Joyland by Stephen King {Review}

Joyland Book Cover

Review also posted on Goodreads here.

Crosspost

I liked it! I’d actually give it a 3.5. It wasn’t the usual Stephen King thriller though.

It was on occasion an introspective read, written in first person by this young boy who is finding himself in the summer of his Freshman year of college. The story is set in 1974 and it reads well, with trajectories zipping into the present (1990s) and back, trying to connect parts of the stories together, the puzzles.
It took a good 100 pages for the thriller part to sink in. But then the character sketches, the settings and the description of the North Carolina carnival grounds etc took a bit of time to draw and in retrospect it wasn’t too bad a length.

It’s a story about Devin, in his words on how he lost his girlfriend, throwing himself into a hard job that was obviously way more brunch work and physical than what eh deserved. He reads Tolkein, and writes, and edits and we know this through his short statements and how he spends his time away from work. He opens his mind up to learn to forget the tragic loss of his first love, how he makes new friends (for life) with other summer workers, how he earns his way to be become the trusted and favorite worker to his bosses, to the kind of person he is at that age, the maturity and the good heartedness with which eh saves the little girl and how he befriends Mike, and his mother Annie.

Loved the characters more than the actual thriller part. It isn’t his usual bone-chilling scary thing at all, not by a long shot. Great character sketches, vivid storytelling and imagery.

The last 75 pages ran like the wind!

GoodReads Challenge

We are just in February, and most of January was spent in bed, so maybe that has set the tone for this year, coz I feel like I need to drive myself and harness the most of me. Even make up for the lost time, which in retrospection, I seem to be always trying to make up for lost time, in phases.

Stuck in bed with a leg up in the air has its depressing moments and the impatience to get well and be on your two feet makes the monkey on your back quite agitated.

Then to calm that monkey, we go do things. Sometimes out of our regular programming just to feed that monkey.

That’s what I did. I am now doing the Squat Challenge (along with a bunch of ladies) coz we all want to have some nice looking derrieres by the time this darned polar vortex and harsh winter allows us some good looking jeans. Then there’s that added perk of strong quads and hips and everything else around them. Am doing just 30 with weights though, coz the PT looked at me like I was on some dope or something when I mentioned this challenge. :|

Then I added on the Plank Challenge.  Just by myself, AND am so on top of it, that am bursting with pride while am doing the plank. Heh. Well, not really, am doing reps of 30 second planks. Think that works just fine, and I love planks anyway. Discovered that’s the best way to tame that mommy tummy from not succumbing to gravity. :-)

Then yesterday I fell upon GoodReads 2014 Challenge. 

Yes, I signed up.

I have my reasons. The biggest being that I miss reading. I miss writing more, but unless we read, we cannot write, and I need to write and read and so I am reading.

I have so many classics and fabulous long list of authors and books lined up, in my head, in my bookcases and in lists all over from friends and websites, that it seems like a complete travesty to ignore them all. I asked, and dear Lavs said she ‘d join me and her reasons are very much aligned to mine. My husband who never really read books in all the years Ive known him, has now started chewing books faster than I can blink. The library is sending notifications to me every few days and am going out of breath forwarding them to him and keeping track of what he’s reading.

That is not going well with my already bruised ego and bookworm heart. So. I am reading too. Except that he has more patience with a book than I do. I realize that when he read Casual Vacancy and Inferno (both humungo volumes) and said they were “ok” – and I couldn’t go through the first couple of chapters and so conveniently “gave up on” – am a book snob, what can I say?

So if you are a reader and would like to help nudge me along, join me on Goodreads (all you really needs is to create an account) or just here on the blog or on Facebook.

Ready>? I am!

Between The Headlines {review}

Between The HeadlinesBetween The Headlines by Shweta Ganesh Kumar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘Between the headlines’ is an easy simple read. Despite the machinations of the plot, the diverse swinging emotions and the turns the story takes, the author, Shweta Ganesh Kumar has kept the narration going at a pace that’s comfortable, easy to follow and engaging.

The story is that of Sathyabhama, a young aspiring journalist who as any other aspiring career driven youngster goes through the difficulties of realizing the realities of their dreams. She comes into town full of idealistic views on creating a niche for herself, but instead gets rebuffed at different times, which in turn helps her grow. She learns her way around, some by destiny and some by sheer hard work and by failing and trying again, and we find ourselves rooting for her as the story goes along.

The author touches upon drama, emotions and situations in life without stressing too much on any and yet covering each enough to impact the story well. There is romance with her lost-childhood friend, jealous colleague, the unfair higher boss, the understanding immediate superior, the supporting cameramen and more who would groom her through the time.

What particularly fascinated me was the behind the scenes (and much close to the truth as one can get, I’d imagine) take on the TV industry. The ruthlessness with which stories were cut, framed and tweaked to satisfy the ratings and the popular big wigs, both shocked and made sense to me. It was a sad reality that I was introduced to and I hated the situation for what it became to be. There were parts that rung autobiographical, and on going back and reading the blurb on the author, it seemed to all fit in :-)

To me, it was a simple, hard to put down, page-turner. Something that very few Indian authors have managed to bring about. There are colloquial Kannada words, the setting and language is Indian style, something that will take a chapter or two to get used to (only because I have lost touch with reading Indian authors) but it meshes well together.

Shewtha Ganesh is also on Goodreads and blogs here”.

A short quick shoutout to her and the publisher for being gracious enough to mail me a copy of the book across the seven seas for my reading pleasure and review. This review has been long overdue and I have to blame the kids, the husband and my own cranky love affair with fitness and I know am vindicated!
Do grab a copy and read. It’s not your usual cup of tea!

View all my reviews

Hey Canada (book)

Way back in Spring (it does seem like way back, now that I think about it) I came across a tweet from Tundra Books on the new hey Canada book that they were publishing.

I love new places and any pertaining literature is a great read! Plus, it was a children’s book. Plus it was illustrated. Plus it was a grand old looking grandma taking her two grandkids on a tour of Canada. That was history, geography and literature all combined. I signed up at the blogpage right away!

After a few weeks, I got the book and was readily impressed.

BookTour

With colorful pictures, illustrations and printed on thick yet fine glossy paper, and just the right number of chapters to keep and hold the attention of children, the book was an easy read.

The book starts off with a colorful double-page spread of Canada (broken down into its provinces by color) and the route that readers would take along with the characters, complete with arrows and names of the cities that they touch.

The characters Cal and Alice are an absolute delight, not to mention grandma dear who runs a tight ship with the right amount of humor and fun in her tour.

I loved the “find it” feature that Gran gives the children as they enter each province. Loved the perfect way to keep the kids engaged on a tour by giving them something to look out for and sharpen observation skills, and ultimately encouraging learning.

Cal’s tweets are cute as he tweets facts out at each province, on the stuff that you should stay away from and the like. You can follow Cal here if you’d like.

There is a cartoon strip that Cal features in, called the Cal’s Historical U-turn:

A neat book that all early readers on would enjoy being read to and read by themselves. Gives a wonderful snapshot of Canada. A good addition to the Travel genre on the bookshelf, and even to read just before traveling to any part of Canada.

Enjoy!

Book: Hey Canada

Author: Vivien Bowers

Illustrator: Milan Pavlovic 

Publishers: Tundra Books