Monday, February 8, 2016

My January Friends..

After my last post a few friends asked me about the books that I read. Very excitedly I gave them the details and then they suggested doing book reviews.
Ok - I draw my line there. I am not a book review person. I normally like books and the story that they tell. I recommend, share and talk about books that I find great here. I always stay away from writing posts on the books that I didn't like. If we were to have coffee or drinks I might share my reasons and negative reviews but never online. While I do pick fine nuances every now and then I don't think that gives me to the right to criticize someones work unabashedly for people I don't know at all. I barely write 100 words of blog posts and god knows how difficult it is sometimes to put your posts out there. If a total stranger were to shred my thoughts, writings in to pieces it would shake me. I am not saying that my reviews would be sought after. I just feel that I have not earned the right as yet to be able to do book reviews. I might not like a book but that does not mean that the writer has not thought it through or the book is bad in general. I will not condemn the writer. That's all.
It amuses me to see how book readers crack jokes at Chetan Bhagat's expense. I don't identify with his books at all but I know Five Point Someone was one book which most of my contemporaries liked. I know of so many people who actually started reading books after that book. That should count for something, right? I will never buy and read his books (probably) because they don't suit my sensibilities but I will never shred his book to pieces online. I guess its easier to be funny when you feel negative about something.
I love to share my opinions and thoughts with people about books, movies and art in general when I find something great. Those posts might not be witty/funny/interesting enough but I am ready to bite that bullet.
I read somewhere that "No two people read the same book". I think it is quite apt and what I don't find interesting does not have to the reason for you to be not reading that.
So here I am sharing a bit of information about the books that I read in January. They are strictly not reviews.

1. Battle Of Bittora by Anuja Chauhan -  I was a little late to jump on to this bandwagon. Biker Chick wrote about her and this was enough to get me interested.  I picked up Battle of Bittora last December on the way back from Bombay but was really caught up with moving, interviews and general madness at that time.  I started reading it in January and finished it in a week (I am not a fast reader any more. Remember?) The book portrays Indian politics with humor and it was really fun to read through the pages.  Sarojini Pande (Jinni) is happy in her world designing animations (fancy Kitannus as she calls them ). She is leading a usual 20-something life until one fine day her grandmother Pushpa Pande, a wily veteran politician steps into her life and urges Jinni to help her with campaigning for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from her hometown Bittora.
Before she knows it she is the youngest politician contesting the elections and her opponent is Zain Altaaf Khan (Her childhood sweetheart). This makes their situation slightly complex. The book is full of Hinglish and Jinni’s grandmother with her broken Pavit Pradesh accented English. I am pretty sure it will leave you laughing uncontrollably.

2. After Dark By Haruki Murakami- Enough has been written about Murakami on this blog (Here). Some people call his books a fad but I enjoy reading Murakami. The characters are multi shaded with no clear right and wrong. He makes me feel like learning Japanese some days. Thanks to his writing
and books that I now have such a strong fascination for Japan.
This book follows its characters through the night and into the early morning hours as they discuss all sorts of things. All events take place over a night of playing instruments, reading books, talking and sharing anecdotes. Murakami captures them through his "imaginary camera" and writes about them like a scientist writing notes from his experiment.
The protagonists are invisible and anonymous intruders Murakami writes. "We look. We listen. We note odors. But we are not physically present in the place, and we leave behind no traces. We follow the same rules, so to speak, as orthodox time travelers. We observe but we do not intervene." 
The stories and conversations are woven intrinsically with Eri's life who has been in a deep, self induced sleep for a long time now.
And when you are done reading it you will discover on the last page that this book was typeset in Caledonia. It will just make you wonder why you generally hate Sans Serif or Ariel.

3. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguru- It is the story of an English butler named Stevens. In July 1956, Stevens decides to take a six- day road trip to the West Country of England—a region to the west of Darlington Hall, the house in which Stevens resides and has worked as a butler for thirty-four years. The house was previously owned by the now-deceased Lord Darlington, and is now under the ownership of Mr. Farraday, an American gentleman. The book reminds me of Jeeves in flashes(You can't ever hear a butler story and not think about Wodehouse. Isn't it?).  Just when you think this is it Mrs Kenton comes in to picture. She is the former housekeeper of Darlington Hall who is now estranged from her husband and is keen on resuming work.  The chemistry between the two is interesting. With time Steven learns about his deceased master's mistakes and the realization that he served him unconditionally. He is failed by the ideas upon which he had built his own life. It is a story of regret and unrequited love. 

It has been one hell of a long post but I liked discussing books here. I should turn this in to a regular feature :).

What say you?


  1. Same pinch! I just can't do book reviews. First of all, I totally lack the 'aukaat' to tear apart books, sportspeople, artists(except movies and tv shows,some are incredibly stupid). Second, I am not smart enough to dig so deep into books to write sentences. I enjoy a book or I don't. I have felt a book hit me deep a few times but I still won't be able to string words together. Hehe.
    I must start reading Anuja Chauhan. Even the mother has read Thakur girls. I love that genre and I am missing out.

    1. Same here and I guess you need to be brutally honest while writing reviews. My reasons for not liking books are so shallow at times :)

      Anuja Chauhan is really really fun. You need to read it :)

  2. I need to pick up Murakami someday

    1. @Buls I guess Murakami is a different sort of writer. The books are great but sometimes I think you need to be in that setting, zone etc to really appreciate his books. Cant wait to read your reviews of his books :)

  3. So I sort of don't agree with this whole thoughts on review. I respect what you think of yourself and your abilities, just like the first commenter said as well. But ANYONE can write a review. A review is only one's interpretation of laid out data. Be that a book/movie/play/place/experience a moment. Now I know I speak purely from the scientific background. We write reviews all the time. Most times about topics we personally know nothing about. We put together what we know, we explain our interpretation and that is that. With no claims to being right or wrong, as interpretations cannot be write or wrong.

    Now you may love something, while other's don't and vice-versa. It is a personal choice and that is okay. Just like you said, no two people read the same book. Just like that no two reviewers have the same view. So you don't really need to worry about "aukaad", "being right", "insulting the author" Your review is more a revelation of your own thoughts than that of the original author in my opinion.

    I would love to read your interpretations of things. I have come to thoroughly enjoy your blog and the more of it, the happier I will be. :)

    1. Yeah, the way you have put it is right but you know criticizing someone for their piece of art is just something that I avoid. I will try and be regular here with book reviews and will post about the ones that I didn't like.. At some point I need to start standing up for my views (even the negative ones)..

    2. Saying you didn't like something isn't the same as saying, it is bad. :)

  4. I agree to what you say about book reviews. I was writing book reviews and my previous blog was fully dedicated to books. I used to put out my honest opinion even though I didn't like the boom much. But at any given cost I wouldn't bash any author. Simply put, I would finish it by saying not a book for me.
    Yay for Murakami!! I love his books. I have read two his works - Norwegian wood and Kafka on the shore. After dark is on my list.

    1. Hey There - Could you share your last blog link? I checked your blog looking for book reviews but couldn't find it.

      Murakami books are just something else and I guess a lot depends on your state of mind also. They are a whole package. Kafka on the shore is a brilliant book. I loved it.. :)