What I Regret Reading – After By Anna Todd

I’ve mentioned my fabulous app – the one for free, easy-to-read phone ebook app, haven’t I? So when I looked for something new, I was suggested Anna Todd’s ‘After’.

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I generally do not like reading the blurb-y synopsis behind novels, so I dived straight through. What can I say? It was the most wasteful 7 hours of my day, ever! I kept the pages turning because it wasn’t so hard on the eyes, but I think a few grey cells really died among those pages.

When I had to describe this book to my friend I called it a ‘Crossover between Twilight without the vampires, and Fifty shades minus the BDSM’.

Where do I start with what was wrong with this book? I may just have to alter the question to – What was even right in this tragic waste of words?!

Let me still give it a shot while I have some sanity left, eh?

The underlying theme is obviously one of a cliché – The good girl with everything working for her including good grades, a scholarship college admission, and a boy friend, who meets tattooed and pierced quintessential bad boy, and immediately they have the hots for each other though that is disguised as – yes, you guessed it hatred – an evident dislike for each other, which intensifies to sexual attraction in the most weird ways.

I don’t know how dumb the author must be and how stupid the readers for this book to have a series in itself! Besides the cesspit of toxicity that is immature attempts at relationships, underage drinking at frat houses, snobbish kids playing truth and dare, and ****ing around with every person in sight simply because you can , there really isn’t much else

Let’s just get into a few instances of melodrama. What say?

  • The kid with straight A-s joins a college which is about 3 hours from home, and of course, she needs to have a controlling Mom who insists on staying away from her daughter’s tattooed, goth-like roommate. Now I for one understand that that’s how Moms react. When I first met my Guitar Bud who went on to become among my favorite people on this planet, I could see the chagrin on my Mom’s face. Which tattooed guy has ever impressed mothers!? But our lovely lady here not only blows her mother’s concern off every instance but literally breaks ties with her to live with our cranky teenage throb who has serious need rehab level of issues.
  • Our Protagonist initially does not want to go to parties or drink alcohol. Cause good girls don’t do that! Needless to say, she does precisely that! Not once, twice, or thrice, but holy mother of God – every single time, even when she’s not invited !! And of course – she gets drunk, does the whole damsel in distress act and she’s rescued by Mr. Darcy himself – clearly no points for guessing!
  • Every story needs a friend zoned best friend – so we have the best boy to fit this typecast role, and of course, he happens to be the stepbrother of our (anti)hero. 
  • You have your usual sparks flying, can’t keep my hands to myself act, and have to keep making out in the most random places. Yes, we get it. But to show just how volatile this relationship is, the pair keeps having combustible arguments every 7th page – not kidding. (Okay, maintaining track on ebook pages is slightly tricky, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true!)
  • They are so horribly wrong for each other – they can see it. But it’s just misguided loyalties, hormonal imbalance, and sheer dumbness that have them coming at each other.
  • If you’re reading this book, or even glancing at it, which I took to doing when I realized it was too much crap, you can’t help but realize the value of good old Mills & Boons, Danielle Steele or Sandra Brown – Dear god, how could you ever despise these women! At least they had a tale to tell, and not fill pages with incoherent random words as fillers while the protagonists are actually doing is grind against each other.
  • The author’s language is just cringeworthy. Period.
  • And did I mention the name of this confused, ridiculous specimen of a boy? Hardin! Yeah, exactly. What’s a better name for a novel that’s just high on sex, and nothing but sex! It’s clear the author isn’t fooling anyone. It’s a trashy read through and through and will have you pulling your hair on frustration or make you want to slap the characters terribly. 

After enduring everything, your heart may actually collapse when you get to know this tragedy is only the first in the five-part book series of After!

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. HOW!?

INDEED, SOME GOODBYES ARE THE SWEETEST!

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Of Pop Culture Books & Series

Has it ever happened to you that at some phase of life, you felt that your thoughts and actions were mirrored by the universe, manifested outwardly as a book or a TV Show, a song that takes on a real-deep meaning for you, or even a commercial blockbuster movie that strangely resonates so much with you!?

I found this happening to me often with the books that I read while growing up. I am a firm believer that you are what you read. If that is truly the case – I’m one part fantasy, one part crime, a little bit of romance, and some amount of adventure. I am however only fiction, thank you, but definitely have the ability to create non fiction.

Looking back to the correlation between life and books, on the days that I craved some adventure and friendship, there were Enid Blyton’s various books to turn to – whether it was The Secret Seven, Malory Towers, Famous Five, or Five Find-Outers, she really helped widen our imagination as kids and made us crave for the joyous freedom that her characters experienced.

It’s no surprise that JK Rowling’s Potter Saga appeals so much to the pre-teens – it’s got everything that a teen can relate to. Whether it’s about fitting in with the world, criticized for being different, finding and holding on to best friends at school or developing crushes, feeling rebellious, name the emotion and she had it all. I know some of us wished for a bit more romance to add to the sparks but our author knew just how much was too much. Is it weird that I’m counting days for more Potter Mania to resurface thanks to the Fantastic Beasts 2!?

For those of us who were lured by the mysterious and weird stuff, the Twilight Series was a Godsend. I now agree that reading it was utter Trash, but it set our hearts racing alright! I was always Team Edward but for some incidents that made me really sad for Team Jacob and I never looked at Twilight the same way again. Despite all those internal conflicts, I finished the series, even read the leaked chapters of Midnight Sun and I wanted more. That was the age for Drama.

After a while, I caught on to Grey’s Anatomy. My normal Engineering Life was so boring and yet at the same time so much happened that I often kept comparing life’s crappy quotient to the doctors’ drama unfolding on the TV. First, they killed George, then Danny, then Mc Steamy, the cute sister, and Arizona’s legs were chopped off. I still continued hoping that somewhere things would be alright. I gave up on Grey’s Anatomy after Christina Yang left and Mc Dreamy was killed and oh so brutally! Goddamit! Thinking about it still makes my blood boil.

I discovered a lot of Indian author books around this time – Preeti Shenoy, Durjoy Datta, Ravinder Singh, etc. While the quality of language didn’t impress me much, the stories were poignant, slice-of-life stuff that could happen to anyone. Perhaps that’s what made it endearing and abominable at the same time.

A chance reading of Ladies Coupe made me so sad for womanhood in India that I instantly started respecting women around me at least a little better.

There is one dog-eared copy of Mills & Boons that belonged to my Aunt, that I have preserved safely for it became the benchmark of love and respect for me. A story set on a cruise ship between a 22-year old smart and grounded  girl, who takes her first trip abroad and the stern yet reliable captain of 35 years taught me that it wasn’t about money, age, or physique, although those things definitely spice it up. Events in life have also taught me discreetly that a lot of what you think love is, is really nothing but the admiration and respect you feel for people. Sure, your potential friends could still be waltzing in and out of your life, confusing you and enticing you while you look for your Ms/Mr Right on matrimonial sites but I understand now how companionship can work – it’s about whether upon meeting, you both match the same intellectual frequency and have similar emotional needs or are you vying for bigger egos and has/has-nots!?

Coming back to pop culture influences  – it was only after I started my post graduation that I could, in the confines of my room, and with my first-ever laptop really watch FRIENDS and understand the emotions behind the characters and dialogues. You see, it was only there that I understood and appreciated the friends that I’d had and made for life.

There was also a phase where Sex And The City made the biggest impact on me. I just loved how much liberty these women enjoyed and what they really thought of relationships because you have got to admit it, things on the Indian dating scene are not as they were in our parents generation. Watching Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte make crappy decisions, break up with the baddies, and continue to wait for Mr Right, while all the time working on themselves and waltzing through professional life – that heady rush and motivation is just what you need sometimes!

Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, The Middle, SATC, The Mindy Project are just a few series that I can recall currently that made it a relatable treat to watch. For now, I’m taking a break from the popular stuff and bingeing on Sharp Objects / Strike / How To Get Away With Murder. I’m not planning a homicide, don’t get me wrong, I’m just waiting for a good breeze to blow my way, as it often does before I can pick up on something as good and understand the message behind. Until then, so long!

Serene Sights…

As I sit across my balcony and try to work on my laptop, I cannot help diverting my attention from the screen ahead to the screen far beyond. It’s a beautiful evening with the most bizarre clouds and the ascent of dusk holds a promise of a more beautiful twilight.

The colours in the sky are fading fast and every time I look into my screen, the colours change, making it harder for me to describe the beauty.

It’s honestly so satisfying to take in this view. I see students from other colleges buzz about their hostels, dressed in formals, folders in hand, out to reclaim their destinies, get packages that make you go Wow. Would they but stop and marvel at the wondrous sky they’s be amazed at the power it holds.

A series of lights stare at me from the distant horizon, some twinkling, some steady. They seem to tell me to calm down and live this moment. To take it in like a wandered with throat so parched, he appreciates even the solitary drop of water. I take it in.

I heed you. The seemingly infinite, which can be expressed not in words. I’m tempted to offer you a picture, but for that I’ll have to bend into the room and get my mobile, those precious moments away from the gala screen, I do not want to miss. So I shall hold you to your imagination – of serene hills, an impressing hostel, and the pretty lights that twinkle like tiny stars, beckoning with a sweet smile and a message – Swalllow, Breathe and Smile, And all will be well! 🙂