Tag Archives: Books

B is for Book Clubs

Soon after I started my sabbatical ( yes yes that again), I very enthusiastically joined “meetup” and signed up for multiple clubs for people with similar interests. Right from entrepreneurial groups (yes yes one of my many plans which i am to work on) to trekking clubs to spiritual clubs. Most of them my enthusiasm for joining has gone and now i spend a lot of my time wondering what was i thinking when i joined them and wondering how to stop them from clogging my inbox.

In the midst of all that signing up, i apparently signed up for a couple of book clubs and as luck would have it, one of them was happening very soon – a ladies book club. Very tentatively, i went to meet these women. Not knowing, what kind of women I would be meeting – would they be far too intellectual for my tastes, what books would they read.

It was the first meeting of that book club –  4 of us who met then – Wow, i was like a founding member and all. Today we are a group of 13 woman – we feel its a great size. I have read books that I would never picked up on my own and enjoyed them, also read books and hated them, recommended and discussed my favorites. It has exposed me to so many authors I hadn’t heard of . The books are great, the discussions are lively,fun and intelligent.

You know as a stay at home person, I have met a lot of amazing women beating the stereo type of stay at home women that you usually hear about. But eventually we all have one thing in common – we are all mothers and our worlds are kind of similar.

So for me meeting these women from my book club was amazing – coz we are all so different from a young girl just out of her MBA institute to a yoga guru with elderly daughters, from single women to married women – from analyists to people studying for a PHD in english literature.

Its fascinating to see how books resonate differently with different people basis where they are in their lives. It’s interesting to talk about various aspects of our lives and I have loved to get to know them. The length of our discussions have gone up from an hour to 2 hours.

And As we come close to completing a year of being a “book club” , I want to thank these lovely ladies for that one awesome Sunday afternoon every month.

While I have always loved to read, I truly understand now how the love for books can bond you with complete strangers

They don’t know about this blog but maybe someday they will.

This is a part of the April #AtoZchallenge

Advertisements

I say this with pride -I know the author

Review of “A Calendar too crowded by Sagarika Chakraborthy”

To tell you the truth, i didn’t want to review this book. For a couple of reasons, one i am not a big fan of short stories, two I really don’t “get” or “like” feminism overdone and a book full of stories about women sounded just too much to take. But the main reason was that this was written by a dear friend and i didn’t want to be dishonest if i didn’t like it.

But read the book I did! This was not about feminism. It was stories, stories of women. Yes it dealt with topics like rape, prostitution and the like but there were stories of women just like us. I read the stories slowly savouring them, slowly not wanting the book to end. Some characters stay with you and you wonder what happened when the story ended. You feel the optimism, the despair, the happiness the characters share. Some maybe more than others.

Like Sagarika told me you will identify with some of the characters. I loved the fact that none of the characters had names (explanation being that it could be the story of any women). The stories which particularly touched me was the young widow who escapes – (Sags, i need you to tell me what happens after she escapes :-), the ideal mother (i was pregnant then and the women seemed to be narrating my thoughts) and i loved the story on adoption, knowing how close the topic is to the author’s heart.

What stayed with me was the thought that how did a 27(??) year old managing to get into the head and heart of so many characters. How did she have the strength to do so.The book is hard hitting, at times disturbing, it’s the topics we like to sweep under the carpet. Go ahead read it, it isn’t a light read but savour the book story by story!

My only grievance was i wanted more stories !!!

I can’t being to tell you how delayed this review is. I think i read the book close to 100 days ago. I have no excuses, nothing ! Hangs head in shame.

The Nutty World

So what has been happening with me?

Well we are back from a 5 day trip to Langakwi and while i may not declare this to be among my best holidays – a holiday is a holiday is a holiday and i shall not complain…Other than the fact that i found Malaysian’s very unfriendly, quite unlike their Thai counterparts.

Anyway, that apart…let me think what have i been up to?

Well i have a million half written posts in my head -and none documented. I dont feel like writing, i feel like somethings are to mundane to say, i dont feel like having an opinion or being funny or even writing a book review

Speaking about books – have u read the secret of the Nagas – so recommended. I love Amish’s imagination. i know people who dont like the fact that mythology has been twisted so much but hey it’s his interpretation – take it for what it is.

In other news – i am still existing at work. I feel disconnected from facebook and other social media. I keep in touch with few people and i keep in touch with them a lot!

Ummm…on an irrelevant note, my house – ufff it’s a mess. i have decided i will do one task a day and put this home of ours into order.

I want my life to be a holiday. I want to win a million dollars and never have to work again. I want to find a “higher” meaning to my life. I want to look beautiful, i want to be efficient. I feel i am not living my life fully and just about existing.

OK all that said, do i promise to blog more? I don’t know.

On my bookshelf

For me books are sacred. I barely ever venture to give a person a review of the book if i have enjoyed it. Mainly because i don’t think i will do the book justice. I don’t think telling a person the story or words can capture the essence, spirit or romance of the book.

But i have ventured on a review – mainly because i think it is *ahem* my duty to let people know of these two books. I think that they are not as well-known as they deserve to be.

Both Books – Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk and Chowringee By Shankar – capture the essence of society at a point of time.Coincidentally both are translated into English. The translation is smooth and at no point do you feel that the language is not doing justice to the book which is often the case with a lot of translations.

Chowringee takes u to Calcutta probably sometime after independence…where u can explore Calcutta at a time where foreign liquor was not so easily available, where even “modern” indian still women wore sarees even though they have moved to chiffon, where foreign dancers were a rarity.

A young not so affluent boy takes up a job in one of the best hotels in Calcutta where he observes society – the rich who come to stay or dine at the hotel, the people who work in the hotel – their lives and relationships are depicted. The characters in the movie- Sata Bose, Marco polo, and Karabi Guha remain with u much after you put down the book. I read somewhere that the book mirrors to some extent the life of some of the socialites of that time.

While the book may not have an obvious story line, it very beautifully weaves the thought process of this young boy, his sensitivities towards people and relationships against the backdrop of a newly independent india.

Museum of Innocence is set in Turkey in the 70’s and 80’s and tells the story about a young man from a rich family in Turkey, who falls in love with a distant relative from the impoverished part of society. While the story is about how he pines for this girls – i love the tit bits on the turkish society which is the background of this story. Like the bits on the civil wars in Turkey, the curfew, the affluent turkish woman’s thought process on losing their virginity. It beautifully weaves in Turkey’s passage into modernity and the thought process of youth battling between modern thoughts from the west and their traditional learnings.

In MOI, the narrator and hence the *hero* of the story who is engaged to a suitable girl from the society falls in love with a not so suitable shop girl. He continues to remain engaged while he collects mementoes of his love with the shop girl. He loses both of them and continues to work at getting back the shop girl for eight years – visiting her family, attempting to fulfill her dreams hoping she relents while continuing to pick up little mementoes of their love.

What happens next would give away the whole story…but to all around, his life would seem that of a loser, a person who pines and lost both the suitable girl and the other one – an unfulfilled love and life…but on his death-bed, he says – Tell all that i lived a happy life.

The book is beautiful – the language depicts thoughts which u might have had, it simply portrays the turkish society and you can see it all in your mind’s eye. Like Chowringee, the characters remain with u for a long time after u put it down.

Disclaimer – these are my interpretations of the books and i might not be accurate…but accurate or not these are fantastic books…to own and re-read.

p.s. please clap for me i have learnt to upload images into a post