Biz is a passionate, creative and people focused leader, and ask of that is reflected in the stories he tells in this book. I love the personal touch,...moreBiz is a passionate, creative and people focused leader, and ask of that is reflected in the stories he tells in this book. I love the personal touch, the honesty behind the emotions expressed in the book and the passion Biz showed through out his life to do the things he wanted to do. In his own way , Biz is like Steve Jobs, making his story from rags to riches, all the while being true to himself. Very inspiring.(less)
Oh my God, what a brilliant book! it was with great interest that I followed through the book, reading through Hanff's ramblings and Doels' uptight Bri...moreOh my God, what a brilliant book! it was with great interest that I followed through the book, reading through Hanff's ramblings and Doels' uptight Brit letters, hoping Hanff will finally visit 84, Charing Cross Road , only to be feel my heart lurch towards the end!
MUST read for anyone who loves books, and letters. (less)
A very cute little book about a girl's journey to return her dead dad's remains to where they belong. I've always been a fan of Oliver's writing, and w...moreA very cute little book about a girl's journey to return her dead dad's remains to where they belong. I've always been a fan of Oliver's writing, and what I loved most in this book is that there is a latent sense of honesty in the writing. Its something you'll notice as you read the book. Its something that's embedded into Po's, Mo's and Will's characters. And of course, the author's note at the end of the book also added to it.
Pick it up if you are looking for a nice , happy kinda read on a boring afternoon.(less)
More often than not, when you spot a book on the stands, you get a feeling about that book. Like how Gladwell says in Blink. More often than not, that...more More often than not, when you spot a book on the stands, you get a feeling about that book. Like how Gladwell says in Blink. More often than not, that feeling turns out to be right. Everytime I pick up a book by an Indian author, something written in the last decade or so, I get a feeling. That nagging feeling that I might be wasting my time reading the book. That the new crop of authors do not give their due diligence to the literary quality of their story, or a novel method of story-telling. All they want is their story to be told, and if possible, get a movie made out of the book. And I pray fervently with every book that I am proved wrong. So far, I have been right. Including this book.
For starters, I am not comfortable with the language used in this book. There is a fine line between using colloquial language in books and making it an easy , breezy read, or making the English feel like weight you have to carry in order to finish reading. Like the difference between Geet's language in Jab We Met, and whats-her-name's language in Rockstar. Both written by the same guy, Imtiaz Ali, both using colloquial language, both being worlds apart. The inadvertent usage of adverbs, combination of certain words and placement of verbs is what makes the total difference between a world class book and a mediocre one. I am not even going into the death of good vocabulary in these books, thats a lost cause. Usage of words like 'cute', 'angel', 'charming' etc in a love story is a tricky business. Their placement in the sentence will make or break the story, and in this case, in my opinion, it was the latter. Well, sometimes I keep wondering if any of these new crop of authors has read writers like Marquez , Murakami or Llosa or atleast Stephenie Meyer or Sidney Sheldon and Meg Cabot, who have written some great love stories themselves. If so, did it never occur to them that they could derive their writing from these story-tellers? May be , be a little influenced? Turns out, they aren't , which is why people like me lament about the time they spent reading such works in a dead hope that the book might be a find. Is the goal here to get the book published at any cost, even at the cost of killing the book's potential? Is there really no zeal to write a truly good piece of work?
Before I go into the details of the book, certain disclaimers. All love stories are beautiful. Its the way you tell them that makes them either classic or am-not-even-giving-it-a-word. Well, its the difference between the books like 'We weren't Lovers like that' and 'Truly, Madly, Deeply', both written by recent Indian authors, and both falling into two ends of the spectrum. If you ask me, this book falls in the middle of the spectrum, leaning a bit towards the lower end. There is a potential of this book being talked about as a good love story, had it not been for certain aspect, careful editing being one of them.
Have you ever listened to a friend recount his/her affair with a special someone? You smile, try to relive your own love story through their small stories, and you wish them good. You even are interested to know what goes on with them and how they are upto. At some point you will even get attached to the special someone your friend has met and feel like you know them, all through your friend's accounts of that person and the relationship. Now, somewhere during this journey of yours into your friend's life, there might come a time where the friend might forget the subtle line between telling a good story and getting into the details. You might suddenly feel yourself party to some TMI, like what they call each other when they fight, or their cute nicknames, or how they spent their one hour together. You are suddenly wishing they never told you all this, that they just maintained the enigma behind that person, and they kept some details private. Yes, like they say, the devil is in the details, and that's what killed this book for me. I felt that I was getting waaaay too much information about the narrator's love story with his love interest, somethings I could totally do without, some feelings which could be conveyed equally well with just careful play of words and not devilish details. Then the aspect of the book being autobiographical - I have read some books based on real life stories, and some of them were even love stories, and trust me, if you were to make a real story into book, you'll need to edit out a lot, and bring in a lot of imagination, still sticking to the true story. Only very few real stories written the way they were have made into the classics.
The ONLY reason why I am giving this book a 2 star rating and not a 1 star, which I think it totally deserves is because I could atleast finish the book. The reading is a drone, the story is highly predictable, and the details are way too saccharine for a serious reader. Read this book if you are the type who enjoys Bella's never-ending drone about why Edward wouldn't sit beside her, not if you are looking for a story whose quality matches that of why and how Florentino Ariza waited for Fermina Daza for seven decades. No, really. (less)
The first chapter is a good enough prelude to make one ready to the mood in the book, but the rest of the book is not anyway like it. There is a certa...more The first chapter is a good enough prelude to make one ready to the mood in the book, but the rest of the book is not anyway like it. There is a certain playfulness even while describing the saddest of emotions!
Such atrocities caused on women in the name of race, gender, age, sex - that I could feel my eyes well up with tears at some points. Such pain one woman had to see because of her innocence, her color and her gender. Not ever knowing how it is to have a real Mom and a real Dad, being molested by someone whom she called Pa, not even knowing what happened to her children, being married off to someone just so that he can have someone at home to clean it and his kids, and then use her for the night, falling in love with a woman, yearning for her sister and coming out of all this emerging a strong lady - Celie is a strong character, though she starts off as an innocent 14 year old kid. She somehow made me think about the women born in early 50s in India. More or less, most of them had similar lives, saving of course, the incest! Though it is still prevalent in India, Indian women do not have to bear the children out of incest! Or so I think, and I wish to think!
Sofia is another character I loved from the book. Her brashen attitude of being proud of herself, not giving in to Harpo, living her life the way she wanted to, and lying afloat in spite of facing the toughest of times - She is someone every woman should become. Independent, Individualistic and taking pride in being who you are!
Shug though very unconservative is also a very practical character. She starts off as a young, arrogant woman, but over the years mellows into someone who sees people for what they are, and takes interest in their lives. She effortlessly leads Celie into her new world, and gives her a direction making Celie strong enough to live her life without Shug herself.
Nettie is a perfect example of patience. It takes a lot to keep writing to someone without an idea if that person is reading the letters or not - thats what I would call perseverance. The thought of two sisters meeting each other after 30 years is also heartening!
Nothing to write home about the men in this book - all of them including Samuel fade in character and are typical as compared to the women. Alphonso is an animal in a man's garb, Albert though started off as an animal, earned his place among humans by being nice to Sofia and from the stories Shug tells Celie. Harpo shows that he loves Sofia in many ways, but fails to stand up to her when she wanted it. Only Adam proves himself to be a man when he scars his face so that he can make Tashi feel included. A very profound proclamation of love!
The book ended beautifully when Albert and Celie become friends, and they nurture their friendship so slowly, that Albert actually values Celie for the woman she is, and Celie comes to terms and settles her head abuot Shug returning to her, and Sofia staying in with Harpo again. (less)
One of the best books I've read in a long time has to be this one. I totally loved the marriage between Mahabharata and Indian Independence struggle a...moreOne of the best books I've read in a long time has to be this one. I totally loved the marriage between Mahabharata and Indian Independence struggle and politics... a work of pure genius!(less)
**spoiler alert** The story itself metamorphoses from being casual, loving and a funny one into a very deep, dark, sad and full of sorrow. I had to al...more**spoiler alert** The story itself metamorphoses from being casual, loving and a funny one into a very deep, dark, sad and full of sorrow. I had to almost suppress a choke by the time Samsa dies, since I was half-hoping he would metamorphose back into a human. The story is written in duh excruciating detail all of which seems real that you'll be left wondering if Kafka himself ever lived through being a bug. I loved this style of writing but am also glad it's a short story, because I wouldn't have endured this much pain much in a full novel. (less)
After having read her other two books, and having just about liked them (Yes, I still don't think she is God's gift to book-world), there was no way I...moreAfter having read her other two books, and having just about liked them (Yes, I still don't think she is God's gift to book-world), there was no way I would've paid for this Kindle Single (is there a way I can publish them too, since that's what bloggers seem to be doing these days?), had it not been for the extreme love the husband carries for anything that has Crosley's name. I am in half a mind to think its her looks he likes and not her writing style, but I cannot totally strike off her writing also, she is not that bad. In fact , she is pretty good. Very funny. LOng sentences with more than 20 words in each, but nonetheless, funny. Her usage at funny analogies always made me think of her as a new I-dont-know-what (coz, I obviously suck at analogies). There is also this self-deprecating humor she shows when she is talking about the situations she is involved in, my favourite being the one in which she talks about her liking for ponies (May be the fact that its her first essay in her first book could be a reason for me remembering it still)
To summarize what I feel about Crosley and all of her books, this one included - pick it up when you want to do some brain-dead reading and also laugh at the same time. And yes, if you like it, learn how she does those cool analogies and metaphors. That's all. (less)
Picked up the Rodrick Rules book at the book charity auction in office.
Its a decently good book, and much much better than the tedious debacles I've...morePicked up the Rodrick Rules book at the book charity auction in office.
Its a decently good book, and much much better than the tedious debacles I've been reading off late (Beatrice and Virgil, Truly Madly Deeply). Not your classic masterpiece, just an entertaining cartoon-ish book that you can read while you are eating by yourself. Thats what I did, at least. (less)
One of the best books I've read this year for sure.
This book is a portrayal of three strong characters, all women, who do not have anything significa...more
One of the best books I've read this year for sure.
This book is a portrayal of three strong characters, all women, who do not have anything significant to look forward to in their lives, except to bring a change to the circumstances they live in. Three strong characters who looked out for each other, and had a non-conformist attitude. Three women who were the definition of girlfriends.
I’ve read Gone with the Wind and To kill a MockingBird, and have a fair idea on how bad it could have been for the African Americans to be living in a white man’s world, I’ve even compared it a bit to the Untouchability practised in India (even now in some remote areas), but what I read in this book made me think about the whole issue all over again.
I’ve tasted bile in many places (every time the word Nigger/Nigra was used, for starters), I’ve wept at places where the characters say or do things that touched me, and I’ve been eager to finish the book to see what happens to the story. It took me approximately 7 hours to finish reading this book, all in one day. It was simply un-put-downable. Totally.
I was left to thinking of all the maid’s I’ve had over these years (both the ones who brought me up till I was 5 and the ones whom I’ve hired) and how I’ve behaved with them and how they were with me. Was a mean person to them or would' mine be one of the good stories if they were all to write a book. :-)
I also was thinking about the terrible untouchability practice in India, how millions of people were treated differently just because of some social status, and the terrible things that must’ve happened to them over the past few centuries. It is not much different to what must’ve happened to the poor African Americans, all because of colour.
But I cannot help but commend the way American society pulled itself together, and their change in outlook towards African Americans… Today they even have an African American president, which is such a big deal! (less)
Super so far. Each of the classics/epics retold as if the protagonist is on Twitter. You would love it especially if you are on Twitter and know how p...moreSuper so far. Each of the classics/epics retold as if the protagonist is on Twitter. You would love it especially if you are on Twitter and know how people talk on Twitter... :)(less)
The description of the book says its a love shared between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and of a housewife in US called Ella with a writer called Aziz. An...moreThe description of the book says its a love shared between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and of a housewife in US called Ella with a writer called Aziz. And that this is on Sufi-ism, which is what made me pick up the book in the first place.
Well, the writing certainly could've been better, I found the style too amateurish. Everytime Shams attempts to the rule of love, he quotes the number and says the rule. I wonder why the editors didnt let Elif Shafak know about the different methods of introducing the rules. :) And then, what seems unclear throughout the book is , how can two men be so much in love with each other - Rumi and Shams? Yes, they both are Sufis, and Sufi means love, but why that depth in love. This whole topic could've been dealt differently by the author. And for all the description of Shams that they give, him being the noble, the wise, the kind and the embodiment of love, how did he marry Rumi's daughter and not consummate their marriage, and also insult her causing her to die? That doesnt sound logical at all.
As for the housewife's love story with the writer, Aziz - even that storyline needs a lot of refinement. There are a ton of questions about Ella's estrangement with her husband, and Aziz's story could've been more detailed , if the book was all about Sufi.
Even the writing style is not easy. Its not breezy, and there is no motivation to finish reading the book, because what happens to Shams and Rumi, Ella and Aziz are told in the first few chapters itself. Also the whole style of each chapter narrated from the character's pespective , which could've made the book interesting, instead made it extremely tough to read. With each of the chapters being just a page or two long, there is a break in the reading and thought process every couple of minutes.
In short, if you have picked up this book thinking it talks about Sufi-ism , then you can give it a miss. If you are considering this as a casual read, then by all means, go ahead and read. And do not expect that this book will make you think or grow wiser. (less)
Honestly I didn't understand what the whole hullabaloo about this book was. It felt like yet another Meg Cabot-ish book with a teen trying to find her...moreHonestly I didn't understand what the whole hullabaloo about this book was. It felt like yet another Meg Cabot-ish book with a teen trying to find her way in the world. A very average book. It probably meant a lot back when it was published, but now u can totally skip this book and not miss anything. (less)
There is something about the way the Latin American writers write. Its like this – they want to tell a good story, with all elements in it. They want...moreThere is something about the way the Latin American writers write. Its like this – they want to tell a good story, with all elements in it. They want you to remember it well. They also want you to be aware of your surroundings. And they want you to do it all without putting down the book.
Of course, this applies to all the writers out there. But only a few can accomplish all this, and much more. Only some write stories that will stay with you forever. Only some can hold the power on your heart to not want to finish a book. Only some can weave poetry into prose and still tell a good story. And very few can actually make you stay in this world, and yet transport you into a different one, a magical one. And very very few can actually sketch down to the smallest detail, all the aspects of the world they create for you, and all in a few words.
Doubtlessly, Marquez is President of Great Story-Teller Country, and the Minister of Awesome Writers Guild, if there is one. Only he can tell a beautiful story, make it stay with you for every breath you take as long as you are reading it, and make it stay in a safe draw of your brain, the drawer you open when you want to float into a beautiful world, and get lost. But off late, as I am delightfully discovering each new author, I am also discovering the old ones, who are good enough to be in this country that Marquez rules. Well, Isabel Allende is one of those, I now confirm.
How many times have you pursed your lips as you read two protagonists have an argument in a book ? How many times did you feel like wielding a sword yourself and getting into the fight to save your favourite character in the book? How many times have you tried wiping off the drool from your lips as you read the making of a tasty dish in a book you are reading? How many times have you wept tears of joy or sorrow depending on what you are reading? How many times have you said out loud ‘Oh , no!’ or a jubilant ‘Yes’ as you read something good happening in the book? How many times did you read a complete book with same gusto knowing the climax and end of each of the characters much beforehand? And how many times have you been disappointed that the book you are reading has ended?
Well… Ines of my soul is one book which will take you through all these and much more. Its like you are making the journey with Pedro and Ines from Peru to Chile. Its like you are seeing them suffer in the desert. You feel like you are there when the captured are being executed. You feel like you are in Ines’ and Pedro’s bedroom as they are making love. You can literally feel the passion Ines feels for Pedro and the love she feels for Rodrigo. In short, its a trip to Ines’ world, the 1500s Chile, the trip you can never take if not for Allende.
All this while still maintaining a certain poetic lilt in the prose. While still moving the story at a steady pace, leaving you moments to re-read a certain paragraph or a page. And announcing beforehand what is going to happen to each of the characters, thereby challenging you if you have it in you to read forward, if you will go ahead and read it knowing fully well what will happen next. And you will be more than glad to lap it all up. And also tying up all the loose ends. All of them, down to the detail of the descendants of Balthazar, Ines’ dog.
I was on an exciting roller coaster ride as long as I was reading this book. I felt tired as I finished reading the war scenes, and was excited when Ines narrated her love stories. I voraciously wiki-ed all the characters of this book, and read it all.
This book deserves 5 out of 5 stars. For the story that will stay with you for your lifetime. For the free trip to old Chile. And for Ines, Pedro and Rodrigo.
Read this book if you want to go through these, and many more such emotions. Read this book if you want to experience what the fabled South American writing is all about. Read this book if you are remotely even interested in history, or love stories. Read this if you are a passionate person yourself.
Actually, just please read this book, and come talk to me about it… I’ll even learn making empanadas by then! :-) (less)