Review Room

Book reviews and miscellanous thoughts

Audiobook Review : 11.22.63 by Stephen King

Written By: amodini - Feb• 22•17

Title : 11.22.63
Author : Stephen King
Narrators : Craig Wasson
Genre : Feminist
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Audio
Listening Length : 30 hours 44 minutes
Rating : 4/5
Narrator Rating : 4.5/5

I picked up this book because this was described as a time travel story, which it is. Stephen King is also a great writer so I had no doubts that this would be a good book. In 11.22.63, English teacher Jake Epping is persuaded by friend Al, to go back in time to prevent a great catastrophe, a catastrophe that if prevented (Al believes) will change the world for the better. In 1958, Jake becomes George Amberson, and waits for the opportune time. In the meanwhile, he grows roots, makes a life and falls in love.

11.22.63 is a long, long book and took me a while to finish. Most books are about 12 hours or under, but 11.22.63 was around 30. Its long because King describes every event and character in the book in great, expansive detail. This is nice when Jake travels back in time, and King takes the time to describe the place, the people and the atmosphere – keeps us (the readers) invested and interested. On the con side though, there is so much detail that one can get bogged down in it, especially if you are used to a faster pace.

The story itself is very well fleshed out, and he ties together the fictional narrative with the historical facts quite nicely. There are a few side-stories which seem unnecessary, but then do add to the sum total. I think of this novel, long though it is, as a painting with every little detail exquisitely sketched out. Besides, Jack Epping himself is a great hero, a swashbuckling English teacher and a kind, good man willing to go the extra mile to do the right thing.

Narrator Wasson is an absolute marvel; he brings Jake Epping and Al and other characters, even the female ones, to life. This was a great listen – highly recommended.

Wordless Wednesdays #60

Written By: amodini - Feb• 08•17

Qutb complex

Audiobook Review: How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

Written By: amodini - Feb• 01•17

Title : How to be a woman
Author : Caitlin Moran
Narrators : Caitlin Moran
Genre : Feminist
Publisher : HarperAudio
Listening Length : 8 hours 45 minutes
Rating : 4.5/5
Narrator Rating : 4.5/5

Caitlin Moran talks of many “female” topics in this book : sexism, kids, relationships, expectations, feminism etc. Chapter by chapter she comes at us with her opinions, often funny – hilariously funny – but always striking a chord. This is her experience and all of her opinions of course, but you identify, you nod along, and you listen on. Whether it be about the way women are expected to be “feminine”, or the “embodiments of oxytocin” or fit a certain mould, she tells it like it is.

Moran has a rapier wit; it’s on point. It hurts to listen to some of the things she says, but they are bitingly humorous because they have fine shards of truth embedded in them. I may not agree with her on everything, but there are many, many quotes in this book that I’d like to frame and hang on walls. I will leave you with one – and here she is talking about the wedding day and its aftermath:

With stuff like this, you have to look at the men. Do they have one special day when they feel like kings of the world – and then go back to lives of quiet drudgery? No. They go off and please themselves constantly: as Germaine Greer pointed out in the The Whole Woman, they fill their spare time with pleasingly nonproductive activities like fishing, golf, listening to records, playing on the Xbox, and pretending to be goblins in World of Warcraft. They don’t have this insane, pent-up need to spend one day pretending to be Princess Diana (in the fun years, obviously. Not the throwing-yourself-down-the-stairs bit. Or the bit where Camilla came in and ruined everything).

Women, meanwhile, spend their spare time taking on the never-ending list of self-improvements or domestic tasks: housework, homework, counseling the troubled, deworming the cat, doing pelvic-floor exercises, trying to be inventive with cabbage, and exfoliating ingrowing hairs – somehow mollified by having that one “best day of their lives.”

Wordless Wednesdays #59

Written By: amodini - Jan• 11•17

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Audiobook Review : The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Written By: amodini - Jan• 04•17

Title : The Woman in Cabin 10
Author : Ruth Ware
Narrators : Imogen Church
Genre : Mystery
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Audio
Listening Length : 11 hours 8 minutes
Rating : 3.5/5
Narrator Rating : 4/5

Laura Blacklock is our no-so-intrepid journalist. When she’s burgled one night, and injured, it does nothing to set the mood for the work-related luxury cruise she’s set to go on. On the luxurious ship, Lo, as she calls herself, hobnobs with the other wealthy passengers, quite out of her element. After a drunken night, when hungover Lo thinks she’s heard something suspicious, she has trouble convincing herself and the boat’s security that something is very, very wrong.

Lo, the book’s protagonist is an unreliable, self-doubting, nervous semi-alcoholic, very similar to “The Girl On the Train’s” Rachel. Also, she’s not quite what I’d expect out of a journalist. She does not want to go out and network or explore, but would rather ruminate, all by herself, in her cabin. She also seems rather ill-informed of her surroundings and her task at hand aboard the boat, some of which can be explained by the unfortunate burglary that she has recently been subjected to, but not all. I have trouble sympathizing with her – she has few redeeming characteristics – and appears weak and whiny.

The other characters in the book seem believable, and Ware throws around enough red herrings to keep us nicely confused. The plot of the book is sound, simple but sound. The ending is a tad juvenile. I’d say this is a serviceable mystery read, although not good enough to make the must-read lists it is making.

I have a much more favorable opinion of the narrator Imogen Church. She does a variety of accents, male, female, British, Scandinavian very believably and I enjoyed her narration very much.

Wordless Wednesdays #58

Written By: amodini - Dec• 14•16

Tomb of Imam Zamim, Qutb complex

Wordless Wednesdays #57

Written By: amodini - Nov• 16•16

Qutb Minar

Wordless Wednesdays #56

Written By: amodini - Oct• 19•16

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Poetry from Pink: Tu Chal

Written By: amodini - Oct• 07•16

Recently I reviewed the Hindi film Pink on Amodini’s Movie Reviews. It features a lovely poem, in Amitabh Bachchan’s voice, as the credits roll.

Here is the poem and it’s translation in English:

Tu khud ki khoj mein nikal             // Go out, search for yourself
Tu kis liye hataash hai                     // Why are you so disappointed?
Tu chal tere wajood ki                     // Progress, for even time
Samay ko bhi talaash hai                 // Waits for you to prove your mettle

Jo tujh se lipti bediya                      // If chains bind you
Samajh na inko wastra tu               // Don’t think of them as mere clothes
Yeh bediyaan pighaal ke                // Melt these chains and
Bana le in ko shastra tu                  // Make them into your weapons

Charitra jab pavitra hai                 // When your character is pure
To kyun hai yeh dasha teri           // Why are you in such a piteous condition?
Yeh papiyon ko haq nahi              // These sinners have no right
Ke lein pareeksha teri                   // To question you

Jala ke bhasm kar use                  // Burn and turn to ashes
Jo kroorta ka jaal hai                    // This web of cruelty
Tu aarati ki lau nahi                     // You are not the faint flicker of candle-light
Tu krodh ki mashaal hai              // But the raging fire of anger

Chunar uda ke dhwaj bana          // Hold your scarf up like a flag
Gagan bhi kapkapaaega               // And even the sky will tremble
Agar teri chunar giri                    // Should your scarf fall
To ek bhukamp aaega                  // It will cause an earthquake

Wordless Wednesdays #55

Written By: amodini - Sep• 21•16

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