‘Arranged Love’ by Parul A. Mittal

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I came across this while randomly browsing books (and knick-knacks) in Oxford Bookstore, Connaught Place, Delhi. I picked it up mostly because of the cover and it being a chick-lit. I read some 20 pages before I had to leave the store. It was a fairly easy read and I am up for such racy fiction most times, so I thought of downloading & completing it after few days. Yes, I should read more, umm, intelligent stuff. This year, maybe?

So, this was the 22nd book in 2014 but got completed in 2015. First book of 2015.

I think it’s fairly easy to say how I feel about this book. It’s a nice, easy read with romance and humor and I enjoyed it for that. However, it is very predictable, especially if you read the backside of the cover and I don’t think that chick-lit always is or has to be predictable, it can be a good piece of literature for sure while being relaxing. Additionally, there are a lot of sexual jokes that were very unnecessary. I mean, to me, it seemed like trying too hard. I always hate that. Most of those jokes i found unfunny.

I should also mention that the ending depended on a certain twist, while I would have rather liked if that twist wasn’t there and then the protagonist had to decide whom she wants to marry. However, that’s not so much of a problem. That’s just different people wanting different things. Also, I really, really liked the love story of a side character. It was just beautiful, the innocent, pure kinds, the ones we call perfect? Apparently, it is taken from another of the author’s novels – Heartbreaks & Dreams!:The Girls @IIT – which was a national bestseller.

I am also in awe of the fact that the author is an IIT-Delhi graduate (a place from where females are usually less in number) and has a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Michigan (!!!!!!). I thought I would just mention that.

Overall, it’s the kind of books you can read on a short flight or train journey for a nice, easy read but do not expect much in terms of plot.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Say hello to the last book that I read in 2014! Finally. Well, I did start yet another one but I finished it in 2015, so we will count it as the first one in 2015. 😀

I and classics in English language generally don’t go very well, but I end up buying them anyway, so might as well read them. That is how this happened.

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However, I am glad that it did. I really liked the Great Gatsby. The fact that in the movie the protagonist is played by DiCaprio makes you  me imagine Gatsby as him helps too. ❤ I haven’t watched the movie though.

It is essentially a sad love story and that’s about it. I really can’t point at what exactly made me like this, but I did like it. It grew upon me as I proceeded, it wasn’t enjoyable since the beginning. It is kind of predictable too but only the bigger picture is predictable, not exactly everything.

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This book opinion is kind of weird and haywire because I really don’t know what to say about this book. I liked it, it was nice but I am not sure what made it a classic really. I also don’t know what made me like it. I never do a recommendation thing when sharing book opinions because to each, his own, but I try to say what I feel about the book and what kind of people may like it. However, with this one, I don’t know. It’s a sad love story, so, you can decide for yourself. 🙂

Growing Up by Devika Rangachari

As I keep mentioning here & there, I haven’t read most of the cult favorites, not even as a child. However, I chanced upon some of the novels that I really, really loved and continue to love.

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My junior school library had a lot of books from Children Book Trust (CBT) publications and one of the authors associated with the publication was Devika Rangachari. I have read her short stories collections as well as three of the children’s novels – 1) Company for Manisha, 2) When Amma Went Away & 3) Growing Up. I love all three of them to bits. In fact, I have read the second one probably in my late teens or after reaching adulthood, I bought it alongside when I found a copy of ‘Growing Up’ somewhere (I don’t remember where I bought it from, but I am so lucky to have found it after school ended). I am searching for a copy of ‘Company for Manisha’ everywhere and I think I should just go visit the CBT library someday to look for it, now that I live in Delhi.

All three of them are based on more or less the same theme. How kids grow and improve after entering their teens, learning from their mistakes and all. I am not sure if they would be liked by today’s kids considering how fast they are becoming mature and all grown-up these days, you know what I mean?

‘Growing Up’ is also on the same theme. Story of two young girls, how their friendship gets affected by other elements, how teens do things to fit in with their peer group and how they should rather realize to stand their ground and be affirmative as opposed to gullible. Seriously, how many of us realized that in the teen years itself? 😀 Or, rather, have we realized it yet? 😀 Yep, not so realistic but, I don’t know, I just love to read her stories for some reason. Have any of my Indian friends read any of these? 🙂

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PS: One more book to go from 2014 and I’ll be done with this self-imposed torture. However, I realized that there are now five books to go for 2015 before I come to my currently reading, guess I would never be writing about the same one that I am reading at the moment. What the..!

The Guide by Sir R K Narayan

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Am I ever going to get done with posting about books from last year? It seems like a never-ending thing. Please bear with me if you see back to back book opinions here after this. :/

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This is the 19th book that I read as part of this challenge and, honestly, I am way too confused about how I felt about it. I think I’ll just write my thought process, point by point?

1. I can totally see why this was made into a mainstream Bollywood movie. It is very, very filmy and even today a movie can be made using this as the story and it’ll fit into today’s time. *Tiny spoiler alert* Falling in love with someone who is totally off-limits, then doing things you never thought you would and making it big in life like you never imagined and then come crashing down without knowing what to do next is a good enough filmy theme, wouldn’t you agree?

2. As far as I am concerned, this book felt very dragged in almost half of the initial pages, but I was determined to not give up on this and eventually it became a page turner for me.

3. It is good, the story is quite larger than life but at the same time, the human emotions on which this story is built are something that can be felt by anyone of us. So, even though the story is larger than life, people can relate to the different characters, especially the main ones.

4. I haven’t been able to understand why it appears in every list of awesome books by Indian authors. Really? Is it that amazing? What am I missing here?

5. I have mentioned it in my favorite books of 2014 but now I am not so sure. I am glad that I read it. actually went through a rush of emotions towards the end but I am still not sure if it’s a must read for everyone.  It’s like you will feel good about reading it but even if you don’t, I do not think that you are missing out on something big.

That’s pretty much it. Was it too confusing?

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Difficult Daughters by Manju Kapur

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I think I should simply start by saying that give me anything with family drama and partition backdrop and I’ll read it happily. Apart from that, I think it’s quite an average read for somebody whose favorite genre is not family drama/partition. Summed it up pretty fast, yeah?

This is the 18th book that I read as part of last year’s Brunch Book Challenge. I wanted to read it since a long time because, okay, the cover was way too attractive. I want that maang tikka! 😀

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The thing I liked the most about it is that Lahore (now in Pakistan) was described extremely beautifully. The way it made me yearn to physically see that place as how it is described is mind-boggling! As for the story, *tiny spoiler alert*, it is essentially a love story but with a lot of family drama thrown in. The problem is that it’s a story of miserable love and sadly I did not feel bad enough for the protagonists. I just couldn’t establish a connection with either of them, I am sure they had their reasons to do things, but I just wasn’t able to understand or take in their point of view, I always felt that they should stop bringing such agony upon themselves. The attention to detail towards people, places, food & culture was remarkable along with defining even the supporting characters beautifully. In general, I enjoyed reading it. It’s not a you-can’t-miss-this book but a nice read if you like the genre. 🙂

A Game of Thrones

I am actually considering doing back to back book opinions because I hate not being able to post about the books that I am reading right now. I also hate not posting about them in the sequence I read them in. 😛 So, essentially, there are 4 books after this one and then I move on to 2015!

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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin is the 17th book that I read in 2014. Like I have mentioned before, I have hardly done any of the cult favorites of my generation and I always feel left out, I have no idea how that happens but it does, I never get to reading/watching any of the cult favorites. For example, I haven’t read or watched Harry Potter (just the third movie to which we were taken for a school trip and I didn’t understand anything, neither did I try). Also, I always felt that I won’t be able to enjoy fantasy fiction as much as I enjoy reality. This book has proven me wrong. I loved it!  It is a fierce tangle of kingdoms and kings and thrones and I am still in awe of the fact that so many people love it. I thought that it won’t be able to strike a chord with that many people, but look at how the show is doing!

It has a bit of too much of everything – violence, love, lust, greed, magic and so on. Is that the reason why people love it so much? I don’t know, but that sounds logical. I just did not understand one thing and I know I’ll get a lot of laughs for this! Why would someone go to so many ordeals just to get a throne? 😛  I guess we would have known had we been in the situation (I hope that happens never! 😛 ). But, overall, I really enjoyed reading it and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire. I actually need to catch up on a lot because the fifth season is going to be released in April I think and I really want to punch people in the face everyday who cannot stop giving me spoilers from all the seasons. I have watched till Season 2 and I really want to read the books before I move further with the show, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to read the books till April. I am very caught up with other things right now.

Now coming to the million dollar question of the book versus the show. First of all, I can almost never decide that about any books or movies. I think both provide some form of enrichment. Although there’s one thing that’s for certain, books are always more detailed, always. So, if you can live without the details, the enrichment that comes with it, you can skip the book because, let’s face it, the show is so much easier to watch. Also, at least in this case, the show is really, really brilliant.

That’s pretty much it. If you have watched the show or read the books, do share your experiences (without the spoilers!!). 🙂