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Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Stories

That’s okay; we’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.
                                                                                                  -The Doctor, “The Big Bang”

I love that quote from Doctor Who. Its perfect. We are all a sum of our stories. I figure, as long as you’ve got good stories to tell, you’ve lived well. So, I thought that we could tell you some of our stories here, kind of a record ( I love those!). I’ve got one for you today that I don’t think even Fuzzy and BWC know about.

In the holidays between class 12 and college, I had this phase where I really, really wanted to write something. So, I have all these files with half-written journals and stories and prompts and things like that. When I was little, I always dreamed of being this, intellectual, brilliant woman who sat by her window and wrote all her profound thoughts in a little notebook that people would read for years. Oh, and her handwriting was amazing, all scripty and flowing. That probably stemmed from the fact that my writing was abysmal during this period. It was AWFUL. None of the letters were the same size and if, god forbid,  I ever managed to write in a straight line, I was the happiest little girl in the world! Anyway, here’s an example of one of those abandoned stories. Its not brilliant or profound (It was in a file titled ‘Socks’) but, its something I did once and I want to remember it.

She sat the edge of her bed wearing her “cleaning clothes” that consisted of her baggiest, oldest t-shirt with some obscure band’s name on the front and her most comfortable, worn-in shorts. She had a scarf tied around her face, covering her nose and mouth. A necessary precaution seeing as how her allergies absolutely loved acting up at the slightest hint of dust. It was more probable that this would happen now when she had a big presentation to give at work tomorrow and couldn’t afford to sneeze her way through it.
You see, the Universe had a great track record when it came to messing with her. Cases in point; Pimples appearing in strategic locations as close as single nights before important events; her school Farewell, her first day at College; getting chicken pox the week of her annual exams and so on.She couldn’t take any risks.
 The “cleaning clothes” were reluctantly donned that gorgeous Sunday morning on account of the fact that she had absolutely run out of space to store all her junk in her extremely ‘compact’ (read small) 1BHK apartment.
She was a hoarder, no doubt about it. She kept everything, from sentimental gifts to tourist maps of places she’d vacationed in. Cleaning was an ordeal because figuring out what to keep and what to throw away was extremely difficult for her.

As she sat sorting through yet another cardboard box filled with extremely random things, she found a pair of blue socks. They were a light blue with two dark blue stripes. They had lost their color and looked like they had been worn a lot. One of them even had a hole where the pinky was supposed to be.

She didn’t throw the socks immediately into her two piles of ‘Keep’ and ‘Throw away’, which were slowly merging together anyway, but stared at them for a bit, trying to understand what a pair of socks, not one sock, that would have been normal, but an entire pair, carefully rolled up (she never rolled up her socks!) was doing in a box, which among other things also contained a comb with missing teeth, a half finished scrap book of a vacation and a door knob.

She turned it around in her hand, still trying to remember these socks and why she had felt the need to keep them. As she did this, she felt something in the sock that was not quite sock-like. She unrolled them and poured the contents of the socks on the bed. She now had, a crumpled piece of notebook paper and, of course, the other sock spread out on her bed.

Ha! I read it now and I realize that there’s a lot of ‘me’ in it. Its like that thing I read about once, that if you take a picture of someone, you take a bit of their soul as well. I guess I should write more, if I want to remember this version of me. So, yeah, I’m going to end with another promise to write more and hopefully I can keep it this time.

PS: I’m feeling sentimental today, so sue me.

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 I just heard in the news today that the new TN CM plans to covert this amazing library into a hospital.

For once, Chennai has a library that it can be proud of. Having visited it a few times, I must say I absolutely love it. If only they opened the borrowing of books, I would love it even more. It was just a gorgeous library, something I’m sure everyone will agree if they see the building at Kottupuram. And it’s ambiance is quite good for reading and the stock of books they have right now is considerably so much better than the run-of-the-mill second-hand libraries that exist around the city.

This move of hers is insane! I mean, first she decides to ‘move’ the exclusively constructed Secretariat back to old Fort St. George, and now this! Absurd!

Personal vendetta or even political for that matter, should not affect the people. And besides, think of how many students will be affected by this. It’s not just novels; it has a host of good subject books as well. This is equivalent to interfering with education. How on earth will our state develop if each new governmental reign sets out to undo what the previous one did? Why not leave the existing and seek to improve? We are quite happy with this current arrangement of libraries, fine thank you.  She said and I quote from here :  “It is noteworthy that such a kind of a super speciality paediatric hospital has not been established anywhere in India so far.”

I should like to point out that the library is quite noteworthy in itself and Chennai’s first ever decent library that is quite accessible as well. Yes, a hospital is important, I agree. But why not find a new site for that? This library is placed in a quite strategic location and why take pains in clearing and recreating only to create confusion later on? Who’s to guarantee that books will not be mishandled/misplaced in this whole process?

 

Dear woman, please let us use this library and fix the price for book borrowing and subscription and all that.

(And I believe I have the right to vote.)

(For more info : Clicktey and clickety)

Now that that rant is over, you may gasp at the fact that I watched the news.

And in other news, exams. Blerrgh.

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I am, now.

Everyone’s talking about Kindle now. I have to agree, Kindle Fire does look pretty awesome. Plus, it know exactly what it wants to be. Not some oversized phone that can do ‘oh-so-many-things’. Kindle Fire is the real tablet.

Plus, the name! I mean, obviously, Kindle Fire is such a well-thought name! XD

But, no I won’t buy the Kindle Fire even if I were given a gift card for it. (This because, I prefer the EInk screen. I don’t want to kill tire my eyes.)

Ever since I read about e-book reader and Kindle, I was sticking, quite vehemently, that normal books are far,far better than these imitations. And I still agree to it. I mean, nothing can replace the texture of paper between your fingers as you laze in your favourite chair (mine, being orange). And there’s the smell of new books and old, something Kindle can never become. Forget the economic/ecological impacts for a moment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could just live with books for ever?

But then, recently, I saw the Kindle and it’s E-Ink. And it’s freaking good. It doesn’t strain my eyes like a normal computer screen. My eyes tend to water if I read from a screen too long. I’ve found myself reading a lot of books on the internets and as PDFs, and that’s when I began to realize the usefulness of the little Kindle. It’s light, easy on the eyes, plus load of books for free. The positives are there, solid and unyielding. And since I travel for an hour and half at least to college, this will be a lot less heavier than the usual books I carry. And maybe, my bag won’t be so heavy then.

So, why not live with both, right? A compromise. While paper-books continue to keep me captivated, e-books will start to feature a lot more in my little library.

I probably will buy the Kindle Touch. Seems like a mighty good option. As for Nook, well it has it’s own little nook. I don’t know much about it, but hey if it’s good, well, good then.

So, if you haven’t converted yet, DO.IT.NOW.

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When I first saw this book at the store, I was hesitant to buy it. Because I had this (god knows from where) idea that Amitav Ghosh is one of those prolific, eltistic writers. And also, because I thought his writings wouldn’t have a ‘story’. After The Calcutta Chromosome, I probably will pick another of his books sometime.

The tagline – A novel of Fevers, Delirium and Discovery sets the genre for this. A chaotic (yet interestingly good) mix of science fiction with supernatural and medieval components and medical history. So this book, is set in the future, the present and the past, and is done so in a wonderfully connected way. But, in the beginning, I did find the jumping of timelines very confusing. And I had to go back a couple of pages to link things in my head. What’s brilliant is that he manages to put out ‘clues’ to what the book is about, right from the very beginning, but you never catch it because – hey! It’s the beginning! I guess, when you read the second time, it’ll all dawn upon you.

I like that he didn’t go into this detail-ridden future, which makes it a lot more believable. The cult of people with advanced scientific ability and the whole ‘switching’ phenomenon is, although very strange, pretty well written. My main quip about this is that Ghosh tries to creatively hide details and sometimes, frustrates me. But his writing and the vocabulary are brilliant. They not only sound good, but describe the temperament and scene very well.

As for one of the MCs, Murugan, he seemed to be flaky, in the sense, his character seemed to wobble here and there.

True, it’s written beautifully, but I would say that it didn’t captivate me altogether. It was like it reached a high-point on  a bell curve and then fell sort of flat. It’s interesting yes, good, maybe. One of those books you love/hate, over time. The concept of transmigration is very interesting. Makes one wonder.

I would recommend it, only if you’d like something different, fast, yet it falls short. Don’t read with high expectations and you might like it. (Which is probably why I enjoyed it).
Rating : 3/5

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  • Reading this:

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W.Gortner

This book is brilliant so far!

Bookmark


“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
— C.S. Lewis

Close-Up


Random Quilled Rose

Quilling is interesting! I love how everything looks so much more whimsical because of the swirlys and I’ve discovered that paper glued down on its side is surprisingly stable. I shall try something more ambitious when I get back home (I’m on vacation at the moment!).

More Random Quilled Rose

Well, that’s all for now. I shall post more when I return.

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So, you should have figured out by now that the three of us are into books.  

Anyway, when I was little there was just one decent library around my area and the one I faithfully went to every fortnight to fill my bag with books.  It was a tiny room, with rows of steel shelves painted a murky green. And it had tons of books with that yummy musty smell. It was there that I started with Enid Blyton and comics, accidentally found The Chalet School, Nancy Drew The Three Investigators, Hardy Boys and loads others. But then, being the teeny cramped space that it is, they only had a lending system. Which is wonderful. And it’s a joy to head there even now, even though it may be filled with the books that I possibly won’t read there’ll always be that bunch of odd books lying around that you will pick up and devour.

The day before yesterday, I went to the Anna Centenary Library, a new schmancy looking building. And well, I wasn’t sure what it would be like on the inside, so I had my doubts.

And with my brother and little cousin tagging along, we entered the kids section. And I would’ve totally squeed if it weren’t for the fact that I was the oldest “kid” there. The books were gorgeous and I wish I had books like those when I was a kid. Plus, they have cute colourful chairs and a tree to sit under! Yes, a tree! (albeit, a plastic one) The plush green carpets are a good substitute for grass.

And climb up a couple of floors and it’s the English novels section. I was grinning like the 10-year-old in me, tilting my head to look at the titles and amazed at the sheer amount and space! Plus, they had the cushioned black soft chairs that lean back and a personal light on a table to sit and read. And since most of those chairs are next to the window, you can look outside every once in a while to make sure it isn’t dark and you must return home. Day made? Totally!

Well, the only thing that bothers me is their organization of books. I would love it if they had a genre first, then authors’ names classification unlike now where it’s only authors’ names and it’s sort of haphazard.  But oh well! This still is a wonderful place to sit and enjoy. There’s also a coffee shop being built in there.

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Words

Hello. So, last night, while I was wandering the vast reaches of the internet, I found this amazing website, Wordle. You basically type/paste in a bunch of text and it will create a sort of word cloud type thing, with the sizes of the words based on the frequency with which they appear in the text. You can specify the font, colours and the orientation of the words. It will even remove the most commonly used English words, so you don’t end up with a giant ‘the’ or ‘and’. I pasted in this post that I wrote a couple of weeks ago about books and reading and stuff, and this is what came out;

Obviously, the big words are ‘books’ and ‘read’, but I love how some words just go together, like ‘first memories’ and ‘remember old’. Its nice. I like it. It shall maybe go up on my wall now.

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I know I’m late. But here it is!

1. Favorite childhood book?
The Five Find-Outers, The Faraway Tree Stories. Enid Blyton was genius.

2. What are you reading right now?

The Shining, by Stephen King. I wanted to see what a ‘scary’ book is like. Also; Joey read it.

3. Bad book habit?

Reading the very last line of a book.

4. Do you have an e-reader?

Nope. Don’t think I’ll get one either. The feel and smell of actual pages can’t really be replaced for me.

5. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?

One at a time. I might read parts of my favorite books though.

6. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

Only in number I guess, after the HBC, and I occasionally review books now.

7. Least favorite book you read this year (so far)?

I haven’t really hated anything. But, possibly The Man Who Was Thursday, By G.K.Chesterton. I get what he was going for, but it still didn’t really work for me.

8. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

I’m indecisive. So, Looking For Alaska/Far From The Madding Crowd/The Anthologist/What I Was.

9. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

Sometimes. I should do it more though.

10. What is your reading comfort zone?

Literary Fiction, Classics (For lack of a better word) and some Fantasy/Sci-Fi.

11. Can you read on the bus?

I’m not really on a bus much. But in the car or on the train, Yes.

12. Favorite place to read?

On my bed leaning on a giant pile of pillows or tucked into a corner on my couch.

13. What is your policy on book lending?

I used to lend books out a lot of people, mainly because I’d want to get them into reading or a particular book. But, people just stopped returning them and it got so annoying because they just didn’t get how important those books were to me. So, now, I only lend to people who will return them, and not dog-ear the pages or bend the spine.

14. Do you ever dog-ear books?

Nope. Textbooks, occasionally.

15. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

Nope.

16. Not even with text books?

Sometimes.

17. What is your favorite language to read in?

English. Its the only language I’m completely fluent in.

18. What makes you love a book?

Language/Voice,Characters, Plot. In that order.

19. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

If  I enjoyed it enough.

20. Favorite genre?

Don’t really have one.Whatever I’m obsessed with at the moment.

21. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

Poetry, Studies on human behavior and society, Psychology. Non-Fiction, basically.

22. Favorite biography?

Haven’t really read any. Unless, Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl count. In which case, those two. They were brilliant.

23. Have you ever read a self-help book?

Chicken Soup(Not all the way.). Just to see what it was about. Never read another one.

24. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?

None so far.

25. Favorite reading snack?

Chocolate, A cup of tea (Yeah, Yeah, not a snack, but whatever). But not black tea. Masala Chai, that my mum makes.

26. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

27. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

I only read the excerpts on the covers of the books and agree with them most of the time.

28. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

If the was terrible, I don’t mind telling everyone about it.

29. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

Russian probably. Maybe Japanese.

30. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

I’m not sure…

31. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?

War and Peace.

32. Favorite Poet?

Robert Frost, W.H. Auden, Shakespeare, Shelley, Silverstein.

33. Favorite fictional character?

Howard Roark, Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennett, Emma Woodhouse, Yuri Zhivago, Sherlock Holmes, Artemis Fowl, Frederick Algernon Trotteville (Fatty!), Alaska Young, so many!!

34. Favorite fictional villain?

Voldemort, Big Brother.

35. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?

Stuff I haven’t read yet.

36. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

A week or so.

37. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

LOTR: The Return of the King. Managed to finish the other two.

38. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

If a book is really good, nothing much really. But otherwise, my family doing crazy things, TV, food.

39. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

Pride and Prejudice, Atonement.

40. Most disappointing film adaptation?

Harry Potter I guess. Or Eragon. I didn’t even watch that one because the trailer looked rubbish. I’m not sure if it counts.

41. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

I’m not sure. I have sprees sometimes, when I find everything I want. Mostly on the internet though.

42. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Not very often. Maybe the first few pages when I’m buying it. I skim sometimes, when the story is really slow and I’m getting impatient.

43. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?

If it got boring/bad enough or if  life got in the way.

44. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Yes. But, its tends to be in a way that only I understand.

45. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

Keep.

46. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

Not avoiding really, just not been able to get to them. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, We need to talk about Kevin. I will read them this year though! Promise.

47. Name a book that made you angry.

Fight Club, Lullaby. But only because they’re brilliantly written.

48. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

Cant think of any at the moment.

49. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?

The Man Who Was Thursday.

50. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

All of it!

 

Feel free to steal this tag. I shall also do this over at the end of the HBC.

Bye! 🙂

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1. Favorite childhood book?
Enid Blyton’s. To be specific, Five Findouters.

2. What are you reading right now?
The Giver – Lois Lowry

3. Bad book habit?
Skimming through chunks of boring text.

4. Do you have an e-reader?
*stares at you.* Now, you know what you’ve to get me.

5. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
Actually, I do that quite often. There’s a book in my bag, which I read during college and while the bus, and another when I’m home. And some old, nice book, for a light before-going-to-bed read.

6. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yeah. This blog.

7. Least favorite book you read this year (so far)?
Mockingjay. (For reasons, see here.)

8. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Marley & Me

9. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Not much.

10. What is your reading comfort zone?
Literary fiction, Sci-fi, recently historical fic too.

11. Can you read on the bus?
ALWAYS. (It deserves the caps. Ask anyone on the bus.)

12. Favorite place to read?
My orange chair. With tea. (Yes, it’s orange. Also; you must know that orange and I have a connection.)

13. What is your policy on book lending?
To people I trust and people I think are readers and actually will read them, and maybe enjoy the book.

14. Do you ever dog-ear books?
I use bookmarks. (Whee! They’re fun to print.)

15. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
And tarnish them? No way. (Study books on the other hand…)

16. Not even with text books?
^See above comment.
17. What is your favorite language to read in?
English.

18. What makes you love a book?
Characters, plot, imagery.
(In decreasing order. Though plot and imagery are almost equal.)

19. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
My reading experience.

20. Favorite genre?
Can’t pick.

21. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Non-fiction.

22. Favorite biography?
I don’t think I’ve read any.

23. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Chicken Soup! Lulz.

24. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
None so far.

25. Favorite reading snack?
Dang, tea doesn’t come under snacks. Cookies, then.

26. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Mockingjay

27. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don’t read what critics say, so I have no clue.

28. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Well, I didn’t like it, and that’s my opinion.

29. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Japanese. (Especially their haikus and senryus. I know that’s not prose, but yeah. Also; there’s manga.)

30. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Okay, this year, it’s be Wolf Hall.

31. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
LOTR.
32. Favorite Poet?

I like Neruda and recently taken an interest to Richard Siken.

33. Favorite fictional character?
Don’t make me do this. Off the top of my head, I’d say Howard Roarke, the whole Harry Potter clan, Lisbeth Salander, Dominique Fracon, Cecilia Tallis, Henry DeTamble.

34. Favorite fictional villain?
Guh. Saint Dane from Pendragon and Voldy.

35. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
The ones I haven’t yet read.

36. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Two weeks, max.

37. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Nicholas Nickleby. It’s Dickens.

38. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
The smell of good food.

39. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The Notebook. (And to a lesser extent, My Sister’s Keeper)

40. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Well, there are probably a lot that fall in this, but I can’t pick one I really hated.

41. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
That would mean legit books, right? I’d say when I was buying Milennium Trilogy and Hunger Games series.

42. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Not really.

43. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
An extremely terribly slow place, pitiful plot, boring voice.

44. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Like to? Yes. Do I? Mmmnah.

45. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Keep them.

46. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Books by you know, popular authors. Like this craze over Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer and so on.

47. Name a book that made you angry.
Can’t think of any.

48. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Yes, I never wanted to read it, but a friend of mine forced me to read 50 pages. And thanks to her, I devoured it, and I loved it.

49. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Catching Fire.

50. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
The Chalet School, The Saddle Club and maybe some chic-lit. lulz.

Tag stolen from Sadhana.

I will be posting another set of answers to the questions about [insert superlative] books for this year once the challenge is done/year is done.
Feel free to steal the tag 😀

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So I read this book. What I Was by Meg Rosoff. And..

Have you ever heard this:

A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.  ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

That’s exactly how I feel after having read this book. I feel just a bit tired, a little sad and my head just swimming with scenes and memories from the book, like I’d been there. I loved it. I will remember this book I think. Now, you probably want to know what it was about. But I can’t really tell you because I’m afraid I might ruin it. So I’ll direct you to a wonderful review: here.

And if you would like a blind recommendation, take it. Read this book.

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