Why I read

I have been asked this question enough times in my life to be bothered by it. Most times, I just get all prickly and silently bark ‘why the heck should you be concerned’ at the questioner while the audible quip is something more puerile and polite. I do not find it odd at all, for example, if someone who is knackered and at the threshold of being comatose, wills themselves to stay up a wee bit and read a couple of pages- so that if they die in their sleep reading is the last thing they did. Hyperbole eh?

Another common but equally witless query is ‘why so many books simultaneously? Huh? Come again please. We rotate clothes and food and even people (if we can)- and yet you want me to read the same book, at one go, without regard for how or what I feel at the moment? How naive can you be?

Then, there is the problem of content. Apparently, some people find it hard to wrap their heads around to the fact that Middle Eastern history, witches, reborn kings, lone- man demolition armies, Afghani housewives, serial killers, quirks of Gandhi, Indian elections, American democracy, second- chances romance; everything is worth a read. Of course it is, just depends on the disposition at the time of choice.

Now coming back to the question of why I read. I do not have or need a reason to do so. It is not for the need for information, or want of enlightenment or to further intellect or wisdom. I do so, because I enjoy it. Period.

Till next time,

J.

P.S. – Now, if someone asks me why I am an obsessive book hoarder- there is a question I CAN answer. I attribute it to the trauma during my childhood where my parents enforced the thought upon me that reading anything other than school textbooks is an utter and almost complete waste of my time. Probably.

Day 10- Pursuits less worthy?

10 days

  1. Frozen 2 X 3 (maternal obligation)
  2. Frozen 1 (torture)
  3. Black hawk down
  4. Olympus has fallen
  5. London has fallen (obviously)
  6. Ayyappanum Koshiyum
  7. Action hero Biju (revisit)
  8. Bala
  9. John Wick
  10. A quiet place
  11. Triple frontier
  12. The Witcher- Season 1
  13. The dark knight trilogy (again!)
  14. Sherlock Holmes
  15. Elementary – random episodes
  16. Lucifer- random episodes

10 days.

  1. The anarchy
  2. On hundred years of solitude (again, after ages)
  3. My seditious heart
  4. All the light we cannot see
  5. The Witcher- The last wish
  6. Ruin and rising (Grishaverse book 3)

 

Till next time,

J

 

 

 

Nerdy Sunday! The All Souls Trilogy- Deborah Harkness.

1.How/Why/Where did you buy the book?

I am not embarrassed to admit that I am the Harry Potter/ Southern Vampire Mysteries (Sookie Stackhouse Novels)/ Vampire Diaries/ Twilight reading kind of girl-woman. (As a consolation, I read the Kafka, Murakami, Tolstoy kinds too).

As a gawky teenager I also watched every episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I still catch episodes of True Blood on HBO (if any little ones and parents aren’t around of course!). It is obvious I have a fascination for the para/ super- natural, other- worldly creatures. Pragmatic as I am, I still can without difficulty imagine sharing a world with witches, vampires, elves, fairies, demons, ghosts, ghouls, demons, warewolves and other more interesting creatures and beings (human beings can get rather boring you see).

So when the internet was shoving this book into my face (Darn you New York Times Bestseller List!)

 

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I caved. This, I was told was the last of the All Souls Trilogy. So, off I went to Amazon to find me Book no. 1 of the series…

2. What is the book about?

Well, the basic premise is a love story. This time, it is not between two witches, or between a mere mortal and a vampire, or even a werewolf. It is the forbidden, all consuming, all defying, uncompromising love between an old and mysterious (but smokin’ hot obviously!) vampire and an initially reluctant but later all- powerful witch. And yes, one is a geneticist/ evolutionary biologist from Oxford while the other is a Professor of Alchemical History at Yale. Phew!

This is just the beginning folks. By the end of the third book, you are light years away from where the book first started- and in a good way. There are spells and magic of course, but there is time travel too. The author (Deborah Harkness) is a historian who teaches European history and the history of science at the University of California; and it shows. She blends in fact and fiction seamlessly, and intricately integrates real-life history into the love saga of Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont. Imagine Shakespeare making a fleeting appearance in a current book.

Another important character in the book is a manuscript. An ancient book which is ineluctably tied to Diana. The book may well have all the answers,…

3. First impressions?

Honestly, the first few chapters from Book 1 (A Discovery of Witches)  is a bit of a dampener. I wondered what all the hoopla was about. The dreary opening scene at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, did not promise much, but I assure you- the pace quickens.

Also, in the beginning there a Twilight déjà vu all over the book. The brooding, moody, intellectual but gorgeous vampire who oozes power and authority can’t seem to stay away from the female protagonist. And the female lead? The confused, vulnerable Professor Bishop does remind me of the unsure, fragile Bella in the beginning.

Thankfully, despite a few superficial similarities; the books are very, very different. The “hero” of this book is definitely the female protagonist. She hardly ever needs rescuing by her undead prince charming, and grows into her powers as the books roll along. And dare I say- I enjoyed that.

And the best part for me? Diana is older than I am! Wow…when did I last read a witch- vampire/ romance story with a heroine in her thirties? Never!

4. Final evaluation?

The first book was definitely engaging, so much so that I did not want to wait a day before I bought the next ebook. I couldn’t wait for the paperback to arrive (even with single day shipping).

The second book let me down a bit though. Or maybe I expected too much.

The third book managed to tie up all the loose ends/ plots that were hanging separate. The “epic war” never pans out though (you will know what I mean if you read the book).

Unlike many other books of this genre, this book seems to  be targetted toward the “adult female”. Not the 18 year olds, thank goodness. It is a slightly adult version of Twilight, with a more rounded, assertive heroine who is well- read and thinks for herself. The science angle keeps things fresh and interesting; a break from the other books which focus entirely on the supernatural. Harkness even adds a gay couple or two to keep things contemporary. Nice touch! Of course, the vampires are uber rich; there are fast cars and fancy mansions galore and the vampire men are all breathtakingly handsome and the women exquisite (we women never quite come out of the Mills & Boon trap, do we?). I can forgive such sterotypes, I put them down as some unfailing perks of immortality.

5. How long did it take to finish?

They took a while. Each book has about 700 pages. And though I wish I could read all books at one go, I do have other things to do!

6. Critique?

At the end of the third book, you are far from satiated. Not because it is that fantastic. No. Mostly because, there seem to be many pieces of the puzzle missing. The bigger picture is incomplete. If you have read The Lord of the Rings or the entire Harry Potter series, you’d know what I mean. Those are epic stories, not because the tale is so unique; no. Those are classic good triumphing over evil/ great arduous, journeys to ends of the earth tales. What makes them so engaging and re-readable are the nuances in character and the attention to the smallest of small details. The books are layered, and each time you read it, you decipher something new. Harkness could have built a similar tale, but does not.

At one point, the magic of Ashmole 782 (THE BOOK I spoke of earlier) seems bizarre and the author herself seems confused as to how to present it.

I hoped for so much more. Sigh!

7. Who would you recommend the book to?

Let’s be honest here, the book is definitely chic- lit. So I’d recommend it to all the ladies who think they too smart for the Twilight books but are still curious about the genre.

8.  Would you read it again?

Most likely yes. After 5 years maybe!

9.  Do you regret purchasing it?

No.

10. Favourite part/ quote from the book?

Well, it’s been a while since I finished them. Let me see I can find a cheesy paragraph or so 🙂

“Somewhere in the center of my soul, a rusty chain began to unwind. It freed itself, link by link, from where it had rested, unobserved, waiting for him. My hands, which had been balled up and pressed against his chest, unfurled with it. The chain continued to drop, to an unfathomable depth where there was nothing but darkness and Matthew. At last it snapped to its full length, anchoring me to a vampire. Despite the manuscript, despite the fact that my hands contained enough voltage to run a microwave, and despite the photograph, as long as I was connected to him, I was safe.”
Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

 

I guess that’s enough romance for one day.

“His full name is Matthew Gabriel Philippe Bertrand Sebastien de Clermont. He was also a very good Sebastien, and a passable Gabriel. He hates Bertrand and will not answer to Philippe.”
Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

 

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Till next time..

Dr J.

Nerdy Sunday! Sidney Sheldon Chasing tomorrow- Tilly Bagshawe.

chasing-tomorrow-

1.How/Why/Where did you buy the book?

Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Archer were my initiation into the world of adult fiction (way back in my tweens!). A younger me dreamed of being a highly educated, uber sophisticated, uncommonly courageous heroine of a Sidney Sheldon novel. Running from nefarious criminals or the ultra- long limbs of the law, she was always one step ahead of her foes. Aah! At tentative thirteen, J was an easy to impress reader.

I picked up this book mainly for old times’ sake. To see, if the books could still impress.

2. What is the book about?

Mr Sheldon passed away in 2007, but his legend lives on. Tilly Bagshawe keeps one of his more popular heroines alive in the latest edition of the Tracy Whitney series.

Tracy Whitney is woman whom fate treats poorly. Dealt a horrible hand, she fights tooth and nail to make a life for herself, even if the life is one of crime. She uses her superior intellect and oodles of gumption to con unsavoury criminals and uncouth millionaires from their riches and valuables. Along the way, she meets her match in Jeff Stevens. Another con artist par excellence, Jeff competes with Tracy professionally and they play a jet- setting,  high stakes game of cat and mouse. They endeavour to sour and foil each others plans and heists. They also fall in love.

All this happens in the previous book (If Tomorrow Comes). Chasing Tomorrow starts with a marriage scene- of Tracy Whitney and Jeff Stevens. They intend to leave their criminal pasts behind and embark on a low key but comfortable married life. But fate again foils their plans. An old adversary rears his head, and Tracy has to make some hard choices, maybe even return to the life she vowed to leave behind.

3. First impressions?

Not great. Ms Bagshawe seems to have a spent a great deal of her energy on trying to “write like Sidney” rather than on the story itself. Hence the plot suffers and is patchy at best.

4. Final evaluation?

An almost mundane, predictable read. It makes me want to go back to the earlier book and to Sidney Sheldon, to see what the charm was. Would Mr Sheldon’s books still vow and impress the adult me? I wonder..

To give where credit is due – the book is never boring to the point where you want to stop reading it.

5. How long did it take to finish?

A few nights of light, pre- snooze reading.

6. Critique?

The author was overtly “safe”. And trying too hard to write in Sheldon’s style. These are the two failings of the book. Instead of building the characters of the protagonists further, and adding nuances to their older versions, they seem inconsistent and stuck (in terms of character).

Also, the last book was so enjoyable because a considerable part of it dealt with the artistry of conning. There is hardly any of that here. It is a shame really though; new age con artistry would be so much more technologically advanced and interesting. There seems to be no research done in this regard, and the little mention of some technology that does exist is juvenile at best.

Comparisons to If Tomorrow Comes may not be fair, but it is unavoidable since this is supposed to be a sequel and also because the Sidney Sheldon name is so prominent on the cover (the font being bigger than the name of the book!). If Tomorrow Comes was a book of it’s times. It was racy and contemporary. Tracy Whitney was introduced to us in the 80s. Now almost three decades later, she is stuck in a time warp. The book therefore seems dated and forcefully contemporaneous.

7. Who would you recommend the book to?

Hardcore Sidney Sheldon fans and occasional readers looking for light mysteries/ thrillers/ crime fiction for travel or vacation reading.

8.  Would you read it again?

Nope.

9.  Do you regret purchasing it?

No. I wanted to read the sequel to If Tomorrow Comes, for ol’ times’s sake.

10. Favourite part/ quote from the book?

When Tracy stops being the maniacally maternal, blubbering mess that she is converted to in most of the book, and shows some traces of the old her- gutsy, super- smart and flamboyantly creative!

 

Chasing Sheldon....and finding a Shadow!
Chasing Sheldon….and finding a Shadow!

 

I wish the blurb were true :-(
I wish the blurb were true 😦

 

Till next time..

Dr J.

 

Nerdy Sunday- What’s on Dr J’s bookshelf this week?

I have had to scale back on reading for pleasure. Drastically. I have still been sneaking in a few books here and there though. For sustenance. And yes, the subscriptions, journals and magazines also tend to pile up; and I am forced to devote some of the scare and precious reading time to them as well.

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As the sun sets….on other week.

 

Sparse.
Sparse.

 

Sidney Sheldon- the latest. For ol' times sake.
Sidney Sheldon- the latest. For ol’ times sake.

 

My Agatha Christie re-acquaintance  continues...
My Agatha Christie re-acquaintance continues…

 

Aah yes! Will tell you all about this soon...
Aah yes! Will tell you all about this soon…

 

And just when I was starting to make a dent on the pile of unread magazines and journals (and discounted books from Amazon 😉 ), this happens…

 

More arrive :-)
More arrive 🙂

I wish I weren’t so obsessive- compulsive about reading EVERYTHING from cover- to- cover! Sometimes, the bid to finish the book sucks the fun out of reading it.

Anyhoo, that is all for this week folks. I still have a few articles to get through in today’s papers, so let me get to it. 🙂

Till next time..

Dr J.

 

 

 

 

Nerdy Sunday! The Fault in our Stars- John Green.

1.How/Why/Where did you buy the book?

Darned cable TV, kept showing adverts for a movie with a girl with nasal prongs and a bob. I thought it was one of those, irritatingly “inspiring” cancer stories.

And then, whenever I went to The Virgin Store or Jarir (bookstore in the Middle East) I saw this bunch of colorful, teeny- bopperish books on the best- seller racks. Some guy called John Green wrote them.

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

 

It must have been the font, or the dialogue clouds on the cover that put me off. I thought, they were books meant for kids, teenagers at best.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” types.

Diary_of_a_wimpy_kid

 

I never quite put them together- the movie and the colorful book; until I saw the book on Amazon, with The- Cable- Cancer- Girl on the cover!

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Aah! It finally clicked.

I read some of the reviews. It was great book apparently. A critic/ reader wrote-

“This is a book that will break your heart – not by wearing it down, but by making it bigger and bigger until it bursts.”

It was No. 1 on several lists. I claim I care two hoots for these lists, yet I buy most of the books that appear on them!

Well, what can I do?

I am a compulsive reader, and if someone says something is good, I HAVE to read/see/ experience it myself for two reasons:

1. I would hate to lose out on something in life

2. I like proving people wrong 😉

And if the thing is on discount….Well, that’s just the straw that break’s the camel’s back.

2. What is the book about?

It’s the standard “battle- with- cancer- brave- strong- kid- tears- death- life” sort of tale. The narrator is sixteen year old cancer patient, Hazel Grace Lancaster. She meets a fellow- cancer survivor Augustus Waters at a support group meeting. The young adults hit it off, in an endearing, cancer- groupie- philosophical way. The book then follows their life for brief time, cut short by death that is after- all inevitable in a story such as this.

It is about illness ridden, puppy love.

The pristine, untarnished, first- love that can only bloom between young people.

A love that is clouded by illness and impending death and misery.

A love that is not restrained by life or togetherness.

It is about spunky, young people whose lives are far too short. Or maybe it’s the shortness of their lives that makes them spunky…

3. First impressions?

Be warned, if you are anything over 25 years of age, the language at first will seem juvenile or rather YOU will feel “uncool” and ancient.

In fact, on the Wednesday I made the acquaintance of Augustus Waters, I tried my level best to get out of Support Group while sitting on the couch with my mom in the third leg of a twelve- hour marathon of the previous season’s America’s Next Top Model, which admittedly I had already seen, but still. 

Me: “I refuse to attend Support Group.”

Mom: “One of the symptoms of depression is disinterest in activities.”

Me: “Please just me watch America’s Next Top Model. It’s an activity.”

Mom: ” Television is a passivity.”

Me: “Ugh, Mom, please.”

Mom : “Hazel, you’re a teenager. You’re not a little kid anymore. You need to make friends, get out of the house, and live your life.”

Me: ” If you want to be a teenager, don’t send me to Support Group. Buy me a fake ID so I can go to clubs, drink vodka, and take pot.”

See what I mean? I mean it’s almost a decade since I even had to think about a fake ID!

4. Final evaluation?

Well, it’s a bit of a tear- jerker, no doubt. It’s not a cry fest that people are making it out to be though.

Yes, it’s written well. But not enough to warrant such a review, in my opinion.

“Just two paragraphs into the work, and he immediately wallops the readers with such an insightful observation delivered in such an unsentimental way that its hard not to shake your head in admiration.”

Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister’s Keeper (part of the Cancer- Genre) keeps the exaggeration in check and says, “an electric portrait of young people who learn to live life with one foot in the grave……..filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy.”

I think I agree with her. It has it’s moments, when simple things are portrayed with immense reconditeness and profound matters are dealt with a restraint and simpleness that is refreshing.

Yet, when a sixteen year old Hazel speaks this way…

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

I am not sure what I am supposed to feel!

Then it all becomes very age- appropriate when this happens…

“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.”

🙂

5. How long did it take to finish?

A few hours.

6. Critique?

Well, for the genre that it belongs to (the young- people- with- cancer-who- become- wise-beyond- their- years genre), it is a great book. Insightful at times, funny at others. And tinged with just enough sorrow and hope that you are not bawling at the end of the book. You are left with a bitter- sweet feeling.

The characters are sketched with just enough novelty and spunk to give a whole book a breath of freshness and differentiate it from other similar stories. After all, most stories dealing with terminal/ incurable illness have to tread a similar path, and end at a pre- determined destination.

7. Who would you recommend the book to?

Mostly to young adults. People who need some sobering up. Youngsters who have great lives and yet whine and complain endlessly.

8.  Would you read it again?

I doubt it. Though I do go back to most of the books I read.

9.  Do you regret purchasing it?

No.

10. Favourite part/ quote from the book?

“Augustus Waters was a self-aggrandizing bastard. But we forgive him. We forgive him not because he had a heart as figuratively good as his literal one sucked, or because he knew more about how to hold a cigarette than any nonsmoker in history, or because he got eighteen years when he should’ve gotten more.’
‘Seventeen,’ Gus corrected.
‘I’m assuming you’ve got some time, you interrupting bastard.
‘I’m telling you,’ Isaac continued, ‘Augustus Waters talked so much that he’d interrupt you at his own funeral. And he was pretentious: Sweet Jesus Christ, that kid never took a piss without pondering the abundant metaphorical resonances of human waste production. And he was vain: I do not believe I have ever met a more physically attractive person who was more acutely aware of his own physical attractiveness.
‘But I will say this: When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him.’
I was kind of crying by then.”

“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”

 

It was so good to be young and say things like abundant metaphorical resonances of human waste production!

Till the next book…

Dr J.

 

Nerdy Sunday! Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn

gone girl

“For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child’s boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can’t recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn’t immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blasé: Seeeen it. I’ve literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can’t anymore. I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.

And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don’t have genuine souls.

It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I’m not a real person and neither is anyone else.

I would have done anything to feel real again.”
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

I finally get down to reviewing this book. The queen of procrastination I am!

1.How/Why/Where did you buy the book?

The book was published in 2012, but I hadn’t heard of it until the movie came out. Once the movie publicity and PR promos began, the book seemed to be everywhere. I wanted to see the movie, and so it was a given that I had to read the book!

I intended to order it over Amazon (the actual “book”) but the  Flipkart eBook app teased and taunted me with insane discounts. So I ended up buying the digital version at about one-fourth the price of the paper version.

2. What is the book about?

About Nick Dunne and his missing wife Amy Dunne. Both are out of work writers stuck in a floundering marriage. Amy wants to revive old flames, and give their marriage another shot. But on their fifth wedding anniversary, a day when Amy uncharacteristically prepares breakfast for Nick and actually talks to him like the wife she once was; she goes missing.

It looks like there was an intruder. Was she kidnapped? Murdered perhaps?

Nick seemed perturbed and confused initially. But some things don’t add up. And soon, he becomes a prime suspect in the the whole “Amy Dunne Disappearance Drama”.

3. First impressions?

It was number 1 on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list for eight weeks apparently. It was widely praised by the critics and general public alike. And so, I was expecting something extra- ordinary.

I was disappointed though. Especially at the start. I was not sure where the story was heading. But then I hoped the abrupt, random, inconsistent narrative maybe be purposeful. I was hoping it might all coalesce into one fantastic story.

4. Final evaluation?

I wish I hadn’t got into the book with such high expectations. I would have definitely appreciated and enjoyed it more without all the hoopla and PR baggage that it came with.

Notwithstanding the hype, it was still enjoyable. A slightly different take on long- term relationships, marriage and man- woman dynamics. And the “greyness” of all the characters, especially the protagonist is refreshing. Women are usually not portrayed in the manner Flynn has, in this book. And so, if you can get past the inconsistent first- half, it will be a pleasurable read. Not boring. Not jaw- clenching either.

Some of inner- monologues of the two primary characters are interesting and associable.

5. How long did it take to finish?

An over- night train journey and the morning after. (Please do keep in mind, that “reading with baby” times are very different from the usual reading times!)

6. Critique?

The author claims the book is a psychological thriller which also explores the psychology and dynamics of a marriage.

In all honesty though it is not as deep and probing as it is made out to be.

I will not share too much of the story here, as I do not wish to spoil it for those who have not read it yet. But yes, it does belong to the suspense/ thriller genre. Not to the crime- solving/ detective genre mind you.

It has a sort of “he- said, she- said” narration. I enjoyed that, where we get to hear both the man’s and woman’s point of view.

The story begins well. But somewhere in the middle, things get predictable. The ending wasn’t as nail- biting as I wished it were.

The book does have it’s moments thought. There are twists and surprises, yes; but nothing that will make you lay the book down for a second, sit back, sigh and ponder. No. Nothing of that sort.

The language is inconsistent, very contemporary and “new- age-ish” at times and suddenly all deep and recondite. Wish it were more consistent.

As far as the ending goes…. well… read it to find out! I only wish Ms Flynn was more adventurous with it.

7. Who would you recommend the book to?

Everyone actually. Don’t be fooled by all the fancy words and descriptions that the critics use. It’s a relatively easy read. Even those into simple, generic whodunits will enjoy this. And all the married folks will find a line or two that they can relate to, even if they are not morbid and twisted as the characters in the book. (Or maybe we are all secretly morbid and twisted!)

8.  Would you read it again?

I think I may have to. In a while maybe. Just to make sure, I haven’t missed something spectacular. Who knows?

Books always need their own time, place and situations; for optimum enjoyment and comprehension. Some books are not meant to read when you have a million other things running in your head. I might have missed some subtle nuances, or some underlying subtexts/ plots in my exhausted, sleep- ridden state and in that cramped coach seat.

9.  Do you regret purchasing it?

No. Moreover, I bought it for such a paltry sum that Ms Flynn would be aghast if she ever found out!

10. Favourite part/ quote from the book?

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)”
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

OOps…I hope there are no kids reading this!

🙂

I told you the married folks would be able to relate!

Gone Girl- New York Times best seller!
Gone Girl- New York Times best seller! Ahem…addictive?

 

Till next time…

Dr J.

 

Grubbie Tuesday- Alas, I have nothing! Except love…

I have nothing to post on this Grubbie Tuesday. Stove and I have broken up. Scalpel and I have gotten back together.

I’m back to eating for sustenance rather than pleasure.

Hmmm…. the above sentence may not be entirely true!

Anyhoo…

I thought, I’d ditch Grubbie Tuesdays. Maybe make it my Blog Holiday.

But here I am, powering up my lappy to blog when I should be reading up for tomorrow. Typing with no preordained topic in mind.

I was flipping through Whuthering Heights as Zoe slept on me. (We miss each other terribly when I’m at work. So, we are inseparable once I come back home!)  And I thought I’d let you folks know why I keep going back to the book. And why it is an ageless, timeless classic.

 

“I cannot express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is or should be an existence of yours beyond you. What were the use of my creation, if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.”

“I’m wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there: not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart: but really with it, and in it.”

“Treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to them worse than their enemies.”

“I wish I were a girl again, half-savage and hardy, and free.”

“I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind. And this is one: I’m going to tell it – but take care not to smile at any part of it.”

“I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death; and flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him.”

“He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive; and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine.”

“Why did you betray your own heart Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. … You loved me – then what right had you to leave me? Because … nothing God or satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of you own will, did it. I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you – oh God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave? […] I forgive what you have done to me. I love my murderer – but yours! How can I?”

“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!”

“And I pray one prayer–I repeat it till my tongue stiffens–Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you–haunt me, then!…Be with me always–take any form–drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”

 

This is why!

And please do note, I am not the hopeless, romantic sort. (We don’t do the roses and chocolates routine. A nifty, new gadget or a calorie – laden treat is welcome though :-)) I still can relate to the story. No idea why!

Pray do tell me folks, does such a love exist?

 

Till next time…

Dr J.

P.S. Meanwhile let me ask Mr H if he’d rather be stuck in the abyss or does want me to haunt him 😉

 

Nerdy Sunday- Weekly bookshelf preview. And over-hyped, under- performers….

What’s on Dr J’s book shelf this week?

Aah..nothing spectacular folks! It’s time to dust off old undergraduate books and start pouring over the “basics” again. Whole bunch of exams coming up 😦

The “reading- for- pleasure” books will soon dwindle, and probably become non- existent again in the near future. The magazine subscriptions will keep me abreast of all the political ruckus and the current fashion/ style ballyhoo.

 

The usual mish- mash of texts, journals, magazines….

 

Old work-horses!
Old, trusty work- horses!

 

A festive, edition. Ideal "bathroom" reads ;-)
A festive, edition. Ideal “bathroom” read 😉

 

Excellent issue. All the snobby, blatantly intellectual, politically sensitive Indian reader- pick this one up.
Excellent issue. All the snobby, blatantly intellectual, politically sensitive Indian readers-kindly pick this one up.

 

Occasionally, I have this uncontrollable urge to re- visit an old classic. I rummaged through my half- a- dozen- cartons and found this one in the last one…

 

Oldie but goodie!
Oldie but goodie!

 

I was 13 I think, when I first met Catherine and Heathcliff. Ill fated though their romance was, the book made me crave for a Heathcliff in my life….

Next, Anna Karenina is calling out to me from the depths of carton no. 4.

And yeah, I do try and read to Zoe, but she is more interested in grabbing and ripping the book apart!

On another note, there have been a couple of books that I have read recently which were immense let- downs.

 

The Fault in Our Stars- best seller?
The Fault in Our Stars- best seller?

 

And…

Gone Girl- New York Times best seller!
Gone Girl- New York Times best seller!

 

These books have received rave reviews and have topped several best- seller lists. But I cannot for the life of me, see what the fuss is about. They are average books. Run- of- the- mill even. With predictable plots and endings. Even the prose is nothing extraordinary. Or so I think. Of course I am no expert. Just an average, run- of- the- mill reader.

I guess an 18 year old Dr J might have thought otherwise. She might have enjoyed them more.

I might review them, I have not done a book- review for a while now.

So folks, any book recommendations for the week? Please don’t mention anything from those weird,  fabricated  “bestseller” lists. I am looking for an obscure, hidden gem that not many know of or have read. Preferably something dark and moody; convoluted. J is in the mood for something dark and convoluted!

Till next time…

Dr J.

 

What’s on my book- shelf this week? And reading routine.

Hella folks!

My last “What’s on my book-shelf” post was ages ago. Things have changed a bit since then.

I am back to work again… Yay!

Have applied to a couple of fellowships as well, so I maybe a fellow soon.

Back to the crazy hours….

I have to get back into the game. Read up. Dust the old textbooks and open the journals that are lying untouched and brush up on the current literature. This means I will have to scale down drastically on my “non-surgical” reading 😦

No worries though. I am content. The book- monster is englutted.

I had a fantastic year. The break was exactly what I envisioned, in some ways.

I read like a maniac. Caught up with all my nerdy, bibliophilic peers who had left me far behind, thanks to  residency.

Pregnancy and Nursing Time was time well spent.

It’s time to move on. On to the next chapter of life.

So, what IS on my shelf this week?

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Twelve Years a Slave (on the iPad)-  You folks know my pet peeve. I HAVE to read the book before watching the movie.

The Hindu– Newspaper.

No Easy Day– Started it weeks ago. Then left for the Epic All- Kerala trip. Hate unfinished books.

CIMS– A drug index. Need to be up to date on all the trade names and dosages.

FEMINA– An indigenous Marie- Claire/ Cosmo mash-up.

The Caravan– Something I saw on the News-stand at my local grocery store. Seemed new. Picked it up. A journal of politics and culture, the blurb said. I love the tamasha, that is Indian Politics!

Surgical Journals- Finally got them out of their postal envelopes!

Stell and Maran’s– Ahem… need to start studying for endless exams again!

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I am old- fashioned when it comes to newspapers. I still love my morning paper with my tea/ coffee/ milk, first thing in the morning. And it better be a paper- version!

When in Doha, it is the digital version though.

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The local newspapers and the press are very different in Qatar. Gulf News (one of the very- few English dailies in Qatar) is sort of a “world- news- synopsis” with a barely there local touch. In a sense, one can never really know the “real news” in Qatar. Hence, I don’t bother buying the paper. I just skim through it anyway. I get my world news from other sources.

Sometime during the day, whenever I have time to spare, or in between patients or during lunch, I make a “news- round”. It’s a habit that I picked up from Mr. H. He is the true news- monger. The news addict. I am only a mild case.

The tabs are neatly book- marked and ready to go…

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Starting with the Times of India and and ending with Doha News. That satiates my inner news- hound.

The magazines are read in waiting rooms and on the dining table. It’s a habit that irks Mr. H to no end.

I read at the dinner- table.

I can watch TV, eat, talk to him and read a magazine at the same time. I truly can!

Magazines are light reads anyway. They require very little “brain RAM” is my routine defense.

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Journals and texts generally involve highlighting, note- taking etc., which is a pain these days. Lil’ Z wants it all to herself. The books, the pens, the notebooks, the highlighters…..

And I might have to get used to the occasional wrinkly page and torn up notes. I might need some therapy for that!

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Non- surgical reading is reserved for nighttime.

My down- time.

De- stress time.

Go- to- sleep time.

While Zoe sleeps and Mr. H fiddles with his laptop and reads more news analysis….

 

I read on all devices and at all places. 

 

So, what’s on your book- stand these days folks?

Any conscience altering reads that you might suggest?

And no, I DO NOT read in the toilet!

 

Till next time…

Dr J.