From My Book-shelf

Breathless in Bombay

A friend gave me this book after he was done reading it and I am glad I got sick during that time. I took a 2-day leave from office and since I had nothing to do, read this book. This book is a collection of short stories with the backdrop being Mumbai. The characters are so beautifully crafted that one can feel that they actually exist…and maybe they do. I could not put the book down once I started reading it. In fact, I wanted to rush home after work and read this book! This is a must read for people who like to read short stories as this book takes you through the same emotional journey that a novel does.

A House for Mr Biswas

Reading became a hobby when I used to read stories from my English text-books even before they had been taught in class. After that I moved on to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sidney Sheldon. I had never read Indian authors nor did I hear from anyone that Indian writers are widely acclaimed. Hence when I started reading voraciously, I never took a book penned by an Indian. But off late I have had a change of heart. I have read about Indian authors and there is a sense of emotional touch they have which I can connect with. The characters are well sketched out and the focus is on the place, the culture and the characters rather than the plot (Refer God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy).
VS Naipaul is an acclaimed author of Indian origin. His book “A House for Mr. Biswas” is about a man’s struggle to have a house of his own. On the way, he gets married, has kids, changes jobs and places, goes into depression, becomes a journalist and goes through the ups and downs all of us go through. The book is a little boring, but then this is a typical Indian book- focus on characters, culture and family rather than the plot. But then, credit to the author…after all how many can write a whole book about a man who wants to own a house. 😀
But the book is more than that. It is about Indian family values, trials of living in a joint family and the kind of thinking that still exists in India. But you need to be patient to read it. At some points it drags for a while and one is tempted to put it down. So if you are a patient person and prefers books which are not racy enough but focus on the characters and their emotional journey then go for this one.

The Old Man and His God: Discovering the Spirit of India

I read somewhere about Sudha Murty and saved her name in my phone so that if I find a book written by her, I’l take it. This time I did. And well…I regret it. Sudhar Murty has written numerous books and they have been translated to many different languages. Maybe I picked the wrong book, but I guess that happens once in a while. 🙂
This book is a collection of short stories- all of them about the people the author has met and have influenced her in some way or the other. Reading this book reminded me of my school days when we used to read short stories which were 3-4 pages long and were written in simple English. I guess some stories can be made a part of the school curriculum but I’d stop there. The stories are good, simply written and it feels like the author has used her name to publish some entries she must have made in her diary. Some stories seem incomplete and a waste of time while others are good and yet you feel something is amiss.
I would recommend this book for school going kids and parents who tell their children “bed-time stories”.

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From My Book-shelf