The 3 Mistakes Of My Life by Chetan Bhagat

The 3 Mistakes Of My life - Chetan BhagatRating: 3.5/5

Genre: Fiction

Make No Mistake, Chetan’s Got It Right This Time
I’ve read a few books of Chetan Bhagat & have to admit I am no big fan of this guy. But 3 mistakes was quite alright.
The thing with Bhagat is that his writing is so very ‘mild’. Sometimes you want more than just a good story. The style of writing itself, the presentation. But I’ll leave the negative feedback for his other books. This one was fine.

I basically decided to pick this book up because I had seen trailers of a movie called Kai Po Che! It’s based on the book, so it made the idea interesting. And also, I wanted to read something simple & light.

So, the 3 main characters are solid, clear cut, obvious kind of people. Businessman, failed cricketer and simpleton. Best friends. The story is told by Govind, the typical Gujrati business man. He tells you about 3 mistakes he made in his life and how his life &  the life of those around him get affected because of these mistakes. All the situations are nicely put together. The characters are very likeable, especially Vidya, the only significant female in the book. All the people in the book are very stereotyped but I guess they do exist.

Perfect 10 to Chetan for churning out another script for Bollywood!

Anyway, nice book, few twists & turns and all is well that ends well.


The Hobbit (There And Back Again) by JRR Tolkien

The Hobbit - JRR TolkienRating: 4.5/5

Genre: Fantasy, Children

Dragons, Hobbits, Dwarves & Rings…These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things
I love the fantasy genre. I love The Lord Of The Ring series. But I have to admit I haven’t read all of the book. It’s the movies that got me hooked. So LOTR came first, which made me go see The Hobbit (An Unexpected Journey) and then I just had to read the hobbit book (much more achievable than LOTR size-wise).

It was lovely and so very very different from LOTR. While LOTR is dark & morbid, The Hobbit is pleasant & nice throughout, despite the dragons, goblins etc. Not surprising given it was written by Tolkien as a bedtime story for his kids, or so I heard. It’s simple yet full of amazing imaginary things, thoroughly enjoyable. Having seen the movie helped as you can imagine everything so clearly (almost in 3D)! The only thing I didn’t get was why the movie had stuff which wasn’t in the book. I don’t think it was required at all.  Should have stuck to the original completely.

Starting with a reluctant Bilbo the adventure goes through fantastical twists and turns to the (slightly disappointing & timid) end, by which time Bilbo takes on a deserving hero’s role. The disappointing bit being the slaying of Smaug which I will not detail for people who haven’t yet read the book. I would also have liked some more impressive characters as were in LOTR, I kind of missed them. Having said that Gandalf, the Dwarves, wood-elves, Beorn and many more such characters are quite amusing & entertaining.
Speaking of characters, read an interesting article on ‘Why there are no women in Tolkien’s world’. Interesting!

Anyway, the book is great fun to read, and super quick at that. I think the tiny disappointments are because of the comparison with LOTR which can be easily forgotten. And you should get your hands on the latest edition which has illustrations, maps etc which give you that little bit extra.

A great book for adults if you are the LOTR fan variety and a must read for kids no matter what. I would certainly like my kids to graduate on to a Hobbit from their current favourite Captain Underpants!

Some stills from the movie:

Hobbit          HobbitHobbit

The Inimitable Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

The Inimitable Jeeves - PG WodehouseRating: 4/5 (read 5/5 if you’re a huge Wodehouse fan)

Genre:  (English) Humour

Its Actually Wodehouse Who Is Inimitable
I used to read Wodehouse in school/college, read lots of them.  And I always used to end up wishing some distant and extremely rich Uncle or Aunt would grow extremely fond of me and leave shit loads of inheritance in my name. Then my life would also be a breeze like most of the characters in a Wodehouse book.

Take Bertie Wooster, for instance, never lifts a finger for any work, doesn’t have to worry about getting a  job, shoots off to distant lands for a break (from God knows what) at the drop of a hat….and what not! The list is endless, as is the money in his pockets!

In this book Jeeves solves one problem after the other in a sort of mini TV series. Some of the issues are unbelievably silly, like a bet on the length of a church sermon, for which Wooster actually leaves all his ‘important’ work and rushes off to participate in. I can’t believe people had so much time on hand those days. Bingo, the hopeless romantic actually makes Wooster look useful. The twist towards the end was pretty good though, wasn’t expecting that. But the hero, of course, is Jeeves. Despite the fact that he is always in the background, doing his good deeds in the shadows of his master’s life.

A Wodehouse is one of the few books you can write a review on even before finishing it. They are all pretty much the same. Similar plots, language, humour, characters, etc. The storyline is as simplistic as can be, and if there are any complications, well that’s what Jeeves is there for anyway, trust him to set things right in a jiffy.

I absolutely love the language. The English sure speak funny English. I lived in London for around seven years but was obviously in the wrong neighbourhood. I never heard people say things like: pip-pip, good egg, shindy, chappies or bally old hen! I did hear ‘dash him’ though.

Although I did enjoy the book, in more of a remembrance kind of way, it didn’t give me the jollies as it used to 20 years ago. Guess I’ve grown up. It might also be that I prefer the Empress of Blandings over the inimitable Jeeves somehow.

Check out a very interesting website for more information on PG Wodehouse. Cheerio then!

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’!