Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review - Thanks For The Memories

Title: Thanks For The Memories.
Author: Cecelia Ahern.
Publisher: Harper Perennial.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 384.
Genre: Chick lit, Romance, Feel Good.
Blurb: Here.


Since love is in the air, here is another book review.'Thanks for the memories' by Cecelia Ahern. I am not really a huge romance novel fan. I didn't even know about Cecelia Ahern, that's when I happen to see the movie,' P.S I love you' starring the ever so gorgeous Gerald Butler **sigh**  and Hilary Swank.
This movie would remain one of my favorites no matter what. That's when I noticed the author. Sadly I never got a chance to read the book version of the movie. Maybe ..someday..I had managed to read 'A place called here' ,'  If you could see me now' and now 'Thanks for the memories'. What I noticed is, that all her plots have a touch of surrealism. I am past the age of reading fairy tales, nevertheless her characters are somewhat believable and almost endearing to the say the least.

My Thoughts:
An almost predictable story between 2 people, Joyce Conway & Justin Hitchcock. Joyce Conway is introduced in the book as a woman trying to get over the loss of her unborn baby as a result of her fall from the stairs. This loss was the last nail to the coffin since this was the only thing gluing her and her husband Conor. As a result of the recent misfortunes she moves in with her Irish father. Anyone would fall in love with him. An amiable chap! Justin Hitchcock, on the other hand is a divorced American who is an art & architecture guest lecturer in Dublin. Justin is talked into donating blood and as the reader already guessed, the blood goes to Joyce while she was hospitalized.
As Joyce is on the path of recovery, she realizes that she now, has knowledge and memories which are not hers. She starts getting overwhelming feelings of deja vu and almost convinces herself that she has gone crazy! She finds herself astounded when she explains about the intricate details of architecture to his father. The novel continues with the two characters chance meetings without really realizing what is drawing them to each other.
I was a little disappointed since I was expecting a more grand ending. It almost felt like as though the fire got extinguished prematurely. But then..if you are in for a light, heartwarming read, who am I to stop you, eh ? :)

My rating:

♥♥It's valentine's day...♥♥

Yet again,valentine's day my dear people.It's just any other day,I know.I know,it's been hyped by the media so that they can have their sales skyrocketed.But c'mmon you guys,let's cut some slack here and go with the flow yea?
So,a very happy valentine's day to you all :)
I wouldn't say I am a huge V.day fan nor am I an anti V.day.Last year,it was mine & R's first V.day together and there were candles,roses,chocolates and what not..Cliched much???Nahhh!!
So this year we decided no "gifts".Nevertheless I am in a festive mood.So what do I do when I am excited?Well,I'm capable of doing a hell lotta weird things.For the time being let's just focus on what I did or rather what we did on our 2nd V.day together.

Trivia first.I did my nails.I did a V.day inspired manicure.It looked too loud on my nails,so me famous for my fickle mindedness quickly removed it from my nails and came up with another V.day manicure.

The initial fiasco

Soo hows it,eh?? I thought drawing hearts on nails would be almost next to impossible.Well, thanks to the million nail fanatic blogs,I found a way out.All you need, is a toothpick/needle, dip in your favorite color nail polish and draw a 'V' and it looks like a heart on your nails! Tadaa!!

Even though we decided on no gifts this year, I still wanted to surprise him something.They say,'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.'In R's case,you couldn't be more sure.I had made Fish Molee yesterday :O
Why the grin?? I'll explain.I am not really a fish person and I suck at making fish curry. All I can mange to do is toss in some marinade and fry the fish's a%#. That's when my dear friend S tells me about this blog,Vazhayila.com. Awesome would be an understatement!! Vazhayila in our language means banana leaf.I stumbled upon this recipe and thought to give it a try especially since I had all the ingredients..half fearing that I would f* it up! What can I say,other than the fact that it came out well and R almost finished the whole thing in a jiffy! :O
Almost zero photographic skills, I know :( Apologies!

Other than the fish molee,Today I managed to make Mangalorian chicken ghee roast & Kuttanadan chicken roast.I haven't yet taken any pictures.

As for dessert,I made Kesari.For the population who is not aware of what kesari is,let me enlighten you.Kesari is a sweet dish made from rava or cream of wheat.Sweets are not my strong point when it comes to cooking.I still remember how I burnt the besan while trying to make besan ladoo :|  Today was my lucky day I assume.My kesari came out pretty good. 
Yea yea,brag post,I know.Didn't I leave a warning at the beginning??? No?Aahh well..Now that you have come so far, you may as well go through  the whole thing ;)

So when I had said no gifts,I think R didn't quite get the concept.He went ahead and ordered 'The girl who played with fire' & 'The girl who kicked the hornet's nest'!!!!!!!!! Oh my God! Oh my God!If anybody had read this,they would know how badly I wanted these books.Isn't he a dahling!? I am not complaining one bit.

Me, now the proud owner of 'The Millenium Series' aka 'Dragon Tattoo Trilogy' :O

So,this is how our V.day went.How did yours go???

Hope all of you had a nice time with your loved ones.It doesn't necessarily have to be with a boyf/girlf or husband/wife right? V. day is about love right?? Spread the laaaaaveee <3 <3 <3
Until next time..Peace 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book Review - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Title: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Author: Stieg Larsson.
Publisher:Vintage Crime/Black Lizard.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 672.
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller.
Blurb:  Here.

This is going to be more or less a commendation post. This book entails all the praise I can imagine. I don't normally get sucked in to the hype,then again, I had given in to the hype about this book/movie. I still remember the day when R had decided to get me some books from Amazon. He had said 5 books would be the limit. I had decided on 4 books and couldn't decide on the 5th book and had hastily decided on this book. Boy, wasn't I in for a ride?!! This is the first in the series written by the late Stieg Larsson. I feel bad that this gifted author is no more.Nevertheless his works, by now has occupied a niche in the literary world.

My Thoughts:
When I finished reading this book, all I could think was 'How the hell did I miss reading this book?!!' Apart from the initial stock market, money laundering jargon, this book is everything, a crime/suspense /thriller fan could ask for.
Even though I had read the summary, on the back of the novel, it took a while for the story line to come into form unlike the movie. How do I know about the movie?? Well, R being the "smart" one watched all the 3 movies,Swedish version. :|| while I was hanging on to each and every word of the first book!!!! 

The book is divided in to 4 parts and in the beginning of each part, the author has mentioned the statistics about abuse towards women in Sweden. The book's main characters being Mikael Blomkvist & Lisbeth Salander continue so in the author's next 2 books.

In The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Mikeal Blomkvist is an investigative journalist who is forced to lay low due to a recent case which had back fired and his reputation is at stake. He takes up the position of a private investigator for the 82 year old legendary business man Henrik Vanger who wants Blomkvist to solve a mystery which has been haunting him for 43 years!
The mystery... To find out who murdered Harriet Vanger who is Henrik Vanger's brother's granddaughter! Pheww!! Thank God for the family tree illustration in the beginning of the book. I had to keep going back to check on the family tree since what follows next is a whole herd of the Vanger family! The names of people and the places vexed me a bit but that was no reason for me to stop. I have no idea how anybody would be able to watch the movie without getting confused with the characters. Some of the scenes in the book were so graphically depicted, that the reader would feel like as though they are witnessing the scene. Am I making sense??! Yea? Okay! Throughout the book you keep wondering, 'Who?','Where?','How?' 

Mr Vanger narrates the fateful incident of Harriet Vanger's disappearance from the island where the Vanger family inhabits. The old man suspects that a family member has murdered Harriet and seeks Blomkvist's help. Mr Vanger uses evidence against the person who crashes Blomkvist's career as the bait and an exorbitant fee to lure Blomkvist into agreeing to take up the project. Initially Blomkvist shows no interest, however after listening to Mr Vanger's story,the journalist is more than intrigued and takes up his offer.
Meanwhile, not far away is Lisabeth Salander, an anorexic, tattooed, pierced, punk genius, employee of Milton Security. A socially awkward, genius hacker with a photographic memory!!

The book shuttles between Blomkvist and Salander.Blomkvist hires Salander as his research assistant. As the chapters progress, the duo try to solve the mystery by digging out more and more skeletons from the Vanger's closet.
At some points, the suspense was way too much for me to handle that I begged R to tell me what is the ending. He wouldn't budge! I was tempted to go to the last page to check out what happens.Well, thankfully I didn't. The climax was worth every penny! It's one of those climaxes which will knock the wind out of you!Leaves you in a state of horrified disbelief!!

After the mystery of Harriet Vanger is solved,Blomkvist with the help of Salander gets back at the person who almost tarnished his reputation and career and all's well that ends well. As the mystery was unraveling, I literally couldn't put down the book.I was seen, pacing around nervously,biting my nails out (people who know me, they know for a fact however nervous/tensed I am, I NEVER bite my nails), cooking  and what not with the book in my hands!!

I cant wait to get my hands on the next 2 in the series. 

My rating:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review - The Bluest Eye

Title: The Bluest Eye.
Author: Toni Morrison.
Publisher: Plume / Penguin Book.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 224.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction.

So this post is a review of the book 'The Bluest Eye' by Toni Morrison. This book was written in 1970 & had won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. All the more reasons for me to grab the book and read, especially since I am trying to expand my reading boundaries.


My Thoughts:
The obvious reason why I chose to read this book was because of the fact that this was a Nobel Prize winner. I had read great reviews about this book in O, The Oprah Magazine which left me intrigued. On a side note, I could brag about reading some serious fiction.** smug smile**
So..about the book, one word to describe it: Heart wrenching!
I found this book a difficult read. Many a times I would read a few pages and then I would get distracted, which almost led me to sheer exasperation! The book itself is a compact sized one and it frustrated me to no end since I couldn't make the pages turn.
This book deals with delicate matters like racial discrimination, white supremacy, poverty, rape, beauty& incest.
The Bluest Eye is about a 11year old black girl named Pecola Breedlove (a peculiar name indeed, for the protagonist!) who is ugly and she is quite aware of it &who yearns to have blue eyes so that she can feel visible in a society where there are more pressing grievances. Pecola is usually the victim of bullying by the boys from her class,the reason being ugly. The book describes scenarios wherein the children with 'yellow skin' and blue eyes are treated in a completely different manner alien to Pecola and her friends (Claudia& Frieda) When a 'yellow skin' Maureen Peel is enrolled in their school, Claudia and Frieda experience bouts of jealousy, since 'the teachers smile at her enchantingly' & 'the boys don't bully her'
Pecola comes from a broken family, an alcoholic father, a mother who almost fantasies living a 'white' life by working as a maid in a white family and a brother who is a run away. Domestic violence is considered habitual.
I found it especially perplexing since the book would discuss about a certain character and suddenly we are reading about a totally different character. The book starts off with the given below haunting statement.

'Quiet as it's kept,there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941.We thought,at that time it was because Pecola was having her father's baby that the marigolds did not grow'

 The book, is described in most parts, by Claudia, friend of Pecola with the innocence of a small black girl.
What I understood was ,the author tries to reveal the reason behind Pecola's unspeakable fate. The book progresses to portray the childhood of Pecola's father(Cholly Breedlove). In this manner we get an insight of why he had turned into an alcoholic and who in a drunken state of mind rapes his own offspring. The book describes how the father felt the love and repulsion towards his own child and and expresses, in the most horrifying manner possible!
Pauline Breedlove, Pecola's mother who had high hopes for a beautiful life ahead after wedlock finds herself in a life of mediocrity raising two children and bearing a drunk abusive husband. Her only respite was her job as a maid. The book depicts how she enjoys working for the white family. Its her modus operandi to disengage herself from the harsh reality. 
Pecola's father flees after raping his daughter leaving her pregnant. Pecola's baby is born premature and dies. The innocence is almost heart breaking when Claudia and Frieda decide to give up the money they had been saving to sow marigold seeds hoping that if the marigold blooms then the baby would survive. However neither happens.
Many a time I felt like I was reading poetry.
The book left me depressed. Probably I would look at this book with a whole different perspective 10 years down the lane. Probably then, my rating would change as well.

My rating: