Sunday, May 31, 2009

TSS: Books read till date in 2009

My goal is to read 150 books in 2009. However anything above 100 is good enough. Here is my monthwise break-up:

December (11).......(154)
The Undertaker's Widow by Phillip M. Margolin
The Valentine Legacy by Catherine Coulter

The Captive by Brenda Joyce
Saving Cicadas by Nicole Seitz
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier**

To Desire A Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas (pdf version)
For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone*
The Emerald Swan by Jane Feather
Creole Angel by Peggy Hanchar
After Innocence by Brenda Joyce

November (8)......143

Night Secrets by Kat Martin

Midnight Magic by Betina Krahn
Cold Skin by Steven Herrick*
White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner*
The Scottish Thistle by Cindy Vallar
Tender Triumph by Judith McNaught
Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg** poetry
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran**
Soul Catcher by
Leigh Bridger

October (13)......134

Hoodoo Sea by Rolf Hitzer
72 Virgins by Avi Perry
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundell**
Dust by Susan Berliner
Judah's Lion by Anne Caston** poetry
The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell*
Receive Me Falling by Erica Robuck*

Kiss Me Again, Stranger by Daphne du Maurier
Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy*

Just Say Yes by Betina Krahn
The Secret Hour by Luanne Rice
After You by Julie Buxbaum*

September (21)....121

Tintin & The Crab with the Golden Claws
Tintin & The Shooting Star
Tintin & The Secret of the UnicornTintin and King Ottokar's Sceptre
Tintin and The Broken Ear

Tintin and The Blue Lotus
by Herge
Lonestar Secrets by Colleen Coble
A House of Bottles by Robin Merril poetry
The Locked Room: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
The Sister Pact by Cami Checkett
Someone Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage*
Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed by Marc Blatte
A Note From An Old Acquaintance
Ghosts: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh by Herge
Tintin in America by Herge
Nightshade by John Saul*
Heart of Courage by Kat Martin
Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught

Alvor by Linda Bingham
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

August (14 ).......100

Deep Freeze by Lisa Jackson
Magdalene & the Mermaids by Elizabeth Kate Switaj (poetry)
Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak**
Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher
T'Aragam by Jack W Regan
Faces In The Fire by T. L. Hines**
A Worthy Legacy by Tomi Akinyanmi
The Reincarnationist by M J Rose*
A La Carte by Tanita S Davis
Best Intentions by Emily Listfield
Prince Rupert's Teardrops by Lisa Glass*
Kill For Me by Karen Rose*
Tommy Gun Tango by Brant Randall/Bruce Cook
Mare's War by Tanita S Davis

July: (7).....86

The Lost Book of Salem by Katherine Howe**
The Wolves' Keeper Legend by Sylvia Weber
The Jewel Trader of Pegu by Jeffrey Hantover*
One Scream Away by Kate Brady
The Texicans by Nina Vida*

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks**
A Bird in the House by Margaret Laurence

June: (14)....79
Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie*
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

A World I Never Made by James Lepore
The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha**
Baby Shark by Robert Fate
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson*
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
Angel's Advocate by Mary Stanton
The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill
Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
In the Shadow Of the Glacier by Vicki Delany
Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales by Eleanor Bluestein
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
Visions by Jean Koning

May (12)--65
Mirror Blue by Thomma Lynn Grindstaff
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan**
Chinatown Angel by A. E. Roman
Death's Daughter by Amber Benson
the rivers run dry by Sibella Giorello*
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams*
The Killing Tree by Rachel Keener*
Every Last Cucko by Kate Maloy
The Perfect Bride by Brenda Joyce
Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji**
Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
The Noticer by Andy Andrews

April (16)

Breathing Out the Ghost by Kirk Curnutt**
The Horseman's Graves by Jacqueline Baker*
Going to See the Elephant by Rhodes Fishburne
Random Acts of Heroic Love by David Schienmann**
The Pleasure Trap by Elizabeth Thornton
The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton
Faith and Honour by Robin Maderich
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
From A to X by John Berger
Angel of Wrath by Bill Meyers
Six Seconds by Rick Mofina
A Walk to the Hills of Dreamtime by James Vance Marshall
Waiting for Willa by Dorothy Eden
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant*
the nine planets by Edward Riche
The Farwalkers' Quest by Joni Sensel
March (14)

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar**
Mainline to the Heart and Other Poems by Clive Matson (Poetry)*
Sputnik Sweatheart by Haruki Murakami*
A Climb Through Altered Lanscaped by Ian Parks (Poetry)*
Dream Country by Luanne Rice
Love with a Stranger by Janelle Taylor
The Murder Stone by Louise Penny
When We Meet Again by Victoria Alexander
Disco of the Departed by Colin Cotteril
Rachel's Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott
The Curse of the Holy Pail by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Paper Rose by Diana Palmer
Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

February (8)

The Simplest Acts and Other Stories by Melanie Haney
Cool Jew by Lisa Alcalay Klug
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb**
Signora Da Vinci by Robin Maxwell
Letters Between Us by Linda Rader OvermanFrantic by Katherine Howell
Fire at Midnight by Lisa Marie Wilkinson
Long After Midnight by Iris Johanson

January (15)

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
Fiction by Ara 13
The Suicide Collecters by David Oppegaard*
Dragon's Keep by Janet Lee Carey
Blood Harvest by Brant Randall
Aurelia by Anne Osterlund
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway**
Twins by Katherine Stone
Losing Kei By Suzanne Kamata
Dante's Inferno by Sarah Lovett*
The Unseen by T. L. Hines*
Larry's Party by Carol Shields
Midwife of Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins
Fault Line by Barry Eisler*
Counter Clocwise by Jason Crockroft

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Henry and I dug the hole seven feet deep. Any shallower and the corpse was liable to come rising up during the next big flood: Howdy boys! Remember me?

Title: Mudbound
Author: Hillary Jordan
ISBN: 9781655126770
Publisher: Algonquin Books/2008
Pages: 324

The novel opens with a grave being dug by Henry and Jamie for their father in the farm that Henry owns. There is an atmospheric feel to it because of impending rains. Both want to finish the burial before it pours.

It is 1939 and Laura a Memphis school teacher, at thirty one years is resigned to the fate of spinster whn she meets Henry. After courtship of some months, they get married and live in Memphis where they have two daughters. But Henry McAllan buys a cotton farm in remote Mississippi without telling her and she is forced to move there. And circumstances makes them stay in a house which has no running water, no electricity and no bathroom, other than an outhouse. And come rains, the ramshackle farm is cut of from civililzation, and they are bound only with mud. Although Laura isn't vocal about it, but she doesn't like her situation one bit. She also hates the fact that Pappy, Henry's father comes to live with them.

Intermingled to their lives are the Jacksons, the black sharecroppers working on Henry's land. Florence is hired by Henry to help Laura at the house. She does it happily enough as she needs the money. Florence is a midwife too, who is much sought after. Hap, along with working on Henry's land also acts as preacher of sorts for the blacks and coloured people in that remote place.

It was that time when white people and black people were not friends, and did not socialise together. Although the whites let the blacks work on their fields but hated to socialise with them.

When World War II ends, Henry's brother Jamie comes to the farm and also Ronsel, Jackson's son to returns from the very same war. Both have their own demons to kill. An unlikely friendship develops between the two, which brings forth racial tensions in that place, which brings about the inevitable tragedy. This brings more sorrow for both the families.

Told in the voices of Jamie, Laura, Henry, Ronsel, Florence and Hap, it gives us glimpses into everyone thoughts and the interactions between the families. Of all the character, Pappy has not been given a voice but that only enhances his evil persona. The racial tensions are felt by us all throughout the book. Right from the beginning, there is a sense of doom, which concludes in tragedy. And redemption comes from unexpectedly and from the unlikeliest source. Jordan's descriptions are very vivid too. People and places come out alive right in front of us.

The questions asked by Ronsel are very disturbing. A novel that grips right from the first page. And does not leave the mind long after finishing it. What I really liked is that she has given voices to blacks too. A very important aspect.

Jordan's descriptions are very vivid too. People and places come out alive right in front of us.

Weekly Geeks: Guilty pleasures

What's your non-reading guilty pleasure?
Trashy TV?
Trashier movies?
Junk food?

# Sleeping!

It's not that I sleep more than 8 hours. I can stay well after midnight if I am reading a book. I get up early too as my school starts at 7 AM. Maybe that is the reason, I simply fall asleep when I get back from school. In the afternoons. Afternoon siestas are my weakness. And especially in summers, it is too hot to do anything other than sleep. And my siesta lasts for more than two hours. Add daydreaming to that, and you have it. Ah, bliss!

# Tea: I am a tea addict. Can't resist the stuff at any given point of time. I drink gallons of it.

# Shoes: I gotta check any shoe store even if I don't buy it. I have resisted buying shoes for a long time now unless it is necessary.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chinatown Angel by A. E. Roman

I try not to judge, but from the get-go, I didn't like Albert's friend. Kirk Douglas, not his real name, was twenty-seven years old.

Title: Chinatown Angel
Author: A. E. Roman
ISBN: 9780312375003
Publisher: Minotaur Books/2009
Pages: 275

Chico Santana is a lonely man. His wife Ramona has left him and he has just drifted for six months. A girl goes missing and as he is a private Investigator, he is offered the job of finding the Chineses-Cuban-American girl, Tiffany who does not wish to be found. Chico thinks it is a easy job. Pilar, Kirk Atlas's maid cum lover falls from the roof. Police assume it is a suicide and close the case. But Chico has a bad feeling about it. Tiffany's own family does not want her to be found and Chico gets embroiled in their family politics. Even when Chico is told to leave the case alone, he does not turn back. He has to find the truth, no matter what. And he stumbles upon closely guarded family secret which also affects his friend, Albert.

Kirk Atlas wants to make it big in Hollywood and so does Albert who aspires to be a great actor. Kirk Atlas belongs to a well known family and Tiffany is his first cousin. Albert is in a relationship with Olga, who is Tiffany's sister and there is no love lost betweem them.

Right from the beginning, Chico Santana is a likeable character. He has not learnt to turn back from finding out the truth. Even if he is offered good money for it. His wife Ramona is a well known writer and Chico is the one without money. He is in love with her and pines for her all the time, other women nonwithstanding.

The novel moves forward in a good pace. With many twists and turns, it manages to keep us hooked. It shows us New York city with it varied people, from street people to those live in penthouses. It also retains its wit throughout. For a debut, it is a good read.

Finding on a friday



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Death's Daugther by Amber Benson

Title: Death's Daughter
Author: Amber Benson
ISBN: 9780441016945
Publisher: Ace Books/2009
Pages: 359

Book Blurb:

Calliope Reaper-Jones so just wanted a normal life: buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from Craig’s List, web-surfing for organic dim-sum for her boss...

But when her father—who happens to be Death himself—is kidnapped, and the Devil’s Protege embarks on a hostile takeover of the family business, Death, Inc., Callie returns home to assume the CEO mantle— only to discover she must complete three nearly impossible tasks in the realm of the afterlife first.


Taking that book blurb, it ought have made a good read. but somehow the heroine did nothing to help the reader. Calliope is an empty headed female, who is more into goofing than anything else. She is given responsibility but she thinks everything is funny. Under no circumstances she gets serious. Then we see her being attracted to any male. One moment she starves for them, next moment hating them.

At evey page I wished for the heroine to get serious but she doesn't. Runt, the pup is the only redeeming feature of this book. The concept is good, fantasy, religion, mythology all have been taken into the story line. It starts well but goes kaput because of the airhead heroine. She is an immortal yet she doesn't know how to take care of herself or does nothing to save her skin. The devil's son and Indra along with Kali protect her at every step. I wish they hadn't. She deserved to do it under her own steam and maybe it would taught her to be serious.

And I had predicted the evil persona right in the middle. Not much of a novel, this! At least not for me! I took a while to finish this.

Booking through Unread

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Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?

Instantly I can recall The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I wish I had not wasted my time reading it. Worse, I went on until I finished it. Positively thinking, I learnt a lesson from this. Not to pick up a book which is so much hyped and read by all and sundry.

Books are so personal. What I like might not be liked by another person and vice versa. Each book, be it a very bad one teaches us some. Even if that is to avoid any other book by the same author.

Nowadays, If I don't like a book beyond page 20, I simply stop reading it and move to another. Why waste time when there are other great reads available?

What about you? Do you agree?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Word Wednesday hosted by Kathy of BermudaOnion

These words found in the rivers run dry by Sibella Giorello

1) Troglodyte (page 37): According to Jack, Marvin was "a troglodyte." But even a dinosaur could help


    1. A member of a fabulous or prehistoric race of people that lived in caves, dens, or holes.
    2. A person considered to be reclusive, reactionary, out of date, or brutish.
    1. An anthropoid ape, such as a gorilla or chimpanzee.
    2. An animal that lives underground, as an ant or a worm.

2) Sconce (page 47): I draped awhite bath towel over sconce, dimming the light.

1) A sconce is a type of light fixture affixed to a wall in such a way that it uses only the wall for support, and the light is usually directed upwards.

2) A small defensive earthwork or fort.

3) Friable (page 90): And it was friable, eroded by the elements.


Readily crumbled; brittle: friable asbestos insulation.

4) Coulees (page 94): In 1929, he concluded that the coulees could only have been formed by a catastrophic flood because the sides were almost perpendicular and the bottoms were wide and flat, not narrow winding....


  1. Western U.S. A deep gulch or ravine with sloping sides, often dry in summer.
  2. Louisiana & Southern Mississippi.
    1. A streambed, often dry according to the season.
    2. A small stream, bayou, or canal.
  3. Upper Midwest. A valley with hills on either side.
    1. A stream of molten lava.
    2. A sheet of solidified lava.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where I am being teased?


  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
I feel so lonely with you. It was the cruelest thing you could say to the person you claimed to love and cherish forever.

~Page 87, Chinatown Angel by A . E. Roman


New York. I am heart broken. My wife has left me. I am trying to find my way again. I am a private Investigator and I am hired to track down a beautiful Chinese-Cuban-American girl who does not wish to be found. Just when I think I got an easy job, all hell breaks loose.

Chinatown Angel by A . E. Roman

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mondays: Mailbox/whereabouts

It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event hosted by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog, "to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week."

Last week I finished :

The Killing Tree by Rachel Keener

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

the river runs dry by Sibella Giorello

Currently Reading:

Now Silence by Tori Warner Shepard

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

Death's Daughter by Amber Benson


I did not receive any book in the Mailbox!

What about you? What did you get in your mailbox? What are you reading?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Musing about gift certificates

Musing Mondays (BIG)

Do you give gift certificates to book stores as presents? If so, do you give for actual stores or online stores? Do you like to receive them yourself?

I don't give out gift cerificates to book stores as presents. Mainly for the reason, most of my friends are not into reading. My nephews and nieces prefer me to buy them books instead of buying it themselves. They let me know what book they want and I buy those books for them. Gift cerificates are convenient but those don't work for everyone. Non-readers don't like receive those.

My brothers do give me gift certificates to bookstores as gifts and I do like to receive those. It gives me flexibility in buying at my own pace.

TSS: What book are you?

You're Siddhartha!

by Hermann Hesse

You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in. This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in faeries.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

TSS: Sunday Book Coveting----Poetry book

POEMS 1959-2009 by Frederick Seidel

Quoting from The New York Times:

"Frederick Seidel has spent the last half-century being that darkest and strangest sort of poet. He is, it’s widely agreed, one of poetry’s few truly scary characters. This is a reputation of which he’s plainly aware and by which he’s obviously amused, at least to judge from the nervy title of his 2006 book, “Ooga-Booga.” This perception also colors the praise his collections typically receive — to pick one example from many, Calvin Bedient admiringly describes him as “the most frightening American poet ever,” which is a bit like calling someone “history’s most bloodthirsty clockmaker.” What is it about Seidel that bothers and excites everyone so much?

The simplest answer is that he’s an exhilarating and unsettling writer who is very good at saying things that can seem rather bad. When a Seidel poem begins, “The most beautiful power in the world has buttocks,” it’s hard to know whether to applaud or shake your head.

Here is “That Fall”:

The body on the bed is made of china,
Shiny china vagina and pubic hair.
The glassy smoothness of a woman’s body!
I stand outside the open door and stare.

I watch the shark glide by . . . it comes and goes —
Must constantly keep moving or it will drown.
The mouth slit in the formless fetal nose
Gives it that empty look — it looks unborn;

It comes into the room up to the bed
Just like a dog. The smell of burning leaves,
Rose bittersweetness rising from the red,
Is what I see. I must be twelve. That fall.

It seems inadequate to call this a poem of adolescent male sexual desire, although that’s exactly what it is."

TSS: the rivers run dry by Sibella Giorello

It was early October when I drove east toward the mountains outside Seattle with tainted emeralds on my mind.

Title: the rivers run dry
Author: Sibella Giorello
ISBN: 9781595545336
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/2009
Pages: 317

Raleigh Harmon is a geologist as well as a good FBI agent. But she is not good at work politics. As it is thought she is not good at taking orders, she is shunted out to drought stricken Seattle from Richmond as a disciplinary action. Raleigh Harmon does not let it unfaze her. As she soon as she arrives, she finds that a hiker has gone missing. A hiker who belongs to one of the rich families and her parents don't want it publicized. Initially there is no ransom note. But the note does turn up. Raleigh in her own way looks for clues about the missing girl, taking the help of forensics. Everyone else considers it as a open and shut case but singlehandedly she vows to find the missing college girl.

On her way to it, she also discovers many skeletons tumbling out of the cupboards, those truths which had been hidden carefully by the missing girl's parents. Her bosses are not very cooperative but she does not let that come into her work. She gets to the bottom until she unravels what happened to the girl, Courtney, who also is a gambling addict.

Raleigh is a very likeable character. She has enough problems of her own. Her mother's behaviour at times borders on the weird. And her aunt has a clairyovant for a friend, who seems to be after Raleigh predicting danger for her. But Raleigh is least fazed by all of it. She is good at her job and she also is not one for giving in to emotions. She is rational and practical. She is also not above asking for help when she needs it.

Giorello's writing is very visual. Her use of imagery is astounding. The poetic language would have kept me on, no matter what. She also knows what she is writing about. It is a well written novel, with a sense of place, fast-moving plot and a very endearing, no nonsense heroine. This book also talks of spirituality but in no way it is jarring. I for one would look out for more novels from this author. I simply fell in love with her poetic prose.

Thanks to the publisher for this book.

Also reviewed by:


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekly Geeks: Summer reading


My summer vacations started on the 1 May, 2009. As a rule, my reading habits do not change with the season. I read what interests me or on my mood which has nothing to do with summer. Maybe I read more books but this year that too has not worked for me. I am pretty much reading at the same pace as before. Summer times for me means more of sleeping hours. No, I get up early but I do take a siesta in the afternoons when it is too hot to do anything even read. I don't watch movies much. Yes, I like watching war movies but that has nothing to do with summer.

This year I have set myself to read more books on the WWI and WWII.

Summer time also means going out of Delhi for a short break. It depends where I visit. Sometimes the mountains, others the beaches. However, wherever I go I carry books. Assorted books.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Finds: My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok


My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok Found it at Ted of Bookeywookey

Publisher Comments from Powell Books:
Since its original publication in 1972, this stirring, luminously rendered novel that lets us into a little-known and less understood world has been recognized as a modern classic.

Its protagonist is Asher Lev, a boy raised in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, who at an early age discovers a compulsive need to draw and paint the world around him. As he grows up, Asher's gift will become increasingly evident to others even as it places him at odds with his parents and teachers. For a Jew is supposed to serve the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe, while an artist is responsible only to his imagination. In depicting Asher's struggle to reconcile these two identities, My Name Is Asher Lev presents a heartbreaking and exultant vision of what it means to be an artist.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Title: A Streetcar Named Desire
Author: Tennessee Williams
ISBN: 0451167783
Publisher: A Signet Book/1974

Pages: 142

This play opens in two storey corner building on a street in New Orleans. Stella is married to Stanley Kowalski, who is loud and considered a barbarian. He keeps similar company. Blanche Dubois arrives thereas if on a short visit to her younger sister Stella. Stella had not told Stanley about Blanche's visit. Stanley is not to happy to see her. They are living in a very small house with only one bedroom and a single bathroom. So Blanche's arrival is a bit of an inconveience for them. IT affects their relationship.

Blanche pretends to be a school teacher and says she is younger than Stella even she is five years older at thirty. She looks down upon Stanley, who she considers is a crude person with no manners. STanley senses that and he tries to find out about her past. And he does discover that she had a dubious past and is hiding from everyone including his friend Mitch, who is keen on marrying Blanche. Stanley tells him the truth and Mitch is now reluctant to marry Blanche. Blanche is devastated as she had hoped to leave her past behind and settle down into domesticity with Mitch. Stanley is not at all sorry and one dayhe comes out strongly on Blanche..and Blanche's loses her sanity.

This is short play which mainly which takes place mostly in the house. Mitch does love Blanche but cannot accept her past. Blanche is keen on settling down but she is also scared of her past catching up with her which is does and she is doomed. Stanley despises Blanche because she looks down upon him. And he becomes the instrument of her destruction. Stella is a good sister and she too loves Stanley despite all his failings.

The Streetcar Named Desire as the title suggests tells us about our innermost wants, needs and desires. Some we get and some we don't. And past will catch up no matter what. Especially that past which we want to keep hidden.

Do check out The Glass Menagerie too. Well worth reading.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

to make second a first

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What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?

I have re-read a lot of books. Classics mostly. However, that was much before. Now I barely re-read.

Having said that, in the recent times if I do pick up book to read again for the first time, it would be The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. Somehow I feel the second time around it would still feel like a new read, I would be reading it with a fresh intuition and more open mind. It would make the book more alive for me, the futility of war and still surving in such a situation.

Another is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. It too is based in war but also depicts hope and love.

There are some more, I must mention here:

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The HERetic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

# I feel that the essence of the question is for that recaptrured feeling of wonder. The surprise of the first read won't be there but sometimes re-reading only enhances the wonder, that element of newness. Maybe a book with magical realism might capture the first time essence albeit in a different way. I added this so as to answer to the comments made by Heather, Margaret and Gentle Reader.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Killing Tree by Rachel Keener

The chickens began to creep on a steamy day in June. They were used to walking and pecking. But on that day, they learned the same thing that I had. You have to creep around the silence to survive it.

Title: The Killing Tree
Author: Rachel Keener
ISBN: 9781599951119
Publisher: Center Street/2009
Pages: 322

Mercy graduates from high school with no dreams. She does not even think of going to college. She is living with her forceful and domineering grandfather and her grandmother who is taken to be little bit mad. He mother had died giving birth to her under the apple tree after Father Heron had locked her out from his home and hearth.

Mercy works in the local diner and is happy enough with her lot with no dreams and expectations from Father Heron, who is a real hard man. Mercy somehow cannot fit in, like her friend Della, who is a very popular girl with the men. Mercy feels like an outsider even though she is 18 year old and lived in Crooked Top Mountain all her life. Then she meets Trout, a migrant worker, who works in the tomato fields. He too is an outsider, who does not fit in. Both come together and fall in love with each other. And Mercy leaves her home to be with him. But she forgets all about her powerful and ruthless grandfather, who does everything he can to keep them apart. No amount of plea on her part can bend him.

The Killing Tree is the story of Mercy, who right from her birth had to struggle for her survival. The Killing Tree is a great metaphor. Mercy's mother died giving birth to her under that apple tree. Mercy to has nightmares about it, wishing to take her life. Mercy's grandmother Rutha is a very interesting character who has a healing touch. She too had left her roots to be with the man she loves, although Father Heron seems like an unlikely character capable of loving and being loved. Della may seem frivolous but her bonding with Mercy always remains strong.

Rachel Keener has written a good book. Writing style is good and there is a bit of symbolism which addes to the story. Mercy may despair but she also has the strength to rise above anything. She may seem weak initially but she knows what has to be done. This book is about survival, love and friendship. It is not an easy read and it depicts life with all its failings. It cannot be called a comfort read yet it makes us feel fulfilled after reading it.

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Word Wednesday hosted by Kathy of BermudaOnion

I found those words in Death's Daughter by Amber Benson

1) Kibosh (page 227): [He] had opened a wormhole in the middle of nowhere to put a kibosh on my whinings and save us at the same time.

n. Informal.

A checking or restraining element: had to put the kibosh on a poorly conceived plan.

2) Quesadilla (page 229): ..but when I woke up, my nose felt all warm and melty to my touch, kind of like a quesadilla....


A flour tortilla folded in half around a savory filling, as of cheese or beans, then fried or toasted.

3) Commingling (page 236): [just the thought of] his life force commingling with mine, made me gaga with lust.

v., -gled, -gling, -gles. v.intr.

To become blended.

To cause to blend together; mix.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where am I in this teaser?

Teaser Tuesdays

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

They stare at each other. Then they come together with low, animal moans.

~Page 60, A Steetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams


I am in a two story corner building on a street in New Orleans, visiting my younger sister Stella. She is married to Stanley Kowalski, a crude but raw and sensual person. He gets drunk in the evenings playing cards with his friends, and I don't know how Stella can bear him.

A Steetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Short Story: The Ugly Duckling by Hans Anderson

Most must have read The Ugly Duckling. I re-read it from the Fairy Tales by Hans Anderson. However, you can read it online by clicking on the title.

A duck is happy that her eggs have hatched and she loves watching her duckling frolicking and playing around. But one of the eggs is still there unhatched. She sits on it again and from there emerges a duckling so ugly that no one likes him at all. Poor duckling is pushed, bitten and bullied around even by his siblings. No one comes in his defense, not even his mother, who wishes he was never borne.

The poor duckling was driven about by every one; even his brothers and sisters were unkind to him, and would say, “Ah, you ugly creature, I wish the cat would get you,” and his mother said she wished he had never been born. The ducks pecked him, the chickens beat him, and the girl who fed the poultry kicked him with her feet. So at last he ran away, frightening the little birds in the hedge as he flew over the palings.

He leaves his home and flies into a large moor. Even there he is not treated well. One day he sees a flock of Swans, so beautiful and graceful. Somehow he feels a kinship with them.

He knew not the names of these birds, nor where they had flown, but he felt towards them as he had never felt for any other bird in the world. He was not envious of these beautiful creatures, but wished to be as lovely as they. Poor ugly creature, how gladly he would have lived even with the ducks had they only given him encouragement.

Then one winter unable to swim in the frozen river, he is almost frozen to death when a kind peasant picks him up and takes him home thawing him. And so it went on, he barely surving the winters and longing to be with other birds including the ducks.

It would be very sad, were I to relate all the misery and privations which the poor little duckling endured during the hard winter; but when it had passed, he found himself lying one morning in a moor, amongst the rushes. He felt the warm sun shining, and heard the lark singing, and saw that all around was beautiful spring. Then the young bird felt that his wings were strong, as he flapped them against his sides, and rose high into the air. They bore him onwards, until he found himself in a large garden, before he well knew how it had happened. The apple-trees were in full blossom, and the fragrant elders bent their long green branches down to the stream which wound round a smooth lawn. Everything looked beautiful, in the freshness of early spring. From a thicket close by came three beautiful white swans, rustling their feathers, and swimming lightly over the smooth water. The duckling remembered the lovely birds, and felt more strangely unhappy than ever.

He flew out into the sky and found swans coming towards him. He bent his head asking them to kill him. But what did he see in the water below, a bird so beautiful.

But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan. To be born in a duck’s nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg. He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for the great swans swam round the new-comer, and stroked his neck with their beaks, as a welcome.

The Ugly Duckling had become a beautiful swan, so graceful and so elegant. But pride did not touch him. He was filled with happiness and wonder.

In a world where beauty is given so much importance, ugly has no place. It does not matter that the ugly creature might have a heart of gold. Everyone turns against them and survival becomes a struggle. The Ugly Duckling tells us that it need not be so. One can become a swan, if not in appearance then in deed. And humility still counts.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mondays: Whats up?

Musing Mondays (BIG)

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? Was it from a particular person, or person(s)? Do you remember any books that you read, or were read to you, as a young child?

My dad was a voracious reader. He used to read us everyday from Hindu Mythology mostly. With lots of illustrations. When we started reading, he bought us whatever we wished for. He even got us subscribed to a few children's magazines. And he made sure we read all those from page to page. He also used to read us from Physics books telling us the basics of it. He in his own story telling way made sciences very easy for us. Maybe that was the reason all three of my brothers branched out into various engineeering streams and I took up Chemistry. (I am PG in Chemistry). However, he always encouraged us to read anything we wished to. Maybe he also kept a tab if we read any porn! Somehow I was not much inclined to read those books. I was too busy reading the classics, Daphne Du Mairier, Ayn Rand etc etc.

My mom too had no lesser role. At night she sat down with us with a book in her hand. She mostly read human interest stories. Readers Digest was one of her favourite magazines. She still reads those so I subscribe for her. I love it when I and my mom read together. Yes, we do miss my dad. But I know he must be pleased looking at us from up there!


I received the following books:

1) Blasted by Kate Story from the author

Blasted is a story of Ruby Jones, an irreverent, exuberant, and troubled woman who lurches between love affairs and cities. The narrative shifts between generations and geographies, between contemporary life and stories as old as the hill that looms over Ruby’s birthplace.

2) In The Shadow Of The Glacier by Vicki Delany from the author

Delany's intriguing series opener introduces young constable Molly Smith, who almost literally stumbles across a rare murder victim in peaceful Trafalgar, British Columbia.

3) The Mechanics of Falling and other Stories by Catherine Brady from Serena

The perils and thrills of life’s unexpected junctures, and the decisions made as a result, are featured in this enticing, challenging collection.

4) The Perfect Bride by Brenda Joyce from Stacy

5) The Mercy Seller by Brenda Rickman Vantrease from the author

In the fifteenth century, with religious intolerance spreading like wildfire across Europe, English-born Anna Bookman and her grandfather, Finn, earn a living in Prague by illuminating precious books, including forbidden translations of the Bible.
In London, Friar Gabriel dutifully obeys church doctrine by granting pardons . . . for a small fee. But then he is sent undercover on a spying mission to France, where Anna has set up a temporary stall as a bookseller.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event hosted by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog, "to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week."

I finished reading and reviewing:

Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

The Perfect Bride by Brenda Joyce

Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy

The Killing Tree by Rachel Keener (yet to be reviewed)

Currently reading:

Death's Daughter by Amber Benson

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams