Books, Essay

365 DAYS, 77 BOOKS! NOW NEW RECOMMENDATIONS

The year 2013 is ending pretty fast for me. Only two days and 40 minutes left. Earlier this year, from day 1, I set a target for myself. Target to read 100 books in 365 days. But I guess, I could not complete it. It was a battle against time, and only a time lord could have won. I am no time lord. But I am happy also, as I could read 28 more books than the last year. So somehow, it is an achievement for me too. This year has been a wonderful reading year for me. I feel I have grown as reader, as my knowledge and my ability to understand and grab literature has grown. Reading is beneficial, always. And I got to realize the fact a lot more this year when I took my writing seriously, I was kind of fortunate to my reading habit. Oscar Wilde once said, “There are only good books and bad books”, and I’d like to add something to this wonderful and truthful saying, ‘It’s essential to read a book, and then only you can judge if it is good or bad. It is also essential to judge a book good or bad to develop a strong ability of understanding and expressing your judgment. With knowing the difference between good or bad only, you cannot decide (especially if you’re a writer) what is good or what is bad’. I do read some badly written books. Some of them do have good plot and structure, but then they lack something here and there. Few of them, I dislike, because the unorganized plot. But the good books, well they are good, plot development is one reason or characterization development is good, et cetera. Do become a better reader, a reader must have the experience of both good and bad and reading

Here is snapshot of number of books I read this year. Of course, this does not include the number of text books I read!

Goodreads

 

I might complete the current book I am reading, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, but I am not sure. It’s a classic, and alongside reading it, I want to enjoy each and every word written by Dickens. So the number can increase to 78, I am not sure.

Thus, I’ll end this post in Charles Dickens’ words to describe my reading year in one line,“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

Any recommendation of books to read, would be appreciated.

Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

I have been trying to read this books from past five months(when I first heard about it) and this weekend, I finally took a step forward. When I am reading a good book, it doesn’t take much time for me to finish that book. The Fault in Our Stars, beautifully written, light-read and fast-paced book, by John Green. This is my first piece of John Green’s writing and I must say I am impressed by his style and lightness of the book. The book’s about Hazel Grace Lancaster, and how a book about a cancer sufferer which brings two sufferers close. The other sufferer being Augustus Waters.

But there is some fault in the characterization. John’s characters, Hazel Grace and Augustus, sound more like 25 or 30 year old adults then 17 year old teenagers.  The character of Augustus is more very mature according to his age. But then the wit John has used in his characters is wonderful to read. The sarcasm is outstanding. This made the dialog conversations between the main characters is realistic and fun to read. I could imagine the characters in front of me conversing to each other. It was that clear. Also, the book is for a quodophile(i.e. me). I also feel, John develop these mature characters as the book also targets young adults and which I feel is a very good thing. The young adults could add something new to their vocabularies and learn some small-small morals which this book provides and make a good impact on their attitude and personality through their whole life. This effort, of the author, I appreciate.

There was also one more fault with the book is that in the end it becomes too much emotional. And that aspect I certainly do not like. But hey, I am not the author, John Green is, and he has full rights to write whatever he wants. Also, he being a male writer, wrote the entire book in female teenager’s point of view. And I feel, he did a good job. Never once, I felt that something was too manly about his female characterization.

One thing is for sure, I ‘d like to read him again, and he is certainly one of the best new authors I read this year.

3.5 out of 5 from me.

Books, Essay, MyWorks

‘SOME’ SORT OF FICTION

“You cannot be a good writer of serious fiction if you are not depressed.”
 Kurt Vonnegut

Don’t worry. You don’t have to be depressed right now. ‘Cause Fiction does not have to be serious all the time. It can be of ‘anything’. It has many kinds too. But only two general kinds of modern fiction are recognized as: Category or Genre Fiction and Mainstream Fiction. Category fiction includes science fiction, suspense, mystery, erotica, Gothic and writers like Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain were two category fiction writers. Mainstream writers like Ernst Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that kind of fiction which does not fit comfortably into one category fiction. Best example of mainstream fiction is Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.

A newbie writer would and must try to master one or at least two categories of category fiction such that then he would be able to to write a well-told mainstream fictitious story. For every reader wants to read well-told story and a writer who doesn’t enjoy each of word while writing then how can he make others like those words? Also, most modern day readers prefer category fiction such as mystery, fast-paced suspense, erotica, etc. Less reader prefer mainstream fiction. This can be confirmed by looking at any bestseller list in which 70-80% is category fiction.

So what makes a category fiction. Well there are four basic elements:

  • Plot
  • Protagonist and Anti
  • Background
  • Motivation behind

Plot, as we all know, is the basic body of any story. If a story does not have a plot there would be no story. Ever Shakespeare’s plays have plots. Plot, depends all on writer’s imagination, and of course they way he develops it.

Hero/Heroine and/or Anti-Hero/Villain are the basic characters. A story need to have a hero and in any fiction this is essential. A writer can never write about a character without not focusing on it. Even that character might be a bunch of hair stuck in the drain. The writer will have to analyse and has to spotlight that bunch of hair as to focus on it. That spotlight would be on main character. Having an anti-hero/heroine or a villain is not necessary. I mean to say, not necessary in human form but a villain can a situation or a problem which the hero/heroine has to face in order to complete the plot. There can multiple villains but there cannot be more than one hero. The protagonist can always have a ‘side-kick’ or a supporting character or more than one.

Background is an essential part of a story especially if you are writing like science fiction. In science fiction a writer need to set some background for the plot is constructed in the future from the present time. Background needs to strong such that a reader will believe in it. Sometimes, due to background a reader can stick to the whole story thus just to know what lies in the future. Thus, background has a similar functionality of a glue.

Motivation behind the plot and character building always result in a good story. The characterization is always a requirement but the story should not be sacrificed for the sake of a character study. Don’t spend too much time on analyzing the character to the reader. Get-along with story. Motivation certainly have some further bullet points which I’ll be discussing in a future post.

So, stay tuned.

Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: THE NAME OF THE WIND BY PATRICK ROTHFUSS

They say, writers should write what they love and Patrick Rothfuss seems to do so. He love stories. Telling them is one thing but to live and tell them is astonishing. And how a writer can live in the stories?… By his imagination. Imagination is infinite. You certainly don’t have to pay for it. It is legal to use. And it’s the best thing a human has got, I believe.  The Name of the Wind . At first, I never wanted to read it. But then, when strongly recommended by one of my friend, I borrowed his copy and read it. Now I can say, I can’t wait to read the second.  The Name of the Wind  introduce us to Kvothe, a figure which is hard to ignore not because he has red hair but because the mysterious intelligence the character has.

At the start level, the book is slow for a few pages, and it took me sometime to adjust. May be I was reading after a long time. But after reading the book, I read the starting few pages again. And I must say the style used by Patrick keeps things as simple as possible and he tries to create an enclosure by his words such that if a reader is immerse in his words, he will find hard to emerge out back to reality. The book, I must say, after reading 50-70 pages is very hard to put down. Though they say, the start and the end defines a book, I must correct them, ‘their’ saying might work for a story or a novella for they are short in length but for 600 plus page novel like The Name of the Wind you need to give it some time and at least 50-70 pages might be sufficient to start being judgmental about the book. Most of the times  this will work for fantasies as they happen to be a bit bulky in the length.

As I said the story will bind you from it roots and you will be immersed in the world of Kvothe. The culture, the geography ,the background of the story and especially my favorite part, the characters, which are developed at such a level that they won’t disappoint the reader. According to one interview, Rothfuss spent 14 years in developing this trilogy and I don’t know the truth, nor am I being judgmental here.

So I would recommend this book, but then you might end up reading the trilogy.

3.5 out of 5 from me.

Books

CURRENTLY READING

Currently Reading Books:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Highly recommended by a friend, after I was disappointed on learning that Game of Thrones next part will not be coming soon. Already on page 145 and it’s quite a book. The style is good, plot and story till now good, not filled with boredom at all. Let’s see, what the rest of the pages unfolds to me.

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury is again a recommendation by a fellow writer. I have read just five pages so I cannot really say how is it. But still short in length, light reading, after all it’s Bradbury.

 

I am always eager to read more and open to recommendations. So what do you recommend me to read?

Essay

How I welcome the winter!

Ah, the month of November went pretty fast for me. The later half of the month, I still can’t believe it existed. It’s been over a month Imagesince I had read something or wrote something(Of Course, except in the examinations). “Examinations! Examinations! Examinations!”, right now it sounds like “Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!” in the voice of Daleks. It was kind of a Dalek-phase I was passing through. I still hope that the time lord will come and will take me back in time, back to the mid of last month. But then I’ll be in the Dalek-phase all over again. And I’ll still be reading text books instead of ‘Real Books’  writing exams instead of poetry. Due to this phase, I feel I will not be able to complete my Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge of 100 books which till now I have read only 66.

As of now, I am quite relieved that along with winter that phase had passed like the west wind blows. Cruel mistress winter is to me, but I guess I am ready for some holidays. Football, reading books, and eat is all I am going to do for the next month.

My head, right now, is all in a fuzziness due to the side effects of the Daleks-phase. Any recommendations for the reading part?

Books, Essay

THE WIT OF WRITING

Right ho, then.

To start a story is the most dashingly difficult task for any writer. To establish an atmosphere, as they say, is a vexation in itself. You have to make it perfect, otherwise if you went too long or too short for a start your audience will be smoking joints of boredom instead of cigarettes. You know your boat has sunk before it left the shore. Sometimes there are more cigarette butts in my dustbin then words on the paper resting itself with a blank face. The obligation of a writer is to satisfy his audience and have the stamina to complete his work with wittiness. Wittiness I said, otherwise it would be another one of those in which you are doing a book signing and no body turns up. So you end up giving free copies to your friends, the café owner at which you prefer to drink your latte (in my case it would be a bartender). Also a complimentary copy to the owner of the bookshop. Then your book will be on a seventy percent discount on some kart or mart website and still no buyer. Don’t fool your hands and write what you want to write but always keep the word ‘wit’ on your tips.

 

Books

CONFESSIONS OF A READAHOLIC: FIRST BOOK

When did I start reading? Hmm… Well, surely I must have been a small kid with the curiosity of childhood. Nevertheless, I remember when I bought my first book. I was in third standard then. I remember the incident clearly. There was a book fair for a week in my school (my school always had them) and we use to get a leaflet containing the name a brief description and the pricing of the book. I showed that leaflet to my father after the dinner and I think he agreed and gave me money. Next day came early, and I was blooming with the excitement. I remember the book, it is still there on my shelf. Though, I don’t remember finishing it.

I have been keeping a record of the books and their authors I have read since my school days. They are numbered as I read them. The number is a secret, I would share that someday if I reach the milestone of 500 or maybe 1000.

I quite clearly remember the first book I read. It was a classic, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and I must have been in my seventh standard. That is the only Stevenson’s book I have read till date. I remember glancing over shelves of my school library to explore more and more innovative and fresh new worlds. The dust, the smell of old paper, the colorful covers and the hardbound covers. At one time, I did explore some books in my library which were not issued to anyone in last eight years. Even my librarian did not know about them.

Since then, I have been an avid reader. I don’t stick or read only one genre, as I love to try and read different genres. But I do have my favorites one. People always complain that they don’t get time to read but they do want to read. Well there is an advice for them, you will never get time to read till you seek it. Make reading a part of your day to day activities, like those you do daily and never forget them to do. It will help you. I have been reading and keeping it in my list of day to day activities from the past six years.

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

So my friends, which was your first book?

Books, MyWorks

WORLD OF FICTION

Books are written because an author wants to write and a reader wants to read. Fiction is a most read form of writing and it is the kind of writing that is not factual.

In the world of fiction, I am going to concentrate on four aspects of fiction: Flash Fiction, Short StoryNovella, and Micro Fiction.

Flash Fiction is small. They are short, short stories. Generally consists of 500 to 750 words. Well, if you think writing that many words is easy for you, think again. If you still think it is easy for you, well try to the limit. In my research a Flash Fiction does not exceed 1,000 words.

Short Story which is something between a Flash Fiction and a Novella. I love reading short stories. They give me enough to really satisfy my curiosity about the character and plot, bringing the story to a dynamic conclusion—all without leaving my chair once. That’s the hallmark of a short story. You should be able to read it in one sitting.

Normally, a short story range from 1,000 to 10,000 words but the genre also has a big part in it.

Novella. Five years back if you would ask me what a Novella is, I might have not known. And I have never written one. The length gives you room for more characters and more story. It pulls up short of a novel, making it the perfect size for avid readers with a short attention span.

Some writers want to call their 50,000 or 60,000 word manuscripts a novel. The culprit of this is probably National Novel Writing Month. It challenges you to write a novel in a month. The goal is 50,000 words. But if you ask a publishing company they would underline the words that  minimum is usually 80,000 words and can go as high as 240,000. But then we have the genre thing again.

Micro Fiction. It is tiny. Generally about the length of a Tweet or maybe a little longer than that.

Hopefully, my explanation of the specific terms was informative.

Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW:THE SEA AND THE SILENCE

The Sea and the SILENCE 

by PETER CUNNINGHAM

The Sea and the Silence is a beautifully written historical fiction by Peter Cunningham. It is one of those books that you don’t appreciate the craftsman until you read it. I got an ebook format of it, a few weeks back on my Kindle application from Amazon.

This historical novel set in Ireland, spanning the years from WWII to the 1960s, the story is chiefly about Iz, the daughter of a cash-poor but land-rich Anglo-Irish aristocrat during a time when the IRA was “taking back” Ireland.

The novel is broken into two parts, the first entitled ‘Hector’ and it encompasses the years of Iz’s marriage. There’s not too much Irish history in this part, rather it is a portrait of Iz as a wife and her struggle. The reader must have patience because when the second part, called “Iz” comes along, everything falls into place. The pace picks up dramatically, as if the author spent the first part of the book taking you slowly to the very top of a roller coaster. The resulting rush of plot, drama, Irish history and politics is an experience to read.

The novel is written cleverly as is the title. Cunningham’s book  (translated into French as La Mer Et La Silence) was awarded the Prix de L’Europe in 2013. This novel was also shortlisted for the Prix des Lecteurs du Telégramme and the Prix Caillou.

The storyline of the book is interesting and because of the appreciable writing, I would say it will touch your head and might touch your heart. When I began this book, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. But when I was halfway through, I knew I had to finish it for the sake of being a good reader.  It is an epic love story set under the dignity of Anglo-Irish class.