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The Promise- Danielle Steel : 56/52

Lulz

a) I’m too old for this kind of drivel

b) This wasn’t drivel back in 1978

c) I’m too hardhearted and cynical to understand Love

Chances are that the right answer might be option c.

After the thundercloud of This Divided Island, I wanted some cotton candy fluffy clouds. The Promise was one of those books that Chitrakka made be get for her from V K Library. It was the rage back then. Longlongago. I think I even tried to read it as a teenager, I do have vague memories of some beads being buried on a beach. But I don’t think I finished reading the book back then. The story was totally new to me now, new meaning roll-your-eyes-at-the-cliched-plot kind of new.

All it lacked was six songs and two fight scenes. Otherwise it was the perfect BollyKollyTollywood plot. I’m sure this book must have been made into an Indian movie. Or was it too lame for even that? Rich boy, poor girl, villi mother. Lou. Accident, lies, plastic surgery, Devdasish mode. Two years later meet, don’t recognise, fight, make up. Live happily everafter.

Classic Danielle Steel setting: everything and everyone is beautiful. Perfectly dressed women, effortlessly chic in Channel or in miraculous bargain buys . Gold clasp handbags, luxury luggage, gold cigarette cases, gold watch fobs. Adorable doggies, breathtaking views from the window. The works.  And the typical Danielle Steel relationships: old people in love, young people in love, young woman in love with a man 20 years her senior. Gaaaaaah.

Anyway. I wanted fluff, I got fluff.

 

Afternote:

And suddenly I realised that this was part of the theme in Anbe Sivam. Rich girl, poor boy. Elopement, accident, disfigured face. Lies. That movie wasn’t about love as it was about other things, but I did wonder what Bala would have done if she had seen Nalla in the end. The romantic in me ( there isn’t one) wants to say that she would have called off the wedding and lived regretfully ever after with an ugly but principled husband. And the cynic in me ( there’s lots of her) says that she would have pretended not to recognise him or brushed him off with gentle words and lived happily everafter with the handsome Ars. What would I have done? I love communists with their lofty ideals and impractical principles, but I think I too would have chosen the MNC slave adman.  But no, the disfigured face wouldn’t have mattered to me.

What do you think would have happened?

The Devil Wears a Prada-Lauren Weisberger :45/52

As chicklitty as chicklit can get.

When it comes to chick-things, I am an unashamed fan of chickflicks. I’ve spent entire weekends with Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts. But chicklit, not so much. The movie is *always* better than the book. I had started this book several times and couldn’t go past the first few paragraphs where she struggles with a stickshift car, cigarette in hand and wearing some fancy shoes and breaking the heel. But I finally picked up the motivation to get past those first few pages and things started looking better.

The Devil takes on more importance than the typical whiny, self-deprecating chicklit heroine that Andrea is. So it makes the book tolerably spicy. Miranda Priestly is amazing. She is my role model now and I aspire to be a boss like her some day. Who wouldn’t love to have two young girls whom they could bully to death at their beck and call. Ahndrea, where’s my coffee? Ahndrea, this coffee is too cold. Ahndrea get me That restaurant review from That newspaper. You can read my mind as to which one I’m talking about. Ahndrea get me yet another $200 white Hermes scarf.  Ahndrea, get my underwear drycleaned. How great would it be to call your assistant in New York from Paris and ask her to connect you to a mobile number in Paris or to get her to charter you a plane during a storm at midnight. Too bad that I’m basically a very wimpy niceguy. I’ll never make Boss.

Andrea is boring, but likeable. Especially when she does things like regularly buying Starbucks coffee for the homeless and charges it to the company account, or wiping her greasy fingers on Miranda’s Versace clothes that she has to get cleaned. Lily the BFF, Alex the good boyfriend and the mysterious Christian who turns up at the most unexpected places and flirts with her ( what is it with these guys named Christian) come and go and offer some twists in the tale. Stereotype gay men in the fashion industry, snooty senior assistants, designers, designers and more designer names. Bleh. The writing was painfully repetitive and predictable. Same old same old. But I rushed through reading those parts because I wanted to read more about Miranda being Miranda.

But what made this book more interesting was that it was actually a sort of tell-all book that was based on the author’s stint as Anna Wintour’s assistant. Anna Wintour is rumoured to be much more demanding than the fictional Miranda Priestly, if that is actually even possible. Miranda is this ice queen-fashionista-bitchbosswoman whose one look can get her assistants to change out their comfortable shoes and wear Jimmy Choo stillettos even when doing their coffee runs. I had a difficult time believing that part because daily-trimmed-perfect-bob notwithstanding, Anna Wintour wears the fugliest shoes ever. Maybe they are custom made Manolo Blahniks, but puhleese. These?

I checked out the movie trailer and that seemed more interesting. Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep are just perfect. I should watch the movie soon.

I’ve got Revenge Wears a Prada also, but that is going to just sit there for long time. Maybe I’ll wait for the movie instead.

The Deliberate Sinner- Bhaavna Arora: 42/52

A Woman’s Era short story in 150 pages.

You know those stories that appear in Woman’s Era? The forced language that seems to be thought-in-Hindi-written-in-English, the attitude of the characters, their names , the weak and disconnected plot, the confused protagonist, the attempted ‘modernity’. Everything in this book reminded me of Woman’s Era. But instead of having the kind of predictable ending those short stories usually have, this book follows the current trend of women breaking free from unhappy marriages. Yeah, that trend. Or maybe it reminded me of one of those never ending soaps that drag on pointlessly for years.

Rihanna is rich, happy, carefree. She has doting parents, a dog and her personal bodyguard-cum-driver-cum-Man Friday. She takes a solo trip to Thailand and Veer, the richhandsomehunk who happens to be sitting next to her also happens to be her friend Raj’s friend. Nothing more Veerwise happens during the trip. Then one day she meets Veer again at the swimming pool and he swims a hundred laps just to take her out for coffee. But instead of coffee, he proposes to her. That very evening she tells her parents about him and they get engaged. Huh? Is this to be categorized as a love marriage or the cliched love-cum-arranged marriage? Then she realises that Veer is not suitable for her, but instead of breaking the engagement and bringing shame to her family she finds solace in Raj, her friend who becomes her friend with benefits. But he is too dark complexioned for her to marry.He vanished from the plot after that and gets mentioned only once later. Blah blah and blah later Rihanna and Veer get married. When he plays a prank on her and stages a terrifying dacoity and almost rape (!) on the Gurgaon highway, she thinks nothing of it. But then as the days go by she realises that he is an insecure drunkard and a selfish jerk who refuses to give her pleasure in bed. Since the day they were married he has given her just three orgasms, something which she innocently reports to her aunt (!). Then he goes on and has an affair with a girl who called him a Tiger because he did it eleven times with her. Numbers. Blah blah and blah some more she leaves him and goes to Mumbai to stay with her uncle who is a Bollywood producer and becomes a fashion designer or something. Then a change of heart happens and she comes back to give him another chance. Then they fight, make up fight again. Then another character is suddenly introduced, a police officer Avinash.  And the predictable you-know-what happens and she is finally set free.

Let me be honest, I skimmed through this book. Everything was so repetitive and predictable that I know skipping sentences did not make me miss out on much. Blogadda sent the copy of the book signed by the author. ‘ Hate the sin, not the sinner’ she had written. I have no clue what the sin was or who the sinner was. So I’m playing it safe and not hating anything here. Not even hating the book. Because you can like or hate something only if you’re involved enough.

Verdict: Nah.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

 

 

Sita’s Curse- Sreemoyee Piu Kundu: 29/52

She lost me at ‘Feminist Erotica’. And then I saw the promo video, the one with a woman eating a mango more sensuously than Katrina Kaif, and it got me curious. But if this is ‘feminism’, hand me my pink chaddis already.

Spoilers ahead. But hey, this is not the kind of book you read for the plot.

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‘After 15 years of a loveless marriage…’ it says. Love? Hah.

Meera. The ordinary girl from the village. The girl who starts off her sexual journey with incest, moves on to underage discovery, graduates to doing it with a stranger on a riverbank, experiments with another woman and finally gets into that supposedly loveless marriage.

The husband ofcourse is,well, inadequate.  Mohan, inconsistent wimpy creature that he is, tries hard. He really tries. He tries at home, he tries in a movie theater, he tries on the public road behind a parked car. He tries. He even calls her up in the middle of the day and has a very contrived, shudderworthy conversation describing various pieces of imported lingerie. The poor man.  He tries. But hello, what about love shove and all that.

In between the extremely graphic scenes a bit of story happens. And then she goes on to have Guruji sex, indulges in icky voyeurism ( thanks to the lustworthy brother-in-law and his wife), lots of self pleasuring and some more. And then some more. Wait. That’s not all. There is a rendezvous with the hot dance teacher neighbour and some cliched partying with classmates from her English class.

And finally she ushers in the internet era and discovers the pleasures of cyber sex using webcams in paid chatrooms. Oh, the book doesn’t disappoint. These scenes come complete with graphic chats with mumbailover (well researched, I assume ). And then that cataclysmic day finally happens with the earth shaking climax : A  gigolo who completes her search for whatever she is searching for. A godman, his assistant, a neighbour, cheesy classmates, chatrooms and a man who charges three thousand rupees per hour. What more can a woman trapped in a loveless marriage ask for? Seriously.

Yes, the book is not meant to titillate. It is meant to make you cringe. No, I’m not a prude. I’m so ‘modern’ that I was even disappointed with the level of erotica in the 50 Shades books. But this book is pure ick. I have no other words to describe it. Written in first person, it makes it even more icky. There’s so much of sex, that towards the end I skimmed through the scenes just to get to the damn story.

You know those sleazy websites like indian sax stories dot com ( how do I know? Puhleese). Those websites that have ‘true’ stories born out of suppressed fantasies and written in really bad grammar? This book is  like a compilation of all those stories, but with the grammar and spellings corrected. Complete with backless cholis and conveniently slipping pallus.

Sita. Where does she come in? I don’t know. She is plugged into the book in a few places, but I don’t understand the connection. Maybe I should read between the sheets. I have half a mind to call in the culturebrigade and outrage about misusing Sita’s name.

Verdict? Nope. I couldn’t digest it. But maybe you can.

 This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

 

 

 

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.

 

The Carrie Diaries- Candace Bushnell : 23/52

Ok. I judge myself. This is not a book that a 30 something should be reading. Or even a 20 something. Or anysomething for that matter. This book shouldn’t even have been written. Or atleast shouldn’t have been hyped as Carrie before Sex and The City.

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But as I said, I read Summer in the City first  and so my OCD did not permit me to let part one of the series just go unread.

I really don’t know what the author was thinking. Almost everything is a total contradiction to the Carrie we know and love ( and sometimes hate). She took that horse-faced, curly haired, sexually liberated, funny, witty, independent, shoe crazy woman and turned her into an average teenager with  boy problems. Atleast in Summer and the City she was out of high school, in New York , sleeping with an old (thirty year old! gasp! ) man and partying with Samantha Jones. But for the whole thirty five chapters in this book she’s just smoking, drinking ,not losing her virginity, and feeling jealous of classmates (named Donna LaDonna and such) who are trying to steal her boyfriend. And then doing that some more. There’s no story, no plot, no twist, no turn, no direction. I won’t mind reading a good old Crosswinds or First Love from Silhouette now (Yup, that’s my vintage)  to get the bland taste of this one out of my mind.

Read this book if you want to un-Carrie Carrie Bradshaw.

 

 

The Reluctant Detective-Kiran Manral: 22/52

Chicken soup for the Masochist’s soul
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What is the longest it has taken for you to finish a book? A 180 page book?

Circa 2012
In which I buy the book: A Twitter celeb wrote a book and it was all over the place.I decided to buy said book out of curiosity, mildly combined with a twinge of jealousy since I feel jealous of all people who write and get published.

In which I start reading the book:  I read a couple of paragraphs, struggled through the first chapter and threw the book in disgust.
In which I attempt to read said book again:  I tried. Honestly tried.

Circa 2013
In which I consider throwing the book away:  Just like my fake Jimmy Choo handbag with the torn lining that I picked up on my trip to China, the trip just before I went on that trip to Bangkok where I wore my golden shift top and black trousers to the fancy nightclub where I saw a Man In Something Something make eyes at me inspite of my fat backside that refuses to shrink even when I wear my shapewear knickers, and my bottle of Insert Long and Fancy Brand Name of an Expensive and Fancy make up product that I cannot bring myself to throw away, I couldn’t bring myself to secretly slip in this book along with the newspaper pile to the raddiwalla.

Circa 2014
In which I succeed (Finishing it, not throwing it away) :
I saw a retweet of the tweet that the author twittered about said book being on some offer in Amazon. I checked said offer and it was Rs.128. I cursed myself for having purchased the book for Rs.One Sixty something when I could have bought myself a shade of Kill Me Now nailpolish from a footpath stall selling poisonous lead laden nail paint for the difference in price.

I woke up one Saturday morning in spring aka summer in Chennai and checked my schedule. I had no lunches or shopping trips or meetups with The Girls aka my BFFs planned. They have been my BFFs since we were in pigtails. Insert long winded extremely common incident that happens in school. So I put on my grey T shirt, the grey being the shade of a pigeon’s backside, and pyjamas in the colour of an awesomely cool colour that goes perfectly with said grey TShirt. I bristled around and made myself a cup of green tea and sat with said cup of green tea and willed myself to finish the book come what may. While said tea aka Weight Loss Tip number gazillion of trazillion that I follow sat on the Urban Ladder Fancy Name coffee table, I skimmed through the pages of the book with the determination of a one legged mosquito climbing Mount Everest on foot.

In which I cannot do this anymore:
Ok. I can’t write as badly as this book was written even if you hold this book to my head and make me write. But I finished it. It is about a woman’s life in a Mumbai apartment complex, her cliched husband aka The Spouse ( yeah, that’s still a thing) and her son aka The Brat ( as someone said, that’s the new Munna) who speaks in retarded SMSese ( shoot me for using the R word, but dat iz how she madd d kid tak thru oud d boog) and her entire wardrobe.
And some murder and something.

In which I challenge you to finish the book: Hah.

Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible for the Lobotomy/Extreme Aarghing/ Banging your Head on the Wall/ Project Write My Own Book Because If She Can So Can I venture/ Deathbeatings that you subject yourself to afterwards.

In which I ask you to read this first: If you enjoy the review, thank you. If you were not able to read the whole review, you’ll get what I’m trying to say.