Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Silkworm and 10 Percent
The Silkworm and 10% Happier
The Silkworm

Everyone knows that Robert Galbraith is JK Rowling in disguise. I know that as well, but if Rowling wants to write as Galbraith, then I will review Galbraith as Galbraith. This is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series, which is a vulnerable time in a book series. The initial freshness of the first book has gone, while familiarity with characters has not been established. I didn't enjoy this book as a a mystery. This isn't to say that it wasn't enjoyable - what I liked was the steady development of the characters, Strike in particular. 

With this second book, Galbraith slowly fleshes out his two main partners, Cormoran and Robin, and their relationship to each other. There's a delicate balance that has to be maintained; there's a sense of tension. You don't know where it's going. That is where the main drama lies, at least for me. The case they're pursuing is not as engaging, and I'll leave it at that. The richness of the novel comes from every character detail as they are revealed. You can feel the firm and steady hand of the author behind these characters, shaping them until they can stand on their own.  

10% Happier

Up until this book, I wasn't exactly sure what it was that television news reporters did. I assumed most of them read straight from the teleprompter, in a way reminiscent of Cyrano de Bergerac. Apparently, they research and pitch their own stories and read what they themselves have scripted. So in that sense, I was mistaken.   

What I liked about this book, is that it addressed the most practical way to apply meditation and Buddhist principles to problems you will face in your daily life, such as the vague flash of panic you may see in the eyes of your family and friends when you start talking about meditation and Buddhism. 

Like a good journalist, Harris continually questions his chosen topic, approaching meditation from all angles, subjecting his practice to hard and endless questions, and deriving a methodical, realistic approach in return. His answers and his meditative practice are complicated and reasoned, and a good  way to go about finding your own way.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Luminaries - Search for Meaning
The Luminaries and Man's Search for Meaning
Fiction: The Luminaries

Yes, the Booker prize winner of 2013. How boring! How uncreative! Why don't I just name drop whatever book Jonathan Franzen's just written? But here's the thing: it's a 700 page long gripper of a novel. I took it on flight with me and couldn't keep my hands off it. The language has a strong regional texture, and at 700 pages, it actually manages to stop your attention from wandering off into the distance. That is rare for me. I haven't had that kind of experience since Gone Girl. I don't expect Booker Prize winners to be gripping. I expect something more intellectual, a little lesson in structure and technique. Not that these weren't there, it's just so much more.

A sexist aside: I read a lot of male authors, and this is a shameful fact. So when I see a female author who has so much richness on offer, even at a slightly daunting 700 or so pages, I want to spread the word.

Non-Fiction: Man's Search for Meaning

I read this once, a long time ago when I was feeling a little lost and looking for signs from the universe, or how to read them. I wouldn't say this changed my life, that would be slightly dramatic and a lie. It's more a humble read from a humble man. It resets the mind and puts matters back into perspective where they belong. This is one of a few books that I would read again, to make sure that, as the title suggests, I look over at where I am, and that there is purpose and meaning built into the process. 

If you have excess time over Thanksgiving, and trust me not to mislead you, have a look at these. 
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