Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review : The Fault In Our Stars (John Green)

Ironic. That's how I would like to sum this book that deals with terminal illness and yet pulsates with more life that many other books that I have read. This book is a reminder that life is but the sum of the moments that we choose to live to the fullest . Power, popularity and the riches notwithstanding, man cannot choose immortality. But yes, happiness is definitely within one's reach.

This moving tale of Hazel and Gus, two teenagers who meet through a Cancer Support Group and then go on to fall in love is one of John Green's most popular novels. The narration is at a comfortable pace and encompasses all aspects of a terminally youngster's life. The change of lifestyle as one drops out of school, the parents whose life comes to a standstill, and yet the need to maintain a certain degree of normalcy, John Green touches upon each of these and more without wallowing in pity and swamping the readers in a wave of suffocating sympathy.

One of the high points of this book is the tender love that blossoms between the leads. The selfless love demonstrated by Gus when he tries everything within his reach to fulfill Hazel's dream tends to make a deep impact on the reader.

The other high point is Hazel's obsession with a book named 'An Imperial Affliction'. She is obsessed with the book that ends in mid sentence and leaves the reader guessing about the fate of the characters. She even manages to convert Gus who begins to share her passion to track down the author and find out more about the unfinished story. While at times her obsession seems irrational, one has to understand it from the perspective of a terminally ill kid who knows that her days are numbered and there are few things that can really engage her mind. At such a point in one's life, even a simple thing like deciphering the climax of a story seem to be a crusade that gives one the will (and the strength) to live on.

A wonderful book. Nothing too voluminous and written in lucid style. Pick it if you are looking for a short read and you will not regret it !!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review : Wise and Otherwise (By Sudha Murty)

It is that time of the year when Santa comes a visiting with gifts galore. And that makes we wish that had I been a Santa I would be handing out copies of this book to every person I come across. Yup, this book is that dear to me.

Sudha Murty is one of those writers who do not feel the need to drown you in literary jargon. She speaks from the heart. Honest, straight forward and with a note that leaves you thinking about it for a long time. She prefers to narrate her own experiences which are myriad and very interesting.

Loved the way she touches upon the touchiest (and ouch-iest of topics) in her simple style. The perception of people towards IT, changing social values and ordinary people who come across truly exemplary thanks to the values that they uphold.
( Coming to the latter, I have seen real people fall from grace and I will be doing a series on it very watch out my blog )

One of the most touching stories I read was the one she narrates about a donation made by the Infosys Trust to build a new hospital wing. As is the custom, the hospital folks invited a minister to inaugurate the wing while completely cold-shouldering her and the idiot in turn choose to rant about the lack of facilities. But as she says, it was a beautiful gesture by a poor woman who would made it worth her while.

Another favorite is the story about a young fisherman from Odisha who in himself is a lesson in contentment. Yeah, that's my place and thank you so much Maam for writing about it.

Best part of this book is that all the people mentioned are so damn real that you will definitely recollect someone who fits the mould. Please find the time to read this book and you will love it to bits.

Spoiler - Not sure how it will go down with a non-Indian audience as this book captures the real essence of Today's India ( minus 10 years please ). But if you are the types that can put up with a Haruki Murakami or a Nikolay Gogol inspite of your ignorance about the Japanese and Russian culture, then it surely makes sense to give it a try.