Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Post


Yet another week has passed by. What did I accomplish this week? Two reviews, which is a feat considering how slow I am to write reviews =). I'm pretty much excited about my upcoming trip to Semporna (the coastal town in the state of Sabah, Malaysia). One more day to go and I'll be on my way to my island getaway. Ill post all about it next week. 

Yesterday I had a fun outing with my friends. We went to Ampang Lookout Point to enjoy the splendid view of entire KL city. Alas, the topmost lookout point was closed due to some safety issues. We made a u-turn and headed to the next best thing, a mini lookout point just a few meters away giving us an equally fantastic view. There were plenty of stalls selling burgers and fried noodles and fried rice. Pictures are below, captured using my humble phone camera.

  Dusk is falling gently, painting the sky above KL city in the softest pink, peach and blue.

 Sequential snapshot as darkness descends over KL city, seen miles away on Ampang Lookout Point. Awesome!!!!! The tree is sort of a distraction, but a beautiful distraction nonetheless. =)  

After the good food and the great view of the city, my friends then dragged me off to karaoke. I am not a good singer but I belted out some hits with as much gusto as possible, songs like My heart will go on, We are young (sang only the chorus =p ), when you say nothing at all and love you like a love song. My it was fun. After the tiring but fun Saturday, today I relaxed at home with my laptop. There's some problem with my blogger, as sentences are highlighted without me doing them. Hope it'll be fine after a while. I'll be back after a week's time. Happy Sunday to all and have a nice week.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Book Review: The Postmistress

Title: The Postmistress
Author: Sarah Blake
Genre: Literary fiction
First sentence reads: There were years after it happened, after i'd returned from the town and came back here to the busy blank of the city, when some comment would be tossed off about the Second world war and how it had gone-some idiotic remark about clarity and purpose-and I'd resist the urge to stub out my cigarette and bring the dinner party to a staisfying halt.
Rating: 3/5

The Postmistress is a story set in the times of Second World War seen through the eyes of three different women, each affected beyond their comprehension. The postmistress of Franklin, Massachusetts, Iris James, Franklin's new resident Emma Trask and war correspondent Frankie Bard arethe narrators in this elegant story.

Iris believes in the integrity of the postal system and believes that she has to keep order and let the system move without a hitch. But one day she does the unthinkable, she reads a letter and keeps it from its rightful owner. Emma on the other hand is a girl with emotional baggage, who comes with heavy hopes of finding an anchor in the life of the man she is to marry, Will Fitch, the doctor in the town of Franklin. Whereas, Frankie Brad is the war correspondent who braves the bombs raining down on London skies every night to bring news of the war front to the people abroad in United States.  The story moves languorously and without urgency and explores the livelihood of the three women. It is told in alternating narration by the three women and that was refreshing to read. It tells the tale of two world existing in the same dimension, one facing the horrors of the war and the other blissfully ignorant of war. Emma and Iris know the war only though the voice of Frankie Bard and Frankie is living right in the middle of it.

Though the title of the book is The Postmistress, the story itself doesn't actually focus on Iris alone but more on Frankie. Its hard for me to say which one of the three women that I liked. I found it hard to warm up to them. Furthermore, certain parts of the book lacked the power to convince me and I wished the author had focused some attention on Will Fitch as his character was not as well developed as the rest and thus It was hard to feel the pain that Emma felt.

I found the first half of the book more compelling and interesting but had to force myself to read the second half just to know how it ends and unfortunately there were no surprises and I lost the eagerness to read it.
I noticed that this book had some rave reviews and also some average reviews. My opinion is that, I did not enjoy this book as much but I loved the beautiful writing and prose by the author. If you are looking to read stories revolving around second world war, I would suggest Daniel Steel's Echoes and Tatiana De Rosnay's Sarah's key
Favourite quotes

~They walked along, and under the silent morning sky, she imagines she could pull Time like taffy, stretching it longer and longer between her hands until the finest point had been reached, the point just before breaking, and she could live there.~

~Petal after white petal opened slowly from her heart and started reaching up and out. Some stories dont get told. Some stories you hold on to. To stand and watch and hold it in your arms was not cowardice. To look straight at the beast and feel its breath on your flanks and not turn-one could carry the world that way.~

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book review: Cat's eye

Title: Cat's eye

Author: Margaret Atwood

Genre: Literary fiction

First sentence reads: Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimension of space.

Rating: 4/5

I've been wanting to read a book by Atwood and I finally did it. This is my first Margaret Atwood's book. The story somewhat seems like a biography. Elaine is an established painter who is about to open her retrospective exhibition in her hometown, Toronto. At this particular time in Toronto which was her home while growing up, she reminiscence her childhood, her constant travel from place to place with her entomologist dad and her friends Grace, Cordelia and Carol. Her relationship with her three girlfriends was tumultuous, full of secrets with plenty of childhood dilemma. Atwood alternates between Elaines past and present. Her relationship with her brother was delightful to read.

Its hard to sum up the book as it sorts of flows and is actually a story of Elaine's travel through her memory. It doesn't move too fast and at the same time does not drag on. The author has a wonderful way with words, and its gives so much pleasure to the reader. She does use a lot of adjectives and my I loved it. Though she has the tendency to end sentences abruptly or put lots of short phrases and repeated sentences I did not really mind as each character, each scene came to life with her vivid description. It also brought to life a time long gone, a generation of people and their simple way of life long diminished from the  current world. 

The only problem I had with this book is Elaines preoccupation with her friend Cordelia. I did not really understand why she lingered most on the memories of cordelia. why she misses her much. I did not warm up to Cordelia's character.

I read this book continuously and when I was not reading, I was thinking about the characters and the story. Overall I really enjoyed it and would recommend it for those who love biography like fiction with beautiful prose.

Favourite quotes

~The sun sets in long, chilly, lingering sunset, flamingo pink, then salmon, then the improbable vibrant red of Mercurochrome.~

~We are silent, considering shortfalls. There's not much time left, for us to become what we once intended. Jon had potential, but its not a word that can used comfortable any longer. Potential has shelf life.~

~He has a look of amazing brilliance, as if at any minute his head will light up and become transparent, disclosing a huge brightly coloured brain inside.~

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (Freebie week)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted.  Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to us on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers' lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

This week 10 July : Freebie week (Any topic)

My pick: Favourite authors of mine 

1. Khaled Hosseini - Amazing storyteller. I loved The kite runner. It was such a heartbreaking story and the writer did a great job in bringing alive the pre-war Aghanistan. 

2. Carlos Ruiz Zafon - The shadow of the wind (need I say more). This book is a masterpiece and the writing, the story was just out of the world.

3. John Grisham - I've read three of his books. My favourite would be The rainmaker. Grisham's legal thrillers are a feast for the mind and I especially enjoy his dry sense of humor.

4. Margaret Atwood - I've only read the Cat's eye and I enjoyed it. I'll be reading more books by her.

5. Garth Stein - The art of racing in the rain (Unforgettable story and lovely book cover).

6. J.K Rowling - How could I have forgotten. The best in fantasy fiction. Nothing beats Harry Potter series, they are simply enchanting.

7. Dan Brown - Amazing thrillers (The Da Vinci code, Angels and Demon)

8. Thrity Umrigar - The weight of heaven

9. Michelle Moran - The first historical fiction that left me wondering how could I missed reading books as fantastic as this sooner.

10. Wendy Nelson Tokunaga - Midori at moonlight. Amazing writer, with witty and amusing and heartwarming story. I hope to read more from her.

There are more fab authors but I'll do a separate post on this topic alone sometime soon. Enjoy your Tuesday.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Book blogger hop : 6 July- 13 July 2012

Book Blogger Hop
Welcome to another week of book hop. This great weekly event is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books. This weeks's question is:

If you could be a character from any book, who would you be?

Well, this is a tough one. I'm thinking back to all my favourite books. Instead of just one character, I want to list a few that I would pretend to be, just for fun.

1. Little prince (The little prince)- He is  adorable and wise. He could dish out the most amazing nuggets of wisdom. If I were him, I  could just fly to any planet of my choice, observe the planet dwellers, befriend weird creatures like that arrogant rose he keeps covered. Wouldn't that be great?

2. Mary Baker (Secret garden) - I love the little girl who brought to life an abandoned garden. I loved Mary's tenacity and her relationship with Colin her sickly cousin. I love gardening and this enchanting story and character has always remained close in my heart.

3. Enzo (the dog, The art of racing in the rain) - I know its a little weird to be a dog. But enzo is no simple dog. He has a mind of his own and boy he can charm any heart. I loved his loyalty, his quirkiness and his influence in his owner's life. A dog who loves F1 racing, you bet id love to be him.

4. Daniel Sempere (The shadow of the wind) - I would love to be given the trust of discovering the secret hidden tomb of library. Its just so delicious to think of discovering a hidden book, a book much sought after and a book that somebody would kill to have. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday post


Hi there,

Its been a great weekend and I'm satisfied with how I spent my time. I'm a bit slow on writing up my reviews these days. Currently I'm reading The Postmistress by Sarah Blake and recently have finished reading Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye. Reviews are pending and I hope I can roll them out soon. 

Meanwhile, I've been contemplating on writing and writing styles. I've been dreaming of being a writer and pulling off the most brilliant fiction that would ever emerge in the shelves. Dreams aside I've been thinking of  just putting my pen on a empty sheet and just scratch away and see where it goes.  

If you were to write a fiction, what genre would it be and how would your writing style be, to the point, sharp and blunt or lyrical and beautifully worded? Which author's writing style would influence you the most? I believe the books we read would undoubtedly influence us without us realizing it. I also believe the ability to hold one's attention lies in the very first sentence. Though its not the case all the time, I find myself catching my breath and really looking forward to know what happens next when the first sentence hooks me in.

Do you believe that writing fiction requires a strong background in literature and writing as I noticed that the most acclaimed authors are mostly writers in profession. 

As I read Margaret Atwood's book, I realized how beautifully worded the prose was and when I was reading the Shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, I was moved by the beauty of the prose, the lyrical way the story went forward. I love beautiful wordplay, strong characters and medium fast paced stories. I would love to be able to connect to the protagonist and move along with him/her as the story unfolds.

Thus, if I were to write, mine would be contemporary fiction (literary fiction is too high end for me). I would love to be able to write in that fluid, flowing style of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, with a strong wordplay like Margaret Atwood and a heart warming story that sticks in your heart like The kite runner. I love to combine and alternate the story from past to present as that requires a lot of careful planning and skillful wordplay to keep readers in track.

I would love to hear from all of you on what you think and how would your fiction look like. Comment away dear booklovers.

    Cheers and happy Sunday !!