I was looking forward to reading Khushwant Singh's On Women. As I've been working on feminism and women representation for my research, I thought the book would help me in some way or the other. Turns out, I was completely wrong. It's not that I didn't learn anything. It's just that I didn't come across anything that would help me as such. Don't get me wrong. That in no way means I didn't like the book. I started off not liking it as I thought it was sexually exploitative, but as I moved ahead, I realised there was more to the retellings than just female bodies and sex.
On Women tells the readers short tales of women in Khushwant Singh's life- either in fiction or in reality. Some of the women are characters taken from his works, while others are women he has come across, met and been with in his life. The latter goes from his grandmother, his mother to his wife, his classmates from various academic institutions, the foreign tourists that he received to a beggar on the street to famous personalities like Phoolan Devi, Indira Gandhi and Mother Teresa.
As far as the book is concerned, I thought the stories were very well picked and put together. There was something interesting in Khushwant Singh's way of depicting women. Even when there were times when things got physical and it seemed like the whole purpose of the story, there would be something that brought up intelligence and integrity in a woman which made the stories really satisfactory and strong. I especially liked how women were portrayed as well-developed personalities and they stood their own alongside the presence of one of India's most renowned and powerful writer.
I have previously read Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan and for the life of me, I never understood that novel but it still left a mark on me. I was pretty glad when I read and understood On Women. Overall, while I did start off not liking On Women, I ended up liking it more than I have possibly been able to say. It was a really nice and short read that could have been more interesting, but even in the absence of that, it was a great read. (less)
I came across this review of author Sachin Kundalkar's Cobalt Blue when I was searching for some absurdity-themed Marathi novels, and I was completel...moreI came across this review of author Sachin Kundalkar's Cobalt Blue when I was searching for some absurdity-themed Marathi novels, and I was completely intrigued by the sound of it. Cobalt Blue may not have anything to do with absurdity, but it sounded so good to me. For quite some time now, I had my eye on the book, and I was excited to pick up and read the English edition of the Marathi novel translated by Jerry Pinto. Even though it's my mother-tongue, I am not the most comfortable reading in Marathi, and this book has really made me want to step out of my langue comfort zone and read the original. Somewhere, when I came across Cobalt Blue, I knew that the book would be amazing, and I can proudly say that it was just that- simply and purely amazing. There are many aspects of this book that can be contemplated over deeply and discussed thoroughly, but that would be lengthy and time consuming, so I will just write about its amazingness, taking into consideration the points I feel are the most important.
What I loved the most about Cobalt Blue- and I'm being biased here- is that it's set in my very own, lovely and incredible city of Pune where there is a peaceful and easy coexistence of tradition and modernity. I loved exploring my own city through the book, and was astounded when a shop that belongs to a family friend was mentioned. The story takes place in a simple Maharashtrian family of two brothers Aseem and Tanay, a sister Anuja and their parents. Whilst here, I would like to stress on Jerry Pinto's retention (of which he speaks in the Translator's Note) of some Marathi terms that can be translated, but sound more authentic and convincing when used the way they are. I, for one, found it very normal and nice. The Joshi family open up a room in their house for a paying guest. That's when the person whose name we do not get to know until the very end (what admiration I have for Mr. Kuldarkar), but who plays the most significant role in the story, comes into the lives of Tanay and Anuja, who are fascinated by the carefree, dashing, independent and quirky personality of their paying guest.
The first half of Cobalt Blue is a second person naration where Tanay directly addresses the paying guest, while the second half of the book is from Anuja's point of view where she narrates her journey with the paying guest. That brings me to another thing that I loved about the book, and that is the simultaneity of a heterosexual and a homosexual relationship. Although the two relationships are the focus of the book, sometimes, it seemed to me like the story was more about the Joshi family, wherein everyone knows one another, but no one really understands each other. It's so good that I can't even describe how well everything is done. That aside though, Cobalt Blue is not about discovering, accepting or exploring sexuality, it's about embracing it. In a very conscious and subtle way, the author keeps the family on one side entirely and the two love struck siblings on another side. The consequences of both the relationships are devastating and let me get one thing straight- I had been waiting to read a book like this for so long. A book where things left unsaid, remain unsaid. A book where things left undone, remain undone. It was astounding and so very amazing.
There is something so intriguing and mysterious about Cobalt Blue that I wanted to read it so bad and once I began reading it, I didn't want it to end. But honestly, like I said before, I was waiting for a book like this and I'm more than glad I finally stumbled upon it. Seriously, Cobalt Blue has proved to me that Marathi literature is so precious and there are so many gems to be discovered. On a purely personal level, I don't like to shout out about the books that I loved and find special. But something about Cobalt Blue makes me want to take up the job of letting people know about its beauty and just thrusting the book (even if it's my very own and henceforth treasured copy) in their hands just so they know how beautiful it is. The story is amazing. The writing is amazing. The translation is amazing. The book is simply amazing. (less)
I wasn't even aware of a play named Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller until my professor recommended it to me after we had a discussion on tragedie...moreI wasn't even aware of a play named Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller until my professor recommended it to me after we had a discussion on tragedies when doing Aristotle's Poetics. At that time, while I did agree that tragedy can strike anyone, I believed that a tragedy has an effect on a larger audience when it strikes someone of higher status in society. My reason was that catharsis has a greater chance of occurring when one person's tragedy doesn't just affect that one person, but an entire section of the population entirely. I now get when I was asked to read Death of a Salesman. The play did it's job in proving to me that when tragedy strikes common people like you and me, it has an even bigger impact because it makes everything so believable and real.
Death of a Salesman was the first play or work even of Arthur Miller that I read. And it was meticulous. I absolutely loved the way it was executed. The language was simple and the plot, extremely easy to follow and understand. While I thought I wouldn't be able to fathom the basis of the play since I find it every difficult to understand plays in general, Death of a Salesman was, like I said, really easy and simple. It was simply outstanding and I can now understand why it has been touted as one of the greatest plays of its time. I admit that the characters were slightly confusing and at times, it got difficult to keep track of them all. The ending seemed a little off and vague to me, but I got what happened and that is what matters, I suppose. Keeping that aside though, whatever took place was necessary to take place and it made the play very realistic.
WILLY (moving to the right): Funny, y'know? After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.
How much more real can it get, huh? This time around, I also took notice of many, many aspects that I would have let pass without a second glance otherwise. That's simply because my brain has been trained to observe in a critical way now. The dynamics of the play made me question society in general and king or commoner, we are all subject to tragedy in whatever form it decides to come to us, economic, political, social, whatever. There was comedy in it but I didn't really feel like laughing. It was a family drama so to say. But I looked at it more as tragedy and the play gave me what it was supposed to. I can't seem to appreciate it as much as others have in the past and I am slightly at a loss for words, but I still loved Death of a Salesman and I am glad I read it. (less)
I absolutely adored Katie Kacvinsky's First Comes Love and Second Chance. In fact, I remember quite well that Second Chance was one of the first blog...moreI absolutely adored Katie Kacvinsky's First Comes Love and Second Chance. In fact, I remember quite well that Second Chance was one of the first blog tours we participated in since we started our blog almost two years ago now. Having enjoyed the first two books, I was looking forward to reading the final instalment in the series. However, seeing as it was a gap of two years, my excitement wasn't up to the brim.
Finally, Forever was the most random book pick for me seeing as I was pushing the book aside. Besides, I was just on the verge of going into a reading slump. But thanks so much to this book, I read like it was a competition and the one to finish first will be rewarded with more books. But other books will come only after I enjoy Dylan and Gray's company for a while longer by writing this review. I had no idea I missed Dylan and Gray, the cute and most unusual couple so much till I read Finally, Forever. In this book, having established their knack for wrong timing, the two bump into each other and that leads to a confused, crazy and absolutely cool road trip of a journey.
I thoroughly enjoyed being with Dylan and Gray. There are a few scenes in the First Comes Love series that have stayed with me for all this time and it's simply amazing when an author manages to do that. I must applaud Katie Kacvinsky for her unconventional way of showing an adventurous, curious, unique, vagabond girl being mellowed down by a nice, simple and sweet guy in her books, as opposed to the other way round formula. The author writes so well from both her characters' points of views. It makes you think they're real. I especially treasured the deep and meaningful conversations which are a rare find in Young Adult/ New Adult novels these days.
Dylan and Gray are such a joy to read about and it was amazing to see the two work and at the same time, not work things out together. It was a treat to watch their respective families play such an important role not just in their lives, but in the general plot of the book. I have seriously devoured and enjoyed this book to the T. If you haven't read this series yet, you seriously need to start. Or better yet, like the author herself says, you can even read the last book as a standalone. Just go for it. You'll end up having a good time, I promise. All in all, I am so glad I finally read Finally, Forever. It has been one of the cutest and quickest reads of the year for me. (less)
*NOTE: We (The Readdicts) received a copy of Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup from Pirates in exchange for an honest review. We thank the publishing house for the book!
When we first received an email about Twelve Years a Slave, I was extremely intrigued by the book since at that time, I was reading Edward W. Said's Orientalism for my literature class and studying the theory as well. So this book seemed like the perfect way to apply the theory to a literary work that isn't fiction. For some reason or the other- and the reason being studies mostly- I kept putting the book aside although ideally, I would have loved to read it while doing orientalism. When I finally picked up the book to read, it was too late, I guess.
When I went to Quebec for an exchange programme, the in-flight services provided by our airlines had the movie Twelve Years A Slave and I decided to watch it after having watched actors from the film go receive their Oscars for the same. I didn't like the movie much but I did find it interesting. It was sad and devastating, and I wouldn't really know how much of the book was taken to the big screen. I had the book with me at that time as well, but I already said, I never got to it since I had other stuff to do.
ANYWAY. I guess I've gone off topic enough and it's time I finally get to the review instead of just blabbering about random stuff that no one even cares about.
So, the book. Well, first off, I did not like the pace of it. It was way too slow for my liking without much happening. I understand why there was a lack of dialogue and a heavy dose of description, but for me, it was too boring. I admit that the binary opposition of master/ slave has been the most interesting relationship since it's nothing but a human thinking another human as savage and using him for his own benefit. But all that aside, the problem I have is not with the story. I don't want to talk about it since I'm not really sure I am capable of doing it.
I was under the impression that I was reading Twelve Years A Slave when I received an email from Goodreads asking me to update my progress on the book and telling me that it's been 50 days since I started reading it. 50 days. Can you imagine that? 50 days is almost a month and a half. And I read only 90 pages of the book. And in that time, I didn't even read any other paperback since I knew I was reading Twelve Years A Slave and it's better to finish one book before getting on to the next. Honestly, it's not the book's fault. It is mine. I did not read it on time and when I was in the mood for it. So if anyone is to be blamed, it's me. I would have liked to just sit down one day and finish off the book, but somewhere, I know it's not going to happen and I don't want to waste time reading something that I won't exactly prefer to read otherwise. What should be noted is that whatever I read, I found alright. It was profound and I learnt a lot of stuff here and there. But it's taking too long and I've lost interest, honestly.
I know there are people who will love this book, and I would have as well, but no. It's too time consuming (as if my current pile of books doesn't haunt me enough) and I must close one door to open the next. Sorry, book. (less)
When your favourite bloggers read and appreciate a book, you have to read it, no matter what. We Were Liars has already gone down in...moreActual rating- 3.5
When your favourite bloggers read and appreciate a book, you have to read it, no matter what. We Were Liars has already gone down in history as the fastest and most sincere recommendation I've taken from my buddy Tanja. I had been seeing the book around a lot and when I read Tanja's absolutely beautiful review for it, I began reading the book within an hour of reading her review, so you can imagine the impact her review had on me. Our buddy Glass read and loved the book as well so that was definitely a plus. I wasn't expecting much (as I've learned not to do) from the book, but it seemed like it would be a very good story. Unfortunately, my feelings are mixed and even more unfortunate is the fact that I do not like mixed feelings.
Let me start with the positives. This was the first E. Lockhart book that I read and the writing was amazing. It had such a pretty flow to it and it could be read as poetry. It's not always easy to read books written this way and I am well aware that most people do not prefer to read in this manner, but I get hooked on to it from page one. The writing was the second reason why I went fast with the book than my normal reading speed. The first reason, you ask? The mystery. The intrigue. The curiosity. Just like the writing, I was into the plot from the beginning. I was dying to know exactly what would come my way and my curiosity was piqued to the point that I wasn't even making up my own imaginary scenes as I just wanted to know, know and know more.
That brings me to the plot itself. While the story was quite strong and highly interesting, I didn't quite like the way in which it was executed. I loved the ending because I love these kind of endings, but somewhere, I felt that something was missing and that is purely my fault since I kept asking and waiting for something more. There were quite a few issues that were going on on the island on which this story takes place among the family there and they were really good and well developed, but issues like this are much more fascinating when there's more depth to them. I felt that they became very petty at some point. Also, the ending didn't have an impact on me. If anything, I was only trying to search for something that wasn't there. The characters were fascinating, I would say, with each person having flaws, making them more real, but I didn't connect to them save for a few truly exceptional times.
I really wish I had liked We Were Liars more like everyone seems to have, but then again, I am someone who goes left when everyone goes right. Anyway, I am so glad I gave the book a try since it is beautiful in its own way and the whole reading process was one amazingly cool experience keeping me at the edge of my seat throughout and when a book does that, it is a good book. The few aspects that I didn't quite enjoy or "get" end up being the main parts unluckily, but that aside, this was a good book.(less)
I was a little sad to know that Jamie McGuire wrote a novella that wasn't about Abby and Travis, but at the same time, I was very happy to know that J...moreI was a little sad to know that Jamie McGuire wrote a novella that wasn't about Abby and Travis, but at the same time, I was very happy to know that Jamie McGuire wrote a contemporary novella anyway. I've been a fan of the author since I read and loved to bits Beautiful Disaster, Walking Disaster and A Beautiful Wedding, so obviously, I was pretty excited to read Happenstance, which for me, was an absolutely great novella that I ended up loving. Not as much as the Beautiful series, but I loved it nonetheless.
Being a novella, I don't really feel the need to delve into the story as one thing will lead to another and I might just end up saying more than necessary. All I'll say is that the novella is both a light read and a serious story at the same time. There are aspects to it that will make one feel all cute and cuddly, and at the same time, certain aspects that'll make one feel disappointed and depressed. It's full of emotions and Jamie McGuire portrays her characters and their situations in such an impeccable manner that it's hard not to feel with them whatever it is they are feeling.
When it comes to our protagonists, Erin, the female protagonist, was a really nice and sensible girl who has been through a lot and her tolerance and strength make her an amazing person. The hero in the novella, Weston, was an absolutely wonderful person whose company I thoroughly enjoyed. A sprinkling of other both fantastic and not so fantastic characters, the immense importance given to family and a warm small town set-up make Happenstance a very cute story.
I would say that Happenstance falls somewhere in between Young Adult and New Adult, in the sense that it will be enjoyed by readers of both genres. The lightheartedness make it a simple and sweet read but the focus on self-identity and self-discovery appear to make it lean more towards a mature and serious path. Anyhow, all that aside, Happenstance is a lovely read for when you're in the mood for something light that has you thinking about it long after you put the book down. I'm looking forward to all that's next in the series. (less)
I loved Nyrae Dawn's What a Boy Wants, What a Boy Needs and Measuring Up. Those are books I read when I was completely into Young Adult and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of them. I, however, no matter how big a fan of Nyrae's I became after that, didn't read any other books by the author. But once I got to know that her latest book, Rush, was a male/ male romance, I just knew I had to read it. And while I realised I missed out on Nyrae's simple and sweet writing, I didn't really enjoy the story as much as I was looking forward to enjoying it.
Rush is the story of Alec and Brandon, who have been gay for as long as they know and they've been friends for a long time. When they first meet, sparks fly, but it's never a bed of roses. They know how difficult it is to survive in a world where anything outside of "normal" is taken as something that's bad, horrible and disgusting. They know how disappointed in them their respective families will be and how much Brandon, the football star's career will be affected by coming out of the closet.
What I did like about Rush was the relationship between our two heroes. Alec and Brandon made for a very sweet and sensible couple, who cared deeply for each other and were at their best only when they were together. The chemistry between them was nice and hot. The few aspects that didn't sit quite well with me were the time Brandon took to accept that it's guys he likes. At the beginning, it frustrated me to no end when he kept pushing Alec aside. But to balance that out, Alec was a determined and practical person, who put Brandon first no matter what and who was the reason why the two came together. The huge difference between both their families gives two points of views on the breaking of the big news. While Brandon's side of the story was very sweet, Alec's side seemed more real and impacting.
Overall, Rush wasn't a bad read at all. It was really good, in fact. It's just that I've read a lot of LGBT books and they've blown me away. In a way, I expected Rush to do the same. But now that I think of it, the whole theme on which Rush is based is different and taking into consideration that context, it was a very cute and compelling read that was good in its own way. Nyrae Dawn writes really well, although the typos could have seen better editing. Anyway, the author has written a nice, contemporary M/M romance that takes up the good and the bad side of things and in this day and age, we need more books like this. (less)