Archive | April 2014

Bridget Jones’s Diary- Helen Fielding : 26/52

Oh please. A book about a thirty something’s pathetic non- life. Enough already.

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No, I haven’t watched the movie. And yes, I’m a decade or so late reading this book and I’ve probably read a zillion blogposts and columns that have tried to sound just like this. So maybe I’ve exhausted my quota of laughter that was due to this book. But puhleese.

Thirtysomething, single, in lust with her boss, a bunch of supportive friends (mandatory gay man included), an airheaded mother, a bunch of random old couples and the Real Hero, an oh-so-aptly named Mark Darcy. The whole book is about how she tries to keep up her New Year’s resolutions of losing weight, drinking less, quitting smoking and finding a man. Makes me want to roll my eyes and say ‘Aren’t we all’.

This Mark Darcy makes just three or four appearances in the book and you don’t even feel anything for him. How  he ended up on the many lists of Lovable Fictional Men, I don’t know. Daniel, the smooth boss who indulges in Fuckwittage and cheats on Bridget seemed more lovable. Our very own Ganesha who drank milk gets a mention in the book and a terracotta oil burner tries to imitate him.  The airheaded mother was the best character in the whole book, she  even provided the necessary filmy drama at the end and helped tie up all loose ends for the Happily Ever After ending. And Bridget, well she frustrated me so much that I wanted to just grab her by her shoulders, shake her up and tell her to shut the eff up.

I wanted to write this post in the v.g style, but finishing the damn book was hard work enough. I don’t have anything left in me now.

Will I read The Edge of Reason? Yes I will. As I said earlier, I’ve got an OCD that makes me just have to read the sequels. And then, I’m kind-of masochistic too.

 

PS: Is it Jones’ or Jones’s ? Are both correct? It is bugging me.

 

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Be Careful What You Wish For- Jeffrey Archer : 25/52

This is the Kyunki Saas Bhi… of the English fiction world. And now we have to wait another year to know who died. Again.

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It is a extremely irritating, leaving the reader hanging for a year. I read the first three parts in one go and as tiring it was, there was some continuity. And then I had to wait a whole year to see whether Sebastian actually died in that accident. And spoiler!, he didn’t. What else did you expect anyway?

This book was about Sebastian, and Jessica who gets wasted (no, not that way) and a bunch of new characters whom you don’t fully get. What are they doing in the book? Harry gets not more than a couple of passing mentions and Giles, some. You tend to forget the back story of the characters from the previous installments. Why is Don Pedro Martinez so bent on destroying the Barringttons? Who is Alex Fischer and why is he the bad guy? What’s Lady Virginia still doing in this book?  And then you have to think hard to remember the Rodin statue and some war thing and a messy divorce that happened in one of those other three books. Everything is very superficial. Maybe the IRA was something big, but I somehow am not able to take them seriously as terrorists with a cause. Their role in this book seemed so contrived and plugged in.  Yawn.

And as with the other books, the nagging feeling that Emma and Harry might be siblings lingered throughout. I don’t care who lives or who dies, but I hope we get an clear answer and explanation to that in the final installment.

 

 

The Betrayal- Helen Dunmore :24/52

Got Readers Block this April. I was somehow not able to sit down with a book. And then I got a Kindle Paperwhite. Yes, inspite of this rant, I went ahead and got one. And yes, I’m loving it.

Inaugurated it with The Betrayal.

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The Siege made me cold and depressed, The Betrayal made me frustrated and angry.

Ten years after The Siege, Anna, Andrei and Kolya live a happy contended life. The horrors of the siege and the war are slowly fading away and they look forward to the small joys of life like a lazy weekend at the dacha and the hospital ball. And then terror strikes again, this time in the form of stupidity. Yes, there is no other word to describe it, and I shudder when I realise that this kind of stupidity is not just pure fiction.

Andrei gets pulled into treating a little boy with a cancerous growth, the boy being the son of a highly placed dangerous police officer with the MGB. Cancer does its thing and the father, a paranoid Stalin era idiot, sees conspiracy. He sees saboteurs, spies , Jews and everything else in a what is infact a disease that god, a god they are not allowed to believe in, is to be blamed for.

The book takes you into the depths of the horror that is the Lubyanka in Moscow where people are mercilessly thrown  into for their crimes, crimes as shocking as ‘insufficient vigilance’. Don’t report an anti govt joke made at a party? Get a year in prison. Solitary confinement where people communicate through soap impressions and attempt toilet paper scribbles. Cells as large as cupboards where you’re not allowed to sit or even lean against a wall and conveyor belt interrogations that last for days.

And then it also takes you to a safe dacha in the village where there’s a new life being born. And a much awaited death, a death that brings hope.

 

 

InfernoOnFlipkart

One of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. With the warmest message ever. ‘Here’s the damn book. Takeet and STFU’

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I’m a sucker for a good deal. Well, who isn’t. So when I do my online bookshopping, I check a zillion times on a zillion sites to get the best price. There’s indiabookstore.net that does it for you, but then, I get my thrills doing it on my own. I visit Flipkart, Amazon, HS18, Bookadda and the rest, check for offers, combo offers and coupons, and put the item on my wishlist. Then check again. And again. And finally buy. I like the satisfaction of having got it at the lowest possible rate. ( Psychanalysis: It is the reformed share trader in me that’s being sated here)

So when I was tracking Inferno on Flipkart, I noticed that the price kept fluctuating more than a pennystock on a good day. At 10 am it would be Rs.750 Rs.350 and when I check again at 11 am, it would be Rs.750 Rs.348. The next day it would be Rs.750 Rs.599 and the next Rs.750 Rs.304. So I started an OCDish tracking of the book and kept tweeting about it. I did not actually want the book at the lowest price because the thrills of watching the price go up and down was more fun.And I kept spamming my Twitter timeline with #InfernoOnFlipkart hashtag.

And one fine morning I got a package from Flipkart. Silly and Kaapi, two sweet souls on my timeline who were fed up of my obsessive tracking and tweeting, sent me the damn book. And asked me to STFU.

I was cured, but only for a while. I began to obsessively track Alchemy of Desire. And got it for Rs.198 when it had hit an all time low. It is Rs.399 right now. And I point and laugh at whoever buys it today.