Monday, 16 February 2015

Brajesh's Review : Girl Meets Boy

After being bowled over by Karen Armstrong’s “A Short History of Myth” I ordered two more books in the Myth Series.

Ali Smith takes the story of Iphis in which Telethusa metamorphoses her child to keep her alive, and turns this mythical narrative into a powerful feminist novel.

The protagonist Anthea goes through the realization of her lesbianism and finally marries the girl she loves. The counter point is her sister Midge who has a strong traditional outlook and struggles with capitalism and conventional relationships. The story is quite confusing in the first 30 pages where our personal gender stereotypes make it difficult to follow the narrative, but once you get comfortable with the style, the story moves at a fast clip and ends explosively.

Rating : 3 / 5

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Brajesh's Review : Way of the Warrior - The Legend of Abhimanyu

I have become a total fan of Saurav Mohapatra’s Graphic Novels. His story vision always brings-out beautiful emotions through powerful designed pages. The story of Abhimanyu is no different.

Obviously the story is known by heart to most of us, but the beauty and power with which this short story comes alive over 80 pages is a treat to the senses.

I keenly look forward to any work done by Saurav Mohapatra after being impressed with him through Devi, Mumbai Confidential and Moon Mountain – each a signature representation.

Enjoy the collage below and then go buy the book.

Rating : 3.5 / 5

Also See : Kim's Review of Way of the Warrior - The Legend of Abhimanyu

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Kim's Recommendations : Top Retellings of Indian Mythology

A friend asked me which modern Indian mythological renditions I would recommend, after reading my review of Asura. I thought I would share it here, for others who had the same question.

Gripping Reads I would say:
1. Heavily, heavily recommend : In Search of Sita
2. Chitra Bannerjee Diwakaruni - Palace of Illusions
3. Ashok Bankers - Ramayana Series - I haven't read his Mahabharath series or the Krishna Corrolis yet, so not sure about those.
4. Amish Tripathis - Shiva Trilogy
Immortals of Meluha
Secret of the Nagas
Oath of the Vayuputras
5. Malyalam classic finally translated to English - Bhima - the Lone Warior
6. Anand Neelakantan's - Ajaya
7. The Last War - Mahabharata in a modern setting, think Omkara from Othello types.
8. Breaking the Bow - Speculative Fiction

Second Lot:
1. Samhita Arni's - Speculative Fiction - The Missing Queen
2. The Outcast's Queen - from Karna's wife's perspective.
3. The Winds of Hastinapur - Ganga's Perspective.
4. If you can read in Hindi - Manu Sharmas' entire series of Atmakathas - like Draupadi ki Atmakatha

Others whose story is good, but not a very smooth read (could use editing)
1. Pratibha Ray's - Yajnaseni - I've heard the Oriya version is great, I could only read the translation
2. Devdutt Pattanaik is a brilliant story teller, but his books are not as easy to read (people like us will take an hour to read each page trying to understand and google the multiple concepts on each page)
3. Anand Neelakantan's Asura

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Kim's Review : 10 Fun Things to Do with a Microwave

The cover had a jaunty looking chocolate cake popping out of a polka dotted cup, so obviously I picked it up, expecting some really interesting microwave recipes. To my surprise this book turned out to be more science text book than recipe book.

Some of the experiments do look like fun, but I don't think I will be trying out any of them any time soon.

The book does have a few recipes and link to a few others, but there are plenty of brilliant recpes online, you don't need this book for that purpose.

Rating :
As a science book - 3 / 5
As a recipe book 0.5 / 5

I don't think this book has come out in Print (too many linkables to make a print book feasible) It was available for free at the ibook store when I downloaded it.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Kim's Review : Asura

Asura is actually the first published book of Anand Neelakantan who wrote Ajaya - Epic of the Kaurava Clan (a book I had loved, earlier last year). Asura is the Ramayana from Ravana's perspective.

I had bought this book long before I bought Ajaya, but hadn't gotten around to reading it and ended up reading Ajaya (even though it was just the first of 2 books and the second one still hasn't been published) before Asura. I'm glad I did.

If I had read Asura first, I may never have dared to pick up Ajaya. The simple fact of the matter is that being the authors first book and self published (my copy) - it needs quite a bit of editing. Reading a badly edited book, is frustrating for me because as a one time editor and one time lecturer, I find I then begin to focus on spotting the errors, rather than letting the story wash over me.

Coming to the story itself, it is very interesting and its a completely new perspective. I sent the Hindi translation to Brajesh's dad and he was quite disturbed as to how an author could say that Rama was flawed - maybe I shouldn't have sent him this book, because it does shake the core of your beliefs and could be quite upsetting if you take your beliefs seriously.

However, just because he questions Rama's actions, he doesn't conversely put Ravana on a pedestal either. Anand's Ravana too is flawed and egoistical and naive and suffers from human frailties.

Bhadra is an extremely interesting character. He keeps appearing (almost Forrest Gump like) at the most opportune (or inopportune moments) and he too is instrumental in moving the narrative further. To me Bhadra is a bigger hero in this book, than Ravana himself.

At times Asura gets extremely philosophical and drags a bit. There were many times, that I considered dropping the book, but the perspective kept me hooked.

Asura has a lot to offer, but it also needs a good editor to trim, prune and polish the story just a little bit to keep the reader completely engrossed.

Rating : 2.75 / 5

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Kim's Review : Gone Girl

I had ordered this book by Gillian Flynn, over a year ago. It had been heavily recommended on multiple bestseller lists and by friends whose opinions I truly value. But somehow I never got around to reading it. Even the movie version came out (I haven't watched it yet), but I still didn't get around to it.

Then I finally landed in the UK and with hardly any furniture and kitchen equipment, I barely had anything to keep me busy after the move (while I hibernated without a mobile connection or internet) and I had promised myself time to catch up on reading and this was the first book I pulled out and I Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Gone Girl is such a brilliant piece of story telling and Gillian Flynn has her readers exactly where she wants them along every step of the way. The way, she leads you across the story line is absolutely marvelous, the way she makes you react to her characters, empathise and pity them, love or loathe them in turns. . . I've never felt so manipulated before (and since it was through a work of fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed it)

One thing that did strike me, apart from all the things mentioned before is how her characters felt an ennui with their lives and reacted to situations, the way they had seen on screen in movies. It is like they are completely out of touch with themselves and have forgotten how to react genuinely and react in a way that Hollywood tells them to. Its quite a depressing thought, if this is what we as a society are headed towards.

Rating : 4 / 5

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