Review Room

Book reviews and miscellanous thoughts

Wordless Wednesdays #57

Written By: amodini - Nov• 16•16

Qutb Minar

Wordless Wednesdays #56

Written By: amodini - Oct• 19•16


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


Audiobook Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Written By: amodini - Sep• 07•16

Title : The 5th Wave
Author : Rick Yancey
Narrators : Brandon Espinoza, Phoebe Strole
Genre : Sci-fi, Post-apocalyptic
Publisher : Listening Library
Listening Length : 12 hours 45 minutes
Rating : 3.5/5
Narrator Rating : 4/5

The aliens have come, and they are ridding the earth of its native population, the humans, before they settle down. Humans are almost extinct after 4 Waves of destruction: the EMP, the Tsunamis, the Pestilence and the Silencers. But Cassieopeia Sullivan is a survivor. Her parents are dead, but her younger brother Sam has been taken by the Others, and she survives by the skin of her teeth, driven by the desire to rescue him. On her journey she comes into contact with rural farm boy Evan Walker, who convinces her that he is a friendly although she cannot be totally sure. Together they hatch a plan to rescue Sammy.

The 5th Wave was an interesting read. Yancey tells his story well. We understand the 4 Waves and all the events that have led to Cassie being the lone survivor. Yancey’s world has no technology – no cars etc. so Cassie is forced to travel by foot. For the most part, the characters are drawn well, although Cassie seems a little too brash and over-confident for a 16 year old, who until lately was happily going to school and contemplating high school crushes. The other main protagonist of the story is Ben Parrish, Cassie’s high school crush, who makes an appearance halfway through the book. Ben or Zombie, suffering from the pestilence has been taken to the Air Force Base and trained with other children (including Sammy) to fight against the Others.

Towards the beginning Yancey tells us the story from Cassie’s point of view. The narrative later shifts to Ben’s description of the boot camp where he is being trained. The end of this first book (yes, this is a series) comes when Ben and his friends, and Cassie and Evan, realize the full implication of the 5th Wave.

Yancey maintains an eventful pace throughout the book. Barring the spots where his characters exhibit YA-like symptoms of love, the writing was interesting. Even so, I couldn’t quite get into the book, and the whole thing with it’s climactic, the world-is-blowing-up ending seemed run-of-the-mill.

You might like this better if you like YA. Me, I’m not sure if I’m listening to Book 2.

Wordless Wednesdays #54

Written By: amodini - Aug• 24•16

As far as the eye can see

Audiobook Review : Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Written By: amodini - Aug• 10•16

Title : Eleanor and Park
Author : Rainbow Rowell
Narrators : Rebecca Lowman, Sunil Malhotra
Genre : Romance
Publisher : Listening Library
Listening Length : 8 hours 56 minutes
Rating : 3.5/5
Narrator Rating : 4.5/5

I don’t think I’m the target audience for this book (YA, I’d assume) because this book’s tale is a romance between 2 high schoolers. I only picked it up because I’d listened to Rowell’s Landline, and I’d read heard good things about this one. He, Park, is a half-Korean kid with eclectic tastes, owing to which he’s too much of a wuss to his sports-enthusiast father. She, red-haired Eleanor, is one of 5 kids in her family teetering on the brink of poverty.

When they meet on the bus, because Park grumpily shares his seat with her, they can barely tolerate each other. But slowly, they bond over Park’s X-men comics and mix tapes. Park’s family is not too happy with his “weird”, unsmiling, badly-dressed girlfriend, and Eleanor does not have the guts to tell her parents of her relationship. When push comes to shove, Eleanor must trust Park, but she’s not quite sure how this all will end.

I did enjoy this book, although I looked at it from a non-teenager’s point-of-view. It is kind of sweet and sad, and I felt for Eleanor because of the terrible situation other adults had put her in; I was tsk-tsking all the way. Rowell does well in this book what she did well in Landline – she exposes the underpinnings of a relationship, and manages to get us the readers to root for her protagonists.

Truth be told I wouldn’t have listened to this if I’d realized how “young” this was (not the book’s fault). Still, this will please its target demographic: teens and young adults.

I have listened to Rebecca Lowman read “Landline”. She does a great job, although I will say that her voice sounds a bit melancholic. Sunil Malhotra, whom I’d never heard before was really good. He brought Park’s character to life, and even did Park’s Korean-accented mom pretty well.

Wordless Wednesdays #53

Written By: amodini - Jul• 27•16


Audiobook Review : The Bridges of Madison County by Robert Waller

Written By: amodini - Jul• 13•16

Title : The Bridges of Madison county
Author : Robert Waller
Narrators : Kelli O’Hara, Steven Pasquale
Genre : Romance
Publisher : Hachette Audio
Listening Length : 3 hours 50 minutes
Rating : 2.5/5
Narrator Rating : 4/5

Francesca Jones is a housewife living in Madison County, Iowa. She meets Robert Kincaid, a freelance photographer who has come to the county to photograph its bridges. Francesca and Robert are attracted to each other, and in a whirlwind romance of 4 days (husband and kids out of town) realize that they are soulmates. Robert wants her to come away with him, but can Francesca leave her family?

So I haven’t seen the movie, but I’d heard so much about it that I decided to listen to the book first. I’m not very impressed.

I couldn’t get a sense of the book’s characters. Kincaid is painted in as a rather swashbuckling cowboy of sorts with sensitivity, intelligence, good taste and a decent sense of humor; the ultimate fantasy! Francesca, a farmer’s wife is apparently way more than that; she is worldly, with far more sophisticated sensibilities than her farming neighbors. I think of this as Francesca’s story but I can’t fathom what she feels. What makes her tick? Why is this the love of a lifetime? She gets him and he gets her. I don’t get either one.

I take this book at face value. While I get the enormity of the romance, I have rather flat characters to tie it to. I can’t root for either one. Yes I feel for them but in a rather distant way. The book doesn’t evoke any feelings – good or bad – in me. The ending makes me roll my eyes. Enough said.

Wordless Wednesdays #52

Written By: amodini - Jun• 29•16

Inside the Qutb Minar complex