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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

3

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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Book Review: A Life Discarded by Alexander

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Blurb:

A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation.

Rating: 3 stars

My Review:

In 2001, 148 diaries were discovered in a skip in Cambridge. Our dear writer, Alexander Masters was gifted those diaries eventually by his two professor friends. Masters had the required credentials of a biographer having written two very noteworthy biographies already. Over the next 14 years, Masters goes through all the diaries, not necessarily in a sequential manner, elucidates facts from these diaries and then, spins this exquisite and thrilling tale. This is his take on how he discovered the diaries and then the subsequent investigation to find out the writer of the diaries. Masters reads these diaries in an arbitrary manner and hence, it feels like much of a mystery than it would have otherwise. One can clearly see how he becomes obsessed with the entire story as he progresses and goes on to make assumptions as he uncovers each and every detail of “I’s” life. Of course, with time, his assumptions get challenged and refuted; invariably helping the reader gain some more insight about the character in question.

The book switches seamlessly between Masters’ quest and also his own personal tragedy of dealing with a friend’s cancer. He manages to strike a good yet sad balancing act – the contrast is stark and agonizingly moving. What didn’t quite work for me though is the fact that Masters seems to be concerned only with his own curiosity about the writer of those diaries rather than the sentiment around it. He is almost at a point of obsessing with the writer of the diaries and imagines way more than the diaries portray. Masters almost relives the dreams, failures, hopes, traumas of the writer and then feels the pain when he gets to know of the resignation to a depressingly mediocre life.

This is a fairly compelling and pacy thriller and we are almost embroiled in the plot with Masters to a great extent. We as readers, tend to expect something highly tragic or shocking to be the end of it all but forget to understand one very basic thing – that every life is as important as the other and this is the story of one such person.

 

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Book Review: Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern

Love Rosie

Blurb:

Cecelia Ahern has Dunne it again! When Rosie Dunne was published in February, readers from coast to coast devoured this enchanting novel. It became the romantic book of the season — and the numbers prove it: More than 85,000 copies have been sold to date.

While Rosie and Alex are exchanging e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, readers nationwide enjoyed the book, passing it on to friends and recommending it to strangers. Now in paperback, this delightful story will enchant even more readers, proving that “everything is coming up Rosie.”

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

Sigh! What an touching and beautifully realistic love story of modern times! That’s how I feel about this gorgeous book Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern.

Let me start by saying I had watched the movie long back and found it quite cute. And then some time earlier this month, I thought I need some chick-lit romance in my life. Pretty much how I got around to reading this one!

Coming to the characters, Rosie is a bumbling idiot who is always out to do the wrong things or rather choosing the wrong guy. It takes a lot of years for her to figure out the love of her life is none other than best friend from childhood.

Ahern takes us through Rosie’s life for pretty much 40 odd years and for more times than one, we wish Rosie ended up with her dude already. Sprinkled with what I would say the right amount of drama, this modern romance has all the makings of a beautiful read. What I loved about the book is that it was super realistic. I could so correlate with the confusion that prevails in Rosie’s head most of the times. I would have done a lot of things the way she had, given the situations she found herself in.

The fact that I couldn’t stop imagining Lily Collins as Rosie just added to my liking the book even more. I am gonna stop here and say people, if you love a good romance, this book is for you. Typically not a fan of Ahern’s writing, I found this one adorable though!

Go ahead guys! Read this one and tell me what you think of it. Like, love, hate anything at all! .

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Book Review: Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys

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Blurb:

Sasha Jensen has returned to Paris, the city of both her happiest moments and her most desperate. Her past lies in wait for her in cafes, bars, and dress shops, blurring all distinctions between nightmare and reality. When she is picked up by a young man, she begins to feel that she is still capable of desires and emotions. Few encounters in fiction have been so brilliantly conceived, and few have come to a more unforgettable end.

Rating: 3 stars

My Review:

Good Morning, Midnight is a crossover book which uses the techniques of narrative storytelling to fictionalize a memoir. Such is the talent of Jean Rhys who spins a book so impeccable in its writing that as a reader, it’s difficult to tell the difference between fiction and reality.

This book is like a swan song that shows us what her life was like. An almost incurable addiction to alcohol and attention from members of the opposite sex, our protagonist Sasha could never let go of her fallacies despite being self-aware in a heightened manner. She is seen stumbling through life trying to create memories that will make life worthwhile. She is ageing, poor and without a source of income. She, almost painstakingly gets into an impulsive wedlock which offers her no stability rather more of penury and the loss of a child.

Rhys has a knack of nailing the female desires and consciousness albeit in a non-feminist manner. Her protagonist is helpless and sad and mostly, chosen to be so. It is undoubtedly well-written but didn’t strike a chord with me after a point in time. I don’t mind a story of depression but if the character just wants to sink into abysmal depths of the society then I have a problem.

The book closes with Sasha and the next important character, the gigolo engaging in intense sexual activity. It is detailed and for the first time through the book, makes you feel the pain that Sasha is going through and culminates in an unclear conclusion.

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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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Book Review: The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

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Blurb:

‘Money’s a horrid thing to follow, but a charming thing to meet.’

Isabel Archer is a beautiful, intelligent and independent young woman. Brought from America to England by her wealthy Aunt who seeks to further her education and find her niece a husband, Isabel is determined to shape her own future – one that does not necessarily entail becoming a wife. Isabel inherits a fortune when her rich uncle dies and feels even more inclined to turn down two eligible suitors on the basis that she is a woman of her own means. However, a trip to Italy heralds her downfall when she meets the charming Gilbert Osmond, a worthless, yet ambitious and scheming dilettante.

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James is a book that offered me chronic restlessness throughout. It is a tale of an engaging tangle of relationships presented by the writer in all its beauty. He attempts to present the most mundane and banal set of events in the most artistic manner possible, and boy, does he succeed! It is a realistic tale of people and the choices they make in life. It is a book that after all these years, still holds to thrill and entice the reader into a world of its own, and beautifully so!

The book revolves around our protagonist, Isabel Archer who is brought from America to England by her aunt, Mrs. Touchett. Within no time, she manages to charm her old uncle, Mr. Touchett and cousin Ralph with her curiosity to know things and unique thought process, so much so that the uncle decides to leave her a fortune through his will, of course, after proper consultation with Ralph.

Her beauty and charm have an enthralling effect on many a suitors whom she rejects – the very generous and handsome Lord Warburton and her friend, Casper Goodwood from back home. Through her aunt, she makes acquaintance of Madame Merle who in turn introduces her to the very suave and gentlemanly Gilbert Osmond in Italy. Now this is the man that woos her with his apparently simple nature and convinces her to marry him and eventually, settle down with him and his daughter in Italy.

As the plot unfolds itself, we can’t help but notice few things – how dissatisfied Isabel ends up being with her life but refuses to acknowledge it and how Ralph albeit nearing death, cannot stop looking after his cousin, Isabel. Many a sub-plots come to the fore as we make way, not very laboriously, of course through this giant classic of a book. But I am gonna leave you guys to figure it out yourselves.

Amidst all the complexities of the plot and the continuous banter that this book has to offer, it doesn’t fail to impress. Falling in love with Henry James and this book and more importantly, Isabel is a matter of eventuality rather than possibility. The book is an ode to singlehood and dwelling in the deep and dark crevices of your own mind; it is one that screams to be read.

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Book Review: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

3

Blurb:

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in making Philip his heir, knowing he will treasure his beautiful Cornish estate. But Philip’s world is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries – and then dies suddenly in suspicious circumstances.

Before long, the new widow – Philip’s cousin Rachel – arrives in England. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, mysterious woman. But could she have masterminded Ambrose’s death?

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

Femme Fatale or Feminist? What is Rachel for you? This is what I continually thought of Rachel when u read this hauntingly beautiful suspenseful book by the brilliant storyteller Daphne Du Maurier.
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A chilling tale of romance and somewhat of revenge, this book enthralls you with its multiple twists and turns throughout. The book circles around the very sheltered young man, Philip and his cousin, Rachel who also happens to be his uncle’s widow. He is to say the very least confused by his emotions for Rachel – should he be blaming her for his uncle’s death or should he let himself get swept away by her irresistible womanly charms.
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The book has its series of turns in the plot making you wonder what’s gonna happen at the end and believe me when I say you won’t be disappointed. Du Maurier has crafted very beautiful yet dark characters in the 3 central characters of the plot – Rachel, Philip and Ambrose. One cannot but help admiring her adroit storytelling and the artfully mysterious character sketches.
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What I especially loved about the book is how your perception of a person is bound to change many a times through the plot and you do not hate it at all. You love every bloody bit and can’t stop reading it at all.
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So go ahead and get that book if you haven’t already! It deserves more than just a read!

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Book Review: The Reader by Bernard Schlink

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Blurb:

An exceptionally powerful novel exploring the themes of betrayal, guilt and memory against the background of the Holocaust. An international bestseller.

For 15-year-old Michael Berg, a chance meeting with an older woman leads to far more than he ever imagined. The woman in question is Hanna, and before long they embark on a passionate, clandestine love affair which leaves Michael both euphoric and confused. For Hanna is not all she seems.

Years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael is shocked to realize that the person in the dock is Hanna. The woman he had loved is a criminal. Much about her behaviour during the trial does not make sense. But then suddenly, and terribly, it does – Hanna is not only obliged to answer for a horrible crime, she is also desperately concealing an even deeper secret.

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

Our narrator Michael, sets out to tell his own story starting right from the times when he was 15. He is cautious man, shies away from difficult situations, and towards the end of it all, ends up being a loner. At 15, he meets the love of his life, Hanna – a tram conductor. In no time, they are in the thick of a passionate and clandestine affair. Their affair is laced with an unusual quirk of Hanna needing to be read to, a point that is discussed later on as well. Hanna being 36 at that time and Michael just 15 makes the reader wonder if this is child abuse! But we do none of that and devour all of this as a great piece of literature.
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Unfortunately, Hanna disappears without a word. And the meet again when he is in law school and she is a defendant on trial, accused of letting women burn to death in a locked church during the end of the war. Michael learns of her horrifying past and wonders if there is anything else that she is hiding. Slowly, he discovers a truth about Hanna – that she cannot read or write. She is terribly ashamed of this and chooses to be acquitted rather than reveal it. And all Michael does is stand at the byline, watching!
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Years later, Michael starts sending Hanna tapes with him reading out the likes of Homer and Checkov. Over time, he even reads out his own writings. Things take a turn for the better when he receives the first letter from Hanna, saying how much she liked the last tape which was in fact, his writing. Michael is happy to the core at this discovering Hanna had finally learnt to read and write. What follows is a set of quick events bringing us to the end of this brilliantly written book.
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The book is a journey into the depths of a personality, case and effect and then into understanding at a deeply philosophical level. Through his life, Michael realizes how small Hanna was in the scheme of things; that she was just a pawn caught between war and peace, life and death, and above all, love and desertion. Michael to me, was an epitome of betrayal who needed to make peace and his tapes were a means to absolving himself.
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To me, it’s nothing less than a piece of art in all its entirety.

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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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Book Review: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita

Blurb:

Always conceived of as shocking but also a brilliant satire, Humbert the serial fantasist continues to entice readers and lead Lolita to both fame and infamy.

Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, fastidious college professor. He also likes little girls. And none more so than Lolita, who he’ll do anything to possess. Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? …Or is he all of these?

Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Review:

Intensely lyrical and poignantly expressed – that is how I found Lolita to be. Written by the acclaimed writer, Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita is much more than just a work of fiction. It is a hallmark in the world of literature; an insight into the writer’s mind and more specifically, a tale of incest and paedophilia that could not have been told in a more brutally candid manner.

Lolita is the story of a man called Humbert and his sexual obsession with his stepdaughter, Dolores Haze whom he refers to as “Lolita”. Humbert narrates and takes us through the start of this obsession with the daughter of his landlady (whom he later marries) and then, how he escapes with her and stories of his sexual conquest and possessive behavior. In his narration, Humbert tries to tone down the intensity of his crime through subtle humor and rationale as to why he had to do what he did. He continually tries to shield himself from the reader’s anger and disgust by narrating things in a less intense manner. And this is where I feel Nabokov excels as a writer. He is extremely successful in presenting to us a story of lust and crime sprinkled with all the carnal acts without being too pornographic.

What I do not quite agree with is when I see reviews of Lolita as “the only convincing love story of our century”! No, it isn’t a love story. It is far from being one. It is a story of a man caught in his own sick obsession with his step-daughter and all his efforts to get her for life. Lolita is not about Dolores as a seductress unlike popular misconception. Though seen as quite experienced for her age, its all how Humbert sees her. The torrid affair between them is how Humbert feels and sees it. Just a single point of view! While Dolores is seen entering into this relationship or arrangement with Humbert with consent, can we really take that into account considering her nobility? This book challenges us – the readers to consider the boundaries of child-father relationship or rather, a child in general.

Lolita is a genuine piece of work howsoever shocking and disgusting it may be. The subject covered made me sick to the core (it covers one of the few topics that disturb me from the inside) and at a point in time, I was sat thinking if I could continue reading this book. Had it not been for some motivation from my bookstagram friends, I would not have dared to complete this book. On the hindsight though, I am glad I did. Lolita is one man’s depiction of perverted behavior which deserves praises for his lyrical genius and hilarious narration. But then again, one can misconstrue the book as cheapness personified if we looked at the subject in isolation. Nabokov was a confident and bold writer who penned Lolita way ahead of its times. While it may set you back emotionally, it is a must read. And it definitely takes a true genius to be able to write and accomplish what Nabokov did.

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Book Review: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

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Blurb:

It is a horrorshow story …’ Fifteen-year-old Alex likes lashings of ultra-violence. He and his gang of friends rob, kill and rape their way through a nightmarish future, until the State puts a stop to his riotous excesses. But what will his re-education mean? A dystopian horror, a black comedy, an exploration of choice, A Clockwork Orange is also a work of exuberant invention which created a new language for its characters.

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

Often claimed as one of the most disturbing books of this century, I would say “A Clockwork Orange” is rightly said to be so. This book depicts the exploits of a bunch of hooligan teenagers who let themselves out on a rampage; one that involves robbery, rape and hyper-violence. Anthony Burgess’s novel could be termed a controversial form of a dystopian society. I would say dystopian because as we progress with the plot, there is simply way too much of dehumanizing that shakes you up to the very core of your existence.

Alex is our protagonist who is shown to be at the centre of the storm when it comes to evil. Sometimes you tend to think of the moral compass or the lack of it in Alex as a central premise of the book. Through the three parts of the book, we explore a different period in Alex’s life. The first one is when we get introduced to Alex, his gang and the surroundings that he has grown up in. In the second and third section, Alex spends a considerable amount of time in prison, the “purification” that happens there and of course, the subsequent impact of it on him.

This book is a question on morality raised by the profound linguist that is Burgess. He wanted to time the book in the future and show how time had affected the language people spoke as well. Hence, he create this language – Nadsat which is a difficult combination of English, Russian or gypsy and slang.

What worked well for me in this book is how Burgess managed to create a marvelous anti-hero in Alex. Despite the fact that he goes through some very unimaginably hard things in the later part of the book, you cannot empathize with him. And that’s where the genius of Burgess lies. He makes you detest Alex, hate him almost, not empathize with him but definitely, remember him through and through.

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Book Review: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

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Blurb:

‘The way I need you is a loneliness I cannot bear.’

Making its twenty-three-year-old author an overnight literary sensation, this story of isolated, lost lives intersecting in a small town in the American South is a masterpiece of humane sensitivity.

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

A book of sad endings and probably, one of the most complex and heavy reads that I have read in recent times. That is how I would describe Carson McCullers’ debut novel. All of 23 when she wrote this, she explored the themes of adolescence, loneliness, isolation and racism with utmost elan.

McCullers entwines the lives of 5 incongruent people during the Great Depression. Mick Kelly is a teenager who loves music and takes solace in her thoughts to escape the distressing realities of her family’s condition. Then we have the deaf and mute John Singer who acts as the sponge for all the other characters to pour their hearts out. Biff Brannon is stuck to his all-night café which plays the hub for many a conversations. We have then the alcoholic Jake Blount who wants to lead a socialist uprising in alliance with Dr. Benedict Copeland, a man dedicated to serving the Blacks but is too bitter for words. These are supported by many other characters who aid to the making of multiple little tragedies which the book is interspersed with.

McCullers is clearly not the one who writes about feelings. She leaves that to the readers to figure out based on the situations these characters go through! And boy, does she succeed? At more times than one, she managed to put me in despair making it difficult for me to discuss the book with my fellow readers. The book is intense in the messages it delivers and the way it makes you feel. I would only recommend this to you if you are in the mood for some gut-wrenching sadness coming your way!
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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!

 

 

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Book Review: The End Of The Affair by Graham Greene

The End of The Affair

Blurb:

The love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah, flourishing in the turbulent times of the London Blitz, ends when she suddenly and without explanation breaks it off. After a chance meeting rekindles his love and jealousy two years later, Bendrix hires a private detective to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession.

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

The End of The Affair is one of the most intimate books written by Graham Greene. It is the kind of book that showcases the negative side of falling in love. It highlights how an obsessive form of love can lead to destruction of the people involved in it. One may imagine this book to be a sort of promotion of an affair but that it isn’t. It is simply peeking into the lives of three characters – a married yet loveless couple and the woman’s boyfriend. It is an honest depiction of an affair that balances love and passion in a way that not many writers can or have.

The story is narrated by Bendrix; it starts with a chance meeting with Henry who is the husband of his former lover, Sarah. When Henry mentions of his doubt about Sarah having an affair, all of Bendrix’s feelings of possessiveness and jealousy come to the forth again and thereby, he nudges Henry to hire a private detective to check upon Sarah. Henry is in two minds but eventually doesn’t pursue this endeavor. Bendrix on the other hand, is convinced Sarah is having a new affair and decides to hire an investigator to find all about the same. What follows is a series of discoveries in a tale of desire and madness.

The book makes sense in many different ways. One can imagine the cause of Bendrix being so distrustful; after all, the foundation of his relationship with Sarah had been a lie. It was an affair! Greene pretty much sums up his feelings through the course of the book in these lines – “Insecurity is the worst sense that lovers feel: sometimes the most humdrum desireless marriage seems better. Insecurity twists meanings and poisons trust.” Bendrix is consumed by his possessiveness for Sarah so much so that he doesn’t care about her well being anymore. All that matters to him is whether or not she loves him and is with him or not. Sarah on the other hand, is on the continuous lookout for a love that doesn’t aim to possess her rather accepts her the way she is.

The book has an interesting perspective on physical and spiritual love. The difference between Bendrix and Sarah rests on how they love each other. If you are looking for a twisted love story, then this is the book for you.

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Book Review: Jealousy by Marcel Proust

Jealousy

Blurb:

Can we truly know the one we love? In this painfully candid book Marcel Proust looks straight into the green eye of every lover’s jealous struggle. He broods on why we are driven to try possess one another, how jealousy can outlive death, and whether we can ever reclaim those careless days of first love. There is no greater chronicler of jealousy’s darkest fears and destructive suspicions than Proust.

Rating:  3.5 stars

My Review:

Jealousy by Marcel Proust is unique and has elements of the French bourgeois thrown in generous sprinkles. The primary theme of this piece of literature is erotic attachment and the jealousy that crops up as a result. While the subject is quite hackneyed, what is worth noticing is Proust’s way of narration. It is narrated in first person with frequent unearthing of feelings emerging out of the most regular actions in life.

Proust starts with his feelings about his girl when she is asleep and how it changes when she is awake; about how she has multiple personalities all in one and how he feels dealing with all those is getting in touch with his innermost emotions and feelings. One of the things that I noticed is Proust keeps making continual references to kisses from his mother and comparing it with the kisses from his mistress. It makes me wonder if he is a man-child or ever had any incestuous thoughts in his head.

Proust’s insight is profound and highly thought-provoking. He seems to have an uncanny knack to turn mundane things into profound subjects of contemplation. And there are no two ways about it. Having said that, I wouldn’t say I am a huge fan of his writing style. Though he manages to juxtapose long and short sentences quite impeccably, I find this style a bit of a hindrance to the flow of a certain prose. One may say it enhances the poetic appeal of his prose but then in my opinion, it does task the reader’s attention and patience. When I was reading this one, I felt the need to take a pause and then go through the sentence all over again to make the right amount of sense from it. In fact, I had had a similar experience when I was reading Faulkner’s As I Lie Dying that I happened to be losing attention pretty frequently.

Eitherway, Proust demands to be read by one and all; by every literature connoisseur alike. I am quite sure there is something by Proust for everyone.