Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reading Update

Two books currently. The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison (Kindle) and Fever - by Clezio (Unkindled). Both the authors - am reading for the first time. Have wanted to read them for a while. But the book jacket of Beloved - another Toni Morrison stuff , which I pick up almost every time when I am in a book shop but end up not buying because of the heart breaking story it promises. Clezio - wanted to read his works since the Nobel last year, I couldn't find anything in Bombay, picked up some books in KL, but my KL book buying overload means I have got a lot of unread stuff on my book shelf.

Fever - Realised once in the book that it is a collection of short stories ...describes pain and the discomfort that a sick body goes through...what better time! Into the first story - and I got my firsthand experience, the kid, and myself down with fever and all the related side effects - and no better time to appreciate the beauties of good health other than when you are down without. It really mars your world, sullies all hopes and tinges the horizon with darkness...all the lush, healthy, bright stuff vanishes and one just sits pondering about the funny taste in one's mouth and the utter hopelessness of life and things like spring in the step and even talks of a lap of swim sound otherworldly. But things pass, that is the beauty if life, isn't it? And the sick days pass, am back at my desk, writing stuff about the readings I should have done over the weekend...and with some hope twinkling in the eyes, horizon is back bouncing with possibilities. And at that note, to K, and to the thought that he shared...The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; They just make the most of everything :) - but I tell you, the lens changes totally when one is unwell.

The Bluest Eye...am 40% deep (the Kindle ticker keeps the progress). Pretty short book, the last one was 3,500 locations, this is just about 2,000. Should be able to finish it soon. I quite like the writing. Don't know where the story will take me...but haven't read anything of this type....closest was Faulkner but a totally different time. But Faulkner was slightly inaccessible at times - I seem to follow Ms Morrison (or so I think). I like her vantage points, perspectives and oh-so-true capturing of thoughts. More once I finish reading.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Short Stories, Never Let me Go

This comes after a while. Lots of things happening, was under the weather for a while, so no significant reading. Finished stuff started earlier - Selected Short Stories by Balzac (unkindled) and kindled The Wife and other stories by Chekhov. And also kindled Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. So three books on kindle so far :). Started the Bluest eye on kindle and Fever off the kindle.

I like the kindle, the fondness increases day by day. It allows one to read faster and this whole thing about adjusting font size to suit the mood and light, thumbs up to that. Simple, uncomplicated, not too many things you can do implies that you don't waste time changing settings...and one can just curl up and get down to reading. And battery...after the iphone, I have stated treasuring anything whose battery doesn't run out in a day...and this one is good to go for almost two weeks. Great, ain't it?

The Wife and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov

I have read other stories by Chekhov but never a collection. He writes about different people from different vantage points and that makes the stories colorful and interesting. Chekhov's stories are not like Saki or Maupassant or O Henry with a twist hidden somewhere. But these are reminiscences, a capturing of those moments when the life turns a corner or a recital of the way things were and the way things are. I liked his old man story...these are way different from Pushkin's...and have a much modern element and a much human element attached to them. And they deal with human issues - old age, lost love, betrayal, unnamed feelings but feelings and emotions all the same.

I started reading this on the iphone, finished it on the kindle :)

Selected Short Stories by Balzac

Where Chekhov wrote about people, farms, sometimes education but at more times communist stuff, Balzac was the other end...its about art, collectors, the artists and the bourgeois and its about the French, the way they lived, their societies. From Chekhov's stories people did travel to France but the color that Balzac has in his color-palette is quite distinct. His stories - most of them had a sad end to them. And again, like Chekhov these stories capture certain people at certain point in time or they form good coffee table conversations when people relate to others what they once saw or knew or met. These had some otherworld or the extreme of this world element attached to them. I look forward to reading more Balzac - his novels. This was the first book I read by Balzac, not many short stories he wrote anyway.

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Quick read.Nice read. Quite an emotional read.

Spoiler alert. Its about clones... the only question I had throughout the novel was why don't these guys run away somewhere, why don't these guys just go away. Why do they go through their destiny knowingly? Why do they accept their lives as is.

I guess that must be the reason Mr. Ishiguro wrote the novel - to let people ask themselves this question. It was emotional, senti, I cried at times on certain pages...it may have to do with other things, but the people in the novel are just so vulnerable! And being a mother, reading while your kid is sleeping next to you and when you read about the vulnerabilities of those Hailsham kids ...even though its an alternate universe...you just want to hold the kid closer to you and make him realise that life is to be lived to the fullest no matter what destiny holds in store and never to give in to the pressure of conforming to the world.

I don't know where I got that but the book must have triggered it.

I am mixing of lot of issues right now and it may not have to do with what the story is about but as Ms Woolf said, a memorable book is the one which triggers other thoughts in your mind...allows your mind to think and make its own connections.

Hope I am able to convey the thought to the kid.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Murder in the Dark by Margaret Atwood

This is the first Margaret Atwood book that I've read. This is a series of short pieces, not linked together (I guess) but reflections of varied kinds...from childhood memories of the stark, indelible kind (making poison, playing murder in the dark, talking vampires) to things related to writing and bordering on the philosphical (role reversals, story lines, endings, taking a prop and building up disparate settings around it). I found the landscape quite intriguing and thought provoking. The time I spent with the book was around an hour (Its a short compilation). Some places, just some places, she reminds me of Doris Lessing - not the craft but the approach to the craft. (Where she discusses different story lines and the ever evasive happy ending). This is one of the first Canadian authors that I'm reading. I find her interesting - and clearly look forward to reading more of her fiction and essays.

Other reading updates - almost through with Balzac's short stories (paper) and mid way with Anton Chekhov's short stories (the wife - collection - on kindle and iphone). Infinite Jest stays where it was.