Turtles All The Way Down: John Green

 

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Aza Holmes is a teenaged germ phobic, whose day to day life is fraught with her fighting with her own self, to get over her irrational fears.  The story of the missing millionaire, and Aza findings his whereabouts, her romance with Davis, friendship with Daisy, all  serve as a backdrop for Holmes story.  Green does a great job of portraying the main character – her teenage issues, and her dealing with her mental illness.  Your heart goes to Aza and her inability to enjoy herself. Written with humor and exceptional compassion.

Read.

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A few lines from ‘The Jasmine Bloom’

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A Few Moments More

You knock on my door
And tell me to follow you
It’s time, you say
Time to leave.

I realize
I need a few moments more
I need to see how the jasmine I planted come out in the spring
And if the amaltas flowers will be as beautiful this summer.

I need to hear my girl’s laughter once more, See her smile light
up the room once more
I need to take her small hand in mine…
And thank God once more…

I need to visit countries, continents.
I need to see all the world has got to show me.

Oh there is so much I need to do!
Can’t we wait a bit?
Come- let’s wait a bit.

A few moments more
A few years more.

 

 

 

 

 

On Tyranny: Timothy Snyder

41qAqGoeRvL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgB1tH+hXuXjS._UX250_.jpgThese are turbulent times indeed.  Ultra-nationalist, populist leaders in power in Russia, India, Turkey, US and many more places.  Snyder provides a list of twenty things ordinary citizens can do, not to get sucked into the spiral of potential dictators, drawing lessons from the twentieth century.  Defending institutions, being aware of the dangers of one-party rule or domination, speaking out, and believing in truth, are some of them.  The book does make a compelling case for being watchful, to ensure that the twentieth century history (rise of Hitler, persecution of Jews, the Holocaust, World War II), are not repeated.  Some of the parallels drawn between today’s leaders and Hitler are chilling.  However, the writing, when it’s theorizing, is not engaging.  It holds attention only when there are examples of twentieth century that bear an unpleasant resemblance with today’s events.

Read, if some of today’s leaders are ruining your sleep.

Exit West: Mohsin Hamid

 

1490311628206-pjimage-33.jpegLife is full of wonders.  One of them is Mohsin Hamid’s ‘Exit West’ being short-listed for Booker 2017.  It’s a badly written book that didn’t make much sense to me.  Sayeed and Nadia meet,  in their country that is soon to be engulfed in a conflict.  They fall in love, well sort of, and then escape the country to the west, when living in their country becomes untenable.  The first half of the book is reasonably good – the sexual tension between the lovers, and the worsening situation in the city of their birth come out well.  My only complaint about the first half was what I thought was a bit of a lazy writing –  Hamid won’t tell us where they are  – and when is this all happening.  It could be Iraq, Syria, Yemen, but we don’t get to know.  I didn’t appreciate the abstraction.  But the novel nose-dives big time in the 2nd half, when Sayeed and Nadia make their way to Mykonos, London and then San Francisco.  The abstraction touches a new and a completely understandable level.  I don’t even know what Hamid was trying there.  Was he going for some magic-realism ala Marquez and Rushdie.  If he was, he sure didn’t succeed, with his light and dark Londons. The story floundered.   The arc of Sayeed-Nadia relationship didn’t make any sense either.  It was repetitive, unengaging and seemed to go in a circle.

Don’t bother.