Posts Tagged ‘Contemporary Fiction’



From the dust jacket :

The Reading Group follows the trials and tribulations of a group of women who meet regularly to read and discuss books.Over the course of a year, each of these women become intertwined, both in the books they read and within each other’s lives.

Inspired by a shared desire for conversation, a good book and a glass of wine-Clare, Harriet, Nicole, Polly, and Susan undergo startling revelations and transformations despite their differences in background, age and respective dilemmas.

What starts as a reading group gradually evolves into a forum where the women may express their views through the books they read and grow to become increasingly more open as the bonds of friendship cement.

My Views :

I must admit truthfully that it took me a while to get in to this story. I was actually bored within the first half an hour of the reading ,with the number of characters that keep appearing at different times of the story , I tried very hard to like it,  but even at the end it left me wanting . As you have read the blurb you know that it’s about a book club and that was the main reason for me to get this book . I loved reading Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler which was fast , hilarious , thought provoking  and intelligent all at once and had thought this would generate somewhat similar reactions from me.

I know many people have loved this book but I didn’t enjoy reading it. I wanted a little more. I wanted to know the characters  well rather then being subjected to their mundane  conversations which were at times very very confusing. The frequent flitting between the different characters  didn’t let me get comfortable with any of them.

But in all this, there were things I liked about the book , their book club meetings where in there was spontaneity and spark , something that  the rest of the book lacked very noticeably .The book selections too were good and I was actually thrilled when I had seen the index initially , where the  chapters are  named with the books they read for each month.Other than that rest of the book was a dull affair.

This was my first Elizabeth Noble book and I know people love her writing , so I guess I picked the wrong one and would definitely want to read more .

Do you have any suggestion for my next Elizabeth Noble book?

Have you read this book , if yes then did you like it ?

My rating : 3 out of 5

I would like to give you a glimpse of something I really liked in this book:

It’s their book club meeting for Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist :

‘This is a novel, isn’t it?”
“I want a word with the twenty million people whose lives
have been changed by reading this book, according to the blurb
on the back.”
“Me, too. Right, Susan. You chose it. Tell us why . . .”
Susan grimaced. “Because I believed the blurb on the back?”
It was a question. “Nice cover, not too long, author looks a bit like
Roger in the photo?”
“Not good enough. If our numbers weren’t already down without
Clare, I’d think we should drum you out of the group.”
“Hang on. Don’t say sorry to Harriet. She’s not the boss of us.”
Nicole was laughing too. “You don’t have to apologize for your
choices in this group. That, as discussed ad nauseam, is the
whole point of reading groups. They make you read things you
never would otherwise. Don’t they, Harriet?”

Book : 2 States- The Story Of My Marriage
Author : Chetan Bhagat
Publisher : Rupa & Co.
ISBN-13:9788129115300 ,978-8129115300

Synopsis :

Love marriages around the world are simple:

Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy.
They get married.

In India, there are a few more steps:

Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy.
Girl’s family has to love boy. Boy’s family has to love girl.
Girl’s Family has to love Boy’s Family. Boy’s family has to love girl’s family.
Girl and Boy still love each other. They get married.

Welcome to 2 States, a story about Krish and Ananya. They are from two different states of India, deeply in love and want to get married. Of course, their parents don’t agree. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple have a tough battle in front of them. For it is easy to fight and rebel, but it is much harder to convince. Will they make it? From the author of blockbusters Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Center and The 3 Mistakes of My Life, comes another witty tale about inter-community marriages in modern india.

Review :

I have been a Chetan Bhagat fan ever since I had randomly picked up Five Point Someone authored by him at a book exhibition. It might not have been a modern day classic but it got me hooked to this new age Indian writer whose works have sincerity and simplicity which goes straight to the heart. One Night At The Call Center and The Three Mistakes Of My Life were read my me within a week of their release , so I just couldn’t resist getting hold of 2 States upon its arrival at my local book store. I must say I wasn’t disappointed.

Krish and Ananya , the protagonists are so much like thousands of other modern Indian couples who find out that convincing their respective parents for an inter caste marriage is a much tougher job than cracking an IIT entrance or getting admission into top management institute.
The best of the book is Krish ‘s interaction with his would be in laws . His frustration ,disappointment has been presented in a very honest manner and that’s praise worthy.

Chetan Bhagat has put in right amount of masala(spices), to keep the readers hooked on to it. The plot looks cinematic sometimes but by experience 75 % of people know that these kind of situations do arise in India. Modern India is yet to warm up towards inter caste inter state marriages and this is portrayed wonderfully in the book. A laugh riot at places and a few really emotional moments make it a great read.

I know I am praising this book too highly and some of them might just call it a run of the mill love story but the point is that, the way it is presented is really really good. It reminded me of some incidents that happened in my family when my cousin , a Maharashtrian got married to a Punjabi. For the record it took 1 and half year to convince both the set of parents 🙂 and another 5 months for deciding on the marriage rituals 🙂

If you get a chance to read this book do not miss out.

Mrs Dalloway
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

I had always wanted to read Virginia Woolf ,so I guessed this would be a safe read.Not totally disappointed I must say. The story spans across the events occurring on one particular day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway. On this day she is hosting a party at her place. As the day unfolds Clarissa reminisces on her past. Taking a walk down the memory lane she comes across certain incidents , where she wonders if she made the right choices. She meets her former suitor Peter Walsh whose character is so totally opposite to that of her husband Richard Dalloway, a domineering man who has hardly shown his feelings towards his wife in the recent past.The other characters in the story are Septimus Smith and his wife Lucrezia.Mental illness that Septimus is said to be suffering , as the result of his war injuries and shock are dealt by the doctors of the time with insensitivity and utter callousness.A point to ponder over.

Clarissa’s party has people, whom we have met throughout the book in her memories of past.People who have changed for good and bad.Some who haven’t changed at all.People, who make up a portion of her life , which Clarissa holds so dear.A society life she so likes because it brings people to gather.
Clarissa clearly knows that she doesn’t have a happy marriage but being the wife of man with political ambition is no easy job.She entertains her guests keeping in mind their likes and dislikes ,which may have effect on her husband’s career. Clarissa fulfills her role perfectly depicting Woolf ‘s liking for portraying a strong minded woman..

Though the monologues can get a wee bit stretchy, its still a great book.I had seen it on the list on Top 100 books on a website recently , so I am glad I did read this book.Also its my entry for Buy One Book And Read It Challenge

the man

The Man by Irving Wallace is my dad’s recommendation. The by line of the book said, ” You are cordially invited to the Impeachment Trial of America’s First Black President” I was hooked and by the end of the book,was totally floored.

This book published in 1964 , talked about a black president and also a impeachment trial . Looks as if Wallace prophesied future , because a impeachment trial was held for a president 35 years later but for nearly same reasons as depicted in the book..

In 1964 , writing about a black president in a fiction, brought about life threats to the author but today President Obama sits in the White house to prove that Wallace wasn’t entirely wrong about America having a black President..

The book is centred around a soft spoken ,well mannered Douglas Dillman who finds himself in the White House due to a series of accidents. Being the President comes with a price. A publicity shunning simple man finds that here, nothing is sacred.The buried skeletons of his past start appearing before him even as he is trying to get the grip of the situation he has landed into. His son who accuses him of being conservative and a run away daughter who is struggling with her own mental demons makes it a more trying task..To top it all,there is a impeachment trial at the heart of the story which makes for a wonderful climax .

Well written characters and a clear understanding of the government workings make this book a great read.

This book was burnt in some states when it was released but went on to become a NYT bestseller. A James Earl Jones movie was based on the book. A short movie though, compared to the size of the book 🙂

I would definitely recommend this book. Though big in size is still worth the time..

Happy reading..