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Posts from the ‘Humor’ Category

The 20 Questions….

I know these posts are taking longer than expected and at this point I am averaging one post a month, which like really really sucks! But things are rather more complicated than resolved and though I am coping better, and it is more minor random things than real big time life changers that seem to be consuming my time, they do consume a LOT of my time and a moment of breathing space is hard won! Be that as it may, I did again want to drop in and drop a note and perhaps do a fun post! Fortunately, I found this very interesting 20 questions post over at wherethereisinkthereispaper and I decided, to follow suit, just for some laughs and bookish memories!

1. How many books are too many books in a book series?

Honestly it depends on the book and the writing. Harry Potter sustained me through all 7 books maybe not with equal intensity but enough interest through each book; Conn Iggulden’s 4 part The Conquer Series based on Genghiz Khan’s life and times is another of my favorites and one of my go to every time I need a book on audacity and courage. Percy Jackson lost me after book 2 as did Deborah Harkness’s All Soul’s Trilogy (Vampire – Witch) Trilogy and I did not even get past page 40 of Twilight! Its story and the writing and no book in a series is one too many for me if it is good!

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

Again I think it depends on the writing. I could not really believe that Sirius Black was really dead after Book 5 in the Harry Potter series and kept imagining it as a “cliffhanger” for some reason or the other. Similarly I was left angsty after almost every turn of fortune in Conn Iggulden’s War of Roses series and just when I decided for York, something of the Lancaster House got me and I spent the entire seies being anxious which was not particularly fun! To end, I do understand the need to keep the reader “hooked on” but as a reader I am not very sure I like it! It depends on the book and the type of cliffhanger that it ends on.

3. Hardback or Paperback?

I love the quiet elegance and majesty of a hardback; but economics makes paperback so much for viable , so paperbacks it is!

4. Favourite Book?

I cannot even begin to attempt to answer this one…..the list is too long and I am fortunate to have read books which have enriched my mind and my life. If you are still curious, please visit my GoodReads shelf.

5. Least Favourite Book?

Again I cannot even attempt to list this one. With the good comes the bad and you have to wade through many horrific works to find a book that sears your soul or even remotely makes sense. Again please visit my GoodReads shelf if you are curious!

6. Love Triangle, Yes or No?

No! Nix! Never! Don’t like them in life and don’t like reading them in books. Have not read the Outlander Series because, it smells of Love Triangle!

7. The most recent book you couldn’t finish?

Ms. Treadway and The Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson….it started as something and ended up as something and I gave up almost at the end….just did not have the enthusiasm to carry on! I

8. A book you’re currently reading?

Lack of time is limiting my reading abilities, but still current under Reading, the following –

· Belonging – The Story of Jews (1492-1900) by Simon Schama

· New Forest by Edward Rutherford

· The First Firangis: Remarkable Stories of Heroes, Healers, Charlatans, Courtesans & other Foreigners who Became Indian by Jonathan Harris Gill

· The Kings Justice by E.M. Powell

9. Last book you recommended to someone?

I have read some great stuff this year, especially in the first half which was way more prolific than my second half where I practically gave up on all literary activities. However, there are three books which come to my mind, which I feel very strongly about and have practically developed an Evangelical zeal of getting new converts –

· Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

· February: Selected Poetry by Boris Pasternak; Translated by Andrew Kneller

· The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield

10. Oldest book you’ve read? *publication date*

I think it’s from the top of my head and skimming superficially through the top layer shelves, it’s a toss up between Mahabharata (circa. 9th Century BCE) and The Metamorphosis by Ovid (circa.8 AD)

11. Newest book you’ve read? *publication date*

Dear Mrs Bird by A.J.Pearce

12. Favourite Author?

Oh! Man! Another question I cannot answer; but in interest of sustaining the reader’s interest, here are a couple

· Jane Austen

· Rabindranath Tagore

· Boris Pasternak – Poetry Only

· John Steinbeck

· JK Rowling

· Conn Iggulden

· Harper lee

· Charles Dickens

· LM Montgomery

· Fyodor Dostoyevsky

· Author Conan Doyle

· Bakim Chandra

Well….you did ASK!!

13. Buying books or Borrowing books?

Buying! I like to own the books I read….it’s a relationship!

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

I am going to get brickbats for this one, but I have two infact whose fasciantion does not makes sense –

· Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Mad, Obsessive Man and Class Conscious Chick….why is this thing so popular???!!!!)

· Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurer ( Scardy mouse heroine who is forever wandering around in what can only be called ridiculous circumstance moaning about a husband who is older and quieter than her! Go Figure!)

15. Bookmarks or Dog-ears?

Bookmarks only! Thou shall not speak of something as ghastly as Dog-Ears!

16. A book you can always re-read?

Again, sigh! Too many too list!

17. Can you read while hearing music?

Totally – Mostly Western Classical or Jazz instrumental!.

18. One POV or Multiple POV?

Again depends on the writing, but I do feel more than 3 becomes a bit too taxing to follow!

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

I know this is repetitive but depends on the book. Some I finish over one sitting, some take days and diligence to finish, some start off as a one sitting and then linger of multiple days and then some I linger on, because I do not want to finish!

20. A book you’ve read because of the cover?

Many but most recently Jerusalem Simon Sebag Montfort; I am still making up my mind about that book!

There you have it, my twenty questions! This was super fun! Let me know what your bookish quirks are and maybe we can compare more notes!

TBRing All The Way….

It is a truth universally acknowledged that what Stefanie does, influence by reading/writing/blogging. I am always inspired by her posts and encouraged to read books I would not touch with a pole, until she writes about them! Therefore it is only natural that I would do a blog post of the TBR Meme when she has attempted it.  Besides it was busy festivity days here, with plenty of house cleaning, cooking and socializing, so to gather back into the folds of literary reviews would take some time. This meme seemed like a good way to start getting my feet wet again in the literature blogging world!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

That question implies that I keep track of my TBR pile, which I really do not. I just keep adding books and going back to them once in a while and the list therefore is never ending. One of the reasons why my  TBR is so badly managed is because I promise myself that I will stick to it and follow an orderly manner of reading through it; however temptation comes in form of some book or the other, and there goes my TBR for a toss!

Is your TBR print or E-Books?

They are a combination of both!  E-Books are mostly those, which I can read on the fly, great books but not necessarily classic literature. Some E-Books happen because, physically they are not available in my location or if they are, they cost an arm and a leg and a pair of kidneys and if it’s REALLY good, I may have to toss in my ears and heart as well! Print books are all classics and collector’s editions.

tbrHow do you determine which books from your TBR to read next?

Please see question#1. Usually, I try to go for something that is in my TBR and matches my current reading mood – if I want to read a thriller, I try and look for something like that in my TBR, if its classic, then there is plenty of options my TBR provides; so on and so forth. There are days when I do not visit my TBR at all because I am on what I call binge readings – books which I bought after recommendations or instinct without even adding them to the TBR. Post the binge, I do feel guilty and try and restore some of my TBRs to Read category- pretty much like going on a diet, after 7 days of food orgy!

A book that has been on my TBR the longest?

The Magnificent Amberson’s by Booth Tarkington…I will get to it eventually, I guess!

A book you recently added to your TBR?

Regeneration by Pat Barker

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

None! From a very early childhood, I have determined and come to a decisive conclusion, that while beautiful covers are a joy, they are not necessarily forever….the book HAS to matter!

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

The books on my TBR list are there in my TBR list because I plan to read them some day or the other. So there is no never plan on reading. However, there are books which I may start and leave in the mid-way because I just don’t get it and they will eventually drop off my TBR!

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

None, that I can recollect at this moment; but I am sure there will be one or the other, I will stumble upon soon.

That’s my TBR Meme…and while I am not tagging anyone, it will be fun if you could share what your TBR looks like!

Why The Tab?

Let me share with all of you, how I spent my extremely exciting Saturday night! I paid my bills, planned meals for next week (have several leadership visits through the week, so need to plan ahead for easy to cook/good to eat type stuff) grocery shopping and hunting the market for a cover for my Tab. And this brings us to the tale of the Tab – I have a great Tab, it’s a local make, but sturdy and hardy and suffices for my most important need – e-reading! I love this machine and have never ventured out of the house with it, for the fear of wrecking it. The problem you see is of the cover – since it’s a local make, my extremely bourgeois retailers do not cater to a decent cover for its make –size/shape etc! They offer me fancy covers for I-PADs, Kindle Fire, Lenovo, Samsung etc etc. but nod there in resignation with a slight touch of amusement, when I take out my poor non fancy non brand tab! Hence I never took the poor tab out of the house and in a way kind of self-defeated it very purpose of existence! However last night I was determined to find a cover for the tab, come hail or snow! The straw had finally broken the camel’s back and the time had come when I sorely needed a cover, so that I could take the tab out and plonk in to the purse whenever required without adding to too much to its bulk. My poor purse, actually it’s a gargantuan sized office bag, shaped to look like a distant cousin to ladies bag,  carries my laptop., my big fat diary, my daily Knick knacks , a bottle of water and now hopefully the Tab!

But why suddenly the urge to carry the tab you ask? What was the straw that broke my back? (Yes! I am the aforementioned camel!)That you see is the crux of this rambling post – ever since I have been working, I have been in a habit of carrying a book to read in the cab. Now considering my bag is already spilleth over and 9 out of 10 cases, the book I was reading was a tome, I would carry it in my hand and keep it on my workstation, in the plain view of the world. This naturally had many and mostly completely non-original side effects –People would walk over, look at the book, try to understand the story/plot/thesis of the book via the blurb and then bombard me with inane and absolutely mundane questions –

  1. Do you like reading? No, I think the book accentuates my outfit! Duh! I have been carrying a book since you have known me, which is centuries considering I have been working in the same organization for 10 years and now you ask me this!!! Besides in the words of Scout Finch – I don’t know if I like reading; does one like breathing???
  2. How can you read while coming to work? Did I ask you how can you listen to heavy metal when coming to work?
  3. Is this a good book? Really are you interested in a literary discussion; my bet is No and you are just wasting time, waiting for my colleague to return to her desk, so that you can get on with whatever was your purpose in coming over!
  4. How can you read history? Stop being so judgmental! Did I ask you how you can watch Fast& Furious or whatever slapstick you were watching?
  5. Can you give me names for some good book which I could read? Define a “good book”? I mean do you want to read literature e/classics/history/sci-fi/thriller/romance/romcom/spy/sports/biography/leadership/psychology/poetry?   “Oh! I don’t know but something light but good…anything but no too heavy, but good”…argh!!!!!
  6. Reading again? How can you read so much? Do I ask how can you smoke/eat/talk/watch television etc etc so much?
  7. Oh! This book – have you seen the movie? No I have not nor will I, but do I ask you have you read the book?
  8. Have you read Twilight/50 Shades of Grey? I have nothing against these books, except they have made populist reading into a whole new level of insanity! I really want to turn around and ask the next person who asks me this question and ask – Have you read The Rebel or War and Peace!
  9. A new book again? How can you read so fast! I have special superpowers!
  10. Can I borrow a book? Oh! No! No! No! And this was the straw; yesterday afternoon while cleaning the first two shelves of book 5 bookshelves, I discovered 12 titles missing – 6 books per shelves…..oh!! so not good! I then recollected some of them which had been borrowed and called up the borrowers – most were nice and said will get them on Monday/Tuesaday/ next weekend; however there were some “Oh! I know you gave me the book, but I don’t remember where did I leave it!” “Oh! My baby tore it up…so sorry; will buy you a new copy!” “Some tea got spilled over, only the introduction was damaged, but the remaining is all good – you have already read it anyway. Right?!!”

Oh! Dear! The joys of being a Reader! Anyway, therefore I am going to start using my tab and hence the quest for its cover (I did manage to get an ugly brown thing, but it fits!) Going forward my Tab goes with me to work – fortunately since I don’t share a cab, I will not be asked/tormented with any of these questions and it goes right into my bag, at least 5 minutes before I approach work! So there!

The Highs and Lows of a Bookish Soul….

I have been reading a lot of horror/thriller lately, as part of RIP X event; books which I am thoroughly enjoying, though they do kind of make me sleep with the lights on! I am also reading Doris Lessing’s “The Golden Notebook “as part of The Classic Club Spin. I am holding my opinion on that for now. However, as you can see, none of these books are exactly pick-me-ups and kind of spell doom-gloom. And since I have been in this zone for a while, I could not bear to write a review on one of these books and therefore decided to digress. Not only do I digress, but I also take some shortcuts, so to speak on this post and share with you some of the bookish snapshots about my life (I am sure there are many who can relate to all of this and more!) from the wonderful world of World Wide Web!

First of all I want to share my dream job with all of you –

Job

(http://www.girlthatreads.com/post/64822470997/a-job-which-we-all-want)

Then I wanted to let you all know with a heavy heart,  that I am definitely and completely in the severest grips of ORD

ORD

Despite this I still work to achieve my life aims – self-help books and art of living teachers, advocate calling out your life goals, so that you can pursue them…so here they are!

Life Aims

(http://booklikes.tumblr.com/image/90648885545)

My intellectual process flow when somebody says the L or B word (Lending/Borrowing)

Lending

(https://www.waterstones.com/blog/flowchart-should-you-lend-someone-a-book)

Finally I leave you with instances, that only us, us who suffer ORD would understand (P.S. I especially relate to #1 and #14) –

http://media.bookbub.com/blog/2015/05/04/book-humor/

Till next week, here’s wishing you happy reading/writing/cooking/(Whatever males you smile)

Surviving the Red Planet

I should have written this post some time ago, at the very least a week ago, but then life and confusion that it brings, took over and now I get the time to finally get down to it! If I have said it once, I have said it a million times, science and I are not good friends; in fact we do not have any friendly relation at all; it’s more of one eyeing the other suspiciously and moving along. Unlike History where I am automatically drawn in, science makes me run in the opposite direction. Therefore my adventures in Science Fiction have been very far and extremely few. I was happy in leading life this way until I read Stefanie’s review of Andy Weir’s The Martian and I must confess, against my instinct, against my avowed dislike, I was curious enough to pick up this science fiction.

The Martian begins when NASA astronaut, mechanical engineer and botanist all rolled into one Mark Watney is left stranded on Mars, after his crew mates presumed him for dead, when he was impaled by an antenna blown away in the dust storm, that forces Ares 3 crew to abandon their work and head back to earth.  Mark wakes up after a couple of hours and realizes what has transpired; including the fact that all radio communication has been destroyed and NASA has no way of knowing that he lives and to plan a rescue mission. Mark comes to the conclusion that if he wants to make it  back to earth, he needs to survive on Mars for four years , when Ares 4 reaches Mars. Thus begins his efforts and endeavors in surviving Mars- from creating water, to potato farming in the Hub, Mark is now to use all his mechanical and  botanical skills to survive years. In the meanwhile , via satellite NASA discovers Mars is alive and begin a race against time to plan and execute a rescue mission to get Mark back. When a tear in the canvas of the Hab is breached, collapsing the Hab and destroying Mark’s potato farm, NASA is even more pressurized to turn out a solution quickly or Mark would die of starvation. This is further complicated by the fact that the unmanned probe hastily prepared to send Mark supplies, fails and crashes within minutes of launch. The only option left is to send the Ares 3 crew back through a slingshot trajectory to Mars to get Mark back, potentially endangering the lives of 5 crewman of Ares 3.

While the synopsis sounds kind of gloom and doom and if you have seen the trailer of the film, your idea may be reinforced, (this is why I thinks books should never be made into films…Hollywood messes up good books!) the book is anything but gloom and doom. Written in form of logs that Mark keeps , it is vibrant, humorous and a scientific account of all his adventures on Mars. The books thus contains detail accounts of how to create water, how to maneuver the rover to get across Mars and how to convert water from hydrazine. You see Mark take Mars by the horns and get on the planet’s back to reach the finish line. There is plenty and I do mean plenty of science, but it is easy to understand and simple enough for science zero like me to follow. But its just not science, there is a lot of humor, and it is this humor which sustains the reader through the book, because between science and the incredible plot twists, things to get kind of fuzzy. But Weir handles the whole thing with mastery with nail biting moments and laugh out loud moments all balanced together for a wonderful and brilliant read!

If you have not read the book, read it! I have seen the trailer and trust me regardless of how the movie turns out to be, you have got to read the book. Not reading the book is to truly miss out on something awesome!

Thank you Stefanie, once again for convincing me to read something outside my comfort zone, and guess what…as always, you are so right!!!

The Eternal Joy of a Funny, Brilliant and Humane Mind….Sir Terry Pratchett!

As the world knows by now, that Sir Terry Pratchett had a recent visitation from DEATH and in his language has “moved on”. I mourn his loss as much as other Pratchett fans and know that life on the third planet from the sun, without his wisdom, humanity and funny bones would simply be not the same. However knowing him, I do not think he would have appreciated ‘mourning’ and would have found much hilarity at the professed grief of folks who have never read his work, let alone appreciating it. He would instead read his true fans a riot act for being cast down when he was simply “getting on with things”. Therefore instead of doing an obituary post, I thought of blogging about some of best reasons why we all adored Sir Terry Pratchett and his Discworld!

  1. The Great A’Tuin and Discworld – Why? Give me one good reason why you would want to live on earth, when in the parallel trousers of time you could inhabit a world which sits atop four giant elephants who in turn stand on the back of the great big turtle A’Tuin….I mean earth just spins on its Axis while Discworld swims long gently rotating on the back of these creatures…far! far! Better I say!
  2. DEATH – YOU GOTTA LOVE DEATH. HE RIDES A COOL BIKE, CARRIES A SCYTHE, CAN WORK AS A HOGSFATHER WHEN THE NEED ARISES AND IS ALWAYS HELPFUL ABOUT THE TRANSITION THE LIVING BEINGS HAVE TO MAKE FROM ONE STAGE OF LIVE TO ANOTHER.
  3. Lord Vetinary – Not only is Discworld way cooler, but the leader of its greatest city Ankh-Morpork is the coolest dictator ever. A trained assassin, he knows the use of all kinds of people and has a finger in each pie (as in spy). He keeps the order, ensures the city makes money, provides a quick and easy end to any troublemaker and is indulgent for the right causes. He is never threatened, (Yes! Captain Carrot could be a potential kingly candidate) but Lord Vetinary could not care less and is more interested in understanding why Captain Carrot along with his superior Sam Vimes cannot hold peace in the city for longer duration!
  4. Ankh-Morpork – How can you not love Ankh Morpork, the greatest city of Discworld? How can you not hate Ankh Morpork, the greatest city of Discworld? Its rich, its crooked and its mad bad city like all big mad bad cities of world!! We love em’, we hate em’ but we cannot live without em’
  5. Ankh Morpork City Watch – The entire cast of characters led by formerly alcoholic, street talking walking cynical Sir Sam Vimes (One bottle is one too many) the very ideological and completely incapable of grasping sarcasm Captain Carrot, the gorgeous and seriously and I mean seriously deadly Angua and the amazingly none too bright pair of Fred Colon and Nobby Nobs…You love this watch and you want them to be the watch of your city….they are always late to the crime scene, they take forever to solve crimes, but they always get their man/woman/creature in the end, something our real life coppers have yet to master!
  6. The Witches – Bring on the drumroll and I am sure Granny Weatherwax would disapprove, but bring them on nevertheless!! The absolutely ruthless, rough talking, no-nonsense Granny Weatherwax who is not particularly fond of people, but she will stand by them, well because you gotta stand by them! Nanny Ogg, the gregarious, alcohol loving, bawdy song singing Nanny is the “mother” as likes to think of the gang. The third have beens with their unique perspectives: Magrat Garlick who loved herbs and nature and became the queen, the fat Agnes Nitt with a voice of gold and Tiffany Aching!!
  7. The Footnotes – What are these books without the footnotes – a detailed explanation to all that is caustic, funny and convoluted of complex and not so complex issues of Discworld. Like my flatmate/best friend says they are a parallel plot unto themselves and you truly cannot imagine the Discworld without these gentle and not so gentle references!
  8. The Parodies – Oh! My! Did Sir Pratchett make a parody of Sir William Shakespeare or Gaston Leroux? It is said that parodies are one of the highest forms of flattery; I am not sure if Sir Pratchett meant to flatter either of the “greats”, but he did make “Wyrd Sisters” and “Maskerade” a whole lot funnier and intellectually palatable than “Hamlet” or “The Phantom of the Opera”!
  9. The Moral Brand – Sir Pratchett was for all his imagination and humor a humanist. Anything mean, discriminatory or stupid got onto him and came out as scathing lashing critique of the utter stupidity of mankind through his pen. His City Watch was a testimony to his belief that all creatures are born equal and that no one was lesser or superior basis birth. He was intolerant of anything remotely resembling racism or xenophobia and was caustic in his condemnation of nations of their greed and power mania (Jingo is a prime example) and religious narrow mindedness (Small Gods). What made him a genius instead of a boring pedagogue was his ability to convey his point through humor, wit and a strong dose of irony!
  10. The Humor – What can I say? The caustic ruthless and absolutely funny humor! I will let Sir Pratchett do the talking himself – “The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” “Here’s some advice boy. Don’t put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. Thats why they’re called revolutions.” “The enemy isn’t men, or women, its bloody stupid people and no-one has the right to be stupid.”My flatmate/bestfriends favorite“Our stars are entwined,” said Casanunda.”We’re fated for one another. I wants your body, Mrs. Ogg.” “I’m still using it.”

I was first introduced to Terry Pratchett’s world when as a bumbling and confused sixteen year old, I picked up Maskerade from the Library. I then knew I had found true love when he wrote about Agnes Nitt’s reaction to comments on her fatness, being constantly told that it’s what inside that’s important, “as if people fell in love with a good pair of kidneys.” That love has never wavered and funny as it may sound, I have found solace, wisdom and a lot of distraction every time I reached out for one of my much loved Discworld novels, in moments of greatest distress and trauma.

Thank You for helping me through the journey called Life, Sir Pratchett…I am so much a better individual for having met you. You will live on with us, while DEATH takes you to the next phase!

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