#WhatIRead: Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha is an unforgettable read that transports you to Japanese life during the second World War and offers a glimpse into the enigma that are the Geisha

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Hello Folks!

If you’re a loyal reader, I wish you a hearty morning and hope your soul feels nourished like never before!

If you’ve come to this page for the first time, I certainly hope I’m interesting enough for you to keep returning! What can I say, one man’s catharsis can be another man’s entertainment? At least that’s what’s been driving me all these posts!

Today’s section of #WhatIRead focuses on Memoirs of a Geisha. This book was on my list for the longest time but I’d never gotten around reading it because all the paperbacks I found had really tiny font and you know how annoying it is… There’s two things I can’t stand in a book, tiny illegible font and those horrible pirated copies, which seem like fake paper. I’m not as staunchly against piracy though because I believe ebooks have revolutionised the game and fortunately, a lot of then are available for free! If you want to know where I do my free ebook reading, feel free to drop a msg. Always glad to have another member in the reading club 🙂

Memoirs of a Geisha had me stumped! I expected it to be a drab retelling of what the Geisha are given that it’s been penned by a man, Arthur Golden. (No bias against men writers but I just didn’t think they’d do so much justice to a female protagonist’s voice). I wasn’t prepared for a disturbing and thought provoking marathon that this book offers.

It started off splendidly – the deprecated and desolate tipsy hut overlooking a cliff, a tiny pond, Chiyo San’s overtly optimistic thoughts and her description of her parents… There was so much innocence there and then the story became progressively darker…

I won’t mince my words.. The journey takes you from curiosity, to disgust to desolation, and finally leaves you feeling sympathetic and helpless… And you’ll be hooked to it as a moth takes to flame… A definite page turner!

In the middle of the narrative, I got so involved that I had to know more.. Was it a real story? Who are these women? Are their lives really as intriguing as its been painted, or is it much worse!? I looked up tonnes of information and came to the conclusion that the fiction must be based on a majority of real life events and happenings, although the former Geisha who was interviewed declined a lot of things and even went on to sue the author. (Here’s a link if you’re curious about the lady in question: Mineko Iwasakiwhose life forms a large part of this book)

Did I mention that on the days when my eyes were too strained to read (given that work involves a whole lot of laptop screen staring), I found a YouTube play list of a fan curated audio book. That served the purpose too, and I absolutely adored the orator’s voice.

Without further ado, get on your reading glasses and dig into this soul stirring narrative!

Happy reading guys.

🙂

#WhatImReading: The Time Traveler’s Wife

This book has been on my wishlist for a really long time but somehow I’d never gotten the opportunity to read it. After finishing two intense books, Sister of My Heart and American Gods, I started the ebook version of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Reading this makes one fall in love with being in love. How can you not? It’s so simple an emotion and so entwined with life that maybe it’s easy to miss but you have to remember, it’s there!

I absolutely love how the plot weaves in and out of different time zones. And Henry? Oh well. If I had to put him up there in the list of fictional people I’ve fallen in love with, he’s right beside Taariq and Sirius. It doesn’t help that Henry is a librarian! If I had to redo my life again, might I not choose to be the purveyor, peruser and protector of books!?

I was inspired by my friend Nat, who I think keeps going back to The Time Traveler’s Wife, to pick this up and give it a read. I’ve still not finished with it. It’s a paradox. I want to read and I want it to never end…

I love how little Clare and big Henry meet. I Love the romance in the little things which so often we take for granted. It’s funny that it takes an external factor to remind you that all the details are in the little things.

It’s weird how I cannot give you a review of this book and I can just tell you to enjoy the feeling that it leaves you with. So few books have this power of making everything seem pleasant.

If you’re in love and need a reminder of those happy carefree moments, pick this up. If you’ve never been in love, pick this up to know it’s never ever too late. For Whatever it’s worth, need a good book to unwind? Pick this up already!

#WhatIRead – The Sialkot Saga

Hi Folks,

Wish you all a happy Wednesday morning. Isn’t it sublime to know that you’re in the mid of another week and you can almost sniff the excitement of the weekend? Well, I’ve reached my workspace pretty early today thanks to the opposition’s call for a nation-wide Bandh. Man, I used to love being in school for all these unpredictable holidays… Anyway, it’s not too bad being grown up, you can get used to getting your salary. The trouble only strikes when you start evaluating your goals vs your money, and then shit gets real! 

I digress.

Here’s what you came for! 

So I recently finished Ashwin Sanghi’s ‘The Sialkot Saga’, and I couldn’t quite make up my mind over it. I definitely liked the read but there were plenty of loopholes so I’ll just treat it like a dose of Bollywood entertainment. 

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a. The name has barely anything to do with what transpires in the book… And the cover is definitely a giveaway of sorts if you know what I mean! (wink wink)

b. I have always looked at Ashwin Sanghi as The Indian Dan Brown but after reading this particular novel, I’m inclined to also refer to him as The Indian Jeffrey Archer. Need I say more? I bet you’ve already guessed the plotline!

c. I quite liked how he’s tried to sketch over the characters of the protagonist. It was a real page-turner, I won’t deny that but there was something missing – like a good soul. 

d. I absolutely loved how the author integrated almost ALL important events that occurred in Indian History post Independence. You’ll read about the political scenario of India right from Nehru’s times to the chaos of the Gandhi era, to Vajpayee’s unsuccessful stints. It’s not just politics, owing to the economic interests of a certain protagonist, there’s a whole lot of connection to India’s foreign policies, trade unions, et al.

e. It’s also interesting to note that the major terrorist attacks that happened have found mention in the book in one way or another. You’ve got to give the credits to the author, in between weaving from the past and the present, he’s certainly tried his best to keep the plot as real as possible. 

Final Verdict?

To be honest, you aren’t missing out much if you give this a skip but if you’re remotely interested in Indian history and politics, then it’s a good refresher and you may even spot out some erroneous gaps in the timeline! That said, every book deserves its due. So, pick up this, or pick up that, and stick to it! You’ll always be better off after reading! 

So long, then!

Adios, and Happy Reading! 🙂

#WhatIRead – The House That BJ Built

Anuja Chauhan’s sequel to ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ reemphasizes the same thing through the entirety of this book:

‘I won’t sell. My jhuti won’t sell. Even my Ghosht won’t sell ‘.

Now you know exactly what the story is about – a love story set in the backdrop of an ancient house that’s got a complicated history. Throw in a handsome hunk with Bollywood connections complete with the hot bod and aqualine nose(My assumption of Chauhan’s nose fetish is confirmed for sure!), a righteous but arrogant voluptuous protagonist who keeps chamchamming her way through the storyline, and 4 annoying af cows, er, I mean aunts.

Bonita Singh ‘s name has many synonyms to upp the entertainment quotient. Bonus.. Bonu..Boner.. You see where it’s going?

It’s a fun read given some trademark Chauhan’s Hinglish, her ability to provide offbeat humour, some incredulous Bollywood-like Tamasha, and well-placed mush. (We’re sucklers for old school romance, aren’t we?)

The ending becomes somewhat of a drag and you can think of so many alternate scenarios that could have finished the plot a few pages early.

Nevertheless, if you’re in the mood for a light and entertaining read, do pick up this one and guffaw your way through it! 😂

The Class

I just finished with Erich Segal’s award winnings and popular book – The Class. As with any of Segal’s works, I expected there to be situational conflicts with the protagonist and yet a whole lot of TLC. I wasn’t disappointed but I must say, I expected more.

After having read only 2 other books by Segal, I must admit that what he does is rather smart. There’s not 1 but 5 whole protagonists who share page space in this novel, and once you wait for your readers to be invested in each one’s story, that’s a brilliant way to keep the pages turning!

However, Segal’s characters fail to connect with you emotionally unlike in Doctors. Here, you just passively read the exploits of the different (un) heroes and exalt at their victories or admonish them for infidelities.

Read ‘The Class’ if you want to know more about life behind the wrought iron gates of Harvard.

One of the best lines came about during the end when Segal talks about how all the boys of batch 1954 entered Harvard as rivals and now, for their 25th class reunion, there’s a solidarity that transcends trivial emotions like enmity – Indeed life doesn’t spare even the supposedly most successful ones from its throes.

So long, Happy Reading!

Pride and Prejudice

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife”. 

The beginning of Jane Austen’s novel could not have been established on a more superior note. It was the succinct combination of the style that would follow in the pages thereafter. With expressions so apt, and emotions so detailed, it’s amazing how Austen portrayed the nuances of the time peppered with mild sarcasm and a general tinge of enjoyment.

After having re-read the book many a times, I resorted to listening to the audio book this time around. On one of those days when I give in to the inner child in me and resort to coloring mandalas to feel soothed and calm, I decided to listen to Karen Savage’s rendition of Pride and Prejudice. Whether it’s Mr Collins’ adulatory voice or Mrs Bennet’s high-pitched, dramatic expressions, Savage has done an admirable job with this one.

Despite knowing the story line and the dialogues in some scenes, I couldn’t help feeling awed at this piece of literary genius. I thought myself to be addicted when I couldn’t help myself to another chapter, even when it would be pretty late and I had to doze.  If you’re a fan of books and are looking to start something new, I would recommend this audio book to you so that you may be as fortunate as myself and sing glorious praise of it thence.

P.S The only cons I can think of after you having listened to the audio book is that you may be tempted, like me, to write in a slightly archaic manner and leave your readers puzzled.

Happy listening, folks!

🙂