Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Read- Part II

Central Park In New York
Attention, Deficit Disorder: Brad Listi’s Attention Deficit Disorder is a touching story about a hero who searches for an answer to his ex girlfriend’ suicide. His journey, sort of spiritual, takes him to various places from Cuba to Appalachian trial and finally to The burning Man in Nevada. The book touched a chord with me. A very good read. It reminded me of a loss that I underwent in my early days.

The Other Side Of Silence: Bill Pronzini is another novel about a hero‘s search for peace after a divorce in resolute Nevada Landscape. But his life turns into a battle for survival when he steps to help a beleaguered women’s fight for the custody of his son. A good read with a surprise ending.

Rebecca: Daphne De Maurier‘s timeless classic is my second time reading. It never failed to diminish my interest even for a moment.

Based on The Movie: Billy Taylor’s debut novel is about film making in Hollywood. A camera dolly grip is troubled by his impending divorce finds himself to assist his ex-wife’s lover in a film shooting. He has a long time ambition to direct a movie. How he sabotages him and robs the director’s chair under his nose is told in a hilarious way.The funniast book I read this year

A Tiger For Malgudi: During my college days when I started reading English fiction I didn’t have access to many books. But R.K.Narayan books are exception. The Sami and his Friends and Guide are my favorites. A Tiger for MalgudiI is his last novel before his death. The story is about a tiger and its spiritual journey. A tiger escapes from jungle but gets trapped by a Circus man. After many of its ordeal a sadu from a forest tames it and takes it back to forest. The story is told in first person by the tiger. R.K.Narayan is always famous for his humor. A little bit of Indian philosophy is there in the novel.

Andromeda Strain: We have lost Michael Crichton recently. He has written many novels which later made into successful films in Hollywood. When a re-entered satellite landed a small town in Arizona almost entire inhabitants of the town died along with the recovery team. Anticipating such alien intrusion from space during the re-entry of spacecraft, U.S. space authorities had already initiated a project called wild fire. Wild fire project is thus activated. The scientists of the project race against time in identifying the alien intruder and found a solution.

No Country for The Old Man: Cormack McCarthy’s dark and violent novel is about drug dealing went sour in a Nevada and littered with countless dead bodies. Anton Chigurh the antagonist of the novel is heartless villain. He kills the man unfortunate enough to come in his way. Often decides to spin the coin for the fate of the man that comes across. Life is just a spin of coin for him. He could be easily compared with other literary villains Hannibal Lectre and Flannery O’Conner’s Misfit.

Unaccustomed Earth: Jhumba Lahiri is a find of the author for this year to me. Her collection of short stories in Unaccustomed Earth is a treat to read. The title story, the pick of the lot, is about the loneliness that descended on the sixty year old widower and the distance his daughter felt at his visit. Her inclusion of 2006 tsunami in a climax of a story is brilliant. The underlying pathos is always evident in many of her stories. Like Somerset Maugham she has a knack in probing human relationship-be it in husband and wife, lovers or father and son. I have already finished reading her novel Namesake. She is the writer I am going to watch in future. Newyork Times has chosen The Unaccustomed Earth as one among the top ten for 2008.

Unaccustomed Earth is my best read of the year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 Read- Part I

View of New York From Hudson

After very long gap I decided to continue this blog.I start with the books I have read during this year. I read fairly good number of books. That is because I happened to spend six months in U.S. courtesy my daughter. I had access to Mid- Manhatten public library inNew York. In chennai I depend on Eloor Library and British Counsil. Hence I had very limited choice. But Mid-Manhatton is an ocean of books. I immensly enjoyed it.
I discuss about the books I have read.
Rape: Joyce Carol Oates has woven a dark story around a women and her 12 year old daughter after the trauma of gang rape. She was gang raped and her daughter is the only witness. This is the first time I am reading Joyce Carol Oates.
Memoirs of Madman; To read a classic here and then is my cherished aim. Gaustav Flaubert’s book happened that away. It is the story of 16-year-old boy entering into adulthood. So attracted by his meditative writing I bought his Madame Bovary to read at my own leisure.
The Gathering: The Man-Booker Prize winner for 2007 The Gathering is a dark psychological story. It is a difficult read. A family gathers around for a funeral. As the story progresses the dark secrets of the family is revealed
slowly. I promised to do a second reading to fully understand the style of her writing.
Die with me: Elena Forbes’ Die with Me is about a serial killer. The identity of the killer is a big surprise. It is her first novel. But she wrote like a seasoned who done it writer.
The Overlook: Michael Connelly is a popular author whose books are displayed front in any bookshop. A murder has taken place on the outskirts of Hollywood in an execution style.. The murder victim is a doctor from whose hospital some radioactive material was stolen. LAPD detective Horch Bosch is called in. But F.B.I. also has stepped in. The murder mystery is solved from the poster of Dhunar Asna interested me.
Prisoner of Birth: It is a tale of revenge told in the style of Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Perhaps the author’s prison sentence came to him handy in describing the vivid details of the prisoner’s experience. An average novel.
Eat Prey &Love: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Prey & Love is a travel book. It’s more than a travel book. After a devastating divorce and a horrid love affair turned sour, the author under takes a journey to Italy, India and Indonesia. The gourmet wonders Italy gave to her and spiritual solace she sought in an Indian Ashram and mystical healing she obtained from a medicinal man in Bali are told by the author in an absorbing style. I enjoyed it most.

Passionate Minds: David Bodanis’ Passionate Minds depict the great love affair between Voltaire and Emile de Chatlet. Voltaire one of the greatest authors of French Enlightenment is more famous for his play Candid. Bodanis portrayed the period before French Revolution. Education of women was not allowed. The study of science is strictly out of reach for women. Yet Emile equipped herself and wrote a treatise on Newton’s physics. The book tells more about love affair than about physics. The women were allowed to stay married yet can have secret lovers. Bodanis gave glimpses of French society prevailed then among aristocrats.
God of Small Things: Arundhiti Roy’s 1997 Man Booker prize winner is a tragic tale of identical twins. One woman’s lust destroyed the childhood and lives of the twins. Roy’s beautiful narration of mixing the past and the present and the exotic location of God’s own country and clever mingling of kathak performance at the end of the story made it a superb book to read.
Classics for Pleasure: Michael Dirda’s Classics For Pleasure is an enjoyable book where I came to know of the many classics that I have missed to read. Thomas Love Peacock, Sappho, George Meredith are some of them. The authors description of the agonizing betrayal and the breakup of marriage revealed in George Meredith’s ‘Modern Love” made us want to read the sonnets immediately. It’s a “guide to good reading.”
Remarkable Reads: In this book thirty four different authors speak about the remarkable books they have read. They tell us why they can be dangerous, sad lonely and mad, fragile and fearless, seductive and devastating, unpleasant and daunting. I have decided to give a second reading to both the books .
Armageddon in Retrospect Ever since I have read Slaughter house Kurt Vonngut has become my favorite author. A collection of writings on War and peace.
Kolymsky Heights: Inside the Russia’s biological weapons research centre a scientist sends a coded message to a scientist in U.S. The C.I.A. sends a Canadian Indian research scientist into extreme Siberian weather to unravel the mystery. His escape from Russia is told in a realistically believable tale. Lionel Davidson has given a superb adventure story in the style of James Bond.