Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Ghosts of Nagasaki: Book Review

The Ghosts of Nagasaki

The Ghosts of Nagasaki by 

Loved this book! Anyone who loves Japanese writers, the loneliness and despair in their writing will love this book. However there is one major difference, Japanese books go down and under and end with tragedy, but Clausen got the protagonist in the book bounce back and become hope himself. 

The book is brilliant, I would have given it 5 stars but held back 1 star for some beginning & middle sections where the story ran in circles. But it does add to the story overall. When I began reading, I found all the characters stereotyped, specially the Japanese and wondered if this will continue. But thankfully Clausen introduced some new characters in the mid. 

The depressed protagonist, a foreigner in Tokyo, who is almost on the verge of loosing his heart (literally) takes us through his surreal life, where we meet a monster, albeit a gentle one, ghosts, spirits... these layers, nothing but the part of us positive and negative, memories etc. I was super impressed with the writing. I would be picking more of Clausen's work. I am a Japanophile and I think - Clausen is too.

Who will like:
If you like Japanese writings
If you like surrealism
If you like stories with complex plots

Who may not like:
Any of above
Character driven books, this not plot driven
If you don't like stories moving back and forth

If you think, you fit in the 'Like', I promise you will add this author to your to-read shelf.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

My to-read shelf with Titles starting with 'B' #AtoZChallenge

In this post, I have listed all books on my To-Read shelf with titles starting with 'B'. 'Battle Royale' is one book which I want to pick from a long time now. I am currently reading 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' and enjoying it. 

Title Author Goodreads Rating
Battle Royale Takami, Koushun 4.24
Berlin Noir: March Violets / The Pale Criminal / A German Requiem Kerr, Philip 4.22
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Lamott, Anne 4.22
Before the Dawn Shimazaki, Tōson 4.17
Blackbird Lauck, Jennifer 4.07
Blackbird Fly Kelly, Erin Entrada 4.06
Balloon Animals Dunne, Jonathan 4.01
Becoming a Writer Brande, Dorothea 4.01
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness Cahalan, Susannah 3.99
Black Rain Ibuse, Masuji 3.97
Be With You Ichikawa, Takuji 3.93
Breakfast at Tiffany's Capote, Truman 3.89
Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words: A Writer's Guide to Getting It Right Bryson, Bill 3.86
Beat the Reaper (Peter Brown #1) Bazell, Josh 3.79
Bad Monkeys Ruff, Matt 3.61

*Written for the A to Z Challenge. For more info on Challenge, visit A to Z Challenge Blog.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Author that takes us on journey into history - Amitav Gosh #AtoZChallenge

My theme for A to Z Challenge is 'Characters'. But it's already 10:30 pm and I haven't written a word. After pulling many Goodreads book pages and IMDB movie pages, I am still struggling to settle on a character. Finally I move up the concept and choose the maker of the characters. My favourite author - Amitav Gosh. 

Amitav Gosh

The Circle of Reason [France’s Prix Médicis in 1990]
The Shadow Lines [Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar]
In An Antique Land
Dancing in Cambodia
The Calcutta Chromosome [Arthur C. Clarke award for 1997]
The Glass Palace [International e-Book Award, Frankfurt book fair in 2001]
The Hungry Tide [Crossword Book Prize, 2005]
The Ibis Trilogy [Man Booker Prize Shortlisted, 2008, Crossword Book Prize, India Plaza Golden Quill Award]

Amitav Ghosh was awarded Padma Shri in January 2007, one of India’s highest honours, by the President of India. And in 2010, along with Margaret Atwood, he was also a joint winner of a Dan David Award for 2010. And this is not all. You can read more about him and his accomplishments on his website.

Even after reading above honors, if you still need reasons, here are few -

Master Story-weaver with Extra-ordinary stories of intriguing characters that will awe you with history and knowledge that you will gather and mesmerize you with beautiful poetic language. 

Pick any book written by Gosh, not one you will find similar to any other. All his books have large canvas with extra-ordinary backdrop. The best example to mention here is Ibis Trilogy. With three books  and he onboard us on a journey centuries back on the ship, which makes its way from the poppy fields of India to Mauritis to Hong Kong to China. The varied characters with their own history are painted so beautifully that you feel connected to them.

Do you know the origin of our special Chai & Samosa that we are so proud, is China? His books is a fun way of building knowledge. I had loved all of his books, but my favourite is - The Glass Palace.
The Glass Palace: Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885 book tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her. 
Before ending, posting some of his quotes from books:
“It is madness to think that knowing a language and reading a few books can create allegiances between people. Thoughts, books, ideas, words – if anything, they make you more alone, because they destroy whatever instinctive loyalties you may once have possessed.” ― Flood of Fire
“The truth is, sir, that men do what their power permits them to do. We are no different from the Pharaohs or the Mongols: the difference is only that when we kill people we feel compelled to pretend that it is for some higher cause. It is this pretence of virtue, I promise you, that will never be forgiven by history.” ― Sea of Poppies
“People like my grandmother, who have no home but in memory, learn to be very skilled in the art of recollection.” ― The Shadow Lines
“The absence of food doesn't make a man forsake hunger-it only makes him hungrier .” ― River of Smoke
“when merchants and traders begin to run wars – hundreds of lives depend on bribes.” ― Flood of Fire

Written for the A to Z Challenge. For more info on Challenge, visit A to Z Challenge Blog.