#WorldBookDay

So world book day today… Sending all of you who love to read a happy day. Which brings me to, what kind of a reader are you? Does that question sound weird? 

I have my reading days where I cannot put down a book, and continue reading without a care for food or drink, rain or shine. Then there are those set of days when I have my reading blocs where I wouldn’t touch a book if I can help it. Then there are days in between where I have a book or two around me which I’ll be reading from. My prof tells me to read at least 1000 words a day, and read three books at the same time, a morning, lunch and evening book varying in plot, its degree of intensity and genre. 

I just finished reading “The Killing of Polly Carter” a few days ago. A breeze of a read, a very similar style to Agathe Christie kind of murder mysteries and solving them. It reminded me of one of Mrs Marple’s cases she solved in the Caribbean when she was on vacation. 

The timing of things! 

A friend and I were reading up on this famous war journalist, Martha Gelhorn, a few weeks ago. In the beginning the name didn’t ring a bell, but over the hour we learnt she was one of the pioneers in war journalism in the last century who covered every war during her active lifetime. The coincidence of all this, is when another friend of mine brought a book, a collection of war articles, written by Ernest Hemingway, to our book meet totally unaware of my earlier reading.

Gelhorn and Hemingway were married for a brief period during the 1940s. I’m amused at the timing of things. 

First I get to read about Gelhorn, her adventures as a journalist, bits and pieces from her articles, her association with Hemingway who inspired her to write about the Spanish War which catapulted her into this field… And then to receive a collection of Hemingway articles … Lovely! 

Bliss

“You have no idea how good it is to see you again.. ” (210) #HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild

When the Amazon guy came in yesterday, he told me a bunch of rubbish, I didn’t find it “beatiful at all” He didn’t have the card swiping machine and I didn’t have enough cash to pay. We had a fight. I gave him a piece of my mind. I was so furious I had to take a break to get my cool back. This morning at around 9 the guy calls me again and says, “Madam, I have the machine, when should I come.” He came within 10 minutes, gave me the package, I paid. We became friends over harry potter, and a pack of yumfills. It has been a lovely day today, meeting Harry, Ron and Hermoine, all over again after so many years through the new and old writing. In a very blissful state at the moment, having finished reading something I had craved for, and musing over characters, places, certain paragraphs, sentences, quotes, and their camaraderie, sharing it with friends who have already read, who are reading still. It has been an interesting day so far. Hugs to all the HP fans 🙂 doesn’t it all come down to that finally. 😉 (no spoilers)

Ok, one spoiler, can’t resist .. when Hermione and Scorpius reply together and Ron says “Blimey! there are two of them .. ” well I thought of Quaid’s reaction in the Parent Trap (1998)b391f2ad72f9a313a7e86faf2a44012f

 

Book Buddies

You tell me, what goes absolutely hand in hand with a book for you? I’m listing a few random partners.

1. A cup of coffee
2. A bottle of water
3. A piece of cake
4. A packet of chips
5. A pillow
6. A comfortable chair
7. A mattress
8. A corner beside the cupboard
9. A lone time
10. A flight ticket

Personally for me, an untouched coffee and an unopened bottle of water, a half eaten piece of cake and unopened packet of chips are indications of a good book… Or the level of concentration the book has taken me into.. I rarely eat while I read. For that matter, I don’t even keep food or a drink nearby while I am at it. It is very distracting to begin with. Cakes and chips are so messy, they even stick to the pages of the book!! or the reader! So, eating means having napkins around, wiping hands on it frequently after every bite!! 😉 😉 my best partner then is a flight ticket .. I can take a seat at an airport lounge and later in an plane, fasten the seat belt and read.. It can also be a cushion .. 🙂

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pins n ashes

oo oo oo oo oo oo

There is some strange connection between food and books, more than the two Os right in the middle of their names. Books have stories of food, and food times can also be book times.. (Not juat reading, it can be a time to discuss books too) (Although it is not a very good practice to follow) I am kind of intrigued by this connection, a connection that has made itself evident because books and foods are part of my favourite things.. I love to cook, and take pictures of food.. Some recipes come through books, such as my initial cooking experiments were all done from recipes in these cookbooks from MJ’s collection (I used to cook so that I could surprise them for snacks at coffee time in the evenings) habits die hard.. I continue to do the same even now when I’m at home 🙂

Regarding reading, I am not a compulsive reader at that. I read at my own pace, I enjoy my books, I live the lives of the characters, re-read my favourite parts, make customized bookmarks for each book, jot down memoirs of the book purchases and the book journeys .. Discuss books extensively with book crazy friends, rip their narratives apart as part of work and find interpretations, make connections partly because of my training and partly because it has become second nature.

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As far back as I can remember, I remember a stack of books next to my mother wherever she sat in the house. A stack of all kinds of dictionaries, books, magazines, newspapers, bits of papers that came as covers for things.. And the practice continues with the next generation through me. Wherever I stay there are always books around so many so that sometimes, I use them as table stands and such 😀 to manage space. Regarding lists of books read, since my way of life I choice is reading I happen to have read a lot of genres… At a least all those books listed in the must read group of 100 and 1000 books of the millennium and the century and the decade courtesy course work and curiosity.

Do I read while I eat.. Not really. I listen while eat .. (Audio books as they are called and it does open a whole new world).

oo oo oo oo
PS. Habits die hard .. The habit of blogging for the last 31 days stays on the 32nd day..

A Book Bias …

I sometimes wonder what it is to be biased ….. (Even when I have my own strong likes and dislikes.. Still..)

And then an example falls from nearby. I was horrified, and horrified is the word, the other day when my sibling sent me a picture of a box set he had purchased at a sale at landmark. I wanted to bury myself in the sand.. I thought it was peculiar that the mother also shared a part of the horror 😛 Birds of the same feather! The books were from Paulo Coehlo. About 10 of them. I comfort myself that they look lovely on the shelf with their colourful spines 😛

I remember, about 8-10 years ago, I was made to read two books, one the alchemist and the other the monk who sold his Ferrari at gun point, almost. I read with great difficulty, especially the Ferrari book because it made no sense to me at many levels. The alchemist I cracked one day after I had kept it aside after starting it like some 10 or 12 times. Almost at gunpoint, because I couldn’t say no to the person who asked me to read! It took me I don’t know over a year to complete these two books. The other time I willingly set myself to read a book of the same genre is Eat Pray Love, I loved the eat part of it a lot, I would suggest to people, read the eat and close the book. After alchemist with its universe conspires theory was a comfort pillow and quotable…  I took up, his other books. But at the end of each book I read, all he had to say were the same things, directly or indirectly. I stopped! I stopped reading also because all this self help was getting to me! I needed to help myself to get out of these artificial self helping and motivating books. But I am in a minority group, the larger majority love PC books! they loved the positive energy in selling the ferari, somebody else buying it, discarding it on the road and walking the desert or climbing a mountain… scuba diving as recent as Hrithik Roshan’s Zindagi..

I’ve understood I am allergic to this induced kind of self help in any media format! More so because I feel only I can help myself, no books, no people, no miracle can do that.. yes they can motivate! but finally it is upto the person.. It is easy to understood why I was horrified when there was a pic of a box set from the sibling! Well it could be a book bias, anyways, I’m so sure, the sibling will come back with the same thoughts.. but the realization that I have a book/author bias is getting to me!! .. In search for another word … a euphemism….. 😀

Blogathon’16 Day 27

Have you realized that Akbar and Shakespeare are contemporaries?

Let me start with a question, list 10 Mughal Emperors in Indian History? Write them down somewhere..  I’ll come back to that later, but before that I need to share with you my excitement about the title of the post.

If you put British History and Indian History side by side, you’ll come to know that Akbar and Shakespeare are contemporary to each other. Strange? I thought they lived in different worlds, Oh! they did, but those different world were their different continents. However, they lived their lives almost during the same years.

Time for another fact. Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, Akbar died in 1605, Shakespeare lived a decade longer and died in 1616.

All this, when set out in this fashion makes me feel rather excited about information in general and about these people in particular. I have never put Shakespeare and Akbar together before. I knew their dates, works and their years individually within their context, and the context of say, East India Company and the Plymouth, but never in this way, across countries. By that same logic, the second battle of Panipat was fought in 1556. It was in 1558 that Elizabeth became the Queen of England. Here in what has become India today, a 14 year old Akbar makes a statement in the battle field against Hemu, and there, Elizabeth succeeds her sister Mary and start making statements and tries to bring peace!

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I’ve been reading Alex Rutherford for quite a while now. I read his first two books on Babar and Humayun, I picked up Akbar then and then Jahangir. He has written about Shah Jahan too in his latest book released this year. It so happened that while visiting a friend (and as is practice) I was attracted to her book shelf. She had just finished reading the first book in the series on Babar. She lent it to me and there I began my journey with Rutherford through one of my fav periods in Indian history. Favourite because with Mughal history in class 7 our class got an amazing history teacher. She made us or rather me love history (I can speak for myself and not my classmates as such) and since it all began with the Mughals, it is a special love.

So if you ask me the question name 10 Mughal Emperors I would scratch my head, because I have only studied 7. Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurengazeb and Bahadur Shah Zafar. William Dalrymple has made the last Mughal Ruler famous with his book, The Last Mughal, just think of that cover pic! Now who are the other 3 if I have to complete a 10 point list. This question is also borrowed. I happened to watch it on a TV Quiz show, where according to its format, each team is asked list 10 names of a topic of their choice from a list in a stipulated time. When this question came, I was genuinely puzzled. Because my school history textbook gave me only 7 prominent names, I raked my memory, avoided the enticing google to get answers.. but nothing appeared in my head from school memory. When the quiz master revealed the answers I was taken aback to see the names!

To test if I was the only one who was taken aback and puzzled by this question and ignorant about the remaining rulers, I put forth this question to an assorted group of my friends, this is a varied group who studied in different schools in different parts of India, under different school boards. I was wishing at least one of them would give me at least an 8th name. One of the first counter questions most of them asked was “how come 10” is it a list of Mughal Emperors of India or in Mughal History as a whole starting with Timur! “Isn’t it 7”  was other counter question, and they all listed the names they knew in chronological order.

The problem seems to lie in the way history is taught in our schools. Between Aurangazeb and Bahadur Shah Zafar there are many Mughal Emperors, but the textbooks we studied consolidated all their names into either one or two paragraphs or to a page, when these seven were given dedicated chapters.

Coming back to excitement about the contemporaneity, that bit of information still excites me, sharing it with you, if you too like me is beginning to see the connection.

A Brief History .. of 7 killings in time and nearly everything that crossed my mind :P

I’m very interested in the title of this year’s Booker winner… part of it says, “a brief history …” like its namesake “a brief history of time,” or “a briefer history of time,” or “my brief history”.. or the other book “a short history of nearly everything” what are the other book titles with a similar set of words..

I was at a similar kind of exercise with the name of the book written by Anuradha Roy, (new name again, but she has been at it for sometime now.. and the more interesting fact is that she is the co-founder and editor at Permanent Black) longlisted for the Booker this year.. the title “Sleeping on Jupiter” immediately triggered two connections.., one, the recent film with a similar name and two, the DreamWorks Animation logo the one with a half moon and a boy with a fishing rod. Since the folks at Dreamworks constantly adapt their logo by changing the position of their boy with each film.. well did a mini adaptation to suit this title.. I took the moon to be jupiter and the boy as sleeping on it 😛 😀

Ok, switch to another film.. Julia & Julie  I take you to that scene where her editor at Knof is suggesting titles for Julia’s book on that board on the wall in her office..She had picked up a few keywords from the book.. was toying with those words to bring forth the best these words could for the sake of the book… and tada.. Mastering the art of French Cooking was born..  It could have been just an imaginative exercise for the film adaptation of the book..

But I loved this scene of title making .. the thought that has to go into making one.. we could use it for creating titles for blog posts.. Most of us would say, if I ask that question on how you choose titles for your posts.., “oh it is random” with that hint of modesty and triviality (almost like it comes naturally, oh it does!) but I say, that unconscious natural randomness comes from the context of the post.. 🙂 😀

To random ramblings, book titles and the new booker..

PS: Booker books and I are not the best of friends.. I find them boring though they find a way to enter my book shelves.. once there I try to read them..  but they sit on that book shelf which says, “tried reading, could not finish.. cannot read another word..” Exceptions Midnight’s Children (which was initially a tough read) and The God of Small Things (my love/hate book). Plus, I do not read books just because they have the booker tag! So, that’s the picture 🙂

Rowling-Galbraith: the pseudonym face

Rowling is on the verge of publishing a third book as Galbraith in the Detective Cormoran series. When a post was put up in a book group I am part of, there was a comment from a member as to why the pseudonym at all since the mystery behind the face behind Galbraith is known to the world of readers and publishers, then why stick to it. This post is an afterthought to that question.. I’m amused the lanes through which post ideas walk in.. this one from a comment, and it pushed me to put together an answer.

I was thrilled about the release of The Casual Vacancy. My journey with JK Rowling began with Harry Potter like most of ours did, and what mattered now was that she was writing again. I was so excited just like during the the release of a HP book that I started a count down to the release of this one too. When the guy from Flipkart called, I was surprised to find that there were three to four copies of the Vacancy in his big delivery bag to be distributed to the residents of the campus. I was not the only one brimming with excitement over a new book. It does not always matter this shared excitement, but at certain moments when I find a kindred soul, the comfort of that feeling is immeasurable.

The book arrived, and I did not waste a minute to start the reading. It was a hardbound copy, a little too big to fit into my hands. The physicality of the book neither dimmed my thrill nor created a tired howl! I started to read, turned page after page.. and found to my dismay that the story was nothing like Harry Potter! There! that was how I did a disservice to both Rowling and the Vacancy! I compared and started on the wrong foot!

It took me a while to understand the whys of why I did not enjoy the Vacancy at all or enjoyed it in parts. I was always thinking of it from a reference point of her previous seven books on Harry Potter. It was difficult to tear her away from the image of the one who weaved together the magical world of Potter, and cast her into the role of a writer of mundane muggle stories. I did read the novel at a later point, and quite enjoyed it after skipping the first 150 pages or so, when it started to edge towards the mystery! (It could be my bias for a good mystery novel that I did not care that much for the intricately woven character profiles in the first 100 pages).

Time passed by and Robert Galbraith appeared. I bought a copy and finished the story in one go, sitting up a whole night! I was partially aware that it was Rowling in disguise, but this book worked better for me than Vacancy. It could be the distance between the Potter series and this one in time.. it could also be the pseudonym. I guess, a pseudonym such as Galbraith shakes away that connection, the name Rowling has with Potter, at least partially and temporarily, although it does play in the back of our heads! Through Galbraith she may be expecting some kind of a magic trick (See I bring in magic again, this is the problem Rowling faces ;))”

Potter is just one of her writerly faces, but that one face has made a deep impression! The pseudonym therefore works to remove her from that face and cast her anew into a new one. At least that is what I think..the name, Galbraith, does not sound anything like Rowling, or a writer of Potter to me.. Galbraith makes me think of big books with mysterious cover pages.. with a shade of black in it.. and spells sleuth!

Sita’s Sister (2014) |Kavita Kane|Rupa – reading tales

Vidhya’s tag comes at a most apt moment, I was lazy to blog long and here she has given me a ready made prompt, 10 sentences on love. The lazy me resorted to the current read, Kavita Kane’s second book Sita’s Curse. Oh! The little I read, it seems like mush overload, a little too much for my taste.. Sita's sister

This is my reading tale of Sita’s Sister in 10 lines handpicked from the novel. Sita’s sister is based on The Ramayana but focuses on the character of Urmila, Lakshman’s Wife and Sita’s sister. I picked this book up because I enjoyed Kane’s maiden novel, Karna’s Wife, everything including the cover page design. It was an adaptation of the Mahabharata but from Urvi, Karna’s wife’s point of view.

10 moony-eyed lines from Sita’s Sister, of which the 10th is my favourite. Calling all the10 lines moonyneyed is unfair because these lines presents love in shades, between siblings, partners, parents .. The pattern I  followed for the prompt – the line from the text. (name of the chapter, the page number.)

  1. “Sita!” Joy and relief gurgled out as a squeal from Urmila’s throat. (The Four Sisters, 4)
  2. “A wide-eyed, lovelorn idiot,” Urmila corrected teasingly. (The Two Princes, 15)
  3. “And my brother is that unparralled man, the only one to pick up the bow when others could not even move it,” intervened Lakshman. (The Swayamvar, 37)
  4. “You scarcely let any of us know of your feelings for Ram’s brother,” Sita started in an openly accusatory tone. (The Lovers, 43)
  5. Beaming with unconcealed joy, Sita hugged her younger sister tightly and long, as if to never ler her go. Urmila could feel the joy bubbling inside Sita and did not have the heart to diffuse the euphoria. (The Lovers, 45)
  6. She now had her parents’ permission and her heart’s sanction; it could not have been more legitimate. (The Lovers, 53)
  7. “How am I supposed to tell Urmila I cannot marry her.” There was frustration in Lakshman’s voice (The Rejection, 62)
  8. “That is my quandry–I love you, to distraction and yet I don’t have the courage to marry you. Because I am a torn man, Mila” Lakshman said despairingly. (The Rejection, 65)
  9. The love between the four brothers borders on devotion, especially the younger brothers’ dedication to Ram,” Kirti said. They would do anything for him and vice versa. (The Rejection, 75)
  10. Falling in love was far easier than staying in love. Would then, living in love be a trying tale of trials or of triumphs? (The Four Weddings, 78)

Karna's wife I like Kane’s choice of a protagonist. She picks up those characters from a great work, here The Ramayana, who are part of the text but absent from the main plot because of the more well known characters namely, Sita. I wouldn’t have known Karna’s wife’s name or her relation to the main plot of the Mahabharata if not for Kane’s fictitious account of Urvi. It could be that Kane has a love for names in starting with U from Hindu mythology, Urvi, now Urmila.. I wonder who is next.. another U, Urvasi may be….

Ramayana is the story of Ram and Sita, and Lakshman, their 14 years of exile, Sita’s abduction by Ravan..  in the midst of these events Urmila seems to have become invisible.. kane turns the spotlight on her in this 2014 rupa publication.

Verdict: it is not that gods can’t be mushy.. it is just that the story for me borders on the genre of the romance, a genre I’m never been keen on reading. In addition, the editor could have taken a little more care, there are many spelling mistakes, especially in the names of the characters….by then the book starts to irritate. I sum it up as “sardonic..” the most used word in the story, at least 5 times in a chapter so far 🙂

PS. (May write a review after or if I finish reading)