On Books & Reviews

When you question everything

Franny and ZooeyFranny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read Catcher in the Rye, you sort of expect that Franny and Zooey would go to the disturbed, absurd space in a while.

Franny goes to meet her boyfriend over a weekend and is lost and listless. Nothing seems right, everything feels a farce – the only now she is voicing it without concern for anyone else’s feelings. When she faints, Salinger wants us to believe she is finding meaning through prayer, a kind of nirvana by telling the Jesus Prayer incessantly.

Back home, Bessie, Franny and Zooey’s mother, is appealing to Zooey to try and talk sense into Franny or at least find out what’s wrong. As in Catcher in the Rye, we see a special sibling bond between Franny and Zooey. One of irreverence yet concern. Zooey tries to make her see reason from the point of view of the world outside, but Franny seems beyond that, eager to hold on to something which gives her reason to be.

The beauty of the plot lies in how Zooey convinces Franny to see otherwise without disrupting what she believes in.

The book is intense and does take a toll on you while reading it at one go. Too many emotions to handle. Suggested time of reading – during an extended weekend or when you are desperately searching for a different perspective.

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On Books & Reviews

From another’s point of view

According to MarkAccording to Mark by Penelope Lively

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this book up a couple of months ago from a British Library clearance sale. It looked like a promising read right from the start. Until the end, you really don’t know what will really happen. Since I just got back from tripping over France it had a special connection.

The story is about a biographer Mark and his journey of gathering facts, lies and silences on his muse. Saying anything more would land up just ruining the book. It has twists and turns while being so straightforward. At the end, you land up empathising, with both Mark and his muse. You understand their actions and why they did act in a certain way.

A good holiday read, According to Mark, can’t be dismissed as frivolous, but a light read for sure.

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On Books & Reviews

An insightful little book on Asgard

Norse MythologyNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being an avid fan of Marvel comics, I thought it would be worthwhile to know the backstories of Thor, Odin, Loki and the rest of Asgard folk. Well, this certainly did come as a surprise.

Thor is not as intelligent as he seems in the Marvel comics and Loki not as bad, just a vindictive little God. Odin has many shades and all not so nice while the rest of the folk are just as arrogant and obnoxious when they chose to be so. The concept of Ragnarok is also interesting and Loki’s involvement in the same. From an outsider’s point of view, his actions do seem justifiable as he reacted like any king or queen would do during that period (influenced by Game of Thrones) just that there are Gods involved here.

All in all, a great read. Fast, pacy, interesting stories with a bit of twist towards the end.

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On Books & Reviews

A visit to this quaint Sri Lankan Villa is a must!

Hernando Villa: A Sri Lankan Love StoryHernando Villa: A Sri Lankan Love Story by Terrence Perera

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun book which gives us raw insights into the functioning of the Sri Lankan Elite through generations.

Regular life at the Villa has been intelligently weaved between political and natural upheavels in the area and have been told through the simple eyes of a family living through it all. The clash of thought between the young and the old, the fun aspects of their heritage and the serious issues of caste and marriage have been deftly dealt with in an almost charming manner.

However, this version of the book had names of the protagnists interchanged in various places making you stop and wonder what just happened. And that’s the sole reason for it losing one star.

That being said, I do look forward to reading the sequel which I just noticed – Turmoil at the Villa.

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The Watermelon King – A fun read

The Watermelon KingThe Watermelon King by Daniel Royse

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A light fun read, I loved the way the author introduces his grandfather’s stories within his own travelogue.

Tightly written, you wouldn’t find a single loose word in the book. It covers all aspects of the trip and makes you almost want to take the unconventional route he and his travel partner embark on. But once you finish the book and are back to the reality of basic comforts you tend to decide otherwise.

All in all a great read, filled with humour and travel tales.

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Leaf by Niggle – A must read

Leaf by NiggleLeaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have read the Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit and think that is Tolkien at his best. Think again.

The simplicity with which this short story is written is just delightful! You wouldn’t know what to take out of this surreal story till you don’t read the Afterword by Tom Shippey where he interprets this story as an allegory as to what was happening in Tolkien’s life with the Middle Earth Saga.

There’s a beautiful line in the story, where two people are talking and one almost feels sorry for the main protaginist– Niggle – mentioning “Oh! poor little Niggle! Never knew he painted.” This one line sums up man’s self doubt, need for recognition and confidence that he is good at what he is does whether it’s distraction or what he does for a living.

Around 64 pages long it’s a perfect metro read. Block yourself from the outside world and enter Tolkien’s Perilous Realm once again.

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An inspiring read

The Corridor of Uncertainty: How Cricket Mended a Torn NationThe Corridor of Uncertainty: How Cricket Mended a Torn Nation by Nihar Suthar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A comprehensive light read, The Corridor of Uncertainty is definitely well researched. It’s the fictional story of young Afghan refugees at the Pakistani camp who dreamed of uniting a nation torn with conflict by playing a sport.

The opening pages of the book promised that it would try and avoid cricket jargon and keep it a smooth read for those who don’t understand the game. The story focuses more on the struggle of the young boys in getting a team together till their journey to qualifying for the World Cup 2015.

Thoroughly enjoyable and peppered with comic exchanges between the main protagonists, the story gives you a certain kind of hope. With the current situation worldwide, this story brings respite and resilience in times of despair.

All in all a must read for any cricket lover and otherwise. Anyone looking for something inspiring must pick this up!

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