Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - The kindled and the unkindled

2009:
Total 32 books. (Yes, happy. :) )
Since the kindle arrived - 6 kindled, 4 unkindled.

List follows:

  1. QnA - Vikas Swarup
  2. Nine Stories - J D Salingar
  3. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  4. Love, Again - Doris Lessing
  5. To catch a butterfly - Vivek Kumar
  6. Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
  7. Curious Case of Benjamin Button - F. Scott
  8. The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing
  9. Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri
  10. The runaway Jury - John Grisham
  11. The Dip - Seth Godin
  12. Paths of Glory - Jeffery Archer
  13. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  14. A room of one's own -Virginia Woolf
  15. A room with a view - E M Forster
  16. The Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
  17. Three Guineas - Virginia Woolf
  18. Identity - Milan Kundera
  19. The first Women in Love - D H Lawrence
  20. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
  21. Queen of Spades and other stories - Pushkin
  22. Nocturnes - Kazuo Ishiguro
  23. Howard's End - EM Forster (Kindled)
  24. Murder in the dark - Margaret Atwood
  25. The wife and other stories - Anton Chekhov (Kindled)
  26. Selected Short Stories - Balzac
  27. Never Let me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (KIndled)
  28. The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison (Kindled)
  29. Chariots of God - Erich Von Daniken (Kindled)
  30. 2001: A space odyssey - Arthur C Clarke(Kindled)
  31. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  32. The land of Green Plums - Herta Muller
So come to think of it, only a few - may be 4 or 5 are books which K would have read. This year, thankfully, he picks up his reading - and most of the times we read different stuff. Apart from the above there'll be couple of score of short stories - new yorker, elsewhere on net, once in a while ft exclusive.

A few points for 2010 -

  • Read more. Yes, the one book per week has been a target for last few years - but, someday, rather some year. 2007, 2008 - I read some 25 odd books each. Halfway. So 2009 was better. But I have bought a lot more, so lots to unkindle and kindle.
  • Read more K-read stuff - Larssen, soon. But somehow I and K meet only at a few authors. The people I like to read are quite different from K's style. But am happy to explore - that's one of the things about first few days in Jan - you are more open to considering new things, new ideas. Hope the attitude stays.
  • Read more short stories - No problem with that. K has recently ordered more contemproary short stories from Flipkart. And I get my New Yorker gift - 40 odd assured apart from the fiction issue. I really love the short story form.
  • Read diverse - New and old.

So far in 2010,
1. 2010 - Odyessey two: Yes, Yes, I spent the first two days of 2010, reading 2010. And as always, Arthur Clarke was fun. Unkindled. More on the book later
2. Still reading - Remains of the Day. I like the narrative style - fresh. More once over. Just 100 pages down. Hopefully as the second week of 2010 ends...
Next in line - Other rooms other wonders (short story collection), Steig Larssen :), And some more on kindle.

Score keeping over.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I do not remember reading much of Sylvia Plath’s poetry – She is known more for her poems than her prose – and then the way she died. This is the only novel which she published during her lifetime.

About her writing – Very involved, compelling, drawing you in. This is one of those books where my hypothesis that for the first 20%, you need to work on the book and then, the book works on you stays disproved. In this book – from the first page onwards, the prose draws you in. I guess, poets have a much better command over the language, the scene, the emotion – and in few words, they convey things and feelings which a routine author will take many pages for.

Her writing is beautiful. When I started reading it – I could identify a wee bit with the protagonist – just a wee bit. Then the lady’s life spirals downwards into depression and then the book becomes a treatise on suicide or contemplating ways of suicide, then it translates into an inside out view on asylums and mental homes and the inside out view on the mind of a mentally deranged person – call it a person who has given up on life, because there is no other differentiating feature apart from that – between the normal and the demented, its just the will and the willingness to stay occupied and play upto the idiosyncrasies of life. The normal has it, the demented thinks it is fruitless. Who is right? – Who is to decide?

What I liked most in the book? Her analogy of her life as a fig tree – where different figs represent different things that she wishes to do with her life – one fig about her turning into a poet and a professor, another fig – going to Europe and studying further, one fig – to get married and have children, another one – to stay unmarried, one more fig – to live the NY life of a fashion writer. The point being, she is sitting under this fig tree, thinking of which fig to eat- she thinks hard because choosing one fig is precluding all the other figs so she should be careful. All are mutually exclusive events. She calls herself neurotic because she wants all these figs at the same time. She dreams that she is still trying to choose while the figs dry one by one, shrivel up, darken and fall down.

A poet writing prose is a treat in terms of metaphors, articulation, capturing the moment – they are so precise and they give you a full, sumptuous meal of emotions on so few words. Good part is that the book ends at a slightly hopeful note, otherwise it would have been difficult to bear.

This one is my holiday purchase, unkindled. Finished in one day. Am on to Herta Muller’s Land of green plums now- where the heroine again sounds a bit like Sylvia Plath’s - just a wee bit. This one is more poetic, bordering on the styles of people like Marquez, Atwood (through whatever I’ve read of her) – poetic prose, disjointed pictures, portraits, landscapes, woven together – am just 50 pages in, yet to see how it turns out. Its set in Eastern Europe, sometime around the world war, in the times of dictators and innocent people in torture camps and in times of curtailed freedom. The strife for life is so different in such times – its not about the pay packet, the next car, the next holiday, but about the whiff of free air when the mind is without bonds, and a longing for the times when the sky can be seen through unmeshed windows.

The one by Sylvia Plath is set in post war US – females have just started going to work, just started to be treated as almost equals, and they arrive at the same conclusions about life as the Wheelers in Revolutionary Road did – its tough in these less interesting times – the present times, no wars, oppressing mediocrity and strife to equate oneself with the rest of the world. Isn’t this whole drive to improve the per capita GDP so that rest of the economy would flourish - another kind of socialism in capitalism’s disguise? Losing the individual-ness, missing the point, toys again to keep ourselves occupied and away from the unanswered questions. And the tough part is one has to deal with the ennui and the boredom without sounding bored, otherwise the risk of being tagged a demented in this world of normals. Good book.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2001, 2010, Odyessey and Holidays

Reading updates and...well, book buying updates. I wish all the book buying updates get quickly translated to books unkindled. But no, they take their own sweet time and there are 100 other things which need to be completed before one can relax and curl up with the book or the kindle. No cribs. Year end time. Time to reflect, time to get cliched and think of all the good things you have and all the good things that you'll do with your life. No cribbin can sure be one of them.

Finished reading a small one - 2001, a Space odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke. On the kindle. All this while, I have been spotting 3001, 2010, on bookshelves but somehow 2001, the first of this series was always unavailable. So when a friend shared this book, the soft copy, I started reading it and this one surely didn't fail to impress. Somehow, since I watched Avatar also during the same time (One real fun movie. Hats off to imagination, to the shoot - at one point, I stretched out my hand to touch the jungle foliage. What I liked most - screwed gravity, magnetic mountains or floating mountains). So, the point is, some of my 2001 is mixed with avatar in my mind. But what I liked most about the book - the way Clarke approaches the prehistoric era - the learning ignited by external forces, or rather the idea of engineered learning rather than human beings inspiring themselves to evolve. The real fun part is when you try to juxtapose the situation in today's times. What is the situation? - this really really old times ape -man who can just think of the immediate thing, food for the day, fearing the night, the wild...and nothing else. One fine day, the monolith arrives - and this ape man gets hypnotised/suggestive hypnostism by this monnolith which gives this being a new idea, a new desire for a healthy, safe life and literally was putting concepts in this ape-being's head. Even things like throwing a stone or eating meat to save himself - which the ape man couldn't even imagine he could do....freeze frame. Now, try to imagine all those things (out of the box) which you wouldn't even imagine you can do...difficult, but still try doing it. And then imagine you can do all those things. the potential, the power, the power of potential. Deeds cant dream what dreams can do. Time is a tree, this life one leaf. Mr EE Cummings, you were never more right.

So thats the beauty of these books and people like Arthur C Clarke. Content apart, even concepts like these act as a spark for the firepowder in your own head - and the extent of the imaginations is Beautiful. I really like such books. Douglas Adams, Clarke, Cameron, yes, Avatar is beautifully imaginative, its a fresh way of looking at things- you just have to be ready to believe anything and leave all the earth given prejudices, nay, civilization given prejudices behind.

All this - just for that sweet sense of wonder - and that overpowering sensation that one doesn't know who rules, who runs all this, one can't even imagine what lies beyond this small little planet of ours. Happy with our toys, occupied, living life as people ask us to do it, lost in this huge random web, made complicated by our own choice - and not even a second spent to justify all this! Not many people feel its wonderful, but that's ok, wonder and awe, like beauty, lie in the eyes of beholder.

What happens after 2001? Next book is 2010. I don't have it on my kindle. The one which I have is 3001. So - next visit to airport for the holidays, I buy it - and not read it. And meanwhile, given its holidays, more coffee and bookshop stuff - and i end up buying more stuff - latest ones are Herta Muller (land of green plums), Sylvia Plath (bell jar) and Ishiguro -remains of the day. So yes, all these about toys and life on this planet -me too away from my wonder stuff. You need the right setting :) Not sure whether I'll finish anything in 2009 - if I do, it should be one of the above...that reminds me, I have to do a book count for 2009. Don't have my notebook on me right now...those updates saved for later.

Looking forward to 2010 (the year, the book), and more reading. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cosmic Latte

Finally finished something.

Finished reading the Chariots of God by Erich Von Daniken (Kindle). I have written enough about my thoughts on the unexplained...but to talk about the author and the book, definitely interesting.. but dated. Talks about certain things again and again. The weaving together of misplaced artefacts with conjectures on early astronauts is awesome. But still, it just opens a small channel. There are still so many possibilities which are not captured.

When I was younger, in my teens, I used to dream about writing a book - 101 ways of interpreting the universe :p. The sheer number of probabilities and possibilities make 101 a really select set - let the imagination go wild types. The desire is still there - the execution is missing. I remember I even started a blog - cosmic latte - inspired by the 'color of the universe' but could not sustain it. Someday :).

What I liked about the book - the fantastic-ness, the creative thinking, the research, the disruptive/ out of box thoughts, the humility
What could have been better - Am biased here, but more on the Asian culture and the rituals. Come to think of it, all the symbols in the Vedas and the epics...they refer to such fantastic thoughts but given our abilities to accept and to not accept certain things, we ignore them completely. So many more ideas can be developed just on those lines.

Too tired to do so right away :). Finding it difficult - to recapture my earlier thoughts. Too much of readings on Markets, Investments, financials, Visa docs and too early in the morning i guess. More sometime soon.

BTW the count on kindle is 5.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Unleashed horses of the Chariots of God

Saturday night. One of the very few Sat nights when K is away, kid is asleep, and have taken out K's Mac rather than picking up a book or the kindle. Spent time browsing, what all - FB, some music, some poems, some bit of non-serious pending reader updates, some book blogs and ...nothing else and hrs lost. Why am I not writing about the kindled stuff...? Nothing much to update.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. As I thought, finished it pretty quickly. Interesting way of writing the book...been a while since I finished the book, don't remember my exact after thoughts, but I do remember her acute descriptions, the stuff that she captured so sharply which actually sets up the time and place in front of your eyes. Regarding the emotions...somehow, post the book am left more with wonder rather than sympathy for the characters.

What else? Started reading the Catcher in the Rye and Chariots of God, and Fever and Cloud Atlas. Yes, I am not decided yet and haven't been reading. For the first 1/5 of an average book, its an active effort - you have to pick up the book and put in some reading work. For the rest of it, the book captures you and difficult to leave it till its over. So am nowhere near the first 1/5 mark.

Chariots of God - this is non fiction, book about the kind of things and thoughts which are my favorite time pass and a continuous source of wonder. Pondering about life, God, stars, UFOs, aliens, our place in the universe, here and beyond, beyond of beyond, what are we, were God aliens? This book (on kindle) ties up some of these thoughts beautifully with some actual evidence and tries to weave them together to lay out a beautiful mish mash of imaginations, new thoughts - some new, some corresponding with my own conjectures. The other day I was looking at the Hubble Photographs at the Big Picture...and it left me thinking - but there is just no way of knowing who we are, or how we came to be or why is this universe so huge - and still whatever we seem to comprehend of the universe may be a dot in another such universe. Or maybe as soon as we are able to comprehend something, we realise we have just started to imagine, and its like looking in a mirror which looks into another...to infinity. Imagining infinity. Difficult. Another way to look at it, think of the known world, known human powers, known capabilities...the ability to think is the best of all abilities maybe...still it is just the first step in an infinite ladder...the next ones may be telepathy, teleporting, or may be all this is just a drop, a ripple and we are existing in something locked in time and space...looking up at stars spread across the sky, each one at an expanse of a few million light years...it is like looking at time itself. May be some day, it would be easier to comprehend that time is just another axis, and that there are more such things. It is like there is some water trickling down a huge wall, whatever we think and know is that trickle of water. Somehow we do not realise that the trickle is from a huge ocean behind that wall...we hear it all the time, but since we hear it all the time, we do not think about it. Anyway, does thinking about it helps? Our daily problems are very very different...and maybe a way of keeping ourselves busy so that we do not think about the ocean beyond. But sometimes, just sometimes it surfaces, gives a hint, a glimpse, and there is a flash - you can see through and through and then you realise - all this is a mirage.
Depressing, K says, when I talk like this. But think about it, this is more like possibilities..a promise beyond this pale blue dot of ours, a promise that all what we go through is insiginifcant and there is a world, where all that matters to us is intact, or all that matters to us cease to matter to the universe. But yes, this can be depressing to think that the human species, the earth - with our sense of self importance, of our love of treating ourselves so seriously, the war, peace, money, economy, gold, oil, coal, love, hate- are just an accident in a massive scheme of things and the universe would have been no different even without us. Huge blow. But we need our own anchors, and our seriousness is our anchor.

To life. And to its inexplicability. It sure would have been boring if we knew everything. More fun like this. Rest - keep guessing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reading Update

Two books currently. The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison (Kindle) and Fever - by Clezio (Unkindled). Both the authors - am reading for the first time. Have wanted to read them for a while. But the book jacket of Beloved - another Toni Morrison stuff , which I pick up almost every time when I am in a book shop but end up not buying because of the heart breaking story it promises. Clezio - wanted to read his works since the Nobel last year, I couldn't find anything in Bombay, picked up some books in KL, but my KL book buying overload means I have got a lot of unread stuff on my book shelf.

Fever - Realised once in the book that it is a collection of short stories ...describes pain and the discomfort that a sick body goes through...what better time! Into the first story - and I got my firsthand experience, the kid, and myself down with fever and all the related side effects - and no better time to appreciate the beauties of good health other than when you are down without. It really mars your world, sullies all hopes and tinges the horizon with darkness...all the lush, healthy, bright stuff vanishes and one just sits pondering about the funny taste in one's mouth and the utter hopelessness of life and things like spring in the step and even talks of a lap of swim sound otherworldly. But things pass, that is the beauty if life, isn't it? And the sick days pass, am back at my desk, writing stuff about the readings I should have done over the weekend...and with some hope twinkling in the eyes, horizon is back bouncing with possibilities. And at that note, to K, and to the thought that he shared...The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; They just make the most of everything :) - but I tell you, the lens changes totally when one is unwell.

The Bluest Eye...am 40% deep (the Kindle ticker keeps the progress). Pretty short book, the last one was 3,500 locations, this is just about 2,000. Should be able to finish it soon. I quite like the writing. Don't know where the story will take me...but haven't read anything of this type....closest was Faulkner but a totally different time. But Faulkner was slightly inaccessible at times - I seem to follow Ms Morrison (or so I think). I like her vantage points, perspectives and oh-so-true capturing of thoughts. More once I finish reading.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Short Stories, Never Let me Go

This comes after a while. Lots of things happening, was under the weather for a while, so no significant reading. Finished stuff started earlier - Selected Short Stories by Balzac (unkindled) and kindled The Wife and other stories by Chekhov. And also kindled Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. So three books on kindle so far :). Started the Bluest eye on kindle and Fever off the kindle.

I like the kindle, the fondness increases day by day. It allows one to read faster and this whole thing about adjusting font size to suit the mood and light, thumbs up to that. Simple, uncomplicated, not too many things you can do implies that you don't waste time changing settings...and one can just curl up and get down to reading. And battery...after the iphone, I have stated treasuring anything whose battery doesn't run out in a day...and this one is good to go for almost two weeks. Great, ain't it?

The Wife and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov

I have read other stories by Chekhov but never a collection. He writes about different people from different vantage points and that makes the stories colorful and interesting. Chekhov's stories are not like Saki or Maupassant or O Henry with a twist hidden somewhere. But these are reminiscences, a capturing of those moments when the life turns a corner or a recital of the way things were and the way things are. I liked his old man story...these are way different from Pushkin's...and have a much modern element and a much human element attached to them. And they deal with human issues - old age, lost love, betrayal, unnamed feelings but feelings and emotions all the same.

I started reading this on the iphone, finished it on the kindle :)

Selected Short Stories by Balzac

Where Chekhov wrote about people, farms, sometimes education but at more times communist stuff, Balzac was the other end...its about art, collectors, the artists and the bourgeois and its about the French, the way they lived, their societies. From Chekhov's stories people did travel to France but the color that Balzac has in his color-palette is quite distinct. His stories - most of them had a sad end to them. And again, like Chekhov these stories capture certain people at certain point in time or they form good coffee table conversations when people relate to others what they once saw or knew or met. These had some otherworld or the extreme of this world element attached to them. I look forward to reading more Balzac - his novels. This was the first book I read by Balzac, not many short stories he wrote anyway.

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Quick read.Nice read. Quite an emotional read.

Spoiler alert. Its about clones... the only question I had throughout the novel was why don't these guys run away somewhere, why don't these guys just go away. Why do they go through their destiny knowingly? Why do they accept their lives as is.

I guess that must be the reason Mr. Ishiguro wrote the novel - to let people ask themselves this question. It was emotional, senti, I cried at times on certain pages...it may have to do with other things, but the people in the novel are just so vulnerable! And being a mother, reading while your kid is sleeping next to you and when you read about the vulnerabilities of those Hailsham kids ...even though its an alternate universe...you just want to hold the kid closer to you and make him realise that life is to be lived to the fullest no matter what destiny holds in store and never to give in to the pressure of conforming to the world.

I don't know where I got that but the book must have triggered it.

I am mixing of lot of issues right now and it may not have to do with what the story is about but as Ms Woolf said, a memorable book is the one which triggers other thoughts in your mind...allows your mind to think and make its own connections.

Hope I am able to convey the thought to the kid.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Murder in the Dark by Margaret Atwood

This is the first Margaret Atwood book that I've read. This is a series of short pieces, not linked together (I guess) but reflections of varied kinds...from childhood memories of the stark, indelible kind (making poison, playing murder in the dark, talking vampires) to things related to writing and bordering on the philosphical (role reversals, story lines, endings, taking a prop and building up disparate settings around it). I found the landscape quite intriguing and thought provoking. The time I spent with the book was around an hour (Its a short compilation). Some places, just some places, she reminds me of Doris Lessing - not the craft but the approach to the craft. (Where she discusses different story lines and the ever evasive happy ending). This is one of the first Canadian authors that I'm reading. I find her interesting - and clearly look forward to reading more of her fiction and essays.

Other reading updates - almost through with Balzac's short stories (paper) and mid way with Anton Chekhov's short stories (the wife - collection - on kindle and iphone). Infinite Jest stays where it was.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bookshelf and Bookmarked (October 2009)

Finished the First Women in Love by D H Lawrence in August. Then work got the better of me. Read Identity by Kundera over a flight in September. After that…some short stories by Balzac (end September) – not yet finished. Were quite bleak if I remember well. Then came Dan Brown…Lost Symbol. Then Pushkin – Queen of Spades collection. Then Nocturnes – which I finished last week. So October has been a good month.

On the bookshelf - Infinite Jest (started the same day when kindle arrived. Am just 10 pages deep in a 1000+ pages book). Also reading (unkindled) - the art of the novel by Milan Kundera (got more suggestions on the kindle list) and Consider the Lobster...(Wallace) and writings of E B White (charming) and finishing up the short stories by Balzac. We are sometimes tempted to write as Mr. White writes.

Striking, interesting stuff registered recently on books read (may be colored still):
First Women in Love
– Broken notes. Lawrence writes like someone I’ve never read before.

Some notes from the time I started reading the First Women...
I like the book. And I am humbled by the depth of thoughts of almost all the characters in the book. Somehow, I realize that the way Lawrence looks at life through the lens of all his protagonists, it leaves you a lot richer in terms of new ideas (given the recent readings I have done) – This seems like discovering a new Doris Lessing. I like the voice, the tone. Soliloquies are interesting and so are the dialogues. And you realize that you have so much to learn about the craft, so much to discover, it leaves you hungrier for more such texts. I think, given the last book I read (Revolutionary Road), which was a novel, though beautiful in its own way – the way Richard Yates uses language and approaches situations; Compared to that, this book definitely gets categorized as a literary classic. I am joyful, at the opening up of more such rich experiences, to savour more of Lawrence's works.

Notes post finishing the book -
He is on a slightly higher level of awareness about the world. I guess, as a writer, one is supposed to be. Otherwise, how does one observe, capture and convey in simple terms the thing that is so complex. So far, so good. Most writers are on a higher plane of awareness. What distinguishes Lawrence from the people I’ve read earlier including Lessing is the way his characters are also on a much higher plane than may be the people I meet on a daily basis. Or maybe, the people are talking about their innermost thoughts, even movements of thoughts, motions, changes, how one thought leads to another and not just an action – and that’s why it seems different. Its not what people talk about on a daily basis. Hmmm but then didn’t Lessing also record something similar…the innermost? But maybe, it is the time that is different….but I’ve read other books about England during that time. Ok, its not just about the same time. Even Archer/King/Brown are in the same times as Kundera/Marquez/Lessing….but the things they talk about are different…the material is different. The viscosity is different.

Identity – Milan Kundera picks up a thought and turns it into a dream like novel – you don’t know the difference in the material. If Archer/Grisham are water, Lawrence is thick lotion/potion, and Kundera is like smoke – hazy, difficult to catch, elusive, filling up the room but still not what you can put your hand on, or in.

The Lost Symbol – pros - the extent of knowledge, the things you get to learn. But was quite saddened…it didn’t resonate. I was saddened by the way it turns back to look at something which was and which doesn't seem to be the right way instead of looking forward – getting lost in rituals when all that matters is faith – that kind of thing. But he sells and makes movies…as a story, good fun, fast - but what it talks about sometimes borders on the thing I can talk about for ages and still wonder (life, its origin, beyond) to things that can be classified as absolute crap (sacrifice – fine, but ritual of sacrifice?)

Nocturnes – Ishiguro -New discovery. K picked it up. Quite interesting….good part is it’s a quick read. Sometimes it leaves a sad taste and sometimes, an unfulfilled question – what happens? What would have happened? No way to know or to google. You just leave the question, and try not to look back and move ahead to the next story. A lot about music. Since I know just so much about music, think I may have not understood the full depth of some of the stories…just followed the story lines. He can be quite funny at times and then quite unfulfilling at certain other times. The book kept talking about piazzas, cafes, coffee, the artistic life…which, just because is quite inaccessible becomes more desirable and interesting. Liked reading it.

Queen of Spades…Pushkin - like the other Russian guys but a much more flowing story kind of thing rather than ruminations or thoughts or viscosity. Old times type/ recording stories. The beauty is the stories have such a different subject matter and are set in a different time and land…that makes it interesting and worth spending time on. More Pushkin soon.

Howard's End by EM Forster

This is the second Forster book that I've read. First one was A room with a view - which, I remember liking. I thought the theme can be easily picked up and a Hindi movie made based on that and even suggested so to some people who actually make movies...to be told that there have already been some Hollywood/European adaptations of the book.

Howard's End was closer to a movie than a theme (esp. in the end where the coincidences get too much to handle). I got reminded of The Joke (Kundera) and how one seemingly unimportant incident completely changes the lives of people around it. Something of the butterfly effect, chaos theory...but more coincidences than chaos. It also is about families and how people in a family can be clubbed together on certain traits. I tend to differ there. Liked some of the people, liked it to be ahead of its times in some ways, but then Forster's heroines are so much different from Jane Austen's - maybe a century between them explains it. I quite liked Margaret but was quite disappointed when after 30 she loses the penchant or the inclinations towards the mysteries and wanderings and wonders of the inner life and comes down to earth.

Overall, the coincidences are of the type that happen mainly in movies or in books where things end the way you wish them to end and most of the times, you wish for the perfect ending, and how does one know it is perfect? ..because most of the time in a book/movie you know what is happening in everyone's life and what is going on in their minds and you can play the pocket God and make people fall/meet, change/ understand, which, out in the world, the inefficiency of part-knowledge and the negative efficiencies of speculating on what goes on in people's mind makes the whole thing meander away from may be, what is the perfect close. And no one knows the perfect close as no one knows the universe.

This was my first book on my Kindle and a pretty pleasant, refreshing and quick read for that. There were a couple of instances in the book where I laughed out loud. Finished it yesterday evening as we touched down on the Mumbai tarmac. Liked the experience of reading with locations (instead of pages), and a constant bar showing my progress, and an in built, no-movement-away-from-the page-being-read dictionary. Though old world in certain senses (There is no touch!!!, the display is not backlit, so night-time reading without light not possible, though I can synch it with my iphone) but charming in its own way - and the strain on the eyes is equal to the strain of reading a printed page. I look forward to more kindling.