Recent bookish feelings

I haven’t been reading too much at all. Just snatches here and there and that has never helped too much as far as guzzling and devouring books goes. I like sinking in and letting the book take over temporarily. Totally counter-productive to wanting to actually finish many books, I realise. But its a habit I need to get out of, and learn to make the most of small snatches of time, seeing as how it’s all I am likely to have. But here are some long pending thoughts on books I’ve read over the recent (okay, more like 5 months now) past. I want to note it all down before I forget.

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Tom Robbins
This book marked the first book I enjoyed reading on the Kindle. And I’m blaming it all on the sheer awesomeness of the book itself. If I hadn’t gotten distracted by some other shit that was going on in life, I might have not put it down at all. The book is about a zany, eccentric, totally mad adventure undertaken by the protagonist — Sissy Hanshaw, the utterly unabashed, fearless cowgirl — which very quickly turns into a coming of age (but not in the least bit condescending sense that coming of age books can be) journey that brings together mad adventure, a riot of colourful and OTT characters, some brilliant nuggets of wisdom, philosophy and feminism. It’s a trip in rebellion of all kinds, which I thought was nicely portrayed by the wonderfully unusual way in which it is written. It took me a few chapters to get used to the absurdist and almost surreal style of writing, but once you’re in the groove of it, it just flows smoothly and you wont know how many pages you’ve turned. Sissy is not your average protagonist. She is wonderfully innocent, in a way that makes you feel for her. That she embraces an abnormality and runs with it, going on this wild journey that honestly seems like such fun, you’re rooting for her in no time at all! Ultimately, the book is about loving yourself and making it the way you deem fit, despite the seeming disadvantages and “defects”you might possess — which has been the underlying theme for most of the books, films and everything else I’ve loved of late.

High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
If you’ve been a music junkie for as long as you can remember, you will enjoy this book. Ostensibly, High Fidelity is a love story — you get that pretty quick — but it is also a story about the weird ways in which men and women work. The patterns of behaviour, the things that make us tick, the way we end up feeling and making each other feel — you’ve likely been through the whole gamut of emotions. If you’ve ever loved and lost, had a bad end to a relationship, pined over and made sense of those feelings, you will get this book. If your relationships and life in general are closely linked to the music of your generation, you will love the book, like I did. It’s a love story, and yet its not becuase the simple and straightforward love-plot is beautifully strewn with the minutiae of Rob’s (the record-shop-owning, just-been-dumped protagonist) relationship issues. The way he approaches love, with the expected obsession, his inability to commit, his fears and apprehensions, and the impossible to ignore softer side beneath the roughly scraped exterior. And there’s a lot of music, mostly old-school rock, the classics from the 70s and 80s so if you’re into it, like I am, then you’ll love it even more.

A Pleasant Kind of Heavy, Aranyani
A motley collection of short stories in Indian erotica, this book was a surprising discovery. Why? Because, Indian erotica isn’t something I’ve come across before. More so, this kind of everyday erotica, that is so plain, simple and real, was a refreshing change from the titillating angle most erotica aims for. It is supposedly scandalous, scandalous enough for the author to take on a pseudonym, but what it is is just refreshingly simple. In fact, the writing was so normal, the words so plain, that the situations drawn up while far from normal, prompted a reaction of almost-nonchalance on my part. It was nice to be able to breeze through the book without feeling squeamish or being scandalised with wide-eyed wonder. Have to admit though, after the first couple of stories I felt like I had seen it all and had to get myself to pick the book up again and finish it. Its a short and breezy read, with every story set in a distinctly different setting, time, place, country, even. By the end you feel like you’ve been through the whole spectrum of possible sexual liaison between the covers of this quick read. The stories are at times bold, at times languid and easy, at times elegant and beautiful and its a skill to be able to traverse all these different themes in such a short space. If you’re in the mood for something different, something sensuous and see where it takes you, you might want to pick this one up.

The Sood Family Cookbook, Aparna Jain
I’ve eyed this book for so long, but nothing really compelled me to buy it. I’m wary of hoarding cookbooks, unless I can thumb through them and know it will definitely be an impetus to make most, if not all, of the contents within its pages. I borrowed it from A a while ago and have been slowly but surely devouring it. Its an out-and-out cookbook, a super compilation of the Sood Family favourites — giving a wide variety of everything from traditional Pahaadi khana to quick breakfasts, glamorous but easy to whip-up desserts, kitchen staples, continental concoctions and everything in between. The little tidbits that precede every recipe give you a fun insight into where the recipe came about and why its made its way into the family favourites, and some recipes even have extras in the form of substitutes, nuggets of information and kitchen secrets. Its a delightful cookbook that had me bookmarking pretty much 80% of it, before I realised I really must return A’s copy and get me my own! Homely, easy, non-fussy, beautifully illustrated and downright simple to follow — its definitely my kind of cookbook.

On my immediate must-read list (totally random order) are the following:
Korma, Kheer and Kismet, Pamela Timms
Cooked, Michael Pollan
Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain (this is a re-read because its been so long, and I recently read his blog and fell in love all over again. Here’s a man who can cook, host many a flamboyant food show, AND write!)
Wild, Cheryl Strayed
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris (also a re-read because I loved the book, and I feel like I need an upper to get me going again)

So, what have you been reading?

14 thoughts on “Recent bookish feelings

  1. Pingback: Books-shooks | hAAthi Time

  2. R

    HOW DID I MISS THIS POST? *end of screaming*
    Even Cowgirls – I dropped after a few pages. Now you are tempting me to read it to completion. The second book sounds interesting. Shall look it up.

    Me? I’ve read and liked No Country, Rosie Project, The Book Thief and Glass Castle. Picked up, re-read and liked (on MM’s reco; had previously stopped midway) The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Disliked The sense of an ending. Currently reading The Divided Island, but will park it as I am carrying The House on Mango Street and Nora Ephron’s I feel bad about my neck, on the Jaipur trip. Will let you know how good they are.

    Been meaning to read Cooked too. Sounds interesting.


    1. I can see why you might have felt like dropping it. it *is* a little absurd, especially the beginning. It totally threw me, but I stayed for some reason and once you get used to the style, its beautiful. May not be everybodys cup of tea though, now that I think about it.

      Okay, Im taking down all your reccos, they usually suit me well. Especially the Private Lives of Pippa Lee — youve reccoed it so many times.

      And HOW did you miss this post men!! hahaha


  3. Each one of these books in your post sounds interesting. Haven’t read any of these.

    I read Korma, Kheer & Kismet recently, and LOVED it. You must read it! Would also recommend Climbing The Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey, if you haven’t read it already. It makes for another lovely read.


    1. Korma…has been on the list for as long as I have known about the book, I don’t know why I’ve waited actually, I think I’ve just forgotten to get down to it in the craziness of life of late. I follow Pamelas blog and have loved it throughout, for the interesting premise that it holds. Im sure the book will live up to it. I must read it first! Will keep an eye out for the Madhur Jaffrey book too. Thanks!


  4. Currently reading- The hundred foot journey. Since I couldn’t watch the movie, I am reading the book before the DVD comes out. So far it has been an interesting journey. The book weaves food with important memories deftly in some places..

    Re-Reading – Game of thrones.. I have been spending a lot of time on Quora and Reddit now, and for a long time I have been in awe at how many readers have been connecting the dots across years, characters, and geographical locations that I feel stupid to have missed it when I read the series myself.

    Parking – Panty by Sangeeta Bandhyopadhyay: Originally a novel in Bengali, that has been translated into English, it tells the story of a Bengali woman and what happens with her once she gets in a relationship with a famous music director after her divorce.. The characters’ sexuality and how their sex drives are fueled, particularly that of the women.. I had to put it down, because I got involved in The Mentalist (the TV series).. will pick it up again soon.

    Wanting to read – Yuganta- FIrst Amazon, then flipkart, and now there is an order with infibeam (but still under processing and not shipped) .. It’s come to the point that I want to read this book just to get back at the part of the universe that doesn’t want me to read it.


    1. Never got into the GoT madness, because 1) Im wary about any possible TV addictions and I saw how it totally consumed VC 2) It looks scary in parts :P and Im totally chicken! Also long-drawn 3-4 part series never hold my attention :(
      I do want to read 100 Foot Journey though, and parking panty (?) sounds interesting.


      1. Errr. I have phrased it incorrectly.. It is just Panty. .I wrote parking because I have kept the book on hold i.e. parking :P

        I read the books before I started the series, and my fascination to it was almost like reading Harry Potter when I was in school.


        1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA — i went and googled Parking Panty :P
          Also, I was never tempted to reach Harry Potter (yes I have NEVER read a single one of them!) and LoTR or Hunger Games or any of those multipart series.. Im a fraud reader.


      2. Also, if you don’t like multi part books, then wait till GRRM finishes writing the upcoming books.. The next book was supposed to come out 3 years ago.. and as of now is on an indefinite hold..


  5. Hmmm.. interesting.. even I’ve got a new cookbook lying around.. Rick Stein”s India.. beautifully written and even more beautifully photographed and I am a sucker for beautifully photographed cookbooks that capture more than just the food!! This is part travelogue too..

    Just started reading Elif Shafak”s forty rules of love.. It delves into Sufism and its religion of love.. but early days yet.. just read some 40 odd pages of it..

    I remember you telling me about Kitchen confidential last year.. and me telling myself I have to read it.. and I havent yet got it.. and then I saw your list again today.. That’s definitely next on the list…


    1. This cookbook is really just a cook-book, not “reading” material per se, but its one of those cookbooks that I really got into. Read it cover to cover like I would any other book, as opposed to just flip through the pages which is what I do with recipe books. Rick Steins book is probably more memoir-like and therefore more readable, I should check it out.

      Iv heard of this 40 Rules of Love — any good? Let me know. Im a sucker for Sufism. And yes, KC will make you fall in love with Anthony, if you dont already love him enough.


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