Indian-Mythology based fiction spree

Despite all my vehement claims about how I am not a Hindu (and I maintain these claims) I have a penchant for Hindu mythology, and fiction based on Hindu mythology. Whatever it may or may not be, Hindu mythology is rich and varied with fascinating characters. I read them for the sake of simply reading them and not as a moralistic exercise.

Recently, I got into one of THOSE moods and I read two of these books.

The first one was called Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divikaruni which was the Mahabharata from the perspective of the female leading character, Draupadi. It is strangely feminist, arresting and un-put-down-able. It leaves one teary-eyed often and a gives a new way of looking at the “heroes” of the war. It paints a very real picture of the status of women in India and brings to the forefront, the forgotten half of the population of the glorious past painted in the myths. It manages to offer a kind perspective, however, and most of the faults of all the characters get forgiven, at least by the reader. It’s a good read if you’re interested in this kind of thing.

The second book I read was called The Pregnant King(No, it’s not a typo) by Dr. Devdutt Patnaik, which is a refreshingly liberal piece of work that focuses on a discussion about the ones in between blurring society’s clearly set out ideas of not just what is right and wrong, but also what should be exist and what should not. The idea sought to be conveyed is that society’s perceptions of right and wrong may be necessary but they are not the whole truth and it is never wrong, and indeed commendable not to judge anyone and open your heart, forgive and accept. It was again arresting, and I loved it.

These books also reminded me of a couple of other books I had read in February, bang in the middle of the months that weren’t(February to April) and had totally forgotten about. These were the first two books of the Shiva trilogy, The Immortals of Meluha and the Secret of the Nagas. They were quick, enjoyable reads, made accessible by the very fact that they didn’t subscribe to the classical idea of divinity. I am looking forward to the next book, due to release this year.

I’m not sure what to take up next. Any thoughts? Maybe? Please?

-sets bottle afloat-

The Late Hector Kipling

This book is ridiculous. I mean, I zipped through it in 3 and a half hours-lickety split and now it’s proving impossible to simply write a review about it! What do you say about a book like this? That I hate how much I loved it?

It was a brilliantly written book, but terrifying. Terrifyingly real characters in a slightly surreal story.  Gripping, though. And he made me believe it. He made me believe it could well happen to me.  David Thewlis must have gone half-insane being Hector Kipling. Well, so did I.

It deals to a large extent with the theme of death. It revolves around death, you could say. You know you’ve encountered real talent when an author can depict death as three-dimensional and larger than life. It’s a tragic terrible experience but the author shows us the reality of how it isn’t just that, how it’s so much more. He shows us how illnesses and death affect “others”, the ones who aren’t affected but in reality are the most affected.

It scared me and creeped me out and made me want to shriek. What’s not to love?

                                                                                                       

To Want Music

I hate legal writing. Why does there have to be so much research? Why do there need to be FOOTNOTES? Why do I have to sound important and mature and not colloquial when I’m none of those things? WHY? I’ve gotten into this habit while writing essays of not writing them until the last minute, citing inspiration as an excuse. Of course, the only inspiration I really get closer to the deadline is the deadline itself. Yet, I cannot write until the deadline is close.

This works for college, of course, but I’m doing an internship and I have to make a presentation and give a long reference handout to all my presentees and I’ve made the presentation and done adequate research to begin the handout which has to be at least 10 pages long. And I cannot bring myself to go beyond the first three pages; probably because it’s only due Monday, a whole week from today.

However, this isn’t working. I have to sit at this desk for the next four and a half hours, the way I have been doing for the past two hours and do nothing except furtively hunt for websites that are deceptively plain and glean as much entertainment out of them as possible.

I’m just sitting here and wondering how to simultaneously fix this little procrastination problem as well as my boredom. I came across this post about music while writing and I have to admit, that’s worked for me in the past. (http://wantoncreation.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/do-you-listen-to-music-while-writing/)I have my iPod with me but I don’t know the etiquette of law firms and don’t know if it’s okay for an intern to plug in and cut out the world when I’m actually supposed to be jumping at the beck and call of the lawyers. Have you noticed how rules and etiquette and decorum and all those things often reduce productivity? I’m angry now. I want my music.

Four more hours… God help me.

A Favourite Post

Disclaimer: This post is entirely written by a different author. However, I agree with her completely and can’t put it any better. So here you go. The link. Trust me. Click through. And never come back here because she’s far better. 😀 http://greenpawpaw.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/what-book-muggles-need-to-understand/

If my unsupported testimony is insufficient, the title of the post is What Book Muggles Need to Understand. Intrigued? Go go go! 

Cheers. 

Profession of Faith and Shameful Confessions

Reading is my religion. It’s true. I’m absolutely devoted to it, it’s on my mind all the time, and I have a fanatic hatred of all other religions and an equally fanatic need to convert all non-readers. You see?

However, after the past three months, I’m going to go to reader hell.  I’m a terrible blogger, always have been. I’ve begun and abandoned countless blogs without any sense of shame whatsoever. What shames me about these past three months is how terrible a reader I’ve been. I barely read, and when I did, it was chick-lit. Chick-lit! I was depressed after a semester than was epic in its awfulness, and I slept a lot and walked around like a zombie on cold medication. I am not going to count the books I read during this period because frankly, they were appalling. It’s also because I got nothing from them except “DON’T be a lawyer. It’s an awful life.”(Undomestic Goddess), “Family screws you over, and so do friends: only your dead ancestors will always be there for you.”(Twenties Girl) and “Be an irresponsible kook or that super-mature hot guy won’t notice you and fall for you.”(Some Shopaholic thingy-I can’t tell them apart, really.)

It all started with a fateful day in mid-February where a little adventure left me with a torn ligament in the ankle and some type of brain damage as well, it would seem. My brain has been hazy and buzzing annoyingly ever since and it’s only just beginning to clear.

I will summarize my activities in these three months as well as my hazy, doped memories let me. (I must clarify at this point, that “doped” only refers to a state of mind and did not involve any sort of consumption of narcotics or other controlled substances. I promise, mommy. )

(I read Making History by Stephen Fry in January by the way. I’m yet to review that. I must state right now, in case I die an untimely death and my God and other fellow readers in reader hell hold it against me forever that I didn’t give this book a well-deserved testimony.IT WAS BRILLIANT. Completely hilarious.)

I read one decent book called Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples. It made me think further about converting to Islam. I have been toying with the idea for some time. Yes, this is despite not having a Muslim boyfriend. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Jihad) It was an accurate picture of the pitiable state of Afghanistan and Pakistan and their people due to the Taliban. (A poignant subject decently portrayed.) There wasn’t much character development though, and all the people seem to just be metaphors of the struggling populace and not characters unto themselves. I don’t know if you know what I mean. Also, the ending was meant to be touching but it mostly just alarmed me.

While we’re on the topic, I also read Kite Runner, which made me hate, detest, love and pity the protagonist, all at once. I liked Hassan too. The Taliban are only in the backdrop of the main story but you can still feel their shudder-inducing presence. It didn’t make me cry as much as A Thousand Splendid Suns but I did. I cried. It doesn’t hurt you as much but it does and it makes you think of a lot of things. There are so many things to take away from this book. Read it.

I read The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. It’s a lovely book, albeit with a disturbing portrayal of paedophilia. I really liked it. You won’t regret reading it. The protagonist reminded me of a friend of mine for a few reasons. I won’t name her. Also, I want to be a lawyer attending trials like the ones in the book. It would torture me, but I still want to.

I started and didn’t finish Name of the Rose but I will get back to it. I went on a near-psychotic Enid Blyton re-reading phase. I finished about 30 of those in 3 days. Then I started by chick-lit spree, like I said, and I read about 20 of those. Following that, I read Memory Keeper’s Daughter which couldn’t hold a torch to Kim Edwards’ other book, Lake of Dreams, which is pretty decent. It basically put together a bunch of the most irrational characters and made a story about their irrationality.

Then I reread a lot. My brain just stopped working. My exam results, when they come out, will vouch for me on this.

Then I came home after my semester ended. I didn’t read some more. I went out and bought a bunch of books anyway, because, hey! I’m cool like that! I firmly believe that the purchase of books is a distinct activity with therapeutic qualities and is entirely unconnected to the actual reading of those books. That’s another fun thing that can be done with books. The list is as follows.

  1. Gazing at bookshelves
  2. Smelling new books
  3. Buying new books
  4. Imagining being a character in a book
  5. Actually reading
  6. Talking about good books
  7. Bitching about the movies based on the books
  8. Adding books to a long wish list
  9. Going on websites about the authors
  10. And of course, blogging about the books

I began to read Dracula but it irritated me. I read two new Wodehouse books, which I swear by as anti-depressants even though a certain close friend of mine appears to abhor him.(-Coughladybugcough-) They were Galahad at Blandings and Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin. I didn’t like the second one too much.

Then, I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. What a book! I really loved it. It’s a guide on writing and so funny and clever and honest. I don’t know if I would read her other books, though. I think not. They seem to target specific audiences and would only appeal to that particular sub-group. Well, so does this one, I suppose, but I happen to be a member of this particular audience. Well, I’m glad that I am, because I would have missed out on some of that charm, otherwise, and that would honestly have been an absolute shame. It’s different from the other books I love because it de-hodgepodged my jelly brain and I loved it anyway. Look, it’s gotten me writing already and I only read it yesterday!

I am now reading Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Wish me luck, okay? Let’s hope I stick with it.

I feel like I’m missing out on things. If my PTSD-fied brain permits, I will tell you more as I remember.