Unaccustomed Earth {review}

Crossposted here on Goodreads

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I loved the short story collection, as evident by my updates (scroll below)

The catch is, her setting never changes. It’s the Bnegalis, the immigrants and the issues and mostly melancholic and sad undertones. It is entirely because of that undertone, that her stories are a miss and hit with readers. It’s the current psyche of the reader that decides if the book works or not. I am reading this the second time, and only a vague recollection of her stories came back to me as I re-read it.

Good stories stay with you. The plot, the characters and the story.
Good writing on the other hand leaves u satiated at that moment and then we are hungry for more.

Her writing is like that. It’s wonderful reading, occasionally verbose than necessary to set the stage, the descriptions and then the character sketching and giving it ground, and they are all important in context. However, even if this was the only book I read continuously, without breaks, I can’t for the life of me remember clearly what her first few stories were. (and I most certainly do not think am old or losing it!)

It’s the journey of story telling that she is good at, and that is nothing to be frowned or looked down upon. She is a good story teller more than the story as such,. and for that, she deserves good credit.

Like most others, I do wish she tries and gets outside of her niche for Bengali characters and stories, and explores emotions and human relationships in other situations and cultures.

The story that stuck with me was of course Hema and Kaushik, for a few personal reasons and also because it was nicely done, the 3 parts, the narration, the ending nd the picking up and the characters which were real and relatable.

Nobody’s Business: was just sad. We’ve known many a fine girl throw herself away at jerks and your heart goes out to Sang and to the narrator.

Only Goodness: was good. I liked how the older sister bore the brunt of the family and the pain of seeing a sibling waste away, and the helplessness of it all. It was an unfortunate ending, but families have a way of falling apart and it was foreseeable, even when folks don’t get that second and third chance.

Choice of Accommodations: now this one wasn’t sketched out that clear. The ending was fuzzy. I am not sure what conclusions could be drawn or where the story was heading in the heads, and some parts were strange and out of character. I couldn’t quite place it.

Hell-Heaven: Now this – this was a good one. It’s easy to see how the story could go where it did. The falling in love with a younger man, to be completely enamored becos life married to a simple, quiet pedantic husband was well,boring. Yes, I could see that happen and such stories do not have happy endings, just a series of dots..

Unaccustomed Earth: I could again see this story. About life, the new leases, the freedom of untethered second chances and the daughter knowing it all and the succinct relief of it all.

Her words and some phrases jump at you.
Most books, stories and words appeal to the reader when one can relate to it.

For now, this read was good for me.

 

 

 

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!

Mockingjay (#3 Hunger Games) {Review}

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve read a few reviews even before I started on the book. I usually try and not read reviews and even if I do, I don’t particularly get influenced by others’ tastes. So I went ahead and bought it on the kindle. Just like the other two, coz well, it’s a trilogy and it’s good to be complete in that regard.

I am forced to abandon the book at about 59% (mid-way) through it coz it just didn’t appeal to me anymore. I believe the charm of the storyline was primarily the Hunger Games. The zeal, the vulnerability of the citizens of Panem and the children. We were rooting for them, feeling for them and were curious on how the whole story would pan out. The second book was packed and I loved that the games were not really the main setting, but it still hung on. The style still held its charm.

This final book however completely lost it for me. I understand war, but every line, paragraph was so filled and constantly full of events, thoughts and actions that it was getting hard keeping track and even wanting to empathize with te characters.

Some deaths did not make sense, some scenes didn’t provide much value.

I have a good idea of how this will end, but I dont think am hanging on to every word and line anymore. I am going to have to stop and move on to other books.

If you did like Hunger Games, I’d suggest to skip this one. Doesn’t add any value to the characters we once knew.

View all my reviews

 

Edited to add on April 30th 2012

I went ahead and finished the book after all. I expected to feel sorry for the characters, but I didn’t. It just seemed all doomsday anyway, so yes, it wasn’t teh perfect ending to the series. I still stick to the fact that somehow leaving things hanging after the second book would have maintained it’s awe.