Next door - Jahnavi Barua
Totally totally loved this book. The backdrop of this book is Assam. It is a collection of 10 short stories. I confess I really do not know much about Assam and I have not known any Assamese all these years. I generally need a good story to enjoy a book. Good humour, I love and a nice romantic story/angle has me totally hooked. A good book to me is generally the one I can not put down. But this one does not meet many of my loud criteria. There isn't a complicated plot in there, its about the emotions of everyday people. Humour is scarce and very subtle. And you actually need to put the book down after every good story or 2. What I have loved about this book and stories is that it gave me a glimpse of that land I have not known. Of the mountains and the river that are so much an integral part of the people of this land, of people from all walks of life. I think I know more of Scotland, Ireland and Paris than I know of this place called Assam. The river Brahmaputra has figured in every story and is a towering presence in the book. Here are a few excerpts from her book. The writing is beautiful. And I am generally not the one to gush over beautiful prose since I am single mindedly after the progress of the story. But this one has striked me really hard. I am sure I will re-read it.
"She hoiseted herself on to the wooden railing that skirted the veranda and leaned back against a wooden post. From her perch she could see the river as it took a wide sweeping turn and disappeared palely, and across , beyond the ribbon of silver was a range of low hills, dark and brooding, Bhutan."
"Indeed, the pale pebbles and stones lining the banks seemed to glow, reflecting this radiance, and the tree massed along its edge rustled in the morning breeze and leaned towards the water, whispering, seeking, a cue, an excuse to follow its lead."
I would totally recommend every blogger to pick this one up for a simple reason, everyone who writes, knows the difficulty of describing a scene. I haven't read any other books of hers but I will look up now definitely.
Long long back, atleast a decade and a half back, when I read "God of small things", I thought nobody other than a Keralite would understand half the references made in the book. A few Malayalam phrases here and there and a lot of nuances that are so much a part of Kerala. I thought it impossible for anybody without a clue of the place to read and understand it. I stand corrected today. Not about understanding every Assamese nuance but the fact that I enjoyed the book very much with its subtle Assamese phrases and letting my imagination take me to a beautiful place of mountains and rivers. I think that is the magic of lingual phrases. I think you will love it.
And a few more books I have read in the recent past
Never look away - Linwood Barclay
This one is a compelling suspense/mystery atleast untill midway. After having read umpteen suspense/thriller books and seeing similar movies, you can start guessing after a while but it was still very interesting. I totally enjoyed it.
The Bad boys guide to the Good Indian Girl - Annie Zaidi, Smriti Ravindran
I don't know how to describe this book. It is a collection of stories about school going girls, teens, and adults. Many of these stories are much so about me or people I surely know. It kind of challenges many stereotypical behaviour towards, and of ,women specially in India. Today we are fighting so many things that are not right with the world and specifically prejudices based in India. But beneath all the bigger problems are problems with the way we think which are fed by and moulded by thoughts and opinions we see around us. It is a light read but quite interesting and funny. The title was a sure pick me up.
Born In Fire - Nora Roberts
This is a book I will most probably read again and again on a nice rainy day, or a quiet Saturday afternoon or on a lonely night. It is a keeper on my book shelf. I have read the other 2 in the trilogy of this book and didn't care much for either.This story is staged in a lovely village in Ireland and is about a stubborn, spirited and fiery glass artist named Maggie and an art gallery owner, Rogney Sweeney, who is ofcourse stinking rich, well-mannered and a total gentleman. She is straight forward, speaks her mind and doesn't give a damn about what people think. Why is it that I love her way more than the gentleman Sweeney? Because I am a sucker for stubborn, spirited people. Faced to face with one I have to almost get on my knees to keep the peace and reign in my logic and shut down the practicality department but nevertheless I love them. They are damn impossible. But they are so passionate about whatever it is they are going on about that you just cannot help loving them for it anyway.
Currently on my hands is -
How to be a women - Caitlin Moran - MM and Chandni recommend it much and the couple of pages I read, I liked.