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30 Day Book Challenge | A Character I Relate Most To

I’m still a bit sick and I have start to study tomorrow. Boo. But I finished reading the Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, and I liked it, so that’s good. 😀

Errr… I don’t know. I haven’t related to a character since I was about 15! Which is strange and sad. This post made me a little sad, actually. It made me realise that I don’t read enough books with female protagonists. I am going to have to make a conscious effort to read more of that. To that end, I’ve decided to read The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.

The person I was able to relate to a lot is Skeeter, from The Help by Kathryn Stockett. She has good intentions, and she really wants to make a difference but she’s kinda confused and a little clueless you know? I feel that. I totally do. 🙂

Hoot.

Sin

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30 Day Book Challenge | A Book I wanted to Read for a Long Time but Still Haven’t. ALSO: CAT!

Shit! It turned out in my sleep-deprived state, I skipped one day’s question entirely. That question was: A book you’ve wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t. Oh my god, I am making such a hash out of this, aren’t I? it was a terrible idea to start this during exams, but also a GOOD idea because I wouldn’t have blogged at all otherwise and my blog would have died. And that sucks

In other news, we’ve adopted a tiny stray cat in our hostel. She is filled with cuteness and I’m keeping her in my room for now and she’s being hyper-active, super-adorable and super-distracting for her. If I show you a picture of her, will you stop being mad at me for being a prat about the daily challenge? Please? :3 Here you go:

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She’s TINY as you can see and is the cutest thing ever.

Also, you peeps are going to see a bunch more book reviews now that my schedule isn’t so hectic any more so stay tuned for that. 😀

There are a lot of classics that I have wanted to read for ages but haven’t yet, but those are boring to talk about, aren’t they?

A book I have been dying to read for ages, because the premise sounds so beautiful is Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. It’s also a banned book and I have this compulsive need to read banned books to discover WHY they’ve been banned. Also, I’ve found that they’re almost always beautiful and/or brilliant. Coincidence?

Anyway, this book is about a doctor and poet who falls in love with a nurse during the Russian revolution. It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Yet, I always find myself putting this book down. This happens to me with all Russian literature. I think it’s because the structure of Russian books is so different the other books I read. They have a lot of secondary characters with backstories for all of them and it’s just bewildering to take in at a stretch. And at a stretch is how I best read my books. I’ll try reading it slowly, maybe take it on a trip or something and see how it works out. 🙂

That’s all for today, guys.

Hoot.

–Sin

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30 Day Book Challenge | A Book I Wish More People Would Read

I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is that I have a hacking cough that resurfaces every time I talk or laugh or breathe too hard. And if I take deep breaths, there’s a “znnnnnnk” noise coming because of phlegm I think.

But the GOOD news is that, after my exam on 17th I have a loooong break till the 24th and on the 24th is my last exam. And then I’m going to Shillong. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

A book I wish more people would read is Bitter Chocolate by Pinki Virani. It’s non-fiction and it is about child sexual abuse in India. It freaked me out so much. People need to learn the reality of our “chaste society” with “family values’ where a lot of children are taught that adults can do no wrong. See, family values have their place but let’s just realise that not everyone is well-meaning or genuine as we may be.

I was reading this during my internship in Delhi and I was staying at a Paying Guest accommodation when one of the girls in a neighbouring room asked me what the book was about. I told her it was about child sexual abuse and she asked me why I was reading something so boring. BORING. This girl was engaged to be married and in that moment, I feared for the safety of her future children (If she has any). I… it isn’t boring. It’s relevant and it’s a pretty huge problem.

Please read it. Awareness is the first step to making a change, you know? Yeah? Let’s protect the rights of children in our country (and all over the world), guys.

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30 Day Book Challenge | A Book that Made me Fall in Love with Reading

So… I have an exam tomorrow And I’m running a temperature. Life’s good. I can’t write. I can’t.

The book that made me fall in love with reading is… Emily Climbs by L.M Montgomery. I talk about it here.

Also, Matildaaaaaa. And Harry Potter. (Duh.)

The book I read as an adult that made me fall in love with reading is Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. Guys, it’s EXCELLENT. It involves a lot of art. I loved  it. I love the atmosphere, the characters, the plot… I’ll review it when I’m alive-ish. Read it ok?

That’s all. Ughhhhh.

I AM GOING TO FAILLLLLLL. Gahhhhhhhhhhhh.

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30 Day Book Challenge– Day 21 | My Favourite Childhood Book

I really feel like this challenge is far too repetitive, don’t you? It could also just be because I ramble far too much and I talk about a lot of extra books and the novelty and suspense is just lost. Lost, I tell you!

Well, one of my favourite childhood books of all time is Matilda by Roald Dahl, but I’ve talked about this book A LOT.There’s also Harry Potter (of course) which defined the childhoods of an entire generation.

I am also a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan. <3 It was quite serendipitous that I got to reading her books. They were available in my library and my mum picked one out for me and I was HOOKED. I think the one I read first is The Story of Tracy Beaker, which is funny, adorable and heart-breaking. Tracy Beaker remains Jacqueline’s most popular character to date. 😉 My favourite Jacqueline Wilson books, however, are are Midnight and Secrets. They’re both a little angsty but I read them at a time when I was an angsty, insecure little girl (I’m still angsty and insecure, by the way. I’m just older and better at hiding it. )and they REALLY helped. My copy of Midnight literally fell apart because I read it so frequently.The thing I loved best about the Jacqueline Wilson books was that she referenced a lot of books that her protagonists were reading, sometimes fictional and sometimes real. And I went ahead and read most of the real books that she mentioned.

That’s how I was introduced to, among other books, A Little Princess by Frances Hogdsen Burnett, which is the most beautifully heartwarming story I’ve ever read. I love it. It’s very sad in parts, but I worshipped Sara and I actually learnt to be less angsty from her. She’s wonderful. This book does not fail to make me cry every time I read it, sometimes out of sorrow, and sometimes out of sheer joy. Sweetest book ever! I cannot wait to introduce it to my children. I am going to build up a massive children’s library for my kids, by the way. It’s going to rival my own library and I will take greedy, nostalgic dips into their books after they’ve gone to bed. -sighs contentedly-

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30 Day Book Challenge– Day 20 (ish) | Book Turned into a Movie and Completely Desecrated

I have an exam tomorrow, guys, and I haven’t done any work! God. Wish me luck! On the other hand, the other stuff that was bothering me has been sorted out. So yay! 🙂

I don’t watch too many book movie adaptations because I’m scared of being disappointed. More often than not, they do desecrate the movie, don’t they? I also watch a lot of romantic comedies and not too much serious stuff, because that’s what books are for! I actually only started to watch movies a lot more this year because I felt like I wasn’t doing the cinema medium justice. I saw a bunch of movies in the theatre this year (Around 5 I think? Or 6.) and it’s about the same number I’ve seen in the theatre the last 4 years, I think. So yes.

The movies i did try to watch are the Harry Potter movies. And my least favourite one is the 6th one. I never finished watching it, as a matter of fact. My friend had a DVD and she was trying to get me to watch it, and I just… didn’t want to. And then I saw the scene with Harry in the diner where he flirts with the waitress and I was like, what?! That’s exactly what didn’t happen! I love the scene with the Dursleys at the beginning of the book and they just removed it. Why? Why would they do that? Why are they making Harry flirt instead? I don’t know! It’s inexplicable! Abominable!

Uh… yes. Strong feelings. 😛 -tries to calm self-

So yeah. That’s my answer I guess. 🙂

Hoot.

–Sin

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30 Day Book Challenge | A Favourite Book Turned into a Movie

I have had the most terrible last few days. I was sick and I still had to study because my exams started today. I had a huge fight with an important person on Saturday and I had to pull a number of all-nighters to manage my backlog while sneezing 15 times a minute and sniffling into wads of loo roll.

I have a few other problems in college too, that I do not want to talk about on here. But I have been extremely stressed… Sometimes, problems just come in groups and life goes terribly downhill. And time just spirals out of control… Speaking of which, I saw Interstellar today!!! Maybe I’ll talk about that in a later post. 🙂 Anyway,I’m getting life back on track, or trying anyway, and things are looking up. I know it’s cheating if the 30 day Book Challenge is not done consecutively… but I kind of want to do it anyway. Can we just sort of ignore my little hiatus and pretend it never happened? Please?

My favourite book which has been made into a movie is Matilda by Roald Dahl. It’s categorised as a children’s book, but let me tell you this. I reread the book in October and I still found it clever and funny. It’s one of my favourite books of all time.

The interesting thing about this movie is that I saw it before the book, which is something I very rarely do. In fact, I make a conscious effort not to do it. The thing about this movie though, is that I saw it at camp and it was actually divine because I hadn’t watched any TV for about 8 days by then, which was extremely impressive for little Sindhu, who was almost as devoted to her cartoons, as she was to her books. (Let’s face it. I still love me my cartoons! Phineas and Ferb, anyone?)

Anyway, when we realised there was a movie showing, we were thrilled and it was this whole experience, you know? We sat with our friends instead of with the groups we were sorted into. We were sprawled all over instead of sitting in neat rows. I was away from home and from my books, for the first time. And this movie, it just blew my mind! I had no idea it was a book until a couple of years later, by the way. But the movie is adorable, funny and clever, just like the book, even though they changed things, as movie-makers are wont to do… (Why is that??? It annoys me no end! Let’s discuss this more in tomorrow’s post about the movie which massacred the book, okay?)

I haven’t re-watched the movie since that time nearly 12 or 13 years ago (Good God!) but the whole thing is etched clearly in my memory. Maybe I should re-watch it? Do you guys think I’ll still like it? I hope so…

Hoot.

–Sin

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30 Day Book Challenge — Day 18 | A Book that Disappointed Me

So you guys feel like the questions on this challenge are getting fairly repetitive? I wonder what the difference is between an overrated book, a book that I hated, and a book that disappointed me. The answer, of course, is that there isn’t much of a difference. But I do need to figure out a difference or I risk the chance of becoming fairly boring and repetitive myself. So I decided that a disappointing book is one which I’d hyped up like crazy in my head but it didn’t live up to those expectations. If you like the book I’m about to talk about, don’t get mad at me. Tastes differ. 🙂

This is a book that I really wanted to like, because I’ve heard excellent things about the author. I read it earlier this year so I remember most of it. It is a memoir, and I love memoirs. I don’t know why I didn’t like it. I know lots of people that did. It sounded like something I would love. It was right up my alley, in fact. Well, shit happens, I guess.

The book I’m talking about it Are My Friends Hanging out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. The word to best describe this book is…half-baked. Good ideas, but poorly executed. I feel like the way she spoke about things were superficial and formulaic. There was not much depth in her stories, each chapter was too short, she tried to say too much in too little space… But I didn’t hate it. She’s pretty funny in parts, even so. I get her. I think she’s pretty funny in general too, like on TV and in interviews and stuff. I just felt underwhelmed by the end of the book. I did like the ending though, I think. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. 🙂

So yes.

That’s all for now, guys. I know that this post may ironically have left some of you underwhelmed, but there never much to say about something that was just…meh.

Hoot.

–Sin

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30 Day Book Challenge — Day 17 | Favourite Quote from Your Favourite Book

I still don’t know what my favourite book is so I would like to thank this day’s question for adding to the pressure and stress I’m feeling as day 30 draws closer. Thanks, Book Challenge, thanks. 😐

I do not have an all time favourite quote. I have a few that I like a lot though. 🙂

“Is not general incivility the very essence of love?” — Jane Austen

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” — Stephen Chbosky

“I would die for you but I won’t live for you.” –Ayn Rand

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” –Jorge Luis Borges

Aaaaand one which always, always makes me smile:

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK — HE ONLY SEES!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

–Roald Dahl

It’s a whole poem, of course, and not a quote but I adore it. <3 It’s truer in these times than ever before, I think.

I haven’t put in anything about writing because I think I’ll do a post on top ten favourite writing quotes soon. 🙂

That’s all for now.

Hoot.

–Sin

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30 Day Book Challenge– Day 16| A Book I Would Recommend to an Ignorant/Close-minded/ Racist Person AND A SURPRISE BOOK REVIEW

I have figured out a way to kill two birds with one stone today because I am a genius! Yessss!

I am not talking about racism/ ignorance/ close-mindedness in the American/ Western sense today, even though those are important too. I feel like enough persons are talking about those issues today already. I did consider recommending Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which are both books I love. In fact, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the books that inspired me to study law and it moves me deeply every time I read it. But… it felt kinda like a cop out to talk about these books and leave it at that.

That’s because that is not the world I live in, though we do share a lot of the issues. The world I inhabit is a lot more complex and a lot more diverse, I guess, and it’s just different. I wanted to think of a book that close-minded/ racist persons of India need to read. And that is why I will be discussing A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

This is a book that I read recently and that I have been struggling to review since because it’s so layered and nuanced and it views the issues faced by common people, especially those from a poor economic background and those from backward castes during the Emergency which was imposed in India from 1975 to 1977. Being an Indian law student, I know a fair bit about what happened during this period and I have very strong feelings and opinions about it, and most of those are negative. I have a deep dislike for Indira Gandhi and her brand of politics, and I also have fears that it’ll be easy to impose another Emergency and turn our country into a dictatorship again. Perhaps permanently this time. It keeps me up at night.

But that is not what this post is going to be about, because if I get started on my opinion about politics, I will never shut up. (Ask my dad. He knows.)

The point of this book, I think, is to explain that these issues faced by these people didn’t begin with the Emergency, and they didn’t end when the Emergency ended. The problems were aggravated during the Emergency because of a suspension of basic human rights, but the point is that, for people living in the remotest areas of our country, especially those from the “untouchable” castes, there never are any human rights. The point of this book is to highlight the prejudices that we all carry towards the lower classes of society. And the point of this book is just to emphasize that human suffering is all around us.

There is a quote at the beginning of the book that I just love:

“Holding this book in your hand, sinking back in your soft armchair, you will say to yourself: perhaps it will amuse me. And after you have read this story of great misfortunes, you will no doubt dine well, blaming the author for your own insensitivity, accusing him of wild exaggeration and flights of fancy. But rest assured: this tragedy is not a fiction. All is true”

It just sums everything up so beautifully!

This book is about four persons: a widowed tailor who outsources her work due to her failing eyesight; the two tailors, an uncle and a nephew, who work for her; and a young student who lives in her spare room for a year as her paying guest to supplement her income.

This book is largely set in that period of two years, but it also has rich backstories for each of the four protagonists that go back several years into the past. These stories made me feel deep affection for each of the characters, and I grew to love and understand the motivations of each of their actions and I loved watching them grow and evolve through the novel. I laughed at their jokes and cried when they suffered but I ultimately wanted them to be okay.

Which I guess made this book even more heart-breaking. (Um… should I have said spoiler alert or something?)  I wouldn’t wish these sufferings on anyone but my love for the characters made it that much harder to bear. I think making a character suffer after you’ve come to love them is a literary tool designed to make a book more gut-wrenching and more memorable.

As I said before, India is a country with deep-rooted class, caste and religious divides. Our motto is “Unity in Diversity” but diversity also breeds prejudice. The situation today has improved but in a lot of the country, the sufferings of our fellow humans continue. This book depicts all of that prejudice masterfully and quite gruesomely. I don’t grudge the author for that because the reality is in fact, gruesome. He tells us the truth of those times where basic human rights were suspended for ‘productivity’ and ‘beautification’, but mostly to keep a corrupt person and her and her son’s deranged experimental, paternalistic policies in power.

More people need to know what our fellow humans are suffering and that’s where this book comes in.

You know, I have an issue with the fact that this question clubbed in ‘ignorant’ with ‘close-minded’ and ‘racist’. If you’re only ignorant, just fix that. Research, read, learn. It’s what we’re all trying to do, right? On that note, go ahead and pick up this book. Rohinton Mistry is a brilliant story teller and this story will stay with you for a very long time.

When put in the context of recommending this book, reviewing became a lot easier. 🙂 Do read this book. I absolutely recommend it to everyone. I know a few people who aren’t from India as well who love this book. It’s just… it’s excellent.

Hoot

–Sin