Book Review: The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

The Big SleepRaymond Chandler  The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

Murder mysteries and detective fiction is not quite my thing but I wanted to read Chandler. Writing gurus laud Chandler as the ultimate in capturing vivid scenes. Sample the opening paragraph of the book – quoted often by the writing books –“ it was about eleven o’ clock…. I was wearing my powder-blue suit with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was walking on four million dollars” or this… “This was a broad stained glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn’t seem to be really trying.” How’s that for imagery and humor. Amazing indeed. However the eye for detail, surprisingly gets a bit tiresome – especially if unaccompanied by humor. A simple enough mystery, a few twists and turns – but nothing to shock you out of your socks. Fast paced and witty and humorous. Written over 50 years ago, it can’t compete with the complex mysteries of today.

Recommendation: I’d rather read Chandler’s quoted texts in the writing books

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Book Review: Bring Up The Bodies – Hilary Mantel

Bring Up The BodiesHilary Mantel   Bring Up The Bodies – Hilary Mantel

2nd Booker for Ms. Mantel and well deserved too. Cromwell carries on from where he left at ‘Wolf Hall’. And this time, it’s even better as the characters are familiar and it helps because there are so many of them. I don’t care for British history but her writing is so beautiful, she make you care, draws you in.   Anne Boleyn has become the queen through Cromwell’s maneuvering but Anne and Cromwell have a fall out and then Anne is out of favor of the King too – and then begins new alignments, new friends, new enemies.  Intrigue, power play and our protagonist wins in the end.   Written beautifully, the book does a great job capturing the sixteenth century Britain.  “He, Cromwell, said” – becomes a signature style.

Recommendation: Must Read

The Perfect Picture

The Perfect Picture

 

 

 

 

 

It is fall

And as I walk in the woods

Crunching dried leaves under my feet

Watching the leaves dancing down from the trees

Millions of them scattered all around

The sun dappling in warmly

The crisp wind blowing on my face

I say to myself

This has to be the prettiest sight I’ve ever seen

The perfect picture

And then I think of you

And I realize it isn’t

I think of you walking alongside with me

-our footfall in tandem

– your hand in mine

The picture is perfect only now

So come my love

If not for any other reason

Just to complete my perfect picture.

When You Are Sleeping

When she's sleeping

When you are sleeping

I love to watch you

To tuck away the few errant strands of hair

on your cheeks behind your ear

and run my hands over on your cheeks and forehead.

 

Now don’t get me wrong

And don’t ask me to say sorry

It’s not that I don’t like you awake

but your being asleep is something special

 

In those quiet moments, I feel blessed and content

You look so peaceful when you are sleeping

that I feel peaceful just by looking at you

 

Perhaps we should show pictures

of you sleeping on the TV

– Our contribution to world peace.

 

I often wonder about your dreams

Your dreams must be fun too

Of small happiness’s and little disappointments perhaps

 

Wish I could climb behind your closed eyelids and watch those dreams with you

like in a cinema hall

Just you and me

 

So again, don’t get me wrong,

And don’t ask me to say sorry

I love you awake

But I love you a wee bit more

When you are sleeping.

 

 

Feel free to share your poetry in comments below.

Book Review: The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

The Husband's SecretLiane Moriarty  The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

An interesting book that begins with the wife finding a letter addressed to her by her husband – to be opened in case of his death. Her fears of what she thinks it is and what it actually turns out. There were parallel stories of characters who intersect at various points – that broaden the canvas and keep the reader interest alive. The story dips a bit in the second half when she finally opens the letter. Even though the surprise element is strong, there is a relentless beating about the wife’s response which gets monotonous. The epilogue salvages the towards the end with a fantastic finish. Feel free to share your book reviews in comments below.

Recommendation: Read

Book Review: And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini

And The Mountains EchoedKhaled Hosseini And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini

Another brilliant book from one of the most eminent story tellers of our times.  It is not quite the caliber of ‘The Kite Runner’ or ‘A thousand splendid suns’ – and yet it is good enough to mesmerize the reader.  Hosseini goes big this team both on Geography (the book traverses France, Greece and US besides Afghanistan) and period (it covers three generations).  It succeeds with the bigger canvas – even though the Afghan portions are the most vivid.  There are some problems.  Too many intricate stories and too many characters do leave a few ends untied – the Afghan drug lord bit for instance.  And Pari’s life in France is a long uninteresting narration.  But it works overall.  There are two things that stand out for me – some amazing insights (beauty is a tremendous gift distributed arbitrarily, stupidly) and multi layered characters – who carry out shocking actions – and yet endear themselves to the readers.

Recommendation: Read