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Book Review –Cobalt Blue

This is a review of the book Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar. Honestly, I chose to read it because it’s been translated from Marathi by Jerry Pinto. I loved his book Em and the Big Hoom. I knew nothing more about the book or the author and I like it that way. It helps me to keep an open mind while reviewing the book.

I’m swept away by this book after having read it over the course of a long day at court. It’s layered and well-written and transcends all genre. The fact that the author of this marvellous piece was 20 when he started the book and 22 when he finished it, makes me want to stand up on a chair and applaud and simultaneously to weep with jealousy.

Simply put, it’s the story of a brother and sister in love with the same man. The book is divided into two parts, each written in first person by one of the siblings. It’s a love story, yes, a love triangle if you will;  but mostly it’s a portrait. It’s a portrait of lower middle class life in Maharashtra, it’s a portrait of a generation clever enough to rubbish antiquated tradition but not strong enough to break away from regressive familial bonds. It’s a portrait about how mundane love can be, and yet so overwhelming, how it can make one forget the world around us. It’s a portrait of a society where mosr types of romantic love are forced to stay hidden, of a society where homogeneity and acceptance are the biggest aspirations.

It’s a small book, which only brushes the surface of each of the above aspects, but it’s nuanced enough that it does not remain a photograph. The work that was put into the resulting simplicity is apparent.

I love both the main characters, Tanay and Anuja. However, the seem to be caricatures or uni-dimensional stereotypes, rather than fleshed out persons.

I liked that Tanay’s part was in the form of a letter addressed to the man he loves, who remains unnamed. I like the digressions and the non-linear style of narration, and the way he circles back to thoughrs after having fleshed them out with background. I loved that Anuja kept a journal. She says that life felt like a hairball and keeping a journal helped to smooth things out. I completely agree. As everyone knows,

I quite enjoyed the fact that she’s so clueless about her brother’s feelings for her own lover because it serves to demonstrate the invisibility of minority sexualities. It’s simply inconceivable, even to the most loving and well-meaning people.

I felt that every line in this book was loaded with purpose and meaning. For instance, Tanay observed his parents’ relationship and craved a permanent relationship to “grow into” while Anuja only wondered why her mother does nothing for herself and has no space of her own.

On Goodreads, I read that the author felt that Anuja and Tanay are just masculine and feminine sides of the same person and not two separate persons at all. That confused me because I didn’t get that feeling at all, even though my reading was coloured by that quote that I read. I kept looking for signs of that being the case, and I just didn’t find any. All I saw are two siblings who were close and compatible to each other, and “different” in a family that greatly valued homogeneity. One sibling recovered and started to go down the path of redemption while the other seemed to get lost in an ocean of sorrow.

More than anything else, I saw this book as a portrait of a certain type of life in a certain type of family.  I also felt that the purpose of the third sibling, Aseem, the golden boy, is introduced only to juxtapose the reception of a conforming child with two other children who could not and would not conform to the values of the Joshi family.

I want to end this review with my favourite quote from the book, from Anuja’s journal:

Our house was big enough for middle-class dreams, but not for privacy.

Has anyone read this book? What did you think of it? Do you agree with my take on it? Do you agree with the author? Do you think this is a “gay novel”? Let me know in the comments?

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Unexpected Book Recommendations and How I Deal With Them 

(Spoiler alert: I deal with them poorly.)

How have I never heard of Diana Wynne Jones?!

Some context: I am reading A View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman. I am at the part of the book where he talks (has written?) about people he’s known.

I’ve just read the one about Diana Wynne Jones.(I have also flipped to the next page and seen that the next essay is about Terry Pratchett and I’m itching to read it. But first; this post.) I read the first few lines and then I said, “Who the fuck is Diana Wynne Jones?” I almost said it out loud, which was problematic, because I was in court at the time.

Then I googled her.

Apparently,  she is wildly popular, and has written a large number of books in the fantasy genre (which I adore).  She’s been compared to J.K Rowling (whom I adore) and to Gaiman himself (whom I have stopped adoring and started worshipping.). Neil Gaiman seems to delight in her writing, and it seems to be right up my alley. But I have never heard of her!! I’m in shock, if that wasn’t already evident.

But eh. Better late than never, right? Neil Gaiman said that he read her books in his twenties and it felt like coming home. I am in my early twenties. It seems to me to be a clear sign.

So… I went ahead and bought one of her books off Amazon and will be getting on to the task of remedying my ignorance as soon it is delivered.

Yes, it breaks my oath to not buy more books until my birthday.

No, I have no shame.

No, this isn’t even the first book I’ve bought since I started reading this book. I also bought Coralline on my Kindle earlier today. Heh. Whoops.

(Should I simply stop reading non-fiction, guys? It seems to be a downward spiral of more book-buying every time. Don’t answer that.)

I think that I’ll do daily posts about The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Essential Guide to Fantasy Travel after I start reading it.

I AM VERY EXCITED.

Now I’m off to read about Terry Pratchett!

Have you guys read Diana Wynne Jones? What do you think of her? What do you think of A View from the Cheap Seats? Do you like Neil Gaiman? Do you think I’m insane for buying so many books? Let me know in the comments!

That’s all for now, guys!

Hoot

–Sin

 

 

 

The Bone Clocks| Book Review

This is my review of the book The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.

I don’t know what it is about books that have the word”Bone”in them. I always feel attracted to them. I don’t always enjoy them, but I always feel like reading them. Huh. Well, you’re welcome for the random insight into the twisted mind of the Sindhu. Now to the review:

This is my second David Mitchell book after Cloud Atlas, and I loved both even though they’re completely different books except that they both mess with your head. In a good way, of course. What even is the point of reading a book that doesn’t mess with your head at least a little? Am I right?

This book is a combination of all things good, in my opinion. It has all my favourite genres. Fantasy, bordering on science fiction; dystopic, futurisic elements; a family saga spanning generations; in one beautifully written, sophisticated brick. I read a major chunk of it over one delightfully undisturbed weekend. I adored this weekend, but it also broke my heart a little because it wasn’t that long ago that this is how I spent nearly all my weekends. Growing up is hard and painful. I’m grateful for books like this that let me in and give me a metaphorical window seat in a cottage in a meadow to have for as long as the book has pages.

The book starts with Holly Sykes, a fifteen-year old, who decides to run away from home because her mum doesn’t like her boyfriend. Simple enough, but then …it goes batshit crazy. Her running away changes the course of events completely for her whole family. My reaction through most of this book was, “What in the name of god is going on?” But when the plot finally resolved itself, oh, it was so completely delightful, I could have wept. I don’t want to give away much more of the story, though, because everything is a spoiler.

Some David Mitchell specialities that I’ve noticed in both of his books are: jumping through time in his narrative, skipping years, going into the past and the future with ease; changing perspectives from character to character flawlessly; and combining fantasy with social commentary so that you forget you’re reading fantasy until it whacks you in the face. Both of his books have fantastical elements but it’s more pronounced in the Bone Clocks.

I also really enjoyed the character development in this book. I am always enchanted by characters whom I root for despite their (sometimes) despicable flaws. I am convinced that I can never create a likable, relatable character, and that it takes skill that I simply don’t possess.

(I don’t know that you can take my word for the likability of a character, though, to be honest. I remember when I studied Julius Caesar in high school, and my professor told me that Shakespearan characters in his tragedies always had a ‘fatal flaw’ for which they needed to be punished, regardless of how virtuous they otherwise were. The way I view people and the world is somewhat different. I like most people when I first meet them. I do realise that there are bad things about them but nearly everyone I meet has that one redeeming, human quality that makes me want to hug them. Something that makes me go “aww”. People are…cute. They’re all grey and imperfect and worthy of love. I realise that this is naïve, and believe me when I say that liking people doesn’t lead me to trust them or count on them, so I’ll probably not get screwed over. So, worry not. The fact remains though, that it only takes one vulnerability to make me love a person.)

Yes. The princess of digression is back!

But, back to the Bone Clocks. Would I recommend it to other people? Hell yes. I feel like there’s something in here for everyone. And it’s a promisingly fat book, which is a huge plus. Give it a try, guys! Five stars from me.

That’s all for today!

Hoot.

Sin

Here are my social media links. I post cool things sometimes:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

The Rory Gilmore Reading List

Hello everyone! I’m back from my tiny vacation, refreshed and rearing to go! Just kidding… I’m actually exhausted and sad, but who isn’t! xD

This list has been making its rounds on the social media for a while and I’m inspired to look through the list and tell you which of them I’ve read.

This post is inspired by Ashley Riordan’s video on her youtube channel, climbthestacks. She’s one of my favourite youtubers, and I adore her videos. Here’s a link to her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK_3aT2RS9c

Here’s the link with the complete list of all of the books referenced on the Gilmore Girls, a show that I’m currently following a rerun of on TV for the first time, even though I’ve seen random episodes of it before. Yes. This is my first time watching the show. No judgment, please. 😛 I realllly love it so far. Which is why this is a topical post for me. Bear with me. 😛 http://www.buzzfeed.com/krystieyandoli/all-339-books-referenced-in-gilmore-girls#.xwBqZ6xa1

Well, here’s a list of the books I’ve read out of the massive list of books that Rory Gilmore has read: 

1984 by George Orwell
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
Emma by Jane Austen
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Love Story by Erich Segal

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Shining by Stephen King

Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

So it seems I’ve read 55 out of the huge list of 339 books, which isn’t amazing, but there are some books in this list that I want to read, and will read soon.

Expect that list in my next post! 🙂

Which of the books on this list have you read, guys? Which of them do you like? Let me know in the comments!

Hoot

–Sin

 

 

 

LOLLYGAGGING AND THE ART OF ZOOMING THROUGH NANOWRIMO – A peptalk by Krishna Shastri Devalupalli

Are any of you nanowrimo-ing? Read this super helpful peptalk to help you get going! 😀
(Or get started. But if you’re starting today, I’m a tad worried about your chances. Not being mean. You may be awesome. I’m plodding along at a tragically human pace though, and I assume that the majority of you is doing the same.)
I’m a day behind because I couldn’t write yesterday because of a migraine of all the clichés.
God, if I were reading a book with a protagonist who couldn’t write a novel because of a migraine, I’d throw it out.
My life, however, is not a novel. </3
Hoot.
SIn

Wrimo India

Dear Na-No-Wri-Movers & Shakers,

If things have gone according to plan, you are all in front of your keyboards or touch-screen devices searching for that elusive first word of your high-speed novel.

Or, in front of typewriters or blank paper with fountain pen in hand, if you’re old fashioned.

Or, staring at the blank wall of your cave with a sharpened stone in your hands, if you’ve been transported to the Palaeolithic age via a time-machine made by S S Rajamouli’s art department.

Either way, you have 50,000 words to go and 30 days to do it.

That makes it 1666.66 words per day. That’s silly, isn’t it? What’s .66 of a word? Seriously.

I would’ve made it 25 days. A round 2,000 words per day. I tell you.

Be that as it may, here are a bunch of tips that’ll get you zooming through this like a jackrabbit on…

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Suicide of a ‘Criminal’ or Murder of the Stigmatized? : Anuja Agrawal

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

This is a guest post by ANUJA AGRAWAL

Criminal sets self ablaze outside police station’, says a small news item in a local edition of a leading newspaper. The report suggests that a 22- year- old ‘criminal’ set himself ablaze outside a police station in Nanded district, Maharashtra, after some members of his family were arrested. It claims that the young man was a known ‘property offender’ with three cases against him and goes on to describe how the police had been assaulted by his family members when they had gone to investigate a case filed against him by a local trader.  Why a ‘hardened’ criminal should have committed suicide outside the police station would elude the readers if they pondered over the content of this news item. But by now most of us would have moved to the next ‘story’

View original post 1,040 more words

A Micro Blogging Site | Poem

I wrote this poem in June 2013. Yes, I write poetry sometimes. It’s the last poem I wrote. I haven’t written one for over a year! So this is actually a historically important, if somewhat sucky poem. It’s not the best (Duh)  but it’s kinda funny. (I think) Tell me what you think about it. 

It’s teeming with activity,

Constantly buzzing, updating, and changing.

Yet, on examination;

After digging a little deeper,

One can clearly establish that,

Though it is vibrant and alive,

And constantly churning things out,

It is unrefuted and not questionable

That is contains nothing of value.

Yes, there can be no doubt about this fact:

My brain has become a micro-blogging site.