Reading List – April 2017

Currently I am reading Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike novels.

  1. The Cuckoo’s Calling
  2. The Silkworm
  3. A Career of Evil

    I had finished the first book the series in March. I am now on the 3rd book. While the books are not exactly classic crime fiction but they are well worth reading once. Don’t go searching for Christie’s Poirot in them. 

    Time for change …

    I have been having second thoughts about using numbers as titles for my posts after completing the 100th post. So there are some changes.

    Also next up will be my review of the recent books I have been reading. 

    Bansali’s Devdas – Looking Back

    Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Devdas was an awful retelling of the classic with it’s caricature of Bengali culture; but as a film that showcases 4 leading actors it does make for good scope to judge screen presence. Madhuri Dixit is the best of the lot , followed by Jackie Shroff. SRK playing the titular character flounders under bad direction and Aishwarya keeps channeling her Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam self and is shallow and pretentious. I have always felt like slapping the nyakami out of Aish’s Paro and knocking SRK’s Dev on the head to turn his senses back on. 

    Kiron Kher is considered a powerful actor yet SLB forces her to hyperventilate , open her mouth too wide or deliver her insipid dialogues with grandeur. She started as a lovable character in the movie but by the middle she turns into a vengeful spirit, spewing unnecessary venom.

    Of course, SLB wrote all his characters with so many flaws that it is hard to like or feel sorry for them. Paro is too proud for her own good and her ego gets the better of her. Strangely her childhood sweetheart is potrayed with same flaws. Devdas is an egotistical failure. He has not achieved anything in life. He is nothing without his parental wealth. In fact after leaving his parents he lives off Chunilal. You may say that the original characters are drawn up as flawed. But somehow between my reading of the original and SLB’s interpretation I found his vision makes the characters mean , vindictive, smaller. That’s the trouble of SLB’s grand canvas, the characters become small. 

    The standout in this is Madhuri Dixit’s acting prowress. Every frame she occupies is grand and she is grander than the backdrop. She is better than any other actors with whom she shares screen space. Her acting is sans nyakami , the eccentricities of her character become ‘ada‘ rather than Aish’s ‘nyakami‘. 

    Today when I re watched the movie after years I suddenly felt disappointed that Bollywood lost a powerful actor like Madhuri Dixit too early. Had she been part of the industry now she would have had her choice of roles. As the industry now has few writers and directors who would have made beautiful and poignant movies with Madhuri. 

    But at least SLB has left us with Devdas where you can be mesmeriesed by her.


    Reading List 2017 

    So here is what I have read in the first 4 months of the year. I am still working on the 1 book every month resolution.

    1. Fantastic beasts and where to find them – J K Rowling

    2. Only time will tell – Jeffrey Archer ( Rereading )

    3. The Cuckoo’s Calling- Robert Galbraith 

    4. The Spy – Paulo Cohelo 

    I plan to keep updating this as and when I have finished books.

    Harper Lee’s To kill a mocking bird 


    To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. It is primarily a novel about growing up under extraordinary circumstances in the 1930s in the Southern United States. The story spans three years, during which the main characters undergo significant changes. Scout Finch lives with her brother Jem and their father Atticus in the fictitious town of Maycomb, Alabama. Maycomb is a small, close-knit town, and every family has its social station depending on where they live, who their parents are, and how long their ancestors have lived in Maycomb.

    The story also addresses the racial tension in America. But in order to sift through the many layers of racial prejudice that Lee exposes in her novel, the reader needs to understand the complex history of race relations in the Southern States of America. A simple reference can be the 2016 Hollywood movie Hidden Figures which depicts the racial segregation that existed in America.

    There are 2 other serious issues that are dealt with in this book rape and loss of innocence. Both these elements make some parts of the book difficult to read.

    A good part of this story’s brilliance lies in the fact that it’s told from a child’s point-of-view. Through Scout’s eyes, Lee is able to present the story objectively. By having an innocent little girl make racial remarks and regard people of color in a way consistent with the community, Lee provides an objective view of the situation. As a child, Scout can make observations that an adult would avoid or sugarcoat. Readers, too, are likely to be forgiving of a child’s perception, whereas they would find an adult who makes these remarks offensive.

    This book has left an indelible impression when I re-read it later in life. As a young adult on my first reading I hadn’t comprehended the intensity of this book. It is at a much later age that I realized the cruelty the world is capable of and hence I think the theme of loss of innocence is so crucial as a reader’s experience.

    Like all good literature, this book was made into the well-received 1962 film starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.

    Go Set a Watchman is a novel by Harper Lee published on July 14, 2015, which was marketed as a sequel but it is really a first draft of this famous novel. I am yet to read it and once I have, I would come back with a review for it.

    THE END.


    Sources: Wikipedia, Cliffnotes, Google ( Image)