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Book Review (and mini rant) |Girl Online

This is a book review of Girl Online by Zoe Sugg, but it’s mostly a rambling account of what I thought about during and after my reading of the book.

Have you guys ever bought a book with the thought, at the back of your mind, that this is a book you’re going to love to hate? Have you felt like a fool for buying it as you bought it, but also excited at all the fun you’re going to have as you bash it? This isn’t something I do often, being short on money, and being an impulsive obsessive book-buyer, but I did do it on Saturday: I bought Girl Online by Zoe Sugg because it was on a major discount after the second book in the series came out.

Well, I am generally partial to books that are written as journals, letters, emails, blogs, etc. and books about writers, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. This factor also contributed to my decision to buy and read this book.

I also am still young enough to be able to channel the painfully awkward, tortured teenager I was, and remember how much I would have loved a book like this one about generic, awkward teenaged girl back then. With each passing year, the thought processes in such books seem more cringe-worthy and vapid, but I’m consciously trying to avoid being that way because my thoughts were frequently dismissed when I was a teenager whose spotty face seemed like the end of the world and I don’t want to do the same.

Besides, I have this rule that I’ll never knock a book until I’ve read it, no matter how ridiculous the premise sounds or how many bad reviews it gets. For instance, I read all three of the Fifty Shades books by E.L. James and took great pleasure in despising it from a place of knowledge and experience. I was able to, on more than one occasion, give elaborate discourses on why the books are problematic. Can there really be a greater pleasure? I think not.

I actually read this book in a few hours because it’s quick moving and the language isn’t complicated. I will get to the review but first some background:

I have been righteously sulking since she announced that she was writing a book and has gotten a book deal, grumbling that she doesn’t have any talent as a writer, and that some people have all the luck, etc. This is regardless of the fact that I haven’t had the discipline to finish even a first draft of a novel.

I also felt righteously smug when it emerged that she had used a ghost writer in the writing of the book even though the ideas and the story were hers. “What else would you expect?” I thought, smirking. I then righteously ignored the pang of shame I felt about my smugness when I heard that she had had to take a hiatus from the internet because all of the negativity triggered off her anxiety.

I have seen a few of her videos and I thought (in spite of myself) that she’s adorable. However, the sort of consumerist attitude she propagates makes me uncomfortable on a very primal level. I felt alarmed when I see the amount of makeup she slathers on her face to get a ‘natural look’. It doesn’t please me to imagine young girls following her example, and ruining their body images, not to mention their skin. I felt so happy when I saw beautyvloggers like CloudyApples talk about how it can be so tempting to tweak one’s appearance and hide one’s flaws but it isn’t healthy to do that, physically, mentally, and financially.

Unfortunately, this is a hypocritical view because I do use some makeup every single day. I’ve worn kajal on my eyes nearly every day since I was 17 but I have now started wearing lipstick as well to work. And face cream and face mousse. It makes me more confident, somehow. I don’t know… I guess what I’m trying to say is that when I try to be empathetic and understanding instead of automatically judgmental, her behaviour makes sense.

People are too impatient to be empathetic, however. It’s like everyone has been desperate to have a voice and be heard all their lives, and the internet has given them this opportunity, to be exploited from the comfort of their own beds in their pajamas. What could be better? Why would anyone choose to exercise restraint which is already forced on us in every other facet of our lives. We can be snide, disrespectful, downright nasty and not even be caught. And we can say them to anyone with even a smidgeon of an online presence.

I have heard people say things about celebrities that they would think a million times before saying to someone’s face all my life. We were comfortable in the fact that the recipient would never hear us, and even if they did, they wouldn’t care, because we are like gnats to them; just as important with just as much of a voice. This culture has carried forward into the age of the internet however, and people think it’s ok to put these harsh thoughts on to VERY public forums without any concern for if the recipient even has any feelings. In fact, a lot of people seem to believe that people waive their rights to be hurt or to have feelings (among other things) when they become famous.

That’s what Zoe’s book is about, primarily. It is about an insecure teenager with anxiety disorder who comes to terms with the lack of boundaries on the internet. The storyline was fairly juvenile, and the characterisation was two-dimensional. Despite that, I liked this book for the message. I liked that it spoke about the continuing stigma attached with psychological disorders. I liked that it spoke about the trauma attached with cyber-bullying. I liked that it spoke about the right to privacy that -gasp- celebrities too are entitled to. I liked that it spoke about a new kind of celebrity who’s emerging because of blogs and youtube, the bloggers and vloggers who are even less equipped to deal with their sudden rise to fame. I thought that the token gay friend who is now in every contemporary young adult novel was fairly cliché, and yet, some of the things he said to Penny, the main character, about relationships are hauntingly similar to something a gay friend of mine said to me.

More than anything else, it was a fast-paced, happy fuzzy book, which never end of becoming favourites of mine, but which I do read every so often when I’m overwhelmed by life or even by the heavy books I usually tend to read. It left me with a smile on my face. It isn’t a fantastic book, and it certainly “literary” in terms of story, characterisation or quality of language, but I can’t help but appreciate what Zoe has tried to do in the book.

Well, there you go. I am eating crow right now. I sincerely contemplated ripping this book apart for the sake of it, because it bothered me that I enjoyed it, and it is a book that can be picked on quite easily. But I’ve decided to be honest and tell you guys that it’s a book, the sum of whose parts is greater than the parts themselves, at the end of the day. I don’t know if it’s a book I’d recommend, because it isn’t a very revelatory book in terms of the themes it explores but it was a thought-provoking reading experience because Zoe Sugg went through the things the protagonists in this book go through and I feel like I was a part of the problem. We nerds, geeks and outcasts do so love to indiscriminately hate on the “beautiful” people, don’t we? Maybe because we think they deserve it, or because we think they wouldn’t care anyway… I don’t know. But you know. Um. Catharsis. Don’t hate on someone because they enjoy the things you think are lame, shallow and mainstream.

Well… There are my two cents about cyber bullying and about this pleasant surprise of a book.
Did any of you guys read this book? What did you think? What do you think about cyber bullying and celebrity bashing? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading and reaching the end of yet another abysmally long Sindhu-rant. You can now go back to having the nice day you were having before had a lapse in judgment and opened my post. :p
That’s all for today!

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Firebird | Book Review

This is a book review of Firebird, by Saikat Majumdar. I was looking at my Goodreads Year in Review and Goodreads tells me this book is the least read one out of all the books I’ve read this year, coming in at 15 other Goodreads readers. That made me unhappy because I LOVE this book. It was chillingly beautiful, well-written and gripping. So I’m going to review it in the hope that at least a few of the people who read this blog (If any. :P) may get interested in reading this greviously underrated book.

This book is set in 1980’s Calcutta. Stories set in Calcutta have a special place in my heart since it’s the place in which I’ve spent a majority of my adulthood. The atmosphere in this book is perfect and evocative.

It is the story of a boy named Ori, whose mother is a theatre actor. She’s married into a middle-class Bengali family to a man who was once passionate about her art and about her, but the marriage has since degenerated. The entire genteel Bengali community equates the theatre to prostitution and disapproves of it, especially of Ori’s mother acting as the wife or lover to other men, and the gossip and talk has turned Ori’s father’s head to an extent where he is now depressed and addicted to alcohol and sleeping pills.

At the beginning of the book, we see Ori proud of his mother’s talent and interested in going on stage himself. As time goes by, the persistent and pernicious talk about his mother continues and Ori’s perception of it also becomes more acute as he reaches adoloscence. His already teetering life becomes more unstable, and so does he…

The story is about Ori’s relationship with his parents, aunt, grandmother and cousins and the ways in which they relate to and conflict with each other. It paints an excellent portrait of middle-class values and gives us brilliant insight into Ori’s psychology, while telling a brilliant story too.

I really do recommend this mind-boggling and fast-paced book. Give it some love, guys. I’ve never read a book that deserves it more but that has received it less.

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Twitter: @sindrao22
Instagram: owlishphotographer




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The Virgin Suicides| Book Review

This is my third Jeffrey Eugenides’ book. I read them in reverse order of publication, just like I did with Adichie’s.
This was Eugenides’ debut novel.
I really enjoyed his other two books, The Marriage Plot and Middlesex.
Both were completely different in genre, content and style of writing, which is kind of mindblowing when you think about it. And both were thoroughly arresting.
I didn’t get through this book on my first try, but I never hold that against the book since I am a mood reader.
As it turned out, I really liked this book when I gave it a second shot. 
This is an odd book.
It’s about 5 sisters whom we never meet firsthand, the titular ‘virgins’ which is more an allusion to their mystery and perceived perfection and purity rather than their sexual activities.
The entire book is from the perspective of a group of boys, now middle – aged men who are inexplicably obsessed with these blond sisters with their strict, overly religious mother and  hen-pecked father. 
The book takes the form of reminiscences of the men themselves, extracts from interviews they conducted, and assorted documents that they accumulated over the years. And they are all concentrated on one year of their teenage years during which all five of these sisters commit suicide, apparently for no reason. 
The format of this book gave it a hazy quality, overflowing with naiveté and nostalgia.
The style of writing was very lyrical, which was true of Middlesex as well. However, both books strike very different chords in one’s mind.
The Virgin Suicides is filled with overtones of longing for the girls, which blends in with the men’s longing for the old days, and allusions to a bleak future due to urbanisation and environmental damage, an apparent metaphor for a world sans the freshness, innocence and beauty of these girls. 
The level of obsession of these men is disturbing as is the level of… well, not objectification, but rather idolatry that these girls are subject to. The reason for the obsession, which predates the first suicide attempt is unclear.
I figured it was probably because they were unattainable, because of their strict upbringing, but that’s a fairly flimsy reason in my eyes for such a level of preoccupation.
It made me uncomfortable, but it also made the book more interesting. It’s supposed to be a look into the girls’ suicides but it read like a long love letter to all five of them. 
The only thing that I can conclude is that this is one of those books, rich with imagery, ideas and excellent narrative that has been written for the sake of a story, and nothing more than that.
There is no character development, there is no real beginning, middle and end, and there is no greater message. There is only pure narration… and it works. The girls are one dimensional because that’s how the boys saw them.  In an irritating way, it makes perfect sense. 
This is an extremely quotable book, which deserves a reread at some point, just for the clever lines that make one close the book, look up at the ceiling and smile.
It truly invokes all five senses and leaves one with a not entirely unpleasant bittersweet taste in one’s mouth.
Sorry if my review is meandering, because the book is too. 
It’s a unique and enjoyable read, I thought, and I would definitely recommend it to people.
Have you read this book? Have you read any of Eugenides’ other books? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.
Here are other places you can go find me if you want:
Twitter: @sindrao22
Instagram: owlishphotographer

That’s all for today, guys. 🙂

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Career of Evil | Book Review

I love J.K Rowling. Yes, that’s right! Apparently she’s Robert Galbraith, her friend that she keeps talking to on Twitter. -Gasp-
She introduced me to Blue Oyster Cult, apparently one of her favourite bands, through this book. Its songs form a key part of this book. I’ve fallen in love with the band now.
And that’s not all! The band’s song, Career of Evil, which is what the book is named after, was written by Patti Smith whom I recently fell in love with after reading her memoir Just Kids.
Ok enough fangirling about her taste in music.  Let’s start fangirling the book!
I’m of that generation that grew up reading mysteries. A lot of British authors seem fixated with mystery solving, by the way.  I just realised.
I grew up on a steady diet of Enid Blyton’s mystery novels. My favourites were the Five Find-outers and dog, with Fatty and his pockets of useful tricks and his disguises. And he had a dog!
I used to crave to investigate robberies,  kidnappings, anonymous letters and what not after reading these books.  I once wrote an “invisible letter” with orange juice and then ironed it to read it. I was so excited! It was an idea I read in one of these books.
My desire to solve crimes melted away with age but my addiction to mystery novels and whodunits didn’t.
Career of Evil is pretty classic. It contains tropes that have been present since the time of those Enid Blytons (in my timeline) like bumbling arrogant cops, and an unsocial detective with a more affable sidekick.
However, this story is unique in a lot of ways.
There are more than incidental mentions of the protagonists’ personal life which are as hooking as the mysteries at hand which are themselves intriguing.
Also, the gorgeous female sidekick is not just that. She’s strong, intelligent and accomplished. She’s an equal. And she does not allow herself to be condescended to. I adored that.
And the best (worst?) part? Rowling left us with a cliffhanger at the end of the book. Cliffhangers are the cruellest literary tool weapon known to authors and when they’re wielded expertly, they can make a reader think about the book for weeks and they can ensure that people come back for more. Not that I ever need more convincing to read Rowling, but yeah!
I loved this book, just like I love everything else that she’s written. I can’t wait for her new Cormoran Strike books.
Also, she said she’s written part of a children’s book which she’s very excited to complete. I can’t wait to read that either!
Yes. All the happy fangirling all the time. Yay. Queen Rowling is always happy making. 🙂
Did any of you read this book? What did you think of it?
ALSO are any of you doing NaNoWriMo? How is that going? Tell me in the comments or on any of my social media places.

Twitter: @sindrao22
Instagram: owlishphotographer
That’s all for now.

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Non-fiction Month Update

Non-fiction month is very hard, guys. I suddenly want to read every novel ever written; every novel that had been sitting on my shelf for ages untouched, unappealing, until this month.

I tried reading A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf but she’s so verbose and meandering and I haven’t been able to get into it at all. It’s a tiny book, about 120 pages long, and I expected to finish it in a day. I’ve cleanly avoided that possibility however, by picking it up as less as possible, for tiny periods and spending the rest of my time watching TV and browsing the internet and sleeping.

The last book that I read was Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I really liked this book. As she states in the preface, this book can just be randomly flipped open to a chapter and read in any order because each one gives a different and interesting tip to improve your writing and also to keep writing.  It gave me some great ideas and I think I’ll reread bits of it all through NaNoWriMo if I get stuck.

I feel like the book was a little too solemn though. Writing is a funny business, you know? You can’t survive being a writer without some humour. That is why I love Bird by Bird so much. I think I ended up comparing them in my head throughout because they both deal with writing and spirituality and life.

Writing Down the Bones is a lot more about Zen and spirituality and using your craft as your spirituality. I really like that because I’ve always thought something similar. I always write out the prayers I send out into the universe because I think it’s more effective. Patti Smith also says she did this in her book Just Kids and it made me very happy.

The chapters are super short , with some being a few pages long and the shortest ones being about three quarters of a page long. I really appreciate that because I like it when brevity communicates big ideas. Plus, it’ll make them easier to reread when I’m losing my mind with a new job and NaNoWriMo. 😛

I think I’m ready to give up on A Room of One’s Own for now even though it got a little more interesting yesterday. I’m sick, see, and my head is all fuzzy, and I’m not able to tune in to her prose. At all. I mostly want to nap some more but I miss reading. I’ll pick a book and keep you guys updated! 🙂



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Being Mortal | Book Review

Since this is Non-fiction Month, and since I don’t read non-fiction nearly often enough, I’ve decided to try to review every book I read this month. It won’t be more than four or five books, but I think that’s still a big deal because reviewing non-fiction is hard, especially non-fiction I’ve enjoyed and want you guys to want to read.


Look at this beautiful cover, representing the fragility of life.

The second book I read this month (not including Bird by Bird) is Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. It was voted one of the top 10 non-fiction books by Amazon, and it was a great bestseller. I didn’t pick it up because of that though.

This is a book one of my friends went nuts about in college, and recommended to everyone. She wants to go into medical policy research, especially policy about equal opportunities for the differently-abled. She gifted the book to our Medicine and Public Health Law teacher when we left college.

She and I, we had this tradition where we’d go places like coffee houses, or restaurants, or anywhere really, with books in our bags, sit quietly and read together. I remember sitting with her at the little shack where we used to get coffee and instant noodles and she grabbed a pen and wrote all over the margins of this book. She couldn’t stop smiling and staring up at the sky like she’d had a revelation. Her obvious love and excitement for the book got me excited about it too.

The author Atul Gawande, is a doctor. He writes about the one topic doctors seem to hesitate to talk about; mortality and death. He says that people are living longer enjoying better qualities of life than ever before. However, people’s bodies still fail. He felt like the entire process of death has shifted from the home to hospitals and nursing homes, has become medicalised, in other words, and that the medical fraternity and society and large is unprepared for the enormous elderly population that exists today and for the concept of terminality and certain death as a whole.

This book talked about so many concepts like elder care, hospice care, euthanasia and the responsibility of doctors towards patients and the patients’ family. He opines that our priorities of safety over  autonomy for our loved ones may deteriorate their quality of their lives rapidly.  He brings in philosophy, sociology and psychology. And he still makes it understandable to people with no knowledge or experience in any of these fields.

It isn’t all academic though. He talks about his own failures and learning processes as a general surgeon. He talks about his interviews and interactions with people faced with mortality, both because of age and because of illnesses. He talks about his own personal experiences with death and disease.

I never expected it from what I thought of as an academic/ medico-legal philosophical book, but this book made me tear up at the end.  Loss of a loved one is always a painful thing, but today’s lifespans mean that generations of family members need to learn to cope better. I haven’t been coping or handling it very well in my own life. I’ve been feeling really helpless, actually. This book made me realise that I’m not alone in feeling like the situation should be better. It also made me realise that it can be better with just a few changes, and that it’s a goal that’s achievable during my own lifetime. The wisdom, accessibility, lack of judgment and and new perspective of the book just made me think of things that had never occurred to me before.

Sadly, my sensitive, small brain has now had an over-large dose about the bleak state of affairs pertaining to our bodies and health, and will not be able to digest another eye-opening, mind-altering book for a while.

The book I was originally going to read after this is Our Moon has Blood Clots but I need to break it up with something lighter first, so I’ll pick up Writing Down the Bones for my NaNoWriMo prep now, and read something heavy after. I really, really want to just give up and read a novel right now, but I won’t. I’m sticking to my guns!

That’s all for now, guys!

Here are my social media links:

Twitter: @sindrao22
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Happy stalking! 🙂 And happy reading. 😀



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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks | Book Review

This is a book review of the first non-fiction book I read this month, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Now, you may all be wondering who Henrietta Lacks is.

In brief, she was an African-American woman who had cervical cancer and who died in 1951 from the cancer. Samples of her malignant cells was obtained from her body by the doctors at the hospital where she was receiving treatment for the cancer. After her death as well, more cell samples were taken from her body from the tumours.

These were given to a tissue culturist who had been attempting to create cell cultures for research in his lab. He released that these cells were very fast-growing and also that they didn’t seem to die, whereas every other cell he’d experimented on died briefly after being removed from the body.

These cells were called HeLa and then went on to become the most widely used cells in cancer research, polio research, and a variety of other things, and these cells continue to live to this day.

However, the fact that these cells belonged to a woman named Henrietta Lacks was not known at all till the 1970’s or 1980’s, nor was anything known about her history, life or family.

The author of this book decided to undertake the writing of this book because she heard about Henrietta Lacks and HeLa in a biology class. Her interest was piqued but she was unable to find any further information about Henrietta Lacks in any textbook or library. She felt like Henrietta Lacks deserved recognition and her story deserved to be told, and therefore, began the project.

I studied about Henrietta Lacks in law school in the context of patenting medication invented using her cells, but I was somewhat fuzzy about the details of how her cells came to be in the possession of the doctors, why her family was quite so outraged by it, what her rights even are with relation to her body parts, and whether those rights are alienable.

I chose this book over the pile of other unread non-fiction I own because it has a lot to do with what I discussed about ownership of one’s body and usage of one’s body in medical research or for medical purposes, and such topics in my book review of Never Let Me Go. I felt like it would be a continuation of the same theme and maybe help to answer some of the ethical questions that I have. Maybe. So I gave it a shot.

This book was meticulously researched, especially considering that Skloot had to start from very nearly from scratch. Her hard work really came through in her description of her research process, but it was clear that those bits weren’t there simply to explain her work, but rather to explain how confused and traumatised Henrietta Lacks’s family was by what was happening with her cells.

I really liked how Skloot mixed the more human, for lack of a better word, parts of the story with the legal parts. It didn’t feel like a heavy read at all, but I understood a lot of heavy concepts a lot better by the end of it all. It was apparent that she’d formed a real bond with Lack’s family, and that really touched me.

I also understood, in large measure, the bewilderment felt by common people at the technicalities of the medical industry, which also applies to the legal industry I think. I almost cried when I was reading those parts.

The book answered most of my legal and factual questions, but it did not clear up my ethical dilemmas at all. In fact, I have more questions than ever. I’m very grateful for that because it makes me want to help to resolve the many legal grey areas of medical research and human experimentation.

This book is a good, educational and still enjoyable read that I think everyone should read. The things it speaks about should be general knowledge.

Plus, there wasn’t a slow moment in the book. I loved reading every bit of it. It flows smoothly and engages the reader throughout. Overall, it’s an auspicious start to non-fiction reads month I think. Read it!

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Twitter: @sindrao22
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Never Let Me Go | Book Review

I am feeling sooo much more upbeat today than I did yesterday! 🙂
As I said, I started reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I also finished reading it. 😀 Reading block is over! It’s clearly all about finding the right book! We are back in business, baby!
This book interested me because it’s dystopian, of course, but also because it’s about experimentation on human beings and about eugenics, which are both topics that I’ve read about with disturbed fascination for a long time. I wrote a paper about it, too, in my last semester of college, though I don’t think I did justice to the topic.
Ethics of experimentation on living things has become hazier and greyer since cloning and genetic engineering came into the picture. I strained my mind trying to understand the boundaries of permitted experimentation since I read about the Harvard Onco Mouse, which was genetically engineered to be more susceptible to cancer, in order to facilitate cancer research, of course.
Now, off the top of your minds, tell me. Is that right or wrong?
Is it ok to harm mice thus because of the greater good? Why is it ok? Is it because mice are lesser life forms? Or is it acceptable because this particular mouse wouldn’t even exist if not for the people who created it in the lab, thereby giving them ownership of sorts over it?
Can you really own a living being just because you created it in a lab? Can you really use a living being for the sole purpose of benefitting others, to their detriment, if you created it with that specific purpose in mind?
Ishiguro’s book made me ponder these questions anew and it did not get less disturbing or heart-breaking.
I really liked the protagonist of this book, Kathy. I liked that the book was in first person. I liked that is was a nostalgic reminiscence about a past gone by, but with inputs from hindsight. I liked the meandering, rambling style of narration, not just because that’s how my head works, but also because this is how everybody reminisces about the past I think. I like that her memories showed everyone in her life honestly and nakedly, almost unforgivingly accurately, and yet her love and compassion for them shone through.
The matter of fact way in which these characters accepted their due in life was so chilling, so frightening, but so real.
And there was a love story. Of course there was. There is no better way to make your reader relate to your characters than to have them love; love, deeply and hard, because everybody has once in their life at least. And everyone knows that love can leave the “unkindest cuts of them all”.
I’m unsure, but I think it was the way Kathy addresses people like herself throughout the book as the receivers of her internal ruminations that made me feel the same emotions of contentment, hope, fear, helpless rage, resignation, exasperation, empathy, and a spectrum of other feelings that the characters were feeling.
The intensity of these feelings also altered according to whether I was reading about Kathy’s childhood, youth or adulthood.
Invoking this level of internal debate as well as emotion is a very hard thing to do, and it is admirable that Ishiguro is able to do so.
When I was reviewing The Giver, I talked about how certain authors of dystopian novels use their characters as pawns for their ‘message’ and how annoying that is in a novel. Ishiguro has done the exact opposite of this in this book.
This is an excellent book. I think everybody should read it, and in today’s scientific climate, I think it may end up proving more relevant than one can ever imagine.
I gave it a full five stars. 🙂
I hear there’s a movie too? Is that worth watching?
Those of you who’ve read the book, what did you think of it?
Can any of you recommend more dystopian books along these lines, where the book doesn’t end in the overthrow or the reform of the dystopian society? I know it sounds like a ridiculous request, but that isn’t the point of a book in this genre, I think. A lot of the YA dystopian books are along those lines, and it’s kind of put me off after a point, honestly.
Well, I could be wrong. What do you think it the point of writing a dystopian book?

Go ahead and stalk me or hit me up on my social media. I like talking to people. (As long as it’s only on the internet and
my shyness can’t become apparent

Twitter: @sindrao22
Instagram: owlishphotographer
P.S: I just added the term ‘The Greater Good’ as a tag to this post and it made me chuckle to think of how it’s gotten such sinister significance after Harry Potter. And then I realised that these words should have exactly that significance because the greater good is always determined by the stronger group of people, and it quite crushes minorities. It makes sentient beings into sacrificeable statistics.
So… kudos to Rowling for giving these words this new connotation.
P.P.S: I know that this disapproval of the concept has probably existed for longer but I’m only saying JK has made it widespread by associating these words with something objectively bad in the minds of an entire generation.
Well, that was a little random!
Errr. Heheh. Cheers!
Off I go!

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Landline | Book Review

Hello everybody!
Yesterday was my birthday! I had an amazing day, ate ice cream cake (Which is easily the best culinary invention known to man), spent time with people I carew about, went shopping, and did all of those great things that make a birthday fun. Most importantly, I also spent the first hour or so of my birthday reading because it’s kind of the point of life and living and other such things to be able to read in the night on your birthday. It eliminates that bitter taste in your mouth left by the not-so-perfect things. We’ll always have books. <3
The book I read was Landline by Rainbow Rowell. This is the first book of hers that I’ve read. It’s her newest novel, and it released in 2014. It’s her second book that’s written for adults, the other being Attachments I think.
The storyline of this one and another of her books, Fangirl, have always interested me the most. Recently, I’ve been finding her books in the bookstores I frequent, which is great. In fact, I’ve already bought and shelved Eleanor and Park, but I’ve gotten an inkling that it doesn’t end happily, so I haven’t read it yet.
That may make no sense to anyone because I read a lot of books about abused people, and books set in war-ravaged third world countries, and a lot of psychedelic mess-with-your-head books. My favourite genre is dystopic, for God’s sake! It’s really stupid to be scared of a YA book with a cute cover because it may not have a happy ending. Well, here’s the thing. I like my love stories happy. I like it when people end up together. If I’m to read a person-meets-person story that deals with their relationship almost exclusively, they better make it worth my while by ending up together!
Errr… As you can see, I have strong opinions about this topic. (As I do about every other topic under the sun.) Anyway, I’ll wrap this up because it isn’t what my post is about. People who’ve read Eleanor and Park already, let me know if it’s worth reading sooner rather than later. Thanks! 🙂
Now that we’ve all understood my stand on a completely pointless topic, and also heard me rant about it, tradition demands that I actually talk about what I intended to talk about. Yes?
So. Landline. I liked it overall. I like stories with magical realism in them, especially when they aren’t rationally explained. That’s what stories are for, right? In this book, Georgie is an ambitious, focused woman, determined to succeed in the male-dominated field of comedy writing.
Her husband stays at home to look after their two adorable girls, and it’s seen later in the book that he’s tried a number of career-paths, but didn’t actually enjoy any of them.
I wasn’t too hot about him at the beginning of the book. He seemed distant and nasty and I kept placing myself in Georgie’s shoes, because law is just as time-consuming a profession, and I wouldn’t want to come home to cold anger. Through the book, though, I found myself warming to him, not because of any great personality transformation, but because we get to see their relationship develop. More than anything, I saw him through Georgie’s eyes, and it’s so plain to see that she loves him that I started liking him too. That’s a pretty skilful thing to do. Kudos to Rainbow Rowell for that.
The story starts with the saturation of their already strained relationship when Georgie has to work during Christmas. They had plans to visit Neal’s mom and Georgie suggests cancelling, but Neal says he and the kids are going to Omaha without her. Things are very nasty between them before Neal and the kids leave and Georgie works herself into a state about it. Her mom assumes that their marriage is over and has Georgie come over because she thinks she can’t be alone. Georgie’s iPhone is screwed up so she calls his phone from her old landline and she ends up speaking to a younger version of Neal, from before they were married.
This bit is what attracted me to the story, actually. I’m only 23, but I’ve been in a relationship for five and a half years, and a LOT of it was long distance because I went to law school in a different city. We were young and we ought to have broken up and seen other people because long distance is hard, and 18 is too early to close down all your options. But the fact is that we didn’t want to break up. We DID break up, a lot of times, but we didn’t want to stay broken for longer than a day or two. We couldn’t have survived it if we didn’t have telephones, so don’t tell me they aren’t magic. They are! And potent magic too! Jokes, aside, it’s a very interesting premise, and Rainbow Rowell does make it work, with an interesting twist at the end, no less.
This doesn’t mean that the book is perfect. The level to which Georgie fell apart was inexplicable. I couldn’t see it or relate to it. I’m pretty sure that it’s possible to be more responsible and sensible than that! And this is coming from the least responsible person. (Ok, not the least responsible, but I’m in the top 100 in the world.)
Also, the story dragged on a bit towards the middle, or at least that’s how I felt.
Overall though, this was the perfect birthday read, interesting and unique, and fun to read. I really want to read Fangirl now, but I can’t because I don’t have it, and I’ve bought way, way, way too many books this year. I made ANOTHER exception for my birthday because I’m secretly insane, apparently. Fun, isn’t it? No more books till the end of the year! And possibly more. We’ll see.
Good book, this. A fun read. Give it a read if it’s up your alley.
Have you guys read this or any other Rainbow Rowell book? How did you like it? Have you read similar books that you think I’d enjoy? Remember, owls love book recommendations!
Ohhhh don’t forget to stalk me if you want to know about my life and what I’m into and stuff.
Twitter: @sindrao22
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I really like memoirs. Did you know that about me?
I especially like memoirs that talk of the childhood and youth of artists. By artists, I mean painters, sketchers, writers, poets, musicians, fashion designers, and anyone else who works from the imagination.
By this definition, I too am an artist even though I can’t even draw a circle with a compass.
I like to know that I’m not the only one who agonised and self-doubted (is that a word?). I like to know what gave successful people the strength to succeed.
It’s the same reason I like reading writers’ journals as well. Journals are a format I’ve been smitten with since Anne Frank’s diary. I like real journals and fictional ones. And I also like memoirs.
Memoirs are kind of like journals but made better with the gift of hindsight. Don’t you think?
I don’t usually like autobiographies so I was quite surprised that I like memoirs, as I discovered when I read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
This wasn’t my first memoir. My first memoir was Jacky Daydream by Jacqueline Wilson. I read everything she wrote with feverish dedication, as a kid. It’s a memoir of her childhood and I adored it. She seemed to get me, in a lot of ways.
But anyway, back to A Moveable Feast. I wanted to read it because I have the same romantic fascination with being impoverished I’m Paris that I’m certain every writer has had. And to read about the 1920’s in Paris! It was a dream, all right. I have always been enamoured by the 1920’s in London and Paris. So I read it. And what a delight it was!
I’ve never looked back since.
I could talk about memoirs that I love all day. I can also talk about the 1920’s all day.
What I really want to talk about is Just Kids by Patti Smith.
I’m reading this book right now because it is the all-time favourite book of Ashley Riordan, my favourite youtuber. I must confess I know very little about Patti Smith and I’ve never listened to her music. (I’m going to remedy that now, for sure, though.)
I am already obsessed with this book though as I always am with every book she recommends. Our tastes match exactly.
I don’t know if I’ll end up reviewing this book. I struggle to review books that mean the most to me because I just end up gushing and sounding repetitive. The most recent example of this is The Color Purple. This is the most uplifting and childlike book I’ve read ever. I adore it. And I can’t say why without sounding trite. Not yet anyway. I was just so glad that none of the not-so-nice things I’ve heard about Alice Walker came through in the book. At all.
Anyway, I wanted Just Kids to get a mention in my blog because it’s talked about so little and it’s impacting me so much already. I love her style of writing simple but evocative of so much imagery. Detached, but not so much as to become unemotional. Essentially everything that I want my own books to be but that I fear they will never be.
What do you guys think of memoirs? What’s your favourite one? I love book recommendations!
If I made a post of my five favourite memoirs, would you be interested to read that?
Let me know in the comments.
Also, don’t forget to hunt me down and follow me on the interwebz. I would love that!
Twitter: @sindrao22
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