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Book Review: Pulp by Charles Bukowski

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Blurb:

Opening with the exotic Lady Death entering the gumshoe-writer’s seedy office in pursuit of a writer named Celine, this novel demonstrates Bukowski’s own brand of humour and realism, opening up a landscape of seamy Los Angeles.

Rating: 2.5 stars

My Review:

Pulp is probably my least liked book by Charles Bukowski and why? I am guessing because it lacks his typical Chinakski charm of tragedy. Yes, Pulp is his proper attempt at fiction which of course, isn’t a bad book but certainly not the one you should start with if you want to read some of his best works.

Pulp is the story of Belane who is a detective who has for once, taken up more than he can handle. A case of a once dead artist, an alien and a cheating wife fails to strike as sub plots that hook. It fails because it doesn’t offer much throughout and also the end may seem a little lacklustre. Bukowski starts off with these but fails to sustain the reader’s interest to the hilt and more so, fails right at the end. For me, the crossing of paths of Lady Death, Red Sparrow and Celine with Belane befuddles me in the overall perspective.

This is Bukowski’s attempt at pulp fiction which doesn’t quite work out in his favour. I do enjoy pulp fiction once in a while but this book unfortunately, howsoever enjoyable it was was when reading (primarily because of Bukowski’s style of writing) is hampered with the failure to make a mark and stick with me.

Recommended only if you are if an ardent Bukowski fan!

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Does it matter if you read John Green or Leo Tolstoy?

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Who cares if you are reading young adult fiction or hard-core classics? And how does it make a difference to anyone else but you. It is a burning question in my head for a while now and the only reason for this is the bookstagram community that I am a part of and interact with pretty much on a day to day basis. I have unfortunately, come across readers and very profound ones at that, who are judgmental based on the books you seem to read. There is a bunch of people who enjoy reading classics only and I am all praises for them because in my opinion, it demands a whole lot of grit and patience to be able to read only classics day after day. There is a smaller group of people in this community who feel the inexplicable need to judge other readers based on what they read or do not, for that matter.

I, for one, am an avid reader of books. Doesn’t matter what genre it pertains to! It could range from classics to young adult fantasy to contemporary. As long as it is well-written and has a plot that interests me from beginning to end, I am in. And that in my opinion, is how it ought to be. Every author has something new to offer – whether it is the language or the style of writing or the plot or bringing to forth a unique character and there is no harm if you read them without going in with the pre-conceived notion of some features associated with the genre it pertains to.

Any reader who takes the time off from his/her busy schedule and makes it a point to read a book is keen to enjoy the book. For all you know, they are learning something new from that book. And in all probability, they are even enjoying the read. In such a case, who are you and I to judge? There is a reader for every book ever written and a book for every reader. Each person has a unique taste and there are books of a certain kind that appeal to that person. So dear friends, it is not cool to place yourself on a self-annointed pedestal just because you read books of a certain genre or by a particular author. Whether you read Leo Tolstoy or John Green, it is your choice and definitely not upto any one else to judge you based on that!

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Book Review: Marina by Carlos Luis Zafon

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Blurb:

‘Fifteen years on, the remembrance of that day has returned to me. I have seen that boy wandering through the mist of the railway station, and the name of Marina has flared up again like a fresh wound. We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul. This is mine…’

In May 1980, 15-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts…

His story begins in the heart of old Barcelona, when he meets Marina and her father German Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes ?scar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the fourth Sunday of each month. At 10 a.m. precisely a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman dressed in black, her face shrouded, wearing gloves, holding a single rose. She walks over to a gravestone that bears no name, only the mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings.

When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her they begin a journey that will take them to the heights of a forgotten, post-war Barcelona, a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons; and a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

Marina is a great young-adult gothic and historical fiction. It is an intriguing and interesting piece of literature. And the best thing about it is Zafon’s writing. The plot of the book is bittersweet and hauntingly beautiful making it a very engaging read that needs you to consume it in one go. IMO, it is the perfect book one should read to get out of a reading slump.

The story is narrated by a 15 year old boy named Oscar Drai who has pretty much the same set of issues that any teenage boy would. Kind of Catcher in the Rye sort of a situation but way less depressing. So the plot kicks off when he comes across an almost dilapidated house in the outskirts of Barcelona. He ventures inside out of sheer curiosity to find that it belongs to an aged painter named German Blau and his daughter, Marina. With time, the three of them develop a strong bond that transcends normal friendship norms. As expected, Oscar falls in love with Marina and her enigma within no time. Together, they explore the hidden nooks and crannies of the city and in the process, get embroiled in a story of gargantuan risk and proportions.

Marina is an out and out suspense filled book that can definitely scare the reader in bits and pieces. This is a fantastic tale of magic realism in which the author weaves magic, reality and science fiction to narrate a compelling story in which Barcelona is shown in all its beauty and ominousness. The book is filled with twists and turns making it a multi-layered plot in which each chapter reveals something new. The manner in which the author has sketched the characters is beautiful, especially because as a reader, you can empathize with them oh so much! It is in my opinion, a literary masterpiece that is an example of the best of prose ever written. I can very well imagine Marina being considered as a modern classic. It is not a surprise that I am all set to pick up the next one by Zafon.

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Book Review: Limitations by Scott Turow

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Blurb:

Life would seem to have gone well for George Mason. His days as a criminal defence lawyer are long behind him. At fifty-nine, he has sat as a judge on the Court of Appeals in Kindle County for nearly a decade. Yet, when a disturbing rape case is brought before him, the judge begins to question the very nature of the law and his role within it. What is troubling George Mason so deeply? Is it his wife’s recent diagnosis? or the strange and threatening emails he has started to receive? and what is it about this horrific case of sexual assault, now on trial in his courtroom, that has led him to question his fitness to judge? In Limitations, Scott Turow, the master of the legal thriller, returns to Kindle County with a page-turning entertainment that asks the biggest questions of all. Ingeniously and with great economy of style, Turow probes the limitations not only of the law but of human understanding itself.

Rating: 2.5 stars

My Review:

Scott Turow is known to write some of the most enthralling and engaging legal thrillers. And all of you know me know of my love for thrillers. So no surprises there why I picked this one up from the library!

This one called Limitations is one of the easiest reads of the year for me. It starts off with a judge trying to make up his mind about a case he is in the jury for. What makes this case stand out for him is that it is similar to something he had been a part of as a kid and later on, pushed under the carpet. All those memories come rushing back and now, he is in a super quandary.

The plot obviously doesn’t stop there. It goes on to build on the premise that he is being threatened for an unknown reason and by someone he and the investigating cops are unable to find out. What follows is a series of sort of predictable incidents that help us unravel the case.

This book has all the elements to make a good thriller – a good plot, pacy narration, few layers to the plot and all that shizz. Where it falls flat is the climax which is probably one of the most boring and lacklustre ones I have read in recent times. And that is precisely my problem with this book. I am going to revisit my rating for the book and give it a 2 instead of the initial 3 sheerly because it has got no stickiness quotient.

After reading the book, I went on the net to find out some more about Turow and his works. Apparently this one is touted to be one among his not-so-great ones. Hence I have decided I will give one more book a try and see if I get around to liking the author and his writing.

I am gonna suggest you guys to hold on before you pick up this one. I will come back with more suggestions.

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BOOKTUBEATHON 2017 | Books, Challenges and Fun

It’s BooktubeAThon time again! That one time through the year when book readers from across the globe come together to participate in a readathon that lasts a week. Coupled with video and instagram challenges, this challenge promises to be fun as always.

So I have not participated in a BooktubeAThon ever but this year, my friend Beatriz pretty much sold me the idea of it and here I am.

If you are like me and figuring it out as we go along, let me tell you a little bit about BooktubeAThon. This is an annual readathon initiated by Ariel Bissett. You can check more about it on her Youtube channel.

So this year, the challenge has commenced on 24th July and will run till 30th July. And what you need to do is read 7 books in this one week. And of course, participate in the mini challenges that run throughout. Now I have been a tad bit stupid and put together a highly ambitious list of books that I will read this week. While I am already a little overwhelmed looking at this list, I am so very stoked to participate in the challenges and get to know more and more book lovers.

The 2017 Reading Challenges:

treatyourself.

Read a book with a person on the cover – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Published in 2016, this one is tells the story of Sam and Clementine, an ordinary yet busy married couple trying to balance work and family life. It is supposed to be a story of intrigue, lust and betrayal. The cover of the book is quite intriguing as you can see.

Read a booktube hyped book – Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Need I even say more? This is probably one of the most hyped books of 2017. Paula Hawkins shot into limelight with her super thriller release – The Girl on the Train. So you can understand the hype around this one. I have noticed that people have had mixed feelings about this book. I guess I will figure out this week if it’s a yay or a nay.

Finish a book in a day – A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters

Now this is his third book and he has been touted as a beautiful, sensitive, and funny writer. The book revolves around the writer and the 148 diaries he seems to have found in a skip. It sounds like a different thriller – I am currently 128 pages into it and well, he has me hooked.

Read a book about a character very different from you Hollywood by Charles Bukowski

This one is a continuation in the tales of Henry Chinaski who bears a strong resemblance with Bukowski. Now this one is all about Chinaski finding a director and financial backing for a movie and then losing it all. Though I don’t know more about the book, I assume it will have a whole lot of alcoholic behavior, gambling and women. Quite understandably so, I am nothing like the epic Chinaski.

Finish a book entirely outside – Liberty by Virginia Woolf

This is a part of the recently launched Vintage minis by Penguin Publishers. Very famous authors from across the globe have penned some important themes like Depression, Love, Desire and of course Liberty. Virginia Woolf is an author that I have always enjoyed reading and Liberty seems like too good a fit for her to have written about.

Read a book you bought because of the cover – How to fall in love by Cecelia Ahern

Now, I had only read P.S.I Love You by Ahern until this month. Let me just say I haven’t been a huge fan of her writing and then I read Love, Rosie. I have to admit my life can now be divided into two parts – before and after LOVE ROSIE. She has managed to impress me so much so that I added another book by her to this list. And this was the first one in fact, that I read for this challenge. I will do a detailed review of this book next week once I am done with this challenge.

Read 7 books – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley           

And finally, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I have no specific reasons for adding this to my list barring the fact that I was about 20 pages into and then, the challenge started. Makes absolute sense right to add this one then!

So that’s it! My very ambitious reading list for the BooktubeAThon 2017. I hope you found some books that you may like or have read. Let me know. Also, do share your readathon journey this week. I am new to readathons and any advice/experience from you guys will be of utmost help!

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The A to Z Bookish Survey Tag

Its time for another bookish tag guys! Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner hosts this A to Z Bookish Survey tag initially on her blog and then her Youtube channel. I know it has been around for a few years now but better late than never right! So let’s get started!

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Enid Blyton, Sophie Kinsella, Nicholas Sparks, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle *I know there are too many of them but that’s just what it is*

 Best Sequel Ever:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Lord of the Rings

 Currently Reading:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

 Drink of Choice While Reading:

Black Coffee or a Flat White. Sometimes I would say, it would be a Red Bull.

 E-reader or Physical Book?

Physical books anytime! I have tried reading ebooks and they actually hamper my concentration and reading speed!

 Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Ned Nickerson – he was Nancy Drew’s boyfriend!

 Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Shantaram. I was not too stoked initially but I am so glad I read this book.

 Hidden Gem Book:

Love Rosie by Cecelia Ahern. Typically, I am not a huge fan of her writing but this one just took my breath away.

 Important Moment in your Reading Life:

It wasn’t so much of a moment but a journey – so spending pretty much a whole lot of time with my brother during my childhood and now has helped me read more varied books and discuss all my thoughts with him. And mind you, he can be very influential.

 Just Finished:

I just finished reading Limitations by Scott Turow. It was a legal thriller – okayish I guess!

 Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I am not a huge fan of erotica (the modern 50 Shades of Grey types) and yes, of course vampires. Its just ridiculous unless of course its Dracula.

 Longest Book You’ve Read:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

 Major book hangover because of:

Very recently, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It weighed me down quite a bit. You can read my thoughts about it here.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

4 and then there are tables. I so need a new one.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Preferred Place To Read:

My couch or my bed

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” – Jack Kerouac

 Reading Regret:

Assuming Harry Potter was for kids when it came out and not reading it. Believe it or not, I haven’t till now!

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Paulo Coelho, Fitzgerald, Thomas Hardy and maybe a wee bit of Stephen King.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

What we Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

Worst Bookish Habit:

I organize my books and then I mess it all up. Leaving it on coffee tables, dining table and bedside tables seems to be favorite thing to do.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis

Your latest book purchase:

The American by Henry James

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

A Court of Wings and Ruin – Yeah, the entire series was way too pacy!

I would love to tag some people because I had so much fun doing this! But you know what, I think all of you read this post should go ahead and do this tag!

P.S. – You may also like the Netflix and Book tag here.

 

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Netflix and Book Tag

So this one is my new blog – The Fresh N Fabulous. And I thought why not do some tags that are quite a thing with book bloggers and booktubers. As I checked out the various tags – I came across this one called the “Netflix Book Tag.” And I am sat here thinking – that’s like two of my most favourite things. So why not pick this one up? Sounds about perfect, right? As I did my research, I found out that the tag was started by Whitney on her Youtube channel – A Darker Shade of Whitney.

So let’s get started!

Recently Watched: The last book you finished reading

Limitations by Scott Turow – I had heard amazing things about Turow and so I decided to get one of these from the local library. Unfortunately, I would not say it’s the best in the genre of legal thrillers. The plot and the legal angle has not been explored as it should have been. Overall, it was a bit of dampener for me despite the good start to the book. I will post a detailed review soon here and also on my Instagram.

Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on book you have previously read

On the basis of all the books I have been reading in 2017 or simply, owing to my unfettered love for classics, I have been suggested a few books, namely:

  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • A God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (for some reason I can’t seem to understand. Not trying to demean her writing here but I rarely read those kind of books!)

Recently Added: The last book you bought

Very recently, I picked up “The American” by Henry James. Now this was an impulse buy and the only reason I picked it up because I absolutely fell in love with his book – The Portrait of a Lady.

Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you have read or have no interest in reading)

  • ACOTAR series (the trilogy) – Well, who hasn’t heard about it? It is probably the best that has come out in the fantasy genre (okay, I am having a little fangirling moment here).
  • 13 Reasons Why – As popular as the TV series has been this year, I would term it next to impossible to not know about this one. I did get around to reading this book by Jay Asher once I binge-watched the entire series.
  • A God of Small Things – This was Arundhati Roy’s first novel, winner of the Man Booker Prize and a multitude of other things. Some may even consider it blasphemous that me despite the voracious book reader that I am, I haven’t read it yet. While I did include it in my July TBR list, I have hardly an inclination to read it.
  • Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth is the first of a two-book YA sci-fi series. I like YA and sci-fi – yes, both! But I don’t think I am going to be reading this book considering I am not such a huge fan of her writing.

Comedies: A funny book

I would have to say I really did find Slam by Nick Hornby quite a hilarious read. The book is quite cool in the manner in which it deals with something so serious as a teenage pregnancy. Absolutely laced with straight-faced humour, I found it quite funny.

Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king

I am gonna say Rosie from the book Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern. Rosie has something going on in her life all the time and well, lets just say she wants to be the cynosure of all around her – her friends and the love of her life too! And though I found her character extremely clumsy, funny and likeable, there was always some drama.

Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover

I actually checked my bookshelves and strangely enough, I do not have any! Nopes, not even a single one!

Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read

If I had to pick one book that I would re-read it has to be The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. I am in love with everything about this book and could read it a million times and over. And series – ah, well – got to give it to Lord of the Rings.

Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

Typically, I do not read much of non-fiction but I will recommend one. Actually, I am gonna go ahead and recommend two –

  • Leading by Sir Alex Fergusson – Its by far, the best book I have read about leadership and how simple tactics can be applied to lead a team correctly. If you want to know about what I learnt from this book, you can check this post here.
  • Hooked by Nir Eyal – This book is an absolute must for people who want to design, develop and then sell products and more importantly, turn them into habits.

Action and Adventure: An action packed book

This one’s easy. It is my favourite adventure book as a kid – Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. The fact that was it was set in the UK was a thing that enticed me too!

New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.

What we Lose by Zinzi Clemmons – it is supposed to be about race struggles at the very good with a good hint of romance and motherhood. All the makings of a great book, right?

Max: Tag some people

Okay, I am going to tag a few friends who are not here but they are on Instagram –abookishrendezvous, tarunpreet18, punyareads , booksandcoffeestains and Nada from the Africaanah fame.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Do feel free to consider yourself tagged if you enjoyed reading this.

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Confessions of a Book Addict

The story of my life is fairly simple that ways. I am an avid book explorer and reader who spends the better part of her life smelling pages and devouring words. Whether it is living through the perfect tale of romance in a Cecilia Ahern book or fighting against the wrong in the Prythian land or simply, exploring the unknown in a Stephen King thriller, books can be the single most important source for fueling your imagination and transferring you into an entirely different world – one far from the harsh realities that life has to offer. Books can give you everlasting elation and make you touch the bounds of imagination you never thought you could! In this spirit, I thought of making some confessions as a book addict or book lover.

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A neverending relationship – Me and my books
  1. Sometimes, a book is so good that I don’t want it to end and hence, I dally finish reading it.
  2. There are some books that demand to be made into movies. They are so good you can’t resist imagining it as a movie and then, thinking of “the picture perfect” cast for the movie.
  3. Books are undoubtedly the best and most effective way to ignore all forms of social interaction in a public place (read coffee shop).
  4. Any free time – doesn’t matter how short it is – is enough to get some reading done.
  5. It breaks my heart when the guy I am crushing upon says he doesn’t have the habit (read OCD) of reading books.
  6. A good book is one that gets you heavily emotionally invested in the plot, so much so that you need to often take a break and breathe a bit.
  7. To understand how someone can carry a small handbag is difficult to fathom for a book lover. Because carrying a bag without one or many books is nothing but blasphemy to its very core.
  8. Book heaven bliss can be achieved simply through by smelling books. They have an amazing smell and are always good when the going gets tough.
  9. There is always book for each mood – doesn’t matter if it is summertime or the rains, if you are feeling low or romantic or whatever – there is always a book for that mood.
  10. Any book related merchandise is good for keeping on display so that they remind you how very much you enjoyed reading the book or absolutely and whole-heartedly loved that character.

Yeah! There it is – some bookish facts about me or my long relationship with books! I would love to know some interesting facts or bookish quirks about you too. Fill me in guys!