Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier, Marc Lizano, Greg Salsedo

April 12th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

hiddenYou might have read many stories about the horrors of the Holocaust but unlike many such, this one is full of hope. A young Jewish girl by name Dounia is hidden by her kind-hearted neighbours when her parents are taken to the concentration camps. While she waits for news about her parents, she is taken care of by people who in the face of adversity and constant threat of discovery, try to make her childhood seem as normal as possible.

It is directed towards a younger readership hence the illustrations and the dialogues are kept simple. However, the story is as potent in pictures as it would have been in prose. At places, these illustrations convey emotions way better than what words could ever attempt to.

Explaining the World Wars and the effect of the Holocaust to younger kids isn’t an easy task. They tend to ask many questions and expect straight forward answers to some that would involve describing things beyond their understanding. Broaching subjects like this requires special effort and Hidden attempts to build a bridge in that regard. It helps introduce the story through pictures and tries to make children understand the effects of World War II, if not in entirety then at least in a singular perspective .

If you ever plan to talk to your children about this subject, Hidden would a good place to start.

Review copy provided by First Second Books

Karachi, You’re Killing Me by Saba Imtiaz

March 30th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

sabaAyesha, a journalist for a daily newspaper in Karachi has a professional life that is nobody’s envy. Non existent love life can only add to her misery. Luckily she has good friends. Those that appear with drinks at her doorstep, give her free and valuable advice and do not expect an explanation for a botched up situation that Ayesha lands herself in. Her choices in men, most of the times lean towards bad or absolutely disastrous. Her boss Kamran gives her just about anything to report and is indirectly responsible for a lot of misery. Yet,  it’s a life she wouldn’t give up for anything else.

Chicklit at heart,  Karachi, You’re Killing Me is Saba Imtiaz’s love letter to the city. It’s very evident from the start that while Ayesha might be the protagonist, it is the city Karachi that is the central character of the book. From frequent bombings to the intellectual lit fest, from political rallies to religious flavoured fashion shows, there is a little bit of everything in the plot.

Saba Imtiaz’s characters sound a lot like Jane Austen’s characters let loose in a developing country with access to booze and Whatsapp.  A story that is empowering and non preachy in quality, it’s also likeable and very relate-able. It’s true that we all make wrong choices, continue at jobs with ungrateful bosses and fight with friends over trivial issues. These when turned into subject for a book, can only make for a very interesting reading.

Laugh riot that deserves to be read!

Review copy provided by Random House India

Ask The Passengers by A.S.King

February 23rd, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

askingI read this book last year but forgot about it until yesterday when I was going through the books I had on my Kindle. Having read all of A.S.King’s books, it was a no brainer that her latest offering would be an instant purchase. King has a way with words and her story telling is flawless but unfortunately, this book did not live up to my expectations.

Astrid Jones struggles to come to terms with her sexual orientation. Her family is somewhat dysfunctional. While acting as a confidant for friends, she yearns to share her secrets with someone, without the fear of being judged or let down. Then there is her connection with the air plane passengers flying above.

With a basic story arc of this kind, I was expecting it to be a little more than just good. While it ticks all the right boxes for a good YA novel, it fails to impress.

 

 

Aphrodite Blog Tour – Guest Post by George O’Connor

February 15th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Aphrodite-blogtour-banner (1)

Today, Literary Grand Rounds is playing host to George O’Connor, the author/illustrator extraordinaire of the the much loved Olympians graphic novels. As a part of his 15 day blog crawl celebrating the release of his newest book, Aphrodite (review), George is here today to shed some light on the physical depiction of Aphrodite in mythology and his creative vision of the Goddess of Love.

Welcome George!

——————————————————————————————-

Hi, all you Literary Grand Rounders, (or L-Grounds for short), my name is George O’Connor and I’ll be your guest blogger for today. I’m appearing here, through a generous invite by blogmeister Shweta, to talk about me new book Aphrodite: Goddess of Love, the sixth volume of my series Olympians, which retells classic Greek mythology in graphic novel form.

First off, I’d like to note that this is the final post of my 15 stop blogcrawl, and I want to take a moment to thank Shweta and everyone who hosted me before now—thanks! If you’ve been traveling along with me on my tour of the best book blogs in the biz you will know that I’ve been trying to theme my posts with the title and/or mission statement of the hosting blog. That’s right, my blogging hosts have allowed me to choose what I wanted to write about myself. Such a dangerous game! I could be writing sheer madness! And today, for the final stop of my blog tour, I want to write about the physical appearance of Aphrodite.

Maybe you already noticed, from the Aphrodite Blog Tour banner that’s been adorning the right hand side of this site, that my Aphrodite looks different than what you might have seen before. Or maybe you haven’t; the appearance of Aphrodite, like beauty, surely is in the eyes of the beholder. But sometimes, and not very often, but sometimes I’ll be making an appearance, at a bookstore or a school, and a child will put up his or her hand and ask “Isn’t Aphrodite supposed to be blonde?”

Well, no, she isn’t. As a rule, the original mythographers were reticent to name specific physical details about the gods and goddesses. It makes sense, as an Olympian can change shape as easily as we may change our minds. There are a few details to be gleaned from some accounts—I found specific references to Aphrodite having eyes the color of the sea (on account of her oceanic birth) and general accounts of her beauty—it was more or less agreed upon that she was radiant. The only mention of hair color I encountered was a reference to her dark eyelashes, but that doesn’t mean much. Basically, except for making sure she was really, really hot, I had a blank slate to work from.

So I set out to design my version of Aphrodite. Unlike the other Olympians, Aphrodite is not directly related to Zeus—they are all his brothers, his sisters, his children. Aphrodite alone is not an Olympian by birth; she marries, against her will, into that crazy family of super-powered shape-changing lunatics. She was the outsider. That feeling of her being the outsider is reflected in other ways—like many of the Gods, the antecedents for the worship of Aphrodite came from out of the East, in deities like Astarte and others. Gods like Apollo and Artemis are so Greek it’s hard to imagine that they are derived from earlier Eastern gods, but Aphrodite always managed to retain a bit of the exotic, the foreign about here. One of her cult names was even Aphrodite Xenia, or Aphrodite the Foreigner.

chocolateaphrodite001I wanted to reflect a bit of her eastern origin in my design of Aphrodite so I endeavored to give her something of an Indian or Persian appearance. My resulting Aphrodite, when she finally came together, is a beautiful woman of color. My Aphrodite is part Beyonce, part Sofia Vergara, part my own real-life girlfriend (who is Persian). She is brunette, brown–skinned and undeniably one hot number.  Several reviews have noted this fact approvingly, and I’m pleased to note that I’ve not yet encountered a single complaint, aside from those occasional “Isn’t she supposed to be blonde?” questions. Those aren’t complaints, even, just the friction that occurs when my depiction comes up against a long history of blonde, pale-skinned Aphrodites (though I will note that no less an iconic image than Botticelli’s Birth of Venus depicts a brunette, albeit light skinned, Aphrodite). The standards of beauty have grown in expanded throughout the millennia, and there’s no reason we can’t have a dark-skinned Goddess of Love. She looks great in the family shots of my pantheon, amongst all the white, green, blue, red and on-fire-skined deities of my Olympus, bringing a little bit of extra flavor to this Grecian stew. 

Olympians Poster color

Thank you George for that insightful post on Aphrodite’s appearance. Surely, the readers of my blog will enjoy reading your graphic novel Aphrodite – Goddess of Love. 

Dear readers, if you enjoyed this post, I am sure you are curious to know more about Goddess Aphrodite. George has written about the various aspects of Greek mythology surrounding Aphrodite and others Olympians. He has also discussed his beautifully illustrated graphic novel on the other blogs which were a part of the blog crawl. Here is a list of the fellow blog tour hosts for Aphrodite.

Book Banter

Wastepaper Prose

Charlotte’s Library

Cuddlebuggery

What’s Good in the Library?

The Book Monsters

Sare-endipity

The Book Rat

Good Books and Good Wine

Dear Teen Me

Supernatural Snark

Books 4 Your Kids

The Book Wars

Finding Wonderland

© Literary Grand Rounds. No part of this post to be reproduced without express written permission

Percy Jackson And The Olympians – Uncovered

February 13th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I have some exciting news for you guys. I know that many of you love the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and have now progressed on to the continuing series, Lost Heroes of Olympus. When I got to know that Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books are getting a whole new look, I had to share it with you. I love my paperback copies of the series but it has been a while since the Lightening Thief was released. It’s time to get those new covers on your book shelf.

DETAILS ON THE REVEAL 

Every self-respecting Percy Jackson fan knows that the next book in the Heroes of Olympus series, The Blood of Olympus, will arrive in their hands on October 7, 2014. What they don’t yet know, but are about to find out, is that starting early this summer, a new fleet of the original Percy Jackson & the Olympians series will pop up in stores, sporting brand-new, reimagined covers. They’ll also find out that when these new paperback books are lined up side by side by side, they will reveal one amazing panoramic mural, the handiwork of artist John Rocco: who’s illustrated all the Percy covers since the first rejacketing of The Lightning Thief in 2006.

Even though the books won’t be available until early summer 2014, we won’t make the fans wait that long to feast their eyes. Starting Monday, February 17th, the Percy Jackson Facebook page will be revealing the new look, one book per day. Five days. Five brand-new covers.

(Source – Publicist)

© Literary Grand Rounds. No part of this post to be reproduced without express written permission

Audiobook Review: Jaya – An Illustrated Retelling of Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik

February 7th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

jaya

Title: Jaya – An Illustrated Retelling of Mahabharata
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Narrator: Devdutt Pattanaik, Dramanon Theatre
Publisher: BooksTalk, Penguin India
Unabridged
Year of Publication: 09-01-2013

Publisher Summary:

High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods. Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God. The doorkeepers of Vaikuntha are the twins, Jaya and Vijaya, both whose names mean ‘victory’. One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha. In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is pleasure for only as long as you deserve. What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya? Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata.

The whole Mahabharata is presented systematically in 18 sections and108 chapters, restructured to facilitate easy reading and comprehension of his grand and complex meditation of the human condition.

The stories are embellished with 250 line illustrations; the style is unique, a break from standard visual formats (Amar Chitra Katha or DC comics)

It includes tales not just from the classical Sanskrit but also from regional and folk variants from across India and even South East Asia. There are women’s stories (Satyavati, Gandhari, Kunti, Draupadi) as well as queer narratives (Aravan, Budh, Ila, Shikhandi).

The story of Krishna is part of the great epic, from his birth to his death;even his song, the Bhagavad Gita, is retold in simple prose.

Every chapter has comments that draws attention to variations of the story, the intention of the story, the rituals and customs that may have emerged from the story and practiced even today. There are Duryodhan temples in Uttarakhand and Draupadi temples in Tamil Nadu, for example.

It explains why the epic is part of the grand Vedic cosmos and how it cannot be understood without appreciating Ramayana, Vishnu Purana, Shiva Purana and Devi Purana.

This book has an ending that has never ever been told in any retelling of the Mahabharata. This ending is the reason the book was originally called Jaya by Vyasa.

 My Thoughts:

Another Mahabharata retelling! This was on my reading list since its release but could never make time until the audio book came along for a review. Amidst all the relocation drama, Jaya kept me company and I loved every minute I spent with this audio book :) . It also fell right in place with my plans of gaining some momentum on my Project Mythology reading.

While most of the retellings of Mahabharata begin with the story of Shantanu and Ganga, this one starts off with the creation and division of duties amongst Devas and Asuras.

Initial chapter familiarises the reader with the various versions of Mahabharata and its numerous narrators, some credible and some not so much. It then moves on to place the story in a larger universe. A universe that is not limited by the influence of Kuru clan. An engaging story arc that provides rational explanations to many mystical and meta physical phenomenon described in Krishna Dwaipayana’s magnum opus.

Jaya, is more than just another run of mill Mahabharata retelling. It is THE Retelling. One that attempts to satisfy a curious and thoughtful reader of mythology. One that is written to answer those logical queries which arise out of the numerous readings of the epic. At places it adds to the readers existing knowledge and at places it provides a new insight in to a well known sections of the story. In every respect, this book is a great read.

My Thoughts on the Audiobook:

While the book gets all five stars, I would be in so much wrong, if I do not give the narration its due credit. Dramanon Theatre Company along with the author Devdutt Pattanaik, bring to life various episodes of Mahabharata and beyond. While it is a matter of fact retelling, the drama that is customary for an epic of this proportion is captured beautifully in the narration.

When the author is a part of an audiobook production it is an added bonus. Devdutt Pattanaik does a great job of introducing the epic and discussing various characters and events at the end of each chapter.

In short, the audiobook version of Jaya by booksTALK is a great way to understand the intricacies of Mahabharata. If you are an audiobook enthusiast, you will surely enjoy the production.

Here’s a sample of the audio of Jaya.

Review copy provided by Reado

Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma

January 30th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

hurtTabitha Suzuma is a well known name in Young Adult Contemporary literature. Readers who have had the chance to read her ‘Forbidden’ will vouch for her amazing writing style and mastery over exploring difficult issues. I wasn’t surprised when her new book Hurt came out with rave reviews from readers and critics alike.

Matheo Walsh is a bright student and an Olympic level diver. He wakes up one day after an event to a realisation that something horrible has occurred. As he struggles to put together the bits and pieces of suppressed memory of the event, life intervenes. When he ultimately comes to terms with what happened, it’s not without consequences. Faced with taking a decision on revealing the truth behind what happened to him and losing his girlfriend Lola, Matheo is left struggling.

The exploration of Matheo’s hurt and its effect on the lives of people close to him is what makes the better part of the story. Though you start getting the hints of the cruelty that pains Matheo to no end, it is not until the final revelation that the actual impact takes place.

The ability to make the reader get into the minds of a young adult and bring forth the raw emotions is what makes Tabitha Suzuma the uncrowned queen of Young Adult Contemporary literature.

Highly recommended!

Review copy provided by MySmartprice

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

January 22nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

crownofmidnightLike all good second in series, Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J Mass lives up to the high expectations set by its predecessor. It takes the readers on an adventurous journey, delving into the minds of an assassin, as new and deadly revelations make the plot edgy and very satisfying.

While the first book Throne of Glass, gave us a glimpse into the ruthless world of skilled killers and unforgiving rulers, the second book takes the story ahead with higher political stakes, heart breaking romance and secrets of gigantic proportions. All of this will have you wound up and emotional  for sure.

Celaena might have earned her place as the royal assassin but her loyalties lie elsewhere. As the king gives her names to eliminate those who are threats to the crown, Celaena plays her own game of justice. The first book was like an introduction to this dark world and many of the recurring characters, Crown of Midnight is wholly a Celaena book. Sarah J Mass chooses to focus on the character and her motives, and provides some much-needed answers making the reading experience, a very satisfying one. There are times when curiosity gets better of the reader as the plot is laced with secrets. At times this gets frustrating but all in a good way.

This book is a reminder of Maria V Snyder’s Study Series in so many ways yet so refreshing in its execution.

Highly recommended!

Review copy provided by Bloomsbury India

Govinda by Krishna Udayasankar

January 21st, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

govindaAfter a real long time, I have enjoyed a Mahabharata retelling so much. Govinda by Krishna Udayasankar is explosive, if I had to describe it in a word. While some of the books I have read recently stuck to the traditional narration with black and white shades for the characters of the definitive epic of India, Udayashankar’s book paints them in all shades of grey and some times even in VIBGYOR. Book that reminds you of the epic in the vaguest possible way but focusses on the characters in a manner you wouldn’t have imagined them earlier is only the first in the trilogy.

For those familiar with the back stories from Mahabharata, some of the sensibilities of the plot will not come as a surprise or even as shock; there will be many who will look at the epic in a new light after reading Govinda. The Firewrights and Firstborns rivalry that forms the basic plot for the Aryavrata Chronicles, makes the events of the epic, a sub plot. This twist to the known story is complementary to an engaging narration.

A must on every mythology reader’s shelf.

© Literary Grand Rounds. No part of this post to be reproduced without express written permission

Movie Trailer : Divergent

January 7th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

It looks good but you never know!

© Literary Grand Rounds. No part of this post to be reproduced without express written permission

Audiobook Review: The Oath Of The Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi

January 6th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Title: The Oath Of The Vayuputras
Author: Amish Tripathi
Narrator: Rashid Raza
Publisher: Reado
Unabridged
Year of Publication: 24-08-2013

Publisher Summary:

EVIL HAS RISEN.

ONLY A GOD CAN STOP IT.

Shiva is gathering his forces. He reaches the Naga capital, Panchavati, and Evil is finally revealed. The Neelkanth prepares for a holy war against his true enemy, a man whose name instils dread in the fiercest of warriors. India convulses under the onslaught of a series of brutal battles. It’s a war for the very soul of the nation. Many will die. But Shiva must not fail, no matter what the cost.

In his desperation, he reaches out to the ones who have never offered any help to him: the Vayuputras. Will he succeed? And what will be the real cost of battling Evil? To India? And to Shiva’s soul? Discover the answer to these mysteries in this concluding part of the best selling Shiva Trilogy.

My Thoughts:

Like every audiobook I review here on the blog, this one has two sections. One where I talk about the book, its plot and characters and my reasons of liking or disliking it. The second where I discuss only the audio production part of it. Before you get influenced by the first section, be sure to read the second part. Trust me, you want to read the second part.

Shiva Trilogy. The man who wrote the initial two books became a rock star of Indian literary world before the release of the final instalment. Naturally, readers had expectations. Very high expectations. While I did not agree with everything in the earlier books, I liked them well enough and even recommended people to try them out. Easy to read, great take on Hindu mythology and some nail biting suspense. What’s not to like?

I got the paperback final instalment as a gift. I read a couple of chapters and then lost interest. I have this thing with last in the series. I give them a few chapters to generate a desire to carry on reading before I abandon them. Some how the beginning of this book did not live up to the suspense built up in the Secret of the Nagas. Disappointed, I shelved the book and let it be. That was until the offer to review the audio book came along. As I began listening to the audio book, I started enjoying it better than the print version. So, I kept going.

While the trilogy came to an end in a manner I had anticipated, the means to reaching it wasn’t exactly the stuff awesome plots are made of. Suspense was pretty much killed in the beginning of the story. Some unrealistic explanations or for that matter the need to provide explanation for every damn thing turned out to be a really bad decision. So you feel the need to explain nuclear physics to your readers. I get that! But dude, the book is already sailing in tricky waters with one oar. Your fusion and fission theories, cancerous mutations and other not so deep stuff, will only drop the other oar faster than you could say Indian Jones!

With the epilogue, he should have gone, the Rowling way. This epilogue was too long and detailed. Again, we know you were pitching your new book on Mahabharata but did you need to plug it in?

Overall, a sort of lukewarm end to a much liked trilogy. If you have read the other books, read this one for closure.

My Thoughts on the audiobook:

If you have managed to read the earlier section, you will understand that I wasn’t a fan of this book. Then the questions arises, why did I keep going? I have an answer to that. This audio book had an awesome narrator. Rashid Raza.

This is my first Indian audio book. When Reado asked me to review this book, I was excited for many reasons. One of them being the ability to listen to audio books by Indian authors as narrated by Indian vocal artists. I think it’s an established fact that we Indians have a slightly different English accent. Raj from The Big Bang Theory might overdo it sometimes but yes, we have an accent. The Indian accent. I have had the unwanted pleasure of listening to an Indian mythology retelling narrated by a non Indian narrator. It took a solid auditory detox to come out of the slump. While the American and British accent are easy to follow once you have gotten used to them, listening to an Indian narrator makes more sense to our well trained auditory cortex especially if the book is set in India with Indian characters. Same goes for British, American and Australian literature.

Rashid Rana’s narration was fantastic. Especially when it came to the vocal impression for Ganesh and Kartik. Shiva, to me sounded more gruff than I would have liked but the overall production was excellent. There was some good back ground music that helped in making the listening experience very satisfactory. The battle scenes, the rhino hunt by Kartik and the penultimate chapter. I was more impressed by the musical effects of the climax than with the actual plot. Overall, a great job.

If you have to read this book, go for the audio book.

The audio gets 5 stars from me.

Review copy provided by Reado

© Literary Grand Rounds. No part of this post to be reproduced without express written permission

Tiger By The Tail by Venita Coelho

January 4th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

tigertrailVenita Coelho’s Tiger by the Tail is goodness that comes in small portions. A very few books succeed in getting the message across when it comes to children’s books. I am happy to report that Tiger by the Tail is a fun read that will leave you asking for more.

When I started reading, I wasn’t sure how this would fare. The concept of Jungle Speak, talking animals at the doorstep and a covert animal intelligence network had a very fresh feel to it but was it enough to keep a reader hooked? Apparently, yes. Venita Coelho’s book takes turns being an full blast adventure and a knowledge builder as it moves across borders with an unlikely set of Agents to figure out the disappearance of Tigers.

The characters mostly consisting of a whole lot from the animal kingdom are very smart and quirky. The fast paced story but clear enough that the young readers don’t get mixed up in the narrative. The undervein of humour will the reader entertained as he/she learns the basics about  the national animal that is endangered and nearing extinction.

Author takes a relevant subject and spins a tale of espionage, adventure and fantasy that will keep the reader on the edge. Save The Tiger initiative gets the well deserved coverage for an target audience that will be the future. That makes the whole thing even more relevant.

On a side note, as I was reading this book, I kept thinking of the movie Jumanji starring Robin Williams. Before you think ahead, let me clarify it wasn’t for any plot similarity but for the adventure and crazy mayhem that was the essence of the movie. Does any of you even remember it?

Highly recommended!

© Literary Grand Rounds. No part of this post to be reproduced without express written permission

On North and South adaptation – BBC’s masterpiece

December 31st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

north-and-south

© IMDB

When someone asks me to recommend movies, I usually give them a list of period dramas. Not many respond favorably. The response I get, ranges from complaints about length of the said movies, difficulty to relate to the sensibilities of the said period and my inability to get past the obsession for British literature. In any case, I have always been thanked for one particular movie recommendation – BBC’s four part adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. It’s rather surprising that while Pride and Prejudice gets all the attention for a Colin Firth in a wet white shirt, North and South, with great acting and wonderful setting is hardly discussed .

Largely set in the industrial town of Milton in the 19th century England, it  is the story of a cotton mill owner and an ex-clergyman’s daughter. Margaret Hale is my literary equivalent of Lizzy Bennett sans all the sisterly drama. She is all that a good heroine should be and more. John Thornton on the other hand is a reserved looking, self made man. When the strong headed and slightly prejudiced girl from South meets the seemingly harsh and standoffish man of North, there is fireworks on screen. Even with all the cotton fluff that floats between them, very fairy tale-ish in depiction if not in reality, it is rather difficult to imagine how the two will ever get along.

If there were ever two actors who fit their roles so perfectly it would have to be Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe. From the moment they come on screen, there is no doubt that they were meant to be Margaret and John Thornton. The initial dislike that turns into mutual admiration and subsequently, love is portrayed with such finesse that as a captivated audience it becomes just too painful to see them go through all that emotional mumbo – jumbo.

If you have the inclination to watch some good British Drama, get your copy of BBC’s North and South. I assure you that your weekend will be spent oohing and aahing over one of the most unconventional love stories of literature.

While there is no official trailer that I could find on You Tube there are some great fan made ones. Here’s one such

© Literary Grand Rounds. No part of this post to be reproduced without express written permission

Delhi Mostly Harmless by Elizabeth Chatterjee

December 30th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

delhi-mostlyWhen books are written about cities, readers get divided into two major sections. First group that completely understands the author’s views and gets where he/she is coming from. Second group, that vehemently disagrees and takes offence at the author for having tarnished the soul of their beloved city. These reader dynamics change when the city under the scanner is Delhi. The capital’s worst critics are most of the times people who are absolutely in love with it. The long time residents, the recently relocated, the passing nomads, university crowd and just about everybody who has had a close encounter with Delhi, will tell you that it’s a very difficult, often unsatisfying, love hate relationship. I have lived in this city, loved and hated it. I still take offence when someone takes potshots at it but grudgingly nod in agreement.

Elizabeth Chatterjee’s book gives you the uncensored version of Delhi. What’s a commonplace occurrence to a Dilliwala, is scandalous, at times outrageous to the Yorkshire born, Oxford educated PhD Scholar. She takes you on a tour of Delhi that encompasses shady motels of Paharganj, the shiny malls of Saket, the snobby boutiques and coffee shops in Hauz Khas Village and the narrow lanes of Old Delhi. Her haggling skills are tested with the auto rickshaw drivers who negotiate like seasoned diplomats in hostage crisis.

Her confrontation issues with the Hindi speaking, beedi smoking maid, reminds you of the time when your maid, one you got gifted when you moved to the city, made you want to cry out in frustration. Her struggles with house hunting which would surely have left her harried, does not fail to bring a smile on your face, knowing how that same thing could/would have happened to you. Even though she has pointed out many a times that her firangi looks gets her the kind of treatment, people living in Delhi, would love to disagree. Desi or videsi, this city treats you the same. With utter disinterest and borderline callousness. Only difference being, we do not write a book about it because after twenty something times, these things fail to bring out a reaction. However , when someone does write about it and more so when it’s written by someone who has caught the pulse of the city, we nod our heads in approval. We read the book cover to cover and excitedly pass it on to another Dilliwali / Dilliwala.

© Literary Grand Rounds. No part of this post to be reproduced without express written permission

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – A Short Review

December 27th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Image Credit – IMDB

As the first season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D went for a mid season break, viewers were left with more questions than what they had started with. Phil Coulson, the sassy and efficient S.H.I.E.L.D agent who was the cause for rallying the Avengers to join forces in the eponymous movie, was given a new lease of life in the TV series. As to how he survived Loki’s weapon of death, we are still waiting for an answer. In the Marvel Universe there are so many possibilities and inter-webs is abuzz with theories.

While the jury’s still out on the series, I believe that it’s a good start to engage main stream audiences to have peek into the world of comics. Not everybody knows about the vast range of super heroes and super villains who exist in the alternate universe frequented by comic book lovers or those frequently known as the comic geeks and nerds. It’s a fascinating world and you will be surprised to see the complex world building and character development that most of the series have undergone over the years.

While the pilot wasn’t up to the Avengers mark, the subsequent episodes have tried to overcome the shadow of the much popular movie franchise. Some hits, some miss but every bit intriguing. The season also saw some of the Avengers cast in the show even if it was for a few minutes of screen time. Looks like we might see a few more in the near future.

Truthfully Joss Whedhon has spoilt us rotten. Anything less than amazing will get a thumbs down from the viewers. When some of the episodes did not have as convincing a plot as the earlier or the next, many took to speculating a descent in the popularity. I was disappointed too but exactly an episode after a dud one, they came back with something great and that was enough. Before writing off Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, it would be wise to remember that Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Whedon’s iconic TV series took a season and a half to become the sensation that it went on to be. Whedon’s Midas touch might eventually work on this one too.

Final Verdict – Good !  Go ahead, watch it.

%d bloggers like this: