Friday, August 28, 2015

1Q84 Review

There are very few intriguing books solely because of their title and for me ‘1Q84’ by Haruki Murakami definitely lies under such category.  I've been meaning to read something of Murakami's for quite a while and maybe this wait was necessary, for me at least, to understand the writing and plot better.

Before I begin, here’s the book cover summary.

The year is 1984. Aomame sits in a taxi on the expressway in Tokyo.
Her work is not the kind which can be discussed in public but she is in a hurry to carry out an assignment and, with the traffic at a standstill, the driver proposes a solution. She agrees, but as a result of her actions starts to feel increasingly detached from the real world. She has been on a top-secret mission, and her next job will lead her to encounter the apparently superhuman founder of a religious cult.

Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange affair surrounding a literary prize to which a mysterious seventeen-year-old girl has submitted her remarkable first novel. It seems to be based on her own experiences and moves readers in unusual ways. Can her story really be true?

Both Aomame and Tengo notice that the world has grown strange; both realise that they are indispensable to each other. While their stories influence one another, at times by accident and at times intentionally, the two come closer and closer to intertwining.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Em and the Big Hoom Book Review

Even though one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, ‘Em and the Big Hoom’, by Jerry Pinto definitely makes you question your resolve against doing so. The purple cover with the image of Em’s head, the dark edges and the gray paper, mimic a vintage look ensuring the cover artist and designer high praise.

To begin with, here’s the back cover book summary.

In a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen in Mahim, Bombay, through the last decades of the twentieth century, lived four love-battered Mendeses: mother, father, son and daughter. Between Em, the mother, driven frequently to hospital after her failed suicide attempts, and The Big Hoom, the father, trying to hold things together as best he could, they tried to be a family.

Essentially, ‘Em and the Big Hoom’ is a semi-autobiographical account from the view point of a son, living in a one BHK flat in Mahim, about his mentally unhealthy mother Imelda (Em), her illness – the causes, symptoms and in turn, its effect on the lives of the whole family, Augustine (Big Hoom), Susan, their daughter and of course Jerry, although he remains unnamed throughout the novel.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

And the Mountains Echoed Book Review

Khaled Hosseini, the author known for his unforgettable bestseller ‘The Kite Runner’ and the splendid tale of ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, returned after a hiatus of six years, to render a tale of humanity, love and sacrifice in another heartbreaking narrative although not as emotionally brutal as his previous works.

To begin with, here’s the back cover book summary.

Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Adbullah, Pari, as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named, is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their skulls touching, their limbs tangled.

One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand.

Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, with profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways that we help our loved ones in need, how the choices we make resonate through history, and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Travelling to Tokyo?

Here's some info to start with:

Tokyo, enjoying a long history of prosperity as Japan’s capital since 1603, and with a population of about 13 million, has grown into the largest of the 47 prefectures of Japan and one of the more advanced metropolises in the world. The city focuses on everything from politics to business, from economy to cultural heritage, thus ascertaining itself as a world traveler destination

Scenic Geography

Even though, known for its urban sprawl and close quarters, Tokyo has treasured its natural beauty hidden throughout its cityscape. The presence of several parks, mountain ranges and bodies of water run through the area, and due to Japan’s cultural and ecological preservation efforts, one can still find traces of pre-urban Tokyo in its natural state.

For an outdoor traveler, Lake Okutama, the largest lake in Tokyo, running through both Tokyo and Yamanashi Prefectures, and the Tama River, provide an amazing scenic beauty. And though Tokyo doesn't have many caves, the most famous one is called the Nippara Limestone Cave, lying on the northwestern point of Tokyo, the largest cave in the Kanto region, taking up to 40 minutes to walk through the area. Here, one can find various stone religious sculptures and various ema, or written prayer plaques, from Shinto supplicants.