Friday, October 30, 2009

RIP IV Challenge Wrap Up

Carl's R.I.P. IV Challenge

Thanks to Carl V of
Stainless Steel Droppings, for hosting the fourth edition of the RI.P. challenge (1 Sep 2009-31 October 2009). As I read a lot of books of different genres as stipulated in the rules, I can safely say I completed Peril the First.

Here is my list of books, which I read for
Carl's R.I.P. IV Challenge - Peril the First:

Faces In The Fire by T. L. Hines
Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher
Deep Freeze by Lisa Jackson
T'Aragam by Jack W Regan
Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak
Alvor by Linda Bingham

Nightshade by John Saul
Ghosts by Paul Auster
The Locked Room by Paul Auster
Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy
Kiss Me Again, Stranger by Daphne du Maurier
72 Virgins by Avi Perry

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundel
Dust by Susan Berliner
Receive Me Falling by Erica Robuck
Hoodoo Sea by Rolf Hitzer

Guest Post by Avi Perry, author of 72 Virgins

I had reviewed 72 Virgins by Avi Perry a few days back. Here I present a guest post by him.

When your thriller comes with a point of view

by Avi Perry

It’s risky.

While some readers may love every aspect of your story and praise it, some of your critics may disapprove. They may hold opposing political views, and thus, may not appreciate the way you depict your good guy, whom they like to perceive as the one with the timeless, evil soul. When your bad guy is the president of Iran and your reader is the Ayatollah he will find faults with every aspect of your story starting with the characters, whom he will define as stereotypes or caricatures, since they do not agree and do not represent what he perceives as a proper and a just world view.

When writing 72 Virgins I embraced a point of view that does not approve of Islamic terrorists; it pictures them as ruthless, selfish, brainwashed characters—not as desperate as some naïve people want to depict them. At the same time, I created a hero, a good guy, with whom the audience is supposed to identify and root for—but he is an Israeli, a brilliant intelligence expert. If you are a Muslim, a Palestinian sympathizer, a Jew hater, an anti Israel critic, or if you view Islamic terrorists as freedom fighters rather than ruthless killers, then you would hate my book, you would disagree with the way I depicted my characters, you would find faults in every page, call me a poor writer, then classify my book as trash.

If on the other hand, you understand that the Koran is filled with verses claiming superiority for Muslims, contempt and scorn for infidels, justifications for violent Jihad and violence against infidels in general. If you realize that it considers Jews to be descendants of monkeys and pigs, etc. and if you are aware of those who believe and follow every word of this part of the Koran, those who kill innocents so that they become martyrs, entitled for 72 virgins in heaven, then you would identify with my characters, you would detest the bad guys and you would enjoy the action of the good ones; you would live inside their soul and you will not stop turning the pages until you reach the dramatic end.

When I wrote 72 Virgins I accepted that verdict. I knew that the book could make me an enemy in the eyes of some and a hero in the eyes of others. I recognized that there would be no one or very few who would consider the book as forgettable. 72 Virgins—you’d either love it or hate it. You would find it difficult to stay indifferent. But, if you read it from start to finish, it would leave an impression, it would make you think, it would not be forgotten once you wake up the next morning and turn to your daily adventures. You will remember the story, the characters, the humor, and the drama. It will stay with you for a while. It will leave an impression.

Friday Find: Death of a River Guide: A Novel by Richard Flanagan

Death of a River Guide: A Novel by Richard Flanagan

Synopsis (from google books)

Aljaz Cosini is leading a group of tourist on a raft tour down Tasmania's wild Franklin River when his greatest fear is realized -- a tourist falls over-board. An ordinary man with many regrets, Aljaz rises to an uncharacteristic heroism, and offers his own life in trade. Trapped under a rapid and drowning, Aljaz is beset with visions both horrible and fabulous. He sees Couta Ho, the beautiful, spirited woman he loved, and witnesses his uncle Reg having his teeth pulled and sold to pay for a ripple-iron house. He sees cities grow from the wild rain forest and a tree burst into flower in midwinter over his grandfather's forest grave.

As the entirety of Tasmanian life -- flora and fauna -- sings him home, Aljaz arrives at a world where dreaming reasserts its power over thinking, where his family tree branches into stories of all human families, stories that ground him in the land and reveal the soul history of his country.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Booking Through Blurbs

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What words/phrases in a blurb make a book irresistible? What words/phrases will make you put the book back down immediately?

Any blurb that contains "suspense/mystery/noir/whodunnits" instantly make me check out tha book. Now one can add "Global terrorism" too, to the list. "Mystic", "magic", "fantasy" may interest me or maybe not. It depends. Historical books with "witchcraft", "witch hunting", "witch trials" can also be added. If one adds the words "poetic prose", that is irresitible for me. I don't much like sci-fi but I can read books with "symbolism" and "dark" facts.

Although I do read romances but contemporary "chick lit" puts me off along with "explicit sex". I can't really get into vampire stuff although a bit of "paranormal" is ok.

I can't stand "self-help' books. Or anything that preaches.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Word Wednesday is hosted by Kathy of BermudaOnion

Sharing a word from a poem:

Home at thirty by Ed Skoog

On the street at midnight, I hear
a hatbox latch fall open
in an attic closet, and then
the silence of Alexandria.

Even low clouds' dark stucco seems
applied by the drowsiest journeyman.

The fire hydrant stares
from its tricolor at a branch
fallen in the street.

A snail punches antennae up the chain,
a great excursion to the loose
bolt where a little water drips.


n., pl., -coes, or -cos.

  1. A durable finish for exterior walls, usually composed of cement, sand, and lime, and applied while wet.
  2. A fine plaster for interior wall ornamentation, such as moldings.
  3. A plaster or cement finish for interior walls.
  4. Stuccowork.
tr.v., -coed, -co·ing, -coes, or -cos.

To finish or decorate with stucco.

[Italian, of Germanic origin.]

A-Z Wednesday: Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

Title: Labyrinth
Author: Kate Mosse
ISBN: 9780399153440
Publisher: Putnam/2006
Pages: 528

In this elaborate thriller Labyrinth, two women strangly mysteriously linked across eight centuries, take up the search to find the legendary Holy Grail and guard its secrets from those who would use its power for evil ends. Kate Mosse spins an electrifying story of intrigue and hazard, with female characters who don't wait for men to lead. With valour and shrewdness, they plunge headlong into the everlasting search for truth. In this grail quest, women aren't helpless creatures to be rescued by knights in shining armour. They hold on their own, are central to the action, with the capability to change the course of history. The villains, in both eras too, are women. The climactic moments where the good and evil women are face to face and fight it out is very gripping...

Story in a nutshell:

July 1209: in Carcassonne, France, a young girl is given one of the three secret books, by her father which he claims contains the secret of the true Grail. Although Alaïs cannot understand the strange words and symbols hidden within, she memorises them and knows that she must protect it. It takes great sacrifice and lots of faith on her part to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe - a secret that stretches back thousands of years to the deserts of Ancient Egypt . . .

July 2005: Alice Tanner, a British Volunteer, stumbles upon two skeletons during an archaeological dig in the mountains outside Carcassonne. Inside the hidden cave where two skeletons lie crumbling, she experiences an overwhelming sense of malevolence, as well as a creeping understanding and familiarity. She can somehow make sense of the mysterious ancient words carved into the rock. Though she cannot comprehend fully, Alice realises she is trapped in a terrifying sequence of events for which she has no control and her destiny is somehow linked with the fate of the Cathars 800 years before.

Their stories are told in alternating chapters as both take utmost care to hide and protect their secrets. As history unfolds over the centuries, both find themselves entangled in the history and evil that surrounds them. The novel moves between past and present, one life reflecting and mirroring the other. Most of the characters in both eras are mirrored.

As one might expect of a labyrinth, it turns out that there are truths beyond the truths sought. There are twists and turns, memories to be retrieved and reclaimed, lovers' misunderstandings to be reconciled, fragments of the past to be salvaged and old betrayals to be, very satisfyingly, revenged. It has all these and more ingredients for a good novel.

Mosse's love of the location around Carcassonne is clear from her generous descriptions of the city and the surrounding countryside; and her research into the details of the historical facts and language is markedly wide-ranging. The novel does hold attention till the end despite some loose ends.

Monday, October 26, 2009

72 Virgins by Avi Perry

The suicide-bomber's body was torn, his guts spilled out on the pavement. The dead guard next to him had his right arm ripped out of his body.

~Page 29, 72 Virgins by Avi Perry

Update @ 10:52 PM: Posting my review of 72 Virgins:

Title: 72 Virgins
Avi Perry
ISBN: 9780615280516
Publisher: Gradient Publishing/2009
Pages: 385

From the Publisher

72 Virgins is a novel about Jihad terrorism and the security agencies’ struggle to thwart its stratagem and trounce the perpetrators. Abu Musa is an Islamic Terrorist with an agenda, a ticking bomb inside the US. Arik Golan is an Israeli who tries to bring him down and pull the plug on his terror organization. Stanley Kramer is an FBI agent on a hunting mission, seeking to place both Abu Musa and Arik within his crosshair. The FBI, the Israeli Foreign Intelligence Service—the Mossad, the US-based Iranian clandestine terror network, and the Islamic Jihad fraternity are engaged in a timeless conflict, playing out to a crescendo that comes to a head before the dramatic conclusion.


72 Virgins is about Global Terrorism, realistic, and hence scary too, in its depiction of Islamic Jihad. It might be fictional but it strikes home. It can anywhere, anyplace, any time by anyone who is like one of us. I am not going to write about the storyline but what is it really about.

The violence that comes in the wake of Jihad is rationalised by die-hard Islamists. Young impressionable minds are somehow influenced for suicide misions. This in the name of 72 virgins waiting in heaven to serve them for the killings and for that self destruction. There is this misplaced notion that God wishes for blood, as much as is possible, be it of innocent people. Only then, they can get to paradise and stay there for eternity. The big question is, the perpetrators are in no hurry to find that paradise for themselves.

In this fictional account, the FBI, Israeli Mossad and terror networks are at loggerheads and there can't be any end to it anytime soon. Each and everyone is trying to outdo the other, without any rationality or reasonings.

Here in India, we have been facing terrorism for the past 30 years or so. It comes across from the Indo-Pak border, training camps found in Pakistan as well as PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). It is not confined there but has spread to all over India. Can anyone forget the Mumbai terror attacks where 10 terrorists held the whole city to ransom? Not anytime soon. How does one justify a religion which preaches violence? I am an apolitical person. But when terrorism affects my life, I can't stay silent and watch from the sidelines. I live in the shadow of it and yet haven't learnt to deal with it. For that reason only, I found this book fascinating where it speaks of the misplaced Jihad culture. This book made me pause, think and again resume it soon.

The book is a must read for everyone. If only to understand what is happening in the name of Global Terrorism. And also that political leaders can do to any length to achieve their own means and ends. There can't be happy endings but with awareness, maybe we can control it. Maybe not.

The quotation on my blog header says:

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us." Franz Kafka

72 Virgins sure did.

Do look out for a guest post by Avi Perry on my blog on 30th October.

I thank Tracee of Pump Up Your Book Promotion for my review copy of the book for virtual book tours.

Crime Fiction Alphabet: Disco of the departed by Colin Cotterill

Title: Disco of the Departed

Author: Colin Cotterill
ISBN: 9781569474648
Publisher: Soho Press/2006
Pages: 247

This is the third book in a series, that is featuring Dr. Siri, but it does hold on its own. Dr Siri, is 73 years old coroner of Laos. He has the gift of a Shaman, which helps him in moments of crisis. Here he is called upon to solve a murder in the mountains of Huaphan Province in Vietnam. He has to find out about a corpse who arm is protruding from the concrete walkway. Now this walkway is situated between the president's previous hideout and his new mansion.

Dr. Siri along with his assistant in the form of Dtui, has to find out what led to the murder of that unknown corpse. He unravels political plots, mysterious beings and he can also hear and watch disco of the spirits. Dr. Siri, infact does participate in one such dance. He has to decipher the meaning of all this and more.

Initially the book was slow. But it did pick up speed after halfway through. The idea might seem a bit far-fetched but being an Indian, this talk about spirits, supernatural powers made a lot of sense to me. I liked that simpleton Geung very much. He was what kept me going to the finish, not to forget wry humour in here. Also the politics and culture of the place added to my reading.

I wouldn't call it a fast paced mystery but it does have its moments.

Monday: Musings/Mailbox/Whereabouts

Musing Mondays (BIG)
Do you take notes while reading – either for your reviews or for yourself? How/where do you make these notes (on the page, post-its, scrap paper, notebooks etc)?

I have never been known to make notes when I read..for myself or my reviews. While reading, I prefer no distractions. And I rely on my memory to write a review even after few months without consulting the book.

I always carry a journal, which is exclusively for my poetry and nothing else. My muse might strike anywhere and I don't like to be unprepared for that!


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 the following books in the mail this past week:

1) What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy
2) Dust by Susan Berliner


I finished: (1-6 during the 24 Hour Readathon)

1) The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
2) Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundel
3) Dust by Susan Berliner
Judah's Lion by Anne Caston --Poetry
5) The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell
6) Receive Me Falling by Erica Robuck
7) Kiss Me Again, Stranger by Daphne du Maurier

I am in the midst of reading:

Theft of Time by Terry Pratchett
Cult Insanity by Irene Spencer

I plan to read:

72 Virgins by Avi Perry

I posted review of:

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TSS/Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: Wrap up/End of Event meme

Dewey's 24-hour Readathon

Books read: 5 and a half

Total pages read: 1418

Hours read: Almost 14

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

After 1:15 AM, I simply couldn't stay awake. And the last 30 minutes was very hard. I stopped reading 20 minutes before time. I simply couldn't go on.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundel & The Imposter's Daughter by Lauri Sandell would keep one hooked!

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Yes, the time difference troubled me this time. It started on the 5:30 pm, Saturday for me and after a long day at school, I felt stressed out. If something could be done about that, I would much appreciate it.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Cheerleading! I am indebted to them.

5. How many books did you read?

I read five and a half book.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

1) The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (372)
2) Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundel (298)
3) Dust by Susan Berliner (205)
Judah's Lion by Anne Caston (96)--Poetry
5) The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell (pages245)
6) Receive Me Falling by Erica Robuck-- 155/266

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

2) Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundel (298)

8. Which did you enjoy least?


9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?


10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

Same as now. Reader!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: Hour 20

I am kind of getting zapped. My eyes are giving out! What am I supposed to do now?!

I managed to read two books in the last 2.5 hours. That includes a poetry book.

Pages read in the last 2.5 hours=205+96=301

Books read: 2

Dust by Susan Berliner (205)

A fast paced book with simple writing about a dust cloud attacking people in and around a condo.

Judah's Lion by Anne Caston (96)

Touching, sensitive, soulful poetry

Total pages read till now: 1018

Total books finished: 4

1) The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (372)

Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundel (298)

3) Dust by Susan Berliner (205)

Judah's Lion by Anne Caston (96)--Poetry

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: Remembering Dewey

I don't know how I got to know Dewey. But after I landed up on her blog, I never looked back. Her blog simply drew us all in. Her reading was vast and varied. I looked up at what she had to say about a particular book. As I said before on my blog, I was in awe of her. She had so much enthusiasm that it kind of attracted us to her.

I liked to do the Weekly Geeks. It kept the book blogging community alive. She made sure we visited each other. Her giveaways were generous. I for one, won three books from her.

I had some inkling of her illness but did not know the seriousness of it. Yes, I will miss her. I am missing her. Hope she is looking at all of us from up there. Dewey, we will keep the community feeling alive. We have to. You started it, we got to make it grow.

Love you Dewey, wherever you are. It hardly matters that I never met you.

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: Hour 17

Dewey's 24-hour Readathon

Somehow Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett early in the morning. didn't work for me. I gave it up after 47 pages. I might get back to it later in the day but not now.

I started Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundell(pages 298) and finished it a few minutes back. A novel with traces of Jane Eyre, suspense and paranormal elements. Another satisfying read!

Books finished: 2

Pages read: 372+47+298=717

I am not really satisfied with my progress in terms of pages read but I have finished two really good books.

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (372)

Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundel (298)


Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile is hosting the Hour #17 mini challenge: Give Me Five:

Mine are:

The Adventures of a Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton
The Jungle Book
Charlotte's Web
The Five Findouters series by Enid Blyton
Hardy boys series

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: Mid Event Survey

Dewey's 24-hour Readathon

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?

Theft Of Time By Terry Pratchett

2. How many books have you read so far?

Alas, only one!

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

The Imposter's Daughter (graphic Memoir) & Judah's Lion(poetry)

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

Not really

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

I had to go out for two hours. And I was only planning to sleep for two hours but ended up with four hours of sleep

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

My slow pace, this time around. I am a very fast reader!

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I like it this way!

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?


9. Are you getting tired yet?

No, I woke up refreshed!

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

They are all doing great jobs. Thats what matters!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: Mini Challenge Collection Obsession

Dewey's 24-hour Readathon

Wendy at Caribou's Mom is hosting this mini challenge for hours 8 through 10 of the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon.

Most obsessive readers are also collectors. Besides books, what do YOU collect?

I will answer this in the form of poetry:

In the midst of my books
I place precious something
you must be thinking of bookmarks
yes, I do collect those too
along with scraps of paper
matchboxes, coins,
black and white pictures of movie stars
yet, those count for nothing

"I collect memories, which I won't share
here with you, as no picture can do justice"

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: Update 3/Eat to Read Mini-Challenge

Dewey's 24-hour Readathon

I got back at 10 pm and went straight to my book The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. Finished it a few minutes ago. It is 1:12 am here and I am kind of feeling tired. Remember it was a working day for me. It is almost seven hours now and I have finished 372 pages. It was not a fast read. However, a very satisfying one. My second Louise Penny book and I am glad I read it. One very unusual murder mystery.

Now I am onto my second book,
Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett (Pages 429). Maybe I ought to sleep for a couple of hours before I start it. I do need my sleep!

(Why couldn't I have chosen thinner books?)

Read-a-Thon: Eat to Read Mini-Challenge

I kind of snacked on tea, chocolate chip cookies and salted peanuts. That too after getting back from dinner, which was thrown in lieu of my younger SILs birthday. Can you believe it, I forgot to wish her in the morning? Blame on the Readathon!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: Two-Three Hours update

Dewey's 24-hour Readathon

I have to go out for two hours. Hence updating my reading earlier than I had planned. I am on page 157/372 of The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. At the most intersting turn. I am liking the way it is developing. With the a murder of an unknown, no apparent motive, absolutely no clues and lots of nutty characters.

Anyway I can only come back to it after two hours. Lets see how I fare then. Best of luck to your reading, Folks!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: The Start

Starting the Dewey's 24-hour Readathon with a cup of tea and The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (Pages 372), in a few minutes time. And why not? A mystery novel can only add to the pace! Wish me luck, Folks.

See you all in three-four hours' time.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Finds

It’s Beginning to Hurt by James Lasdun

From Publishers Weekly

Lasdun peels back the facades of middle-aged, middle-class types through their run-ins with cancer, infidelity and loss that lead them to deal with unexpectedly large and often ugly recognitions. The title story is less than three full pages, but generates near-boundless futility and regret as a businessman, having just attended the funeral of a long forgotten former lover, can't help falling back into the old habit of lying to his wife about how he's spent the day. The Incalculable Life Gesture builds to a climax of relief as an elementary school principal, feuding with his sister, follows through a series of tests that indicate he has lymphoma—until a specialist reveals the truth of his ailment. In Peter Kahn's Third Wife, a sales assistant in a jewelry boutique models necklaces for a wealthy wine importer who brings in a series of successive wives-to-be over the years.

Bone Dream by Moira MacDougall

Product Description

The poems in Bone Dream are darkly sensuous, capturing the unspoken moments of life through images firmly grounded in the body and the material world. Relationships, family and death are explored at times through the medium of a dancers body, and at other times through the everyday artefacts we find around us. These poems move, disturb and bring us to realization.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Booking Through Questioning the Bard

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If you could ask your favorite author (alive or dead) one question … who would you ask, and what would the question be?

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets. Some speak of a woman of dark countenance, who was apparently married and some of the sonnets pertain to a fair young man.

I would like to know if they were real individuals and if yes, then who?

A very relevant question as no one knows till date who the Bard referred to, in his sonnets. Those sonnets speak of love, passion, rejection, lust, death and lot more.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Word Wednesday is hosted by Kathy of BermudaOnion

I have found two words in one sentence in the book, Kiss Me Again, Stranger by Daphne du Maurier

Shantung/chartreuse (Page 79): Today she was dressed in silk shantung, the colour of chartreuse, and her hair was not the little-girl hair of yesterday.....


noun a type of soft silk with a coarse surface.

— ORIGIN from Shantung in China, where it was originally made.

2) chartreuse


noun a pale green or yellow liqueur made from brandy.

— ORIGIN named after La Grande Chartreuse, the Carthusian monastery near Grenoble where the liqueur was first made.

Kiss Me Again, Stranger by Daphne du Maurier

Title: Kiss Me Again, Stranger
Author: Daphne du Maurier
ISBN: 0671753282
Publisher: Avon Books/1972
Pages: 318

Kiss Me Again, Stranger is a collection of eight short stories by Daphne du Maurier. Those short stories are suspenseful with that edgy mystery element and haunt the reader long after finishing the stories. Those stories manage that elusive element keeping us on tenterhooks. Very tight, compelling and with realist portrayal, one can even envision it happening.

~ Kiss Me Again, Stranger is about a young man meeting a girl in a movie theatre and befriends her. He falls in love with her and then discovers some unpleasant truth about her.

~ The Birds is about birds trying to destroy humankind. Hitchcock based his movie on this story.

~ The Little Photographer is about a Marquise who despite fame and money finds herself lonely and decides to take a lover at the fag end.

~ Monte Verita can be rightfully termed as a novella and has many twists and tturns as only a love triangle can have. With well developed characters, it takes us into a journey which covers many years.

~ The Apple Tree is about a rich landlord who wishes for the old apple tree on his property to be chopped off, after his wife who has been long neglected, dies. For some reason he senses that it represents his dead wife. The apples taste bitter to him although those taste just fine for others

~ The Old Man is about a family whose old neighbour keeps an eye on them. He knows some secret about his neighbour and they always feel his eyes on them.

~ The Split Second is about a woman and the her daughter. They seem to have a comoplicated relationship. The suspense is mantained and we can see the depth of of du Maurier's writing.

~ No Motive is a murder mystery and despite the shortness, can totally engross the reader..

With her signature style, du Maurier captivates the reader with the irony and very realistic depiction of human quirks. Notwithstanding gender, social strata or moods or intentions. Some might find thse short stories dark and disturbing but that ought not deter them to read her books.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon: Time to show my pile

I might as well show what I have stacked up for Dewey's 24-hour Readathon. This is my 4th Readathon as a reader and I am looking forward to catching up with reading. Due to Diwali and all, my reading has been slacking.

So here is my tentative pile, in no particular order:

1) Theft of the Master by Edwin Alexander
2) Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein
3) The Imposters' Daughter by Laurie Sandell
4) Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man by Harry E. Gilleland, Jr
5) Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundell
6) The Puzzle King by Betsy Carter
7) The Brutal Telling by Louisa Penny
8) Night of Flames by Douglas Jacobson
9) Under The Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell
10) Judah's Lion by Anne Caston
11) Stones From The River by Ursula Hegi (1994)
Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes (1999)
13) And This Too Shall Pass by E. Lynn Harris (1996)
14) The Manhattan Hunt Club by John Saul (2001)
15) Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett (1994)
16) The King's General by Daphne du Maurier (1947)
17) Tintin Albums

(4) and (10) are poetry books. No, I am not going to read all!
I think I will read 6-7 books out of these. I might change my mind and add a THICK book, like The 19th Wife! Let's see how I fare.

24-hour Readathon, here I come!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy

"I died, Grace. I died in the water," she says. Her voice so calm and matter-of-fact. I feel the lurch of my heart.

~page 220, Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy

Title: Yes, My Darling Daughter
Author: Margaret Leroy
ISBN: 9780374126018
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books/2009
Pages: 340

Set in London and Ireland, Yes, My Darling Daughter has all those elements, which can hold the reader's interest till the end. Grace, a single mother of four-year-old Sylvie, works in flower shop in London. Her daughter is not like any other child. She acts beyond her age and seems to know something which is the beyond the understanding of Grace.

When Sylvie starts to get mean with her playmates and also has frequent tantrums, along with sporadic panic attacks, Grace doesn't know how to deal with it. Sylvie has this unknown fear of water, anything that involves water scares her and she has nightmarish attacks. Sylvie also keeps drawing a small cottage and speaks of stuff, that she has not seen but somehow knows. And then one photograph triggers certain something and Sylvie continually keeps saying it is her home and she lived there. Somehow Sylvie seems to get farther away from Grace. The place turns out to be somewhere in Ireland.

Getting panicky and as a last resort, Grace gets in touch with Adam Winters, a University professor, who has done some studies on Paranormal behaviour of children and also about behaviour pertaining to past lives. After one sesseion with Sylvie, Adam suggest that they travel to Cold Harbour, Ireland and find out what Sylvie is trying to tell them. He has certain theories what must be the reason of Sylvie's behaviour. He warns Grace about violent memories but tells her there is nothing to worry about.

Arriving there, Sylvie recognises the places and also tries to find Lennie. Now who is Lennie? And for that matter who is Sylvie? And when they do find something, Sylvie simply clams up, going silent, withdrawing from Grace. Grace senses and knows that Sylvie is troubled and wants to help her. And Grace is scared too that somehow she might lose Sylvie to something she can't understand.

The past life and present have merged in this novel and the supporting characters somehow make it so plausible. The paranormal element doesn't seem out of context. A book that holds interest and satisfies that something which every reader wants and wishes for. A satisfying feel after reading it. At places Sylvie might feel unlovable but what else can expect from a girl, who had died violently in her past life. Grace, as a mother is supporting, loving and even when not understanding Sylvie's behaviour is always there for her.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Monday: Musing/Bonanza in the mailbox/Whereabouts

Musing Mondays (BIG)
Are you planning on participating in the upcoming 24 Hour Read-a-thon (either as a reader or cheerleader)? Have you made any preparations for the event? And, veterans out there, any tips you’d like to share with the newbies?

As usual, I am participating in the
Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon as a reader. Although I am not an official cheerleader, I do try to visit fellow book blogs and cheer them up. As I live in India, I start my reading a bit early and finish likewise. I don't read for the entire 24 hours. I take breaks. I like tea and that keeps me fresh. I do manage to sleep for 6-7 hours and try updating my blog every 2-3 hours. I also take part in a few of those mini-challenges.

I think one ought to choose books wisely. Although heavy, difficult reads work for me initially, but at the end, I try to read light, easy books. Graphic novels ought to work well and so do breezy romances. I advise, don't go in for review books as one can't really do justice to those. Alternate your reading with something lighter. If children's books work for you, go for those. Or YA Fiction. Don't be under any kind of pressure. The ultimate goal is to enjoy the Read-a-thon.

I am as yet undecided what to pick for the
Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon. I do know I will read a few Tintin Albums and one other graphic novel. And I will pick up at least two suspense/thriller/noir fiction. Also a poetry book. I can't do without poetry. Previously I had thought to stack up some romances but somehow couldn't get around doing that. Let's see what really works for me. It totally depends on my mood and the timing.


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.

It was a Diwali week and I got a lot of books (10) in the mail. Seemed so apt somehow:

(1) Shannon Cowan's Tin Angel,
(2) Linda DeMeulemeester's
The Secret of Grim Hill,
(3) Daren Krill's
The Uncle Duncle Chronicles: Escape From Treasure Island,
(4) The Hockey Card
by Jack Siemiatycki, Avi Slodovnick and illustrated by Doris Barrette, and
(5) When Pigs Fly by Valerie Couman and illustrated by Rogé.

The above 5 books I had won from the 2nd Canadian Challenge and were sent to me courtsey of Lobster Press. As all are children's books, my 12 year old nephew took away the lot!

(6) Cult Insanty by Irene Spencer...from the author
(7) Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundell....from the author
(8) The Puzzle King by Betsy Carter...from the author
(9) The Brutal Telling by Louisa Penny..from Stacy Taylor
(10) Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy...from the author


I read very less and reviewed nothing, except for one scheduled one. I had been very busy for Diwali as mentioned my Sunday Salon post.

I finished:

Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy
Cleopatra's Daughter Michelle Moran

However, I am in the midst of reading:

Cult Insanty by Irene Spencer

Taken from the author's website:

CULT INSANITY takes readers into her story to uncover the outrageous behavior of her brother-in-law Ervil - a self-proclaimed prophet who determined he was called to set the house of God in order - and how he terrorized their colony. Claiming to be God's avenger and to have a license to kill in the name of God, Ervil ordered the murders of friends and family members, eliminating all those who challenged his authority. CULT INSANITY is a riveting, terrifying memoir of polygamist life under the tyranny of a madman.

I plan to read:

Let's see what I read!

I posted review of:

Just Say Yes by Betina Krahn

Sunday Salon: Post Diwali

The Sunday

As mentioned in my last Sunday Salon post, Diwali was yesterday. I had a very hectic week prior to that. Buying stuff, cleaning and decorating our home and of course, gift giving/sharing.

Diwali, is the most important Hindu festival celebrated all over India, now by everyone irrespective of religion and ethnic origins. Diwali literally means "rows of lighted lamps" and hence is also referred to as the Festival of Lights. In a way, it is celebrated to mark many important events for Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. It cuts across the differences and everyone embraces it wholly in that spirit.

In many parts of India, Diwali is considered the harbinger of wealth and prosperity. The Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi is worshipped just before the earthern lamps are lighted. Crackers to are burst with lots of lights and sounds.

How do I celebrate it? I clean and decorate the house. I also prepare a lot of sweets..homemade sweets, essential for the Puja. I invite my brothers and their families for lunch and for the past several years, it has been a family tradition for all of us to be together on this day. We exchange gifts (well, I take the pains to buy the right stuff for them, they mostly dole out cash to me!). Then in the evening we do a Puja, light the earthern lamps, candles, along with the more modern lights (bulbs etc). I have stopped bursting crackers for a long time now.

Prior to the day before Diwali, we meet with friends, to wish and exchange gifts. Many also buy jewellery. I used to but not any more as I hardly ever wear anything other than finger rings. Frankly for the last five years, I have been buying books rather than clothes, jewellery or any such stuff.

Today, it is Govardhan Puja, which can be considered as worship of the Earth and Nature. Tomorrow, it is going to be Bhai Dooj. On this day, sisters pray for the long life of their brothers and brothers too pledge to protect their sisters. Sisters prepare elaborate meals for their brothers and brothers bless their sisters. Nowadays, gift giving has taken over but we still do it traditionally. I seldom accept gift for Bhai Dooj. (Gifts for Diwali, and my Birthday, I don't refuse!)

In midst of all this madness, when do I get time to read? Although I did manage to finish one book, Yes, My Darling Daughter and wrote lots of poetry. I hope to read a lot next week and also plan books for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon.

For today, more get togethers with friends is lined up! How about you? What are your plans for today?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekly Geeks: What tools? What Trade?

Although I am a member of GoodReads, LibraryThing and Shelfari, I seldom seem to visit those and network via those. I can't get the hang of twitter either. I don't really wish to update each and every second of my life, nor do I wish to know the same about other book bloggers.

Yes, if I get time I do try to schedule my posts in advance. Sometimes I manage, sometimes I can't. No big deal there.

My only valuable and useful tool for blogging is Google Reader. It keeps me updated about the book blogs I like to read and makes it easier for me to network. I think nothing works better than Google Reader. One can manage the feeds from one platform and that is good enough for me.

Most important tool of all is my memory. It serves me well in my review writing. I seldom consult the concerned book while writing a review even after several months. I don't write notes or anything remotely like that anywhere, other than the title and author of the book in my journal. Need I say more?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Finds: Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk

Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk

From Doubleday:

A man arrives at an insane asylum in contemporary Spain claiming to be the legendary navigator Christopher Columbus. Who he really is, and the events that led him to break with reality, lie at the center of this captivating, romantic, and stunningly written novel.

Found in the treacherous Strait of Gibraltar, the mysterious man who calls himself Columbus appears to be just another delirious mental patient, until he begins to tell the “true” story of how he famously obtained three ships from Spanish royalty.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Booking through weeding

btt button

When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?

Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all? (This would have described me for most of my life, by the way.)

And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore? SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?

For personal reasons we had to move house in April 2008. Before that I owned 4000+ books. That is a lot of books and I had to pared it down drastically. There were some I was never going to read, and some I had forgotten I owned and so on. Some were in such a bad shape that restoration was impossible.

I sorted throught it and made different piles:

1) to give out to Old Age Homes

2) to give out to orphanages

3) to give out to the local library (mostly bestsellers)

4) to give out to friends and family

5) to try to restore

6) to get out those which can't be restored

In two months, my book pile was reduced to 2500+ books. It still is somewhere around that number. I have kept it that way by continually giving out books. I have never sold anything. Swapped yes. Or I simply give away books to whomsover asks for it. And I do occasionally take out books to Old Age Homes and Orphanages. I need to reduce it too 1500 books and I will do that.

Yes, I do keep those books that I mean to re-read or those I can't part with. Like poetry books. Classics. Physics books.