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

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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On Books & Reviews

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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Difference between Anarchy and Chaos

V for VendettaV for Vendetta by Alan Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coming from a leftist state, anarchy is usually a rule of the game. When this novel became popular in Calcutta for every student movement you had the V for Vendetta anonymous masks on hoard of students.

Intrigued I always wanted to know more about the book but couldn’t really get myself to go buy it. So when a friend shared it with at a recent book meet, I just knew I had to read it now. Something which I thought would be easy to go through, took me a week. I kept re-reading, making connects letting everything sink in.

Suitable for every political regime whether it allows freedom of thought or not, this novel clearly distinguishes between anarchy and chaos and brilliantly builds on it.

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The read book feel

Today in eight hours I travelled eight years and back.

My first tryst with College Street began way back in 2000 when I was sent there hunting for some chemistry book not available in the then popular Park Street bookstores. I caught a cab with my benchmate and left for this forbidden, unexplored territory. My benchmate, a regular there, ensured we got the book out of our way in ten minutes and then devoted the next few hours poring through every small bookstall, browsing through their wares at display. Finicky about wanting books in mint condition I didn’t quite understand the love for a yellow-paged book with a weird smell. A closer look at these and you would find the first-editions of your favourite classics – a rare Bernard Shaw book or a Maugham novel. The entire obsession with new books was shattered in a matter of hours from walking down College Square to India Coffee House.

It’s been a while now. I moved on from hunting for books to a quick-browse-and-pick-up option at a modern format bookstore or worse still online. But today it was different. Today I walked down from College Square once again, not to buy books, though, but to inspect the Pujo sho-sha. With time in hand I couldn’t help but stop at every open bookstall and look at what they have on offer. Not that I was in the mood to hunt but I wanted to know. I was clicking pictures for a dream project, but more and more I began to remember what’s so special in a read book.

A read book makes you wonder what kind of person the previous reader would be. Why did he give the book away? What did he feel while reading the book? Did he want more people to feel the same or was it a burden just seeing it lie on his table day in and out? Did it become a part of who he is? Did he begin to identify with one character so much that he needed to move the book away in order to forget the character? Would I feel the similar urge?

At the end of this philosophical and high-held debate it just boiled down to the familiar touch of yellow pages and the old book smell. The warmth of the read book, the comfort that knowing someone before you has been here and you are safe. You are not alone.

Fresh-off-the-press is a delight to receive and the old book smell is a delight to indulge in.

Didn’t realise how badly I missed it till now – the read book feel, the library book wali feeling.

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