Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Review - The Lover's Dictionary


Title: The Lover's Dictionary.
Author:
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Year of Publication: 2011
Format: E-book.
Pages: 211.
Genre:Contemporary, Romance.
    Blurb: Here

My Thoughts
The Lover's Dictionary has got to be one of the most refreshing books I have ever read in the genre of romance. The story is written in the form of dictionary entries. A little more than a handful of words, cleverly selected to suit the occasion and the author goes ahead to concoct a wonderful love story. To be truthful, there is nothing exceptional about this story. It's the manner of description, which makes the story stand out. It has both, the highs and the lows of being in love. There are no characters as such. A nameless couple mentioned as You and I. That's the beauty of it. It could anybody's love story. The story is portrayed with a keen sense of understanding the various shades of love. I would be lying if I said I couldn't relate to some parts of the story. More than a few sighs did pass my lips. 


The level of cheesiness is toned down to barely there, while the author continues to write about the doubts felt at the initial stages of the relationship until the point when you are sure of the person you are with. The nameless couple in the book are unique and mundane in their own way and it is pretty darn sweet how they find love in themselves to give to the other. The love story is not perfect. It is messy, a little awkward and also manages to hit the cheat mode. Yet, it is beautiful, endearing and heart wrenching.
I was pretty impressed how skilfully the author picked those particular words and constructed a story based solely on them. I mean, there are like a gazillion words in a dictionary! To choose the words that he did must have taken some ample amount of dedication and patience. Some of the pages had just one sentence on them. My only problem was it got over too fast, way too fast. The book made me smile, sigh, tear up a little and even laugh out loud. A quick read. Hats off to his creativity, presenting to the readers a love story with a different approach. I think it has paid off well. By the end, I had highlighted almost three quarters of the book.


My Rating:
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Him


Every now and then I feel a heavy silence pressing on. That's when I look up from whatever I was reading and automatically my eyes would search for him. I don't have to look too far. Most likely he would be sitting across me with a serious expression. He is reading too. We  both are readers, just not the same kind. While I enjoy reading fiction, he loves reading about science. It's not a wonder that he is the scientist in the family! Sometimes he would look up too. Our eyes would meet and I am the one quick to smile. He always returns the smile and without any reason he would blow me a kiss. Maybe that's why I look for him when I get lonely among the pages. His face, his presence, the way his face lights up when he smiles, the fact that I have him in my life, I guess that makes my life worthwhile. We would go back to our respective books and I am at peace.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You always knew you were a greedy child



Your friends were already in the car and honking incessantly; calling for you. It was already getting too late. You are going to get into trouble. Yet, he wouldn't let go of your hands. Your palms sandwiched between his. It was childish. What does he expect you to do? Spend the night in this park with him? He would say Yes. It's too beautiful a night  for us to be apart, yet. We could stargaze, he offers. A slight bit cliched, you think and yet your pulse starts racing. Unrealistic and anything but mature and you soak it all in. The attention, the affection, possessiveness, everything. You are almost tempted. You always knew you were a greedy child. Greedy for affection and here he was, showering you with love and more love than you can imagine.

*


He was the touchy feely one among you. Gracing his fingers on  the sides of your face, your neck, tucking in  the stray hair behind your ear. Ruffling your hair while you sit in a corner immersed in reading. Holding you while you iron his wrinkled shirts. Locking his fingers with yours while you walk aimlessly around town. He didn't need a reason to kiss you. A stroll past you no matter where you are,was reason enough to kiss you. Every inch of your skin was his utopia. Pulling your hair into a messy ponytail the one time you asked him, just for the heck of it. You enjoyed every bit of it. However, every now and then you wouldn't mind the magic of words. He was never expressive with words atleast not when he was speaking. You knew he was good. You had stumbled across a note in his credenza. Read the love letter with trembling hands; the one he had written for you but never gave it you. You never wondered why. You wanted the words, you wanted the touches. You wanted everything. You always knew you were a greedy child.
*

The floor is empty, your colleagues has not yet arrived and it's just the two of you. Straight out of a movie scene, you think. He is hunched over, typing madly. Getting his work done, you presume. You start to settle down in your seat and your computer seems to be acting funny. The system needs to be changed, you think. You make a mental note to speak to your manager before getting down on your knees to crouch under your table to see if there is any loose connection. Hey Sunshine, he calls you. He always knew what to call you to make you feel like a million bucks. Startled you almost hit your head. He bends down to check if you are okay. He leans in playfully, almost ready to kiss you but he doesn't. It was you who lurched at him, hungry for his affection. For a split second you thought you saw a tinge of surprise on his face. You always knew you were a greedy child.

*


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Book Review - The Sense of an Ending

Title: The Sense of an Ending.
Author:
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd.
Year of Publication: 2011.
Format: E-book.
Pages:150.
Genre:Contemporary, Literary, Novel, Drama, Mystery.
    Blurb: Here

My Thoughts:
I am not exactly sure why I picked up this book to read. I know that I was drawn to its cover. The dandelions gave the book a wistful feeling, so did the title. After reading first few pages, I thought it is going to be one of those books trying to claim what it is not. Yet, I kept on going. I didn't want to abandon a book especially such a short read.
The Sense of an Ending is a story about a mediocre man who is enjoying his retirement.Tony Webster is retired & divorced: still in good terms with his ex wife. He visits his daughter once in a while. He goes to the library, volunteers at the nearby hospital and is basically having a peaceful retirement. One fine day everything changes. He receives a letter informing him that his first girlfriend's mother has passed away and left him 500 pounds and the diary of his childhood friend, Adrian. Now that is just plain weird right?

The book is in two parts: One part is Tony reminiscing about his youth and the next part he trying to understand the reason why he was added in a dead woman's will. A woman whom he had met only once in his life many years ago. Along with a lot of recollection of blocked memories.
The story starts with Tony and his friends(Colin and Alex) when they were adolescents. They become friends with the enigmatic  boy in class, Adrian. The readers are made aware that Adrian is a genius, with his out of the box thinking process. The boys  grow up and go their own ways to universities.  Tony meets Veronica. They date. They break up. This romance has an integral part to play in the book. When I say romance, it doesn't mean the plot is mush filled. It merely means that there was a romance and it somehow  becomes the backbone of the whole plot.
Even though it is a short read, it felt like a long read. I didn't know the music the characters discussed or some of the other stuff they talked about when they were growing up. However, I found myself warming up to the story.  It stayed with me even when I was not reading it. The more I thought about the book, the more I loved it.The narration by Tony is what experts call an unreliable narrator. We know Tony as a peaceful person but how he distorts the events that occurred, to justify his actions is the appealing part of the plot. Throughout the book I didn't really care about Adrian even though he is portrayed as the special one. I just felt he was being a pretentious snob. I despised Veronica's character. I felt very little pity towards her at the various turn of events. Tony was the only character I empathized with. He was not very likable by the end of the story and yet I was ready to forgive him and tell him, 'Its all right!'  The prose is lyrical and melancholic. The story touches personal levels on how a person blocks memories which causes pain, knowingly or unknowingly. The plot describes the life of almost anyone. The urge to grow up. The mistakes you commit when you are young and think that you own the world and lastly the remorse and what ifs you feel once you reach the stage in your life where all you do is look back at the years gone by.
An extremely normal story about an normal person: the character admits that he might have led a boring life and how he becomes aware of a disaster that occurred, which may or may not be because of him and the remorse he feels. Mr. Barnes took the life of an ordinary man and makes it extraordinary weaving a very realistic story and yet it is so unbelievable that it is plain genius. 

My Rating:
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chaos


Chaos
There is a pattern even in chaos.
You just have to look closely.




Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review - This is How You Lose Her

Title: This is How You Lose Her.
Author: .
Publisher: Riverhead Books.
Year of Publication: 2012.
 Format: E-book.
Pages:213.
Genre: Short Stories, Contemporary, Romance, Literary.
    Blurb: Here.
 
My Thoughts:
In your short span of life, you read a limited number of books. Some of them so good that you mourn that it got over. Some so bad that you feel that you will never get those hours back.. and once in a while you come across a book so different from the norm that it blows your mind so completely. You love the author for the candid manner he has penned down the story and you also despise him a little for being so blunt. That, my friend is This is How You Lose Her. 
I am not much of a fan when it comes to short stories. However, short stories which are inter connected in some manner is very appealing to me. It's like solving a jigsaw puzzle. This is How You Lose Her is a book of short stories and as you may have guessed, most of the stories are interconnected. The stories are narrated by Yunior, a Dominican raised in United States. The stories mostly consist of his childhood, his brother Rafa, his mami and papi and last but not the least all the women he loved in his life. The narration seems more like Yunior is having an up close and personal conversation with the readers where he bares his soul to you. Where we come to know that the men in his family are not famous for their fidelity. The stories deal with various factors. A few being: life as an immigrant in United States,  minimum wage workers and their struggles.
In between all this, the people find time to love, cheat, break the hearts of their loved ones. Like I said most of the stories deal with Yunior and the women he loved at various stages in his life. He loves them deeply, yet cheats on them, gets caught, gets dumped, tries to get back with the girl, fails miserly and remains miserable for a long while.

The book might not be appeasing to all readers. One of the reasons being, the women in the book are not shown in a good light. Most of the time the women are described mainly on their physical and sexual attributes or they just fade into the background. It's easy to get offended but if you read the book from the point of view of a man whose eyes always wander, a man who cannot manage to keep a relationship because he cannot keep his hands to himself, then the depiction seems spot on. You don't like Yunior, you feel like he needs to get his ass kicked and yet sometimes you feel pity for the sad case of a human that he is. The book is anything but mellow. It is raw. The love stories are not in the chick lit genre. It's messy and even feels dirty and somehow strangely alluring. The books draws you right in. The writing flows freely and it feels so personal; like reading a personal journal. I loved every word penned down. Junot, you sneaky genius!
The only flaw or short coming I felt was the fact the author uses a lot of Spanish lingo. Sometimes just words here and there and sometimes phrases and there is no glossary or footnote. That makes it a little difficult for readers who are not familiar with the language. So each time, you will have to Google it or just assume what it means. Other than that an absolute stunning piece of work. I will be reading more of his works.


My Rating:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Birthday Post

This post was delayed because of my sheer laziness. Nothing else. No excuse.
The birthday was quiet and pretty nice actually. It was so cold that we couldn't go out, so we ordered in. Hallelujah Deep Dish Pizza!
My Facebook wall was not spammed by Birthday wishes from people with whom I don't even talk to, the rest of the year. I had deactivated the Birthday reminder.
I always thought birthdays were a big deal. I still think it is, except there is a slight change in perspective. It felt  like a bulb was switched ON in my head. The big deal about my birthday is that my mother gave birth to me. It was my Mom who accomplished the huge task that day. What did I do? I just got born. Big whoop! :| She is the one who needs the party, innit? Nevertheless, I am the one who gets the birthday wishes and gifts.
Anyway I'm thankful I have her in my life and also the guy she chose for me. The guy, whom my mom was convinced was the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of my life.
This guy gets me a boxed set of  A Song of Ice and Fire! Oh Lord have Mercy! I have been having serious withdrawal symptoms after finishing the HP series. Now he gets me this. It seems he loves the way I look all composed and serious while reading. Isn't he sweet! I am not going to read them now. Then I will have to wait for God knows how long for Book 6. Maybe later this year. I have so many books stacked. It's becoming a slight problem.
Then he brings out a Manchester United Jersey for me. Apparently he has officially baptized me as a Manchester United Fan. Staying committed to the team even when they have playing really shitty for the past coupla matches. Denying myself of sleeping in late on weekends and waking up extra early to watch the matches made me a "true fan" in his eyes. The guy can exaggerate when it comes to Football.
They did win today. Aah sweet revenge. I almost cried.
Hope they play well in the upcoming matches.

Can you see the customary wedding pose photo in the corner ? :D

Me, my boxed set, my Man Ut Jersey & my almost full library
So that made my birthday pretty darn great :D

Monday, January 6, 2014

I just had to post it here


After the new year fuss, I haven't yet got the time motivation to sit down and write anything. I saw this picture and I had to post it here. I found it very amusing

Soo..
Chicago is almost kinda shut down.
Arctic temperatures.
Wind chills upto minus 40 degree Celsius.
I remember Dad telling me when I was a kid, a fun fact
minus 40 degree fahrenheit = minus 40 degree celsius.
Never thought I would live it one day!
The winds howling like a banshee.
Five minutes outside cleaning the snow from our car had my lungs on fire. I kid you not.
The heaters jacked up to maximum
while our windows get frosted up.
Clothed in more layers than I can imagine.
Icicles almost everywhere.
Huge mounds of snow shoveled away in corners.
Five minutes outside, without covering every inch of skin would give you a bad case of frost bite.
So either dress like you are going out to ski or stay inside.
I better go make another steaming cup of tea.

See you all soonish.


Oh and tomorrow is my birthday.