Book Reviews

What I’ve been Reading

I haven’t been reading much. There, I said it. I’m ashamed to have said it but it’s the truth, especially coming from me – a person who used to finish 2-3 books per week with consummate ease. 

To clarify, I haven’t read too many novels this year. But to compensate, and because I’m writing 1 short story every month as part of the Short Story Challenge, I’ve been gobbling up fiction and essays from literary magazines everywhere, mostly online. 

At the rate of 1 short story a day, I might have easily read as much as 2-3 books a week! 

Despite that, I craved my novel fixes. So I got back in the game with two of the most talked about books that have recently been made or are going to be made into films. 

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I came to the Divergent party a little late, because I didn’t know how much I could stomach. I was also worried that it would end on a cliffhanger and I’d be forced to read the sequels just to know what happens next. 

Luckily I’m pleased to report this was not the case. I enjoyed reading the book. It ended on a note that surely promised a sequel, but it is no loss if you choose not to. 

Though I found it very exciting, the premise felt a little too derivative to me. The sorting of people into factions reminded me of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter, and the violence between adolescents brought to mind The Hunger Games. I understand the appeal, of course, but I’m happy to see the sequels solely on screen, with my niece serving as my guide to plot lines that I may not follow. 

Here’s the trailer for Divergent:

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

If you haven’t read the book already, then there’s nothing I can tell you about it. I knew that there was a halfway plot twist but I didn’t know what the twist was. Briefly, all that I can tell you about the book is this: 

On Nick and Amy’s 5th wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing. Nick is the prime suspect – because, almost always, it’s the husband that did it. The book is narrated alternately by Nick, and Amy’s diary entries. 

Now that I know the twists and the endings, I can safely say – please read the book if you haven’t already!

The film is out in October. The trailer is brilliant, as is the casting for the movie:

 

Right now I’ve started on The Silkworm, written by Robert Gilbraith aka JK Rowling. So far, all I can say is, JKR is JKR. She hasn’t lost her touch, or her sense of humour, or her writing skills, one teeny bit.

 

What have you been reading lately?

My Writing, Writing

Mabel

It’s early days yet, but I thought I’d post an excerpt from my Nano novel, Mabel. It is a first draft, so please overlook any obvious errors!

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Chapter  1 

Anu

Despite what people may think, I’ve never actually glimpsed a red carpet rolled out, at least not for me. 

Ramu drops me outside the gate rather than driving into the parking lot through the entrance, where people will be. He slides to a stop outside the steel gates of Traxis. I make to open the door but before that he steps out, clad in his gleaming white chauffeur’s uniform, and opens the door for me. Already a cordon of jean-clad girls and boys has gathered at the door, some staring at Ramu and his glittering cap and others goggling at the car. All this after I convinced Ma to send me in the battered Opel Astra. If I’d barged in driving the BMW, I’d have hit Page 3 before you could say ‘Eureka’. 

I set one foot out the door, but my new wedge heels trip me up. Ramu grips my elbow and helps me out. 

Aaram se, madam.’ 

Straight away I can see I’ve overdressed for the occasion. My formal dark trousers and crisp white full-sleeve shirt cast me as a penguin in a sea of macaws. Thank goodness at least I’ve left my hair open. It sways gently as I stride over to the welcoming party.

‘Miss Anushree Bannerjee?’ says a hopeful-looking girl, no older than me probably. 

‘Yes,’ I nod. The other people around her beam at me. 

‘I am Sheena. It’s so nice to finally meet you. Please, follow me.’ 

I mutter ‘it’s good to meet you too’ as she leads me up the literal red carpet that has been rolled out all the way from the reception to the gate. 

‘This is Ravi,’ she said, indicating a scrawny fellow in a lime-green tee. ‘He sits at the reception and he can show you around.’

‘I will try and get your seat as soon as possible but it may not be today you know because there are so many new employees from previous weeks who haven’t even got their machines or seats yet, so…’ 

The river of one-sided conversation flows unchecked as we walk to the reception. 

‘- and for your caffeine fix, you can always make yourself a cup of coffee at any of the tea-rooms. Unfortunately we don’t keep tea-boys on our staff so you will have to prepare your own beverages,’ she says, offering me a look that Sita must’ve given when asking the ground to swallow her up. 

So she imagines that I’ve never in my life poured my own coffee, tea or for that matter, cocktail. This is the kind of thing I’d like to have a word with Shetty Uncle about. The media rarely reports on me and when it does, it misrepresents me. Anyway, all that lies in the past. After yesterday’s debacle, I doubt Baba will allow me anywhere near Shetty Uncle and his office. For the time-being, though, it lies to my advantage to let them believe whatever’s written about me. Clearly they haven’t followed my Twitter account to get the lowdown. 

‘Sheena, you didn’t really roll out the red carpet for me, did you?’ 

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Hope you liked it! I hope to finish it soon come hell or high water.