Thursday, February 28, 2013

Twitter-Compliant Book Reviews

For unreasoned reasons, I had developed the habit of posting short reviews of the books I read (which mostly tended to be of the novel types). However, on account of persistent bouts of laziness, the habit seemed to have gone on a sabbatical. The list of books read kept growing longer and the review task more and more daunting. But yesterday, enlightenment struck and an easy solution presented itself: reviews in 140 chars or less. So here they are!

The Art of Fiction by David Lodge: 50 chapters on the various aspects of a novel using extracts. The styles, nuances and methods behind the beauty. Wonderful authors exampled.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz: Based in New Jersey, Dominican Republic and screwed up minds. Multiple first-person narrators. Peek into a different form of life and lingo.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed HanifDark humour. Hilarious and sad simultaneously. Features a plot to kill the Pakistani dictator by a gay military officer. Mangoes not harmed.

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth: A portrait of (mainly) urban India after independence. The search for a suitable boy is merely a sub-plot. 1400++ pages of delightful prose.

Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham: Non-fiction! Not about hacking or painting. Many cool insights. Programming and startup experiences recounted. And about life and the world.

Transmission by Hari Kunzru: Below-par. Depressed Indian IT security hacker in US. A pompous CEO in London. Bollywood shooting in Scotland. Global havoc by a virus. Bah!

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi: A fantastical mix of mythology, history and culture. Writing style is passable and the plot decent but the references are quite imaginative.

Known Turf by Annie Zaidi: Non-fiction! Quirks from the forgotten depths of rural India. About the callousness, contrasts and complications. With some wit and humour.

Cloud Road by John Harrison: Travelogue! Trek and bus from Equator to Machu-Pichu along Inca roads. History, reality, archaeology and architecture. Donkeys and poverty.

The Way to Dusty Death by Alistair Maclean: Hollywood thriller in a book form. F1 races, blown up cars, secret agents and a heady rush. Enough action and plot-holes to make it a movie.

Room by Emma Donoghue: A 5 year old narrator. Was always only in a room and then not. A bit presumptuous, but spellbinding. Gripping and intense. Well thought-out.

The Secret of the Nagas by Amish Tripathi: To be read only after The Immortals of Meluha. More of the mythological and historical references. Many more twists in the plot. More filmy.

Aah, that's all for today. More reviews should be written but they will be written later. The forthcoming include Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde (obviously), Gilgamesh translated by Stephen Mitchell, Quo Vadis by the difficult-to-spell Polish author and so on...

Saturday, February 09, 2013

J'ai vingt neuf ans

For a year that wasn't.

Also for a year that was much more than a mere year.

And for the last year of the third decade.

A cheer :)