White Teeth by Zadie Smith: A review

White TeethWhite Teeth by Zadie Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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White Teeth is the story of three families – the Jones, the Iqbals and the Chalfens – in post war England. And my, what a story they each have to tell! 
Overall review:
As a reader, you have to give this book some time. It is a slow, SLOW read, but trust me, it gets better.

You see, when I was reading White Teeth, I didn’t feel like reading any other book. It felt like I was somehow cheating on this incredible book somehow, and some part of me was also afraid that Alsana was going to jump out of the pages and scold me. Yes, it was that gripping. And I was completely invested in this tale for as long as I read it.

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In-depth review:
The book starts off with the first generation Jones and the Iqbals and how they come to be good family friends. In the first few chapters, the narrative of Mr.Archie Jones is – how do I put this – quite bland. It was really boring, much like the English with their stoic faces and stiff upper lips. I can understand how many readers would fall off at this point.

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Somehow, I persisted. And boy, am I glad that I did. As we read about their lives, we begin to understand the real problems of immigrants from the Iqbals’ POV. Samad Iqbal! You wacky, sonorous, proud but dirty fascist! Oh, don’t look at me like that. If you read his story, you would say the same of him too. What I loved about White Teeth is that, the entire voice of the book changed when it switched from Archie’s to Iqbal’s narrative. Suddenly, the lines were alive and animated. The parts with Alsana and Iqbal are truly rib-tickling. I could almost recite word for word what Alsana would say. This husband-wife duo were one of the most realistic couples that I’ve ever read.

Some of the laugh-worthy moments are in the beginning of Samad’s narrative. Although I appreciate the heavy dose of humor, I felt like the novel housed all possible jokes on Indians/English. Sometimes, even at the expense of the progress of the story.

Speaking of humor, it was so readily available. The setting was already there. The jokes are already there. All Zadie has to do was juxtapose of the two different worlds of the ruddy English and the grovelling Bangladeshis, to create comedy. Zadie did an excellent job. Her understanding of the many cultures and the human equations in each culture is extraordinary.

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The story was forever branching out into distant arcs, anecdotes and facts. But it was fun. It kept me engaged. Zadie, the storyteller, also knew how to bring the reader’s focus back. So that was good.

 

The thing about White Teeth though, is that there is no real plot. It’s only an account of the lives of the two families in London. It was a fresh take on modern novels. I was growing tired of cliffhangers and villains who threatened to destroy the world. This novel is such a humble hat tip to Dickens and his like. I always love stories which have humor at their heart. In this story, there are so many complications and terrible things that happen to the characters, but Zadie found the funniest perspective in all of them. Kudos!

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I expected more out of Irie because of the mix up in her genes. A great combination of fire and ice in the half-jamaican and half-British girl. But she was a major disappointment. Irie could’ve been much more. I wonder why Zadie didn’t do anything there. Character-wise, Samad stole the show for me. Followed by Alsana. Incredible house wife portrayal.

Overall, White Teeth feels like an unhurried story that goes into many details. A story we can sit and read for days at leisure. A languid slice-of-life tale that helped me understand fascism from the grassroots level.

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The best part about white teeth is that there is no plot per se but you will want to keep reading chapter after chapter to find out what is happening. Kinda like what you’d have in classics like Jane Austen’s or Charles Dickens’ works. So rare to see such work in post modern times where authors use cliffhangers like condoms. Way to go Zadie! Well deserved debut novel award.


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No greater Love in this Universe!

A nonsense story is one that is built from random words. The ones I took were from my colleagues at work today. This is what unfurled.
love friends frustration tree river twilight hallucination meadow toothache food shoes taste like battery wallet tag pillar bike glass wheels strings compassion knowledge strength envy monsters altitude handcuffs mojitos orange tunnel ring color key icecream refugee alien seashore

Love is a strange word. To him it was only a tag for the state of hallucination that friends often found themselves to be in. Love was something he couldn’t understand. The frustration, the envy and hurt that ensued, were all too much for him. After all he was only an alien.

He had landed on the seashore of the Mediterranean with 243 other refugees from Pilla. They were running from the cruel His Dictatorship Battery. Battery had overthrown Commander Lithium in the Battle for Time and given himself the title ‘His Dictatorship’. Subsequently, His Dictatorship Battery ordered the hunt for all supporters of Lithium. He sent the Killer tanks of Pilla, the Wheels, to hunt down all Lithium followers.The planet of Pilla was under his rule now.  He was unstoppable.

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The Crown of Ptolemy by Rick Riordan: A review

A quick Saturday pre-siesta-brunch read.

The Crown of PtolemyThe Crown of Ptolemy by Rick Riordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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Hilarious, as is Rick Riordan’s signature writing style. It seemed like he didn’t put any effort in the way of the plot. He took liberal references from the internet slang, like selfies and ‘Stahhp’ and made a funny story out of it. It was enjoyable and laugh-worthy.

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The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella : A review


The Undomestic GoddessThe Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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What a wonderful book!
For those of you who don’t know what the book is, here is the gist – The Undomestic Goddess is about this high-flying big town London based Lawyer, Samantha, who slips into a much laid back job. The changeover is like moving from Violet to Red, literally from one end to the other end of the spectrum.  How Samantha manages this sudden shift is the hilarious content of The Undomestic Goddess.

This novel could top the charts if it were made into a movie. It is easily the material for a Romcom. It is wonderfully thought out, and told with excellence. I did like Sophie Kinsella’s story-telling. It is a tried and tested formula – take up simple theme and story and make it work wonders just by using witty, intelligent story-telling. In this story, we all know how it is going to end, but that didn’t stop me from reading upto the end with frenzied interest. Yep, the momentum was up till the very end. That’s why it would make such a superb movie.

If there is one point I could criticize, it would be the editing. There were huge chunks of prose – could’ve divided that up. That’s about it. I’ve got nothing more to criticize. Continue reading

Asterix Series

READ COUNT:  21/36
  1. Asterix the Gaul
  2. Asterix and the Golden Sickle
  3. Asterix and the Goths
  4. Asterix the Gladiator
  5. Asterix and the Banquet
  6. Asterix and Cleopatra
  7. Asterix and the Big Fight
  8. Asterix in Britain
  9. Asterix and the Normans
  10. Asterix the Legionary
  11. Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield
  12. Asterix at the Olympic Games
  13. Asterix and the Cauldron
  14. Asterix in Spain
  15. Asterix and the Roman Agent
  16. Asterix in Switzerland
  17. asterix and obelixThe Mansions of the Gods
  18. Asterix and the Laurel Wreath
  19. Asterix and the Soothsayer
  20. Asterix in Corsica
  21. Asterix and Caesar’s Gift
  22. Asterix and the Great Crossing
  23. Obelix and Co.
  24. Asterix in Belgium
  25. Asterix and the Great Divide
  26. Asterix and the Black Gold
  27. Asterix and Son
  28. Asterix and the Magic Carpet
  29. Asterix and the Secret Weapon
  30. Asterix and Obelix All at Sea
  31. Asterix and the Actress
  32. Asterix and the Class Act
  33. Asterix and the Falling Sky
  34. Asterix and Obelix’ Birthday: The Golden Book
  35. Asterix and the Picts
  36. Asterix and the Missing Scroll

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh : A review

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That HappenedHyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
My rating: 2 of 5 stars⭐ ⭐
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Hyperbole and a Half was like 9gag.com with a little text. Okay for a some light reading, but not really ROTFLMAO worthy.

I really liked the parts about depression and being an (failure)adult and was able to relate to all the stuff that she goes through. I laughed most at the beginning of the book, where the letters-to-self feature. But after that it was downhill for me.

The part with the dogs just got boring (maybe I am not an animal lover, I’m not even sure if animal lovers would like it because it demeans BOTH the dogs).

It was alright for a breezy read…if you are looking to pass some time and have already read all the 9gag.com posts you could pick this book up.

Windows in an iDroid World

I’m one of the RARE SPECIES who bought a Windows phone.

Yes. Go on…finish your mockery, bellow out loud….go on. You can get back whenever you’re done.

Done?Good. So one of the classic questions I get when I mention I own a windows phone is ‘Why?’ And it’s not a simple why, but the long-drawn, exasperated ‘Whyyyyyyyyyy ?’ With the horrified shocked emoticon in the end.

I feel like my credibility is in the balance when such a question is posed and I’m gonna justify it here.

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One More Thing by BJ Novak : A review

One More Thing: Stories and Other StoriesOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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I read so many mixed reviews for this book. Undoubtedly am on the I-love-it extreme.

I did . I loved that this book was erratic, skeptical, funny, philosophical, and Zany. Every story was a world of it’s own. There was no overlapping or redundancy.

I’d definitely reach out to this whenever I feel down ‘cos I’m sure that it will be an instant mood lift.

One more thing reading progress

One of the few anthologies I have come across, that delivers full satisfaction on every story. I can vouch that none of the stories were a drag; every bit was interesting and I wanted more and more of it.

Say what you want skeptics, but ‘One More Thing’ scaled new heights in the entertainment genre.
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