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...


Stanford university said...

Here's what noted authors had to say about this post:

The first mortal to call a spade a spade - Amish

Ha Ha - Paul Graham

People still review my books? - Alistair Maclean

Meh .. I've had better people review my books - Vikram Seth

Navya said...


thread said...


I HEARD YOU said...

the secret of nagas is much better versed than the immortals of meluha. I suggest you should read the it first and give us your opinion about it. And I thought the book reviews were more elaborate, should I expect detailed reviews of the books you listed?
and please remove this tedious verification process..:)

Anonymous said...

Nice blogs...have been following them for a few years now!

mythalez said...

@SU, Here's what noted readers had to say about the post:

Mindblowing idea, Mesmerising prose - Pseudeone

These reviews saved my life! - Su_cooldude

A sure Pulitzer winner - Nikheel

@Navya, you still read blogs?! :O :P

@paccha, failed

@I-Heard-You, clearly the verification process is still not rigorous enough :P

@Anonymous, :)

Anonymous said...

i should start doing this!