Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Word Wednesday is hosted by Kathy of BermudaOnion

The first two words are from The Sister Pact by Cami Checketts

1) Conniption (page 4): Her husband would have a conniption fit----a justified conniption fit.

n. Informal

A fit of violent emotion, such as anger or panic. Also called conniption fit.

2) Putz (Page 101): "But if you're into the sellout, smooth-talking, rich putz don't think that I give a crap."

  1. Slang. A fool; an idiot
intr.v. Slang, putzed, putz·ing, putz·es.

To behave in an idle manner; putter.

The third word is from a poetry book, A House of Bottles by Robin Merrill

3) Reveille (Page 2): I didn't recognise myself that morning,
Waking up to in Africa, to a reveille
requesting prayer.

    1. The sounding of a bugle early in the morning to awaken and summon people in a camp or garrison.
    2. This bugle call or its equivalent.
    3. The first military formation of the day.
  1. A signal to get up out of bed.

A House of Bottles by Robin Merrill

Title: A House of Bottles
Author: Robin Merrill
ISBN: 9781615394494
Publisher: Moon Pie Press/2009
Pages: 29

It is a very short poetry book. That doesn't lessen that impact of the poems. The poems take us into various journeys, some real, some inside the mind. Playful too and with a such a depth that can't be fathomed. Sometimes funny, others sad. She openly shows the wounds and healing process too. The beauty of the poems comes from the realist way of portrayal. The troubling life of the people all over the world. It might have been written for American way of life but has universal appeal.

The vulnerabilty of the poetry touches us. The creativity of the poet surprises us. A collage of life depicted in poetry. With a such a range of feelings.

Here I share a poem, Hangman's Tree (page 10):

Not in the middle of the field
like on a stage
but on the edge
like a half-kept secret

One man dead a tragedy
Two in the same tree is folly.
What is three?
The third man

half-drunk early morning
trembled as he flung the rope
over the second-lowest branch
He had no second thoughts.

His last words,
curse this town of Manistee.
His last prayer,
someone cut down the tree.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Sister Pact by Cami Checketts

Wesley Richins dimmed the lights, inching to a stop across the street from his target's two story house. The Hummer was loud. To loud. He cut the motor and peered out of his windshield.

Title: The Sister Pact
Author: Cami Checketts
ISBN: 9781599552675
Publisher: Bonneville Books/2009
Pages: 229

Allison Mendez goes into coma from a fall. She had been talking to her sister Savannah Compton, some minutes prior to that when the doorbell rings. When Savannah does not get the callback as Allison had promised, she goes to her place and finds her sister on the floor and calls 911. Someone already had placed that call but had not left a name or cut off the phone.

A detective Noah Shumway arrives on the scene and finds himself suspecting Savannah for Allison's state. He makes it a point to watch her 24 hours a day and moves into Allison's house where Savannah, her father Frank and Allison's toddler son Josh are staying. Allison doesn't come out of the coma and after some tests it is discovered that someone is injecting drugs so that she doesn't come out of it sooner. Again Savannah is a prime suspect for spending alone time with her comatose sister.

Savannah has a past and no witnesses and doesn't know how to save herself. She knows that someone is involved but has no way of knowing who. Meanwhile Wesley Richins hires her as his trainer. He is handsome to boot and is the son of a senator. He is attracted to her and can go to any length to get her. Even though she is a suspect in his mind, Noah too is attracted towards Savannah.

Savannah and Allison share a deep bond. They have made a pact that each would always be there for the other. Savannah too knows that she has to find the culprit or her family is in danger. The police or Savannah and her family may not be aware of it, but for the reader, the mystery element is not there as we know right from the beginning who is responsible for Allison's state.

It is an easy read with no much complications and I finished it at one go. I won't call it a masterpiece but it sure is a feel good read. It speaks about family support in times of crisis. When one is in the light reading mood this book works. I did like the writing style. For Christian fiction reader, this book will work very well as it speaks of hope and faith in all situations.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mondays: Musings/Mailbox/whereabouts

Musing Mondays (BIG)
Do you keep a book wishlist, either on paper, Amazon/etc, or via a book database site (Shelfari, GoodReads, LibraryThing)? If yes, do you share this list with others (especially coming up to Christmas)?

I jot down my wishlist in my journal, which I carry everywhere. That way if I go to bookstore I can check what I truly wish to buy. I have not tried to keep a wish list in Amazon, Shelfari, Goodreads etc etc. Frankly I never thought of it. Maybe now is the right time to start one. Maybe if my friends see my wishlist, I might get books as gifts.


Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia, In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and New Crayons is hosted by Color Online. Check all three which are related to books you receive in the past week.

I received 3 books:

1) Night of Flames by Douglas Jacobson

Painting a vivid and terrifying picture of war-torn Europe during World War II, this tale chronicles the lives of Anna, a Krakow University professor, and her husband Jan, a Polish cavalryman. After they are separated and forced to flee occupied Poland, Anna soon finds herself caught up in the Belgian Resistance, while Jan becomes embedded in British Intelligence efforts to contact the Resistance in Poland. He soon realises that he must seize this opportunity to search for his lost wife, Anna.

2) The Sister Pact by Cami Checkett

After a tragic fall leaves her sister in a coma, Savannah becomes the prime suspect in the investigation. Desperately hoping to prove her innocence, she convinces detective Noah Shumway to stay by her side at all times. But the close quarters prove too much for them to handle. Can Savannah find the proof she needs to show Noah she s not a monster? And how can she rely on her faith and keep her family safe when it seems all hope is lost?

3) Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz

When Alex "the Axeman" Logan is pulled from his world to help young princess Dara save her kingdom from the Shadow Lord, he thinks there has been a mistake. He's a teen guitar player close to failing 11th grade, not some defender of the realm. All he has are some school books, his wits, and his love of fantasy movies. Overnight his life is history. Alex must confront the Shadow Lord and his minions when he is thrust into a land that has changed from a magical paradise to a barren, hopeless, helpless realm invaded by a dark army. But Alex is not alone. He has the help of Dara, a magic scroll, and a band of unlikely companions drawn from his own history books: a hardened Roman Legionnaire, a swift Japanese Samurai, a mighty African Warrior, a fiery Amazon Archer, and a spirited Shaolin Monk.


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 read the following:

A House of Bottles by Robin Merrill (poetry)
The Locked Room: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

The Sister Pact by Cami Checkett
The Crab with the Golden Claws

The Shooting Star
The Secret of the Unicorn
Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed by Marc Blatte
A Note From An Old Acquaintance

I am currently reading:

The Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
City of Glass by Paul Auster

Plan to read:

More Tintins
And whatever takes my fancy!

Posted reviews of:

Someone Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage
Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh by Herge
Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed by Marc Blatte
A Note From An Old Acquaintance
Ghosts: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Salon:The past week in retrospect and on to the new...

Long time I did a proper Sunday Salon post. For the past few months, I have mostly posted book reviews for TSS.

I am on my Autumn break of 10 days. That ends on 29th September. I have managed to finish a lot of personal work which had been pending for months now. Most days I have been out. However, that has not prevented me from reading. Infact I have been reading lot more. Now I have lots of reviews pending. I have to get around writing reviews before those get unmanageable.

Today I woke up at 4: 30 AM and couldn't go back to sleep. I got up and finished
A House of Bottles by Robin Merrill, a poetry book. I also scheduled a few posts to be published this week. Those include reviews along with the regular memes. I have saved on my posting time for next week and will spend that on reading. However, I will continue interacting with you all!

I read the following 10 books last week. Tintin Albums are light reads but the other ones? No way!

The Locked Room: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
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
A House of Bottles by Robin Merrill (Poetry)
The Sister Pact by Cami Checkett
Tintin & The Crab with the Golden Claws
Tintin & The Shooting Star
Tintin & The Secret of the Unicorn

I think I will write mini reviews for the Tintin Albums. There are three more from the previous week. That means 6 mini reviews. I have already written the reviews of The Sister Pact and A House in Bottles and scheduled those for next week.

What do I plan to do today? What is left of it, that is? I will write poetry, visit my poet friends on their blogs. And read more of Tintin albums. I am yet to re-read 13 others! Next month I plan to re-read all of Asterix albums.

What about you? Are you planning on reading? Or visiting someone? Or sleep it off? Or chill out, folks?

The Locked Room by Paul Auster

It seems to me now that Fanshawe was always there. He is the place where everything begins for me, and without him I would hardly know who I am.

Title: The Locked Room
Author: Paul Auster
ISBN: 9780940650763
Publisher: Sun and Moon Press/1986
Pages: 179 pages

The book begins with the narrator rceiving a mail from Sophie Fanshawe. Fanshawe has gone missing and after six months his pregnant wife, Sophia contacts the narrater who is a childhood friend of Fanshawe, so as to evaluate Fanshawe's work as per his instructions. Inevitably Sophie and the narrater, who too is a writer fall in love and eventually marry and he becomes the father of the baby.

The narrator publishes the work of Fanshawe, which is hailed as greatest piece of writing and many assume that the narrator wrote it as Fanshawe had not published anything when he was very much there. . Meanwhile the narrator finds himself unable to write anything. After sometime, he takes it upon himself to write Fanshawe's biography. And Sophie doesn't like it one bit. However, it doesn't prevent the narrator him from researching Fanshawe's life. He finds interesting bits about his childhood friend. His father had died of cancer, his sister is now in an institute for the insane and his mother hates him

In his quest for writing the biography of Fanshawe, the narrator's marriage almost comes to an end and he also has an illicit affair with Fanshawe's mother. In each frame, the disappeared Fanshawe's presence looms large. Our narrator seems to have been taken over by him. It seems, narrator, while researching the life of a missing writer for a biography, slowly begins to assume his identity. At some points, even the reader starts having doubts.

The title makes sense as one can see that, Fanshawe is the locked room. He can't express all that he feels. So he has to keep himself out. Only way he can do it by locking himself. In a way, it is he who designed that Sophie and the narrator should meet, fall in love and marry. Fanshawe knows that his friend is capable of sustaining power of love. Fanshawe, although a genius, doesn't have it in him to be a loving family man.

Reality and fantasy co-exist here. The short novel can be interpreted profane or profound, depending on the mindset of the reader. I think, it is what Auster intends in all his writings. One can call his work entirely absurd or the work of a genius.

Weekly Geeks : Diversity is the thing!

As most are aware, I live in India* where there are very few book bloggers. Except for veens, and Violetcrush (as Ceri reminded me in the comment section), I don't know any other. So the almost all the book bloggers I visit are from US/UK/ Australia, and other places. There are so many book bloggers who read vastly different books from me, yet I like to visit them. Here I show only a few of those:

Bryan Terry: I discovered this blog fairly recently. I don't know where he finds his books but those are nothing like I read. Those titles are exotic. I have been tempted to try some of those books. And one of these days I might. Do check him out.

Tony's Reading List
: I see a lot of Japanese book reviews on his blog. As I am slowly gravitating towards that, I like to explore his blog. I read him via the google reader.

Walt: He almost entirely reviews comic books/Graphic novels. I like to read him via the google reader. That way I am able to keep abreast with the genre.

Yvonne of Socrates' Book Corner: She reads mostly romances. Even though I am not much into romances, I like to check out her reviews. I love her cat pictures too.

*Update: Here I meant book bloggers who live in India. Not the Indian book bloggers who live US/UK or any other place. I can name three that I am aware of, that is, S.Krishna, Ramya, and Shweta who live outside of India.


Previously I had thought of going the easy way for this
Weekly Geek, that is writing a "Personals Ad" post to find bloggers who are outside my norm.

Single Indian female, 41 living in New Delhi, India seeks book bloggers, who share her love of everything printed. Likes to read most genres except for self help books and hard core porn. A diehard rock music fanatic, likes to paint, write poetry and play with children. She is open to new interests, new ideas, new genres, new anything. She also invites everyone to visit India at least once in their life time.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Someone Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage

"We left San Francisco that morning even though your mother was sick. It was a pretty day, the sun shimmering like a gypsy girl's tambourine."

Title: Someone Else's Daughter
Author: Elizabeth Brundage
ISBN: 9780452295377
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)/2009
Pages: 352

The novel opens with a father's letter to his daughter, who he had given up for adoption. Nate Gallagher and Cat are in no state to look after the baby girl Willa, named after the famous author Willa Cather. Nate and Cat are drifters and Cat is sick with AIDS and thinks that only right thing she can do is giving Willa a good life by giving her up for adoption into a good family. Nate, although reluctant at first, knows the practicality of it and agrees.

Joe and Candace Golding are a prosperous couple in Massachussetts Berkshires, and love Willa even though their relationship is not the very best. They too have a past and wouldn't like it to be revealed in the society they live. Willa studies in Pioneer School, which is an elite private school.

Clair, an artist comes back to the town along with her son, Teddy. She too has a past and seems to have lost out in love. Joe is strongly attracted to her. They are complete opposites and their affair only makes Joe see reason and strengthens him for working towards his marriage with Candace, who has always known about his affairs but turned a blind eye. The headmaster of the elite school Jack Heath and his wife Maggie seem like an upright couple but nothing could be farther from the truth. Maggie is scared that their past might be revealed and they be thrown out of the town.

Nate Gallagher, now a much cleaned up teacher and a wannabe writer, arrives into town by taking a teaching post in that school as he has a strong desire see his daughter. Willa starts her community internship training in a women's shelter and is forced to face some truths she has not envisioned till date. There she meets a hooker Petra and forms some sort of friendship with her.

In this apparently happy small town, when tragedy strikes, everything thing crumbles down. Things come to an head and each one is left to ponder over his/her behaviour and individuality. They must make some choices.
With very realistic portrayal of the various characters, who are not black or white but rather grey, Brundage manages to create a gripping novel, with so plausible a setting. The suspense simply takes us in and the psychologial aspect comes forth very well. Each and every character is well etched. Willa, Joe, Clair and Nate and also the now dead Cat, stay in mind long after.

What I really liked about this novel is the way the learning disorder Dyslexia, is covered here. No surprises there, as I am teacher! No way, it is a depressing novel. The end is fitting and very uplifting. I am going to look out for Brundage's first novel, The Doctor's Wife and anything else she writes.

Also reviewed by :

Jen at Devourer of Books
Michelle at 1 More Chapter
The Friendly Book Nook
Swapna at S. Krishna's Books
Shana at Literarily
Elizabeth at I need more bookshelves
Kristie of Kristie loves books

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Finds: Silence Not, a love story by Cynthia L. Cooper

SILENCE NOT, A LOVE STORY by Cynthia L. Cooper

During an economic crisis in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, an idealistic young Jewish woman involved in the labor movement in Hamburg joins with a rebellious artisan to resist the rise of Nazism, at the same time deepening their love for humanity and each other.

Drawn from the true stories of Gisa Peiper and Paul Konopka, this is a story of courage and love that thrives despite the dangers, telling of hope and art of, of speaking out for the highest human values in the most pressing times.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Booking through the sad ones

btt button

The Crying Tree

What’s the saddest book you’ve read recently?

The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha

The death warrant arrived that morning, packaged in a large white envelope marked confidential and addressed to Tab Mason, Superintendent, Oregon State Penitentiary.

Irene and Nate Stanley's son Shep, has been murdered in their Oregon home, apparently in a robbery. A nineteen year old man Daniel Robbin gives himself up for the said murder and after nineteen years he is given the death sentence, that is to die by lethal injection.

With as difficult as subject like this, it can only be a sad book. That didn't stop me from liking it. I consider it one of my best reads of 2009. Click on the title to read my review.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed by Marc Blatte

Title: Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed
Author: Marc Blatte
ISBN: 9780980139419
Publisher: Schaffner Press, Inc/2009
Pages: 283


On a manic ride from the mixing boards of hip-hop recording studios to mansions in the Hamptons and the projects of the urban ghetto, Detective Black Sallie Blue Eyes ventures behind-the-scenes of the record business in search of a street-side assassin. Casting a widely satirical net on all spectra and species of the Manhattan social scene—from tweaking downtown hipsters, wrestling fetishists, and rapper wannabes to real estate moguls and hip-hop impresarios—this satirical urban noir novel offers intrigue, insight, and an innovative brand of humor.


Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed is set in the midst of the music industry- the hip-hop kind with a cop detective Salvatore Messina, who turns out to be very likeable. He is investigating murder of an Eastern European immigrant who had worked as a bouncer at a club mainly frequented by hip-hop musicians and fans. Our cop is known as Black Sallie Blue Eyes. Although he is not one of the brilliant detective, he is nonetheless one of those cops who doesn't give up. His persistence makes up for his lack of sharp intelligence. Our cop jumps into the midst of twisted people, complex plots which involves money, drugs, music, fighting and moving in higher social strata. Almost all the characters have interesting nick names, as is norm in the music industry and street culture.

With intriguing characters, funny settings, quirky dialogues, the novel has a lot of potential. However, it was a bit slow in the beginning but picked up somewhere in the middle. The prose is not prize winning, what with rough edges. It is mostly street language also jars at places although our cop keeps us hooked. In the beginning one feels that most of the characters do not connect. Halfway through, they start to make sense. I wouldn't call it a noir fiction but more like street literature. And I think it ought to target young males. The females readers will not really take to the street language, the usage of which might hurt their sensibilities. At some places, I felt that way. (What else can you expect from a poet?!)

Our cop Sal Messina manages to hold on his own and I suppose Blatte plans a sequel. Do watch for those if you can take to street literature. One can also relate to the hip hop stuff.

Thanks to the author, Marc Blatte and Lisa Roe for the book.

Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed blog tour

September 21-October 2

Ghosts by Paul Auster

Title: Ghosts (Book 2 of The New York Trilogy)
Author: Paul Auster
ISBN: 9780140131550
Publisher: Penguin/1986
Pages: 72

Ghosts is the second novel in The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. A short one at 72 pages, it manages to hold interest.

Named after colours, the various characters truly depict those alloted names. White hires a private detective Blue to spy on Black. Blue calls the future Mrs. Blue that he is going under cover for a while and moves into an apartment right in front of Black. Now Black doesn't do much other than sitting in front of his window, either reflecting into space or writing something. Blue doesn't like the inactivity. But he still sends reports to White. Those are sterile reports. None of those contain his thoughts.

Blue gets his weekly cheques and ought to be happy living in a fully furnished apartment, watching Black. However, he being a man of action, the lethargy does not become him. Blue disguises himself as an old man and contacts Black, who says he (Blue) looks like the poet, Walt Whitman. Yet, Blue can't find much about Black. Although he has doubts.

One day he breaks into Black's apartment and finds out that Black to is spying on someone and writing about it too. Things come to a head and the title Ghosts makes perfect sense.

Auster writes in no flowery prose, yet there is something which compels the reader to go on. The lucidity is astounding and there is much much more than the apparently simple story. The obseession of a private eye, his boredom, and his thought process go into many directions. We are with Blue, all the way, and want to know more about Black. And also about White. Blue also reflects about his mentor, Brown. All these colours kind of make these characters visual. And the colours merge making way fr new colours. The ending is left open for interpretation and the title has wide ramifications.

Those who like to think beyond the obvious, and can go into many layers of a story will like this short novel and will reach out for other Auster works. Just as I have. I will. Over and over again.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Those two words are taken from A Note From An Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker

1) Klutz
(Page 21): You make me look so easy, professor. And I feel such a klutz.

n. Slang
  1. A clumsy person.
  2. A stupid person; a dolt.

[Yiddish klots, from Middle High German kloz, block, lump, from Old High German.]

2) Milquetoast (Page 64 ): It has come like a hammer-blow when she'd dumped him for another man, a man he viewed as nothing more than a milquetoast.


One who has a meek, timid, unassertive nature.

[After Caspar Milquetoast, a comic-strip character created by Harold Tucker Webster (1885-1952).]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tintin & Cigars of the Pharoah by Hergé

How about this as a teaser?!

~Tintin, Prof. Sarcophagus & the Fakir


Title: Tintin & Cigars of the Pharoah

Author: Hergé
ISBN: ISBN 1-4052-0615-2
Publisher: Methuen/1971
Pages: 62

In this album, Tintin and his dog Snowy are on a holiday cruise where they meet an absent-minded professor Sarcphagus, a movie producer Rastapolous, and the twin Thompson brothers detectives. Tintin is arrested by the Thompsons (introduced in this album) because someone plants heroin in his room. He manages to jump ship and runs into the professor in the jungle.

He agrees to help the professor who wishes to find a hidden Egyptian tomb. When they do find the tomb, it is full of mummified archaeologists and cases of curiously labeled cigars. Both they are drugged, captured and put on a ship.

A series of escapes and captures keeps the story moving with Tintin running into the professor, the Thompsons, and the movie producer, while trying to escape from an international gang of smugglers and making his way from Egypt, Arabia to India, where we meet a Maharaja and many fakirs. (Despite being an Indian I am yet to meet any!). And of course, Tintin along with Snowy solves the mystery of Cigars of the Pharaoh.

As usual, the album doesn't disappoint and I had rollicking fun re-reading it for the nth time!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Note From An Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker

Title: A Note From An Old Acquaintance
Author: Bill Walker
ISBN: 978-1440133336
Publisher: iUniverse/2005)
Pages: 360 pages

Brian Weller is a tormented man. His three year old son is dead and his wife is in a coma due to an accident. He is a well known author but is now struggling with writer's block. One day he gets an email from Joanna, the woman he had fallen in love with 15 years back. He has mixed feelings about that. In the meantime, his wife passes away.

Brain decides to go to Boston for book signings as an excuse to see her. Joanna is an artist, is married and has a teenage son now. However, their feelings for each other has not changed much.

When they had first met, Joanna was engaged to a rich and powerful man, Erik Rudy. Eric does love her and cannot give her up. Brian is forced to make a choice and disappears from Joanna's life. And Joanna gets in touch with him after 15 years.

Walker has managed to create well etched characters. One can understand and feel for Brian, Joanna and Erik too. The strong love between Brian and Joanna sustains thorough all these years. The plot line is good too. Yet I found loose ends. Why did Joanna cheat on her fiance in the first place? They had been engaged for 6 years. And how did Brian meet his wife? Why did Joanna contact Brian after so many years? Erik might be arrogant but he loves Joanna, no matter what. He goes to any length to make her happy. He is not the abusive kind of husband. He is not the artistic kind but he is not an ogre either.

Despite those questions, the love story aspect appeals although the cheating part doesn't. The writing style is good as that holds interest throughout. I hope in his next book, Bill Walker puts more twists and turns.

Thanks to Tracee Gleichner for this copy for Pump Up Your Book Promotion

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mondays: Musings/Mailbox/whereabouts

Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia, In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and New Crayons is hosted by Color Online. Check all three which are related to books you receive in the past week.

I received 6 books:

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 read the following:

Tin and The Broken Ear by Herge

Tintin and King Ottokar's Sceptre

Ghost by Paul Aster

The Locked Room by Paul Auster

Someone Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage

I am currently reading:

A Note From An Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker
Humpty Dumpty was Pushed by Marc Blatte

Plan to read:

The Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran


Musing Mondays (BIG)
Do you listen to music while reading? Does this change if you’re reading in or out of your house? Do you have a preference of music for such occasions?

When I at home reading, indeed I do. And I prefer slow, slowful music while reading. Outside of it. No. That's because I don't like headphones. ( I must be the only one who doesn't!). I simply close out the noise around me and get on with my reading.

Having said that, I must mention here that I am a die hard rock music fanatic! Believe it or not!!

Tintin in America by Hergé

Title: Tin in America
Author: Hergé
ISBN: ISBN 1-4052-0614-4
Publisher: Methuen/1978
Pages: 62
Series: The Adventures of Tin
Genre: Graphic Novels

It was first published in 1931 in French and translated into English in 1962. Being third in the series of Tintin comics, it shows the 1930s America with gangsters and all. The streets of Chicago are ruled by gangsters. The onus lies on our journalist Tintin and his dog Snowy to take care of Al Capone , Mr Smiles and other gangsters, taking him from Chicago to the Wild West where he meets Indians and Cowboys. He is almost lynched, his dog kidnapped but somehow is saved in the nick of the time.

It might be considered racist by some but considering the times (1931), it sure makes sense. The suspense, mystery, action are all there and Tintin fans would love this book, even though it is not one of the best Tintin books. The illustrations do not disappoint and that is what any comic book lover desires irrespective of political statements.

As a die-hard Tintin fan, I am currently re-reading the series and in no particular order. As all books do stand alone. If you haven't read it, then I say, go for it. Start with the later books and come back to it.

TSS/Weekly Geeks: Why/what makes us go on?

Why do we go on?

For challenges, memes, readathons or other stuff like the recently concluded BBAW. And more important, why do we book blog?

This is not easy to answer. Not as is easy as it looks in the first appearance.

Let me go back the start of my book blogging. I started this as a personal journal, writing about books I read, my thoughts, opinions and whatever else there is about a book. I also wrote about poetry by famous poets, more to myself than to anyone else. It was more for myself than for any kind of recognition. Yes, I did have only one book blogger in my blogroll but we used to email each other about our reviews and left no comments on the forum. We liked it that way.

When did it change?

I think when I started getting visitors and comments. And I reciprocated in kind. Dewey was a big help in adding to my blogroll. I remember, I entered three book giveaways at the same time and it was just my luck that I won all three! And then some. Dewey used to joke that I won say 10 books a week. In a way Dewey kept me going. I started exploring around and found so many like minded people. And I also signed for as many challenges I could.

My blogging hours increased, my reading horizon broadened and my blogroll kept on getting longer. My commenters kept coming back and I started to reciprocate in kind. The google reader happened which has helped me immensely in keeping touch with those blogs I would have otherwise ignored.

What do I get out of it?

I get to know about so many great books. And I also request some direct from authors/publicists. Then I also get to read/review poetry books. Some authors/publicists too contact me for reviews. If the book looks good, I agree otherwise I politely refuse. I seldom take part in book tours..once in two months, maximum. I read at my pace. And only those books which interest me. And I take part in three or lesser challenges at any given time.

Memes too have helped me in finding some good books, authors and good book bloggers. That is what I think makes me keep going. And when I can't read, our blogger friends are so encouraging. They recommend all kinds books that might work. Last year when I couldn't read for almost three months, C B James' short story September got me back into the groove.

And nothing can burn me out. It only makes me more deteremined and I truly thrive!

What about you? Does it make sense to you?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Finds: Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam

Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam

From Publishers Weekly

In this poignant, lushly written novel, Aslam (Season of the Rainbirds) explores the interwoven lives of Pakistani immigrants in an English town they have rechristened Dasht-e-Tanhaii, "the Wilderness of Solitude" or "the Desert of Loneliness." The disappearance of Jugnu and Chanda, lovers who broke Islamic law to live in sin, throws the small community into upheaval. The police arrest Chanda's brothers, whom they believe murdered the couple to avenge their family's shame. Meanwhile, Jugnu's brother, Shamas, contemplates the loss, occasionally clashing with his wife, Kaukab, a devout Muslim who overtly disapproved of the relationship. Aslam depicts an insular ex-pat Pakistani community fighting to preserve its cultural heritage and losing the battle to its Western-born children—often quite violently. At the heart of the turmoil is sexual freedom, and Aslam illustrates the many ways women's lives are restricted and romantic love is denied in the name of religion.

BBAW: Do I drop from the sky or touch it?

Write in 50 words or less…what do you like best about your blog right now and where would you like your blog to be a year from now?

The best thing about my blog is that I get to review poetry books and showcase those too. (Also the fact that me being a poet helps the cause!) Another good thing is that I keep it uncluttered. I try to be fair in my reviews and try not to gush or trash any book. I think I am in a good place and aspire that I retain it. Also the fact that nothing else but my writing ought to attract readers!

Reading should never take a second place and may I get to read as much as I can. I want to keep the figure of 100+ books intact. This year I have already reached the goal. Let my blog achieve that and more in the coming year too.

So what are YOUR goals? Sit tight or take a bite?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BBAW: Thanks to Feminist Review

Thanks to Feminist Review, I came across two Poetry books, (1) Judah's Lion by Ann Caston and (2) Magdalene and the Mermaids by Elizabeth Kate Switaj. As I write and read poetry, I emailed both the poets for a copy of their books and they were kind enough to send me one copy each.

Title: Magdalene and the Mermaids
Author: Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Book Blurb:

At the heart of this comprehensive collection lies the Biblical character of Mary Magdalene whose presence is prominent in many of the poems and who haunts those which are, ostensibly, departures from the subject matter that dominates. However, departure and digression are not the hallmarks of this work and each piece of writing represents a different incursion into the topic from angles and perspectives that are startling, original and engaging. By adopting an overarching motif, the author is able to align more personal topics and themes with the main focus, at times appearing to move into territory not evidently covered by the title but always providing the vital connection somewhere in this sequence of compositions.

Judah's Lion by Anne Caston
Anne Caston 's first collection of poems, Flying Out With The Wounded, was awarded the 1996 New York University Press Prize for Poetry. Juda's Lion is her second collection of poems.
Judah's Lion, 2009, Toad Hall Press
"Judah's Lion"
"Irony is beyond a boy like mine. As is symbolism.
Allegory. Metaphor, too. All is literal with him
though that doesn't rule out a wildebeest,
the one he meets each morning in the fallow field
beyond our yard, the one who lies beside him
each night now in the dark......"

Feminist Review is a group blog. It has reviews of Books, Movies, Music, Jewellery, Cosmetics and lot more. One of the best blogs around. A must read for me on my google reader. Check it out.

Booking through Most Enjoyable

btt button

What’s the most enjoyable, most fun, most just-darn-entertaining book you’ve read recently?

I can think of only two right now

Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill

This is detective story with a 73 year Coroner/detective with a pogo stick being worshipped as a God!

Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales by Eleanor Bluestein

This is short story collection taking place in an imaginary Asian Country Ayama NA.

I enjoyed reading both. Click on the titles and/or covers to read my reviews.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A-Z Wednesday: From A to X by John Berger

My On-the-ground-lion,
Did you receive my last parcel?
In it I put Marlboros, Zabrano, Green mint, Coffee

From A to X
Author: John Berger
ISBN: 9781844672882
Publisher: Verso/2008
Pages: 196

As told in the forward, John Berger came into possession of some letters. He does not wish to divulge the source. These letters have been sent from A'ida to Xavier. A'da lives in a forgotten town of Suse and her lover/husband is taken for an insurgent and is imprisoned. In those letters, we see A'ida writing about everyday things and in the routine way her life goes on. She describes people and events that are happening and also the love she feels for Xavier.

The most insignificant detail is written about. Underlying all this, is the survival of the people of Suse, who put up resistence when the need arises. There is no particular order about those letters, these are undated and somehow can be read in any order, without lessening the impact. We also find Xavier's thoughts in the form of notes at the back of her letters but never sent to A'ida.

There is no background given, no details of insurgency, or war but that in no way detracts. The stark structure only highlights the negative effect of war. A'ida letters read like poetry at a few places. Her thoughts are calm, collected and matter of fact. Her love for Xavier is not cloying at all. In no way, these letters are not love letters and yet they are. In the missives of daily doings, the passion pours forth.

At a first glance, the book might not appeal to most. Once one starts it, it completely takes one in. Do give it a chance, if you like serious reading. For A'ida, writing letters is painful, yet she has gneo on, not for Xaviar but for herself, her own sake. Reason enough to live, to survive, is it not?

This review is a repost

BBAW: Reading Meme

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Yes. Munchies of any kind.
Also tea.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of
writing in books horrify you?

No way I mark my books.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?


Laying the book flat open?


Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Mostly fiction.
But also poetry

Hard copy or audiobooks?

Hard copy

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you
able to put a book down at any point?

Any point.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

No, never.

What are you currently reading?

Tintin Graphic Novels. Lots of it.

What is the last book you bought?

I bought 10 books last sunday. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster was the last one I selected.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

More than one book at a time.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

No, Anytime. Anywhere. Any place.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

Stand Alones.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

Not really. Except for Enid Blyton for children.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

Mostly Author's last name.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays: A House of Bottles by Robin Merrill

I received this poetry book from the author and thought of posting this poem as a teaser. As the book blurb says, her poems are "edgy, troubling and unadorned, daring one to be vulnerable." Sometimes funny, sometimes frank.

She said, "I watched her choke,

on chicken blood and gin, and dance until
the witchdoctor took her in-
to his hut and I heard her hurt
and he came out and grinned, pronounced her
banished. My family sent me with her.
I gather sticks to burn, search for food,
fetch water from the well. I am stronger
than the old women. I am nine.
I am the witch's granddaughter."

When I asked her what she wanted to be
when she grew up, she answered, "you."

Yani Camp
-Ghana, 2006

~page 4, A House of Bottles by Robin Merrill

BBAW: Interviewing myself

Today is the day for the Book Blogger Appreciation Week's Interview Another Blogger. I somehow forgot to put in my name for an interview with any other book blogger. And it was too late by the time I realised it. So here I am taking it in another way. I thought why not interview myself and see what I come up with?

Can you please do tell us something about yourself.

I think of myself as a poet, who loves to read. Almost anything. I teach mathematics at secondary school level. I hold two PG (Masters) degrees, one in Chemistry, another in English literature. I live in New Delhi, India. On the personal front, I am 41 years, single and live with my mom. I got 3 nieces and 2 nephews and adore them to bits.

When, how and why did you start your blog?

I started my poetry blog, rooted in June 2005 on the behest of a friend. I started the review blog in August 2006 but only started regular posting after June 2007. I lost my Reading Room blog in April 2009 and started this on May 1, 2009. A massive task retrieving my posts from there. I lost almost everything.

How do you describe your blog/s for us?

My poetry blog, rooted contains poetry and reviews of poetry books. Review blog has book related stuff, interviews, guest posts and memes with book reviews.

Can you share one of your poems with us?

Why not? I write poetry almost daily. The following I wrote on August 23, 2009.

you passed your aburdity to me

you have passed your absurdity to me
I look out for you in front of me
inside the books
in my poetry
in any song
also within the nothing
even on my plate while I eat
my tired mind can't grasp your absence
it knows you are there
in that space
which I created for both of us
although you never endorsed

no line can define what is more than love
if there is one, I would like to know

Do you take part in any of the weekly memes? Name those.

I do participate in many memes. Few of those are Sunday Salon, Musing/Mailbox Mondays, Teaser Tuesdays, Wondrous Words Wednesday, Booking through Thursday, Friday Finds and Weekly Geeks.

Do you take part in reading challenges? Can you name those?

At any given point of time I do only three challenges. Right now I am doing

The Canadian Challenge 3,
and the Japanese Challenge.

I am doing ok in all those.

What do you look forward to during BBAW?

New bloggers, what else? Maybe giveaways too..:D

What ought to interest other book bloggers in your blog?

Book reviews. What else?

What else do you blog about?

The occasional social issues I take up here.

What part of a book interests you the most?

Well drawn out characters along with a strong story line. Poetic prose too interests me to no end.

Can you list top five reads of 2009 till date?

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar
The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha
Random Acts of Heroic Love by David Schienmann
Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak

Do you have anyfavourite childhood author? Why?

The Enid Blyton books. All of those. The author truly involves the reader in her books. And I go gaga over the Tintin Graphic novels! Anytime.

Can you describe your dream library.

Books. Books. Books. Nothing else.

Monday, September 14, 2009

BBAW: Blogs that ought to have made the short list

These are few of those blogs which win hands down, even though not short listed. Please do check those out by clicking on the names and you will not be disappointed at all.

1) Feminist Reviews
It is group blog where one can finds reviews of books: fiction, non-fiction, poetry as well as Music, Jewellery, cosmetics etc. I find it extremely readable with very high standards.

2) Vulpes Libris
Another group blog with everything book related. What with guest posts and interviews, this blog showcases some good authors and great books.

3) Margaret of Booksplease
Her range of reading is very good and I look forward to her reviews. What with varied reading, her reviews are worth checking out.

4) Sandy Nawrot
Is a well known blogger. Her reviews are very good and her reading taste is great too. I might not comment on her blog but do not miss visiting it for anything. I read her on my google reader.

5) Asylum
One of the best men bloggers out there. His analysis of books are very good and thanks to him, I have found some wonderful authors and real good reads.

6) mel u

I discovered his blog fairly recently and kind of discovering the pleasure of reading it. Glad I found it. And so will you...

7) Sam Sattler
He too is not unknown. His reviews are top notch and he also speaks of other book related stuff.

There are many may others, which out to have been short listed. But then, we can't win it all.

How about you? What do you recommend?