Lost in Oblivion

‘Tear it up, tear it down
Gettin’ lost in the sound of our hearts beatin’
Take me here, take me now
Gettin’ lost in a crowd with you’

  -Jonas Blue, By Your Side

It is spring already and I like to read something which is light, not too long and stories which brings in the colours and feels of the season. I had been hearing a lot about Kasie West on Book Tube and I decided to lay my hands on her recently published Young Adult fiction, By Your Side

By Your Side follows the story of Autumn Collins who gets stuck in her school library before leaving for camping with her friends. Amidst books and the snow showering outside she gets worried as she realises that the library is going to remain closed for the next three days and she has nothing to eat or a phone to inform her parents about her situation. In the moment of terror, she finds that she isn’t alone; there is someone inside the library as well.

Who is Autumn with?

What secrets are going to unveil between the stack of books and closed doors?

Is she going to make it out safely?

I listened to this book as audio book and I do not regret not buying the physical copy at all. I really liked it in the beginning but then it all started to get cheesy and way too romantic for my taste. It felt as though cubes of Mozzarella, Gouda, Cheddar, and Parmesan were splattered all around and that was overwhelming. However, I liked the fact that this book dealt with a mental illness and how its acceptance and tolerance is required among adolescents.

Buy the book By Your Side“>here.

Everything Beyond Nothing

Love, a theme or a feeling which has given birth to wonders of literature and shall remain the core of literature for ages and beyond. It amazes readers to find how interestingly authors deal with the indispensable theme by merging it with lesser known situations. One of the most common situations is when one of the protagonists is sick and their future seems bleak. Books like The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You are a few to suggest with a certain storyline.

Nicola Yoon, an author who stepped into the world of writing with Everything, Everything warmed the hearts of cheesy, mushy, love story fanatics through her debut novel. ‘Everything, Everything’ follows the story of a girl, Madeline Whittier aka Maddy who is suffering from a disease which suggests her being allergic to the world outside her home. She keeps to her home with her caring mother and her loving nurse. She lives her life through her books and the window overlooking her air-filtered bubble of a room. Incidentally, a new family turns up in the house opposite hers and then she discovers the cutest guy she has seen in her life, Olly.

“It made me think that everything was about to arrive- the moment when you know all and everything is decided forever.”

-Jack Kerouac

I was really looking forward to the ending; it kept me at the edge of my seat. I loved the way this book was written. Admittedly, I was enjoying the first two hundred and fifty pages. Unfortunately, I was pretty dissatisfied with the climax and the unprecedented turn of events. Nonetheless, I really liked the illustrations, snippets of conversations attached to the story; they made the reading enjoyable and fun.

READ IT BEFORE THE FILM HITS THE CINEMAS!!!!!!

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Still from the Film 

Inglorious Bastards

Nowadays, I am on the hunt for books which have been awarded for its contents and story line. On my way, I came across a book by an Irish author who had won the Baileys Women Prize for Fiction in 2016 and Desmond Elliott Prize in 2016 for her novel depicting the underworld of Cork, Ireland.

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney published in 2015, begins with the story of an old woman murdering a lad who had barged into her house. The story then focuses on her son Jimmy, the most feared gangster in Cork, who lures his buddy Tony, stuck up with five kids and his teenage kid, Ryan, who, Tony believes is on his way to wreck his life, to clear up the mess his mother had created. Things move according to the plan until the lad’s girlfriend, Georgie, embarks on a search for him.

“… for how good intentions so easily dishonoured ever have a chance of saving her?”     -Lisa McInerney

Is Georgie going to find out the murderer?

What are the truths that shall unfold amidst the hullabaloo?

Will justice prevail?

I was a little confused by the movement of the story in the beginning but the moment I identified the different characters and their relations to each other it all got sorted. I loved the novel, the storyline, the complexity of each character and the amount of themes thread together in the making of the story. It was worth it. No wonder it won two laurels. I would highly recommend this book to people who are in the mood to pick up some moving yet disturbing novel in the adult fiction.

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Between the Age of Innocence and Experience

Having promised myself to try out diverse genres in book and books which have caught the interest of various readers, I decided to pick up Benjamin Alire Saenz’s The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. Recently, Saenz had won the Pen Faulkner Award, Stonewall Book Award, Pura Belpre Award, Lambda Literary Award and many more for his book Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (which I haven’t read yet).

So, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life begins with the story of a seventeen-year old Salvador, who is bullied in his school by one or two pricks because his father is gay. Being an adopted child, he often wonders who his biological father might be and if he has picked up the skill to punch bullies by his biological parent because his real father is the kindest and understanding human being one could come across in their lives. Trapped in the inexplicability of his various life decisions, his future and the failing health of his dearest grandmother, he starts unhooking various straps of his limited boundaries and tries to understand life and death as two essential entities of life and how beautiful it is to love the ones who love you and relish in the imperfections of life.

How is Salvador going to deal with the idiosyncrasies of his mates?

What is he going to learn from people around him?

Will he be able to simply the inexplicable logic of his life?

“And the angel told Tom, if he’d be good boy,                                                                            He’d have God for his father, and never want joy.”                                                                                                                                                               -William Blake.

I listened to it as an audiobook and it was 11 hours and 30 minutes long which is WAY too long for a contemporary. To begin with, I really liked the way the novel began; perfect beginning to a story with well-thought out characters but… but then the novel happened.
Salvador’s father, a very inspiring father indeed but how can a human being exist without even ONE fault. He seemed completely faultless to me, totally, and I found that absurd.
Everything is happy-happy and full of love among the three friends (not anything against having such a healthy relationship but…), how can three teenagers not have a little, even a little fight among themselves!?
This book actually read more like a moral education book. God, that pissed me so much. I mean, yes, I agree that every book inculcates some kind of moral values to the reader but this book was jaded (YES, JADED) with stuff being good and all. For instance things like,  Don’t use the word “bitch” “fuck”, don’t drink; I mean, why?
It was pretty dramatic in some parts of which I cannot talk about as it’d be a spoiler.
Lastly, the phrase “No, boy, no.” pissed me off and I felt like pulling out the vocal chords of the narrator (I am so sorry for conjuring such violent imaginations but the incessant use of that phrase totally ticked me off.)
Okay, so the reason why I gave this novel a 3 star even after ranting so much about it was-:
1- Salvador’s Father (haven’t read anything about a father who’s gay so I was quite interested in knowing him as a person)
2- No romance or anything cliché between a boy and a girl who are not related through blood ties.
3- Focuses on Friendship and Family which is generally ignored by contemporary writers.

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New Year and New Beginnings

My resolution for 2017 is to try and step out of my comfort zones and lay my hands on genres which do not attract me every so often. One such genre is Science Fiction. The name itself sends impulses to retract my steps even though I don’t want to.

With a challenge ahead of me, I placed an order for Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff after binge watching booktube videos. I will keep the review pretty short because the lesser you know the better it is to actually read it. Basically, the story is set in 2575 when a planet is attacked by a villainous megacorporation and it follows the journey of Ezra Mason and Kady Grant.

Admittedly, I loved the manner in which the book was penned down. The use of graphics, reports, IM conversations, emails was unique and impressive.I would highly suggest all you science fanatics and computer aficionados to pick this up if your looking for dystopian thriller. Unfortunately, I realised this genre is simply not meant for me and I was disappointed in this book.

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A small look at what’s inside. Photo Courtesy- Google Images.

 

 

Trampled

 

“His soul stretched tight across the skies

That fade behind a city block,

Or trampled by insistent feet”

-T.S. Eliot

Dystopia is one of my favourite genres. I just love how the author paints a world where everything is wrong and in a mess and there is one character or a couple of characters fighting against it and for themselves. The better it sounds the difficult it is to actually deal with. Acting on the suggestion of my favourite teacher, I picked up Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, a dystopian novel which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003 and Booker Prize in 1999.

Set in the South African city of Cape Town, the book follows the story an English Professor, David Lurie, middle-aged and twice divorced, who has an impulsive affair with one of his students. The affair sours; he is denounced and summoned before a committee of inquiry. He is willing to admit his guilt but he refuses to yield to pressure to repent publicly, he resigns and retreats to his daughter Lucy’s isolated smallholding. However, his escape to the countryside is not welcomed with warmth and mirth. He and his daughter become victims of a savage attack which brings into relief all the fault lines in their relationship.

The setting of this book is fabulous and apt, set in the regions of Africa dominated by anarchy, racist attitudes, where seeing someone die in front of your eyes is not really a big deal resonates in each and every character of the book. For literature lovers, you will enjoy this book because the use of some literary allusions gives the story its final shape. Moving into the language and writing, I don’t think any other author could have managed to present the book the way Coetzee has. With his excellent use of simple words, subtle images, presentation of character born in a violent environment, this book actually stands out from other dystopian fictions I have read. Although, I wouldn’t say this is my favourite dystopian novel. To fully grasp the stuff this book deals with, I believe, it requires a certain age and maturity which I haven’t achieved until now. Anyway, I would surely pick this book up after three-four years and read it.

The Beginning of Unknown



“CHERRy LIPS, CRYSTAL SKIES

I COULD SHoW YOU INCREDIBLE THINGS

STOLEn KISSES, PRETTY LIES

YOU’RE THE KING, BABY,  I’M YOUR

QUeEN FIND OUT WHaT YOU WANT

BE THAT GIRL FOR A MOnTH

WAIT, THE WORST IS YET TO COME....”

-Taylor Swift

 

I have been really excited to write this review as this is the first book I have listened to.  Believe me, it was awkward at the beginning but as the first chapter flew by I got used to it and swam through the voice taking in the penmanship of the author. However, audio books can NEVER surpass paperbacks because reading a book has its own significance!

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Book cover. Photo Credits: Google Images

 

Summer, friendships, family ties, politics, young adult romance, scavenger-hunting, dog-walking, pizzas, ice-creams; doesn’t these sound exciting?  Well, to me, it sure does. And Morgan Matson has wonderfully packed these into one book to make our time a little interesting. The queen of summer contemporary genre has come up with her fourth book The Unexpected Everything which follows the story of Andie, a seventeen-year old, who has everything planned out for the following summer. She intends to intern at a university which gets called off as her father, a Congressman, gets involved in a political conspiracy and all her plans shatters leaving her and her father together in their house for the first time in years. Incidentally, she takes up a job to walk dogs and comes across Clark, the cutest nerd she has ever met in her life. This summer changes her life; she is walking dogs, doing scavenger hunt with her dad, getting too close to a guy who is irresistibly cute and talented.

 

Is this going to last only for this summer or things might take a drastic turn by the end of it?

 

Is the worst yet to come after summer?

 

Pick this book up and read it if you want a light, fun read. I heard the audio book which was narrated by Bailey Carr, she was excellent, she narrated the dialogues of both the male and female characters really nicely and her voice carried the emotions required to express it. Interestingly, Matson has used quite a few emoticons in the book; I would have to appreciate Bailey Carr as she perfectly expressed those emoticons without the slightest disruption in the flow of the story. Surprisingly, this is the first Morgan Matson book I read or heard. I read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour a few days back and I am currently reading Second Chance Summer (reviews will be up soon). Honestly, I would not say that I loved the book but I did enjoy it. I found the story too predictable. Anyway, I enjoyed the flow of her writing and obviously CLARK.

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A snapshot from one of the conversations in the book. Photo Credits:Google Images

 

 

 

Unforgivable Commitments

“I calmed her fears, and she was calm,

And told her love with virgin pride;”

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There are so many bonds and relationships we humans have to commit to, there are so many commitments we have made and we are to make. And with every commitment comes our sense of responsibility and it ought to augment. Sadly, we are not equipped with skills to tackle all our commitments, well, it is even sadder when we aren’t capable of dealing with our most intimate commitments.

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Rosamund Pike as Amy Dune in Gone Girl

It is not very often that you pick up a book, start reading it, enjoy it and shut it down with literally nothing to say. One such book which has left me in such a bizarre state is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The thriller begins with Nick Dune finding his wife, Amy Elliott Dune, missing on the morning of their fifth marriage anniversary. An investigation begins, search for Amy begins; but she is nowhere to be found. The policemen doubt Nick, close friends of Amy reveal that she was afraid of him, Amy’s memorandum unravels the status of her marital bond, alarming searches from Nick’s web history has left everyone baffled and there’s a number constantly flashing on Nick’s mobile phone.

Why and where has Amy disappeared?

Or is she dead?

What had been so faulty in their lives?

What is that Nick is hiding?

Is Amy ever going to return?

This book has been written in more than two styles and perspectives. The first perspective is Nick Dune’s and the second perspective is Amy’s, her diary entry which the policemen discover and the other? Well, it is for you to find out! Flynn’s writing is crisp and shaped neatly to leave the reader’s gaping and astonished. However, I was slightly taken aback when she went on to jade the novel with too much descriptions. Nonetheless, the way she presents her characters, good Lord, they are so ridiculously flawed that it will make you question your understanding of your fellow beings.   

Without further ado, rush to your nearest book store or place an order for this book if you haven’t read it yet. DO NOT participate in discussions where this book is being mentioned or watch the trailer of its film adaptation, just STAY AWAY.

“Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on a paper.”

-Arthur Golden

 

Creation and its Creatures

“We do not start as dust. We do not end as dust. We make more than dust.”

-David Leviathan

None of the beings on this planet, be it a human or a plant or an animal are born the way we choose. We cannot make choices of our destiny if one unique destiny has chosen us. We cannot let our opportunity to live trail behind just because we realize that the opportunity was imperfect. All we can do is live and make the best out of it no matter what trains of absurdity we board or have boarded.

R.J. Palacio has magnificently brought into light the life of a ten year old boy, August Pullman, whose facial features are different from what we may imagine, in her book ‘Wonder’. Beautifully, she entails the story of August who is going to begin his middle school, after being home-schooled for years. Being masked from the stereotypical facial features, August’s life is surely not going to be a jolly ride.

Is August going to adjust in his life away from his primary inmates?

Is he at all going to attract friends to giggle with and talk to?

Will August realise the perfection cradling in his so-called imperfection?

Is August a wonder?

R.J. has surely done a wonderful job with the craftsmanship of this art. To begin with, it is exciting to hear the story right from August’s to the minor character’s point of view. Admittedly, the language is simple, sweet and it is highly recommended for all the age groups, both children and adults. There is so much to learn, so much to experience. There is so much of the world we haven’t discovered, there is so much of ourselves we haven’t looked into. There is so much to introspect, so much to think about. Give it a read, I am sure you will love it and realize how simple and important it is to live and let live.

“You’re gonna reach the sky

Fly … Beautiful Child”

-Eurythmics

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Some important characters from the book.

Youngsters and Romance

A few days back  I had gone to Oxford Bookstore to attend a book launch. I was surprised when I heard that the book, which was supposed to be launched, was written by a seventeen year old. It was an enthralling experience, I got to know some eminent personalities of my city and I would convey my sincere thanks to Kolkata Bloggers for giving me an opportunity to review the book on behalf of them.

Romance, the theme which has been ruling the field of literature since time immemorial, is undoubtedly one of the primary themes of every budding writer. But very few authors are able to blend romance and thriller in a perfect manner.

‘I’m Yours… Forever…’ by Samragngi Roy is a romantic thriller set in a fiction land of Pegasus which explores the relationship of Rose and Robert, two teenagers. The daunting secrets of Robert, the exploration of Crystal’s psychical ability and the mysteries hidden under the shards of consciousness adds the aspect of thriller to the romance. Each chapter ends on a note which baffles the reader but it is the last chapter which ties all the unattended knots and gives the story its final shape.

I would appreciate the young writer to come up and put forth her step into the world of book writing and inspire other youngsters whose talents are often unrecognised. The writer has a good command over her vocabulary and her sense of playing with words and painting pictures of nature is superb. However, I felt the writing and the storyline needs ample maturity. As I have already mentioned, Romantic thriller isn’t an easy theme to deal with, it requires sophistication and experience to write a perfect romantic thriller. Nonetheless, a good beginning and best wishes for her career ahead.

Get the book on Flipkart — goo.gl/UOTY7V