The story of an NRI (Non-resident Indian) family in the US of A --- of being homesick, of blending in and yet standing out, of wanting to be part of o...moreThe story of an NRI (Non-resident Indian) family in the US of A --- of being homesick, of blending in and yet standing out, of wanting to be part of one world or not, conflicts between two generations, one that holds on, the other wanting to let go and all that comes as a part of immigration---of a family that grows apart as it struggles to stay together and then comes back together even as it is separated by both spatial and planar distances --- of a book by an old Russian author, a train accident, an unusual nickname and a missing letter that is never found--- and what you have is an engaging story. The fact is that Jhumpa Lahiri weaves all these little things and some lovely words and imagery into one of the most fabulous novels I’ve read in recent times. I would never have read the book but for the fact that it was gifted to me. I thought I’d seen the movie so I didn’t need to read the book. How wrong I was! It was so engrossing that even after I had completed the book and kept away, I felt an urge to read on. It leaves you with a pleasant hangover which is so important to have after reading a book.(less)
If you love food, the outdoors and exclusivity then this book is for you…though I’d caution vegetarians. Some of the descriptions can put you off.
A pe...more If you love food, the outdoors and exclusivity then this book is for you…though I’d caution vegetarians. Some of the descriptions can put you off.
A peek into the rural life in the south of France…far away from the superciliousness of Paris…you meet some remarkable characters- a loquacious plumber and his side-kick, a helpful neighbour who sees the narrator through his first session of tending to a vineyard and converting grapes into wine and another unsocial neighbour and his aggressive dogs ---and a lot more! All this in a 200-year old sprawling stone farmhouse in a picturesque valley! Be transported in this month-by-month account of an Englishman’s first year as a non-tourist in Provence where the one who waits your table at a café will also sit down with you at the table, where hunters lurk dangerously close during certain months, where you pick your olive oil and wine not from racks at the supermarket but directly from the one that made them and where the grim Minstral lurks during dark winter days and nights driving one mad or suicidal.
There is plenty of food, cheese, wine/pastis and truffle going around at all times. This inside looks at an ideal holiday destination is nicely told, enjoyable, pleasant mostly and at times, candid as well. And if indeed you choose this as your next book to read, all I can say to you is bon appetit! (less)
The first in the Asterix and Obelix series, missing in action are Obelix(of the boar-hunting and Roman-bashing predilection) and Dogmatix...Cacophonix...moreThe first in the Asterix and Obelix series, missing in action are Obelix(of the boar-hunting and Roman-bashing predilection) and Dogmatix...Cacophonix has a funny hairstyle too...but it's fun from the word go...and all I can do is thank the good kind Lord for creating the two genuises Goscinny and Uderzo!!!(less)
Would I pick up and read another person’s diary or journal? Firstly, it depends on how interesting the person is to me. Secondly on whether I know the...moreWould I pick up and read another person’s diary or journal? Firstly, it depends on how interesting the person is to me. Secondly on whether I know the person or not…When I was a kid I’m sure I’d have got a kick( of various kinds) from reading a diary that belonged to my sibling or a close cousin or a friend [I’d still love to do it these days but there’s something called awareness of another’s privacy that prevents me]…I’d have loved to look into the diary of any of filmdom’s stars who fascinate me [and for that, we have twitter now]…and definitely of some of the world’s greats. These days, I get pleasure out of reading my 9 year olds diary…my older one is too smart to leave his lying around …
There was so much hoopla around Eat Pray Love that I felt I had to read it. The title was fascinating too… three things I like to do. I’d had to gift the first copy I bought to a person whose birthday it was the day I bought it, the second I got for myself determined that I’d read it to the end. And read it I did, all the while hoping, waiting for the hyped magic to take over…in Italy, in India and then finally, in Bali, I kept telling myself, “It will be here now.” An extra motivation was the chance transmission of the movie on television when I was right in the middle of the book. It had to mean something.
But it did nothing but to confuse an already confused mind. The long and short of it --- I feel Eat Pray Love is over-rated. Fighting food and other cravings, eating pizzas and Gelato ice-creams, meditating in an ashram in India or partying in Bali --- these may be perfect in a journal kept safely in one’s private drawer if it’s nothing more than a personal rant. Next time, I’ll stick to biographies of known people… (less)
I wouldn’t say I didn’t enjoy the book at all. Parts of it were absolutely captivating. Certain conversations, certain scenes --- all these were a tre...moreI wouldn’t say I didn’t enjoy the book at all. Parts of it were absolutely captivating. Certain conversations, certain scenes --- all these were a treat to read. But I can’t say that about the book as a whole.
The first Paulo Coelho book I read was “Brida”. That was over 3 years ago. I liked it so much that I decided I’d read all of this author’s books starting with “The Alchemist”. Unfortunately, a chance discussion with a friend, a Coelho fan, resulted in my reading “11 Minutes” instead. The spell thereafter was broken and I decided to move on to books written by other writers.
It was in October that while traveling, ads for “Aleph” caught my attention. I knew I wanted to read this one. I hoped it would recreate the magic of “Brida” but it really doesn’t manage to do that.
And there was a point too when I almost put the book away in disgust. I decided to complete it, only because it was the first book I’ve picked up to read this New Year and didn’t want to set a trend – [Page 137] “‘…However if you believe that invocations like the one you just made are the only way forward, then you had better move to the Sonoran Desert in America or to an ashram in India. In the real world, God is more easily found in Hilal’s violin.’”
It’s a pity that Coelho did not consider that there is many an Indian reader amidst his fans. A loose insensitive comment like that hardly seemed in good taste. It’s not just chanting and invocations that happen in the various ashrams that spot the Indian sub-continent. Among the several activities carried out by inmates of an ashram are service to society and the environment. I wish he’d done his homework before he made a statement like that.
Also train travel as a spiritual process has already been done by a small Indian man wearing just a loincloth, years before Coelho was even born. He is still remembered for what he did during his lifetime. And by the way, he too had founded an ashram. Sabarmati ashram has now been converted into a museum in memory of this great man- Mahatma Gandhi! (less)