Book Reviews · Reading

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant Book Review

Book: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

#72 on the Telegraph’s 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: B

What is the book about?

The story is about Pearl’s life: her marriage, her 3 kids, their ups and downs, until her death.

Verdict:

I really enjoyed this book. I think out of all the books i read so far on this list, this is the most realistic life story so far. Any of these kids can be any one of us today. It was just so relatable, so very real.

Tyler’s writing is so comfortable and flows in such a beautiful way that it was really comforting picking up the book late at night after being locked up with my kids at home and the craziness of this lockdown.

True there wasn’t alot of things or action going on in this story, except life itself. A beautiful look into a family trying to make sense of life.

I honestly think more than the story itself, I loved Tyler’s writing and the comfort of it. I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.

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Next book on the list:

The Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin.

Book Reviews · Reading

All Quiet on the Western Front Book Review

Book: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

#73 on the Telegraph’s 100 books everyone should read.

Grade: B

What is the story about?

The story takes place in WWI, the deadliest and bloodiest of all wars. Paul Baumer and his friends were only 19 years old when enlisted, and they saw, lived, and endured the unthinkable.

Verdict:

Only a person who lived through combat can write such a realistic story as this. Even though it was such a heavy topic, I really enjoyed the thoughtfull conversations and discussions of the idea of war.

Paul explains that after the war, they will be a lost generation. The generation before them saw the war as a mere distraction. Even though they lived through the atrocities of war, they had a life they were attached to before. They had a job, a wife, a house, and maybe kids that they hope to get back to after the war.

The generation after them will only live with the aftermath of war. But Paul’s generation are lost. As they have nothing they were really attached to before the war. All they know is war. After it, what will they do? Where will they go?

There were alot of meaningful discussions and ideas about war and the rationale behind it. Though I didn’t enjoy the visual description of the many deaths and injuries, I did enjoy this book alot.

And i do agree with the statement written on the cover of the book. This is “the greatest war novel of all time.”

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Next book: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

Book Reviews · Reading

Waiting for the Mahatma Book Review

Book: Waiting for the Mahatma by RK Narayan


#74 on the Telegraph’s 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: B

What is the story about?


Sriram is an orphan raised by his grandma in South India. He became infatuated with a girl, Bharati, who happens to be one of Gandhi’s pupils. He leaves the comforts of his grandma’s home to join the Mahatma’s calling. Their love story intertwines with the historical facts of the Indian Continent at that time till the country got its independence from the British and the end of Gandhi.

Verdict:


Let me say, I really enjoyed this book. The story flowed beautifully and was very easy to read. Not just that, but it was very interesting too.

Sriram is very likable. He is an impressionable young man who fell for a beautiful woman and followed her into Gandhi’s service. At one point in the story, he wishes that she wasn’t a political activist and just a normal girl so he can easily marry her without obstacles.

This shows you that people can join a political movement or cult (not that Gandhi is a cult, far from it, I’m just saying in general), for different reasons, like a girl, and not just pure belief in the political agenda of that group.

Also when Sriram joined Gandhi, he was so adamant and committed to the non-violent nature of the movement but as soon as both Gandhi and Bharati were in jail, and he didn’t have a clear guide, he got influenced by others and became violent to reach the goal of “Quit India.”

But the best and most meaningful part to me in the story is the end.

I love how when things in the country were not going very well after the British left, Sriram said: “We ought to rejoice that it’s our own people that are blundering, isn’t that so?”

Then after the country’s independence, you can feel the start of the religious segregation. Like when Sriram was confronted by two thugs on the train going to Delhi. They were looking for Muslims to throw out of the train and he was spared because he was a Hindu.

But as the book goes on to describe, you can’t say that it’s this group who are aggressors or the other.

As Bharati explains: “what one community did in one part of the country brought suffering on the same community in another part of the country.”

I also loved how Gandhi changed the names of the refugee kids they took in to unbiased names such as fruit and flower names. “Even a number would be better than a name, if a name meant branding a man as of this religion or that.”

I really enjoyed this book. It was entertaining and was easy to read. It taught me a number of things about India’s history and shed some light on Gandhi’s teaching. But mostly, it made me think.

” Human beings have done impossible things to other human beings.”

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Next book on the list:

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque
Book Reviews · Reading

Cider with Rosie Book Review

Book: Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee


#75 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.

Grade: F

What is the story about?

Cider with Rosie is an autobiography. It is the first part of a trilogy covering Laurie’s life since birth, till he was about a teen.

Verdict:

Before reading this book, it was hard for me to imagine a 200 page story where almost nothing happens at all. There’s a first for everything I guess.

I didn’t realize the book was part of a trilogy until later, which kind of makes sense in a way. The entire book was an introduction to the trilogy.

So if you really like reading a 200 page introduction where things rarely happen, or like to listen to the older generation rambling nostalgically about the good old days, or would like to learn about Laurie Lee’s family, including 5 uncles, the color of his rooms wall or the length of the grass in their fields, then this is the book for you.

The only thing that happened in this book was the attempted rape of a disabled girl by Laurie and his gang. As there was no remorse after that whatsoever, it would’ve been better for him to just stick to the grass length of the hills and the color of mold on his school’s walls.

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Next read:

Waiting for the Mahatma by R.K. Narayan
Adulting

Disney vs Reality

I blame Disney, then Hollywood, but first let’s start with Disney …

Growing up, Disney had us believing that you most definitely met your Prince Charming “once upon a dream.”

That one day there they will be.

“There you see her, sitting there across the way…”

And sparks will fly, googly eyes everywhere and people will say:

“There may be something there that wasn’t there before.”

Then he will whisk you off your feet and he can “show you the world!” You will be “soaring, tumbling” and have an “indescribable feeling!”

And Bam!

“So this is love
The miracle that i’ve been dreaming of
This is what makes life divine”

Blame us much for having unrealistic hopes for our Prince Charming? How can you not “love me at once?!” Isn’t that supposed to be a “tale as old as time?”

Ok ok.. we might be giving Disney a bad rep here.

At the end of the day they were the ones who encouraged us to “have faith in your dreams and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through, no matter how your heart is aching, if you keep on believing.”

Of course, it didn’t help that this “rainbow” came along with a “bibbidi bobbidi boo.”

After 30 some years though, I have to admit that “at last I see the light, it’s like the fog has lifted. And at last I see the light, it’s like the sky is new.”

A new Disney endorsed revelation… Just

Let

It

GOOooooOOoOooo!!

Book Reviews · Reading

The Trial Book Review

Book: The Trial by Franz Kafka

#76 on the 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: F

What is the book about?

The book is about Joseph K, who was arrested for reasons unknown. The story follows the case, the “trial”, and finally the verdict.

Verdict:

You know when you write a looong text with a lot of details and explanations, send it off and the only reply you get back is: “k”

It is so annoying. . Isn’t it?

Now keep that feeling of annoyance in mind because that’s exactly how I feel reading this messed up “trial” about “k”.

How on earth can I relate to a character who is identified by one letter throughout the book?!

To me, the book had no point and no meaning. There was no real trial, most of the things that happened were hardly connected, and all the discussions were pointless.

I wouldn’t say I hated the book. Hate is too strong of a feeling for a book like this.

I was mainly just annoyed.

Just like recieving K as a text message, I was mostly annoyed with K, didn’t get the point of K, didn’t understand the logic behind K, didn’t care what happened to K, annoyed that my time was wasted by K, relieved to finally reach the end of K.

Off to the next book on the list! Hoping it will be a story I can follow, and maybe even enjoy.

Happy reading!

Book Reviews · Reading

Catch-22 Book Review

Book: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

#77 on the Telegraph’s 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: C

What is the story about?

The book follows the story of Yossarian, a WWII American fighter plane pilot, and his many adventures and dilemmas along the way.

Verdict:

Me the first 100 pages or so:

I HATE this book! How will I possibly remember all these characters and their stories! How can anyone read 500 pages of a war satire?!

Me the rest of the book:

What do you know, I kinda like this kid. I kinda get what he’s feeling in this upside down world we’re living in and I must admit.. I am kinda enjoying this read.

I appreciated the moral battleground along with learning combat phrases like “milk run.”

Yossarian was “one good apple that can ruin the rest.” I enjoyed the moral predicament he was placed at the end .. what was the “right” thing to do and how he was tempted to take a “wrong” turn when everyone was telling him it was the correct thing to do. Haven’t we all faced situations like those?

This book wanted to show how messy war really is. Not just by death tolls, but how it distorts reality, how the lines are blurred, how opportunistic and greedy people can really be .. and the hypocrisy of it all.

** Spoiler **

Though a dense book to read, with many characters and many upside down conversations and events, I closed the book with a smile.

I hope Yossarian does reach Sweden and lives it up there with Orr .. living a straight forward, long, and peaceful life.

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Next book:

The trial by Franz Kafka.. looks like its going to be a dense read.