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A Game of Thrones- George RR Martin :7/52 (Book made into TV Series)

Phew!

What a book to come out of your reader’s block with. I was so prejudiced against this genre all these days, I felt that fantasy was something childish and silly and so I stayed away from anything related to this series. But then Flipkart keeps making you these offers you can’t refuse. So I just went ahead and bought the whole bunch of books telling myself that since I spent so much money on them, I’ll force myself to read atleast one. Atleast one? Hah. I so surprised myself. Well, I still don’t consider it ‘fantasy’. I’m taking it as historical fiction or something like that. Even the Mahabarata, if it had been written today, would be considered ‘fantasy’. So with an open mind (something that is so difficult for me), I started reading. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 17. And before I knew it, I was in sucked deep into Jon and Catelyn and Bran’s lives, burning midnight oil, alternating between the fat physical book and my Kindle, getting all twitchy eyed. And since the TV series maniacs are throwing spoilers all over the place,I must hurry up and finish the rest of the books soon. And I’m trying not to start watching the TV series until I finish the books because I’m sure it will spoil the books for me. (Edit: Watched two episodes already while this post was in the drafts folder:/) ‘Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime.’ Just picturing a landscape so stark and cold and endless was overwhelming. Places and words that paint vivid pictures in your mind. ( Edit: And they were pictured as beautifully as I imagined them in the TV series). The Wall where the world ends and another dangerous world begins beyond, a place where men find honour when they have no other choice left in the real world. Kingsroad, maybe the national highways of Westeros. Sky cells, doorless prisons on mountains that overlook endlessness. Godswoods. Winterfell, Kings Landing and the Red Keep.  Direwolves. And on the other side, The Narrow Sea, girls with golden hair and silver horses, savages with braided hair. Dragons and dragon eggs. It was a magical book. I haven’t actually bonded with any of the characters yet. Ofcourse, I like The Imp because he is grey. And on a lower scale, Lord Varys and Littlefinger. They are the ones that I haven’t figured out yet. Eddard Stark was too righteous for me, and his wife Catelyn too wasn’t all that likable. Too good. Sansa, someone I’d love to slap to death along with Joffery.  Cersei and Jaime Lannister, so evil that I want to take their side.  If I had to choose a character to really like, I’d choose Jon Snow.

I’ve got a mountain ahead of me. But looks like it is going to be one epic climb.

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Orange Is the New Black-Piper Kerman: 53/52

A Malory Towers for big bad girls

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There are some TV shows that I blank out on. Like when the whole world was raving about Breaking Bad, I didn’t give a damn. Same thing happened with Orange is The New Black. I just didn’t get it, and since I’m not one who watches shows online, I didn’t bother to keep up with the hype. On a flight last month, I caught a couple of episodes and was intrigued. But I realized that this show will never see the light of day in India. In a country where the word ‘beef’ is beeped out and cleavage is pixellated, I won’t expect a show with topless transgenders and dialogues with the C word to make an entry. And so I picked up the book instead.

Piper Kerman writes like she’s an observer from the outside, not like the convicted felon that she actually was. She writes like the white-blonde-college-educated-woman-from-a-privileged-background that she is rather than the convicted-drugmoney-carrying-lesbian-lover-of-the-drug-trafficker  that she was. And so it somehow came out shallow and patronizing all the way rather than being a heartfelt prison memoir that I wanted it to be. Ofcourse, the book is the true story and the TV series is a fictionalized version, but the blandness of the book bored me. Maybe  I expected something atleast like Tracy’s experiences in If Tomorrow Comes.

There were too many characters who came and went, I couldn’t keep track of who was whom. Who was in for what was never explained. Yes, it is not likely that she could have known, but it just left me hanging. I couldn’t feel anything for any prisoner. Everyone was described at surface level only.  It was all about commissary goods being bartered, goodies being sent by friends, books, radios, yoga, trade school and some Larry love. Blue skies and lollipops. Boarding school. Bo.Ring. Even the ‘horrors’of the camp she was sent to towards the end weren’t hard hitting. And since I’m a person who likes closure, I would have loved to read an epilogue, something about whether she connected with her fellow prisoners after she left or what happened to some of them. Even Girl, Interrupted had an epilogue that told us what happened to Lisa. Would have been nice to know if Piper is still in touch with the Miss Natalie, Pop or Yoga Janet now.

On my flights last week I managed to stay awake most of the time to finish watching the entire Season 1 of the TV show. Absolutely loved it. Watch the show. Skip the book.

 

Unrelated: Tamil Actress Kausalya and Taylor Schilling seem kind of sameguy.