Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekly Geeks: To Kill A Mockingbird


Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? When did you first read it? Did it affect the way you think about race and class in the U.S.? Do you agree that it's an influential and/or important book?

If you read the book but don't live in the U.S., how did the novel influence your opinions about race in the U.S.?


Racism and injustice. Both go hand in hand. In most parts of the world. Even now. So To Kill A Mockingbird is indeed a timeless book. I read it in the late 1980s, more than 20 years back.

I am an Indian, living in Delhi. At that time I wasn't much aware about racism in US. It did make me look up on it. However, ours being a casteist society, this book did make an impact on me.It brought home the fact that we are always eager to put the blame on those who are different from us, they have never been in the mainstream and have no one to stand for them. There aren't many Atticus Finch's in our world. Even now. Maybe that is one reason, he remains one of the most memorable male fictional characters.

This novel might be set in a particular place and a particular time. Yet it reaches out to us. Because we know there is discrimination. Everywhere. In some form or the other.


Interview with Beth Hoffman, author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt


Here I sent interview questions to Beth Hoffman, author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, which I have reviewed before this post. She was gracious enough to answer those for me.

Here goes:

1. How much time did it take to write Saving CeeCee Honeycutt? Did you have stumbling blocks in the way? If so, what?

It took me a little over 4 years to write Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, the final 9 months of that time was devoted to editing, re-editing, and proofreading. I really didn’t experience any stumbling blocks along the way, but I did have days when the muse wasn’t with me, making me feel a bit stalled in the water so to speak. But I used that time to go back and polish previously written chapters, and soon the muse returned.

2. Where do you like to sit and write (i.e. sitting on the bed, in a comfortable chair or out in the open, etc.)?

When I made the decision to leave my career in interior design and pursue my dream of writing a novel, I entertained the vision that I’d take my laptop to the park and write while surrounded by nature. The serenity of that image was burned into my mind and I couldn’t wait to make it a reality. But I rapidly discovered that I was the kind of writer who needed to be at a desk working on a big screen.

I live in a restored historical home, and on the second floor I created what I call the writing library. It’s cozy and bright, filled with bookshelves and artwork that I love. Three large windows are set in an ashlar-cut stone bay that overlooks the front gardens, and morning light floods into the room. I enjoy the fireplace during the winter months and keep it burning during the day when I’m working. My cats like to be with me when I’m writing and I enjoy their company.

The writing library is my own private cocoon. I don’t handle noise or disturbances very well when I’m working, and I’m happiest and most creative when the house it totally quiet. I oftentimes unplug the phone and forget to check for voice messages for days on end.

3. What was the process you went through to find a publisher for you book? Was it difficult?

For me the publishing process has been a bit of a Cinderella story. I had queried Catherine Drayton of Inkwell Management on October 8, 2008, and the next day she invited me to submit the first three chapters of my novel. Two days later, which was a Friday evening, she requested the entire manuscript. On Sunday, October 12th, the familiar ping of my email sounded, and when I saw the message was from Catherine, I knew it had to be a rejection—there was no way she’d read the entire manuscript in less than 48 hours during a weekend. But when I opened the email I was stunned—Catherine loved my novel and offered representation.

For several moments I sat in a stupor of disbelief as I read and reread the email. A few minutes later Catherine called on the phone and we immediately clicked. She explained that most publishers were attending the Frankfort Book Fair and that she’d submit upon their return.

Never in a million years could I have dreamed what happened next. The day after the publishers returned, Catherine called to inform me that several were interested, and then wham, less than an hour later she called again with a pre-emptive offer from Pamela Dorman who is a highly respected veteran of women’s fiction. Within a half hour I was sitting on the sofa in my living room, talking to Pam on the phone. It was a wonderful and almost surreal experience that I’ll never forget.

4. Are you writing full-time? If yes, do you think it is a good decision?

Yes, I left my career in interior design to write full-time; it was the gutsiest and ultimately the best decision I’ve ever made.

5. What were you doing before you decided to be writer? Did that help in your writing career in any way?

I was the president and co-owner of an interior design studio that I helped to build from the ground up. I can’t say my design background helped me with writing per se, but I’m very aware of texture, color, and architecture—those elements are prevalent in my writing.

6. Can you please describe you writing style and the various influences you have had?

That’s a tough one. I think it’s difficult for an author to describe her/his style; at least it is for me. Many reviewers have said that I write in an organic, fluid way, but I honestly don’t know how to describe my style. All I know is that I write with my eyes and ears—I actually see my story as if it were being played out on a large screen, and I hear it too—especially the dialogue.

7. When is your next book coming out?

I’ve just begun working on my next novel, and I honestly have no idea when it will be completed. I’m still doing radio interviews and author events, and, I’ll go back on tour when the paperback is released in October—that will slow down my writing quite a bit. Ideally, I’d like to have my next completed within 2 years, but I suspect that might be pushing it.

8. Do you have any favourite authors? Can you tell us why you like them?

Though I’ve always gravitated to Southern authors, in the recent past I’ve branched out quite a bit. There are so many authors that I admire, but a few all-time favorites are Truman Capote, Reynolds Price, Toni Morrison, Pat Conroy, and Laurie Lee. Above all else, I’m most drawn to these authors for their excellence in creating rich, character-driven fiction and vivid imagery.

9. What are you reading now?

At the moment I’m reading Willem’s Field by Melinda Haynes and enjoying it immensely.

10. Do you have any book recommendations for my readers?

Ah, that’s a tough question. Reading tastes are so subjective, aren’t they? But for your readers who enjoy Southern fiction that possesses great heart and a healthy serving of eccentricity, I’d recommend The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds, and Mama Makes up her Mind by Bailey White. I loved all three of these books so much that I’ve read them more than once.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Author: Beth Hoffman
ISBN: 978-0670021390
Publisher: Viking-Penguin/2010
Pages: 320 pages

In the midst of all the difficult reads, I found Saving CeeCee Honeycutt very refreshing.

CeeCee has a mother, who lives in her own world, and a father, who has no time for either of them. Instead of her mother looking after her, it is CeeCee who is taking care of her. Then one day, her mother is hit by a car and is dead. CeeCee is 12 years old and nowhere to go. Tootie Caldwell, an unknown great-aunt turns up, to take her away, her father is only too eager to let her go.

When both arrive in Savannah, CeeCee finds herself in the midst of love from so many women that she is kind of overwhelmed by it. Slowly she emerges from her haze of sadness and takes in all the love and affection and returning it in great measure.

The novel does start with CeeCee's troubled life. We feel for her and wish the best for her. Our wish comes true in the form of Tootie, who genuinely wants the best for the girl. Even in the sad moments, the novel is not depressing. It tackles the issues with wit, sometimes hilariously and the affection of large-hearted women. We also get to see a few eccentric characters who help in enhancing the novel.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekly Geeks: Answers for Author Picture Quiz











Here are the correct answers, going clockwise:

Charlotte Bronte
Rabindranath Tagore
Marcus Zusak
Gerald Durell
Enid Blyton
Cormac McCarthy
and Agatha Christie

How many of those you got right?

Friday Book Blogger Hop

Every Friday, join the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jennifer (Crazy-For-Books), and hop to some new blogs.

Jennifer asks this week:
“Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?”

I read a lot of new-to-me authors this year. A few of those are Stieg Larsson, Rob Kitchin, Adam Ross, and Tom Robb Smith. This list is in no way exhaustive.

Friday Find: Last Last Chance by Fiona Maazel

Title: Last Last Chance
Author: Fiona Maazel
ISBN: 9780312428310
Publisher: Picador USA/2009
Pages: 368

Lucy Clark has to much in her hands after her father commits suicide. He had been accused of having a hand in the disappearance of a lethal strain of virus, resulting in Superplague. To make matters worse, she too like her mother is addicted to drugs. Hannah, her younger half sister, is always speaking out about diseases. Lucy wants to set right everything but doesn't really know how to do it. Her older lover, Stanley, does not help. He is on the lookout for someone who will carry a child from his dead wife's frozen eggs. Lucy dwells in the misery and seems to love being miserable.

"It's like you are more attached to being miserable than you are to being with me," a lover tells her as he walks out.

With such massive problems, Lucy tries to do the best she can. In the face of gravest of despair, Lucy has the ability to laugh at herself, her ways, the world. Initially it appears, she can't cope. But she does. Her relationship with her half-sister is beautifully depicted. With wit, and self-deriosion, Lucy does rise to the occasion rather very well and learns to survive. The novel speaks of the present times and future. It also speaks of lethargy, personal demons. The writing is surreal, nothing seems straight but makes sense. It is a book which makes the reader think.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Top Ten Picks: Favorite Books Of All Time

Favorite Books Of All Time

This is not easy. I have too many favourite books and picking only ten is difficult.

1) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Can any forget the interaction between Jane and Mr. Rochester? Also the fact that, despite the times, Jane was fiercely independent.

2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I can never get out the character of Atticus Finch from my mind

3) Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Need I say more about it?

4) A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Dickens is a master story teller and this novel is one of his best. Certain scenes in the book are unforgettable.

5) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

It expresses her philosophy, objectivism, to the hilt.

6) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Either you love it or hate it! I love it.

7) A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

Speaks of three cultural differences between Hinduism, Islam and Christianity in the times of British rule in India. A must read for those who wish to explore the diaspora that is India

8) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

A dystopian novel, which is very scary to even contemplate

9) Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

A misadventure of sorts, told hilariously

10) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Very symbolic. I couldn't get out the image of the main character changed into a vermin overnight!

What are yours?

Booking through Beach Buddies

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Which fictional character (or group of characters) would you like to spend a day at the beach with? Why would he/she/they make good beach buddies?

I am not really a beach kind of person, although I love the ocean. It is mainly due to the fact that I live far away from the sea. I also get sun-burnt rather easily. Hence spending a day in the beach for a whole day is not very appealing to me.

Talking of fictional characters, I can't think of anyone who can make me spend the whole day on the beach. Or maybe a Merman, if he exists!

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley


Title: The Tricking of Freya
Author:
Christina Sunley
ISBN: 9780312378776

Publisher: St. Martin Press/2009

Pages: 352


Told in the voice of Freya, we take a journey from Gimli, a village in Canada, to Iceland. She is writing all her thoughts, her experiences for her unknown cousin. She doesn't even know if her cousin is a male or a female. But she knows she has to write it all down for that person, whom intends to find out in her lifetime.

She and her mother have always lived in Connecticut. She speaks about her mother, Anna and her aunt Birdie, her grandmother, Sigga and various other relatives, Icelandic as well as Canadian. After Birdie dies on her 14th birthday and also when her mother dies, a few years later, she is not keen to visit Gimli again. But she does go back for her very old grandmother, who wants to preserve the family history.

Again we see Freya travelling from Gimli to Iceland to learn more about her cousin. And finally when she does learn the untold secrets, she can't believe how much injustice was done to herself, her volatile aunt and her gentle mother.

It starts with Freya being seven years old and takes us through more that two decades. We too are affected when we learn the enormity of Freya being tricked. With beautiful scenics and interesting characters, the reader is moved beyond words.

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I liked the following words from the above reviewed book:

1) Kenning (page 3): Word-Meadow is a Kenning for tongue, "she explains. "And I suppose now you will want to know what a kenning is."

A kenning is a much-compressed form of metaphor, originally used in Anglo-Saxon and Norse poetry. In a kenning, an object is described in a two-word phrase, such as 'whale-road' for 'sea'. Some kennings can be more obscure than others, and then grow close to being a riddle.

2) Elskan (Page 6): "Come here, elskan, and kiss your rotten aunt."

Elskan is an icelandic word meaning, honey, sweetheart or darling

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

When David Pepin first dreamed of killing his wife, he didn't kill her himself. He dreamed convenient acts of God. At a picnic on the beach, a storm front moved in. David and Alice collected their chairs, blankets, and booze, and when the lightning flashed, David imagined his wife lit up, her skeleton distinctly visible as in a children's cartoon, Alice then collapsing into a smoking pile of ash.
~~Page 3

Title:
Mr. Peanut
Author: Adam Ross
ISBN: 9780307270702
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf/2010
Pages: 335

When Alice is found dead, David is assumed to be murderer. After all he was always thinking of her death. Not exactly murdering her, but in numerous ways she should die. The two police detectives who are investigating the death, have their own marital relationship in shambles.

Ward Hastroll's wife Hannah has retreated into their bedroom and has not surfaced for the last few months. Hastroll is in his wits end how to communicate with her. Long time back, Sam Sheppard too had been a suspect for his wife Marilyn, death but was set free due to lack of enough evidence. He had left his medical practice to become a detective.

While investigating, these men go over their own marital relationships, which still confounds them. When a hit men Mobius is found linked to David Pepin, things get murkier. Everything seems to be pieces of different zigsaw puzzles, unconnected with each other. The best and worst of conjugal relationship is depicted here. The love going side by side with tenderness and ugliness, the affection along with hatred. The killing impulses with protectiveness, each aspect has been dwelt very delicately by the author.

In the beginning everything that goes might appear haphazard, unconnected and unrelated but it all falls into place, giving us a great novel. One of the best police procedurals I read in a long time and I couldn't put it down until I finished it. With this book, Adam Ross has arrived.

A book to be read by all those who are married, all those who are contemplating marriage and those aren't. I say, go for it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mondays: Mailbox/Whereabouts/Musings

Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia.

I received the following three books, thanks to the authors/publicists:

1) The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley

A young woman obsessed with uncovering a family secret is drawn into the strange and magical history, language and landscape of Iceland. As Freya becomes increasingly obsessed with unraveling her family’s tangled story, she finds herself delving into the very memories she has worked so hard to forget. When the clues dry up in Gimli, Freya journeys to Iceland itself. On this rugged island of vast lava fields and immense glaciers, Freya’s quest comes to its unsettling conclusion.

2) The Wild Irish Sea by Loucinda McGary

Amber O'Neill gets a telepathic message from her brother and she knows that he is in some kind of trouble. She has to reach him somehow so she rushes to the rocky shores of Ireland. She lands up at the doorstep of Kevin Hennessey, looking for a policeman. He is unable to drive away this dishevveled American female. He offers to help find her brother. However, no one is keen to own up seeing her brother anywhere in the vicinity. Amber and Kevin find themselves into battling out with smugglers. And also with their own attractions. Read more..


3) The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby

Written in a magic realist vernacular, THE LANGUAGE OF TREES examines the tremulous bonds between parents and children,lovers and friends, and restless spirits—both living and not. It is a story that will make you believe that the spirits of those we love watch over us, that people can heal each other, and that if you can truly forgive yourself, the world will return to you all of your forgotten dreams.

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In the past week:

I finished:

The Wild Irish Sea by Loucinda McGary
The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley

I am in the midst of reading:

Too many books!


I posted reviews of:
Out Of Shadows by Jason Wallace
The Memorist by M J Rose

The Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning

The Wild Irish Sea by Loucinda McGary

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Do you review books? If so, for who? If not, have you ever thought about doing so? Why, or why not?

Like most book bloggers, I do review books. I review almost all that I read. Some for my own pleasure and others, if I am asked by the authors or publicists. At times, I have also received books from authors, that I contacted.

Who doesn't like receiving free books? In a way I also get to read books, I wouldn't have otherwise done so. I get to read a wide and varied genre of books.


The Wild Irish Sea by Loucinda McGary

Title: The Wild Irish Sea
Author: Loucinda McGary
ISBN: 9781402226717
Publisher: Sourcebooks/2010
Pages: 306

Amber O'Neill gets a telepathic message from her brother and she knows that he is in some kind of trouble. She has to reach him somehow so she rushes to the rocky shores of Ireland. She lands up at the doorstep of Kevin Hennessey, looking for a policeman. He is unable to drive away this dishevveled American female. He offers to help find her brother. However, no one is keen to own up seeing her brother anywhere in the vicinity. Amber and Kevin find themselves into battling out with smugglers. And also with their own attractions.

The telepathic link between the siblings is amazing. They have always been able to talk to each other in their minds. After arriving in Ireland, Amber finds that she can read other peoples mind too, including Kevin. Somehow he too can communicate with her telepathically, although he can't do it with anyone else. Kevin is not very keen on getting closer to her as he has his own demons to deal with. When they do get to Parker, Amber's brother, they also find a selkie prince. Will Parker survive his ordeal? And how did he land up in trouble, in the first place? Amber and Kevin have to find out the truth, in order to catch the smugglers.

The scenic beauty of Ireland, the connection between the characters and also with the seals along with underlying suspense help in keeping the reader engrossed. The romance portion does get steamy but in no way out of place.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekly Geeks: Author Picture Quiz









Here I have posted pictures of few of my favourite authors. If you recognise any or all, leave their names in the comment section. And don't forget to visit Weekly Geeks if you want to play too!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Find/Book Blogger Hop

From Publishers Weekly

On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home to Jacksonville, FL for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is canceled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness-- one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.

As the days on the mountains become weeks, their survival becomes increasingly perilous. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever?

Won't you just love to pick it up?

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Every Friday, join the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jennifer (Crazy-For-Books), and hop to some new blogs.

Jennifer asks this week: Tell us about the book you are currently reading.

I am in the midst of reading The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley. It is told in the voice of a young woman for her unknown cousin. She doesn't even know if her cousin is a male or a female. Trying to unravel the family secrets, Freya finds herself totally lost..

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Top Ten Picks: Favorite Male Literary Characters

I found the meme, Top Ten Picks, on Random Ramblings. This time it is to pick ten favorite male literary characters. This interested me. So here I go, in no particular order:

1) Edmond Dant├Ęs from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

2) Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle

3) Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4) Pip from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

5) Tintin from Tintin albums by Herge

6) David Copperfield from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

7) Jeeves from P G Wodehouse books

8) Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

9) Yossarian from Catch-22 by Joseph Heller


10) Hamlet from Hamlet by William Shakespeare

What are yours?

Booking through podcasts

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Do you ever listen to book-related podcasts? If so, which ones and why? (Include the URLs for people who aren’t familiar with them.)

In one word answer: No. I don't have the time nor inclination. I would rather read in that time.

The Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning

Title: The Sea Captain's Wife
Author: Beth Powning
ISBN: 978-0307397102
Publisher: Knopf Canada/2010
Pages: 384

Azuba Galloway has always been fascinated by the sea. She has always dreamed of marrying a sailor. When she meets Captain Nathaniel Bradstock and marries, she thinks she has realised her dreams. But he is not keen to take her with him as he knows the dangers of the sea.

Azuba lives in a house overlooking the bay, built for her by her father. But she misses her husband and longs to be with him. It takes so long for the ship and crew to return. Meanwhile, Azuba has a daughter. When Nathaniel does come back, he is horrified by a scandal involving Azuba and is forced to take his wife and daughter with him in his next voyage. There seems to be little love between them now.

It is entirely a male world and Azuba finds herself alone only with her daughter as her company. The voyage seems to be ill-fated, what with storms, isolation and the hardships of each day. Yet Azuba is determined to carve a place for herself and win back her husband's love.

The ups and downs of life are well depicted by the sea as a metaphor and we see the young heroine coming into her being with her determination, compassion and love. All in the face of adversity. Only in the sea she can decide whether she can choose the land or the ocean. Nathaniel adores his young daughter and sees the strength of Azuba. The sea does help in bringing them together.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Memorist by M J Rose/Wondrous Words Wednesday

Title: The Memorist
Author: M J Rose
ISBN: 978-0778325840
Publisher: Mira Books/2008
Pages: 464

The Memorist is a novel which amalgates mystery, time and music so beautifully and intricately that nothing feels out of place. Set in Vienna, both the present and the nineteenth century, we get to know the world of Beethovan and the music he created. It is not only the music but also memories that transcend time.

Meer is a woman in her early thirties, She is tormented by her memories from her past life since she was a child. She keeps hearing certain piece of music. Her father tries to help but somehow fails. She herself does not believe that she is hearing something from her past life. However, on her father's behest she arrives in Vienna to look into a music box which she has only seen in her memories and drawn pictures of it.

But people who are involved with the box are attacked and killed. It seems that there are many people who are interested in the box and its mystical powers. The box has something which conjures up memories of past lives.

The there is this Journalist David Yalom, who has lost his family to terrorism is tormented by his memories. He has a diabolic plan to make the world notice his losses. Yet he somehow feels some kind of afinity for Meer, whom he had never met. How both are connected is very intriguing part. Each of the characters around Meer has some sort of past connection with her. That also includes a FBI agent.

Going back on forth from past and present, The Memorist is journey beteween centuries, countries and cultures. What appealed to me most is how it travelled to India and Hinduism. The flute is so symbolic. With a touch of mystery, suspense, mysticism, spirituality, it is very good read.

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Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Kathy of BermudaOnion

I take the following words from The Memorist:

1) Potentate (page 34): Seated in club chair as if he were a potentate and it was his throne, with thousands of leather bound books behind him.....


n.

  1. One who has the power and position to rule over others; a monarch.
  2. One who dominates or leads a group or an endeavor: industrial potentates.
2) Reliquary (Page 35): In a church , an object this precious would be in a gold-tooled reliquary but the memorists's relic had no power and promised no magic...

n., pl., -ies.
A receptacle, such as a coffer or shrine, for keeping or displaying sacred relics.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Out Of Shadows by Jason Wallace

‘For generations, Europeans have treated Africa like a playground. We’ve carved it up amongst ourselves, stolen its riches and not given a damn about the poor people who live here.’
~Page 4

Title: Out Of Shadows
Author: Jason Wallace
ISBN: 978-1849390484
Publisher: Andersen Press/2010
Pages: 320

Back Cover

Zimbabwe: 1980s -

The war is over, independence has been won and Robert Mugabe has come to power offering hope, land and freedom to black Africans. It is the end of the Old Way and the start of a promising new era.

For Robert Jacklin, it's all new: new continent, new country, new school. And very quickly he is forced to understand a new way of thinking, because for some of his classmates the sound of guns is still loud, and their battles rage on... white boys who want their old country back, not this new black African government.

Boys like Ivan.

Clever, cunning, wicked Ivan. For him, there is still one last battle to fight, and he's taking it right to the very top...

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My views:

Out of Shadows is told from the point of view of Robert Jacklin. When he arrives in Zimbawbe, he is not too happy. Everything is new for him, the country, the school, friends. He feels so lost.
But he too gets adjusted slowly, pulled into a set of friends, who don't like the new way of thinking in the country. For them, racism still persists, guns are always out, torture is the way of life. Anarchy can't be wished away.

Robert knows right from wrong but he can't get away from Ivan and his friends. In the way of growing up. Robert is forced to choose. Most of the time, being in the wrong. He lets down the very person he was friends with. When he learns the darkest secrets of his so called friends, he knows he has to get away from his friends and do the right thing. But is it already too late?

We see Robert growing up in the five years that follows, both in body and his thinking. He can differentiate between right and wrong and go with what he knows is the righ path. Boys like Ivan can never understand that and, can never grow up.

Jason Wallace has shown us the ugliest side of the newly founded Zimbawe, where corruption persits. Killing is the norm. There is no difference between right and wrong.

On a personal note, one of my closest friends had lived in Zimbawe in that period. Sheused to tell us about the rampant anarchy going on and no one seemed to care. When one her relatives was bruttaly raped by three people, they left the country. She has very bad memories of those times.
I passed on the book to her and she told me she was crying halfway through the book. Maybe someday, I will post her thoughts about the book here.

It is not an easy read or a comfort readbut I will say it is a must read. It is the only way we can prevent something like this from happening in our parts of the world. By awareness and determination.

I posted the following few weeks ago. I do so now too. Just think about what it says:

If I stood you in front of a man, pressed a gun into your palm and told you to squeeze the trigger, would you do it?

No, sir.

Are you sure?

Of course, sir. No ways!

What if I then told you we'd gone back in time and his name was Adolf Hitler? Would you do it then?' Would you? Would you?


I'd want to ask him: Why?
~Page 277

This book arrived unsolicited, from the author. I am very glad he sent it to me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mondays: Mailbox/Whereabouts/Musings

Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia.

After a drought, I received the following four books this past week, thanks to the authors/publicists:

1) Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still can’t imagine a remotely happy life without her—yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.

2) Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Laugh-out-loud funny, at times heartbreaking, and written in a pitch-perfect voice, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a spirited Southern tale that explores the intricate frailties and strengths of female relationships while illuminating the journey of a young girl who loses her mother but finds many others.

3) The Gendarme by Mark Mustian

Emmett Conn is an old man, near the end of his life. A World War I veteran, he's been affected by memory loss since being injured during the war. To those around him, he's simply a confused man, fading in and out of senility. But what they don't know is that Emmett has been beset by memories, of events he and others have denied or purposely forgotten.


4) Too Rich and Too Thin by Barbara DeShong

Pack your bags for Texas and prepare to meet the strangest family since that little Chainsaw Massacre incident.

Psychologist Jessica LeFave will be your guide, but be forewarned, Dr. LeFave isn t your average shrink, and though her wisecracking lawyer buddy, will try to keep Jessica out of trouble, he might not be able to save you, or himself.
Your journey opens when Jessica is summoned to profile the killer who drove a spike through the heart of the notorious Bernice Jackson. Jessica is more than a little excited. Not because Bernice Jackson is dead, but because Bernice who'd soared to fame and wealth by shamelessly re-writing treasured historical events into wildly successful soft-porn novels and movies was a psychiatry patient of her husband's at the time of his death.


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In the past weeks:

I finished:

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
The Gendarme by Mark Mustian
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

I am in the midst of reading:

Lots of books!

I posted reviews of:

The Likeness by Tana French
What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy
Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

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What does your bookshelf (or, what do your bookshelves) say about you to the people who come into your home?

Firstly, my bookshelves convey that I am a voracious reader. Most are amazed by the amount of books I own, that is, 2500+. I have a varied genre of books. Apart from classics, not many are very well known books. That also surprises most people. My poetry collection is something makes people check them out.

I suppose, the books are what define me, in a way.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Salon: Reading finally picks up

Although monsoon has officially arrived here, we are not having much of rains. The humidity level is positively uncomfortable. My summer vacation is over and I am right now very busy too. In the first 15 days of July, I read only one book, Last Last Chance by Fiona Maazel. However, in the last three days I have read the following three books, as soon as those arrived.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
The Gendarme by Mike Mustian
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

All three are different genres and very good books. I will be posting my reviews soon. The following reviews too need catching up.

Last Last Chance by Fiona Maazel
The Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning
Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace
The Memorist by M J Rose

Like my reading, I am slacking in my reviews too. Hopefully I get those done in next some days. There was a time when I wrote a review as soon as I finished a book.

Anyway, I need to go and pick another book to read! A crime fiction maybe?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekly Geeks: Shiny Book Syndrome

This weeks Weekly Geeks question comes from Tara SG

What is Shiny Book Syndrome?
It is when a person only wants to read their newest book and leave piles of poor unread books on their shelves to collect dust.

What can you do to alleviate the symptoms?


I do have huge collection of unread books so much so that I feel guilty about the fact. Some of those have been there for years. Yet I don't want to get rid of those, promising myself that I will get around reading them some time soon. But the 'soon' hasn't happened.

It is true that I read more newer books nowadays. I didn't even realise that until fairly recently when I was taking stock of my books. Last week I moved lot of those books right in front of my shelves. Maybe that will help me to pick them up.


I have stopped taking part in the various challenges. This way I can read at my own pace, time and pleasure.


Having said that, I don't really think I am suffering from Shiny Book Syndrome. I always go back to my old books. Picking one or the other.


BTW, I read Saving Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman and The Gendarme by Mike Mustian with 24 hours of their arrival. How is that?

Do you do that too?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Find: Fake ID by Walter Sorrells/Book Blogger Hop

Fake ID by Walter Sorrells

Publisher Comments:

On the night of Chastity's 16th birthday, her mother disappears. Police find blood matching her mother's DNA, but Chass doesn't believe her mother is dead. If Chass can't find her mother in six days, she'll be placed in foster care--or murdered first.

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http://www.crazy-for-books.com/

Every Friday, join the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jennifer (Crazy-For-Books), and hop to some new blogs.

Jennifer asks this week: “What books are you dying to get your hands on?”

My perfect answer would be that I wish to acquire all the good CrimeFiction out there. And also all the poetry books too. From classics to contemporary. As we all know a book lover is never satisfied with numbers.

What do you think about that?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Booking through hot

btt button

When you think about “hot reading,” what does that make you think of? Beach reading? Steamy romances? Books that take place in hot climates? Or cold ones?

Actually the worst of summer is over for me. This year we had temperature ranging from 104-111 °F from April to June. Those were the worst three months for us. However, it did not seem to affect my reading habits.

I define "hot reading" as something that can hold my interest. Irrespective of the temperature outside. I am not much of a beach reading type of a person, mainly because I live in a place far away from the Ocean. I do go for romances and if the story is good than I don't mind the steamy bits. Many a times, those actually help in unwinding. Reading is personal. None of us have any right to judge the others about their reading habits. If someone likes fluffy or what some call trashy stuff, thats their business.

As long as the book is good, it doesn't matter to me if it is set in a hot climate or a cold one. It can be a Gabriel Garcia Marquez or a totally goofy graphic novel!

Hot or cold, reading ought to hold!

Isn't it what we all desire?

Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

Title: Crossing Oceans
Author: Gina Holmes
ISBN: 978-1414333052
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers/2010
Pages: 400

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Back Cover:
Sometimes love demands the impossible

Nothing deepens a stream like a good rain . . . or makes it harder to cross.Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But life has a way of upending even the best-laid plans. Now, years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter.

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Right from the beginning we know Jenny is dying. She has a young daughter, Isabella, who needs looking after. Jenny has no option other than going back home, in North Carolina town. Her father is a seemingly cold hearted person with whom she could never connect and David, who is not aware of the existence of his own daughter Isabella. Jenny has to make sure that one of them can take care of her daughter, after she is gone.

Meanwhile, in the five years, David has married. And does not have any children. He and his wife are keen on a child. When he becomes aware of Isabella, he wants her in his life. Jenny's father blames David's father, a doctor, for his wife's death. They don't have any love between them. Jenny wants the best for her daughter and will do any thing for her.

A novel which starts with despair and sadness moves us through various family equations. WE see the deep abiding mother-daughter love. The dynamics of relationship can sustain in the face of any adversity. That is what Gina Holmes has brought forward. The deep faith can take anyone to the top. When Jenny passes away, she lives behind families united. All due to her daughter Isabella.

One of most endearing characters in the novel is, Jenny's grandmother, who is always toting a oxygen cylinder. One simply can't help loving her. It is a beautifully told story, one which touches us.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Kathy of BermudaOnion

It has been a while I played this. Here I take this word from Last Last Chance by Fiona Maazel.

1) Proboscis (page 7): It was impressive, this huge proboscis of huge affront to the landscape.

pro·bos·cis (pr-bss)
n. pl. pro·bos·cis·es or pro·bos·ci·des (-bs-dz)
1. A long flexible snout or trunk, as of an elephant.
2. The slender, tubular feeding and sucking organ of certain invertebrates, such as insects, worms, and mollusks.
3. A human nose, especially a prominent one.