Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blogger Interview - Anisha Vasudevan

 I started stalking Anisha's blog ' Absolutely Not Sure ' for the positive energy it always exuded. The letters in black written on a white back ground always have a soothing effect on my nerves. Besides she shares many of my interests obviously books, movies etc. etc. Since she writes not only about books and movies but also anything and everything under the sun. Hence a few of my questions asked to her are in this regard. If you want to stalk and  read those beautiful and positive posts, here is the linkhttp://stilsearching.blogspot.in/

Could you tell a few words about yourself?

A reader afflicted by abibliophobia. An avid list maker. I try to find happiness in the ‘small things’.

Your blog exudes positive energy. How did you get into blogging?

That means a lot to me! I don’t remember how I initially got into blogging. It took me two emo, philosophically dramatic blogs to realise; life is not all about the negativity. True, we all fight our battles every day and I don’t believe in dwelling in bad times. So, I decided to start my current blog which would be my happy place. A place which would try to focus on the small, good stuff in life. If a second person felt the same way, I think it’s a happy day for me!

What you would like to “rant and rave” about through your blog apart from books, music and movies?

That pretty much sums up my life! I wanted my blog to have a light feel to it, so the lighter, happier topics take centre stage.

Your book reviews are wonderful. Any criterion while selecting a book for reading and also for book reviewing.

Thankyou! They say, never judge a book by its cover, but the cover HAS to grab me. If it doesn’t, the blurb should. If neither does, it’s pretty obvious; it’s going to be a pass.  If I really liked a book by a certain author, I try to get my hands on his/her other works. I used to make sure I review every book I read. Soon I couldn’t keep up, since I read way faster than I write a review. So now I review books which blew my mind and also the ones which are sent by authors/publishers.

Nowadays social networking sites helps in bonding. When you blog, do you feel a kind of personal attachment with your readers. I have often felt it and I have always written to those people with a strong intuition that they would concede to my request. Do you really feel the same?

Initially, I wrote for myself. The only readers were my husband and my best friend. Later on readers came in one by one and they did connect with my writing on some level. So yes, I do have a vague idea what would appeal to the readers.
I remember when you gave me the 'Liebster blog' for my blog named ' Passion Drops'. Which kind of blogs appeals to you the most?
I am a huge blog person. I use Food blogs for recipes to cook almost on a daily basis. I like book blogs, that way I come across more books to add in my to-read list. I enjoy reading blogs which has this sarcastic yet candid approach to life vibe.

Share some of your beautiful moments in your life?

Back when I was in India, spending Saturday afternoons with mom & aunt over a cup of chai and gossip! I miss those days.

  • My first library card.
  • My first job.
  • Spending Friday nights burying my face in a double cheeseburger along with the husband.
  • My snow fall experience.

Are you a full time book reviewer or a blogger?

Well, I am neither. I wish I could blog/ book review full time. Creative juices don’t flow that easy!

Do you think reading classics is a must to be a writer?
 To be a writer, I think it would be an added advantage to read the works of people who know what they are doing. So yes. Personally, I haven’t read a whole lot of classics, even though I promise myself to read more sometime in future!

How many days usually you take - a) to read a book? b) to review a book?

To be completely honest with you, I don’t know. I feel it depends upon the book. If the book is interesting many a times I look up to see that I had covered a vast section of the book. Give or take, a week then. Sometimes I get my hands on a book which is difficult to get into..if it doesn’t get my attention by the first few chapters, either it goes back in my library or I end up reading frustrated and that might take months for me to finish!

To review: 
Once I am done with a book, I let the story line sink in my system for a night or maybe a couple of nights. To pen it down I would maybe need 3-4 hours!

Are you in the habit of keeping notes while reviewing a book?

I wish! I tried it once. I had received a book from an author for review and it was my first time reviewing a book specifically requested by an author. So I wanted to be thorough. I feel that it literally drains the fun out of reading.

Your favourite genres and authors and why do you like them?

Psychological thrillers and Horror. Gimme dark any day! I’m twisted that way! I am always fascinated by the dark side of humanity. What tipped someone into doing something bad. Books by Gillian Flynn, Robin Cook, Stephen King, Stieg Larsson
Women centred books: Books by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.
Books by Paulo Celho. The way he combines spirituality with the most mundane things is commendable!
Young Adult has managed to surprise me. I am still new to it. Dystopian era with a female strong lead has a certain charm to it.

Apart from reading and writing, what are your other interests?

My interests change from time to time. Sometimes I obsess over knitting. Other times its TV series marathon with the husband. Eating so much that I can barely move is a pretty interesting ‘interest’ to have.

Do you buy books you need to read or just collect books to read in future?

I am a self-proclaimed abibliophobic. I have the urge to collect books as though tomorrow I might just run out of them. The fact that I have books stacked up is a huge reassurance! It doesn’t necessarily have to be a brand new copy. As a matter of a fact I love collecting second hand books. Every time I tell myself no more books until I finish the ones I already have, I find some other interesting book and then I end up buying it and the cycle continues! Plus I came across this website called onehundredfreebooks.com. The person who runs the website lets the readers know the free ebooks available in Amazon, daily! So, more books for me.

Do you encourage ebooks as a reader and writer?

I was an anti ebook till last year, until I met my Kindle. I hated it in the beginning, but I guess carrying your library in a compact device is pretty appealing! So I’m pro ebook now! I think its hassle free. Having said that, the feel of a book, the divine fragrance of the pages be it new or age old cannot be achieved through an e book, can they?

Your 10 favourite books and 10 favourite movies?

11 Minutes, God of Small Things, Kane and Abel, Gone Girl, Dark Places,The Dragon Tattoo Series, The Alchemist, Lord of the Flies, The White Tiger, Brida
All I can of right now is Forest Gump and No country for Old men.

 PS :How many books you have in your library?
 60 physical copies and 485 kindle copies.

Monday, October 28, 2013

To Kill a mocking bird by Harper Lee

Sometimes after reading a book, the contentment you receive will be tremendous. After finishing reading, you feel like closing your eyes and savour all those beautiful emotions the book has invoked . It is a beautiful experience. Yesterday, Harper Lee's ' To kill a mocking bird ' did that to me. One of the finest book I have ever read. I loved ' Atticus' the character which was immortalised by Gregory Peck in the movie. I never felt Atticus, Jem, Scout, Calpurnia and even ' Boo Radley were characters. I was there in Maycomb county. Did not want to spoil that mood by reviewing the book.

I am not going to review the book. My creative talents are not that big to review such a grand work.
But don't miss this beautiful work.

My rating 10/10

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Lost Years of Sherlock Holmes by Ted Riccardi

When you step into the shoes of a master writer, meticulous care has to be taken. There should be neither a spill over nor a deficiency. The author has certainly adhered to these cardinal principles. Right from the chapter ‘preface by Dr Watson’, Ted Riccardi has not shown any inclination towards himself but always to the celebrated author who has produced the greatest sleuths of all time- Sherlock Holmes ‘. Neither once did he let the reader to think that they are not interacting with the Sherlock Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but Ted Riccardi’s.

‘ The Lost years of Sherlock Holmes’ speaks about that particular period when the world assumed Sherlock Holmes to be dead. He was dead to his known world but all alive in the orient world. It deals at length about his adventures and exploration mainly in India, Nepal and Tibet. When some of his cases included many coincidences on his way, others were to protect the interests of his empire whose pride lay in the vast expanses of India. Only his brother Microoft knew that Holmes was not dead. Dr. Watson was mourning his death. Though Holmes’ brother knew Holmes’ whereabouts, for strong reasons, they kept Watson in the dark. May be to fill this vacuum, Ted introduces a new friend for Sherlock – Gorashar, who is an Indian. In many cases, we could see Gorashar rushing to help the sleuth. The mysterious orient lay bare beautifully through this book.

Riccardi has definitely used a simple language but has never allowed in any part of the book to fizzle out the style of Doyle. It will grip and engage you, the way Arthur Doyle has been doing his readers for so many years. The incidents were not narrated in a chronological order. But that is excused as Dr Watson has put it in his preface that if the readers look for historical consistency, he/she will be disappointed.

At the same time, there are minor flaws which can be conveniently shoved off. Though the initial chapters will grip you immensely, the tempo diminishes a little when we reach the middle of the book. But that could not be attributed to the author’s callousness but to the interests of the readers. Doubtlessly, it is good and engaging read. If you are an ardent fan of Sherlock Holmes and mourned his death, Ted Riccardi’s  ‘ The Lost years of Sherlock Holmes ‘ will give you an opportunity to revel in his resurrection.

My rating for the book 4/5

NB :  I receive this book from Jaico for review

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tales from a Vending Machine by Anees Salim

When an Indian author writes in English, it is a strenuous task to do something that can overstep the boundaries. Tales From a Vending Machine by Kochi-based author Anees Salim has clearly surpassed these boundaries without any effort.

Go to any part of India, it would not be difficult to spot a Hasina Mansoor, the protagonist. The backdrops, the airport lounge, even the names with which she addresses her parents, siblings and colleagues will not give you a slightest clue that the story is set in Kerala.

It begins with a lot of promise, with all the necessary elements, including humour, but the author fails to keep up the tempo till the end.

Hasina enters a new world when she lands a job as a vending machine attendant at the airport departure lounge. With scant resources at her disposal, the resilient Hasina dreams of making it big. She is thankful for the job, dreams of being in a plane, even becoming a pilot or air hostess some day.

Thanks to her, many characters come alive, whether it be the coupon man who advises her on anything and everything under the sun, the cookie lady whom she abhors, the Pakistani cricketer, and the air hostess, Natasha Singh, from whom she learns that she could also aspire to be one.

Unlike her eventful work in the airport, her life with her family - Abba, mother, Shamla, and younger brother, Ali - is mundane, until she falls in love with her cousin Eza. The story talks about how she evolves through the many incidents which happens in her family and workplace and enables Hasina to make the major decisions of her life.

The climax is aptly titled as the Emergency Exit and is a surprising one. But if the author had given a bit of depth in the preceding chapters, the ending would have given readers an experience to cherish. Though Hasina has matured from an innocent to a practical girl, Eza stands between the extremes.

At the outset, Eza shows maturity, but, all of a sudden, he becomes the villain. There is little to convince the reader that he is one. There are attempts to present good humour which Anees conveniently attains in the beginning, but goes overboard when he continues for the sake of doing it. For instance Hasina’s mispronunciations of words such as ‘Anne French’ for ‘Anne Frank’ or ‘Juice’ for ‘Jews’. When she is asked her blood group, Hasina says, “‘B plus. I was not sure if it was A plus or B plus or AB plus”.

It seems strange that the same Hasina, who could not pronounce her blood group correctly, talks about the Hollywood actor Richard Gere. The long and short of it is that it is a good story and a smooth read, provided that some of the flaws are glossed over.

My rating 3/5