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!

Jim Morrison by Stephen Davis

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Biography, Music

And We Thought Rock Stars Were Lucky
I knew Jim Morrison was a crazy rock star but the extent of his craziness as per this biography, was an eye-opener. Only after reading this book did I realise that poor old Jim was born wired all wrong, the music (and alcohol) just tweaked it up a notch higher. His childhood was certainly not rosy but he definitely contributed to making things worse for himself. Things never got better as he grew older but he never gave anything a chance to get better. Probably only towards the end of his life.

Doors was an awesome group and their music was undoubtedly brilliant. But Jim (as always) didn’t fit in. He seemed to be on a different path internally and walked a different path externally. I guess it’s got to do with society, people’s expectations, following rules, etc. All of which were things he didn’t give a damn about and yet in some ways (his own way mostly) he had to conform to. He puts it very well in an interview mentioned in the book where he says that the initial albums done by the Doors were the real creative stuff. They would play the songs a thousand times and keep tweaking them till they felt they were right. The songs were a part of them. But on the later albums it was all directed by the producers, market expectations, the number game and even by the audience. So they weren’t making songs for themselves anymore and that kills the true creative genius in an artist.

Jims antics when drunk (which would be ‘all the time’) are hilarious in a pathetic way. You feel sorry for him while somewhere inside you admire the fact that at least he followed his heart in whatever he did. His soul mate, Pam,  didn’t do much for his soul and his band’s apathy was heartbreaking (although understandable to quite an extent).
It seemed like all the musicians, artists, groupies, etc of that time were a bunch of crazy people blowing their minds on drugs and sex.

Jim’s death is so sad and senseless. And the way it was handled till his burial is  equally crazy. The cover up, the delay, no autopsy, it’s all quite ridiculous.

I wish people could handle success better and enjoy what they earn sensibly. If Jim had just been a bit more controlled and thought things through in his head he would have become the great poet he wanted to be. But then, it wouldn’t have been the true James Douglas Morrison.

A few words about Stephen Davis. He’s written the book very well. I like the way he moves back and forth in time ever so  slightly. His unbiased portrayal of Jim’s character, makes you see all sides of the story. All in all, never a dull moment, just like Jim’s life!

Different shades of the Lizard King:


Illusions by Richard Bach

Rating: 6/5, its my blog, I can give any ratings I want!

Genre: Spiritual/Fiction

The Best Book In The World
Kindly keep in mind, it is the best book according to ME. It doesn’t matter to me whether anyone agrees or disagrees, I simply love it. I have read it over and over and over again…and can go on doing it. I love every bit that’s written in it. It’s like a guide book to life, it’s my bible. All those quotes and expressions and sayings, every one of them makes sense, some in a funny way and some in complete seriousness.

Some of the stuff I really like:
– There is no problem so big that it cannot be run away from!
– If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.
– Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.
– Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they’re yours!
– Everything in this book maybe wrong!

I could just go on and on, in fact, list down the whole book.

And it’s not just the quotes, the story is nice too. Bach’s arguments, the points he makes, the (reluctant) Messiah and the (even more reluctant) bi-plane flying disciple. The setting is so unusual for the content, yet it fits so well. And all of this is packed into 200 odd pages, short & sweet.

Richard Bach seems to have such clear insight & thoughts on the whole process of life, its surprising how his own life is full of tragedies & sadness. Failed marriages, daughter’s death & his near fatal accident. I’m sure he has a very valid explanation for all of those too.
I have read other books by Bach but they’re not that impressive. I’m not sure if Illusions came before or after but the other books seem to have bits and pieces of  Illusions in them.

Illusions, a masterpiece…simply the best book ever!

The Confession by John Grisham

Rating: 3.5/5

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

A Pastor, A Psycho And An Advocate Walked Into A Bar
Gripping, very fast paced and it really gets you into it. A good book with an interesting storyline. It can get very depressing though. And at times when things start going wrong and don’t happen as they should you feel so frustrated at not being able to jump into the book and do something about it. This only goes to show how well its written to get you that involved.

Although the basic story of murder is age-old, the death penalty angle and the sense of hope & urgency at every twist and turn gives it a different twist. You end up getting mad at how the system works and so on. All the characters from the pastor, cops & advocate to the murderer & victims are rather cliché but fit well into the plot.
I would like to change some of the sad bits in the story though, not necessarily a fairytale ending but just a bit less heart wrenching. I was honestly almost in tears in certain sections. Wonder why it hasn’t been made into a movie yet, it’s got all the ingredients.

The really interesting bit is the note at the end by the author. He says that if anyone has a problem with certain legal things he’s written or got wrong and would like to write to him about them…DONT! It’s just a story, read and enjoy!

The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Rating: 4.5/5, a must read for the girls!

Genre: Historical Fiction

The Power Of Kick-Ass Draupadi
They say, never judge a book by its cover but it’s the cover of this book that made me want to read it. It is beautiful, mesmerising and mysterious. The green colour is just lovely. And so is the book.

An age old story (Mahabharata), heard it a million times and yet, enjoyed it all over again. This goes to show, how a certain thing is written can matter more than the story itself sometimes (definitely not always). The lead character is Draupadi (or Paanchali if you like), known for being fiery, emancipated, a woman of the world. This book takes her character a step further. Her thoughts, ideas and actions are something you can so relate to, understand completely and also forgive when you think about why she did what she did.  It is straight from a woman’s brain (and heart).
How Draupadi interprets individuals, manipulates them when required and also gives in to them when she knows she’s in a tight spot. All those incidents and mini-stories of Mahabharata take a new meaning although you feel so very often, that’s how I thought about it when I first heard the story. But it’s all about Paanchali through & through and you don’t mind it for even a minute. If the characters of a book reflect the personality of the writer, Chitra must be one kick-ass babe!

The book is very feminist in attitude but anyone who enjoys a good book, even men, will surely love this one. Of course, you need to be familiar with the Mahabharata story & characters to be able to understand the whole take on them. A brilliant and  fast paced book, which I wouldn’t mind reading again.

Take a look at some lovely quotes from the book and here’s one I really liked:

“Can’t you ever be serious?’ I said, mortified.
‘It’s difficult,’ he said.  ‘There’s so little in life that’s worth it.”