Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday snapshot

Splendid view of a tea plantation at Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Rolling hills with caterpillar like tea shrubs dotted by trees and petite houses.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book blogger hop - January 1/14- 1/17

Book Blogger Hop

Book blogger hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-for-books. It's just the perfect platform for book bloggers to connect and discover what each other are reading. I must admit its been quite some time since I joined book blogger hop. Well its time to mingle again.

This week's question comes from Barb who blogs at Sugarbeat's Books.

 "Why do you read the genre that you do?  What draws you to it?"

My answer: Sometimes I categorize myself as truly eclectic but most of the time I just call myself  multicultural fiction and contemporary fiction lover. What draws me to multicultural genre? I would say their sheer cultural appeal, be it IndianJapanese, Chinese or even middle eastern multicultural stories. There is just something soothing about curling up with a book which can identify with our sense of values and norms. There is also the sheer pleasure of getting to know a totally different culture. My first multicultural novel was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Since then I was hooked on reading more multicultural books. They simply rock.

I love contemporary fiction for their  realistic touch, the down to earth peoples stories which not only is  thought provoking sometimes but also touches one's heart. 

Besides these two genre's I do read thrillers and memoirs. So what is your favourite genre ? Do share it with me here.

Cheers and happy weekend!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fish tales

Currently I'm in a reading slump. I can't seem to pick up a book and concentrate, try as I might yet I can't. I guess the books that I have  are not inspiring as well. I tried reading Corner shop by Roopa Farouki but  it just cant seem to hold my attention. So, I've switched to another historical fiction set in Malaya and Japan, called Leaving the heart behind by Joan Foo Mahony. So far so good.

Meanwhile, to banish my boredom, I went and got myself a tiny fish tank and bought some guppies. They are adorable.  It's been four days already and all are still alive and thriving. Initially I thought I bought two males and two females but upon scrutinizing them I realized that there are three male guppies. Ooops. That explains why the female guppy was getting harassed all the while. The ratio of male to female should be 1:2 so that the females are not harassed too much as guppies are forever courting. Right after landing in his new home the male guppy was already flaring his fins near the female to court her. Talk about speed. Today I went along and bought some smooth pebbles and a aquatic plant to cheer up their drab looking home. I hope to see some guppy babies soon, the pebbles and plant would provide some space for them to hide. Now the tank is looking oh so cute, so Zen like. The guppies seem to be enjoying exploring every nook and cranny. I'm loving it.

Guppies with colourful finnage are male, dull coloured guppies are female
Zen looking fish tank

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book review: The weight of heaven

Title: The weight of heaven

Author: Thrity Umrigar

Genre: Multicultural fiction, contemporary fiction

First sentence reads: A few days after Benny's death, Ellie and Frank Benton broke into separate people.

South Asian Challenge : 1/5 (South Asian Explorer)

Rating: 5/5

This is my second time reading Thrity Umrigar's work and my first book for South Asian Challenge. I must say I'm impressed, not just by the plot but by the breathless way the story moves. It takes a real master of emotion and human understanding to write a story like how Thrity Umrigar does. 

The title of the book might sound heavy and deep but the storyline just blows the mind away. Powerful is the word. Umrigar bares human soul in her writing and each fault and weakness is portrayed as humanly as possible without callous judgement. 

Im raving about this author I know. Back to the review.  Frank and Ellie Benton lost their 7 year old child, Benny to sudden illness. That devastates them and the happy cocoon their life had been is torn to shreds. Frank blames Ellie for the unfortunate incident and this drives them apart. To mend the rift in their life after Benny's death, they relocate from Ann Harbour to Girbough, India by taking up a job offer at Herbal solution company. India which was suppose to heal them casts more heartbreak their way. Frank develops affection for his housekeepers (Prakash and Edna) son Ramesh. This simple innocent gesture evokes a cascade of event beyond Frank and Ellie's imagination. 

Its a heartbreaking story but in a gentle way. It's never too dark or heavy but weaves us through with a whole lot of emotion and thought. The relationship issues that Frank and Ellie face after the death of their son would show the aptitude of the author in bringing  raw emotion and stark truth that each and every one of us face at certain time of our life. It catches us off-guard with  the moral issue it brings along. I loved the characters Ellie, the housekeepers Prakash and his wife Edna and their son Ramesh. I loved the fact that all of them were flawed but are part of tapestry of life. However, Frank was a tough one to like. Overall, this book was great and I loved Thrity Umrigar's writing. She did an amazing job.

Favourite Quotes:

~Ellie wished suddenly that someone would invent an album for filling moments, just as you could photographs~

~It's just the way our culture is-even grief comes with an expiration date, you know? You are suppose to nod and smile because raw emotion embarrasses other people~