Book Reviews

Book Review of Lemons and Lemonades

Lemons and Lemonades : My Midlife Dabble in Online Romance by David H Mathews is a non fiction book on relationships and dating. This book has humor and can even be categorized as a memoir.

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The cover of the book is just perfect as per its idea. The cover has a keyboard and a heart is their. This gives us an idea about the thought process of the book. For a person who judge by a cover, will surely find it luring.

The title of the book is tricky an the author has used his smartness in it. Lemons and Lemonades surely grabs the attention of the readers and it doesn’t match with the cover. So, to know more about it, one can pick this book.

“What you are about to read is frequently salty, occasionally convoluted, and in all ways, very personal. These true and sometimes ribald tales did actually occur during my online dating dabble between wife number two and wife number three…”

Neither a primer on online dating, nor a gender-biased lament on love gone wrong, David H. Mathews’ memoir, Lemons and Lemonade explores the connections and disconnections he made while searching the .com world for romance.

After subscribing to a dating site, David struggles to concoct a suitably provocative profile, stumbles and falls with several mismatched matches, then finally connects with, and promptly marries Clare, the love of his life. Actual email exchanges chronicle their blurringly fast courtship.

David shares his honest-to-God interactions with honest-to-God women in the voice of a plain-speaking Indiana farm boy who spent his youth playing basketball, fondling cheerleaders, baling hay, and shoveling manure.

The book talks about the situations and the experiences of the author in his marriages. This is a personal book and the way he delineates his view points is hilarious. The concept of burlesque can be seen in this book. The author talks about online dating and the way he struggles to update the details in it. These interactions surely makes you laugh your heart out. Further, we find self mockery element in it.

The style of writing is quite cool and it attracts the attention of the readers. The descriptions are subtle and the narration is personal. The book surely has wit, humor, sarcasm and some of the dialogues makes us laugh too. It is a light book to read and one doesn’t get bored while reading. Honestly speaking, this is just an average book for me as I could find editing errors in it. This was a bit turn off and at times I found the thoughts are exaggerated.

Grab your copies from :

http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/1612967639/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_in-21&linkCode=as2&camp=3626&creative=24790

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Book Reviews

Book Review of The Hill Billy by Shivdutt Sharma

The Hilly Billy by Shivdutt Sharma is one such book that makes you nostalgic about your childhood. It directly transports to your good exemplary days of childhood. This novel is a perfect instance of Indian writing which was once written at the times of R.K. Narayan, MAthew Arnold, Ruskin Bond etc. I got this copy from Anuj Kumar, Kalamos Literary Services in return of an honest review. Lets go deep into it :

Cover- The cover of the book is colourful and fascinating. The readers are excited to read it.

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Title- The title ‘The Hill Billy’ is one of the unique and apt ones. The story revolves around it.

Foreword- The most enthralling part about this book is that the forword is written by none other than Ruskin Bond whom we still admire for his short stories and novels.

Blurb-

A mango ensures the birth of a son…
Ghosts hoot and cackle in a forest…
A tiger strikes terror in the heart of a village…
A boy experiences the first stirrings of desire…

On trips back to his hometown, memories appear, cling, and then fade away like the mist in the Himalayan foothills. Tracing the pangs and pleasures of growing up during the time of missionary schools, wind-up gramophones, hand-pulled designer rickshaws, maharanis in their imitation castles, busty film stars of the black-and-white era – a lone, all-brown boy in an all-white American school comes to grips with his coming of age.

Fast-paced and furiously funny, The Hill Billy zips up the otherwise tranquil, languid, laid-back life in a hill station that hasn’t quite got over the hangover of its British past.

Setting- The story is set up at the time of before Independence where there was belief in ghosts, superstitions and practises like child marriage, sati and many more were applicable. The book is a memoir of author’s childhood. In the book he takes you from Silakot, Pakistan, where he was born to the hills of Mussoorie, India.

Plot- The author’s plot construction is appreciable. He transports the minds of the readers to our childhood days. The author has highlighted those old elements of superstition where the protagonist is born out of mango which brings laugh to the readers.

Characterisation- The author has beautifully delineated his characters by making them superstitious, reasonable at times and hilarious most of the times. This reminds us of our so called Indian families where relations are given importance than anything else. He has shown us the ties of Indian families in a simple, yet effective way.

Style- The novel is fast paced and nostalgic.The writing style of the author is simple, lucid and pithy. There are short and shorter sentences in it which makes good sense. We find Hindi words and sentences too but they are well translated in the end so the readers are not disappointed at the end. There are over punctuations at some places. But the highlight is the birth of the protagonist from a mangi tree. It serves as an icing on the cake.

Availability- https://www.amazon.com/Hill-Billy-Shiv-Sharma/dp/8192689603

http://www.amazon.in/Hill-Billy-Shivdutt-Sharma/dp/8192689603?ie=UTF8&qid=1472131870&ref_=tmm_pap_swatch_0&sr=8-1

About the Author

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After pursuing a Master’s Degree in English Literature, Shiv entered the world of advertising. Spending several years at learning the art and craft of copywriting with some of the leading advertising agencies of Mumbai, he moved up as a Creative Director and won awards for creative excellence from Cag, Advertising Club and Reader’s Digest. It’s surprising that for a trained writer, he ventured forth into writing his first debut work with a spiritual message, at a rather late stage in his professional life. This was inspired by his visit to the Sri Ramana Ashram and the holy mountain of Arunachala towards the end of 2010. Today, he works as the Chief Editor and Creative Director with a well-known publishing firm in Mumbai. he can be reached at : http://yogiimpressions.com/shivdutt-sharma

 

 

Book Reviews

Book Review of Memoirs of Geisha

Memoirs of Geisha is written by Arthur Golden which is a slow paced novel. I bought this novel as a result of my eagerness to know more about the Japanese Culture. I have heard my friends talking about so I thought I should read it. While I was reading it, I fell in the love with Arthur’s style of writing. Lets go in depth about the book:

Cover- The cover is white in color and has a face of girl with a red lipstick. It is believed Geisha’s mostly wear red lipsticks which gives us little sneak peaks of the novel.

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Title- The title is Memoirs of Geisha. Usually, Memoir is a writeup where a person himself dies and the work is published post death. Thus, it suggests something like that.

Blurb- This story is a rare and utterly engaging experience. It tells the extraordinary story of a geisha -summoning up a quarter century from 1929 to the post-war years of Japan’s dramatic history, and opening a window into a half-hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation.

A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. She tells her story many years later from the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Her memoirs conjure up the perfection and the ugliness of life behind rice-paper screens, where young girls learn the arts of geisha – dancing and singing, how to wind the kimono, how to walk and pour tea, and how to beguile the land’s most powerful men.

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Plot- The plot is intriguing as it talks about the journey of Chiyo who is a simple girl and the way she goes through trials and tribulations in her life. This book talks about her Geisha times, her training, her love and in this journey how she loses herself and becomes Sayuri. There are no digressions in the plot.

Theme- In this book, we find theme of separation. When young Chiyo and Satsu are separated from their parents, it aches the hearts of the readers. Later on, we notice Chiyo and Satsu’s separation. Then there is separation of Sayuri from Motherin Okiya during the World War 2.

The other theme can be noticed is of War. The destructions led to Geisha’s decline. Americans overtook some of the Geisha properties. Even the well knowns became penniless. There is a long time gap.

The theme of Japanese Culture plays an eminent role in this book. This story is of Geisha which means a Japanese Girl who could dance, sing and entertain men. When they are novice, they are kept under Apprenticeship where an elder sister is given to them who teach them. Further, after being baptised, she is adopted by a teacher or a mother where she lives. And then she is married and her husband is known as Danna.

The theme of love lost and found is noticed. Till the end readers are confused, like who Sayuri loves, whether its Chairman or Nobu. But while studying carefully, we come to know that Sayuri loves Chairman and in the first part they are separated only to meet again in the end of the chapters. They have a tough journey to face.

Characterisation- Arthur Golden is well known for his character portrayal. There are so many characters which adds flavour to the story. Chiyo or Sayuri is the main protagonist whose journey is being delineated. It seems as if she herself is telling her story. When she gets separated by her family, it makes the readers shed tears and afterwards the struggle of becoming a Geisha could be noticed. During this course of journey she comes across Hatsumomo who is the antagonist in the play. She is the popular Geisha who hates Sayuri from the core of her heart. During this time, Mameha comes in picture and helps Sayuri. When Sayuri begins to taste popularity, Hatsumomo is jealoused and soon leaves the site due to some reasons. Nobu is an amazing character who is always ready to support Sayuri but Sayuri feels for chairman. All the characeters are interlinked. Even the Minor characters play a significant role in plot construction.

Style- The author has a different style of writing. His novel is slow paced and has traces of Dickensian style. He has a unique way of storytelling. He adds all the elements starting from the minute details. The novel is written in first and third person narrative with vivid descriptions especially the indirect ones. A lot of Japanese words are being used since it highlights the post war elements and Japanese culture like : kimono, kyoto, danna, gion etc.

Negatives- Arthur Golden’s novel is a part of Vintage collection hence, it has a long length of around 435 pages which becomes difficult to complete in one day. Further, the slow pace of the novel might cause lack of interest in it. There are so many Japanese jargons which we might not know and we need to refer google or dictionaries for that. Moreover, there are too many characters which sometimes causes haush paush and readers might get confused.

Others reviews:

Golden’s storytelling is rich and slow-paced. Like Austen, he lavishes attention on the minute details that regulate and define social distinctions. In the raising of a teacup or an eyebrow there are worlds of implication. The prose style is simple and strangely satisfying, perfectly attuned to its time and place. Golden manages to find the simile for every occasion. “That startling month in which I first came upon the Chairman again…made me feel like a pet cricket that has at last escaped its wicker cage. For the first time in ages I could go to bed at night believing that I might not always draw as little notice in Gion as a drop of tea spilled onto the mats.” Golden deftly makes use of a culture that deflects emotion and makes direct communication taboo to create a world of intrigue and romance. Depression and war remain in the background while Sayuri imbibes wisdom from her mentor, Mameha, battles her rival, Hatsumomo, and yearns for the attentions of the Chairman. Memoirs of a Geisha is an intelligent entertainment.
Dan Cryer – Salon

Cherry-blossom delicate, with images as carefully sculpted as bonsai, this tale of the life of a renowned geisha, one of the last flowers of a kind all but eliminated by WW II, marks an auspicious, unusual debut. Japan is already changing, becoming industrialized and imperialistic, when in 1929 young Chiyo’s fisherman father sells her to a house in Kyoto’s famous Gion district. The girl’s gray-eyed beauty is startling even in childhood, so much so that her training is impeded by the jealousy of her house’s primary geisha, the popular, petty Hatsumomo. Caught trying to run away, Chiyo loses her trainee status until taken under the wing of Mameha, a bitter rival of Hatsumomo.

Chiyo flourishes with Mameha as her guide, soon receiving her geisha name, Sayuri, and having her mentor skillfully arrange the two main events vital to a geisha’s success: the sale of Sayuri’s virginity (for a record price), and the finding of a sugar-daddy to pay her way. Seeing the implications of Japan’s militarism, Mameha pairs Sayuri with the general in charge of army provisions, so that as WW II drags on she and her house have things no one else in Gion can obtain. After the war, with her general dead and others vying for her attention, Sayuri pines anew for the only man she ever loved—an electrical-corporation chairman whose kindness to a crying Chiyo years before altered the course of her future.

Though incomparable in its view of a geisha’s life behind the scenes, the story loses immediacy as it goes along. When modern times eclipse Gion’s sheltered world, the latter part of Sayuri’s life—compared to the incandescent clarity of its first decades—seems increasingly flat.
Kirkus Reviews

Availability- https://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Geisha-Novel-Arthur-Golden/dp/0679781587

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