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You just have to get into YA once in a while. 🙂 Oh and yes, SPOILER ALERT. So, Mockingjay was not good, yet not bad. And yes, I read it this late ’cause it wasn’t out in the stores yet.


It seems like the author, Suzanne Collins sort of got lost while she was writing this. It’s like she was still figuring out the plot and it was published. Now, I don’t mean to say it is bad, it is pretty good, it has its moments yes, but I wanted so much more, especially with how I enjoyed Hunger Games. That was one in which she captured the emotions and beautifully crafted it, if small and simple.

The first thing is, she dragged it, until the end. It’s like everything happened at the end.  I did like the whole ‘getting into the final battle’ and how that was executed, but it was a flaky pace. It should’ve been more consistent. She shouldn’t have given us a large dose of action in the last 100-odd pages.

The three protagonists were a major let down for me. Katniss is a fighter. I expected a lot more form her. I agree, the way she handles Katniss’ break down because of people around her and Snow pretty well, but I needed more. I did enjoy how she handled depicting the war and not making Katniss some great heroine, but I wanted to see a little more action toward the end. Mainly, I didn’t want to see it from the eyes of a character on the sidelines. But, I do like that she put Katniss in the sidelines. I’m not trying to contradict myself here, I just like/dislike certain aspects of something.

Peeta. He was handled pretty well, with the mutt transformation and all that. It was a pretty good job.

Gale. It seemed like she forgot how she portrayed him in the first book. I miss that. I miss the Gale I really loved from book 1. She seemed to have developed his character based on how she wanted the story to end. He was vague before, yes, and I completely agree with his anger, but she sort of messed with his character.

Which brings me to the Love Triangle. Katnnis, Peeta and Gale. This frustrated me, really. I mean, Katniss’ emotions is understandable in Book 2, but honestly, the end just bothered me. I wanted her to make the choice. She should have the last word. She mustn’t just give up.  In fact, I would’ve been happier if she left it with Katniss confused, and all three of them in 13.

I enjoyed the war details and how they planned for the assassin. It was pretty good. And, I do wish she spent a little more in describing their deaths. That would have definitely made it better. But I did like the different ways of them dying. Speaking of deaths, she should’ve built Prim up as a character before killing her in a way that was to provide a giant reaction. No, it doesn’t come off like Dobby’s of Fred’s death. We knew them well enough to love them. Prim, no. She was a cute kid, a good sister, a good helper to the mother.

To conclude, I wouldn’t say I hated the book. It’s just that I had some expectations. Maybe Katniss being the great heroine was pretty unrealistic and this portrayal was good-ish, but I definitely wanted more.

Rating : 2.5/5

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“The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club.
The second rule of Fight Club is, you DO NOT talk about Fight Club.”

And that is exactly what I plan to do, seeing as Fight Club itself is only the smallest of ideas in this insanity-inspiring novel.

Overview: Fight Club is an establishment conceived by the protagonist(unnamed) and one Tyler Durden for disaffected strangers to meet and use extreme physical agression as a vent for their dissatisfaction.All its members have a common contempt for societal organisation and yet are forced to deal with high society through their jobs and everyday lives. This gives birth to the more retaliatory idea of Project Mayhem, the fundamental concept behind which, is that all existing social sturcture must be broken down before one that is satisfactory to “all” can be built. This book examines the worst of humanity, but somehow manages to be entirely too believable and therein lies its real allure.

Themes:
The first several chapters of Fight Club that deal with the foundation of it and the atrocities that everyday people are capable of, while being graphic and disturbing, bring nothing particularly new to the table. A few chapters into the story, it becomes apparent that Palahniuk is a genius for his writing style- the brilliant use of repetition, the dark/sardonic humour and the non-linear progression of the story..all of which add to the general chaos. But ‘fight club’ the concept i.e., the idea of  ‘externalizing’ a problem -not to solve it necessarily, but to redirect the individual’s attention to another demanding but physical problem- is not especially original. So, while I enjoyed the style of writing, I kept asking “Where is the ‘dark, anarchic genius’ that the description promises?”. A few more chapters in, and I began to get my questions answered.

“You do the little job you’re trained to do.Pull a lever.Push a button.You don’t understand any of it, and then you just die.”

“My father never went to college so it was really important I go to college. After college, I called him long distance and said, now what?My dad didn’t know, so he said get a job.When I got a job and turned twenty-five, long distance, I said, now what? My dad didn’t know, so he said, get married.I’m a thirty-year-old boy, and I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer I need.”

From these excerpts and several others, it seems that existentialism drives the original, more simplistic fight clubs. The arguments that Tyler offers against consumerism and uneven distribution of wealth are plainly extemist, but what makes them so fascinating is that (oddly enough) they do offer some insight into the conception of  the Democracy. The common man’s resentment for this (perceived?) communal elitism accounts for his willingness  to partake in fight club, but of course, it gets much bigger than that.

“… another new fight club rule is that fight club will always be free. It will never cost to get in. “We want you, not your money. As long as you’re in fight club, you’re not how much money you’ve got in the bank. You’re not your job. You’re not your family, and you’re not who you tell yourself. You’re not your name. You’re not your problems. You’re not your age. You are not your hopes. You will not be saved. We are all going to die, someday.”

“It’s only after you’ve lost everything, that you’re free to do anything.”

“Maybe self-improvement isn’t the answer, maybe self-destruction is the answer.”

“Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don’t really need.”

“Disaster is a natural part of my evolution, toward tragedy and dissolution.”

The anarchy aspect really sets in with an offset of Fight Club, Project Mayhem- the Arson Committee (Mondays), Assault Committee(Tuesdays), Mischief Committee(Wednesdays), Misinformation Commitee(Thursdays)- all founded upon the same derision towards mainstream society.

“What Tyler says about the crap and the slaves of history, that’s how I felt. I wanted to destroy something beautiful I’d never have. Burn the Amazon rain forests. Pump chlorofluorocarbons straight up to gobble the ozone. Open the dump valves on supertankers and uncap offshore oil wells. I wanted to kill all the fish I couldn’t afford to eat, and smother the French beaches I’d never see. I wanted the whole world to hit bottom. Pounding that kid, I really wanted to put a bullet between the eyes of every endangered panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species and every whale or dolphin that gave up and ran itself aground.”

Project mayhem transforms Fight Club from a place of mindless escapism to a sinister organisation with a very defined object of hatred–consumerism. It is made possible through its members’ sense of failure for not having achieved success (which, unsurprisingly, they choose to define based on the very same consumerist values they oppose), and is the unifying factor that gives Fight club the numbers it needs to truly tear apart the fabric of society. I have to confess, though, that I’m not entirely convinced that this alone would give Fight Club the kind of membership (in terms of numbers) that it is described as having towards the end of the book, wherein the protagonist literally cannot get away from them.

*The protagonist: He is difficult to comprehend for about 2/3rds of the book, and it seems as though all the strange things he describes and the unusual narrative style are meant to be palatable simplybecause he is a bit twisted, but the last third of the book clears it up beautifully. We also never learn his name, which is interesting because this truly makes him ‘everyman’, struggling to find fulfillment. He is a person of no significance– until Fight Club.

Bottom-line: Poignant, satisfying plot-wise,  great writing style and brimming with ideas. Must read.

Miscellany:

*I actually wrote this at least a week ago, and then completely forgot about it.

* Belated Christmas wishes to everyone! ( And happy New Year in advance– just in case!)


 

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And…She’s still alive!

*deafening silence of no one caring*

Ahem. Moving On. So, due to the crappiness that is college, I don’t read as much as I used to, and even if I do read, I rarely manage to finish things. I did recently finish one book though.

The Age Of Innocence is a really, really well- written novel about New York society in the 1870s. I love the fact that the author was there, experiencing some of these things and seeing them first hand. It makes all the social commentary so much more believable.

The narrator is Newland Archer, a young man who has lived in the New York high society all his life and is well-acquainted with its customs,rules and traditions and loves them dearly. He loves his city and his society. The book opens with the announcement of his engagement to May Welland, a ‘proper’ young woman, who has been raised to play any role that is required of her, the blushing bride, the innocent girl, the doting wife. The announcement is hastened by the arrival of Ellen Olenska or Countess Olenska and her scandalous past. She makes Newland question his society and the way it works. After meeting her, he sees the shallowness and hypocrisy that prevails in it. The things that contented him and the things that he considered accomplishments, such as his engagement, seem to mean less than they used to and he begins to fear the fact that he may have to play a certain role and be stuck in a rut of conventionality (?) for all his life.

The author sketches interesting characters, all of which have personalities that are three-dimensional, even the supporting characters.

Some of my favorite quotes;

“‘Women ought to be free – as free as we are,’ he declared, making a discovery of which he was too irritated to measure the terrific consequences.”
– Book 1, Chapter 5, The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

“In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs; as when Mrs Welland, who knew exactly why Archer had pressed her to announced her daughter’s engagement at the Beaufort ball (and had indeed expected him to do no less), yet felt obliged to simulate reluctance, and the air of having her hand forced, quite as, in the books on Primitive Man that people of advanced culture were beginning to read, the savage bride is dragged with shrieks from her parents’ tent.”
– Book One, Chapter 6, The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

“It would presently be his task to take the bandage from this young woman’s eyes, and bid her look forth on the world. But how many generations of the women who had gone to her making had descended bandaged to the family vault? He shivered a little, remembering some of the new ideas in his scientific books, and the much-cited instance of the Kentucky cave-fish, which had ceased to develop eyes because they had no use for them. What if, when he had bidden May Welland to open hers, they could only look out blankly at blankness?”
– Book One, Chapter 10, The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

“His whole future seemed suddenly to be unrolled before him; and passing down its endless emptiness he saw the dwindling figure of a man to whom nothing was ever to happen.”
– Book 1, Chapter 22, The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

“She had spent her poetry and romance on their short courting: the function was exhausted because the need was past. Now she was simply ripening into a copy of her mother, and mysteriously, by the very process, trying to turn him into a Mr. Welland.” Chapter 30

“There was no use in trying to emancipate a wife who had not the dimmest notion that she was not free; and he had long since discovered that May’s only use of the liberty she supposed herself to possess would be to lay it on the altar of her wifely adoration.” Chapter 20

“In the rotation of crops there was a recognised season for wild oats; but they were not to be sown more than once.”
– Book 2, Chapter 31, The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

“There were certain things that had to be done, and if done at all, done handsomely and thoroughly; and one of these in the old New York code, was the tribal rally around a kinswoman about to be eliminated from the tribe.”
– Book 2, Chapter 33, The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

Believe it or not, some of the things that happen in Newland’s society still happen today in India. I didn’t think they did,not in the cities anyway, but people at college have made me think otherwise. But, that’s another post. Anyway, this book is a must read!

In other related news, I’m reading Wideacre by Phillipa Gregory at the moment and the book is slightly disturbing, to say the least, but I can’t seem to put it down! Lets see how far I can make it before my hatred of the protagonist makes me chuck the book across the room or something.

That’s all I guess. Later my people.

PS: Only 5 days till the blog’s 2nd Birthday! Yay!

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Color sprinklesOk, so basically, I decided to read this book by Belinda Seaward because the cover was interesting. Not in an OMG-it’s-so-good way, but just interesting. Also, the stuff at the back seemed quite good

I started with the first three pages and felt disgusted and sick because of the description of an amputated limb. This was (I feel) the only part where Hotel Julietdescriptions were good, even if it did gross me out. Honestly, the book sucks. The story line is that of a typical orphan who probes around to find the truths about her parents and then finds something that is either truly amazing or contradictory to what she’d’ve heard.

Belinda Seaward tries desperately to write in this particular style, which is sort of abrupt but pulls you to read the story. She seems to fail in this miserably. She hasn’t defined her style of writing and you can see subtle changes in the way she writes. Also, her characters are very loosely formed. I mean, she starts off with the people in a city-ish way which sort of changes. I mean, they are terribly formed that I don’t even have images or blobs or defining shapes of them in my head. It’s like these people would suddenly fall in love with the rural parts of Africa just because the bride’s dad sent them there as a mark of his disapproval.  The only reason, I skimmed through the pages of this book is because I wanted to see if there were interesting things to read about Africa. The one thing that I found interesting is the fact that Africans name their kids like Hope, Faith, Saviour, Memory and stuff like this. So maybe this is where Destiny Hope’s names inspired from.

If you ever see this book at a bookstore, no don’t get it. Please you’d be better off not reading it.

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