Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Think Like Da Vinci by Michael J Gelb

If you think you think like you oughta think, this book is a must read for you.

It is a little about history and a little about common sense, observation, having a curious nature, being positive, having positive affirmations, enjoying your senses, making full use of your potential.

For some reason some parts reminded me of the Sunscreen song.

It didn't take very long to finish this book surprisingly. I thought it was a bit dense at first, but when you get into the chapters it doesn't take very long. The exercises in the book are easy to follow and don't require much time.

All in all, 8/10. A good read and practical.

Friday, August 12, 2011

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh

Having read Sea of Poppies, I was totally excited when this book was coming out. So much so that I pre-ordered it so that I would be one of the first few to read it.
Alas, it was a little disappointing. All the characters, barring a handful, were new. I saw an interview with Amitav Ghosh where he had said that this book could be read in isolation from the first - and it is true. It could have actually been called "The tale of Bahram" because at the end of it that was the only character that was developed.
In Outlook's review of the book they criticized the use of the letter writing technique. Now I thought it was a good way of getting the story across, but after a while - particularly in the last chapter, I found that it really was wearing the reader down. In fact, the ending seemed a bit hurried to me.
What is fascinating is that Ghosh took one chapter of history - the First Opium Wars (1839 to 1842) and reconstructed all the foregoing events that led up to it. It is amazing the extent to which the British went to in order to quell the trade imbalance. Egad, it really makes one think!! Opium - you don't approve of it in your own country, but it's fine for the Chinese!! And how the British used India - where it was chiefly grown!!

"Although the Chinese had used opium as a medicine, there was no widespread addiction before the British arrived." - Robert Trout

Friday, July 1, 2011

Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs

Set in Hawaii, well, mostly.
What else can I say? Kathy Reichs is all right - good for reading a chapter a day at a time. Literary genius she may not be but she spins a good story.
In this one, there was a bit of a cross over between a CSI episode I've seen and the book's plot. I liked the parallels drawn between the war in Vietnam and that in Afghanistan. There was a lot of reference to gang warfare within the US itself, with young kids getting killed over drugs and other such nonsense.
I found it amusing - the references to Law and Order, CSI and Bones - all TV series that I watch.
I would give this book a 6/10. It held my interest, but I don't like her writing style too much. A bit too abrupt in some instances. I prefer prose I think.
Plus you can't really read this book listening to Vivaldi. That's another thing I don't like about her writing.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Well I just finished reading this book today, and it was in a way an eye opener into Iranian culture and history. The treatment of women as part of the changes that took place was quite shocking.
I liked the section on Austen the best - having not read Nobokov and James and Fitzgerald, I could relate to this section the best. It was well written I thought, a little meandering in places but on the whole thought provoking.
One thing about reading views on books you've read is that different aspects come out. That is what a book club is about after all. Different people have different views, and the way they see things is from their perspective. That's why I like reading books like these - they offer a new view into something that you've already analysed - whether it be the romance between Mr Darcy and Ms Elisabeth or the historical significance of Mansfield Park.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

This the third installment in the Steig Larsson series on the ever famous heroine and her life. Lisbeth Salander is now in hospital, recovering from her injuries. But it's not far from over for her. Her dad has pressed charges against her and the whole Swedish bureaucracy at one point appears to have it in for her.
Come to the rescue - Millennium Publications. It's a long book, I only got through it with A LOT of patience. Out of all three, I found the first the best. The rest I think I read just out of sheer curiousity of what happens to Lisbeth.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

Yes, I'm obsessed. I forced my little sister to get me the new Kathy Reichs that I haven't been able to find here in India.
I finished 206 Bones a few days back.
I give it 4/5. Someone is murdering grandmommies and leaving no trail behind. In fact, its taken time for the police to even identify it as the work of a serial killer.
Temperence Brennan is superb, as usual. I like the strong liberated female role.
There are in fact, 206 bones in the human body. 28 are in the skull alone.
Highly recommended for all Bones (the TV serial) and Kathy Reichs fans!!