iOpine

Phew…these holidays have been EVENTFUL

I went to the Book Fair, bought 22 books and have been systematically devouring them.
Some of the books and what I thought:

1. Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence:

It’s pretty nice. The book weaves together Italian and Indian history..from the Renaissance in Florence to the Mughal period (Akbar’s reign) in Sikri. Rushdie is said to have done a whole lot of research to write this book, and that is evident from the authenticity of his writing. Now, I am a huge fan of the Mughal, Akbar in particular. So I enjoyed reading about him in the way that Rushdie has written. However, the tale is apparently equally authentic when it speaks of the Italian happenings because the chief protagonist of the book, a Niccolo Machiavelli was indeed a prominent personality during this time and all that is history is woven into the tale. Surprisingly though, his Wikipedia page does not mention this book anywhere under Use in Popular Culture or any such. The book tends to drag a bit in the middle with all it’s talk of the Medici, but my persistence paid off with a not-very-earth-shattering, but entertaining surprise ending.
This video has Rushdie talking about Machiavelli and another character in the book, so I’m quite happy to know how he’s written about real people so well in his book :)

2. Khushwant Singh’s Portrait of a Lady:

A collection of his short stories that baffled me even more than Archer’s Twelve Red Herrings. They’re the very surprising…”It’s over?” ending stories and while I got almost NONE of the Archers, I must confess to have understood about 40% of Singh’s tales. They have that Indian feeling I so long to put in my own writing and so, even though I understood little of what his point was, I did like them ;)

3. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind:

(Not bought at the book fair) I started reading this book a long time ago, but abandoned it midway because it seems most insufferably boring. But, having taken it up again, I beg to differ. Actually, it’s quite difficult for me to attribute a particular word to this book. Its not boring, but it’s barely engaging. I find myself carrying on with the reading because of the immense repute the book has, to see why so. The story is dragging along and the American Civil War is not something I’m altogether familiar with (I did look it up, but really didn’t help). In addition, Scarlett O’ Hara is the most exasperating woman I have ever read about. She annoys me almost as much as her frivolity amuses me. Add to that Rhett Butler- a darker, meaner version of Edward Cullen and my interest is left hanging by a thread. Yet again, I will contradict myself in my opinion of Mitchell’s writing. Her scenes are realistic and society is one factor in the book that has kept me hooked, but at the same time, I am yet to understand the futility of the entire book. I refuse to accept that after reading about how annoying/nice/handsome/heroic/annoying/nice/handsome(on a loop)… Rhett Butler is for 800 words, he will leave Scarlett with a simple “My dear, I don’t give a damn”. The guy’s got guts. And the writer’s got even more. To tell me that I read this 1009 page book to be led back to square one (single Scarlett). And yes, I know all this ‘cuz I opened random pages and read them, having abandoned reading it in the correct order xP

“But all in all, is it a good book?” you may ask…
My dear I don’t give a damn.

4. Henri Charrière’s Papillon:

I borrowed this book from the library in ninth, but never got to read it. I have looked for this book in the crazy labyrinth of books that our Senior Library is, but without any success. The one time I did find it, I had two books issued on my card, so could not take it home. Having read Colfer’s Airman (and loved it), I was naturally curious to read this book- an autobiography of a wrongly-convicted prisoner who tries to escape from French captivity NINE times.  I started reading, with my heart full of love for Airman and for the French and was satisfied. The story is nice: funny, interesting and very sweet in some parts. However, halfway through, I was annoyed. I must shamefacedly admit that I have abandoned the book. I have NEVER abandoned a book before. I cannot. But this one, I did. It is the most exhaustedly immodest book. The man takes credit for EVERYTHING he does and after a point the book is all about how awesome he is and how much his friends owe him. Sorry, but I cannot appreciate that. I also managed to read somewhere about how Papillon (the author/protagonist) may not actually have done all the amazing things, but may have altered history to make it seem so.
So yes, that didn’t go too well.

There were a gazillion other things I wanted to blog about, but they shall have to wait.

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