Another tiny piece of Roald Dahl’s beguiling literary magic. It was a bit short for me as an older reader; I didn’t feel like I got to know the narrator well or understand her motives. But it is a perfect read for younger kids and beginning readers. The story itself is very straightforward and funny, with a clear-cut moral and emphasis on kindness to animals.
Book Review- Chicken Soup for the Soul- Indian Fathers
Every now and then, I like to take a break from reading literary heavyweights- especially those that can feel emotionally draining- to read some self help, feel good books. I’m a big fan of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, which my Dad introduced me to when I was in middle school; the short, often poignant stories of complete strangers leave me smiling, thinking, and sometimes reduce me to tears.
Chicken Soup for the Indian Fathers’ Soul isn’t one of the best Chicken Soup books out there; there are too few categories and I guess I was expecting a greater variety of stories. The personal accounts here all began sounding the same, and it was a bit of a monotonous read. As usual, however, a couple of stories stood out and have stayed with me, but overall the book fell short of my expectations.
If I had encountered this book a decade ago, it would’ve ended up on my favorites list.
Holden Caulfield is a brilliant, morose narrator, battling the isolation, impulsiveness, and existentialist angst of most teenagers. I loved him even when I didn’t quite like him, and his raw, emotional language was both annoying and endearing.
Salinger has done an incredible job of personifying and humanizing the anger, ennui, and desperation of the adolescent experience. It’s no wonder that this book is a classic, and I highly recommend it to all readers, especially those in the younger age bracket.
I avoided reading this book for many years, mistakenly disliking it for being a cult favorite of whiny, eternal teenagers who feel constantly misunderstood and victimized by the world.
But now, after reading and then immediately rereading this book, I stand corrected. Sylvia Plath’s thinly veiled autobiography is explosively raw, honest, and urgent. As an ambitious young woman confronting postwar ennui, patriarchal gender roles, and a terrifying descent into depression, Plath’s heroine is heartbreakingly vulnerable and real; a person who was far ahead of the times she lived in.
I have never read a book like this. It humanizes rape culture and mental illness so poignantly that they cease to be “things that happen to other people.” With Plath’s insight and intuition, this honest, short novel is a must-read for everyone. Plath’s beautiful, metaphor heavy prose makes this work a treat to read!
“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?”—Franz Kafka, 1904 (via pragmaknowledge)
Book Review- Essential Wisdom From A Spiritual Master
Often hilarious, sometimes irreverent, and always delightful, this Q&A format book presents the very best of Sadhguru’s wit and wisdom. As a spiritual leader who eschews mindless rituals and encourages logical thinking, he is a refreshing change from what most people associate with the word ‘Guru.’
This is a great book for those who’re seeking answers, straight from a guru with the mind of a scientist. He never takes himself too seriously, always interspersing his answers with jokes and anecdotes, and he never fails to impress. I recently underwent Sadhguru’s Inner Engineering program and am a new practitioner of Isha Yoga, so this book is an extremely valuable resource for me- it helped me clear doubts and misconceptions I didn’t even know I had.
Whether you’re a spiritual seeker or just looking for an entertaining read that will leave you thinking, there is something in this book for everyone.
This 500+ page, Nobel Prize winning novel is simply impossible to put down. As I raced through the pages over the past couple of days, I practically shut out reality and the external world. It’s been a long time since a book has had this effect on me- I think the last one was Janet Fitch’s White Oleander- and although I’m generally not a fan of thrillers, this novel won me over from the first page.
Each chapter has a different narrator, with his/ her own distinct voice, compellingly melding together a murder mystery, a love story, and a historical treatise on Islamic art and literature. Pamuk is provocative and beguiling, playing endless mind games with the reader, introducing plot twists that leave one stunned.
Be warned- this book will not allow you to sleep at night, and includes a rigorous boot camp of 16th century Turkey’s history and sociocultural norms. It’s not a novel for the faint of heart. But for those who can persevere through the staggering amount of information and intrigue within these pages, a compelling plot and vibrant, memorable characters await.
“She remembered one of her boyfriends asking, offhandedly, how many books she read in a year. “A few hundred,” she said.
“How do you have the time?” he asked, gobsmacked.
She narrowed her eyes and considered the array of potential answers in front of her. Because I don’t spend hours flipping through cable complaining there’s nothing on? Because my entire Sunday is not eaten up with pre-game, in-game, and post-game talking heads? Because I do not spend every night drinking overpriced beer and engaging in dick-swinging contests with the other financirati? Because when I am waiting in line, at the gym, on the train, eating lunch, I am not complaining about the wait/staring into space/admiring myself in reflective surfaces? I am reading!
“I don’t know,” she said, shrugging.”—Eleanor Brown, The Weird Sisters (via abookblog)
WOW. There are very few words, very few fitting adjectives, that can do justice to Kundera’s magnificent, mind blowing novel.
On the surface, this appears to be a book about the complexity of love, including plenty of quotable quotes. But once you start reading, you realize it’s so much more. I struggled through the first chapter and dismissed the book as obnoxious and pretentious, but I’m so glad I persevered till the very end- it’s truly worthwhile.
Kundera is a master of his art. Seemingly effortlessly, he draws you into a world that is as alien as it is familiar. You feel yourself dredging up long forgotten memories, and you change your current Goodreads reading challenge to fewer books so you can savor and re-read this book countless times until, to quote Janet Fitch, it “becomes the marrow in your bones, protecting your soul from the world’s soft decay.”
I’m too overwhelmed to even attempt to describe this intelligent, unconventional, insightful book. But be warned: this is not a book for the faint-hearted, or for those who prefer reality to the abstract, who prefer their literary characters to be fleshed out satisfactorily. This work reminded me a lot of Arundhati Roy’s The God Of Small Things, and I only finished that book on my third attempt- although now, I seem to really enjoy novels that are mysterious, philosophical, and require the reader to really work hard at filling in the blanks.
An instant addition to my list of favourite books of all time, and now I need to go commence my first re-read of this beguiling epic (the first of many to come)!
As a kid, I enjoyed Anita Desai’s bright novel, The Village By The Sea, and as a teenager, I was frankly obsessed with her dark and moving Clear Light Of Day. I still vividly remember the characters in both those works, because Desai’s greatest strength as a storyteller lies in her finely crafted, beautifully flawed fictional characters.
Games At Twilight is the first time I’ve encountered Desai’s short stories. As always, her characters both charm and exasperate the reader, but her stories ended far too abruptly for my taste. Never a big fan of the anticlimax, I found myself feeling restless and frustrated by some of the works in this anthology.
Desai is a writer who undoubtedly excels in the novel, but her short stories do offer the reader a peek into her insight, tenderness, and eye for detail. She will never be in the league of Indian authors such as R.K. Narayan and Jhumpa Lahiri when it comes to short stories, but her masterful prose and incisive intuition still make for an engrossing book.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. I had to read it for an online course taught by the author at Stanford University, and it’s been a life-changing, paradigm-shifting read for me. It’s THAT kind of book.
Murray is a woman of tremendous knowledge and compassion, who’s channeled decades of experience and research into her hard-hitting work. I loved how the chapters focused on each period of a woman’s life, from childhood to adolescence to maternity and finally to old age. Each chapter also ends with the names and descriptions of organizations around the world that deal with the pertinent problems and issues.
The author keeps the thread of the book running seamlessly, forcing the reader to rethink all their previous notions of gender, sexuality, privilege, and feminism. I now understand much more about feminism; what it means, what it entails, and why it’s so desperately needed.
The only thing I wish I could change about this book would be to incorporate more anecdotes and personal stories- although they broke my heart- because the gamut of statistics made the book a rather slow read for me. However, this is a book that everyone needs to read, particularly if they identify as a feminist- because the things you don’t know about women around the world will shock, humble, and ultimately awe you.
This was my first Vonnegut book. Incisive, brilliant, and undeniably funny, this disjointed novel is an intelligent satire on the American way of life- with its accompanying pollution, war, sex, racism, materialism, and mental illness- and does not disappoint the reader.
My favourite part of Vonnegut’s writing was his irreverence- his wanton paragraphs, the inclusion of his (often hilarious) drawings, and the insertion of the author into the story itself. It was all very new and alien to me, and I really enjoyed reading this novel, especially thanks to the vivid and ultimately pitiable main characters.
Vonnegut’s satire and sarcasm is not for everyone, but every reader will find something to think about after finishing this book. A gripping, charming, and extremely clever read.
“When you read a book, the neurons in your brain fire overtime, deciding what the characters are wearing, how they’re standing, and what it feels like the first time they kiss. No one shows you. The words make suggestions. Your brain paints the pictures.”— Meg Rosoff (via abookblog)
Orwell’s tale of a totalitarian, dysfunctional world makes for a highly readable novel. I spent many late, enjoyable nights reading this book, feeling both revolted and fascinated, constantly obsessing over the events it described. To quote Newspeak, it was doubleplusgood!
George Orwell is a master of prose and mind games, and nowhere does it come through as brilliantly as in the latter half of 1984. I was struck by Big Brother’s similarities to Mao Zedong; his “omnipotence,” his ruthless brutalities (during China’s Cultural Revolution), and the Communist Party’s all consuming fight to monitor every individual’s actions and choices. In that sense, Orwell’s dated work is frighteningly prophetic, and resembled Jung Chang’s nonfictional Wild Swans so much that I frequently experienced an unsettling sense of deja vu.
This book has justified its place on the list of great literary works, and it got me thinking deeply about totalitarianism, religion, and psychology. I expect to re-read it numerous times, and I highly recommend it!