Riot by Shashi Tharoor

Rating: 3.5/5, interesting presentation.

Genre: Historical Fiction

History, Religion, Politics, Murder…And A Sad Love Story
That’s exactly what the book is made up of. It has got all the right ingredients. You don’t necessarily have to be familiar with incidents around which all this happens. Anyone in any country at any point of time can understand the dirt behind politics & religion, at different levels though.

The best part about the book is probably the narration. It goes from interviews to diary entries to letters, a very interesting way to present the case. The relationship between Priscilla and Lakshman is also portrayed beautifully. The reasons they get together and the reasons for the problems that arise, very convincing.

The book is quite fast paced and keeps you hooked throughout. Although, it is in a continuous state of sad affairs, be it the politics or the people’s love lives, you want to keep reading! It does get a bit depressing too at times, but then that’s what the story is all about.

Definitely a good book and the fact that Tharoor is so good looking keeps a nice picture in mind. Can’t help but mention that!

You can check out another book by Tharoor:

The Great Indian Novel - Shashi Tharoor

The Great Indian Novel


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Fiction

Beautiful People & Beautiful Words Make A Beautiful Book
I read this book around 20 years ago and read it for the second time recently, doesn’t say much for my age I guess! Anyway, loved it then & loved it again. It’s such a simple book with a not so simple storyline, expressed so endearingly.

The story is quite straightforward but extremely intriguing, although set in a completely different era, relevant even today. Each individual character is so vivid, strong and impressive. They all have a strong presence and yet do not overshadow each other. Atticus has to be my favourite, there is something so soothing & alluring about his personality. A model parent. Scout of course is bound to create an impression, there’s so much to her. The changes in Jem as he grows older and more mature. Another one I really like is Boo Radley, you just can’t help it. You have so many questions about him which unfortunately go unanswered.

Despite such sweet characters and situations, there is a constant dark undercurrent to the story. While racism is the top issue there are smaller things about life as well that make you think. The class divide, single parenting, abuse issues, etc. Brilliantly interwoven. I would have liked the book to have never ended, to know more about each character, their past as well as future!

I still have to get around to watching the movie too, am sure it must be very good. You can’t go wrong with such a lovely book.

A beautiful, beautiful book that has to be read again and again.

50 Shades Freed by EL James

Rating: 1.5/5, dont get me started, even the 0.5 is kind of extra!

Genre: Erotic Romance

Romance, Romance And More Romance…Of The Naughty Kind
If you’re a fan of mind-numbing mush, this one is for you.
I had heard so much about this trilogy and was really curious to read these books. A friend had this particular one and I gave it a try without knowing that this was the last book in the series. And boy am I thankful I started with the last one. It ended the torture.

How many times can you read sentences like, ‘he looked at her lovingly’, ‘her heart missed a beat when he took his shirt off’, ‘I love you more than my life’ and the likes at least a million times in different vehicles, rooms, places, attire, etc. It’s just sex in different shapes and forms without any solid story to hold it together.
And actually the best thing about the book was probably the way the sex scenes were detailed, very well written, but even that gets tiresome & repetitive after a while. Rest of the book…rubbish.

The characters are kinda psycho, no harm in that, they just don’t sound real. Or maybe that was the whole point, it’s just a book full of fantasies. At least I got a good laugh when the author writes explicitly about the love-making and then very coyly calls the girl’s private parts ‘her sex’! Found that hilarious.

I’m afraid I can’t write anymore on this book. Not much to review, you see, I pretty much skipped most of the pages…whole pages, not even sentences!

Surprisingly many of my friends (even the sensible ones) liked this book and almost seemed offended when I said I didn’t like it one bit.
Bottom line, romance is not my thing, guess these books are just not for people like me.

If you still want to try it out, go ahead but be sure you know what you’re getting into. This might help…GREY!

No Onions Nor Garlic by Srividya Natarjan

Rating: 3.75/5, hilarious in a silly way.

Genre: Humour

Wodehouse goes Indian, Tambrahm To Be Specific
A wonderful and funny book I must say.
The first few pages are a bit off and lack the humour of the rest of the book, but you can get past that. And the last bit is a little over-dramatic. There isn’t much of a story either. The clichés about Tambrahms are nothing new, you’ve heard them all before. The comedy is very simplistic and……! By now you must be  wondering why I’m calling this book wonderful at all! Because that’s just what is DESPITE all those flaws.

The thing that is brilliant about this book is the author’s sense of humour. Every single line is funny in one way or the other. I couldn’t afford to skip even a word as I could miss out on a joke because of that. I had a smile plastered on my face throughout the book, except for when I was laughing out loud.

The book deals with caste issues but that’s completely irrelevant. There is no social message and thank god for that! It’s an easy read and very ’Wodehouseish’. All that was missing was a couple of pigs!
Srividya Natarajan writes very well and I would love to try more of her books. This might sound sexist but if I hadn’t known the author’s name I would have assumed that the book was written by a guy. The blasé, non-chalant, don’t-give-a-damn style of humour is rather masculine.

There is lots in the book that’s exaggerated, doesn’t make sense, filmy and what not. So the key is to not take it seriously and just enjoy the one-liners.

As I read in a review, it’s a ’brilliantly irreverent book’!

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Humour, War Fiction

A Catch-22 You Wouldn’t Mind Being In
I must say it took me a few (just a few though) pages to get hooked to the book but when I did, it was for life. This is one amazing book. The kind which when I had just finished, I knew I wanted to read it again!

The humour is definitely dark but it makes you snigger, smile and laugh out loud. Set in one of the most trying times in world history, WW II to be precise, it is a very unlikely place to dig for a funny bone. But Heller does it so well. He brings forth all the trials and tribulations of those involved in a senseless war (not that the others are sensible anyway) with an unusually amusing style of humour.

The characters are very real although their idiosyncrasies are hard to grasp. Some situations and characters are too farfetched  at times but that doesn’t stop you from enjoying the book one bit. The character of Yossarian is as amusing as his name.

I kept thinking of M*A*S*H the whole time I read the book, although I have no idea if there is any influence in any way. Even the characters could be compared to a large degree.

Given the negative tone to the whole story, the end is quite positive, kind of ‘feel good’. That was very heartening for me, a sucker for happy endings.

The Catch-22 logic drives you crazy, especially the one about ‘being crazy’; but you have to read the book to really get it. Apparently, before finalising on the number 22, the numbers 11, 14 & 17 were also given a thought. Wonder what went behind that one!