Book 53: The Bachelor of Arts by R. K. Narayan

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The Bachelor of Arts by R. K. Narayan

Finished reading June 23, 2013

Rating 7/10

This rather short piece is about Chandran, a history major whom we first meet being asked to be the Prime Mover in a debate ” The Historians should be slaughtered first”. So already the beginning of this novel is catchy.

It continues with Chandran’s life in and out of the university, for example establishing a History Association, trying to get a marriage arranged between himself and a girl he sees and follows on a beach, his depression when their horoscopes don’t match and hence they cannot marry…. And all this followed by months of him being a sanyasi, someone who renounces worldly and materialistic pursuits.

After around 9 months he returns home to his worried parents and has to decide what to do next – to go to England maybe…? or take up a venture into a newspaper venture? And all this while his mother is giving arranging a marriage for him another try.

It was a rather good read, it could just have been a lot longer…

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Book 46: The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Finished reading May 30, 2013

Rating 6/10

This book took me a few weeks to finish, because I mostly read it while cooking and since I almost never do that, then it took ages. Actually I was using this book as a timer, since I knew how long it takes to finish reading one page I didn’t need any other timer. ūüôā

The book is about¬† the mistress of spices, a mysterious Indian woman who has a spice shop in Oakland, California. She has a magical power over spices so she can give the people who visit her shop exactly what they need just by giving them the right spices. That power however didn’t come for nothing – she isn’t allowed to leave her shop.

Things get complicated for her, when a handsome American appears, who doesn’t look at the mistress as all the other customers do, as if he’d know that there’s something behind that old woman appearance.

The book is okay, I would even have said good and given it a higher rating, but it made me miss my boyfriend, otherwise it would have gotten 7.

There’s a movie based on the book. The trailer is awesome. I’ll be definitely watching it.

Book 40: The Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur

PIMG_0021The Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur

Finished reading on March 24, 2013

Rating 7/10

I started reading this book in the end of last week, but only now did I finally get to the end.

It’s about an Indian guy who goes to the US for a year to study at a college and about what he sees and experiences there. It starts out funny – Gopal’s love for coke for example . Then there are the odd phrases that Americans use that baffle Gopal, such as “get out of here”, “so long” and “cool it”. And the gem – a certificate saying that Gopal’s the most promising young man in the hair oil business, which he thinks would impress¬†American¬†girls.

Despite¬†all the humour, I found it sad by the end – the main character’s loneliness and withdrawal and the¬†final¬†departure¬†to India made me think of rainy gray weather and depressing vocal music. ¬†The saddest part was when he goes to the mall on Christmas Eve just to be with other people.

Well it might have just seemed to me that the book was sad, as I’m spending my Sunday home alone…

But then again, Gopal’s kind of naive and odd (classic nerd??) and if you’d move the plot to my country and my college class, remove the difference in skin colour and cultural heritage and add computer games – then you’ve got some of my¬†acquaintances¬†and I stop¬†feeling¬†sad and rather get annoyed.

The book’s okay and good fun, as long as one doesn’t start digging into deeper issues there.

Book 29: East, West by Salman Rushdie

 

PIMG_7287East, West by Salman Rushdie

Finished reading on January 23, 2013

Rating 6/10

East, West is a collection of nine stories which enabled me to understand why I seem to always go for the books with the most pages, and mostly novels in case of fiction. The trouble with short stories is (in my opinion) that they get you in the mood to read and find out more about some characters and before you get time to yawn or blink your eyes – poof! – the story is already over. So that’s one of the reasons why I gave it only 6 points.

Some of the stories have some bits and pieces from other well-known ones, but Rushdie seems to have been looking at them through a really badly made lens which has distorted everything and mixed together ideas that no-one else would consider even slightly relevant to the original story…

Indeed quite imaginative and extraordinary in many ways and for me at least a bit confusing, otherwise okay. As such I think I might read one of Rushdie’s novels in the future, seeing as they’re somewhat longer… actually I’m quite looking forward to it. ūüôā

 

Book 21: One Night @ the Call Center by Chetan Bhagat

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One Night At The Call Center by Chetan Bhagat

Finished reading on December 22, 2012

Rating 8/10

I had the thought of reading this book in the back of my mind since I finished reading Bhagat’s “Five Point Someone” on one rainy northern-hemisphere autumn day.

Having finished this one so little time after Desai’s “The Inheritance of Loss” I’ve got to mention that just a few more books like that and you’d get a perfect set of books to suggest to an American tourist planning on visiting India – they’d probably change their minds and choose an European country instead… (just joking…maybe)

I didn’t find this book fun, but at least it wasn’t depressing, rather a little motivational, and despite Vroom’s rather politically and morally incorrect approach to helping the call center, I found the ending great.

As for everything else – some books give me the feeling, as if it were all about a different planet, a different species sometimes too. “One Night @ the Call Center” did it too. The Human’s ability to complain doesn’t stop surprising me… it does amaze me though, how often they’re complaining about other people..or whole nations or countries… and it just doesn’t make a difference unless the ones you’re complaining about hear it too.

Anyway, the book was good, but I liked “Five Point Someone ” better.

 

Book 19: The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

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The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

Finished reading December 16, 2012

Rating 9/10

I read this book mostly while sitting on a bus, that is I started reading it last Monday in the morning, going home from Tallinn and when I went back to Tallinn on Saturday I was rather sad that the trip (186km) only lasted for two and a half hours, because I had 40 more pages to read (and it’s hopeless to read anything much while I*m staying there – I had to agree to watching The Amazing Spider-Man on Sunday just to be able to finish reading the book. The Movie was fine though.).

I thought that the book was great. Refreshing after all the non-fiction I’ve been reading lately and very interesting (not that I would have been reading sleep-inducingly boring books recently…).

Apparently there are so many people who just want to leave their home country in search of something.

“[…] Just ordinary humans in ordinary opaque boiled-egg light, without grace, without revelation, composite of contradictions, easy principles, arguing about what they half believe in or even what they didn’t believe in at all, desiring comfort as much as raw austerity, authenticity as much as playacting, desiring coziness of family as much as to abandon it forever.” K. Desai

Fine, it’s not really “just”, it’s almost always when it becomes too difficult to cope at home or it’s easier to leave. (I wonder whether it’s for the same reason that the early humans left Africa to conquer the world…).

I almost wish I were on a really long bus-trip with only this book with me so that I could read it again.

It was truly fascinating.

Right now I’m still a bit in a loss for words about it. I seem to get lost in thoughts when I try to think of some of the story-lines in the book.

In one word: Great.