Posted in vlog

Unboxing The Big Book Box

Hey. I got myself a Big Book Box on Christmas. Here’s a vlog to show you all the goodies. ūüėÄ

 

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Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

The Good Psychologist by Noam Shpancer

17679534Genre: Fiction

Date Published: Aug 3, 2010

Pages: 256

Source: Owned Books

Goodreads Synopsis: Noam Shpancer’s stunning debut novel opens as a psychologist reluctantly takes on a new client- an exotic dancer whose severe anxiety is keeping her from the stage. The psychologist, a solitary professional who also teaches a lively night class, helps the client confront her fears. But as treatment unfolds, her struggles and secrets begin to radiate onto his life, upsetting the precarious balance in his unresolved relationship with Nina, a married former colleague with whom he has a child?a child he has never met. As the shell of his detachment begins to crack, he suddenly finds himself too deeply involved, the boundary lines between professional and personal, between help and harm, blurring dangerously.

With its wonderfully distinctive narrative voice, rich with humor and humanity, The Good Psychologist leads the reader on a journey into the heart of the therapy process and beyond, examining some of the fundamental questions of the soul: to move or be still; to defy or obey; to let go or hold on.

Buy it here ‚Äď Amazon India | Amazon US |¬†The Book Depository | Add on Goodreads

My View:¬†When you come across the word ‘psychologist’ in the book title and google the author to find out he’s a clinical psychologist himself and working in the area of anxiety disorders, your curiosity is piqued and you buy it during an online sale. The book patiently waits to be picked up for a couple of years until it’s finally brought to the forefront of the bookshelf during spring cleaning and set down by the bedside to be read.

You try not to let your expectations hit the roof and start reading without peeking at the synopsis. Gradually, you find yourself being pulled in by the setting of the therapy, the interesting client to see which direction it will take. You find yourself enthralled by the really good examples, the psychologist¬†gives to the client and mentally make a note to add that to your therapeutic skills. And then you are put off by the casual throwing around of the client information and find yourself doing a ‘you didn’t do that!’ only to tell yourself this is fiction and perhaps the author is taking creative liberty, don’t go all ethics on him. And you read on.

The plot could have been made more interesting than it was. It did appeal to me when it began. But the only thing that held my interest steadfast was the really good examples given by the clinical psychologist to his client as well during his class. Those I intend to make use of in my therapeutic practice. I liked a bit of the unravelling but I am sure my expectations did get in the way. Perhaps I was looking for an ethical, doing it by the rules, clinical psychologist who leads the client from point A to point B but of course, this isn’t a text and not made to be taken in that way. So well, it made for an interesting one-time read but perhaps a non-psychology background reader would do it more justice by being objective about the plot and the treatment.

3.5/5 stars ‚Äď Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’
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Author Bio:

Noam Shpancer was born and raised on an Israeli kibbutz. Currently he is a professor of psychology at Otterbein University and a practicing clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders. He is also a blogger at psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy and an op-ed columnist for the Jewish bimonthly The New Standard. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Posted in Read-a-thon

Bout of Books 21 Updates

Wrap-Up

I didn’t happen to read a lot as it was a super busy week but I did happen to buy 18 books from the World book fair! Oops. I finished two books I had already started and started reading a couple more. But I participated in almost all the challenges. Yay!

Day 6 Challenge

Book Spine Poetry
Stack books so that the book titles make a sentence or a short poem. Funny, serious; anything’s good!
IMG_20180114_001457.jpg
If I had to tell it again,
here I am.
Beware of pity.
At the same time,
carry on
the age of innocence
to the moon.

Day 5 Challenge

Newspaper Headline
Create a newspaper headline for your favourite story/book. You can also create a clickbait title if you like!

The Painted Veil by Somerset MaughamAn Affair that shook their marriage

Day 4 Challenge

ALL THE FAVORITES!

  • Series – Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren, The no.1 Ladies detective series by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Bookish blog – Lotz in Translation
  • Bookish Item – Bookmarks (I collect them on all my travels)
  • Book to Movie – The Great Gatsby
  • Book – Anna Karenina
  • Author – Leo Tolstoy, John Steinbeck
  • Vlogger – Zoe

Day 3 Challenge

Book Spine Rainbow
Take a selection of your favorite book spines to make a rainbow!
Here you go-
IMG_20180110_175806.jpg

Day 2

Finished reading and

Posted in Read-a-thon

2018 Reading Goals

Ah. New year, new goals.
  1. Read at least 40 books (Goodreads goal)
  2. Read more classics (at least 15)
  3. Read more owned books (at least 20)
  4. Read huge books (at least 3) – Shantaram, Gone with the wind and one more
  5. Re-read two favorite books – Anna Karenina and Thirteenth Tale
  6. Read more non-fiction/ memoir/ autobiography (at least 10)

Phew, well those themselves total to almost 50. I think I should stop here and not make more tall claims. :p

But here’s one more challenge I am doing this year.

2018 ultimate reading challenge

  1. A book you read in school
  2. A book from your childhood
  3. A book published over 100 years ago
  4. A book published in the last year
  5. A non-fic book
  6. A book written by a male author
  7. A book written by a female author
  8. A book by someone who isn’t a writer
  9. A book that became a film
  10. A book published in the 20th century
  11. A book set in your hometown/ region
  12. A book with a name in the title
  13. A book with a number in the title
  14. A book based on a true story
  15. A book someone else recommended
  16. A book with over 500 pages
  17. A book you can finish in a day
  18. A previously banned book
  19. A book with one-word title
  20. A book translated from another language
  21. A personal growth book
  22. A memoir or a journal
  23. A book by someone from another country
  24. A book set somewhere you’ll visit this year
  25. An award-winning book
  26. A book you read in school
  27. A book with a character with your first name
  28. A book with a place in the title
  29. A book set in the future
  30. A play
  31. A scary book
  32. A funny book
  33. A book of short stories
  34. A trilogy or series
  35. A bestseller
  36. A book you own but haven’t read
  37. A book about philosophy
  38. An epic poem
  39. A Victorian novel
  40. A book of poetry
  41. A book with a colour in the title
  42. A book with an appealing cover
  43. A book about psychology
  44. A book about science
  45. A graphic novel
  46. A self-published book
  47. A book from a different culture
  48. A young adult book
  49. A book of non-fiction essays
  50. A book by an author you haven’t read before
  51. A book set in a country you’ve never been to
  52. A book set in the place you live today
Posted in Read-a-thon

Bout of Books 21

I am doing this after so, so long. But I really need something good to happen in my life. The new year hasn’t been kind so far. So I am going to do something about it. And this is it!

For the uninitiated, here you go.

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Hop on and join me. Let’s read away.

Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

The Nine-Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat

36682054.jpgGenre: Fiction

Date Published: 25 November 2017

Pages: 216

Source: Harper Collins Review Copy

Goodreads Synopsis: ‘You, though, are as beautiful as light splitting through glass.’ Nine characters recall their relationship with a young woman – the same woman – whom they have loved, or who has loved them. We piece her together, much as we do with others in our lives, in incomplete but illuminating slivers. Set in familiar and nameless cities, moving between east and west, The Nine-Chambered Heart is a compendium of shifting perspectives that follows one woman’s life, making her dazzlingly real in one moment, and obscuring her in the very next. Janice Pariat’s exquisitely written new novel is about the fragile, fragmented nature of identity – how others see us only in bits and pieces, and how sometimes we tend to become what others perceive us to be.

Buy it here ‚Äď Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart¬†| BookDepository |¬†Add on Goodreads

My View: The first I heard of this book was when I was invited to its book launch. I had never seen a performative play before and I am glad I finally did. It was really well done, intense and made me inquisitive about the book. Of course, the prior interview with the author helped. And hence I asked for a review copy.

Lo and galore, this beautiful hardback landed in my mailbox. I started reading it the same day. While reading, my mind went back to the play. I could ‘see’ the characters playing their parts, could remember their voices. They had indeed done a really good job!

About the book, I am really not sure where to begin. The words paint vivid pictures, the expressions intense, a smile here, a curious glance there. It’s like a movie running in your head. And all the while, you’re trying to picture this character, filling in the gaps, kohl’ing her eyes, painting her lips. A little by little, as you get to know her better but do you really? Get to know her better? Or is it all a mirage and you’re just looking from nine pairs of eyes and seeing someone different each time? Is it the same person throughout? Or have the layers piled on? The character has developed and is no longer who she was earlier? Such an enigma.

Truth be told, I read so much international fiction, that sometimes it takes me ages to get into an Indian-author written book. That was so not the case with Pariat’s book. It just went on, smoothly, without any bumps. Like lyrics, the writing flew by. At times melodious, at times rough. But there it was. Very vivid and striking. It follows you days after you have read it. And you wonder.

I like the way the relationships are projected. Fleeting, fragile, gone with the wind. Isn’t it how they all are? Maybe a touch of imagination, a dash of freedom has been added but the essence remains. All these relationships, they speak their own mind, tell their own story and leave for you to unravel this person, this central character who never really appears except what you know of her through others and the kind of relationship they have had with her.

Despite all the things I liked, there are a couple caveats. I understand the need to not label names, places etc and leave them as they are. That is not a problem. But if I have to read ‘city without a river’ and ‘city with a river’ 8 times (or maybe more), it irritates the hell out of me. I would rather read ‘Delhi’ or ‘Sikkim’ or I can even do without any mention of it. But that line, again and again, drives me crazy. Really!

However, if you can put this little irritant aside, there’s a lot for you here. Hidden in this gem of a book. I think I will go back to it again one day and re-read, to once again lose myself in the mystery, the way relationships work and don’t. The way in which life goes on with hiccups. The way you don’t know where life is headed and have no control over it. And maybe learn a bit or two. To add a bit of carelessness to yourself, to live a little, to throw caution to the wind, and go on living, unabashed, unfettered…

3.5/5 stars ‚Äď Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’.
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Author Bio:

Janice is a writer based between London and New Delhi/Shillong (depending on the weather). Her first book Boats on Land: A Collection of Short Stories won the Sahitya Akademi Young Writer Award and the Crossword Award for Fiction in 2013. Her novel Seahorse has been published by Vintage, Random House India, in November 2014.

She studied English Literature at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, and History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

Her work has featured in a wide number of national magazines & newspapers including OPEN, Art India, Tehelka, Caravan: A Journal of Culture & Politics, Outlook & Outlook Traveller, Motherland, and Biblio: A Review of Books, among others.

(Thank you, Harper Collins for providing me a review copy. All opinions are my own and unbiased.)

Posted in wrap up

Best Reads of 2017

images.jpgWell, 2017 was a good year in terms of quantity (77 books read) but not so much in quality. I just had one 5 star read. One! Drumroll please. The award goes to-
It was also the longest book I read this year (473 pages) but it’s sheer brilliance.

On number 2, with 4.5 stars each are-

and   Highly recommended!

And here are all the 4 star reads –

Have you read one or more of these? What did you think of them? Put your best books of 2017 links in comments and I will come add more books to my TBR. Haha.

Posted in wrap up

Wrap-Up 2017: What did I read this year?

Total Books read – 77

Total number of pages read – 18741

Shortest Read – The hungry caterpillar (26 pages)

Longest Read – Unbroken (473 pages)

Average length – 273 pages

Most books read in – November (14)

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

How was your 2017 reading wise? 

Posted in 3 stars, Book reviews

If I Had to Tell It Again by Gayathri Prabhu

36528197.jpgGenre: Memoir

Date Published: November 2017

Pages: 192

Source: Harper Collins Review Copy

Goodreads Synopsis: Sixty-six years of a lifetime gone.

There would be no funeral. He had donated his body to the local medical college. It was part of his script, his fantasy about death. He would show his hospital donation certificate to anyone who came to our house. No rituals for me, he would announce. To his mind there was some justice in being cut up by medical students. He had wanted to be a doctor.
There is his corpse, lying on the floor, people constantly milling around, talking about his untimely, unfortunate death, while I stare at everyone in dry-eyed annoyance. He had always been a popular man, much loved, generous to a fault to his neighbours, even if angry towards his own family. I just want him gone from the house. When the van from the morgue comes to pick him up, everyone urges us to touch his feet, to ask for his blessings. It is expected from children of dead parents. Everyone watches us.

You first, an old man points to me, my father s first-born.

I bend down, my fingers touch his feet.

In my mind the words form, loud and distinct I forgive you.

Buy it here ‚Äď Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart¬†|¬†Add on Goodreads

My View: That bare, sparse cover is a true fit for this book. It radiates what is within. The hazy memories of a lifetime gone by, the words disappearing before they are written. Written hurriedly without a thought given to the capitals. Flowing over the page, unbidden, unstoppable, like a river in motion.

This book is not an easy read. I cannot even fathom how difficult it would have been to write. At one point, the author explains why memoirs are less frequently written in our country. Because they will be read by relatives, neighbors, and friends. We belong to a  country in which people hide their shame and do not air their dirty laundries in public. But whose shame is it anyway?

The book transcends various forms of narratives and undergoes time lapses. The reality is seen via a play, heard by the author herself or told in the third narrative as if the author wants to distance herself from what is being said. As if it’s not her past. As if she wants to disown what has gone by. And who wouldn’t? With a life like that, anyone would want to hide the past under covers and never look at it again. But herein, the author stays true to what her father wanted her to be. Brave, unafraid, facing her demons, standing upto family, relatives and friends in baring the reality and brushing nothing under the carpet.

There it is, the stark, naked truth for you to see, feel and abhor. Everything that we hide, turn away from, refuse to believe, deny. The workings of our families, our societies, the bleak knowledge of mental illness and our ignorance.

When it began, it felt more like a book about the author’s journey with her father. It was only past page 80 when we began to get more than just a glimpse of her which is when the book took on a completely different turn. And I found myself falling into the vortex of her mind, feeling, experiencing, detesting.

The to and fro narratives, free of progressive timelines gave a disconnected, jarring feel to the narrative. But I believe that reflects the life of the narrator as it really was. It hasn’t been an easy one. So when a friend of the author tells her she is strong, I concur. It takes someone with an¬†immense strength to undergo all that she has. No one can come unscathed from these experiences and neither did she. But to have come a long way and making the most of her life is what she has excelled at.

The lack of names in the memoir, identified usually by a single alphabet, a G, a N. It felt disconcerting. Not to know the names, not to know the characters well. Not to know about the author’s mother, her name, more about her. But I think this memoir is more a father-daughter’s story than anything else and the author wanted to stay true to it. Others are just passing characters in this real-life story and have been kept nameless so that we can bypass them quickly without sparing them a thought. They aren’t as important to the narrative, to the journey the author wants to take us on.

The writing is easy to read, flows well and helps the reader understand the dilemma, the uncertainty and the storm occurring within the author. This memoir is a¬†testament to life’s difficulties and the odds against which a person rises despite being pulled down, over and¬†over again. It’s a narrative of a difficult childhood, multiple instances of physical and sexual abuse, resulting depression, and a fight against all of it. It is undoubtedly a memoir worth reading.

3/5 stars ‚Äď I liked it
3 stars

Author Bio:

Gayathri Prabhu is the author of the memoir ‘If I Had to Tell It Again’ (HarperCollins, 2017) and the novels ‘The Untitled’ (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, 2016), ‘Birdswim Fishfly’ (Rupa, 2006) and Maya (Indialog, 2003). She presently teaches literary studies at the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities.

(Thank you Harper Collins for providing me a review copy. All opinions are my own and unbiased.)

Posted in 4 stars, Book reviews

Bread and Chocolate by Philippa Gregory

161852.jpgGenre: Short Stories

Date Published: Jan 1, 2000

Pages: 256

Source: Owned Books

Goodreads Synopsis: A¬†¬†collection of short stories from one of our most popular novelists – the perfect gift. A rich and wonderful selection of short stories. A TV chef who specialises in outrageous cakes tempts a monk who bakes bread for his brothers; a surprise visitor invites mayhem into the perfect minimalist flat in the season of good will; a woman explains her unique view of straying husbands; straying husbands encounter a variety of effective responses. Just some of the delicacies on offer in this sumptuous box of delights…

Buy it here ‚Äď Amazon India | Amazon US |¬†The Book Depository | Add on Goodreads

My View:¬†I am not much for short stories so when I pick one up, I am either in the mood for something short or am not in the mood for anything and can’t decide. But this, my my, was a brilliant choice. I finished it in less than 20 hours on a workday which is saying a lot for a 250 page book.

I probably read one book by Gregory long long back. Oh wait, after a quick check on GR, I apparently haven’t read a single one by her. I think something is fishy here. I have 4 books from one of her series adorning my shelves. And I thought I had read atleast one¬† by her and loved it to justify buying these 5 but oh well, maybe the GR reviews did me in.

The title story, which is also the first, reeled me in by its smell of warm bread fresh out of the oven and the deliciously dark, melting chocolate. Can you visualize it yet? Taste it? Mmmm.. like a beautiful sin it goes…

This book is a mix of stories with some sad like ‘The favour” or “The if game” but also several clever ones like “The visitor”, “The conjuring trick” and “Theories about men”.

One of my favorites was ‘theories about men’. It’s so clever and funny at the same time. I also really enjoyed ‘the wave machine’ and ‘the magic box’.

All in all, I would say the stories are women-centered and play on the power of females. However, I am pretty sure if you are not a staunch believer in patriarchy, you will enjoy these as a male too.

Gregory weaves magic with a solid punch packed in the stories. Her writing is delicate and fragile yet visual and emotional. She makes her women characters capable and clever, just the kind of women I like to read about (and encounter in the real world unless they are the evil sorts then I would rather they be dumb :p).

The book makes for a quick read and I highly recommend it.

4/5 stars ‚Äď I really liked it
4 stars

Author Bio:

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author.

Gregory lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. Visitors to her site, www.PhilippaGregory.com become addicted to the updates of historical research, as well as the progress of her ducklings.

Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty stricken African country. Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells.

A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website.

Philipa’s Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/PhilippaGregoryOfficial

Posted in 2 stars, Book reviews

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

35504431.jpgGenre: Young Adult

Date Published: 2017

Pages: 286

Source: Owned kindle copy

Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Buy it here ‚Äď Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart¬†| The Book Depository | Add on Goodreads

My View: My journey with John Green started 6 years back with Looking for Alaska  (my review) which also happened to be my first audiobook. I gushed and went ga-ga over it. It was my favorite book of 2011 and I also bought a paperback later just because I wanted that book in my possession and possibly for a re-read later. After that, I really wanted to read more by him. And so I did. Barely two months later, I read The Fault in Our Stars (my review) in a 4.5-hour reading marathon being awake until the wee hours of the morning. However, the downhill ride had started, I gave this one 3.5 stars.

Three years later, I read Paper Towns (my review) which went further downhill with 3 stars and my long rant about the book being un-John Greenish. And then a year and a half later I picked up Let it Snow which had a story by John Green (my review) –¬†‚ÄúA Cheertastic Christmas Miracle‚ÄĚ. This story hit me hard and I felt Green was at his lowest. It was my least liked story in the book. The plot, the characters, nothing appealed to me at all. And after that reading, I had written I will be cautious in buying John Green books from hereon as he can’t always deliver what he did once. But did I remember it for long? Uh huh. That lesson kind of blew away in the wind when more than a year later, I saw this brand new book by Green and sparkling 5 star reviews and it’s getting a place in Goodreads finalists. And I fell for it. I am ashamed to say I did.

So with all that background, you are now equipped enough to understand where I am coming from and how my preceeding rant is justified. When the book began, I felt that Green wanted to change his usual choice of genre. It seemed like I was in for a mystery-thriller. A couple of pages in it felt like probably he was aiming for fantasy. And then some more and I was like yes, maybe he is after romance this time. With all these grappling to understand where the hell this book was going, I was beginning to get impatient. Half way through the book, I felt like throwing it against the wall but sadly I was reading on my phone and had no intention of breaking it. Another thought was to abandon it. But my being a John Green loyalist despite what he has led me through all these years as well as someone who hates leaving books unfinished, went on with it in the hopes that Green will redeem himself in the end. Boy, could I have been more wrong! This book just went from worse to worst. I appreciate and applaud Green for trying to spread awareness about mental illness through the book but really going on and on about it actually does not help to be empathic. In fact, it made me get tired of the protagonist and I am a clinical psychologist! I am supposed to empathize with her but I just couldn’t because he has made Aza a shadow of who she should have been despite the mental illness. I am not sure if it really gives out the right picture. Yes, OCD is horrible, really horrible illness and people have their daily lives taken over but they are certainly not one-dimensional. I did not like a single character in this book. And the amount of liberties Green has taken with his imagination this time around makes this more fit for fantasy than YA. Hundred thousand dollars and tarantua! Oh dear, what were you thinking? No, really! It took you 6 years to write this book! Even though I want to really stand by you and appreciate your hard work and patience, I can’t, I just can’t. This book just does not work. I have been a fan but I can’t be blind nor biased.

The plot, I don’t get what the plot really is about. Nothing catches my attention. I did not feel any emotions during any part of the book. The characters are not well-developed, the storyline is very shaky and the book is just plain bland.

The most scary thing this book has done is made me question my love for Looking for Alaska. I am scared to give it a re-read for the fear that maybe I was mistaken earlier, perhaps it is not such a good book. I am scared to re-read it for the fear I would hate it. And after all those hundreds of people, I recommended this book to. Well, perhaps I should let sleeping dogs lie and be content with the memory of a favorite book and not stir the graves.

Others have loved this book and you may want to give it a try at your own risk but me, I really will have to be more cautious about his books now. I still have to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and An Abundance of Katherines. Should I? Let me know what you think.

2/5 stars ‚Äď It was okay.
2stars

Author Bio: 

John Green’s first novel,¬†Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award presented by the American Library Association. His second novel,¬†An Abundance of Katherines, was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His next novel,¬†Paper Towns, is a New York Times bestseller and won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best YA Mystery. In January 2012, his most recent novel,¬†The Fault in Our Stars, was met with wide critical acclaim, unprecedented in Green’s career. The praise included rave reviews in Time Magazine and The New York Times, on NPR, and from award-winning author¬†Markus Zusak. The book also topped the New York Times Children’s Paperback Bestseller list for several weeks. Green has also coauthored a book with¬†David Levithan¬†called¬†Will Grayson, Will Grayson, published in 2010. The film rights for all his books, with the exception of¬†Will Grayson Will Grayson, have been optioned to major Hollywood Studios.

In 2007, John and his brother Hank were the hosts of a popular internet blog, “Brotherhood 2.0,” where they discussed their lives, books and current events every day for a year except for weekends and holidays. They still keep a video blog, now called “The Vlog Brothers,” which can be found on the¬†Nerdfighters¬†website, or a direct link¬†here.

Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

6632785.jpgGenre: Classics/ Play

Date Published: 1955

Pages: 124

Source: Owned Books

Goodreads Synopsis:¬†Cat on a Hot Tin Roof¬†first heated up Broadway in 1955 with its gothic American story of brothers vying for their dying father‚Äôs inheritance amid a whirlwind of sexuality, untethered in the person of Maggie the Cat. The play also daringly showcased the burden of sexuality repressed in the agony of her husband, Brick Pollitt. In spite of the public controversy¬†Cat¬†stirred up, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critics Circle Award for that year. Williams, as he so often did with his plays, rewrote¬†Cat on a Hot Tin Roof¬†for many years‚ÄĒthe present version was originally produced at the American Shakespeare Festival in 1974 with all the changes that made Williams finally declare the text to be definitive, and was most recently produced on Broadway in the 2003‚Äď2004 season. This definitive edition also includes Williams&rsquoi; essay ‚ÄúPerson-to-Person,‚ÄĚ Williams‚Äô notes on the various endings, and a short chronology of the author‚Äôs life. One of America‚Äôs greatest living playwrights, as well as a friend and colleague of Williams, Edward Albee has written a concise introduction to the play from a playwright‚Äôs perspective, examining the candor, sensuality, power, and impact of¬†Cat on a Hot Tin Roof¬†then and now.¬†

Buy it here ‚Äď Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart¬†| The Book Depository | Add on Goodreads

My View: I have never been a person who reads plays. I would rather go and watch one. But when it is one which has won a Pulitzer Prize, has an interesting title and pretty book cover, you end up buying it during an online sale. It resides prettily in your bookshelf until almost 3.5 years when you decide to pick it up for a Goodreads challenge to read books with pages 100-200 and it just fits in.

I know people love descriptive terms and all the words about non-verbal body cues or setting the scene so as to say. I, however, am not one of them. I will go with it for a while and then just skim over until I find the real deal. So even though people appreciate how vividly Williams has each character imagined, to the extent of how the character¬†is walking, I tend to skip it. Don’t get me wrong. I love him for what he has done and it would come as a great help when directing the play or the movie but it isn’t so pleasant to read all that is written in the brackets. It deflects my attention from the actual story.

About the plot, certainly, Williams has a lot going on in those short 91 pages to be precise. So much of societal oppression and themes to do with greed, animosity and loads about human nature, truth be told. He brings out the characters to be in-your-face. They aren’t hiding their faults and human vices but it is there for everyone to see. And that is what strikes me most, not the human nature per se, which we see around ourselves day in and day out but the alarming presence of it amidst everyone for all to see. And it is then that it hits you hard, for what we are. It’s clever, the people, the play. It comes rushing down on you with so much going on in such short a time and the play ends before you have time to grapple with them all.

The book presents two versions of Act 3 and I am tempted to go with Williams on his version. It seems truer to fact. I agree with his observations and why characters are behaving in the way they are.

I can guess why this won the Pulitzer. It brought on quite an uproar for its bold theme during that time. I think I should watch the movie now. The play is so short, I am sure the director would have taken creative license to extend this to movie length.

The title is very innovative but the author makes sure you get the meaning, not once but twice and it fits like a glove. A bit hillarious if you have a good visual imagination though. ūüėČ

Apart from the play, I absolutely loved Williams’ essay on author and director. It told me more about his thought process and writing than the play did. It’s beautiful and gives an insight into the author-director duo at work. This and not the play itself, makes me want to read more by him. You got any suggestions?

3.5/5 stars ‚Äď Between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’
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Author Bio:

Thomas Lanier Williams III, better known by the nickname Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright of the twentieth century who received many of the top theatrical awards for his work. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to “Tennessee,” the state of his father’s birth. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. In addition, The Glass Menagerie (1945) and The Night of the Iguana (1961) received New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards. His 1952 play The Rose Tattoo (dedicated to his lover, Frank Merlo), received the Tony Award for best play.

Characters in his plays are often seen as representations of his family members. Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was understood to be modeled on Rose. Some biographers believed that the character of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is also based on her.

Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was generally seen to represent Williams’ mother, Edwina. Characters such as Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Sebastian in Suddenly, Last Summer were understood to represent Williams himself. In addition, he used a lobotomy operation as a motif in Suddenly, Last Summer.

The Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded to A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. These two plays were later filmed, with great success, by noted directors Elia Kazan (Streetcar) with whom Williams developed a very close artistic relationship, and Richard Brooks (Cat). Both plays included references to elements of Williams’ life such as homosexuality, mental instability, and alcoholism. Although The Flowering Peach by Clifford Odets was the preferred choice of the Pulitzer Prize jury in 1955 and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was at first considered the weakest of the five shortlisted nominees, Joseph Pulitzer Jr., chairman of the Board, had seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and thought it worthy of the drama prize. The Board went along with him after considerable discussion.