Tag Archives: literature

2015 in Books.

37 books in a year. Probably a personal best. Thanks, Brunch

  1. Elanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell
  2. It’s a YA novel about two misfits, who like any YA protagonists, find love. It’s a brilliant book that deals with many issues. I’d rate it 8/10.
    What worked- The plot, the characters, the way conflict has been handled.
    What didn’t work- The narrative (I’m not a fan of changing POVs)
    Crying: 😭

  3. The Psychology of Terrorism, John Horgan
  4. I read it around the time of the attacks in Peshawar and the Je Suis Charlie movement, and the happenings made a lot more sense to me. I’d rate it 8/10.
    What worked- The compelling theories, the scope.
    What didn’t work- The structure of the book
    Crying: 😐

  5. The Long Silence, Shashi Deshpande
  6. It’s a beautiful book about what it means to be a woman in a man’s city- about resilience and humanity. I’d rate it 7/10
    What worked- The raw honesty, and the characters.
    What didn’t work- The negativity.
    Crying: 😐

  7. The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism, Rex Hudson
  8. Again, this was read around the aforementioned attacks. I’d rate it 8.5/10
    What worked- The case studies, the non-discriminantly explained theories.
    What didn’t work- The narrative, the technique.
    Crying: 😐

  9. A Study in Scarlett, Arthur Conan Doyle
  10. The first story introducing Sherlock Holmes. Rating: 9/10
    What worked: The suspense, the mystery, and the unveiling of the crime.
    What didn’t work- The narrative, the fact that I’ve already read it- the original as well as versions of it.
    Crying: 😐

  11. The Lucifer Effect, Philip Zimbardo
  12. This book details The Stanford Prison Experiment and uses the findings to explain what was seen at the Abu Gharib Prison, where the author was an expert witness. Rating: 9/10
    What worked: The details, the writing style, the techniques.
    What didn’t work: the negativity.
    Crying: 🙁 (It was awesome and overwhelming)

  13. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
  14. A set of short stories surrounding diasporic themes. Rating: 8/10.
    What worked: The narratives, how I could identify with most of the conflicts, the variety.
    What didn’t work: The pace of some of the stories.
    Crying: 😐

  15. The Parrot who Wouldn’t talk and other stories, Ruskin Bond
  16. Another set of short stories, which I found lying about my store cupboard.
    Rating: 6/10
    What worked: The writing style
    What didn’t work: It was a children’s book, so although I shouldn’t say it, it was too childish.
    Crying: 😐

  17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
  18. Well. 😛
    Crying: 😥

  19. The Palace of Illusions, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.
  20. It’s a retelling of The Mahabharata (an Indian mythological epic ) through the eyes of Panchali. Rating: 9/10
    What worked: The POV, the writing style, the characters.
    What didn’t work- At some parts, it got too preachy.
    Crying: 😟

  21. The Duff, Kody Keplinger
  22. Another YA tale about two seemingly misfit teens. This book is so much better than the movie, though!
    Rating: 7/10
    What worked- I could identify, the plot
    What didn’t work- The conflicts, the characters.
    Crying: 😖

  23. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
  24. A 17 year old ‘heroine in training’ who loves Gothic novels and loves the idea of drama.
    Rating: 7/10
    What worked: Typically Austen.
    What didn’t work: Typically Austen.
    Crying: 😐

  25. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  26. Scarlett O’Hara and her struggle to survive and the will to live is what stood out for me.
    Rating: 8/10
    What I loved: The storyline, the way I could feel what the author wanted me to feel
    What I didn’t like: Scarlett is so annoying. Rhett is so frustrating. “I will think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day”
    Crying: 😐

  27. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
  28. So much more than a World War I love story.
    Rating: 7/10
    What worked: It had the effect it was intended to have.
    What didn’t work: I’m not a fan of the cold way Hemingway writes.
    Crying: 😐

  29. All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven
  30. It’s a story about a popular girl questioning her life and a not-so-popular boy struggling for it.
    Rating: 9/10
    What worked: I loved the character development, and how the protagonists interacted with each other
    What didn’t work: Sometimes, it felt like the characters were caricatures of themselves/what they’re supposed to represent.
    Crying: 😭

  31. Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh
  32. It’s a brilliant! I read it mainly because it is one of my favourite blogs on the Internet.
    Rating: 10/10
    What worked: Everything!
    What didn’t work: It got over.
    Crying: 😕

  33. Is Everyone Hanging out without me?, Mindy Kaling
  34. It’s a hilarious collection of essays by the amazing Mindy Kaling.
    Rating: 9/10
    What worked: Her sense of humor, the stories she shared
    What didn’t work: Had to follow Hyperbole and a half.
    Crying:😐

  35. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, Bernie Su.
  36. Adapted by the creators of The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, this is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in San Francisco.
    Rating: 8/10
    What worked: The form, the plot, the adaptation, the minor changes new to the book.
    What didn’t work: The chemistry wasn’t as sparkling as the web series.
    Crying:😐

  37. Mr Darcy’s Diary, Amanda Grange.
  38. A fanfiction-esque diary of Darcy.
    Rating: 9/10
    What worked: Enough Darcy to last for a while.
    What didn’t work: It felt like an adaptation- a bit too forced.
    Crying:😐

  39. A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
  40. In my defence, I’m updated on the TV series (because it’s less time consuming, okay?)
    Rating: 7/10
    What worked: The writing style stood out for me
    What didn’t work: Because I already knew what was going to happen, it was frustrating to see the characters make those mistakes that lead up to their death.
    Crying:😐

  41. Royal Wedding (Princess Diaries #11), Meg Cabot
  42. The 11th book in the Princess Diaries series follows Mia aged 28.
    Rating: 8/10
    What worked: Pop culture references, and the usual thing that works for Princess Diaries. “Leia and Luke.”
    What didn’t work: Not enough Michael Moscovitz. It wasn’t as good as the previous books, maybe because Mia has more adult issues
    Crying: 😐

  43. I am Malala, Malala Yousufzai
  44. This book changed my perspective on what’s important in life, and how blinded I was to the world outside.
    Rating: 10/10
    What worked: Everything
    What didn’t work: It was a pretty difficult read, emotionally. But so worth it
    Crying:😟

  45. A Clash of Kings, George R R Martin
  46. Book #2, A Song of Ice and Fire.
    Rating: 7/10
    What worked and didn’t work: The same as that for GoT.
    Crying:😐

  47. Girl Online, Zoe Sugg
  48. An anonymous blogger (goes by the name Girl Online) who meets a mystery boy when her family takes a workation to NYC.
    Rating: 7/10
    What works: Full of Pop Culture references, “Wiki”, Penny’s brother is a cutie, Brooklyn Boy.
    What doesn’t: The plot is kind of predictable.
    Crying:😟

  49. A Night to Remember, Walter Lord (Audio)
  50. I heard this is the audio book format
    Rating: 8/10.
    What worked: The speed, the technique, the picturesque writing
    What didn’t work: I’m not the biggest fan of audio books, as I learnt.
    Crying: 😐

  51. Seriously… I’m Kidding, Ellen Degeneres
  52. It’s by Ellen, okay?
    Rating: 10/10
    What worked: It’s beyond hilarious!
    What didn’t work: My parents woke up because I was laughing too hard.
    Crying: 😂😂😂

  53. Howl and Other Poems, Allen Ginsberg
  54. I’d been wanting to read it for a couple of years now. And I don’t think there was a better time to read it than at night, when everyone around me was asleep
    Rating: 8/10
    What worked: The rawness of Ginsberg’s voice, the hard hitting roughness
    What didn’t work: Didn’t understand some of the references.
    Crying: 😐

  55. Princess in Love, Meg Cabot
  56. The third installment of Princess Diaries, read because I needed more Michael Moscovitz.
    Rating: 8/10
    What worked: What usually works for Princess Diaries. Also, Michael!
    What didn’t work: He loves you, Mia! Good lord, young lady.
    Crying:😐

  57. Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding
  58. Another reinterpretation of Pride and Prejudice.
    Rating: 6/10
    What worked; The familiarity of the story, the format
    What didn’t work: The style of writing.
    Crying:😐

  59. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  60. Again, well. 😛
    Rating: 9/10
    What worked: The POV, the plotline, the character growth.
    What didn’t work: A little less hedonistic pleasure while reading
    Crying:😕

  61. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K.Rowling
  62. WHY DID RON AND HARRY COMPLAIN ABOUT HOMEWORK???
    Rating: 10/10
    What I liked: The hilarious notes
    What I didn’t: The wait for the movie!
    Crying:😟 (cuz I’m not a witch)

  63. Ravan and Eddie, Kiran Nagarkar
  64. This is about two young boys living in a chawl in Bombay, whose fates are intertwined in ways we cannot even imagine.
    Rating: 7/10
    What I liked: The novelty. The raw truth. The writing style.
    What I didn’t like: The plot kept stretching for a bit.
    Crying: 😐

  65. The Color of Our Sky, Amita Trasi
  66. Two girls who are as different as you can be, are each other’s strength and reason to live years after tragedy hits them.
    Rating: 9/10
    What I like: The narration, the plot line, the character development
    What I didn’t like: Some of the characters annoyed me at some point. But they were supposed to. Like you’re supposed to hate Umbrige.
    Crying: 😢

  67. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
  68. Been meaning to read this for years! It’s about being on the road, d’uh. But it’s SO MUCH MORE.
    Rating: 8/10
    What I liked: Kerouac spoke to my caged bird soul
    What I didn’t like: I want breaks in books, okay? Also, I thought it would be my new favourite book. But it wasn’t.
    Crying:😐

  69. Girl On Tour, Zoe Sugg
  70. It’s a sequel. Had to read, obs.
    Rating: 6/10
    What I liked: YA! *spoiler* Wiki being happy, finally. *end of spoiler*
    What I didn’t like: Less Brooklyn Boy. Too predictable.
    Crying:😐

  71. A Work in Progress, Connor Franta
  72. It’s fantastic, it’s a memoir, and I got all the feels. Connor, I really wish I were a guy, and then Troye, you, and I could be gay together.
    Rating: 10/10
    What I liked: He was so honest, and open, and just awesome! The book was aesthetically pleasing, and looked like his Instagram account. Is there anything this boy can’t do?
    What I didn’t like: It got over. Also, within 2 weeks of me finishing the book, he announced the hardcover version. I’m broke, OK?
    Crying:😢 (Because I’m SO PROUD)

  73. Love and Misadventures, Lang Laev
  74. Lang Laev is BRILLIANT. I have to thank my friends for this one. They gifted this for my birthday!
    Rating: 10/10
    What I liked: Everything. Every poem. Aaaa.
    What I didn’t like: Nothing. Seriously. She deserves much more recognition than she already does.
    Crying:😥 (Because so beautiful)

  75. Oedipus the King, Sophocles.
  76. Oedipus. As a Psych and a Literature student, I HAD to read it.
    Rating: 6/10
    What I liked: Well, the plot was quite nice. And a little creepy, but nice.
    What I didn’t like: Not my cup of tea.
    Crying: 😐

Obviously, my PERSONAL ideas. Nothing more. Not even reviews. Just what I thought about the books.
Crying scale (from least to most): 😐🙁😟😖😢😥😭
I’ve obviously been writing this since end of December.😂
Also, now I have a poetry blog on Tumblr. You may want to check it out? Here. Please do. 🙂

Twitter: @WallflowerBlack


Begining of the End

On what Khushwant Singh’s death makes me painfully aware of, and what his writing has taught me.

It’s begining. Slowly.
You read some works as you were growing up, but most of them were Dead White Europeans, who were considered classic writers-Shakespeare, Austen, and the like. But you knew they are long dead and gone.
Slowly, you get to know contemporary writers. You read for pleasure. You read for broader vision. And slowly you get acquainted about contemporary writers. And somehow, they change you. They stir your soul, because it’s exactly your world they write about.
John Green, not so much about cancer, but resonance to being a nerdy teenager with exploding fangirl.
JKR because growing up.
Suzanne Collins because we all have a revolutionary within us.

It was after a particularly challenging exam, that I sat on the internet before I saw a friend’s post about how much he meant to her. And my heart skipped a beat. How can it be?
A quick Google Search sufficed. It was clearly written in blue bold. Khushwant Singh, aged 99, dies.
Suddenly, I feel helpless and empty. A pit in my stomach. My throat aches, and I want to cry. But I don’t.

Khushwant Singh is not my favorite author. But he has inspired me. Perhaps one of the only writers of realism that I truly admire. I had planned to read A train to Pakistan for a long time, but when it was put on the reading lists for Partition writers, I was overjoyed. Between Manto and him, I had to choose, and I chose him. And I am glad I did.

Train to Pakistan was easily a brilliant read. His usage of symbolism was as brilliant as his critique on what freedom meant to the poor-nothing. They were to be treated in the same way by Indians as they were by the Raj. They could live on without knowing that India gained Independence. And it was true.

I wouldn’t say Train to Pakistan is my favorite book, or Khushwant Singh my favorite writer. But I would say it opened my eyes into what I wouldn’t have thought of. While the horrors of Partition has been brilliantly chronicled  through photographs and history text book essays, nothing I have ever read made me think of the hypocrisy in the system- a mere passing down of power from one race to another, from one Empire to another. The people still remain.
What Langston Hughes said about the African Americans stands true for marginalized Indians too-

The free?

Who said the free?
Not me? Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike? The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

Because freedom was not freedom to those who toiled and made the country what it is today. And that is what Singh taught me.

And his death? It is making me realize how these authors, who I long to meet, might die too. I have become aware of the fact that slowly each of my favourite authors will die, leaving behind a legacy, and the memories of my childhood would be all that remains. And I can picture this-
I am in a car, and it is raining, returning home from work. The radio plays my favourite songs, and suddenly a news is broadcast- that one of my favourite authors have demised. I stop the car, and let my tears get intermingled with the falling rain, a testimony to the brilliance of this dead author, that as in the books they have written, the Universe chose pathetic fallacy to mourn for their death, as they had for our favourite characters.
And I would be, as millions of others, inconsolable.

And as to Khushwant Singh, I only hope he stays timeless, as he deserves to be: A reminder that our ancestors are very much responsible for violence and destruction, unlike what they portray it to be- We were better than you.
And may the horrors of history serve as a warning for the fallacy of humanity we like to wear on our sleeves.
May he stay a legend, and rest in peace.


At Lunch in Les Deux Magots

At Lunch in Les Deux Magots
By Lorna Goodison 

(From: Oracabessa.)

  For John Edward

Richard Wright and James Baldwin
ate in this very celebrated Paris café
where you and I my dearly beloved

hold these sidewalk streets in the sun
and order salads of spring greens;
tart leaves tonic our wintered mouths.

Here Richard bought a meal for James:
croque madame or croque monsieur
(Gallic cheese toast with ham or without)

Jimmy ate, and later he may even have –
here or elsewhere – sipped absinthe,
one cannot imagine that he did not;

he of the gorgeous frog prince profile
Toulouse-Lautrec would have fixed
on a poster in the age of belle époque.

Wright helped Baldwin to find a room
with room to wield the pen he used
to stab up the reputation of the older man

in an age-old pagan rite that demands
the son is duty bound to slay the father.
One rough business this writing life.

But love; this is Paris in late springtime,
the right season for ripe lovers like us.
Let us drink to the passing of old gods.

The Guardian’s Poem of the week. I love how it’s dark and light at the same time.
And I hate how it heightens my desperation to visit Paris in Springtime.