Books

Monthly Recap- July

This post is all about what was posted this month on Confessions of a Readaholic.

Book Reviews

            

Author Interview

Amrita Chatterjee

Guest Post

How Reading Dissolves Reality and Reconstructs Structures by Snigdha Nautiyal

Book Lists

Chris McCandless Reading List

Top Ten Books in 2015- A Half Yearly List

Essay

Buying Books I Don’t Read

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Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

It’s a dark world and there are dark stories to be told. Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of them. It is a slim book narrated by an unnamed English man in his forties, who returns to his childhood home located in the English countryside of Sussex. “Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet,” writes Neil Gaiman.

Indeed it is true, those memories will recall in our mind later like fresh berry juices. But they just need a right moment to make an appearance. The unnamed narrator on returning to his childhood home is drawn to familiar places that he hasn’t seen in a long time and which provoke those buried memories to make an appearance.

He long ago knew a girl named Lettie Hempstock. When he rambles through her farm and follows the trail to the duck pond, it seems he might as well be traveling through time. Memories are waiting all around, and when he tosses a hazelnut into the water, the ripples carry across his mind as he remembers everything. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman”

Books, Guest Post

GUEST POST- How Reading Dissolves Reality and Reconstructs Structures by Snigdha Nautiyal

Distorted Dimensions and Warped Space: How Reading Dissolves Reality and Reconstructs Structures 

by Snigdha Nautiyal

It is strange really, how easy it is to write on my own blog and how nail-bitingly nerve-wracking to think of something good when you’re writing a guest post! This is my first and for weeks now I’ve had absolutely no idea how to capture the elusive bird of an idea that was floating around in my head. So I decided to just dive in and pretend I was talking to myself (that’s what bloggers do, anyway).

The world of fiction, with all its truths and untruths, appeals to something ethereal within us. It is hard to call the love of books anything else but a worship of the written world. Sometimes, I wonder why there is a power in the universe that urges me to pick up the stories of other people, most of whom never even existed, and to cry real tears for them! Something triggered a thought process inside my head, compelling me to think about how books shape the ways in which we see the world. This makes it important to pick up the right kind of books. Whatever we perceive of reality, is ultimately a story we are writing in our own head. That is a horrifying thought: our life could be a novel! And when someone else would read it, how would they see it? Continue reading “GUEST POST- How Reading Dissolves Reality and Reconstructs Structures by Snigdha Nautiyal”

Book List, Books

Buying Books I Don’t Read

Sometimes I am annoyed by myself. The reason is simple, I buy books that I don’t read. Ever. I never really go for a book shopping for more than two books a time, and once or twice I have been I made sure that I have read them all. But there are some books or the other when in time I glance on my shelf that brings back the happiness of buying it but the guilt of not reading it. I must day, I like buying books. Books which are lesser known. Books in series. Books with yellow pages, rusty covers and that smell!

I don’t think I am harming them in any way even if they are lying soundlessly on my shelf. That’s what we readers do and we do it by having  good intentions in our conscience. We have the best of intentions and never the worst of intentions when buying books. Sometimes it is a result of a peculiar obsession. Either obsession with the cover, or that smell, or the writer.  Continue reading “Buying Books I Don’t Read”

Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Despite all the criticism the book will continue to receive in coming days, months, and years, I think you should read Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee if you have read To Kill A Mockingbird. I cannot argue about the timing of the publishing of the book. I think it is fair that it got published after fifty-five years of Lee’s first novel and I am curious about what would have happened if this book would have published many years before.

The story starts as Jean Lousie, twenty-six years old, returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus Finch, now seventy-two and crippled by arthritis. Considered as the sequel the book is set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her.

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee”

Books, Non-Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Interview and Other Conversations by David Foster Wallace

THE LAST INTERVIEW and OTHER CONVERSATIONS is a collection of interviews of David Forster Wallace including the last interview he gave before his death. Earlier this year I read his book Infinite Jest which I still think is a bit overrated due its length but I got curios about this writer-who-wears-bandana’s intellect. On reading this book, I got a glance on his intellect more. It’s an insight and you don’t need to read between the lines. Just read the answers David Foster Wallace gave to several interviewers’ questions.

In THE LAST INTERVIEW and OTHER CONVERSATIONS, David Foster Wallace not only answers the questions regarding his books and essays or collection of his essays rather he has an opinion on various subjects. He talks politics, his teaching career, a book reviewer’s POV, on the film The Good Will Hunting, the role of footnotes in Infinite Jest, pop culture and for rest you have to read the book. It’s not as big as Infinite Jest, in fact quite intact. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The Last Interview and Other Conversations by David Foster Wallace”

Book List, Books

Chris McCandless Reading List

Into The Wild gives a beautiful insight in to the life of Chris McCandless. I remember saying almost the same thing when I wrote a review of Into The Wild by Jon KrakauerI recently read a book recommended by a fellow blogger at the time when I wrote the book, which gives more insight into the life of Chris McCandless, The Wild Truth: The Untold Story of Sibling Survival by Carine McCandless. This book shows another view of Chris’ life. The relationship he had with his parents, his childhood, his relationship with sister and other siblings.

At the end of the book I found an image shared by Carine which consisted of the favourite books of Chris McCandless. So I thought, why not share those books here.

Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig Continue reading “Chris McCandless Reading List”

Interviews

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Amrita Chatterjee

Amrita Chatterjee is the author of an adventurous tale- Special Lassi which was published earlier this year.


 

Hi Amrita and thank you for agreeing to this interview. Congratulations on your new book, SPECIAL LASSI— an adventure, and a gripping novel. Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you Aman for wanting to interview me! You are a brave man. And you’ve started with possibly the hardest question to answer. So far I’ve lived in seven cities, dabbled in writing, music, art and swanky corporate jobs. In a way, you could say that books are my background. I started writing at a very early age, two years old to be precise and drove my parents to insanity by scribbling all over the walls. Now, two and a half decades later, not much has changed.

What was the genesis for SPECIAL LASSI?

In 2011, as I was backpacking around India, I started keeping a journal to record my magical adventures and remember all the lovable loons I met on the way. I never intended for it to become a book, but a friend of mine who was sick of hearing my travel stories insisted that I write it all down so she could read it in her own time. And that’s how it all started.

I really like your writing style. It is smooth, appealing and adaptable to any reader. The plot is simple but the characters and the narration that worked for me. According to you, which area should be more emphasised: the plot or the characters?

Characters, no doubt about that. As Martin Scorsese once explained beautifully, the plot is simply a sequence of events; boy meets girl, falls in love, boy dies in a tragic accident, the end. So really, it’s the characters that make the story. We all care infinitely more about what kind of a boy was he? Funny, compassionate, good looking? How did he love the girl? Madly and truly? Did he write her letters everyday or sing her a song? That’s what everyone wants to read.

How important you think for a writer, when writing about a journey or an adventure, is self-experience in that area?

For a non-fiction/travel book, I’d say it’s quite important because it’s hard to provide a new perspective on something if you are only experiencing it second hand. But when it comes to fiction/ fantasy, I guess it’s easier to let your imagination run wild because people don’t have anything to compare it against. If J.K. Rowling tells me that this is what it feels like to be kissed by a dementor, I’ll take her word for it. But if I’ve never been to Manali and I try to write about it, I will definitely fail.

What about the ‘psychedelic touch’? Continue reading “AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Amrita Chatterjee”

Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Special Lassi by Amrita Chatterjee

Lassi is a traditional yogurt-based drink that is extremely popular in Indian Subcontinent especially in the time of unpleasant weather of summer. It comes in variety, sweet, with fruits, spices. Although the traditional Lassi is the salted one. However, Amrita Chatterjee’s Special Lassi is not all about this traditional drink. It’s more of an escapade in Himalayas with a psychedelic touch.

The journey is fulfilled by two friends, the narrator and her friend named River, while travelling across beautiful and engrossing places like Darjeeling, Yuksom, Kathmandu, Lumbini, Leh, Ladakh and a few more. The essence of these places are described by the author in a beautiful and honest manner. After reading about these mesmerizing sites, one would fancy to visit themselves.  Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Special Lassi by Amrita Chatterjee”

Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami was a front-runner in Nobel Prize in Literature when the book 1Q84 released. He is one of the most admired novelist of contemporary world. Already been honoured by Kafka Prize, his best books, in my opinion, are Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood and Pinball, 1973. Murakami’s 1Q84 is an immensely long book, paged more than nine hundred and originally published in three volumes in Japanese. The English edition combines all three volumes as a single copy. This book is combination of a love story, a mystery, a fantasy and a dystopia. The title indeed is similar to George Orwell’s 1984.

Murakami’s writing is at its best when he writes a simple plot through suspenseful story telling. Though 1Q84 is not a simple book. It will need your attention from page one up to page nine hundred and twenty-five where you will come across the last period (.) put by the author. However, the book is a page turner and you will be able to finish it in a less amount of time then you are expecting right now. I was able to do it in two days.

1Q84 opens when a young woman finds herself stuck in gridlock on ­Tokyo’s elevated Metropolitan Expressway. She is worried about being late for a critical appointment. As if reading her mind, the taxi driver suddenly mentions that there’s an emergency service stairway nearby, and that it leads down to a street close to a subway stop. He doesn’t recommend that she climb down these rusty stairs especially in a miniskirt and heels, but the subway offers her only chance to avoid being late. As she opens the door of the cab, the driver mysteriously says, “Don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality.”

By the time she reaches the place for her appointment, she realises she is not the in the world she was earlier, but instead a parallel reality is maundering around her which she eventually dubs 1Q84. “A world that bears a question.”  Meanwhile a second story line is established by the author of lonely novelist alternating the young woman’s dangerous adventures.

The novelist has been talked into secretly revising a short novel so it can win a major prize. The plot is fantastic and involves Little People who emerge from the mouth of a dead goat but its 17-year-old author is even stranger who can scarcely read or write due her dyslexia, and her speech is laconic. She insists that the details of her novel are absolutely true and the ‘Little People’ are in existence. Without the slightest knowledge to both characters, the young girl and the lone novelist, the plot moves them closer and closer as the pages are turned.

The novel is Murakami’s one of the complex works and despite its length, the plot and the characters are tightly bound. Through his dialogues and his characters as puppets he takes up philosophy. Most of the chapters end with a cliffhanger that will drive a reader to continue his journey in this alternative reality. The book is one of those that brings the excitement in a reader’s mind while reading it due some chemical imbalance or stability and will stay in the memory for a long time.

4 out of 5