Daily Archives: February 2, 2010

Looking forward to…

Every once in a while you look forward to reading the books that you have been wanting to for a very long time. Get the feeling? I sure do and its not a good one, the only reason why it is not a good one is because I do not have them with me right now to read and that’s really depressing. If only I could get them. Aah! Anyway here are my top 5 choices that I have to get my hands on somehow…anyhow…

  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • Stitches by David Small
  • Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan
  • The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova and
  • Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey

I will get them soon hoepfully. I must.

The Bullet Connection by Patricia Sarrafian Ward

Reading “The Bullet Connection” has been an experience. A one of its kind experience. It was a heavy read for me – the backdrop being the Lebanese Civil War. I received the book from The Graywolf Press and I must say that just like “Avoidance” I have loved this one as well.

The narrator is a child – part Lebanese, part American who experiences the damages of war in more than one way. Marianna is her name and she is observant, petulant, angry, confused, depressed and rebellious – in so many ways different from her sister Alaine. What holds the readers’ attention is the story that oscillates between different continents and time periods.

The Bullet Collection

I came to care for the family members while reading this one. Ward has maintained a brilliant storyline and she has managed that with so many characters – I always love a book with many characters. The complexities of war was etched superbly through the eyes of each character. The way they move and what they say to what they eat and think – to their idiosyncrasies to their lighet moments – to what now is their reality. The family’s poignant relocation to American and how they still do not feel safe in the safest land of all is most ironic. “What is this magic, this country that insists on being remembered even after forcing us to leave?” Good memories and bad can be equally haunting, and even when Ward writes of despair, her prose is lyrically poetic. A must read for all those who want to face the truth.

Books to Movies

They say that a great book can never be made to a great movie. I beg to differ in some cases. There have been times when great books have come alive so well on the big screen. It’s amazing to see what some directors have done with these books. Here are few of my favourites:

1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: Vivien Leigh as the playful, bashful, and headstrong Scarlett O’Hara took my breath away. It was after watching the film that I read the book and it remains to be one of my favourite books and movie. I mean how can anyone forget Vivien picking up a handful of dirt in her hand and looking to the sky while saying, “I will never be hungry again”, or for that matter the famous, “Tomorrow is another day” as made famous by the on-screen Scarlett as Rhett Butler (played brilliantly by Clarke Gable) leaves her on the staircase of her house. This is one movie no one should miss.

2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: I am referring to the 1962 film version directed by the genius – Stanley Kubrick – the black and white imaging and play of light and shadow was brilliant. It was the component that propelled the story further. With James Mason as Humbert Humbert and Shelley Winters as Charlotte (played to the hilt) and not to forget Sue Lyon as Dolores Haze, the story was etched and controversial – of course only because of the book. How in the world could a man do this to a young girl? What I loved about the movie was its unfolding – Kubrick cleverly changed the order in which the events unfolded by moving what was the novel’s ending to the start of the film. Brilliant I say!

3. The Shining by Stephen King: Yes the book was longer. Yes the book was creepier. Yes we all loved the book. However, how can one discount the film? Jack Nicholson was brilliant. The past and future conjoined with what the child saw. I for one could not sleep for two days after watching this one.

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I am certain that if there is another adaptation of this book, no one will go and watch it. I love the story – makes me think I am reading Indian fiction for some strange reason – I mean come on – five daughters who need to get married – an intrusive mother, a doting father and the class and moral system of early Georgian England. The intelligent and spirited Elizabeth Bennett is one of my favourite heroines and I wish every girl their very own Darcy. The Lawrence Olivier version rules!

5. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje: Ralph Fiennes as the wounded soldier. Juliette Binoche as Hana the nurse who looks after him. Naveen Andrews as the enigmatic sapper Kip who loves Hana, a thief with chopped hands and the story of the english patient’s life. All the action takes place in a run-down war-torn Italian villa. The book had to be brilliant, but the film touched every single note right. Superb!

I don’t think one post will be enough for this. I have to come back with more…for sure…

O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell

A lot of people have attempted to retell Shakespeare’s most loved play, “Romeo and Juliet”. Right from Baz Luhrman to Barbara Bach (her film was made in 1968). And now Robin Maxwell’s retelling is set in Florence  during the Renaissance era. The twist in the tale is this: Robin tries to tell us what would have happened if Romeo and Juliet, had actually lived? Would their tale be any different?

The last names here are of course different, though they have the familiar ring to them – Capelleti and Monticecco. The story more or less remains the same – feuding families, they fall in love, their love for Dante (brilliantly portrayed in the book), and the predictable end. What I loved about the book is the way it is written – it made me feel warm, I felt connected to other characters as well besides just Romeo and Juliet – Lucrezia being my personal favourite.

If you are looking to find some deep insight in the book, then my suggestion is not to pick it up at all. Read it to enjoy it. The beauty of the language is what it needs to be read for. Enjoy it on a rainy day with hot marshmellows!! Yummy…