Friday, July 18, 2014

Recent Books on My Shelf #12

I was planning to read a lot and write a few book reviews and schedule few posts before my baby's arrival. Right now, the way things are going I am not sure how much I will be accomplishing. It is more about how much I want to accomplish.

Nevertheless I don't want to leave this blog unattended when I am in a reading spree where I am reading the best books that I can procure, though mostly on my mobile.

So here goes one of those long pending posts. I have been concentrating on posting reviews for my netgalley ARCs so that I can get approval for those books that I really really want to read. Yes, if you don't know - Netgalley always emphasis on keeping a good feedback to approval ratio to get more books to read. The recommended ratio is around 80% and mine has been around 50-60% depending on the no of feedbacks/no of approvals that happens on a given day...

Now if you are a serious book reviewer, you may start thinking that I am too late to read 'The Sense of an Ending' by Julian Barnes. This is the winner of Man Booker Prize 2011. Guess there needs a lot to be told about this awesome book. So let me keep my thoughts for a review post.

I have just read a couple of pages of  'The Hungry Tide' and right now I am keeping my expectations high on this one.

Bossy Pants by Tina Fey has found a place in the New York Best Seller List for weeks and this won the Goodreads Award for Humor 2011. I am half way through this book and find it funny though I cannot yet understand the hype around it. I attribute this to the fact that I have never seen Saturday Night Live ever in my life :)

These two last books are Christian or rather specifically Catholic non-fiction books. The book about Exorcism is truly scary and it talks about Father Amorth's personal experiences as an exorcism. I agree that though Catholic church does not deny the need for exorcism, there was always a silence about the same.

Among Friends is about Father Jim Sichko and his personal experiences as a Catholic priest. This is an interesting book where the Father is quite honest about his love of God and also his life as a priest.

I hope to write reviews for at least few of these books in the coming days !!!

Note: Scheduled post :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Wishlist #2

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey has received both positive and negative reviews across the globe. But considering the number of good reviews, this book has a place in my wishlist. But then there is no guarantee that I will ever read this book,  but will surely look out to read this one..whenever possible - may be days, months or years later :)
How do you solve a crime when you can’t remember the clues?

Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Back home she finds the place horribly unrecognizable – just like she sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger.
But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.
Everyone, except Maud . . .

Have you read this? 


Monday, July 7, 2014

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - Review


Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.
 Yet another WWII story, but then so different. This is up close and personal and mostly about Marie Laure and her restricted life during World War II. There is not much violence in this book, but still this is one of the most heart breaking stories about the World War II. A blind girl who tries to survive in a world and time when your survival actually requires more than 5 senses..the girl who was forced to survive alone in a big house because all those people who are supposed to take care of her are no longer with her..

This book is a very beautiful one and deserves all the attention that it has received till date and I will not be surprised if this was made into a movie very soon. Werner's character may be the one to watch out here. How he evolves from the orphan to the German officer he becomes. Also how he adapts psychologically to all the violence around him, but how he cannot face his sister Jutta because he is sure that she can see through all those defenses that he has built up during his Germany military career and then later how he tries to redeem himself after his encounter with Marie.

He says,"You are very brave." She lowers the bucket. "What is your name?" He tells her. She says,"When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don't you do the same?" 

 I loved the above quote which is a part of the brief conversation between Werner and Marie. Their encounter even though very brief leaves a lasting impression on both of them, one of the most beautiful part of the entire book. Frederick who goes to military school with Werner, Marie's great uncle and his house keeper, Jutta etc are the other strong characters in this story.
 'All The Light We Cannot See' is a book to be relished for Marie's innocence and courage in the difficult times. It is the story of overcoming your limitations in whichever way it is possible.

Rating: 4.5/5
Publisher: Scribner
First Release: May 2014

Note: I received a digital galley of this book from the publisher through netgalley in return for my honest review.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese - Review

When Abraham Verghese, a physician whose marriage is unraveling, relocates to El Paso, Texas, he hopes to make a fresh start as a staff member at the county hospital. There he meets David Smith, a medical student recovering from drug addition, and the two men begin a tennis ritual that allows them to shed their inhibitions and find security in the sport they love and with each other. This friendship between doctor and intern grows increasingly rich and complex, more intimate than two men usually allow. And just when it seems nothing more can go wrong, the dark beast from David's past emerges once again. As David spirals out of control, almost everything Verghese has come to trust and believe in is threatened. Compassionate and moving, The Tennis Partner is a unforgettable, illuminating story of how men live, and how they survive.
~Synopsis from Goodreads

Cutting for Stone was a masterpiece by Abraham Verghese that I just had to know what other kind of stories can he write and that is how I ended up picking 'The Tennis Partner'.  I knew two things about the book. First it was a non-fiction and secondly it was very likely that I will be disappointed; which happens very often when you pick up a book with a lot of expectations.

I have mixed feelings about this book fulfilling my expectations. First of all this is a non-fiction and second reason is that this book is about a real life person whose life was closely intertwined with the author's life for a short period. So the narration is one-dimensional which may make the reader unaware of other aspects of the story.

When you start reading this book, Dr Abraham narrates his encounter with the intern David and how David was once a professional tennis player before turning to medicine, you start wondering if this book is all  about Dr's obsession with tennis and his adoration for a person who can do better than him in tennis...and yes, there was a lot of tennis jargon which I decided to skip…But later he slowly reveals the reason for the title of the book because the rest of the book is truly dedicated to David.

This book is a journey of revelation  as the doctor learns lots of new things about David which mostly left him speechless. Somehow Dr wants to consider David as someone far above him especially considering his mastery over tennis, but he painfully realizes that David is nothing like what he thought him to be...David is a recovering drug addict who can have a relapse any time...This true makes a lot of impact on Abraham and the reader also feels the same.

'The Tennis Partner' is a book to be read with an open mind though you may wonder how open the author himself was, but then you also realize that it takes a lot of courage from the author to reveal his thoughts and actions and leave them open for public scrutiny in a sensitive situation like this.

Abraham Verghese has clearly made his point across to his readers that no doctor is a superior human being and they may have their own flaws which may be disguised under their white coats. I am not sure what was his exact motive for writing this book other than a memoir about a person who played a significant part during a short period of his life.

Recommended for people who can take some tennis as well as medical jargon.

Rating: 4/5
Publisher: Harper Perennial
First Release: 1998
Source: Justbooks Library

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