Oct 29, 2011

Gods of War...A confused tale that left me wanting to give up reading...

Seems like this is a season of disappointments. This is the third book in row which made me reconsider reading Indian Fiction. Where are the authors getting their ideas from? or possibly Why am I plagued with such confused authors?

When I picked up Gods of War by Mr. Banker....I actually was hoping something that will fall in the category of interesting sci-fi. Instead what I got was a confused tale interlaced with heavy duty language and unnecessary complications and an absolutely irritating narration style. The "idea" behind the novel is rather interesting...thought not original. I mean we all have grown up reading novels and watching movies that deal with end-of-the-world plots revolving around "the chosen one". In this case, its "the chosen five", an indian boy, a muslim from UK, a lesbian from US, and twin brothers from Japan, one of which is  hermaphrodite... First 100 or so pages of the novel are rather intriguing. With Earth seeing her first Alien spaceship, which eventually attacks with nano-bots. The Five miraculously being SAFE and confused at seeing the whole world in some sort of trance. And then a god appearing to all FIVE.

Has it ever happened to you???

I've the weakest resolve when it comes to books. No matter how many I already own, and no matter whether I'm running out of room to store them...When I see books, I buy them. Once every quarter, I promise myself that I will not buy anymore books untill I finish reading ALL the books in the shelf that I'm yet to read... and I try to stick to that promise...I avoid going to Crossword, I delibaretly take a different route while traveling around the bookstores near station, I dont browse shopping sites that sell books...and even after ALL these efforts, the resolve lasts....a month or so... no matter how hard I try, I end up being in Crossword or near the booklane and end up picking up books that I know will sit in my bookshelf for over a month before I can reach to them...

I mean look at these... When am I going to read these? I already have more than 10 books that I've not even touched yet...add the two Devdutt Pattnayak's latest releases that I had pre-ordered, soft-copies of Cesar Millan's Dog training guides, AND the books I get for the reviews from Blogadda and for the proof-reading I'm doing... WHEN am I going to read these? BUT...when it comes to books, I just can't control myself. Though, I have very good reasons to buy each one of these novels, its still not correct of my to break promises made to myself, isn't it???

What say you???

Oct 15, 2011

Currently reading....

23rd Oct:
am 200 pages down...another 80 odd to go... and its becoming an ordeal.... matter is confused between mythology, technology and modern sensibilities... Don't know if i'll complete the novel.

lets hope for the best.

15th Oct:
Currently reading Gods of War by Ashok Banker.

This is the first time I'm reading Mr. Banker...I've heard a lot of good reviews about his writing... I'm 80 pages down... and its going good. I hope to finish by EOD tomorrow... let's see how it goes.

Live from London by Parinda Joshi

Unimpressionable...that's one word that comes to my mind when talking about Live From London....

Let me confess, I'm self-professed chic-lit fan...Smita Jain, Advaita Kala, Sophie Kinsella, Rachel Gibson, Marian Keyes...these are the authors, I turn to when I'm down and feeling dirty. Over the years novels like Undomestic Goddess, Almost Single, Not Another Bad Date, The Girlfriend Curse, Krishna Konfessions, Remember Me have shaped what I expect from my female leads. Young, restless, sometimes utterly clueless but strong willed, someone who has been kicked by life...but someone who has a vision to change her life... that’s how I want to see the lead in a good chic-lit. Unfortunately, Nishi in Live from London is none of those...

She's 20 something girl with no future plans, no aims and absolutely no ambition. She represents the part of youth that is happy to lounge at home with parents, spending their money, enjoying life without a thought of their future of a sense of their responsibilities. She's a student of literary arts but all you see her doing, is organising parties with her three best friends Riya, Sarah and Zac. Who also seem equally aimless. Though there is no mention of anything else in her life...we do understand that there is one constant in her life... Music. Even though Nishi is trained in Classical Music AND guitar...she seems equally aimless to care about those too. Through her dazed partying days, she lands up on the stage for Briton's Got Talent. Where... Let me borrow from the back cover of the novel.... she experiences a humiliating ordeal...post which she decides to intern at a Record Label company. Where she meets a godfather like figure, Mr. Fredrick...and an international recording artist with funny name, Nick Navjot Chapman...with whom she has a steamy affair, and then life throws her back to India.

Now that I'm writing this, I realised what my problem with the book is...Its the back cover of the book. The back cover excerpt ends with "Then the unthinkable happens and she finds herself back in India trying to build a fresh life in a country she vaguely remembers. Will she be able to move on forgetting her past, or are there more surprises waiting for her?" In my opinion, the back cover is written and designed by someone who's very savvy with words. This person knows how to glamorise an otherwise mundane novel to something sales-worthy. After reading through this back cover, you expect a novel full of quirky little goofups and the triumphant victory of the heroin. At the end of the novel, all you get is disappointment.
The plot idea for LFL is good enough. And there are several places where one feels like it could have developed more. There are missed opportunities for humour, missed opportunities for character development; a few more for plot development. And as mentioned earlier, the back cover is misleading....
I hope that this is Parinda Joshi's first novel. Coz the language is naive and she needs to work extensively on plot development. She also needs to find a reviewer who'll be frank and honest rather than being supportive. There are a lot of threads in the story, which have the potential to develop some interesting sub-plots. But LFL leaves a lot of things hanging. There are literally no closures, no ends in the novel. When it finally finishes, you are left with a distinct feeling of incompleteness. It leaves you wishing for more...

So, my recommendations... it's a novel, which does nothing for you. There are some decent events, some not so funny humour attempts, some missed chances of quirky mishaps... If you have not read a decent chic-lit before, OR if you are looking for something to read instead of newspaper while you are in loo... Live from London, might suit your reading needs. But if u have ever laid your hands on any of Little Black Dress books... DON'T pick this one up, unless you WANT to be disappointed.

Rating: Ohh I'm tempted to say I'm in a real foul mood post reading LFL... but if I'm really honest... no matter how disappointing it was to read, it must have taken efforts from the writer and her team to get this novel out. So, the rating is for that effort... I'm gonna give it 1 and 1/2 out of 5. And hope that Parinda Joshi does a better job in her novel... All the best to her and the team.

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Oct 8, 2011

The pending review...finally done

Myth = Mithya : A handbook of Hindu Mythology - by Devdutt Pattanaik

This is one review that was on hold for a long time, partly coz after I finished the book; I pimped it to every living soul I knew... thus the book was out of my possession for a long time. and then I got carried away with a lot of "other" stuff. But finally, I got the book back, so here I am with the review...

I'm really not sure what was the real reason I picked up this book. I guess the awesome front cover was a major reason...the colours, the image and obviously the title caught my attention. The back cover proved another anchor and my ship was marooned in the flowing words of Devdutt Pattanaik.

As I mentioned earlier...I'm not religious person. I've never been a part of devout ritual follower and still am not. But I am a Hindu. There's a dark side of being Hindu that is colluded by all politicians and their hidden agendas about what it means to be a Hindu. For me, on a personal note...being a Hindu is following a certain way of life. And somehow reading Myth=Mithya offers a very rational, logical explanation of what being a Hindu mean. I'm sure DP did not start the book with any such ambition, but he managed to put in words what most parents should know for teaching their kids about Hinduism.

The book does not have any religious propaganda. It simply offers the meanings behind various myths and legends that you and I being Indians are aware of. The illustrations in the book are rich and engaging. Simplistic yet full of meanings; the language as an easy flowing stream...the ideas grand as the universe, yet simple as truth. The three sections in which the book is divided is clearly defined, and well thought of, well researched and full of details.

Where are YA Novels heading to???

Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

I'm not ashamed to commit that I'm a fiction junkie. I live, breathe and enjoy fiction. Magic, curses, complicated spells, time travel, witches & wizards, dragons and knights in shining armor...these are my companions. I've been reading fantastic fiction since it was called "fairy-tales", rather than YA fiction, the  Young Adults Fiction. and over the years, I've developed what one might call a sort of periodical view...chronological if you may...historical almost. with my latest read in YA, the question that haunts me is "Where is this genre going?" I mean whatever happened to simple fight between good and evil? Why does the children's fantasy have to involve complicated hierarchy of command, politics between ranks, sibling cruelty, treachery and evil prophecies?

John Stephens delivers a wonderful plet, with lots of action, plathora of e motions and a promise of wonders of things to come. In first few pages of the Emerald Atlas introduces us with siblings Kate, Michael and Emma. Three children spirited away from the safety of their homes, left at an orphanage... all done with a cloak of mystery and suggestion of bad things following. The start is intriguing enough, full of promise. It would be unfair of my, if I say Emerald Atlas is downright disappointing. the tale is fast paced, it never dulls and rather crisp... it keeps moving, introduces a lot of new, unexpected twist and turns.