to harp on the Scrooge like exemplary of a human being, who forgets, remembers, loves and lets go. The ending of the story was the best part of the read. A feel good read

(2)The overcoat by Nikolai Gogol

Inspired by the reference to the book in 'the Namesake', I fished the book online. In fact its a small book and hence can pass off for a short story. The protagonist is rather intriguing, even in the whole aura of simplicity and boredom surrounding him. He is also a plural for Gogol's definition of a living being of that era, a silent spectator of corrupt revolution and the common man. I am still figuring my interpretation of the end.

Did you read the overcoat? what do you draw from the end?

(3)The Cabuliwallah by Rabindranath Tagore
You can find the story and other short stories by Tagore here.

Poignant. Subtle. Lovely.
I love reading stories in and around the british raj; it almost beatifies me to understand a nation that once was and how it would have been if it weren't partitioned to bits today. Though cabuliwallah is not a direct indicator of british india, its somewhere there emanating the smell of fear, love and discrimination.

Oh! No!

Posted by Divya at Friday, December 04, 2009 2 comments Links to this post

When you start signing up for challenges.. there is no stopping.. This one sounded really awesome.. and it has no name! :) I am almost sure, I might not complete the challenges next year.. but then having more books on the TBR than less is better any day right??
Here is my list -

1. A book with a food in the title: Salt and Saffron by Kamila Shamsie
2. A book with a body of water in the title: Sea of poppies by Amitav Ghosh
3. A book with a title (queen, president) in the title: Cleopatra's daughter by Michelle Moran
4. A book with a plant in the title: The Syringa Tree by Pamela Gien
5. A book with a place name (city, country) in the title: Enchantress of Florence by Sulman Rushdie
6. A book with a music term in the title: The Music Room by Namita Devidayal

Happy reading everyone!

The house on mango street

Posted by Divya at Wednesday, December 02, 2009 4 comments Links to this post

By Sandra Cisneros

Having read some wonderful reviews, I was quiet baffled by the size of the book. It is even smaller than ‘Love Story’ and you can breeze past the hundred odd pages in a single hour. But that said this book is three things – Poetic. Terse. Powerful. The writing style of Cisneros is what is defined as vignettes; and this is first of its kind for me and I enjoyed it!

The book is a compilation of short chapters that describe events, people, emotions everything in a nutshell. More than the words, it’s the unwritten language between words that makes the reading a pleasure.

Esperanza is the young protagonist, growing up in a Latino neighborhood of Mango Street in Chicago. The narrative compiles her observations of her close world of friends, relatives and neighbors. She distractedly notes the man who locks up his wife, the aunt who is forever sick and hence sickness seems normal, the friend who is beaten by her father and all the vileness around her. Before you wince, the book has way more happy moments too – of being children, of finding that you have turned a woman, of family time.

These strewn pieces of the hazy puzzle, that is at times heart-breaking and other times putting a smile on your face with the witty remarks, make a terrific lazy afternoon read. The determination of the protagonist to change her world for better and live away, yet never let go of her descent substantiates the hope and inspiration for many who are caught in the similar web of bad neighborhoods, hooting drunk men and coming of age before time. I am definitely picking up Cisneros’s poetry book next!

Suite Française

Posted by Divya at Tuesday, December 01, 2009 4 comments Links to this post

By Irène Némirovsky

Almost until a year ago, before I discovered so many wonderful book-bloggers, reading-challenges and the like, I’d randomly search the for reviews, similar books, discover new authors and all those thrills of being a book-freak. Based on one such endeavor was Suite Francaise. Though I purchased the book almost two years ago, I have still not been able to complete it. For one, I was disappointed with myself that I was disappointed with the book and secondly, I was losing the patience to complete it! So this time, though I felt the book was way more interesting than it had seemed before, I only managed to complete part one.

Suite Francaise is actually two novels which is half finished work by Irène Némirovsky, who was one of the many victims of Nazi occupation. This English translation of her original work in French has a documentary like flow, bringing reality through characters strewn across war-laden France. ‘Storm in June’ the first part, tells the story of a handful of people, who represent the chaos and cynicism of a nation at war.

At the front to flee from Paris are the Pericands, a large family, managed by the efficient lady of the house Charlotte Pericand. Their story is told in point of view of their many members and one is even from that of their cat. Then there is the narcissist writer Gabriel Corte, who is unwilling to believe the impending danger on Paris can impact the rich and mighty like him. The third narration is about the Michauds, who have a placid outlook to the war. Their only concern is for their son’s safety who is a soldier. Finally it is Charles Langelet, who is an art buff, abandoned by his servants, flees Paris alone.

The story unfolds through all these characters, slipping into ironic moments and predictably ending in tragic ones. While the optimism of Pericands ends in murder, elopement and abandonment of the various members of the family, Charles returns to Paris at the end of the war to be cruelly killed. Gabriel’s ego is slashed by the war-events and like a moral he is left unemployed and devoid of all the power he initially amasses. It is only the subdued Michauds, who are introduced as being doormats, who make the impossible journey on foot, eventually end up to find their son alive and healthy in the end.

The culmination of the people from different calls of life, whose lives have no connection except to flee a burning Paris, was an intriguing way to represent war. I believe the bond of the characters to the reader was not strong enough to feel the import of the writing. It might have been an effect of being lost in translation. Even so, the stories lacked a certain melodrama that grips the reader to stories of war. The narrative is largely pedestrian.

Another weird note worth pondering is Némirovsky being a jew didnt seem to include any incidents pertaining to jews. It is not like one has to emanate sympathy other Nazi tales do, but she even expresses distress on jews, almost like she doesnt like her descent. But, that however makes a totally different angle of debate of her work.

You do not have to go with my word; for the book is highly acclaimed and has received rave reviews. I hope to finish the second part Dolce sometime, which is supposed to be even more realistic than the first part. For now, my verdict rests on the advice - approach the book with a non-fiction mindset. I am sure you might enjoy it then.

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