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Book Review: A Life Discarded by Alexander

AW

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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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!