Picture the Magic !

Finally got my hands on the new illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! To say that it is beautiful would be an understatement!

   
   

   
 

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New Bookshelf !! 

 I’m in the process of moving into a new apartment where the landlady (very thoughtfully) put in this beauty !  

 

 Unpacking a bunch of my books and arranging them on the shelf is probably the only productive thing I’ve done so far . This is less than half of my collection in Hyderabad . I WILL need more shelves. So the rest of my books will stay in their boxes till I find another home for them 🙂 

Some More of Amy? Yes Please!

I think Amy Poehler is the BOSS. She’s funny, serious, goofy, wise and brave all at the same time. She’s also vulnerable, quirky, sometimes mean (self admittedly). She THE person you would want to hang out with, share jokes with, watch a comedy show with, drink with, smoke up with, and then trip and freak out with. I wish I could meet her in person (somebody listening up there??) I got introduced to her when I watched bits and pieces of SNL and Parks and Recreation. I dug her up online and read about Upright Citizens Brigade. And then I followed her some more via her awesome endeavour – Smart Girls.

A few weeks ago, I happened to find her book Yes Please, while browsing a bookstore. I had not been looking for it. In fact, I only vaguely knew that she had written a book. And here it was in my hand! Of course, I bought it.

It turned out to be a memoir/ diary / fun conversation kind of book. We see lots of pictures of Amy at various times in her life. We hear her interesting, inspiring and amusing adventures as she deliberately wanders through life. We hear all about her hard work, and everything she that she took with a little pinch of salt. We are told of her wonderful friends and loving family. And it’s all told in a voice that so Amy! Well, that seems about right considering it IS her book!

Image Source: Yes Please ! and my iPhone
Image Source: Yes Please ! and my iPhone

She does not claim to be perfect, she never once downplays the importance of hard work.What I essentially learnt from the book was that if you do something that you love heart and soul, you might not always have the best time , but you will be so much happier and-and prouder of yourself and the life that you build than if you had not done It . Each section of the book is aptly named, in keeping with this central theme.

This book is deeply personal and yet not so. She skips over the gory details of her divorce and she is absolutely entitled to do that and I am glad she did. To me, that would have spoilt the book. I loved the one (and two) liners this book is littered with.

She writes about writing for a Broadway Video online show,

I was happy when we were eventually fired because I was convinced this Internet thing was a passing fad.

This lack of technological foresight is why I am an actor.

She writes about sleep deprivation after children,

I liken it to what it must feel like to walk on the moon and to cry the whole time because you had heard that the moon was supposed to be great but in truth it totally sucks

She has a Plastic Surgery Haiku section where she write things like

Hey, shooting poison

In your face does not keep you

From turning fifty

It’s a wonderful book. Go read it already!!

Scion of Ikshavaku – An Old Story with a New Face

I seem to have a thing for books about the royalty. After devouring The Forest and some other wonderful books over the last one month, I found myself at Landmark a couple of weeks ago, with Amish Tripathi’s latest offering – Scion of Ikshavaku in my basket. This is the first of book of his new Ram Chandra Series. He has already won our hearts and minds with his depiction of Shiva as a mortal in his Shiva Trilogy. So I was quite eager to read his latest.

I feel that this book cannot have spoilers . We Indians have all known this story since we were toddlers 🙂  Anyone with the least bit of interest in India, would have heard of our ‘Epicly Epic’ Ramayana. Why the interest in this book then?

Amish Tripathi has established himself as the king of popular mythological fiction in India . His characters are well defined and his stories are beautifully woven . It takes some mettle to drive us outside the realm of what we know and make us think of these well known mythological characters as flesh and blood people with a life of their own complete with flesh and blood emotions . And the author has proven yet again that he has what it takes to do it .

We meet Dashrath, the proud ruler whose overconfidence led him to make a grave error of judgement, which he rues daily. He does not think twice before transferring the weight of his guilt to his well meaning wife Kaushalya and little Ram Chandra who just happened to come into the world on the day his father suffered his biggest defeat. We see Kaikeyi , the brave, brilliant and beautiful princess, who is still struggling to come to terms with the fact that her Brilliance is a source of shame to her father . We meet the pragmatic Sumitra, who always tried to make the best of any situation . Even the largely disliked Manthara has a story and a motive to which we can relate ( here we find a strong contemporary reference to a horrific even in recent times). Then of course , there is our favourite Band of Brothers – Ram , Bharath, Lakshman and Shatrughan. Amish has sketched their personalities in meticulous detail as we follow them from infancy to adulthood. Sita’s character is interesting too, and I applaud Amish for showing us that battle scars can be worn as a badge of beauty. We have a generous sprinkling of ancient Rishi wisdom and the ever present familial conspiracy. And then we have appearances from the other Ramayana characters at expected junctures, some of them appearing as Nagas. Even Somras (from the Shiva Trilogy) makes an appearance .

All these are real people and it’s their reality that makes them magical. The author does a fantastic job of delivering this magic to us. Even then, I constantly found myself comparing this book to the Shiva Trilogy . I know that is a different book about a different time and a fundamentally different character, but I still feel that the Scion of Ikshavaku does not pack the same punch as The Immortals of Meluha . At times, I felt that the story was being weighed down by elaborate descriptions of Ayodhya’s past glory and grandeur. Sometimes the narrative stood still for just a moment longer than was perfect , and at other times it ran just a bit faster than I liked . Maybe it’s just the familiarity of this story ( everything in the Shiva Trilogy was brand new to me ). Maybe it’s just that seeing Shiva the God as a mortal was more enchanting than reading about the life of a mythical king I have known forever. Maybe I was expecting a bit more innovation from Amish.

To be fair, this is a good read and a very good effort from the author. It’s only when compared to The Immortals of Meluha, that it falls short of the mark. I am looking forward to the next instalment of this series.

[Image Source – goodreads.com]

Currently on the bedside table

I took this picture just before I dozed off last night . I had just finished We are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler , a hilarious , thoughtful and deeply moving book . Then came my customary 20 pages of The Forest . And finally a few pages of The Awkward Octopus from my dear Kindle . With all these wonderful stories brewing a heady cocktail in my brain , Dreamland was fun!  

The Next One of the Lot 

Recently , I started my own little reading challenge . To read the 65 absolutely unknown books that I had acquired from a source on Facebook. Read about in my post Sixty-Five .

After my second Box-book , I was inexplicably drawn to Game of Thrones (my feelings about that book deserve a separate post ).

After that unexpected detour I am back my box and I just started with The Forest. The streak of royalty, started by GOT continues I guess, and why not? Stories about kings , queens and knights and traitors are so much fun 🙂

 

This week, there was a lovely post by The Bookshelf of Emily J. about the piles of books around her home . I think I will just let the piles around my home grow while ride deeper into The Forest.