someday ill be in company of all....

Monday, June 27, 2016

Book review:Cleopatra a life by Stacy Shiff

Title: Cleopatra a life 
Author: Stacy Schiff
Publisher: Payback book
Price: Rs 1402
Pages:432
ISBN:978-0316001946
Genre: Biography memoir/ Egypt / historic fiction
Source: Personal




This was a book reviewed by an amazing blogger Brian on his blog .I loved it and went for it but it took me so long to write about it.

Cleopatra is perhaps the most intriguing personality in the human history. She has always been like a dream larger than life with greatest things of all humanly possibly around her even greatest of all her tragedies.Though innumerable books have been written about her till date, surprisingly nobody really knew what she looked like though praises of her beauty and talent had been sung far and wide.What sets this apart from others is that Cleopatra is dissected through  the eyes of people around her.Its like going around monument and watching how it is than going on to of it to see things from there.

Born nothing less than a celestial being with all abundance , to sustain her throne went onto marry her siblings followed by rivalry and  war murder and so on.Though Egypt was a small state because of its immense wealth it was always a great point of interest and

When Caesar and Cleopatra met it was just a rendezvous of two  great personality but two great civilizations as well. Their coming together was of two intelligent, astute, charismatic personality like  the two sides of a coin which build a mighty empire that later became an inspiration for Shakespeare's work in the coming ages.Though all that projected her grey side for her own bad. Caesar was both impressed and inspired by her and  her ruling,  that he himself incorporated some of them back home. On the other hand Anthony''s and Cleopatra's paramount rational duties towards their own kingdom  acted synergistic for each other with similar love for art and theater made them come together.

Cleopatra's life always had an ebb and rise , she inherited an empire on the fall went on to loss it, regain them,  then again went on to the the edge of losing it then again built a solid vast empire and in the end lost all of it.

She was sharp, shrewd, aggressive and very adventurous person.All this makes it even more special because she only lived for about forty years .All her actions were politically motivated even when she led Anthony into his own grave finally ending her life eventually..

Schiff beautifully paints an image of Cleopatra that's too raw and real and the vantage she created in quite striking, you are set at a point from where you can watch all the events unfold before you like being seated in an amphitheater, starting from her grand childhood, education that includes art of speech and mastering different languages that shaped her, her controversial marriages, her actions to build her empire..She was a strong woman shouldering all important events in history upon her . Schiff instead of stereotyping  her as an immoral with all the love affairs but brought before us the circumstances or hypothesis that led her to do it..For Schiff Cleopatra is more of a progressive, powerful and an audacious leader, and her life is nothing short of dazzling. Doing her own things in her own way for her  country's good inviting wrath to an otherwise classical world . Romans and Egyptians saw women in a different light.For Romans women were for creating heirs while Cleopatra moved to Jerusalem to cut a deal while she was heavily pregnant. Schiff sums it up with the following-

"Can anything good be done of a woman who slept with two most powerful men of her time? Possibility, not but not in an age when Roman controlled the narrative . Cleopatra stood at one of  the most dangerous intersection in history: that of women and power . Clever women , Euripides had warned hundreds of earlier , were dangerous." 

Schiff's profound way of depicting Cleopatra makes her endearing legend the kind of power whom we would admire. Perhaps if Cleopatra had won her final battle we might have known her very differently as the history is written by the winners.

This historical delicacy is a treat that you would want read over and over again.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Book review: Girl before a mirror by Lisa Palmer

Title: Girl before a mirror
Author: Lisa Palmer
Publisher:William Morrow/Harpercollins
Price: $14.99
Page:384
ISBN:9780062297242
Genre: Women's fiction/Contemporary/
Source: Library

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Before I begin let me share some happy news with all you guys, its is been a while that I have posted her.. The one posted was pretty much in my drafts  for long so to be honest this is my first post in a while .In between I got married (i know i know) moved across the globe (wow) , now that I'm pretty much settled in the new place and  found my groove , I thought I should start again.Plus library is just few blocks away dada... so here at my new home Im building my new Kindle library and books borrowed from library.

This book I picked firstly for its title, opened a random page and read these quote

"It's hard being woman. Especially being everyone's idea of what being a woman should be.What we want it is to be okay to be just you. All of you. And to know that that's not only good enough, but downright heroic."

Some words you see !

But I was sort of a let down when the book opened up to a 40th birthday celebration of the protagonist Anna Wyatt whose  being divorced is emphasized plus the fact that she is not very happy with her career her introduction also paves way to our understanding that these are just beginning of her twisted life and after few pages one being her lonely childhood next her alcoholic brother .

She decides to get control of her life and build a fulfilling career  for which  she  gives her heart and soul in reviving Luminex shower gel with a new client . Starting up she is assigned with a new young , beautiful and talented colleague Sasha. Anna realizes that her young colleague is beautiful and when you almost think that there would more drama author quickly establishes depth into Anna's character which was very stimulating to keep reading. Anna is intelligent, resourceful, supportive of her younger counterpart, funny in her own way with a very positive outlook in general.I also loved how Palmer projects other female character as well with not much drama very satisfying characters who don't go overboard.

Anna is introduced to a self help book- Be the heroine, find your hero.Though not swept way by romantic novel initially unlike Sasha through the course  she starts to consider its claim..The plot where Anna meets her prince charming Anna , Lincoln a British  financial consultant whom she meets at the hotel during her convention sounds like a page from princess diaries, but you don't really complain as Palmer establishes her characters who openly disapprove romantic novel only outside while loving them every bit inside and even dreaming about it. Ending is very predictable still you enjoy it.

Though not a big fan of romantic novel I do like a change here and there.This is the kind of book you wouldn't rave about still enjoy on a relaxing day with too many interesting quotes about life, some of which are

"I want to be happy and not feel guilty about it.I want to be accepted regardless of what I look like, what I do for a living, my marital status, whether I have kids. I want Purpose, Contentment. to matter, freedom..I want to be. Just be."

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Review:The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Title: The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer ,Annie Barrows
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Price: Rs 250
Page: 248
ISBN:1408810283
Genre: Historic fiction
Rating: 5 on 5
Source: Library




Summary:
It is 1946 end of WWR II, Julie Aston decides to take a break from her otherwise war related columns and articles but then is not finding a subject to write a book, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey , their love of reading and books leads them to write often, he reveals about The Guernsey and Potato Pie society...Further letters lets Juliet see through the extraordinary lives of people in the island that changes  Juliet for good...

Review:
 Julie Aston is out of ideas, she has no cue to built a story,she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams a resident of Guernsey , an island on the English Channel between France and Britain..He is a pig farmer who has a book by Charles lamb once owned by Juliet, he writes to her , their common interest and love for books and reading leads to exchange of letters , thus developing a constant correspondence...She discovers that he is a member of Guernsey and potato Peel Pie Society, she is intrigued by it, her curiosity gets over her she sets on to learn the history of the society..It was born to keep a  pig  roast party a secret from the Germans...

She gets her idea to write she learns   more about the people and  the lives before and after the German invasion... Children were departed to England as  soon as the invasion, the island was largely isolated as people started to flee and there was a concentration camp set in the island for the slave laborer..She takes a step further to know other members of the society and slowly starts to paint a full picture of the state of affairs during the German occupation...She also learns about Elizebeth McKenna the founder of the society..She starts to write all this in her column...

Written in letter format, the style is astounding, Julia's growing love for the people in Guernsey, their tradition, culture and lives grows into the reader too...You can't help but love Elizebeth, she is courageous and heroic..Shaffer has brilliantly portrayed all about the second world war, and the heroic aspect of Elizebeth is picture perfect...She is a wow factor of the book..In spite of this amusing name of the society, it deals with some serious issues, it helps people to cope up with the hard times of the war through reading and interaction with other members of the society..Every member's recollection of how it helped them to get over it and move on was amazing..There are people who get different ideas reading books and the discussions were too beautiful....The book also explores Juliet's life and  her friends who help her whenever need arise...

The novel also explores the importance of love, care and affection during the hard times...The book is not just about the misery and the dark period  of the war, but how one can overcome all of it by sheer force of love , understanding and helping each other..In spite of reading the horrendous times of the war , the later part of novel part highlights moving on with charm, hence the distressing feeling melts way as the book closes,this  made me to love the novel even more....The book club help them to come alive, at times they are caught while returning home during curfew, still nobody miss the sessions and discussions.. Shortly after war Dawsey  develops a love for Lamb's work and that is how he writes to Juliet...All in all its an amazing book on WWR II and overcoming obstacles..Its sad that Marry Ann Shaffer did not live to see the success of the book, this book was completed by her niece Annie Barrows...It is also sad that we didn't get to read more of her work...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Book Review:Best kept secret by Amy Hatvany

Title: Best kept secret
Author:Amy Hatvay
Publisher: Washingnton square press
Pages:330
Genre: Woman's fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: online

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Summary
Cadence was not into more than a glass of wine till she got divorced from her cheating husband ..Just to relax and for a deep sleep it all started with one glass then she couldn't get sleep without  one full bottle and then it just went on...From a happily married life with a lovely son she had a perfect life until her divorce lead to reach out for alcohol to cope up with her sinking career and life all together..Predictably the bottle took control over her and she lost everything around even her son the only hope of her life..This novel is about a long struggle of Candence getting over her addiction and finding a new life..

Review
Reading the back cover I was convinced that this would be an emotional read for me, my only question was how far..Quite amazingly the book held me enchanted...Alcoholism was the only thing that made me skeptical about the book but as I read through all doubts just evaporated... Just divorced, now a single parent of a pre-school son, Candence resorted on two glass of wine for a deep sleep each night..Slowly and steadily this habit expands onto one bottle and by a year she turns out be a fully alcoholic, yea I know its nothing to be proud of or to be boasted but well that's what happened to Candence...She ended up there with all her senses loud and wide still I couldn't help from sympathizing with her..Predictably she takes grave steps that further risks her to the edge..She now has no friends she can identify with..Her son who was her life is taken away by her ex-husband..Her life is all messed up from there on her path to recovery begins., alcoholism to sobriety she makes it through her ebbing confidence that she somehow pushes high...Her strive to stay in touch with life after divorce, her inabilty to find a job after being a stay home mother,her sinking career graph as a freelance writer, are vividly portrayed by Hatvany....Hatvany makes Candence's character   likeable, in spite of her flaws..Yes, she isn't anything closer to perfection, she makes dumb mistakes. succumbs to alcoholism when she knew right away that would end up losing her beloved son, yet she did it all but that happens to many..Candence recovery is driven by one determined thought., that is her son, I really felt bad when her sister put Candence in hospital..She is all alone and no one to hold on or lean to., well life can in deed could go through rough water...All the perfect description of alcholism made me search more for Amy Hatvany's profile and interviews and there she was admitting to be on the path of recovery from alcoholism....One trouble with alcoholics is that.,  apart from their own life, they also disrupt the lives of people around who care and love them...During her initial stages of recovery, she feels at peace at home all alone., somehow she feels she feels good without her son to mess up things around....To deal with a infidel husband itself toils up a wife emotionally and then when you venture upon alcohol just to shake off the sinking mood which starts to control you is definitely not a great way to deal with things...One of my friends said that.,this book has helped her see alcohol addicts in a new light, now I can see why!!!!Its sad that like Candence., alcoholics are judged , but its also important to make way for them to recover with a helping hand and with some assuring words that they eagerly look out... The novel is not just fabulous but quiet thought provoking too...The honest take on alcoholism and recovery just took my heart away..This book makes me want to read her other works too...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book review:The bone people by Keri Hulme

Title:The bone people
Author: Keri Hulme
Publisher: Penguin books
Pages: 553
Price: Rs 930
ISBN:0143116452
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Personal

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Summary
Kelwin Holmes is a painter and a loner, convinced that "to care for anything is to invite disaster"..Her isolation is disrupted one day when a six year old mute boy ,Simmon, breaks into her house..The sole survivor of a mysterious shipwreck, Simon has been adopted by Maori factory worker Joe who eventually loses his wife and his other son to flue...Joe is horribly brutal towards the boy..The novel reveals each character's thoughts and feelings as they struggle with the desire to connect and the fear of attachment...

Review
I haven't often come across disturbing characters at a single go, but this one is so alluringly haunting , I had taken for granted that only memoir could be like this..Get the help of index in the book or else anything in Maori language and its culture would just go over the head..I found the dialogues and thoughts of  characters to be very confusing, many times I kept wondering what and where and how things were moving ahead..But that is Hulme's style, even through the strange confusions you don't really want to put down the book..Then slowly I started to  like this book then slowly it ebbed away and towards the end I didn't know if I really liked it or not..I have not come across many writers who develop such contagiously disturbing characters...Hulme puts the readers right into Joe's mind that you get the psychotic vibe on his physical abuse towards Simmon his mute son...The characters seem strange yet interesting.. Kerewin an artist with her self imposed exile living in a tower by the sea..Simon has his memory completely washed out and being mute is unable to express a thing, yet his expressions are poetically put forward to the readers...Joe is held by grief of losing his wife and son finds , to get away from it , he gets it undone on Simon who is all troubled son..In spite of his love he consistently abuses his son...I also liked the way Maori culture and myth were intertwined into the story, giving insights on New Zealand's local life and people....Violence and self annihilation somehow becomes the core of the novel...Joe almost beats Simmon to death when Simon grabs a piece of glass to attack Joe both end up in hospital alive..Kerewin, Simmon and Joe share a muddled up relationship yet they care for each other..I also loved the way Hulme had created a situation by which the relationship is forced upon them, yet they take it and live by it....I also liked the way Simmon's character was used to highlight and develop the characters of Kerewin and Joe and their internal struggle for identity and choice of life and living....Simmon at times had my sympathy., losing his family he only had Kerewin and Joe to be something close to a family....Simmon quite aggressive he beats up older children breaks up window of neighbours even when he was in a good mood, the mind of a troubled mute boy just striked in me...Even when Kerewin comes to Simmon's rescue by suggesting an alternative in dealing with him to Joe, she eventually gives up when her own treasured things are taken carelessly away by Simmon and her window broken...Though Kerewin's loneliness and lack of family and happiness are fulfilled to an extend through Joe and Simmon, still she is resolute to come in terms of the absence of it through her life and art....Hulme's use of tenses again was a bit confusing...Reading the novel was vexatious to an extend still I marveled at the Hulme..She leaves many question unanswered, and the climax is left undone.,to take it  positively or negatively is up to ones's own ..Though in my personal opinion I don't see a place where these three souls would fit in together, yet human behaviour is so complex and unfathomable at times that anything could happen....I wouldn't recommend it to someone who wants to sit and relax with a book...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Review: The blood of flowers by Anita Ammirezvani

Title:The blood of flowers
Author: Anita Ammirezvani
Publisher: Headline Book publishing
Price: Rs 325
Page: 464
ISBN:0755341422
Genre:Fiction/ folktale
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Personal



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Summary:
Set in seventeenth-century Iran, THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS is the powerful and haunting story of a young girl's journey from innocence to adulthood. A village girl's dreams of marriage end on the death of her father. Cast on the mercy of relatives in fabled Isfahan, she and her mother are reduced to servitude until she reveals a talent for designing carpets – an invaluable skill. Hope is short-lived, for a disastrous, headstrong act results in the girl's disgrace. Caught between forces she can barely comprehend, she faces a life lived at the whim of others – unless she is prepared to risk everything and choose a future based on her own strength and will.

Review:
It is a saga of the protagonist whose name remains undisclosed through the end..Her struggle to make a mark in life in spite of the adversities bestowed upon her by fate...Set in during seventeenth century Persia the story swirls around the her life of the narrator who loses her father at the very beginning of the novel...Losing the bread winner of  the family, it goes down to the days of inadequacy of even the basic need for life..Thus her mother seeks the help of Gostaham her husband's step brother for help.. Though he takes them home their plight and tale never improves, they work all day like servants and have to deal with Goshtaham's wife who is eccentric....Gostaham is a talented carpet artist who works for Shah..Gostaham discovers the narrator's skill for the work and readily takes her under his wings and trains her well...But then fate plays its nasty games, earning the wrath of her uncle when she ruins an expensive carpet..Her life take a full turn and comes to where she started off all over again with no one to lean on...All she is left with a choice of Sigheh, a contractual marriage which would last for three months with an option of extension if the husbands desires..Her mother also forces her into it so that she would be paid bringing home some money for the household which she could use to buy raw materials for her work...She would be required to visit her husband when he expresses his desire..But the problem with this marriage is that after the period of three months she would be an outcast in the society....Such that she has very less options left at her disposal to get on with life...

Being that said the novel goes beyond the difficulties of the narrator, it explores the art of carpet weaving,the exquisite details of the design and the hard work that goes behind the work, at the same time it also puts forth the life of a girl in a turmoil when she has no father figure in life in a male dominated society..The narrator has great dreams for her future, she aspires to own a company of her own with people working for her...She is a free thinker and a determined lady, even when the future looks and dazzles bleakness...Through the narrator's mother we also get a glimpse of the folklore of Persia through many stories she recounts to her daughter....

All in all it was a very different read for me , had there been more details of the way of life their routine,ritual and everyday practices it would have created a whole lot of different mood for the reader....Though the melancholy is set right from the beginning, I was beyond irritated when she made took idiot steps inviting troubles to herself adding upon the existing ones, yet I liked her along the way as she grows up from a child into a woman wading through difficult water..Her mother though initially was such a sweetheart but her sudden change of colour somehow put me off.. Goshtaham is portrayed as a man of complete calm and love who helps the narrator throughly...Goshtaham's wife adds to the villainy part well...I would recommend this book to historic buffs though I will not promise great reading, but something different...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Book Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Title: This Lullaby
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher:Speak
Pages:345
Price:Rs 576
ISBN:9780142501559
Genre: Young adult Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Personal



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This review is been in my draft for the past two years..So I read this young adult romantic fling for fun and to complete the review.....Remy is all busy organizing things for a marriage apparently it happens to be her mother's, her fourth since her marriage with her father..Remy has another strong dig not knowing her father, except that he wrote a song "this Lullaby'" for her..She never knew him which takes away the faith and familial warmth a child needs early in life..Hence she is all cynical and skeptical about love but that doesn't mean that she remains single, she does has her share of boy friends ,but there is a  rule she religiously hold onto., that she breaks up before things get emotional or before getting hurt...Oh yea she has another rule to live by, never to get involved with a musician..She sticks to it until she meets Dexter a perfect complement to Remy... He is a dreamer, musician, an optimistic and above all true believer in love...

Now what happens when two such people meet?? Predictably love blossoms when opposite poles attract, much to the dismay to Remy.. She wants Dexter to be just a summer fling, while Dexter's persistence takes things ahead, while everyone is stunned including Remy..Things move smoothly until Dexter overhears about Remy stand on Dexter , that is  just another guy in her life..Oops that just hurt isn't!!!Dexter is disheartened and starts drift away from her much to her surprise and irritation..Will Remy come out of her shell of pessimism and hold on to the love that Dexter has been extending..Will she find love and life all over again??

To me Remy's character carried certain charm..She was not the bad term to the extend she thought..She is a tough and strong girl..Of course she has her issues, she has a bad habit of smoking which she quits, she also overcomes her urge to hard core partying and drinking..She always gets her way out of whatever she wants.. While Remy's mother's multiple marriage developed cynicism in her, Dexter had just the opposite effect, he became a hard core romantic growing up with different step fathers..Remy's best friends and Dexter's band mates were real people who stood by them when things went tough...The Remy-Dexter moments were charmingly done and I loved Dessen for that..She kept it light all through like a gentle breeze which caress  gently yet strong..
This book is again for a light hearted read, go for it you sure will enjoy the go..
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