Random Personal Anecdote (Because I like to be Random) : You're not always on a holiday to a country you once lived in and meeting your best penfri Random Personal Anecdote (Because I like to be Random) : You're not always on a holiday to a country you once lived in and meeting your best penfriend and her husband whilst there for a few hours, when you suddenly land into a charity shop and find an anthology of a poet you discovered only two days ago while watching a random programme on rare breeds of pigs and witch burnings? I know I am not and I don't. What's less likely is you buying that anthology on an impulse! However, I can safely say that today I have been there and done that. In Oxfam at Nottinghill in London, after making up my mind that NOTHING is worth my money, I finally picked up this book and I was barely past the Let-me-stroke-your-lovely-embossed-book-jacket phase when I opened it and read one of the many verses inside and voíla!
This book and some of the verses in it were meant for me, for this visit to England, for some of the feelings and thoughts I was going through. Now while that makes up just 5% of the anthology roughly, I am so glad I discovered this little book at all! And boy, am I glad I watched a random programme on the tele the other night!
For someone who buys or receives almost every book translated from the works of Rumi, this particular anthology for me is like a trophy wife. It's gorFor someone who buys or receives almost every book translated from the works of Rumi, this particular anthology for me is like a trophy wife. It's gorgeous! It's perfect show-off material but it lacks what is actually "essential" in something titled "Essential Rumi" : a good translation! So, while Rumi remains the star of my poetic lovesand Lassaâd Metoui makes my copy every bit worth its price in gold, it you who fail me, Elfreda Powell and in failing me, also somewhere fail Rumi.
Except for 'And patience flees my heart' that is probably the only extract worthy of Rumi's original genius, the anthology was fairly mediocre, the kind that leaves you totally unaffected on an otherwise romantic spring morning!...more
It's not something that you read and then put back into your shelf forever. It's something you open everyday, pick a quote and then chew at it as theIt's not something that you read and then put back into your shelf forever. It's something you open everyday, pick a quote and then chew at it as the world spins madly around you....more
If you've loved The Shadow of the Wind, The Book Thief, The Reader, 84 Charing Cross Road here's another book you will enjoy.
Before I begin my If you've loved The Shadow of the Wind, The Book Thief, The Reader, 84 Charing Cross Road here's another book you will enjoy.
Before I begin my review of the Book about a Book, let me talk about how it came to me. Much like the Sarajevo Haggadah, my copy of People of the Book, too, travelled all the way from Montana, USA, to Solan, India: the most wonderful birthday gift from my dear fellow Oxon, Natalia Kolnik, to whom the book originally belonged and who was kind enough to send me her copy.
Reading it was, therefore, doubly fun because Natalia had marked her favourite bits in the book and so, when I marked mine, the book began to carry a bit of our own history, a part of our souls. (Talk about The Shadow of the Wind nostalgia!)
I think, after a very long time, I have fallen so much in love with a book. To start with, this book is a perfect part of myself: a bit of history and a bit of literature, love for the past and a passion for stories. No book could summarise the half archaeologist, half literature nerd that I am, as well as this one.
No book has brought back to me Daniel Sempere, Liesl Meminger or Shosanna from Inglourious Basterds and reminded me what I love best about Natalie Dormer, especially her role as Anne Boleyn in The Tudors as this one. Trust me, Lola, Ruti, Zahra, Nura are all fabulous reminders of these other characters and personally, I am going to treasure them as my fictional friends forever!
Why, then, did I dock off one star, you ask? Because of Hanna Heath herself! Hanna, the one charcter who could have been me in the book, considering that she's a conservator who loves books, was a sheer disappointment. She's amazingly whiney, self pitying, self doubting charcter whose parts are the most BORING to read. As a result, I dragged through what I had originally expected to enjoy, sometimes even fell asleep or skipped entire bits, only to re-read them later. If the bits about Lola, Ruti and Zahra leave you wanting for more, the bits about Hanna make you wish they had never been written. Add the third rate 'Da Vinci Code'-esque end to Hanna's bit and you're almost tempted to rip the last few pages apart.
However, the merit of the subplots is way too high to judge the whole thing by Hanna Heath and her moping, miserable, maddening nonsense. Hence four stars and lots of good memories taken home from this beautiful book!...more
Let me begin this review with a simple truth:Binodini is a temptress. No, not just for the two men in the novel, but also for the Reader. If, like me,Let me begin this review with a simple truth:Binodini is a temptress. No, not just for the two men in the novel, but also for the Reader. If, like me, you, too started this book right before your exams, she's going to pull you in until you finish it, making you incapable of reading everything else.
Now, coming to the book: If you've not read Chokher Bali for whatever reason and do not know Tagore, trust me, you're on the losing end! This book is a true classic and there's beautiful poetry interspersed between scenes and dialogues, some really fluid description that's worth reading and some true philosophy and life lessons buried deep within.
For the archaeologist in me, this is a true treat because there's so much to take out from it than just the story. You can almost see the whole thing happening in front of you. You can feel every emotion even that which a minor character may be experiencing and there's this deep lingering scent of incense that seems to waft from the story towards you, at once intoxicating and purifying.
Seriously, no review can recreate what Chokher Bali brings to you when you read it. The vast range of perspicacity Tagore's storytelling possesses is enchanting, exhilarating. It lingers in the air like that incense I just spoke about. It's calming. It's profound. You shouldn't even be reading this review anymore. No, you should be searching for the book on Amazon as I go on rambling about it like a mad person....more
As a regular book reviewer, I am always in a Catch 22 situation when it comes to reviewing books that have been personally sent to me.
However, beingAs a regular book reviewer, I am always in a Catch 22 situation when it comes to reviewing books that have been personally sent to me.
However, being absolutely fair to the job of reviewing something another might pick up, I have a long review for this one that will delve deeply into the positives and the negatives of this book.
1. It's a rather fast paced book, the kind you can read while having a long soak in the tub or on a bus ride.
2. The story, to be very fair, is quite faithful to the life in the IIT(I happened to be in IIT Kanpur when the book reached me so, yes, I could relate).
3. For a first time author, the pop culture references, certain expressions and phrases, did quite a good job of making the characters seem more relatable. That being said, the expression does need more polishing, still.
1. At the very offset, there's a rather Two States-ish subplot, that gave a) a very stale flavour to the first background story itself b) a very stereotypical picture of the "foreigners" and their attitude towards India. For someone like me, who is as Indian as they make it but whose closest friends are "foreigners" I didn't quite like the depiction of a European/American person in this story. To me, the fact that every "white" person had some sort of a "racially superior" shade to his/her character was very unpalatable and nothing short of reverse racism.
2. Why is the author bent on showing heroes? The young India needs heroines too! Why is it that a woman who is independent, wants to work after marriage and makes friends with the "other" (or for that matter any) gender depicted as, to use the author's words, "a vamp", while her possessive, chauvinistic, violent husband still a hero in the story?
3. Why is it that all the heroes, when they fall in love, eulogise women who give up their careers, don't have any ambitions, don't stand up for their own rights (remember, if they do, they are vamps!) and are "dreamy" and think of themselves as someone who "is to be taken care of by a knight-in-shining-armour" and have absolutely no self esteem? What kind of game changing, path breaking hero would any of these four patriots be if they don't support one of the biggest causes all of India (media and socialists alike) is fighting for?
Far from gender equality, there were repeated instances of women who were far from what real girls, by and large are like, and based on some fantastic notion that combines Manu's idea of women with a soap opera wife.
4. Coming to the ease of the author with narration, there are quite a few rough patches in narration as well as grammatical errors, which I solely blame on editors and proof-readers. It's an author's job to write but a publishing team's job to make it presentable. You cannot roughly hew a couple of pages and leave it to a reader to punctuate, correct and tidy up the mess, dear publisher!
Unlike other reviews, I would, purely with the intention to be helpful and not patronising, offer the author a few suggestions:
1. Please, please remember that no society can change with just one half of the society participating in bringing about the change and the other half being represented as helpers/supporters/partners-in-bed. Your female characters need to be more than docile daughters, loving wives and adoring admirers.
2. Chetan Bhagat is not someone to model your novel after. Manju Kapoor, Vikram Seth, Navtej Sarna, Shashi Tharoor or Upmanyu Chatterjee might come in handy, though!
3. Read, my friend. Your USP is your expression. Now your job is to hone it and for that, read all the books you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, as long as ever you can. Reading makes writing more effortless.
4. Last one and this is for the publishers: Get a new team of editors, proofreaders and reviewers!...more