Few books I've read lately..

by - May 16, 2010

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy is one gutsy woman! Who else would write the story of Velutha and Ammu? A story that clashes with the conservative noms of Kerala?? No one! And she does it really... OK I'm lost for adjectives. She plays with words, pops from one character's mind to the other without any warning. She never says anything directly and wants the readers to do all the thinking. She doesn't follow any writing techniques (atleast those I know of) and still manages to leave you dumbfounded and wanting for more. Oh yes, she even manages to grab a Booker Prize. Isn't that something??

I won't write more about this book. Not because I hated it, because I loved it. I never thought I would, atleast not after the first forty-fifty pages. I stuck with it patiently as it was our bookclub choice and I wanted to finish it no matter what. And the end result was simply amazing. I loved it, loved it, loved it. I wish Arundhati wrote more fiction...

Rating - 5/5

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

When we attend a charity event or read one of those inspirational stories about how some are helping the poor and needy, what's the maximum we do? We write a cheque or donate some cash for the cause. We tell ourselves, yes I'am gonna do more about it, but once we are back to our daily rat race, we forget all the promises and pledges.

But this guy, Mr. Greg Mortenson, this tall lanky American dude who lost his way while trying to climb K2 (second highest mountain on earth) in Pakistan and was helped by a family in a tiny village called Korphe, didn't forget his promise. He had promised to come back and build schools for them.

He went back to his home country, US, and started working towards saving money to build schools. He wasn't rich. Like most of us, he had to work for a living. He had few dollars left in his bank account. But that didn't deter him. He worked hard and even slept in his car to save money. He did things that we wouldn't even do for our immediate family, forget for strangers living miles away!

And did he built schools? Yes! Not one or two, but 150 so far! Unlike us, he kept his promise and sacrificed his job, time with his newly wedded wife and later with his children, a good comfortable life in US all for building schools (mainly for girls) in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Who does that?? Really, who does??

What struck me about the book was not just the story about how ONE person can make all the difference if he has enough determination and courage, it was also the way in which Muslims and Islam were portrayed in the book. For the first time, I came across a book (by a Christian) who had nothing negative to say about Islam. Nothing. He learnt how to pray, he says Assalamu Alaikum and Insha Allah, he even named his children Amira and Khyber. I wish I could meet him in person and thank him for doing the extraordinary things for girls in Central Asia and also for giving a positive picture about my religion.

OK, I think I said enough about the book. Go read it. The writing style may put you off, but stick with it. You will love it, trust me!

Rating - 5/5
For more about Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson and how you can help him build more schools, go to http://www.threecupsoftea.com/about-the-book/ and http://www.ikat.org/

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

After reading a literary piece like The God of Small Things and an inspirational true story of Greg Mortenson, some may feel The Memory Keeper's Daughter wouldn't be a good choice. It's heavy on emotions, would tear you apart with 'secrets' that you wouldn't be able to keep in a million years, would make you love and hate the characters at the same time etc etc etc.

Maybe that's why I loved this book so much. The first half moved very fast and hooked me from the word go. I must admit the second half was bit of a drag and would remind you of a soap opera. But what the heck! Sometimes, that's just what you need. :)

Rating - 5/5

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