Good Omens

January 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Note: Copy-Paste from Jun 07

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Rating: 4/5
Verdict: Must Read for 2 hours of unparalleled fun.

What happens when Angel and Serpent become too cozy in their earthly lifestyle and apocalypse is near, threatening an end to this comfortable life? Do they simply resign themselves to their fate and help God and Satan in final war or is there a way out of it? This is what we read and explore in ‘Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch’ by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Some of you would already be familiar with Neil Gaiman, courtesy Sandman. For those feeling bit left out, Neil Gaiman is author of many science fiction novels, comics and graphic Novels. Terry Pratchett is a fantasy author too, more known for his Discworld series.
Moving back to Good Omens, Book starts with angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley, both of whom are representing God and Satan respectively on earth and are quite used to life style on earth. Crowley is proud owner of Bentley whereas Aziraphale has his books collection, quite rare ones at that. Apocalypse is near and son of Satan has been born (omen, anyone??). Both angel and demon realize that if final war happens, they would have to leave all materialistic things behind and would have to go back to heaven and hell. For them, this is beginning of life full of boredom. Now, after centuries of working against each other, they have developed mutual respect and are good friends. So, together they decide to thwart the war with plain logic of “freedom of choice” given to humans. Their plan, very simple, influence son of Satan with both good and evil. So, he doesn’t turn out to be fanatic for either side, cannot decide on a side and in the end postpone the war. Just one small glitch, the boy they had been watching wasn’t son of Satan. Due to small mix up in hospital, they ended up focusing on wrong kid. Result, son of Satan had a very normal life uninfluenced by both good and evil and unaware of his powers. Now, time has come for him to gain the throne. Add to this, 4 horsemen of hell (War, Famine, Pollution (Pestilence having retired in 1936 following the discovery of penicillin), and Death) searching for boy to serve him, and you’ve got perfect recipe of roll-on-floor-while-laughing book.
Oh, did you ask why Agnes Nutter in title? Well, because she wrote the prophecies leading to final doom day which are very accurate And it’s up to her descendant to figure them out. Slightly confusing you see 

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The space between us and millions like us

January 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Note: From Jun 07

“The space between us” by Thrity Umrigar
Rating: 3.5/5
Final recommendation: a good read

This book revolves around two women in Mumbai. One called Sera, an upper-middle class widow, another is called Bheema, her maid. While one faces the hidden brutality of her husband while he was alive, the other silently suffers through her husband’s treachery and children’s loss. Both women comfort each other, yet never crossing the line of class that divides them. When Sera’s daughter and her son-in-law comes to live with her, both women see their love as something they wished for. Sera supports Bheema’s family through tough times – Bheema’s husband’s accident, daughter’s death and grand daughter’s education. Yet she cannot get herself to treat Bheema at equal level. She feels guilty about it, chastises herself but can’t break the society’s bonds.
It reminds me of us at a certain level. The bit of hypocrisy which is inherent in all of us but we never let go of it. This book is sad. Pessimist to major extent, but then again, that’s what life is, unfair.

Of Authors who think they can write..

January 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Note: From Jun 07

“What would you do to save the world?” by Ira Trivedi
Rating: 0/5
Final recommendation: Just Stay Away from it

Read this book few days back and I’ve to admit this book deserves a prize for being one of the crappiest book of century.. It seems she has written it from her own experiences, but does that mean you would torture readers like this. Book is about Miss India contest & the contestants.. Which means it could’ve been a really interesting novel.. gossipy, bitchy.. perfect chick-lit. But, by trying to convince readers that she wasn’t one of the Bimbos who take part in such contests, that she was too good for it.. too brainy.. She has at least convinced me that she’s reallllly tooo goood to be ever read again..
Thank you very much. Now I would like my money back please.

The Hindi-Bindi Club: A Nice Surprise

January 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Note: Again from Aug 07

The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan .
Rating: 3.5/5
Final recommendation: a good read

To be frank, the only reason I had bought this book was that it looked light hearted enough to be read in Hot afternoon and to be forgotten later on. And was I in for a surprise. Unlike other Indian Authors, Monica Pradhan doesn’t try to find her roots. her characters are well settled and confident in their Indian-American Identities. of course, they have issues (Or how else we will have this book) and Generation Gaps but somehow, they are not over-cooked here.
The main character Kiran is a successful physician, born to Indian immigrants in USA. She married a Rock Musician against her parents wishes and divorced him after finding him in bed with another woman. Her parents didn’t approve of this marriage. However, after being treated for breast cancer, Mother has learned to see things from daughter’s perspective as well. Her struggle is keeping her family together esp after her husband still can’t forgive their daughter. Kiran is now trying to accept her parent’s ways and agreed for
semi-arranged marriage which means posting her profile to matrimonials sites and meeting prospective grooms.
Other characters are Kiran’s childhood friends – Preity and Rani. Both happily married to Americans. While one is haunted by a childhood love she lost due to religion, other struggles to keep her creativity going. Their mothers – Saroj and Uma form the Hindi-Bindi Club along with Kiran’s mother Meenal. These 3 women are long settled in US with their husbands and have raised kids. And now they are facing their own demons. One is having an affair and other is still hurt over being boycotted from her family in India for marrying an Irish-American.
Monica has captured the constant struggle between mothers and daughters in a beautiful form. From understanding the other’s point of view to giving up to gain approval or simply accepting the other the way they are, We all have felt like that at one point or another.
Book is not just about generation gaps or cultural differences, it also touches on religion, partitions and Indian Recipes. Yes, you heard it right, at the end of each chapter, there’s a recipe. Mouth watering dishes and quite good instructions.
I like Monica’s writing style. It’s in narrative form, Chapters by these 6 characters and so beautifully intertwined. It keeps you engaged til you finish it.
Of course, I felt end was bit cliched. But what the heck, you can’t have it all. And sometimes, world does deserve Happy Endings.

Emails can be a fun read

January 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Note: This was written in Aug 07. Just copy/pasting it again

E by Matt Beaumont
Rating: 4/5
Final recommendation: a good read

Being in IT industry, if there’s one thing which I know how to do is to send Emails. Infact all of my colleagues will agree to this. I cannot imagine a world without email and yet I could’ve never dream a novel based on it. But then again that’s the reason I’m where I’m and Matt Beaumont is where he is.
When I started this novel I was little skeptic. Its easy to have a conceptual novel but tougher to carry it off. But from the moment I started it til I finished it I was spellbound. There were so many characters I thought I knew. The office politics (esp the use of CC, BCC and attachements) is just real. We all have witnessed this rat race. But somehow it never seemed so hilarious.
It is set in advertising agency which is trying to land Coca-Cola campaign. In background, office politics is at its funniest best. Everyone trying to save their own job and land the higher position. Colleagues gossiping, leaking news, spying and even cat-fight makes it an interesting read. My favorite bit was CEO accidentally copying all his mails to another region’s CEO who would send advice in return.
Do give it a shot to take breaks from all heavy readings…

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