BOOK REVIEW: EAT PRAY LOVE

I believe books can be broadly classified into two categories. First, the ones that have you at the edge of your seat, biting your nails, flipping pages like a maniac, trying your level best to read at top-speed so you can get to the end and solve the mystery. And second, the books that are calm, soothing and silent but which give you so much that at the end of it you don’t really feel like you have read hundreds of pages yet your mind is consumed by the concepts and ideas introduced in those hundreds of pages. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert most definitely belongs to the latter category.
Gilbert narrates her own story as she plans a year of travel all alone, first to Italy to experience pleasure, next to India to experience prayer and devotion and finally to Bali to find balance. A year of travelling all alone, experiencing feelings and emotions alone and getting her life back together after a bad divorce and failed relationship. But more than anything, I believe this book tells you and me that happiness has to be found. We cannot always just come across happiness. Finding happiness requires effort and perseverance and work. ‘Diligent joy’ she calls it. I have somehow fallen in love with that term.
I was unsure of the book when I picked it up to read because I had, earlier, picked up the same book and on reading the first few pages, had decided that it is no good. But this happens a lot to me. I give up on a book after the first few pages and then after a few months, pick the book up again and enjoy every bit of it. I was also unsure of whether or not I would enjoy the ‘India’ part of the book since it is about yoga and devotion and prayer, subjects that I have never had much of an interest in. But it was surprisingly good and I did not find myself getting bored by it at all.
Eat Pray Love is about a woman trying to find peace and contentment. And it shows. Her contentment shows in the way she writes, the way she tells her own story (which could not possibly have been easy because think about it, would you be comfortable sharing your life story with a world full of judgemental people). You can see her peace and to some extent even feel it. It’s like she knows something about how life works that mere mortals like you and me don’t. but somehow through this book, through this story, she wants us to experience what she experienced, feel what she felt and find what she found (diligently)- joy.

BOOK REVIEW : GRACE’S GUIDE

If you watch Grace’s videos on Youtube, you already know that she is a hilarious human being. The fact that she’s written a book is a bonus for her audience. Bored of classics, tiring pretentious language and all those books which require you to keep a dictionary at the ready? Go ahead and read Grace’s Guide Book. This book is bound to make you laugh and if you are hard to impress, at the least it will make you smile. Grace’s Guide Book is a funny and true to god guide to being an ‘adult’. It explains how you can perform all the supposedly adult activities in a hilarious way, whether it is socializing, decorating you home or appearing for a job interview.

The book, more than anything else, is real. No flowery language, no frills. Just a genuinely funny take on life. Throughout the time I was reading the book, all I could think was- ‘god this is so Grace!’. The book conveniently shows Grace Helbig’s appealing awkwardness and her weird outlook towards adulthood. It is perfect for a young adult or anyone on the verge of entering the phase of adulthood when you are supposed to be ‘responsible’ and ‘mature’. Grace’s book proves to us that you don’t have to grow old to be an adult.

The photography is great and the quirky pictures make the read even more interesting. The format may seem just a wee bit repetitive but it hardly matters since the book provides more than a few good laughs. The best part is, a non-reader could enjoy this book. You can randomly pick a page to read through or you could read it start-to-end, as clearly stated in the introduction.  All in all, Grace’s Guide Book is a great read and totally worth your time. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely going to keep this book handy when I’m an adult.

BOOK REVIEW : PAPER TOWNS

Paper Towns is a story of discovery. It is a story of the search for the truth. It is a story of, as the back of the book says, an unavoidable question- who is the real Margo?
Paper Towns starts off with an adventure. A boy used to routines, a girl craving adventure. Together they make the perfect pair. The start has everything to get you hooked on to the book. Adventurous, spirited Margo, routine and Margo loving Quentin, High School drama, an all night revenge road trip and a sudden disappearance. At first it seemed like an ordinary story. Not out of the box but playing to the rules of teenage books. But trust me, I was wrong. So wrong.
Paper Towns goes on to become a beautiful book. A story so worth reading. It has its moments. There are tiny things that fascinated me. For example, the main character, Quentin, always speaks about Margo using her full name, Margo’s obsession with capitalization of random letters (“The rules of capitalization are so unfair to words in the middle”), the importance of an online resource called Omnictionary, the excessive use of the word honeybunny, subdivisions,black santas, pseudovisions, the poem- Leaves Of Grass and so much more.
John Green’s writing is far too good. The best word I can think of to describe it is magical. His writing, according to me, is magic. It captivates you and fascinates you and there were actually moments when I put down the book for a second to marvel at a certain paragraph or phrase. Paper Towns, for me, is three hundred and five pages of magic, stored in the best way possible- in the form of a book.
There are many paragraphs and instances that I want to tell you to look out for but I will not ruin the experience for you as I believe you should go through the book the way you feel like, without any external influence. But just to give you an idea of the writing of John Green, here’s a paragraph from the book.
“I spent the next three hours in classrooms, trying not to look at the clocks above various blackboards, and then looking at the clocks, and then being amazed that only a few minutes had passed since I last looked at the clock. I’d nearly four years of experience looking at these clocks, but their sluggishness never ceased to surprise. If I am ever told that I have one day to live, I will head straight for the hallowed halls of Winter Park High School, where a day has been known to last a thousand years.”
You’re already searching for the book online, aren’t you?

BOOK REVIEW- DIVERGENT

“ Beatrice, your results were inconclusive.People who get this kind of result are…are called Divergent.”

Divergent is a story set in a different world. It is the end of the world as we know it. It is a world divided based on various human qualities. And among all of these factions, is Beatrice. Beatrice struggles within her own faction. and as the story progresses, we understand why.

But the story is not only about Beatrice. It is about so much more. It is about choices, about control, about fears, about being different, about struggling, about surviving. It is about a lot. The book swallowed me whole. When I was reading it, I was in it. I was there, seeing everything, hearing everything. A silent spectator. Its the kind of book you wouldn’t want to put down. It consumes you. It is amusing how the writing is simple, no huge words or anything of the sort but absolutely amazing all the same. It is the story that is the hero, not the writing.

The main character, Beatrice, is undecided, unsure. She makes decisions quietly but her decisions drive the story. Some parts of the book actually hurt me. Imagining those situations can be a little painful but isn’t that the point of books? To make you live the story and experience every emotion in it?  

More than anything I love the idea of the factions. The names of the factions are just as amusing as the entire book itself. Selflessness, Honesty, Courage, Kindness and Knowledgability are all qualities that we all have somewhere in us. But in the story, the qualities that make a person, are divided. You have to choose just one quality and stick to it.

The book is amazing. It is gripping in every sense. It makes you wonder, it makes you think, it makes you feel. It shows the characters struggle with their own choices, showing that not all choices have to be perfect. Sometimes the choices we make, help us, sometimes they don’t and sometimes, they just exist with us. Not good not bad. Not right not wrong. But the grey area in between, which is divergence.

 

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Book Review.

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter starts out as an interesting book. The story is different and you want to know what happens next. The story revolves around a young couple and their troubled marriage. Why troubled? The wife delivers twins one snowy night and though one of them is healthy, the other has Down’s syndrome. So the husband decides to give the child away and tells his wife that the child is dead.

The plot is good. The writing is good. The characters are good. But that’s about it. It is not great. It is good. Kim Edwards writes beautifully and captures you with her descriptions of the characters and their surroundings, the snow, the world, the grief and the small moments of happiness. You sympathize with one character until you get the point of view of the other. No one is completely wrong, but no one is completely right either.   That’s the best part. No character in the book is an angel, everyone has their flaws. 

The book moves at a slow pace, and at times you might just wish that the pace quickens and something big and sudden happens. The descriptions, though beautiful, are too much. As I was reading the book, I got the feeling that I might get bored of the descriptions, in which case I would put the book down. And although that did not happen, the descriptions slowly got boring and it became work to read them.

So in the end, the book is good and even interesting. But it is not a book I would read again and it is not a book I would strongly recommend. I don’t regret reading it at the same time I didn’t thoroughly enjoy reading it. And that’s all there is to say.

The Fault In Our Stars- Book Review

Let me start by saying this- I never cry while reading books. Never. The Fault In Our Stars proved that there’s always a first time.

It is a cancer book. No doubt. But it’s not just a Cancer Book. It is so much more. I’m not going to reveal anything. So if you want a summary of the story, you aren’t going to get it here. For me, the book was a surprise. And I think it would be great if it is a surprise to others as well. So although I’m dying to use some quotes and references from the book, I won’t.

First of- I love the cover! It’s bright and that’s the way I like it. Coming to the story itself, it’s different. Actually the writing is different. It isn’t like anything I’ve read before. There were references that I didn’t get. But I could ignore that. The characters are great, the conversations between the main characters is funny and the ease of joking about the sad things makes it all the more fun. At the same time, I don’t know if everybody is going to like it. As I said, it is a different book. The story may appeal to all but the writing may not suit everyone. I’m comfortable with not getting some references and running to the dictionary for the meaning of some words but not everyone is. But then you can’t blame the author for using good English.

I really loved the book and it is definitely one of my favorites. It was fresh and exciting to the extent that I did not want to finish it. While reading most books I am overcome with curiosity and all I want to do is get to the end of it. But for the first time, I didn’t want to finish the book. I wanted to go on and on.

I, dear readers, could most definitely take two to three days more of The Fault In Our Stars.