Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mediocre But Arrogant - Abhijit Bhaduri

I was so happy to get this book from my sister. She sent it to me from Germany. Although the author was kind enough to offer to send me a hardcopy that he had with him, this one came just in time (there are no copies being sold in USA yet). I finished reading it in 3 days which equals about 5 hours of actual reading time on the caltrain. My first impression after reading the initial 10 pages of the book was that like Shobha De (referring to her comment about this book), this one took me back to my college days. For starters, I haven't heard the word "super-senior" in a long time. And it’s been a while since I heard the many slang words and all the very believable nicknames that Abhijit makes liberal use of in his book. It brought the college canteen/hostel back to life in my mind. However, if I weren't an Indian or hadn't gone to school in India, it would be a little harder to place most of them. Being a "day-scholar" I wouldn't have been able to identify with all the hostel life described, had my sister not been generous enough to let me visit her at hostel a couple of times. I'm sure it was a torture for her but I totally enjoyed myself :). Comparisons to "Five Point Someone" (another college caper set in the IIT Campus) are inevitable. Personally, I gave up reading that book after about 4 chapters but this one I had to finish! I could totally identify with Abbey who doesn't really have much ambition and isn't even sure if he is doing the right thing with his life. All my life I have gone with the flow and never really knew if I actually wanted to be doing what I was doing. The only thing I probably couldn't digest was Abbey's love life. His attitude towards all the women was very casual and his sexual encounters are something that I couldn't imagine as being real, especially in the day and age the story is set. But again, student life and teens have changed so much in India that I don't even really consider myself as belonging to the current generation anymore. Abbey really seemed to lack any motivation to follow up on something that he cared about. This is evident in the relationships he shared with the women and their terminations. My favorite character (and also the author's, I hope) was Rascal Rusty. There is always this wise guy in every class who's a know-it-all and this fact never goes down well with most of the students. I also loved reading about the "Kumbhkaran" like roommate who chose sleep over everything else. The ending could have been a little less abrupt. When I finished the book, I didn't really feel like it was the end! All in all, a very good first attempt that kept me hooked (which is a lot more than I can say for the next book that I am reading!)

Here a link to the Abhijit's blog where you can read some more about the book and more....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sister Of My Heart -Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This has been one of the most engrossing books that I have read in a long time. Not because there is a mystery to unveil but more because the way she writes it, the authoress makes you go thyough each and every one of the emotions that the protagonists must experience in this story. I had dismissed books written by Chitra Banerjee after reading "Mistress of Spices" but thank god that I ran out of other books to read at home and had to settle for a copy of "Sister of my Heart" which did not even belong to me(Its my sister's and I thank her for leaving it behind when she moved). The relationship Anju and Sudha share is beautiful and the tumultous situations they go through are very real. Every time you think that you are almost done and the fate of Anju and Sudha is decided and nothing more can go wrong or change, Chitra comes up with another situation for them to face and for the reader go through. It makes you reach a cresendo of emotions and leaves you at the top with a promise for more to come in the sequel "Vine of Desire" which as you have guessed by now will be read by me soon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe / The Patriotic Murders - Agatha Christie (A Hercule Poirot Mystery)

O the good old days when my sis would leave her Agatha Christie collection in Hyderabad and I would get to read them all.....Sigh!!! A big thanx to my colleague Rakesh for letting me borrow this book from him. I had read this particular one years ago under the title "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe". So, it didn't really hit me when I grabbed this copy named "The Patriotic Murders". But the buckle drove the point home :D:D....Neverthless I continued to read it a second time over. You can never tire of a Hercule Poirot mystery if you have forgotten even a part of the mystery. I can't say the same about Miss Marple mysteries but I would read those again too if I had them. The egg-headed detective and his keen acumen are as refreshing as ever. Sometimes I wish I owned the entire collection! I have been told by (lazy) friends and relatives that they won't read my blog because my posts are spoilers if they haven't read the book. I find it extremely hard to write about mysteries without revealing much. Anyways, needless to say the ending was quite unexpected and the last few pages where Poirot explains how he arrived at the conclusions are as usual the best. Agatha Christie makes ample use nursery rhymes in a lot of her books and like this one I am sure a lot of the books have multiple names. What I do everytime I read Agatha Christies is, fix a person in the case as the culprit and read the book keeping that in mind. I might change my suspect during the course of the book if it becomes apparent that the suspected person could not have been possibly involved in the crime. The fun thing about this is that many a times there are atleast 2-3 likely people and this makes it perplexing enough to keep you entertained. Actually this is something you can do with every mystery. Not sure how many others have the same idea but I hope what I am saying makes sense. The day your suspect is the same as the one Hercule Poirot proved to be guilty, you can stop reading them! If I stick to this statement of mine, looks like I will read them forever. No complaints about that!!!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

No Place Like Home - Mary Higgins Clark

Another author recommended by my sister! It was nice to read a Mary Higgins Clark again. When I read her first one, I found the crime rather gruesome. But the suspense and thrill elements were great and I kept going back for more. I will never think twice before I pick up a Mary Higgins Clark or for that matter books by her daughter Carol Higgins Clark. They all make decent reading. However, by now I can guess the ending in most of their books.

This one pretty much begins like the others with a shocking statement made in the prologue " I cannot believe I am standing in the exact spot where I was standing when I killed my mother.".......The real estate law of New Jersey which is mentioned in this book is pretty interesting and I do agree that it is an important one......Noone would want to live in a house with a bad history. It would definitely give me sleepless nights. I find it hard to write anymore about this book lest I give away the story too much. So for those of you who haven't read it yet but plan to, "you are welcome".....For those who have read it and would like to talk more about it, leave me comments and for those who haven't read it and will never read it, wait for ,my next blog:D:D