Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Recent Books on My Shelf #14

These are the books that I read recently or is currently reading. There are a few more books that came my way and I would put those in a different post.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan is a book that I lapped up as soon as I could get hold of a copy. I am a fan of McEwan ever since I read his Atonement (review here) and On Chesil Beach (amazing- review here) though Amsterdam which got him a Booker Prize failed to impress me. So it was with so much excitement yet with a bit of skeptism that I picked up this one. And this did not disappoint me.

Private India by James Patterson & Ashwin Sanghi is a book that has already been reviewed. I have already talked about how this book was a disappointment in many ways considering two popular authors collaborated to create this thriller or whatever you call it.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey was a book that was featured on my wishlist. There was a lot of hype around this book which talks about Linda suffering from Alzhemier's Disease and the story of her missing sister Sukey.I loved this very much and I believe Emma Healey got this one right.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - I know I am late in reading this one  but I was kind of holding reading this one after the mixed reviews of 'The Casual Vacancy' by J K Rowling who write the Cormoran Strike series under the psuedonym Robert Galibert.

I absolutely loved this book and I am fascinated by the characters - Cormoran Strike and his new assistant Robin. I have the second book 'The Silkworm' borrowed from the library though I am yet to get the copy in my hand.

Chasing the Sun by Natalia Sylvester was a book that was lying on my Kindle app for a long time and I read it while I was in hospital after delivery. This is an ok reading about a husband dealing with his wife's kidnapping by mafia for ransom and their life after that. The story is quite good, but the end is not very convincing.

The Guardian Angels by Rohit Gore is a well written book about the friendship and life of Adi and Radha. I did find some issues with the overall plot, but otherwise it is a well written book. I need to sit down and review this one very soon.

Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a book that I plan to read soon and I don't have much idea about the book because I prefer not to read the book blurb before reading so that the whole story is a suspense from the first page.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -  This is the book that I am currently reading. I am loving this book about a girl who steals book and this story is set during the World War II. I am finding it really difficult to squeeze some time to read this one after looking after two kids. The disadvantage of having a physical book especially a bulky one is that you need two hands to support it if you plan to cause minimal damage.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes - Review

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.

Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.
~Synopsis from Goodreads

Literary Awards

Man Booker Prize (2011)
European Literature Prize (2012)
ALA Notable Book for Fiction (2012)

The Sense of an Ending is a book that I picked after I read so so many great reviews about this book. Finally I was able to find a copy through the justbooks library and devoured it before my son was born. I never got to writing down my thoughts on this one because my son decided to come few days early and then I did not get the mood to sit down and actually write about this book. I know I have to write about this book, but I am not sure what to write.

I salute all those people who were able to articulate their thoughts on this book. I am still not sure what I exactly feel about this. Just that this is a book where the destination is less important than the journey. Can I say that about this book? Actually no. The whole story is tied together in a complex way and the reader gets some sense of a closure only at the end; so does the protagonist though what he feels at that point is indescribable.

Tony Webster - the character and its imperfectness makes this story. The very ordinary life of Tony makes his thoughts very much confined. A relationship breakup from the girl he loved and betrayal of trust from a close friend may be the biggest hardships that he has faced. And when something unexpected happens in his peaceful life he does not understand anything much and his search for the mystery takes him to a different level of understanding of an incident that happened during his youth. Tony is forced to rethink and rearrange his thoughts and impressions from that point and truth could be something far from what he thought, something which may take away the peace of his mind changing his life permanently.

When I was reading this book, The Sense of an Ending made an impression on me not because of the story, but for the amazing writing. If you have the habit of bookmarking interesting quotes, you will have to highlight the whole book. Each sentence is written so beautiful, so says me who is not too keen into prose. When it ends you feel like you have read a good but not so great book. Then you start wondering about all that hype and when you give it a few minutes of thoughts, you start grasping a lot of things and your respect for Jules Barnes goes higher and higher and you finally realize why people describe this one as a masterpiece.

The Sense of an Ending is a must read if you want to read something unique, a masterpiece !!!

Highly Recommended

Rating: 4.5/5
Source: Justbooks Library
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
First Release: Jan 2011

These Came Last Week

These two books came last weekend. The Book Thief was something on my wishlist for a long time and I could not resist much longer. So an order went to flipkart and I received it days later :) So my bad luck turned out fine in the end though I am yet to get the 'Collected Works of A J Fikry'. I just hope that it is somewhere at my house.

Chronicles of a Death Foretold is something which I bought after a good recommendation from a fellow blogger. I loved 'Love in the Time of Cholera' very much  but abandoned 'One Hundred years of solitude' half way ( I know it is  a grave sin :P ), so I am little skeptical about this one.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Classics Club

As I mentioned in my previous post, I joined the Classics Club yesterday. So I will try to read and write about the 50 books listed below.

I was inspired by Nishita's page about the Classic Club, but I never gave it a serious thought until recently when I felt a serious lack in my reading. I get so absorbed reading all the latest books and ARCs that I missed a lot of great books which are available in the public domain. Joining the Classics Club may be the best solution to this situation and I think 10 books from this list every year should be pretty much possible.

Find below the list of my books and also the link to Goodreads book list so that all of you who are interested in any of these books can add them to your reading list. I have created a separate page The Classics Club for keeping track of my reading and will be linking my reviews to each of them as I progress. Please find the link to the page on the tab below the header.

Goodreads list for my Classic Club

The Classic Club Book List
  1. Angelou, Maya: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  2. Atwood, Margaret: A Handmaid’s Tale
  3. Austen, Jane: Lady Susan
  4. Bronte, Anne: Agnes Grey
  5. Bunyan, John: Pilgrim’s Progress
  6. Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Secret Garden
  7. Camus, Albert: The Plague
  8. Capote, Truman :Breakfast at Tiffany's
  9. Chesterton, G.K.:The Innocence of Father Brown
  10. Christie, Agatha: Peril at End House
  11. Conrad, Joseph: Lord Jim
  12. Dahl, Roald : Matilda
  13. Dickens, Charles : The Pickwick Papers 
  14. Dostoevesky, Fyodor: The Brothers Karamazov
  15. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The Lost World
  16. Dumas, Alexandre: The Three Musketeers
  17. George, Eliot : Middlemarch
  18. Fitzgerald, F. Scott: This Side of Paradise
  19. Flaubert, Gustav: Madame Bovary
  20. Forster, E.M.: Room With a View
  21. Golding, William: Lord of the Flies
  22. Hardy, Thomas: Far From the Madding Crowd
  23. Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter
  24. Hemingway, Ernest: The Old Man and the Sea
  25. Hesse, Hermann: Siddhartha
  26. Hugo, Victor: Les Miserables
  27. Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World
  28. Irving, John The World According to Garp
  29. Jerome, Jerome K: Three Men in a Boat
  30. Kesey, Ken: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  31. Lawrence, D.H.: Lady Chatterley’s Lover
  32. Lewis, C S : The Chronicles of Narnia
  33. London, Jack: The Call of the Wild
  34. Maugham, W. Somerset: Of Human Bondage
  35. Du Maurier, Daphne : Jamaica Inn
  36. Montgomery, L.M: The Story Girl
  37. Marquez, Gabriel Garcia: Chronicles of a Death Foretold
  38. Nabokov, Vladimir: Lolita
  39. Nesbit, E: The Railway Children
  40. Orwell, George: Animal Farm
  41. Plath, Sylvia: The Bell Jar
  42. Salinger, J.D.: The Catcher in the Rye
  43. Seth, Vikram : A Suitable Boy
  44. Steinbeck, John: East of Eden
  45. Tagore, Rabrindranath : Gitanjali
  46. Tolstoy, Leo: Anna Karenina
  47. Wallace, Lew : Ben Hur
  48. White, E B: Charlotte's Web
  49. Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray
  50. Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

What do you guys think of these books? Can you all let me know how many of them have you read? 

I know there are several great authors and great books that are not included in this list. There are two reasons for that. First - I wanted to try to read 50 different authors and secondly I wanted to read a few not commonly read books :)

Let me know if this post has inspired you to give some attention to the classics.

For more details about the Classics Club - 
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