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Showing posts from January, 2015

Reading List - February (or is it ?)

I love February. It was nearly three years ago,a round this time, I remember venturing for the MyLibrary facility of British Council. I had first come across this concept of home-delivered library books, at the interval of some movie I had been watching at PVR. My mother had been a member of the British Council in her days, and secretly, I so wanted to be a part of it too, though why, I cannot say.  So I gathered some pluck, and asked for a membership in February. And boy oh boy ! Am I pleased ! I got my first two two books from the library - Brilliant Careers - The Virago Book of 20th Century Fiction and The Bottom Line: Business Finance - Your Questions Answered.  I ended up reading neither. I don't think I even touched the second one. It took me some time to navigate my way through their wonderful stock of books and figure out where to go to with regard to my interest.
These last few months however, what with this thing and that, my dependence on British Council has bated a bi…

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

The first time I had read Kidnapped was the abridged Ladybird version at my school library. Those books were most beautifully illustrated and one particular illustration caught my attention and has held me still - a startled young man at the edge of a stair-step which ended in the open air, illuminated by a flash of lightning. I had pretty much decided then that I would read the whole book someday. A little over a decade later, I have fulfilled my promise ! And besides the vanity, I am genuinely glad to have read the full book, though even the abridged one had failed to dampen the high-octane spirit of the story. 
The title is a bit of a giveaway for the first part of the book, though soon, the story takes the form of a cat-and-mouse game, albeit dated three centuries ago. The first part of the book covers the origin of the travails - the kidnapping, to be precise, and the settings shift on a ship. Through a turn of events, David Balfour - the protagonist - finds himself side-by-side…

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I follow Neil Gaiman on Twitter, though I had read only one book of his (Coraline) that my best friend had gifted me on my last birthday. I am quite ashamed to say that my first acquaintance with his work was through an episode of Doctor Who - The Doctor's Wife, that he had scripted, and to this day , it remains one of my most favourite, poignant episodes of the show. All I knew from the veritable literature and almost frenetic online admiration, was that this was a writer with some fairly impactful body of work to follow. Last weekend, I was at the bookstore, and despite the bulky backlog of books and work on hand, I ended up buying The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Having finished it a couple of days back, I am the wiser to have given in to my impulse then.

Like Coraline, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was difficult for me to categorise. This was fantasy, but the writing did not suggest it. Not even remotely. The story is narrated through the eyes of a seven-year old, mild-m…

Reading List - January

All hail 2015 ! Its been 11 days since the dawn of  the new year and I am already feeling a bit stupid for making the observation so late. Staying ahead of time or even keeping pace with it has never been my forte. That aside, it seems like a bright time, and my books have been keeping me good company, so I shall not judge or grumble yet. I've already begun on my January targets, and this is how it looks:
1. South! by Sir Ernest Shackleton: Ever since I read Shackleton's Way (it was given to us as a course material during my post-graduation; I never read it during my study years, but followed up a year later into my job), I was pretty curious about the details of the voyage. Shackleton's Way was a hugely instructive and quite inspiring work. So while I was browsing the Kindle bookstore, I saw this beauty, and penned by none other than Sir Shackleton himself ! There was no looking back. I have been at it since December though, and I must say its not as thrilling as Shacklet…

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

It was lovely. It looked simple, but it was also so much more. I finished Charlotte's Web a couple of weeks back and I couldn't believe that my eyes actually welled up a bit. (Its amusing how little things can help you deconstruct your true self !)

The story began with Wilbur the piglet -  who reminded me of Babe - and Fern, the kind, little girl who first saved Wilbur's life.  Wilbur moves from Fern's care to the Zuckerman farm and finds friends in the pragmatic sheep, the stammering geese, the cows, the horses and a sneaky rat. His best friend however, turns out to be a smart, grey spider by the name of Charlotte. The story then literally weaves its way through the highs and lows in the lives of Wilbur and Charlotte and ends in a strangely un-childish way. There are evident parallels to commonly encountered human characteristics and life in general, which, E.B. White would have us believe, is the same for all creatures. 
The light and observative story-telling style…