This is the problem with short story collection. Some stories are amazing while others are so terrible you can’t even finish it. In this novel too, “AThis is the problem with short story collection. Some stories are amazing while others are so terrible you can’t even finish it. In this novel too, “A Beneficiary “and “History” were two interesting stories. Others were just meh....more
Well, it’s LEO TOLSTOY!!! I don’t think I need to explain further.
This volume contains some of my favorite short stories by him- 3 questions, The coffWell, it’s LEO TOLSTOY!!! I don’t think I need to explain further.
This volume contains some of my favorite short stories by him- 3 questions, The coffee house in Surat, What men live by and God is where Love Is.
There are some really meaningful quotes I this book:
“Remember then: there is only one time that is important-- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!”
If only more people interpreted religious scriptures like he did!
At the risk of sounding overdramatic, I would say that, Leo Tolstoy’s books make my heart sing with joy. ...more
NEW YEAR RESOLUTION NUMBER 62: READ EVERYTHING WRITTEN BY CHAIM POTOK.
I think I might actually end up fulfilling this resolution (unlike most of the NEW YEAR RESOLUTION NUMBER 62: READ EVERYTHING WRITTEN BY CHAIM POTOK.
I think I might actually end up fulfilling this resolution (unlike most of the others), because “the chosen” was a masterpiece.
It's a poignant story about friendship, father-son relationship, about 2 Jew families on the other side of the Zionist movement and the reaction of American Jews to the horrors of holocaust. It’s about two deeply religious boys, trying to strike a balance between modernity and their deep rooted traditions, it’s about the influence parents have in shaping their children’s belief system. In fact, Chaim Potok encompasses so many varied topics with in this novel, and he does so with great expertise.
The tensions between tradition and modern American life are a frequent theme in any immigrant literature. Yet Chaim Potok explores this theme in an unusual and distinctive manner, focusing on the ways in which different Jewish communities react to modernization. He uses complementary and contrasting pairs of characters like Danny Saunder and Reuven Malter (and their fathers) to study the different ways of balancing Jewish observance with life in twentieth-century America.
Danny Saunder belongs to the Hasidic sect whereas Reuven is an orthodox Jew. At first glance, they seem as different to the reader as they seem to each other. But despite Danny and Reuven’s religious differences, each must deal with the fact that, by virtue of his birth, he belongs to the Jewish tradition. As Jews, both Reuven and Danny must deal with religious commitments and responsibilities that most children their age do not have to encounter. Both share an intense competitive drive and a fervent intellectual passion. This forges a friendship between them, which develops through out the novel.
Reuven and Danny’s friendship is like a breath of fresh air. They play a mutually beneficial role in each other’s life. Danny is interested in science and the humanities, while Reuven’s strength is in mathematics. Hence, they complement each other: Each teaches and is taught by the other and their relationship is delightful to the eyes! It is so refreshing to read about a set of friends, not bickering or gossiping and actually doing something constructive. If only more people were like them!
Both the characters have vastly different relationship with their father. While Reuven and David Malter have an open and free relationship built on mutual love and respect, Reb Saunders comes across as a tyrant. The only time when he speaks to his son is while teaching him. Like Reuven, I think it’s a very crappy method of teaching one to look into their soul. But, since even me and my dad can spend weeks not talking to each other when we are mad, I think I understand.
Again, David and Reb Saunders come across as poles apart. They share different views about the Zionist movement, about science and religion, and they frequently come into conflict. Still, as the novel progresses, one again sees beyond the superficial appearances to realize how similar they are. The message that, people are not always how they initially appear and we cannot dismiss that which we do not understand, resonate through out the novel.
In The Chosen, personal developments are intricately related to historic events. The first third of the novel unfolds during the Allied offensive in World War II, the middle third deals with the American Jewish community’s response to the Holocaust, and the final third is concerned with the Zionist movement to create a Jewish state in Palestine. These events are not merely backdrop for the novel, but contribute significantly to its plot and thematic content.
Okay, confession time!
My reason for immensely liking the novel might be briefly personal. The story of two adolescents trying to reconcile the idea of an all-powerful, all-knowing God within events of random, senseless suffering, struck a chord with me. I could greatly empathize with the struggle that the world’s Jews—and the characters in the novel—faced in the wake of the Holocaust. Chaim Potok raised several questions, which I myself have pondered countless times.
When does thinking for oneself become disrespecting traditions and deep rooted beliefs?
What is the worth of religious ceremonies and rules?
And, most importantly
If God existed, how could he let this happen?
If you have ever asked yourself those questions, you would love this novel!
If you haven’t (lucky you!) you would still love it.
Highest possible recommendation and 5 twinkling stars. ...more
I absolutely hate you! But,I think I love you too. While every author has some characteristic quality, yours seem to be to makeDearest Steig Larsson,
I absolutely hate you! But,I think I love you too. While every author has some characteristic quality, yours seem to be to make readers pissed at you. Ever since I picked up the 1st book of this Millennium saga, I have regretted my decision countless times. You have forced me to bang my head on the wall, pull my hair, throw your books at the end of the room, and then pick it up again and read it like a mad woman, totally forgetting the outside world. You have left me with so many contradicting emotions, kept me awake at night, and if my predictions are correct, I will be thinking about you, this series and your incorrigible characters for at least 2 weeks now. Like I said, I hate you, and I love you.
I must commend you for your qualities, though. No one has ever created such impressive and realistic female characters. Lizbeth is always an inspiration, but I think you did an excellent job with all the other characters introduced in this book too. I must also state that you achieved the impossible task of making me like Berger. Indeed, that is a miracle! When you started explaining stuff about her leaving Millennium, I was totally mad at you. I couldn’t wait to get back to Salander’s part. Yet, you went on to create such realistic incidences! Berger’s problems go nowhere near Lizbeth’s, but they seem to be problems right out of real life circumstances. Then you introduce characters like Linder and Giannini, who are in one word amazing. You stun me Larsson, with your spectacular portrayal of women! I am so impressed!
now, hold on for minute!
Do not get too pleased.
You have made life hell for me for the past two months. Do you know how irritating it has been to see this book as a permanent fixture on my bookshelf and currently reading shelf? I mean, what is the point of all the unnecessary yakking? Why the lengthy details? Why introduce characters like Salander’s twin, and that Fegarula person? And why the hell do you add sex scenes that feel so completely out of place in the story. I must also comment on how Mikael's character has become too much of a Mary Sue. Desired by all women? Why is that so? I wonder how much of you is represented through him.:P
Also, I am so glad this saga is at an end. I am glad because I am certain that if there was another book, I would surely have gone ahead and bought it; in spite of my current experience. I am glad that I won’t have to go through all of the emotional drama again, experience all the turmoil, and feel kinship for Salander.
I am happy and I am inexplicably sad.
This book was clearly not how you planned to end the series. The ending left so much scope for other stories to come after it. I feel very very sorry that there is no more of your work to read and that you will never be able to read this review (not that any author of your standing would). I feel very sad that you died without seeing what a sensation your books became, how the memorable characters you created will forever be etched into the mind of us readers.
I am happy that I am ending this year with this series but don’t disillusion yourself with the thought that I would ever reread this series. Oh, no NEVER! again!
Still, I am sure that I will never forget you as long as I live.
Happy New Year!
Your reluctant fan, Tanu
PS: I highly recommend this series btw. I can guarantee you, that you will regret it. You will probably swear at Steig Larsson, and if you read it on my recommendation, you would curse me. Still, give it a try!
50000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 stars and A Happy New year to y'all! ...more
When I had started reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I promised to myself that I would never pick up the sequel. The beginning was so slow, witWhen I had started reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I promised to myself that I would never pick up the sequel. The beginning was so slow, with unnecessary details, complicated names and this really irritating character named Lizbeth Salander. I honestly didn’t get the hype and really regretted my decision. Still I read on and somewhere towards the middle of the novel, I was so engrossed that I sacrificed my dinner and sleep. The plot was great, no doubt , the writing was all right, and the suspense amazing. But ultimately it was Lizbeth Salander. She made me break my promise and buy the second novel almost immediately.
I started the second novel about one month ago and instantly regretted my decision. I think it is Steig Larsson’s characteristic technique or something, make the beginning really really boring. This time my resolve was firm. I even advised friends to just read the first novel and be content. But then, the Lizbeth magic worked again, and here I am, giving the novel 5 stars, buying the third part from the internet. You see, I have no will of my own in this matter; I need to know what happens to Lizbeth, so I need to get the third book, right now!
For all those Salander fans out there, this book is a must. If you guys thought that she was amazing in the first part, then the second novel will take your breath away. We, along with Bloomkvist and others, finally get a look at Lizbeth’s past. And then there is some real kickass, Salander action. New interesting characters are introduced and the climax is brilliant. Highly recommended!!! ...more
Such a beautiful story!! Kavita and Jasu are a poor but loving couple living in the rural town of Dhanau, India. In a society that favors boys and conSuch a beautiful story!! Kavita and Jasu are a poor but loving couple living in the rural town of Dhanau, India. In a society that favors boys and considers girls as a burden, Kavita has to give up her daughter to an orphanage, to protect her life. Meanwhile another couple from America, Somer and Krishnan can’t have a baby and decide to adopt, connecting the lives of these two very different couples separated by thousand of miles. And thus begins this really touching tale of their lives and the daughter who binds them.
There are numerous things that could have gone wrong with this story. It could have turned out into one of those Bollywood family movies, filled with melodrama and tears and an over sweetened “happily ever after”. Or it could have got really preachy and irritating. But somehow, the author created a beautiful balance between all the factors to give us this amazing story.
What I really loved about this book was that every character was allowed to present its point of view. Jasu wasn’t made out to be this really evil villain, free of any kind of remorse for the mistake he committed. The society, the mindset, which views girls as a burden, was well portrayed. India was neither glorified nor overly ridiculed. In fact, the author has painted a very true picture of this country. Truly, it is a land of many contradictions.
The story also has one of the best ending I have read recently. (view spoiler)[Somer discovering herself before reconciling with her family, Asha understanding the sacrifices her mother made for her, and Kavita and Jasu discovering their love for each other. It just couldn't have been better. (hide spoiler)]How beautifully she wrapped up the whole story. It really gave you closure, and that nice giddy feeling you get after reading a nice book. I remember smiling for a very long time after finishing it. Truly amazing. Can’t wait to read other books the author writes after such a stunning debut.
5 sparkling stars and highly recommended, especially for Jhumpa Lahiri fans!! :D["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I feel like I got hit by a car, got rolled over by a truck and then got dumped from an airplane.
And, then I feel sad that it’s over.
That is what MargaI feel like I got hit by a car, got rolled over by a truck and then got dumped from an airplane.
And, then I feel sad that it’s over.
That is what Margaret Atwood does.
Every line you read feels like a whiplash and still you want to continue reading. You want to finish the book in one day, but the themes make you stop and think about it. She conveys such hard hitting messages through such simple words that it never fails to astonish you. She will have you mentally flinching all through the book, but that won’t stop the sadness from flooding in when the last page is turned.
Then there is the world she creates!
Remember the time when I said I don’t scare easy? Well, scratch that. Her writing, her predictions of the future fills me with such a dread every time I read it. It’s cold, ruthless and so believable. Be it the human element or the environmental/ecological part or even the religious elements, she has everything covered. I had to constantly keep reminding myself that it is not real.
Considering how I freaked I am, I don’t think I did a good job.
Basic storyline : The story starts where Oryx and Crake left off.
It’s the story of two completely different women, Toby and Ren. They have survived the epidemic (the water less flood) Crake created in the previous book. Like I said, they are as different as they can be. Ren’s story is narrated in first person and Toby’s in third. There is continuous juggling of their lives and experience as they explain how they survived. And defying all logic, everything seems effortless. The way their lives merge, and the way characters from Oryx and Crake come in the picture. It is so natural!
The familiarity of the world, with the gene splicing and paintball doesn’t make it any less scary. Jimmy is shown in a new light and it isn’t very flattering. Neither is the portrayal of human race.
There is one irritating factor about the book though. That would be Adam one. The preaching thing and the ‘dear mammals’ part was pretty annoying. Also the plot got somewhat chaotic towards the end. The climax was, well, it was very Atwoodish..
Still, nothings making me give this book anything but 5 stars.
PS: please read Oryx and Crake first because 1) Its an amazing book. 2) You would be missing a lot if you don’t.
“Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let“Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”
When I was just 10 pages into the book, I knew in my soul that Francie was one character that was going to stay with me for a long long time. Now, after 2 days of furious reading, not bothering about trifles like eating or picking up the cell phone, I can say with full conviction, that I will read this book again and again as long as I live, and I will remember about Francie whenever I indulge in self pity or start cribbing about life. Betty Smith, thank you for giving me Mary Francis Katherine Nolan, my literary soul sister....more
Two very strange things happened last week. I gave I Am Half Sick Of Shadows: A Flavia De Luce Novel two stars and am now giving this book five star.Two very strange things happened last week. I gave I Am Half Sick Of Shadows: A Flavia De Luce Novel two stars and am now giving this book five star. It is strange because the former book’s protagonist, my dear Flavia De Luce is my favorite obstinate pre teen. On the contrary, Lyra, another stubborn, precocious, pre-teen absolutely annoyed me in the previous book. Right now though, I can not for the life of me imagine why I did not like the first novel and Lyra. Well, at least I adore her right now.
Philip Pullman is a genius. I loved every aspect of this book, the concept, the characterization, the plot, the pacing, everything. I remember thinking that the last book was rather boring, but this part had me catching my breath. Specters, rebel angels, parallel universe, golden compasses and subtle knives, daemons and witches- each chapter keeps you hooked and also provide fodder for the brain to muse about. I love the anti CS Lewis atmosphere of the book.
The characters were another high point in this novel. Lyra Belacqua reappears with her daemon Pantalaimon and although she doesn’t play as central a role as the previous novel, she is absolutely charming. I can not wait to find out the form Pantalaimon will finally take. Marisa Coulter and Serafina Pekkala are back and as interesting as ever. Lee Scoresby and his daemon are absolutely heart breaking. A bandwagon of new and amazing characters like Stanislaus Grumman, Will Parry, Mary Malone is introduced. The friendship between Will and Lyra and Will and Pantalaimon were some of the best parts of the story. I would read the next book just to meet all these characters again.
I am so glad I already have a copy of the next part. After that abrupt ending and the revelation about Lyra towards the end, having to wait for the next part would have been sheer torture. I never thought I would say this, but Flavia really is in grave danger of being dethroned as my favorite. ...more
This book would be absolutely amazing, if there was anything ingenious about this book. It’s a story about Lily, a 14 year old in the racist AmericanThis book would be absolutely amazing, if there was anything ingenious about this book. It’s a story about Lily, a 14 year old in the racist American South. Sounds familiar? There is more. She is motherless, and is laden with guilt over having accidently killed her mother. Her father is evil. No really, like pure, unadulterated evil , with no redeeming qualities or anything. And, SURPRISE!!! He is abusive! And tortures Lily. Never saw that one coming!
Who was persistently screaming Cliché!!! all the time I was reading the book?
Oh yeah, must be the story!
Except for the 3 May sisters, all the characters had less life than carbon cut outs. Lily sounds nothing like a 14 year old. She is either drowned in sadness over her mother or is busy checking out the hot Zack guy. There was something highly unrealistic about her character. It was like the author knew about aspects people like in a character, and just added them up. Like different pieces of separate puzzles, forcefully assembled together.
The very same goes for the story. Oh so convenient circumstances, highly predictable chain of events, and then a rushed and dressed up climax. Such a waste of a beautiful prose, and bee allegories.
I suspect that even the bees would be offended. And so would black Mary. If you just kick out lily, and events relating to her then the novel would be absolutely enchanting. Why is a happily ever after absolutely necessary even at the cost of a realistic plot? Why couldn’t the author use her brain instead of being so keen to please the reader? A very very disappointing novel.
Ps: Although this has nothing to do with the book’s real story, I must mention that I find bees very interesting. It was in 10th grade that I learnt about the “waggle dance” method that the bees used for communicating. So I found the tid bit of information about bees before every chapter. The bee song was amazing too! But no extra star for those. ...more