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August 11, 2005

I have devoured four books in the past two weeks. Just picked up another from Rajbo's Buddhist collection. My reads so far:

- The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips. Written in long winded but very intriguing writing style, it is part Egyptology part mystery. At times the former becomes a nagging irritable distraction from the latter because it is foremost the mystery of 'why' that drives this novel. Wonderfully obsessive and devious characters. Good travel companion.

- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by You Know Who (uff, there's an entire wiki page dedicated to just that one book). Don't worry, no spoilers here. It will suffice to say that this baby was rather slow-moving but entirely readable in a day flat *cough* I have no life *cough*. Obvious prediction, the 7th Horcrux will of course in the final episode be revealed in Harry (or I'll eat my hat!).

- The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. You KNOW this had to be read, despite all reviews, before the movie ruins any prose. Not bad not good but I really adore the main character. It would have been a better experience had that meddling Aishwarya Rai kept herself from assaulting my imagination every chance she got.

- Sister of My Heart also by Divakaruni. Dearest Tina, thank you for both Divakarunis but this one especially so. The writing is detailed in a simple manner, it makes visions of Bengal swim before your eyes. True, the arranged marriage bit has become overplayed in much literature but at least this is an honest account.

- Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart by Mark Epstein. I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I am. Epstein is a psychiatrist and a practicing Buddhist. He truly has come up with some genius answers for the sensations of isolation and emptiness, which seem to be very common in the West especially. Very well written and perfectly thought out. I may be partial due to my background in both psychology and Eastern religion but this is a book for anyone who is curious in seeing two very different schools of human diagnosis come together perfectly.

There are two just biding their time until I pounce, full force, into their sweet virgin bindings:

- Veronica Decides to Die by Paul Coelho. It's about this 24 yr old girl with a normal life and one day...she decides she wants to die. I can't wait. Veronica's train of thought excites me beyond measure. Will she, won't she, will she, why?! Oh nihilistic insanity, I like to relate to it because without doing so I would surely go insane, know what I mean? Plus, I loved The Alchemist, the manner of Coelho's writing is so pure. Makes me feel like I'm realizing that forever-fleeting something, yes, very activated about reading this piece.

- Use of Weapons by my Lord and Master, Iain M. Banks. It has been 13 years since that lazy summer of my 11th year when I had just moved back to the Middle East (kicking and screaming). The same summer I discovered my uncle's library and its carefully smuggled international gems, Banks being one of them. In half and hour of beginning The Bridge my mind had exploded into a zillion particles of potent thought, "Are you ALLOWED to write like this???!?!?". Punctuation all over the place, made-up words, strange phonetic spelling, fearless imagination, the whole KABOOM. Kaboom like my aforementioned exploding head.

Banks is a gift that keeps on giving, he just published his latest in 2004 and has 21 books to his name. If you're looking to pick one up then my choices for beginners would be The Wasp Factory (his incredible debut), The Bridge, and Whit. Banks sci-fi for beginners should include Feersum Endjinn and Consider Phlebas.

This brings me to the end of my list, how sad. Damn I love Iain Banks, have I said that already? Love is a weak word for it. Let's play a game, not a meme game, just a plain game, a fun game. Three books that affected you the most at an impressionable age. Not necessarily your 'best of all time' just 3 that really made an impact, either good or bad, when you were young and yearning for some edumacation. Three that left you awake at nights, that made you ponder your own consciousness, that affected your actions in small ways for years to come. I have three, all from the same library, read within weeks of each other:

1. The Bridge - yes, Iain, again.
2. We the Living - Ayn Rand. Ayn, this book was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
3. Fear of Flying - Erica Jong. Don't laugh. Jong was to me in 1992 what she was to suburban housewives in 1974. Also, frank sexual language is a wicked read when you're 11.

Any takers? Have we read any of the same books? Is this too long of a post? Do you even read? Are you sleepy? Will you shut up? Can I have a hug?

posted by Neha
9:34 PM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would recommend Divakaruni's Arranged Marriage and sequel to Sisters of my heart- Vine called Desire.

8/19/2005 02:17:00 PM  

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