Wow. Just wow. This book was such a joy to read. Gracelings are children gifted with special abilities and distinguished by their different coloured ey...moreWow. Just wow. This book was such a joy to read. Gracelings are children gifted with special abilities and distinguished by their different coloured eyes. Graceling is about Katsa, a girl ‘graced’ with the ability to kill. Extremely well. She’s her uncle, the king’s, enforcer – not something she enjoys at all. He makes her feel like a thug and a brute, and Katsa sometimes imagines herself to be the savage everyone thinks she is. But Katsa also sees the injustice of the kings and takes it upon herself to use her abilities to help where she can. On one such mission she meets Po. Prince Po. Prince of one of the other seven kingdoms, and also a Graceling who is a good fighter. Both Gracelings understand how the other feels, with the uncomfortable stares and fear they arouse in people, and form a bond. Po and Katsa become sparring partners and then fast friends. When Po asks her why she doesn’t refuse being under her uncles’ control, Katsa begins thinking and making changes, which lead her to some hard decisions. ( "When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?" ) Their trail leads them to Po aunt’s kingdom and what follows is a secret that has the power to ruin all the 7 kingdoms.
This is a lovely story of fragile friendship with its own ups and downs and the strength of character that shines through from these two. You cannot help but love Po. (Despite his name) Katsa is someone who finds it hard to let people in, but cares for those she’s close to. It is heartbreaking when Katsa and Po finally discover their feelings for each other and share them. She has this weird thing about never getting married, which didn’t make sense seeing as she loved Po and agreed to be his lover but not his wife. Katsa has control issues.
There were no frivolous descriptions or filler in this book. Everything written worked towards giving the reader a sense of the characters frame of mind or what was happening around them. Cashore can make you picture a situation and the surroundings with a few short words, and get you completely involved in whats happening. There's whole cast of characters that you connect with. I loved Raffin, Oll, Bitterblue and even Giddon.
This book didn't have the typical ending with everything just falling in place, there was more left to do and still problems to overcome, and i was glad for that. Read this book. There's a reason this won a award people.
I really expected this to be a boring dull book that i wouldn't like. It turned out to be not so bad. Its a really quick read.. and i mean really quic...moreI really expected this to be a boring dull book that i wouldn't like. It turned out to be not so bad. Its a really quick read.. and i mean really quick. Amsterdam is basically written from the POV of Clive and Vernon, a composer and a newspaper editor - good friends who've both been lovers of the now dead Molly Lane. Considering how short the book was, its a lil hard to write anything more on this story that the book blurb above already gives away. Its amazing how stupidity can ruin a friendship. That's bout all i have to say. Although i kinda knew what was coming at the ending, it was still refreshing the way it ended. Considering this this one won the Booker Prize, I'm going to put this one in the category of 'reasons why award winning books are not all they say there are'. I mean, the book was good. McEwan has an unique style of writing and i liked that a lot of it was intellectual. But it really wasn't deserves-to-be-award-winning good.
My favourite lines: "They could manage your descent, but they couldn't prevent it." (On doctors)
"He drifted helplessly into a daydream, an elaborate story about someone hiding behind a rock, waiting to kill him. Now and then he glanced over his shoulder. He knew this feeling well because he often hiked alone. There was always a reluctance to be overcome. It was an act of will, a tussle with instinct, to keep walking away from the nearest people, from shelter, warmth, and help. A sense of scale habituated to the daily perspectives of rooms and streets was suddenly affronted by a colossal emptiness. The mass of rock rising above the valley was one long frown set in stone. The hiss and thunder of the stream was the very language of threat. His shrinking spirit and all his basic inclinations told him that it was foolish and unnecessary to keep on, that he was making a mistake."(less)
This was some book. Filled with humor at every other line and at the same time addressing loss, heartache and moving on. This book was a real joy to re...moreThis was some book. Filled with humor at every other line and at the same time addressing loss, heartache and moving on. This book was a real joy to read - quirky humor that kept my laughing almost all throughout.
Charlie is a beta male extremely devoted to his wife. In her hospital room after delivering their baby, Charlie sees a man in a green mint suit who shouldn’t have been seen by anybody. And that’s when Charlie's life changes. His wife has died, he has a new baby daughter he doesn’t know how to care for, and now people are dying around him - all too much for a Beta male's imagination to handle. But then, Beta males are conditioned to endure and make it - "The Beta Male gene has survived not by meeting and overcoming adversity, but by anticipating and avoiding it"
Moore creates an interesting concept on the soul. Put simply - you aren't born with one but you get one when you're ready for it. Charlie is now a Death Merchant - someone who collects souls from the dying (the soul vessels are material objects that the dying person was senti about. Materialism and the soul - talk about irony) and passes them on those who don’t have souls yet. He needs to collect the souls before the Gods of the underworld get their hands on them and feed off them to grow stronger and eventually bring darkness on us all.
Read this book - in its happy pages it brings up a lot of thinking material (hospice nurses taking care of the dying, the feeling of loss and pain when you lose a spouse, the concept of death and a whole lot more)
Some of the lines:
Charlie: “A speech disorder! A speech disorder! A cute lisp is a speech disorder. My daughter kills people with the word kitty. I had to keep my hand over her mouth all the way home. There’s probably video somewhere. People thought I was one of those people who beats their kid in department stores.” Minty Fresh: “Don’t be ridiculous, Charlie, people love the parents who beat their kids in department stores. It’s the ones who just let their kids wreak havoc that everybody hates.”
Charlie: "I don’t think she’s seeing anybody, but since the world is about to be taken over by the Forces of Darkness, you may not have time for dating
And my favourite: Can a conscience be greedy?(less)
Ummm, i'm not really sure what to say on this one The Graveyard Book was an unusual, refreshing and interesting read. Certainly havent read anything li...moreUmmm, i'm not really sure what to say on this one The Graveyard Book was an unusual, refreshing and interesting read. Certainly havent read anything like it before.
I loved the character development, feels like its been a long time since i read a book where this was paid attention to. I really like Silas and Liza the best. While Bod has different relationships with most of the inhabitants of the graveyard, the ones with Silas and Liza were the most fun to read. Some of his conversations with Silas were deep and thought provoking and yet and the same time light in nature in that he was speaking to a young boy. At some times i just really wanted to smack Bod for behaving like a kid, but then i guess that was the whole point.
The end was a bit too abrupt for me. Or maybe thats because i've been reading this book real slow for almost a month now and suddenly it was over. But i did feel it was wrapped without a lot of explanation. Like why the Jacks needed to kill the boy. There were just a couple of lines on this part. And what killer doesnt kill the main object of his mission first and then finish of the others. I mean C'mon. There also wasnt any explanation on why Bod was taken into the graveyard and how the Lady on the Grey comes into this picture.
All in all though, this was a lovely story. A unique one. Which is probably why it won those awards.
My favourite lines: "So the people buried in the ground on the other side of the fence are bad people?” Silas raised one perfect eyebrow. “Mm? Oh, not at all. Let’s see, it’s been a while since I’ve been down that way. But I don’t remember anyone particularly evil. Remember, in days gone by you could be hanged for stealing a shilling. And there are always people who find their lives have become so unsupportable they believe the best thing they could do would be to hasten their transition to another plane of existence.” “They kill themselves, you mean?” said Bod. He was about eight years old, wide-eyed and inquisitive, and he was not stupid. “Indeed.” “Does it work? Are they happier dead?” “Sometimes. Mostly, no. It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean"(less)
"The story of a poor man's life is written on his body, in a sharp pen." I did not expect to like or enjoy this book. As an Indian, I usually don’t li...more"The story of a poor man's life is written on his body, in a sharp pen." I did not expect to like or enjoy this book. As an Indian, I usually don’t like books written about the poor where they're describing abysmal living conditions or other horrible situations. It isn't a question of whether these things happen or not, but more a case of sensationalising and exaggerating the poor with the intention of gaining literary recognition or popularity as an author. All under the guise of showing the world the 'Real India'. I think its crap Its sad that they never write about the good stuff or the people who've had good lives and made it better. Good stuff doesn't sell books though. Besides, I think you can't know poor unless you've lived it or seen it - and I doubt any of these authors have.
Getting back to the book now, like I said - I thought I wouldn’t like this book. But I did. There wasn’t anything in there I could identify with as an Indian - but at the same time I can see a lot of it could have happened to different people. This was a refreshing read. The book is written as a series of letters to the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who is supposed to be visiting India soon and is meant to show a side of India that the premier would not be privy to otherwise. It is written by Balram - a man who grew up in one of the nameless and faceless villages in India and made it out of the Darkness of his existence into the world of the rich - or the Light. "India is two countries in one: an India of Light, and an India of Darkness. The ocean brings light to my country. Every place on the map of India near the ocean is well off. But the river brings darkness to India - the black river "
Balram is ambitious - a trait a poor man is conditioned not to have. He's a thinker. And he uses these skills to make it out of his village and the rut every poor man is in. By observing. By thinking. By killing his employer. And building a new life for himself. His letter to the premier Wen describe how he came to be the entrepreneur he is today. With words that you wont forget long after you've finished this book.
Balram writes a lot about the relationship between a servant and his employer - and on some level this doesn’t apply only to the poor and their richer masters but to everyone who depends on another for their livelihood.
Balram's thoughts when his employer Ashok is contemplating life after his wife has just left him: - "The point of living? The point of your living is that if you die, who's going to pay me three and a half thousand rupees a month?"
- "It squeezed my heart to see him suffer like this—but where my genuine concern for him ended and where my self-interest began, I could not tell: no servant can ever tell what the motives of his heart are. Do we loathe our masters behind a facade of love—or do we love them behind a facade of loathing?"
And a very interesting way of describing why the poor stay poor with an analogy on chickens in a rooster coup: Hundreds of pale hens and brightly colored roosters, stuffed tightly into wire-mesh cages ….jostling just for breathing space…On the wooden desk above this coop sits a grinning young butcher, showing off the flesh and organs of a recently chopped-up chicken, still oleaginous with a coating of dark blood. The roosters in the coop smell the blood from above. They see the organs of their brothers lying around them. They know they're next. Yet they do not rebel. They do not try to get out of the coop" . . "Every day, on the roads of Delhi, some chauffeur is driving an empty car with a black suitcase sitting on the backseat. Inside that suitcase is a million, two million rupees; more money than that chauffeur will see in his lifetime. If he took the money he could go to America, Australia, anywhere, and start a new life. He could go inside the five-star hotels he has dreamed about all his life and only seen from the outside. He could take his family to Goa, to England. Yet he takes that black suitcase where his master wants. He puts it down where he is meant to, and never touches a rupee. Why? Because Indians are the world's most honest people, like the prime minister's booklet will inform you? No. It's because 99.9 percent of us are caught in the Rooster Coop just like those poor guys in the poultry market."
And some more interesting lines: - "You were looking for the key for years / But the door was always open!"
- But what is the use of winning a battle when you don't even know that there is a war going on?
This isn't a book to read if you want to know the "real India". But it is entertaining. And what makes it a good book are words like the ones I've quoted above - observations that you realise have a grain of truth in them. Observations that are put in a unique manner that made me turn the page and realise this is good fiction.(less)
ok, So.. twins are born. From 2 different eggs. They have twin-ly tendencies. They behave like children and accidents and other things happen. Around t...moreok, So.. twins are born. From 2 different eggs. They have twin-ly tendencies. They behave like children and accidents and other things happen. Around them other events unfold. Family, love - Forbidden Love, Politics, tradition...all come together centred around the arrival (and then) departure of Our Sophie Mol.
This is the basic gist of this book. but the way the story is written really makes it a very good read. I first tried reading this one ages ago and had quickly put in down then. Those initial pages didn't make a lotta sense then to want to continue.
So when I picked it up again this time (mostly for lack of anything else to read at home in India) I wasn't expecting much. I don't think I've read anything with this style of writing before, and that's what makes this an awesome read. The parts where the children make observations on the things around them and the way things are learned by rote and not understood and hence the emphasis on Prer NUN sea ayshun was awesome and also relatable in many ways.
The capitalizing Significant Words and runningtogether other words did the trick. Like the parts about the Bar Nowl and when Ammu tells Rahel to Stop-it and so she Stopiteds. The story goes back and forth in a very easy manner, and its only the style of writing and flashbacks that make this story a remarkable account of how the small things build up to a tragedy that changes lives forever. I can see why this book won a Booker Prize.(less)
Wow. This was an amazing read. There are just so many layers to this story; it really does affect you on some level. It leaves you thinking about the...moreWow. This was an amazing read. There are just so many layers to this story; it really does affect you on some level. It leaves you thinking about the book long after it is over. Dina Dalal, the widow is trying to make ends meet. Manek Kohlah is leaving a peaceful loving life in the mountains to come to the ‘City by the Sea’ so he can study and survive in this world. Uncle and nephew, Ishvar and Omprakash Darji, tailors now, leave behind the cloak of untouchability to earn a living in the city, hoping they’ll make enough to go back and live comfortably at their village. Four different lives join together – find family in each other and connect with you in such a way that you hope it will turn out well for all of them. In a backdrop of Indira Gandhi’s emergency, dreams and hopes get shattered. Despite knowing how futile it is, you still continue reading till the end, you still wish for a happy ending for all in this story
My favourite lines:
(But he went so far away) When you go so far away, you change. Distance is a difficult thing
(The secret to survival) is to maintain a balance between hope and despair (less)
I don't know what to put down in this review. I'm not even sure what I feel about this book - This isn't one that is going to make any lasting impact...moreI don't know what to put down in this review. I'm not even sure what I feel about this book - This isn't one that is going to make any lasting impact or that I'm going to be remembering for long Its different when you see things from a kids point of view. When you're too young to be expected to understand what is going on and so only get half the information and then with a child's innocence start looking around for your own experiences to fill in the missing blanks. Which is what this story is about. Then again, if this story is for the YA category, then it doesn't begin doing the Holocaust justice and I'm not sure you want to leave a kid with this version of a tragic history. A lot of the reviews that I've read slam this book. I find I cannot find any emotion at all. If the author intended for this to be from a different POV and childs' at that, then yes, he did but it could have been so much more. The writing was simple, which it had to be since it was from a kid's point of view. I'm not sure what there was so much emphasis on Bruno not getting the pronunciations right. Despite being corrected throughout the book, he kept calling Auschwitz as "Out-With" and Der Führer as "The Fury". Even for a kid, that was just plain annoying. And then for a kid who speaks German to think Heil Hitler means "Goodbye for now, have a pleasant afternoon"!! It's a short 224 pages. Read the book and make your own opinion. (less)