Monday, April 30, 2007

Books Roundup!

My recent fascination for cross-culture/multi-culture stories led me to read quite a few books. Interestingly, only after starting this post I realised that all in my listing were written by female authors!

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - Sister of my heart

A very engaging story of two girl friends almost brought up as sisters. Anju and Sudha join my unforgettable characters list. The mothers, the aunt, the early Calcutta life described are all so realistic. The sudden but deep relationship of Sudha and Ashok felt so bollywoodish and the unnecessary Sudha-Sunil angle was a dampener(especially after the cute first encounter between Anju and Sunil)! Can be made into a nice mega serial (especially because of the portrayal of Sudha's MIL!). After reading this, I went on a Chitra D. B. novels reading spree but none of them were as good as this one.

Samina Ali - Madras on rainy days

Ofcourse, it was Madras on the title which made me pick the book in the first place. Even though the story's significant turning point(supposedly, even though one can sense it all along!)happens in Madras, I was disappointed because of my expectation from the title! The story is quite unusual in the sense that it is about an American bred Indian girl getting (arranged) married to a Hyderabadi guy. Inspite of having lived in India for quarter century, the life of Hyderabadi Muslims portrayed in the story was as foreign as the life of Afghans as described in Kite Runner. Anyway, it was quite different and serious natured than I had expected.

Laura Fitzgerald - Veil of roses

The gist at the back cover got me interested in this book. It is about an Iranian woman who comes to visit her sister in the US with the intention of finding a suitor to marry and settle in the states. The story started of very interesting that I found it hard to put down the book. But as the story progressed, it began to feel like Mills and Boon novel! Tamila Soroush, the main character of the novel didn't seem to have any depth even though there were some affecting bits about Iranian life(like that of Tami's parents who send both their daughters away to the US hoping for a better life for them inspite of the fact that they would never ever get to see them or the little freedoms like music, friends, strolls that one cannot enjoy in Iran). Timepass!

Pearl Buck - The Good Earth

A pulitzer award winning novel! It is the story of a Chinese farmer in the turn of the century. I was surprised at how culturally similar Chinese life was to that of Indian. The story reminded me of old b/w melo-dramatic Indian movies! The description of the life of farmers depending on nature once again brought back the plight of our farmers and all farmers around the world!


The Talkative Man said...

hey great to see some review on indian writing in english...been planning to restart my interest after several years. Where did you get the books, amazon or local lib?

SOMH interested me in a sale and I picked it up but someone quickly purchased it from me @Amazon.
TGE: brings memories of summer of 1989 when I waded through it for 3 long months, someone in the family won it as a prize. Pretty stark novel that takes some patience, it's so much like a Bengali film :)

planning for long to check out Rohinton Mistry and Anita Rau badami, ARB used to write for Hindu several years back.

Munimma said...

Read sister... a long time back. Like you, it set me on a CBD drive, but other than mistress of spices, nothing was that impressive. Prefer Jhumpa L.

Good earth, I think I read it in school, a long time ago :-)

BTW, just finished Hullaballoo in the Guava orchard by Kiran Desai. It started out ok, but the ending was weird!

I need a few books to fill in until Hallows.

Me said..., music, cooking, reading...adhu eppadi ungalukku mattum ellathalayum interest irukku?

kuttichuvaru said...

out of syllabus!!!

Me too said...

ttm, at the local lib, ofcourse! I'm a reformed packrat!
"SOMH interested me in a sale and I picked it up but someone quickly purchased it from me @Amazon." - I hope you'd finished reading it by then!!
'Tamarind Woman' by ARB is in my to-read list.

munimma, enjoyed Nick Hornby's 'A long way down' and currently readin 'The Jane Austen book club' and 'Never let me go'. Would love more recommendations from you.

me, pinne, 'sakalakalavallavan' fan aache!! ;) But funny you should say that! My parents gave up totally after I failed to show interest in any extra-curricular activities like music(carnatic!)/dance/cooking etc.! Cooking is an acquired interest after coming abroad and finding restaurant foods worse or as bad as mine.

kc, ok but come back for a re-test in 2 days!

Munimma said...

How is Jane Austen book club? I have been tempted to check it out from the library, but didn't do so yet.

This summer I hope to catch up on books and movies.

If you are a Austen fan, check out the follow ups written by Carrie Bebris and Elizabeth Aston. I like both of their books.

D LordLabak said...

Me, thats true. I am feeling jealous.
Also, try No onions, no garlic. Its hilarious. You ar welcome (in advance).:-)

Swetha said...

Have you read The kite runner and The inheritance of loss ? I found them quite impressive !

Anonymous said...

check out : great place to get books for $1 or 50c!! About SOMH, business came before pleasure :( After reading anurag mathur's trash, gave up on modern Indian writing, RKN, Manohar Malgaonkar, anita desai for now, shashi tharoor rocks too :)

Me too said...

munimma, after disappointment reading a P & P sequel(Pemberley, I think), I didn't dare try any. Have just started the J A book club. Will let you know.

deepa, Thanks! Book title and the author increase my curiosity!

dushti, Yes, have read The kite runner. Will add Inheritance of loss to my to-read list. Thanks.

ttm, thanks for the link. Recently read somewhere about Shashi Tharoor's writings. Will check his works too.

Anonymous said...

Aparna: Iam so so so jealous. Its been eons since I read anything but Brown Bear Brown Bear what do you see or happy baby colors.

I usually brush up the harry potter book before teh movie, I am not even sure if I can even ctahc teh movie this time.

Booo hooo :(

Me too said...

utbtkids, welcome! Not too long ago, I sailed in the same boat! Once the kids grow up, what else are we gonna do!