Posts tagged ‘reads’

Love in the Time of Cholera

This is a book I had wanted to read for a long time, without knowing anything about it. I just knew it was one of the classics and that was reason enough for me to want to read it.

A few years back, someone I knew heard I wanted to read it, and offered it from their own collection. The offer was prefaced with, ‘don’t buy it. I have it, take it from me. You may like it, I don’t know, but I didn’t. It doesn’t make much sense’ or something similar.

I finally didn’t take up the offer, and the book went somewhere to the back of my mind. Sometime last year, I was bored, bookless, and looked up books online. One of the first ones I stumbled across was an ecopy of ‘love in the time of cholera’. I downloaded it, read a few pages, read the blurbs about it. It didn’t seem that fascinating so unread it remained. Then recently, while waiting to catch up with someone, I decided to browse a bookshop nearby. There, on top of one of the book stacks, was a copy of this book. I picked it up and bought it, reasoning that it deserved another chance; since there have been only a few books that I have started but not completed reading. After that, it languished on my book stack for a long while ‘coz the initial pages seemed desultory and rambling and the writing prosy. Taken up, kept down, forgotten, this book seemed destined to be an addition to my never-completed list.

After that, I do not know what changed, but the next time I picked it up again, I realized within a few pages that this time it would not remain unread. I picked it up whenever I could, pored over a page or two. The language which seemed prosy earlier now seemed rich and  redolent of the colours of the region the book is based in (which incidentally I could not figure out at all, it was just not Spain was all I could get).

The book is as meandering as the river it is based on, but just as true to its course. It starts off from uncertain and unrelated sources and seems to wander over a vast plain and get lost occasionally. This will not appeal to you, if you like your books and stories to make sense, or to be fast paced, or to be leading somewhere. This book will not lead you anywhere concrete, but the reading of it, the journey covered while meandering is enriching. It does not attempt to justify its protagonists, in fact, you will be hard put to tell who the protagonists are. Is it the stern but social and popular Dr Urbino, or the morally weak but emotionally true to his love Florentino, or the undecipherable and seemingly selfish Fermina? It does not attempt to include plot sequences or racy scenes into its narrative. At no point will you feel your heart racing for the characters, nor will you feel impatience to know what happens next for the characters. It all unfolds slowly, maybe, sometimes even sluggishly.

One of the blurbs on the back of the book reads ‘An amazing celebration of the many kinds of love between men and women’. I will not be able to describe this book any better. This book won’t take you places, nor will it open your mind to vistas unknown. However, the reading of it might open your thinking up to human emotions and their frailty, their intangible but solid presence, to the interaction between people, to the conventions of society which are unchanging even though the book is set in a time and place distant from now.

I am glad I didn’t borrow this book from someone, it’s most certainly a keeper. Having read and fallen in love with its English translation, I am sure the original Spanish version will be much more rich, much more exquisite to read. Time to pick up my Spanish lessons again, if for no other reason than to read this book in its original avatar.

To leave you with the last line –

Florentino Ariza had kept his answer ready for fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days and nights.

“Forever,” he said.

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Expecting someone taller

Book review time.

This was apparently Tom Holt’s first humorous fantasy novel (Dewdette, love, did I ever thank you for introducing me to T.H. ?). I was about to insert a wiki link here for the plot synopsis, but desisted. You may search and go read it if you wish, but I wouldn’t advise that; it’s too cut and dried an article and doesn’t do justice to the book.

T.H. writes humorous fantasy in a way reminiscent of P.G. Wodehouse’s. While PGW never wrote fantasy (that I know of. He did supposedly write romantic fiction once upon a time, go figure!), what is similar is the madcap way of story telling. Odd notions and implausible events tangle with each other and form a thick knot. The characters stop, meander, think, stop thinking and generally create a ruckus in their own lives. Yet the author manages to unravel it all in the end to general satisfaction (and that includes the characters’ satisfaction too)

As this doesn’t seem like a book review so far, here’s a little bit of the plot to keep the fastidious readers’ happy. An average guy who has never excelled at anything in his life and has been overlooked and ignored by the world and his family for ever suddenly becomes the master of the world. Worse, it’s an unrecognized job as no one he knows, knows that he is responsible for the world’s well / ill being. How he manages the world and resolves his love life and other nasties is what this is all about.

The badger twisted its head painfully round, and looked at him in silence for a while. “You know,” it said at last, “I was expecting someone rather taller.”
“Oh,” said Malcolm.”Fair-haired, tall, muscular, athletic, without spectacles,” went on the badger. “Younger, but also more mature,if you see what I mean. Someone with presence. Someone you’d notice if you walked into a room full of strangers. In fact, you’re a bit of a disappointment.”

Reco : Go read if you like humorous fantasy and brit humour.

The Hunger Games

Part I

I picked this up from a younger cousin’s stash of books, having effectively ignored it for a long time now. I had always had the impression that it would be gross, ‘how does anyone have a game on fighting to the death anyway?’, ‘how can they make that standard reading for kids?’ and so on. Long story short, it is nothing of the sort. It is not gross, not very bloody (I’m finicky about these things I tell you), and definitely not boring. After a few false starts of picking it up, reading a few pages, putting it down and forgetting for weeks, I pretty much read the rest of it in one sitting.

The writing is crisp, the story already well known to all (and I loved the little bit of history the author has provided about Panem, the Capitol and the 13 districts; she has wisely left space for a prequel and numerous movie contracts there), the characters rootable, and overall, while it is not a very imaginative ride, it is gripping.

I am now hoping to read part II soon. Overall, a good read.

Girls who read, and girls who don’t

Stumbled upon these two posts recently, the second is supposedly an answer to the first. I don’t understand how it is an answer and is in contrast to the original post – maybe suffering from a temporary lack of grey matter, ‘coz I thought both point to the same conclusion eventually – however, both the posts are so beautifully worded, I couldn’t not share them.

You should date an illiterate girl

Date a girl who reads

Here’s to more people cheering for girls who read.

Bookaholics Anonymous

So Galadriel tagged me to write about my most favourite characters from literature. My response to this tag was in serious danger of becoming as long as a book itself, so I had to severely curtail it. Here are some of my fav chars from books I have read and enjoyed. I have tried (though not very hard) not to include the usual suspects. And given that the list is mostly full of the usual suspects, I won’t really describe them. 😀

 

Rhett Butler (Gone with the wind) – Alright, so go ahead and sue me. I can’t help liking this guy, though my image of him before and after seeing the movie is rather mixed up with Clark Gable.

Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice ofcourse) – So double sue me. 😀 But yes, I like Elizabeth Bennet equally well.

Bernard Woolley (Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister) – The third party in the Hacker-Appleby wars, this guys is funny. Though he’s torn between the two principal parties, his presence balances the act. Can’t really quote him here though ( ‘coz I don’t remember any of his dialogues 😉 ).

Aragorn (The Lord of the rings) – Galadriel, please forgive me for not including your namesake here, but she pales before Aragorn 😀

My blog-name namesake – Alice from the famous Alice in Wonderland. This girl has adventures and how!

Captain Nemo (20,000 leagues under the sea) – Ever since I read this book, I have thought roaming the oceans in a submarine would be cool. 

Read more…

A way to pass time

Given my fondness for books, its surprising really that i havent posted on this topic.

Oh wait, i think i have. a review. well, never mind.

Anyway, lifted this thing (i believe its called a meme) off SEV’s blog. So here goes:

“Look at the list of books below, bold the ones I’ve read, italicize the ones I might read, cross out the ones I won’t read, underline the ones on my book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones I’ve never even heard of.”

>>The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
>>The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
>>The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams

       Does having a soft copy mean its on my shelf?
>>The Great Gatsby – Scott F. Fitzgerald

>>To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
      An all time fav.
>>The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
>>(His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman)
>>Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling

>>The Life of Pi – Yann Martel
    I have read it in snatches…don’t think I’ll like it.
>>Animal Farm – George Orwell
>>Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
    It’s like this for a reason…it’s only half-read.
>>The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
>>The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon.
    Awesome book. Read more…

Books and more

I got tagged by Galadriel to list my favourite Books by Indian authors. Now, my disclaimer is that i really haven’t any favourites. No, not because I’m impartial and all that, but because i haven’t read too many. Out of the few i have, these are some i liked:

Salaam, Paris by Kavita Daswani ~ Random book picked from the library.

Best Of Laxman by R.K. Laxman ~ Ok, it’s technically not a novel. But i love it anyway. A collection of his masterpieces.

An Equal Music by Vikram Seth ~ A book i read ages ago. Have forgotten all about it, except the fact that i liked it.

Speedpost: Letters to My Children about Living, Loving, Caring and Coping with the World by Shobha De ~ I must be crazy to list this. But, as i found to my surprise, it exceeded my expectations (so what if they were low?).

Can’t really think of any others. Do want to read Maximum City though.

Tagging anyone else? Well, anyone who wants to …feel free. 🙂