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The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

All thanks to My Life in Books, I heard of Mitch Albom. I love the way Jennine G. writes about the books she has been reading and more often than not, I find myself elongating my to-be read list based on her recommendations. The discovery of Albom was perhaps a long time coming, since S and some of his friends had already read his work. So this last weekend, while we were browsing through the airport bookstore and I saw The First Phone Call from Heaven, I proclaimed that this is an author to read about and S said that he already had ! He has Tuesdays with Morrie which has had glowing reviews, as I discovered later. I do feel a bit like an ignorant fool to have completely skipped over an author of this reputation. 

Anyway, it took me a week of hard reading to finish The First Phone Call from Heaven. And my first impression of the book, once I shut the covers, was that it resembled, in a garbled way, one of my favourite TV shows True Detective. I don't know how exactly to categorise the book, but its a good mix of soft emotions and thrill. The plot is bizzare - concerning phone calls from the afterlife and the ripples the phenomenon created in the sleepy town of Coldwater, Michigan - but that does not take away the warm acquaintance of the everyday reactions of the residents to the developments unravelling around them. The key characters have been built at a good pace and the turn of their lives has been nicely captured, without any conspicuousness. Needless to say, I am still haunted by the character of Sully Harding. 

The book never sagged, surprisingly, given that there isn't much of a complication to the plot besides the journey of finding the truth, which - at the expense of sounding naive - isn't really the kind to elicit nail-bitingness. Rather, towards the end, I couldn't quite tear myself away. Nevertheless, just as in True Detective, I was a little disappointed in the revelation. That did not stop the story from being a heart-felt one, primarily because of the underlying emotions of love and loss. 

One way or another, it was a good book. I enjoyed reading it the same way as I would lay in wait for the next episode of some TV series. And more importantly, it opened doors to a new author to me, which I would explore with pleasure.  


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The Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. This is proving to be a very empowering read, which I believe was the whole point of the book anyway. For those judge a book by its cover (which is also pretty badass), it really doesn't seem to even skirt the edges of feminism. At its crudest, it is a collection of stories and their analyses to help rediscover what it means to be a woman. If it sounds redundant, then it goes to show howo much we need this book. 
I must say, books of this kind are not up my alley. It feels too verbose (even by my standards) and the bluntness induced by my utter worldly view of things makes it really difficult for me to penetrate the exuberance of being a woman, as noted in the book. I am just three chapters down, so it wouldn't possibly be wise to quote a favourite right now, but La Loba seems very ethereal. The whole concept of some force (our own, presumably) that can join broken, littered pieces, is deeply appealing. 
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