03-Nov-2013

So I have been reading..


The issue with postponing a books update is that one tends to lose track of what one has been reading. Just for the record, here is what I think I covered the last few weeks.

I had picked up Bad Mothers United by Kate Long before jumping into a flight when Bobo was five months old. As a new mom, I thought I had to show my affiliation to the Mom club by picking up mommy books (not to mention by then I had already concluded that I was not going to be part of the Good Mothers United). The book however lay in my shelf for a while before I got around to reading it. The title makes it sound like a flippant, breezy read. It turned out to contain a bit more depth than that. Continuing with what must have been the original novel in the series, it examines the relationship between Charlotte, a teenage mom who has gone to University and her mom, Karen who babysits Charlotte’s son, Will. The book captures the dynamics between the duo quite well. Karen is put off by Charlotte’s high and mighty manner of whizzing in during weekends, giving her lectures on bringing up Will and ruining the routine. Charlotte meanwhile suffers from guilt at having left her son behind and feels threatened by Karen’s role in Will’s life. All this stuck a chord with me, considering I am having the mom/mom-in-law babysit this year and do quite a bit of giving lectures on bringing up Bobo!

Then came Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole and the Prostate Years. Adrian is now middle aged and faces all the problems that come with the territory, including a rather serious one. It is difficult to find much humour in a situation like this but Townsend manages quite well. Personally though, I prefer the earlier books in the series. Or maybe I just prefer the earlier phases of life..

I picked up Lynne Truss’s Going Loco off the library shelf, given the author’s funny best seller. This was not a particularly good decision. I found the beginning quite tiresome. A fact I discovered in a hotel room in Seoul, with no other book options on hand. So I laboured through and it turned out to be OK. The book tells us about Belinda, a reasonably popular author is quite taken in by the idea of doppelgangers. Belinda is married to a Swedish scientist Stefan. When overwhelmed by her busy (and tedious?) life, she hires a cleaning lady. Things take an interesting turn as Belinda’s life begins to see doppelgangers. You can see why it was a quirky idea but like Belinda’s life things get a bit tedious. Having stuck through it, I finally did quite enjoy the last few chapters. But if I had another book on hand, I would have dropped this one quite fast.

Next was Meg Whitman’s The Interestings. The book has been well reviewed everywhere. It traces the lives of a bunch of kids who meet at camp in their teens.  The various characters fall in love, marry, face issues and do the usual things that human beings manage to do in a life span. Usually when someone deals with a bunch of characters and their lives, certain parts tend to be better written and more interesting than the other bits. In this book, everything is well written and well described. I began to live in the book, rather unwillingly since I did not particularly love all the characters. But by God, did I want to find out whatever happened to them ! Interesting.

In the middle of all this I abandoned Anuja Chauhan’s The battle for Bittora. Think it must have been a quick effort by the author, to follow up on the success of her previous novel, the delightful The Zoya Factor.  Can ignore.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver was read on the recommendation seen on a friend’s FB page. A devout pastor lugs his family of one long-suffering wife and four girls from ages 5 to 15 to the Congo to take over a church in a really remote village. Congo gains its freedom and the tumultuous events that follow affect the family in a manner no one could have foreseen.  I read the descriptions of the family settling in and their lives before and just after the creation of a new nation, with rapt attention. The latter parts were nice too but not as good. I especially got a bit bored by the ramblings on the injustices meted out by white men on African nations. Yes, we know but it could have been said better in order not to break the narrative.  Still, a pretty good read. 

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