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Archive for January, 2011

A Fun Easy Read – Nothing More!

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Elmore Leonard has some well known titles to his credit – Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre etc. I have been planning to read Leonard for a long time and picked his latest – Djibouti.

When one picks up an author that he/she has never read before, I think it is generally a good idea to read some of the earlier works. That is the conclusion I have after reading ‘The Pregnant Widow’ by Martin Amis and now Djibouti by Elmore Leonard.

Leonard’s characters hustle right through and he gives them some memorable dialogues to add to the reading experience (A reason why a lot of his books get adapted into films). Djibouti had similar moments as well. Try this –

Xavier got up from his chair and produced the Walther from the back of his waist.

“What you lookin at here is the murder weapon, the one Jama used on the five people.” He held the pistol by the barrel offering it to the police chief, who took the grip in his hand. “It had my prints on it,” Xavier said. “Now it has yours on top of mine. But me and you never killed anybody with it, have we?”

So, I did find it interesting in parts. It is a story of Dara Barr (a documentary maker) and her septuagenarian associate/cameraman and FPG (Friend, Philosopher and Guide) Xavier Lebo. They come to Djibouti to shoot a documentary on Somalian pirates and get enmeshed in a terrorist plot. The plot is really way too simplistic to write anything about – but the dialogues are fun. Also, its a quick read; a nice beach read to pass a lazy weekend afternoon.

I kept me interested enough to read some of his other well-known titles.

Rating: 2.5/5

Signing off!

Have a great Monday!

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I abondoned the Pregnant Widow!

January 29, 2011 Leave a comment

I tried my utmost to hang in there. In the end, the realization dawned that life was too short to waste time on trying to complete ‘The Pregnant Widow’  by Martin Amis. When I get a chance, will pick up some other titles by Amis; but done for now.

Signing off!

Categories: Uncategorized

Word-Alchemy

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment

“The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.

When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that a dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is “so it goes”

Slaughterhouse Five – by Kirk Vonnegut

This is my first Kirk Vonnegut book and it has been an interesting read so far.

Have a great Week!

 

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Where is this Going?

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

I have finished reading the first quarter of ‘The Pregnant Widow’ by Martin Amis. Sadly, It has done nothing for me, nothing!. It has started to bug me that this is the first Martin Amis book I picked.  He has well-known titles to his credit – This one, however has failed to impressed me.

This is a ‘growing up’ story based in the 70s when (as the cover says) ” The girls are acting like boys, and the boys are going on acting like boys”. It is in a period of sexual revolution as far as girls as concerned – ‘Sex’ has always been a revolution for the boys anyway 🙂

While I am patiently trying to complete it, for the life of me, I cannot figure out where this is going or what is the message. Other than description of various parts of a human anatomy and a plot around the sexual frustrations of the central (moronic at times) characters, it doesnt give you much.

Since Amis is such a well-renowed writer, I will give him the benefit of doubt and probably it is a fault of mine that I cannot figure out the purpose of writing this novel. However, I promise to complete this novel and see if the later half of the book changes my view.

There were some fireworks in the first chapter of the book though –

“When you become old…When you become old, you find yourself auditioning for the role of a lifetime; then, after ineterminable rehearsals, you are finally starring in a horror film – a talentless, irresponsible, and above all low-budget horror film, in which (as is the way with horror films) they are saving the worst for the last”

I liked that!

Best!

Categories: Uncategorized

Terror – A Satisfying Thriller

January 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I wanted to read a good thriller this week. It has been a stressful week and wanted to relax with a well-written thriller.

Recently, I have not had a great experience with thrillers. They seem ‘over the top’ with a contrived plot and are not able to hold my attention beyond 100-200 pages. I decided to try a author who I have never read before and picked up ‘Terror’ by Dan Simmons from the library.

It was a great read and kept me awake at night trying to finish it.

It is a fictional account of the ill fated John Franklin expedition with paranormal creature thrown in with good effect. The protaganist is Francis Crozier, the captain of Terror. It deals with how the captain and the crew deal with the arctic winter and a paranormal beast intent on killing them while being ‘ice locked’ in the farthest reaches of the planet. The characters are well sketched and the plot is well-researched.

The tome is 200 pages too long but one does not mind it as the speed of unfolding events is maintained. Some people have had a problem with the ending and it did seem a bit lame or incomplete. However, for me, the journey was enjoyable enough that the ending did not affect the fun I had reading this one.  

Planning to pick up ‘Drood’ by the same author next.

Have a Great Weekend!

Categories: Uncategorized

I bow humbly to the genius of John Steinbeck!

Finished reading two books this week.

1. No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy

2. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

‘No Country for Old Men’ is one of my all time favorite movies. To my surprise, the book was similarly entertaining as well – The movie was an excellent representation of the book and captured the intensity of the book superbly. I think this is one of the rare book-movie combination which makes the experience of that title whole. This was my first McCarthy novel and I hope to read some of his other works soon.

On Grapes of Wrath, I can only say that I am overawed and humbled by the experience. Once in a while, one comes across a talent that strengthens one’s belief in a source of power that external to this mortal world. Steinbeck did that for me. It left me a different person at the end of it.

The plot is simple in that it descibes the journey of a family in search of work and sustenance during the Great Depression. The writing however is anything but ordinary. It takes hold of you from the beginning and never lets you go. It touches you deeply. The experiences of the family jump out of the book and stay with you as if one is experiencing them in real life. The essay chapters in between the plot which describe the general situation during that period are a classic by themselves.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will  be reading everything that Steinbeck has written in the near future. This one goes into the ‘must read’ book list for my children when they grow up.

Have a Great Sunday!!!

Categories: John Steinbeck

Word-Alchemy

When you sit outdoors at night and gaze at the open sky, ponder this –

“The stars are close and dear and I have joined the brotherhood of the worlds. And everything’s holy – everything, even me”

Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

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