books read in jun 2010 @ home, pune
The Archivist by Martha Cooley
"An insightful look at the psyche of an institutionalized woman, her husband and her family, interspersed with beautiful poetry, jazz and bossa nova.
Mathias, a Christian, gets his Jewish wife committed to a mental asylum soon after the end of WWII. Judith commits suicide while in the asylum, and leaves behind a journal. The book looks at how various characters deal with their grief, guilt and fears, and find a way to go on."
Riot by Shashi Tharoor
"A broad look at the hows and whys of communal strife in the behemoth that is India, this book is as relevant today as when it was first published in 2001, a few after the Babri Masjid demolition. A fictional account of a Hindu-Muslim riot in a small town in India, this book is largely based on facts, containing stories within stories - of a bereaved Sikh grandfather who never loses courage, of a lonely educated IAS officer who fights with himself to retain his integrity, a Muslim woman who discovers the courage that comes from utter desperation, an American woman who comes to India to work for a social cause she believes in, a Hindu fundamentalist who acts on his convictions.
In today's India, with its aggressive Hindutva, its divisive politics and its legacy of horrors committed in the name of religion, Tharoor maintains an impartial and non-judgemental attitude in his writing. This is a splendid book, and the author is now on my to-read list."
Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie (e-book)
Started out as a fun chic lit… and then rapidly degenerated into a mill & boons type romance.
Devices and Desires by P D James
Really good, in fact much better than most of the other Adam Dalgliesh mysteries. Most of the characters come to life and catch hold of the reader's emotion and imagination.
The Proposition by Judith Ivory (e-book)
What at first glance promised to be a gender reversal of Shaw's Pygmalion, turns out to be an insipid magical happy ending Regency romance. A lady professor of phoenetics catches hold of a professional rat catcher and turns him into a cardboard ""gentleman"", then proceeds to fall in love with him. And the happy ending was clearly written more for the convenience of the writer than for the entertainment of the reader. Not a book I'd ever want to read again."
The Alchemy Of Murder by Carol McCleary
Another good whodunnit. Old Paris comes alive in McCleary's writing. The intrepid lady investigative journalist gets a bit monotonous at times, but this is a good mystery novel nonetheless. And no, I didn't guess who the murderer was.
Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World by Louis de Bernieres
Lovely! Adorable! Horridly short. Just 50 pages or so. But I fell in love with all the characters, and actually felt homesick for the neighbourhood.
The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver
Definitely not one of Deaver's best. True, there are twists in the tale. But the tale itself is very very monotonous most of the time. I mean, the leading characters spend almost the entire novel chasing each other in a forest, with guns. Way too long for a chase-catch-and-kill sequence, Deaver!
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (librarywala.com)
My second Picoult novel. And I really loved this one. Could actually feel a lot of sympathy for all the characters. And since the novel is in the form of chapters in the voice of all the main characters, it never gets monotonous.