First Bite

Posted: July 31, 2010 in books etc., books etc., Uncategorized


I wanted to read Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and Daddy Long Legs for the longest time and am pretty thrilled to have added both the books to my ‘collection’. I liked the way the book starts out. But once Humbert made off with Lolita, I lost interest. His desire for Lolita when she was out of his reach was more exciting than the rest of the story.

Right now Haruki Murakami is the only author whose books I’m reading over and over again. So far I’ve read Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, The Wild Sheep Chase, and Dance, Dance, Dance. I feel what you could call a ‘soul-connect’ whenever I read his books. I started with Norwegian Wood. So far, my favourite is Dance, Dance, Dance. This is actually a sequel to The Wild Sheep Chase but can be read as a stand alone. He deals with morbid issues like suicide with such a light hand. The element of supernatural and the depressive and destructive themes does not overwhelm me but lifts me up. I’ve always had a fascination for Japanese culture-geishas, tea ceremonies, ikebana etc. And Murakami’s style is so perfectly Japanese. Simple yet profound.

I hate it when this happens but while reading Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being I remember thinking ‘oh wow’ but apart from the ‘oh wow’ and a moth on a lamp, I just can’t recollect anything else from this novel. I have the novel. But I can’t bring myself to reach out and pick it up and read it again and find out what made me go ‘oh wow’.

Picked up Jack Kerouac’s On the Road when I was reading about Spontaneous Prose. Also, I came across some quotes taken from this book that were so brilliant. As it turned out, those two quotes were pretty much the only lines in the book I loved. There was also the Beat philosophy attached to it but I won’t go into it now.

Here they are –

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”

I liked watching the movie better than reading Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries. It was more alive. Usually it is the other way around.

Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies is supposed to be the first of a trilogy. The other two books are yet to be written. It felt like Bollywood. Something about this novel kept bring to mind Lagaan. Maybe it was the slavery, British India aspects of the book. It was like Lagaan meets part of Pirates of the Caribbean. It didn’t ignite my mind so much so that I am waiting impatiently for the next book.

I was, however, impatient to read the entire Steig Larrson’s Millenium Trilogy. It was the first time I picked up novels by a Swedish author. Pity he died. Heroines like Lisbeth Salander are a whiff of clove flavoured smoky air in a world that slavers over protagonists with blond hair, mesmerizing blue eyes, slender and full figured, but also intelligent. I’ll take Lisbeth over Barbie anyday. I also forgive Lisbeth for being a mathematical genius. All three books dealt with violence against women.

Picked up Fredrick Forsyth’s the Jackal, the Afghan and the Fourth Protocol to give me a break from the literary stuff. They were all page turners.

In Ernest Hemingway’s a Farewell to Arms, I just couldn’t begin to like Catharine Barkley. From the moment her character was introduced, I hoped fervently that she was not the woman Henry would fall in love with. I had a similar response to the chief characters-Katharine Hilbery and Ralph Denham-in Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day. Particularly, Ralph Denham.

I had watched the movie In Love and War which was based on this novel. I remember the details vaguely but in the movie Catharine played by Sandra Bullock leaves Henry (Chris O’Donnell) for another man and Henry turns into an alcoholic.  Doesn’t matter how the story goes, I am still not fond of Catharine Barkley.

There are more. I really should get into the habit of making notes right after I read a book or watch a movie.


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