Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Dirty Girls Social Club- Alisa Valdes Rodriguez

Valdes-Rodriguez's debut novel delivers on the promise of its sexy title, offering six lively, irreverent characters: the sucias ("dirty girls" in Spanish), who have been friends since college and get together twice a year to catch up. The book opens at just such a meeting, six years after they've graduated from Boston University, and takes us through an eventful year in their late 20-something lives. This diverse group of women defies stereotypes. There's reserved, conservative Rebecca, founder and editor of a magazine for Latina women, whose marriage to a preppy, Marxist theory-spouting academic is on the rocks; Sara, a full-time mom in Brookline, from a rich Cuban-Jewish family and married to an abusive husband; Usnavys, ambitious and entertainingly materialistic, who's an executive with United Way; Amber, a struggling singer and guitarist; Elizabeth, host of a Boston morning TV show and a born-again Christian; and Lauren, a feisty, hard-drinking newspaper columnist, half Cuban and "half white trash." The book addresses serious questions-prejudice, the difficulty of winning respect from Latino men-but balances them with enough budding (and dying) romances and descriptions of clothing and decor to satisfy any chick lit fan.Th

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cujo – Stephen King

One of the heart-stopping horror novels of Stephen King, Cujo unveils a chain of tragic events when Cujo, the pet dog of Joe Campers had inflicted with rabies. As a mechanic, Joe Camper is leading a quiet life with his wife Charity and son Brett. Working in a small workshop annexed to his house, Joe Camper is respected in this small American town as a professional mechanic. Cujo is Brett’s best friend, they shared a deep friendship.

Vic Trenton is an advertising professional living with his wife and son. Vic’s professional life became problematic while he struggles to maintain a big account for his ad agency. Leading a life of a desperate house wife, Donna enters into an amorous relationship with a passionate local salesman turns poet.

When Donna’s car Pinto needs a mechanic, the Trenton family decided to meet Joe Camper. Brett and Tad, son of Vic Trenton befriended and they shared a deep love for Cujo. Meanwhile Cujo had afflicted with rabies from a bat while he roam around the open field and enter into a hole. Camper family doesn’t know the pathetic condition of Cujo. Cujo has begun his serial killing. When Charity and Brett decided to visit her sister, soon Joe Camper became the prey for Cujo.

While her workaholic husband were away for business, Donna takes her ailing Pinto to Joe Cambers' garage for repairs only to be trapped with her son Tad in the sweltering car by the monstrous dog.

Stephen King has never written a book in which readers will turn the pages with such a combination of anticipation and dire apprehension. Doing so, they will experience an absolute master at work

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Broker- John Grisham

Joel Beckman, a powerful financial broker jailed for six years who tried to sell a secret surveillance system to Pentagon, gets a sudden pardon unexpectedly. A top plan of CIA, the parting president, Morgan withdraws all charges against Beckman and hides the news from media. Half doubtfully and half cheerfully, Beckman received the offer and agreed to take the chance of freedom. Shipped to Italy, Beckman was forced to live in a fake identity and fake name as Marco. Meanwhile CIA makes plans to unveil the identity of Beckman to China, Saudi and Israel who are in a run after the surveillance system.

Primarily, the secret surveillance system was spotted by 3 young Karachi based Pakistan IT Professionals, after their initial wonder, they developed a software called JAM, to control the system, and they tried to sell JAM to Joel Beckman. Realizing the potential of the stuff, Beckman tried to sell the system to Pentagon and the effort was hijacked by CIA and Beckman was caught with the red hand and they put him in jail.

Living in an Italian town in a fake identity as Marco, Beckman was forced to learn the Italian Language as per the plan of CIA, while learning the language Beckman developed relationship with his female tutor and she helped to flee Beckman with the aid of her husband’s passport.

Reaching back Washington, with the help of his female tutor and son, Neal, Joel Beckman reestablish his firm with his intellectual moves…

The Broker ( 2005) is my first John Grisham novel.

The Music Room- Namita Devidayal

The Vodafone Crossword Popular Book Award-2007 winner Namita Devidayal’s The Music Room is an interesting novel. Written in an intimate tone and mood, the novel tries to portray the relationship of Guru and Shishya in its traditional Indian way.

By her mother’s interest Namita, a ten year old girl went to learn classic musical from Dhondutai, a respected singing teacher from Jaipur Gharana. As the only remaining student of the Alladiya Khan, the founder of the Jaipur Gharana, Dhondutai pass on her great gift to Namita and eventually little Namita turns to be a matured singer and she unearth the treasures of Indian Music with the help of Dhondutai. Travelling through the life of great musicians and their style, Namita understands the greatness Dhondutai, and the sublime spirit of music. More than a novel, The Music Room is an autobiographical account of the author itself.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Death in Holy Orders- P D James

Death in Holy Orders is a masterly exploration which distinguishes P.D. James as a novelist: the sensitive evocation of place, a complex and credible mystery, respect for forensic detail, and the tension of a plot that never flags. The story is set in an Anglican theological college on a desolate stretch of the East Anglian coast. When the body of one of the students is found on the shore, his wealthy father demands that Scotland Yard re-examine the verdict of accidental death. Dalgliesh has visited St Anselm's in his boyhood and, as he is due for a holiday, agrees to pay a visit .As the weekend brings another murder, Dalgliesh soon finds himself embroiled in one of the most horrific and puzzling cases of his career.

P D James is the author of 16 novels. Before her retirement in 1979, she served in the forensics and criminal justice departments of Great Britain’s Home Office, and she has been a magistrate and a governor of the BBC. The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. In 2000 she celebrated her eighteenth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to be in Earnest.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Short Cuts- Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver (1938-1988) is one of the most significant voices in Short Story in 20th century. He is also a poet. Short Cuts contain nine stories and one poem. Drifting between the jobs as hospital porter, a textbook editor, a dictionary sales man, a petrol station attendant and a delivery man, Raymond Carver took writing as a career for living. These vast experiences contributed a lot to his stories.

Short Cuts include some of Carver’s best and most “Carveresque stories.” “Neighbors” describes the kinky behavior of a couple supposedly taking care of an apartment while friends are away. In “So Much Water So Close to Home,” four men discover a murdered woman’s nude body in the river but do not report it until they have finished their three-day fishing trip. “A Small, Good Thing” concerns a boy fatally injured by a hit-and-run driver on the morning of his birthday.

“Lemonade” is a fairly typical Carver poem without rhyme, meter, or poetic rhetoric. It describes a father’s grief over the death of his son and is written in the author’s characteristic low-key, conversational manner, helplessly commiserating while conspicuously shunning the kinds of speculations and epiphanies contained in such elegies as John Milton’s “Lycidas” (1637), Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Adonais” (1821), and Alfred Tennyson’s “In Memoriam” (1850).

Based on this collection Robert Altman has made a beautiful film named as Short Cuts, which acquired a cult status

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Godfather- Mario Puzo

A source book of Italian Mafia and its ruthless family owned illegal businesses; The Godfather traces the family history of Don Corleone, the Godfather and his heirs to the throne. Settled in the conflicting period of 40s and 50s, novel begins with the wedding of Connie Corloene, much pampered daughter of the Don, the wedding turns to be a mega event with the presence of Italian Mafia families, who operates in Newyork. Apart from the olive oil business, Don Corleone runs the Gambling business in Newyork. Enjoying a reputation of the most powerful mafia don of the city, Don Corleone achieved this position with the help of his strong henchmen Clemenza and Tisso and the help of powerful bribed politicians in the city.

With the entrance of Sollozzo to seek Don’s help in narcotic business, gradually the quiet scenes of the underworld life changes into a bloody battle between the five families in the city. Sollozzo shoots Don, and thus begins a mob violence in the circle. Sonny, the first son of the Don, took charge of the office and his unreasonable acts of attacks spread the unrest into the entire mafia system. Mickele the second son of the Don kills his father's enemies, Sollozzo and captain and he flees to Italy. Meanwhile Sonny gets killed and Don Corelone returns to his apartment after a long period of stay in the hospital.

After Sonny's death the Corelone family loses t its powers and the other families captures the power of Corelons. Mickele returns from Italy and restore the powers of Corelones and he becomes terrific after the death of Don, Corelone, the Godfather.

Mario Puzo is an Italian-American Author.This book was adapted into a cinema by Francis Ford Coppola and it won many Oscars and is a nominal film in the history.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Spice Route- John Keay

Through tracing the trade route of the spices, John Keay wrote a new history about the ancient world. Spices have played a prominent role in the construction of the modern world, without any healthy quotient spices attract world’s first explorers and travelers.

The resulting volume, culled from historical commentaries and records, is a colorful and detailed portrait of the astonishing impact man's love for flavor had on the earliest stages of globalization. The route by which Keay's narrative travels is seasoned with facts and anecdotes, ranging from ancient historians' fantastic reports of men with "pendulous upper lips" and the heads of dogs-or none at all-to the Muslim invasion of India and the Islamification of Malaysia.

There is a surprising mythology surrounding the spice trade, and Keay does this angle ample justice, citing figures such as Marco Polo, Ibn Batuta and Roman playwright Plautus. Although Keay ends his book with the grim conclusion that the forces of globalization are to blame for the demystification and downfall of "spice," the work itself is nothing short of zesty.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Girl with a Pearl Earring-Tracy Chevalier

Inspired from the renowned painting of Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier wrote a beautiful novel, which comes under the same title. Vermeer is a 17 th century Dutch Baroque style painter, who lived and worked in Delft, a canal town in Holland.

Griet, a 16 year old girl was appointed by the renowned painter, Vermeer, to do domestic chores and clean his studio. Coming from a poor family surrounding, Griet was forced to take the hard job and eventually she became the second maid in the house. Apart from cleaning, washing and thousand other domestic duties, she has to run for the fish, meat stalls and fetch water from the nearby canal.

Amidst in the hectic household work, Griet showed a growing interest in Vermeer’s paintings, the painter realizes the talent of Griet, and he made her as a model for his painting titled as Girl With a Pearl Earring. This shocked the wife of the painter and thus began new problems in the household. Meanwhile Griet developed a romance with Peter, a young butcher in the market. Griet was forced to stay aloof from the house and later she married Peter out of her indebtness to him in many ways. . After a decade she heard that her former master died and family fell into the depths of soaring debts. And a few days later her former mistress called and gave her the pearl earrings as per the instruction in the painter’s will. The most touching in the novel would be the stage where, Griet sells the precious pearl earring to pay off all emotions towards Peter and to free herself completely from any worldly debt

Girl with a Pearl Earring, won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award. Nearly 4 million copies of the book has been worldwide and made into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Nobel Prize Winning ( 2006), Turkish Writer Orhan Pamuk’s new novel The Museum of Innocence is a riveting story of love, longing and anguish. Set in the life of Istanbul elites, the story revolves around the love life of Kemal Bey, an elite class business man and Fusun, a village beauty. Span from 1975-2008, the novel traces everyday banalities of life in Istanbul society and the history in general.

Kemal Bey is engaged to Sibel, one of the wealthy, eligible young ladies of Istanbul high society. While the preparations for engagement were progressing, Kemal Bey fell into an amorous relationship with Fusun, his distant relative. Engagement breaks and Kemal’s love for Fusun had no bounds now. Shockingly before their love blossoms Kemal loses Fusun in the alleys of the city. After a long period and a long search in the cobble stone alleys of Istanbul, Kemal at last finds the house of Fusun. But by this Fusun had been married to Feridun, a would be film maker and scriptwriter, still Kemal frequented the house, with the hope of Fusun accepting his love. At last, Fusun get divorced with Feridun and after the incessant visit of 8 years to the house, Fusun joined with Kemal. But fate hit Kemal in a different way, in a drunken mood , Fusun drives the car to kill herself, from then Kemal gets lost in her thoughts and start to collect her things and start to build a museum to remember her. One of his visits to world museums, Kemal dies with heart attack.

The 531 page novel is absolutely a beautiful read. Published by Faber & Faber.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Hundred and One Days, a Baghdad Journal- Asne Seiesrstad

After the success of The Bookseller of Kabul, Asne Seierstad, Norwegian Journalist wrote a terrific wartime account of last decade’s famous battle ground, Baghdad. A Hundred and One Days, a Baghdad Journal told the story of the doomsday of Baghdad.

In January 2003 ├ůsne Seierstad entered Baghdad on a ten-day visa. Through bribery, pleading and begging she stayed for over three months, reporting on the war and its aftermath.

A Hundred and One Days is her account of life in Baghdad in the lead up to, during and aftermath of the American invasion. As a journalist Seierstad is used to reporting in a factual manner and through A Hundred and One Days she allows us a glimpse of what life for the locals was like during those terrifying months.

In the lead up to the war Seierstad found it nearly impossible to find anyone to talk to. Everyone was terrified of Saddam's regime and repeated a political spiel as if they were brainwashed. Seierstad did not give up though, and slowly but surely how the Iraqi people really felt about their illustrious leader began to emerge.

Through the assistance of a local interpreter Aliya, Seirestad gradually pieced together exactly what life was like in Baghdad during Saddam's reign. Although given the opportunity to leave before the American bombs began falling Seierstad chose to stay and continue to report on the city under siege.

Through her writing Seierstad brings us images of children mutilated by bombs, houses reduced to rubble, a children's graveyard where no markers are used, men who were victims of torture without fingernails - the list goes on.

Having read The Bookseller of Kabul and loved it I was looking forward to A Hundred and One Days and I was not disappointed. Seierstad's writing draws the reader in and allows you a firsthand glimpse of life in another country. Not the version we see on television, but how the real people live and cope.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On Reading

For most of our history, reading has been done by just a few specialists, and aloud. In the fifth century, Saint Augustine was famously perplexed by the weird habits of Saint Ambrose: "When he read, his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still. Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud."