You all know I turned out fairly ‘nice’ on Santa’s meter this festive season. But I realized there are quite a number of books that I have accumulated under the ‘to-be-reviewed’ shelf and I finally decided that it is high time I caught up with them.
And since it seems like a Herculean task, I have come up with a way around – bite-size reviews. In this month’s review shots, I have three books that I read sometime in the mid of 2016. Don’t judge me, I was in a blogging slump then.
Book Name: Fast Cars & Fidgety Feet
Author: Rishad Saam Mehta
Genre: Non-Fiction – Travel
Everybody has a dream job. Yes, sadly Netflixing and eating potato chips on the couch is not a job. But what if on a random day, an ad for your dream job lands on your lap, figuratively, what would you do? Would you drop everything and apply it? Or chicken out. That was just a rhetorical question, do not answer.
That’s what exactly happened to the author when he found an advertisement in a newspaper for a job in the automobile magazine. He now lives his dream by keeping up with his interest in driving cars and feet that wanted to travel all around the world. Fast Cars & Fidgety Feet is a nonfiction written by Rishad telling us tales of his misadventures while traveling around the world. There are a few funny anecdotes that you might enjoy.
Final thought: Perfect for a Sunday afternoon read.
Recommended to: Travel book aficionados
Book Name: Dvarca
Author: Madhav Mathur
Genre: Fiction – Dystopian, thriller
As it says on its back over, this book can be the perfect mix of ‘1984 and Meluha series’. Dvarca is a dystopian fiction set in the 22nd century where the Indian nation is governed by a single religion called Navmarg. The State watches every move of the citizens, controlling their schedules including their sleep and food habits. It chooses their life partner, when and how to procreate as well. And anyone who didn’t fall in line was considered outcasts and stranded without benefits. Reminds you a bit of the Handmaid’s tale eh?
Oh, everything is not so gloomy, erm.. as long as you are not outcasts, most things work perfectly in the nation though. Each person is given a task according to their ability, the children are trained at what was required for their chosen lives. The nation represents what could be achieved with a great leader with a vision. Dvarca might be a little difficult to get into initially but it gets gripping as it can be. Be warned of the cliffhanger though.
Final thought: A dystopian nightmare.
Recommended to: Indian mythology lovers
Book Name: The Geek’s Guide to Dating
Author: Eric Smith
Genre: Non Fiction
The Geek’s Guide to Dating is targeted at a particular audience which unfortunately is not me and that brought the fun a notch down for me. Now that we got out of the way, this book is quite a hoot to read. Okay, let me break it up to you – dating is no rocket science and you might have heard all these advice earlier elsewhere. Even if some of the geek jokes went over your head, as it did for me, it was still funny.
Also, you should be ready to overlook the fact that the book addressed only geeky guys seeking girls, geeky or otherwise. See why I am never gonna be the correct audience?
Final thought: A quirky entertainer.
Recommended to: Geeky men; people who need a laugh.
Let us chat
Have you read any of these books? Should I continue doing shots, I mean these review shots, or should stick to the lengthier formats? Let me know in the comments section.
Dystopia has never been my preferred genre, thanks to the very many badly written YA literature strewn around the world that befalls into the said genre. Yet there were several times while I read the book The Handmaid’s Tale that I had to recheck the publishing date.
About The handmaid’s tale
Book Name: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Fiction – Literary Dystopia
Characters: Offred, The Commander, Serena Joy, Nick, Moira
Plot Summary of The handmaid’s tale
Set in not so distant dystopian future, women have lost all that they won in the recent past, at least partially – the ability to chose what they wore, what they did for life or even handle money. They are forbidden from reading, writing and even speaking freely.
Their existence is based on their functionality – the wives (in charge of the household), the helps (Marthas), the teachers (Aunts), the wombs (Handmaids), the sexual toys ( Jezebels) and the outcasts (Unwoman) are sent to Colonies where they are left to harvest cotton or clean up the radioactive waste.
Offred, our narrator, a handmaid belongs to Fred, who is on her third and final attempt to conceive a child with a government appointed ‘Commander.’ Every month she has an impersonal intercourse with the Commander and his wife, who is barren.
She had had a child with her husband Luke (a divorcée from his previous wife), before she became Offred and before her marriage was declared void. Everything changed overnight. Money was replaced, women were declared to belong to their men and were offered ‘safety’ and ‘respect’ than they were in the free modern world.
She is desperate to figure what happened to her family, to know what is happening in the world outside the wall, to read write and just to live. She is given a friend Ofglen, who is accountable for Offred’s actions while she runs errands and her for Ofglen.
Offred falls for Nick, the Guardian for the commander, a crime that could lead them both to be publicly hung. Was the risk worth taking? Did she learn anything about her family? Read to know more.
A personal note
Written in the 1980s and still, it has not lost its relevance may reason out why the book is called a classic. If anything, The handmaid’s tale has become more and more pertinent today, given the current world scenario. I hail from a nation where rape seems to the screaming weekly headline, where feminism is more or less a topic for the keyboard warriors and reservation and rationing are the only ways to go by.
Incidentally, I live in a country which believes in ‘respecting’ women, ‘saving’ them from men, yet are not allowed to make decisions about their unborn fetus. There are nations where women are not even allowed to drive or make a visit to the mall without a proper chaperon. Let us not forget the wall that our dear Mr. Trump has promised to build to protect us from the immigrants and the religious terrorism he is raging against.
You guessed it right, every one of these actions is a fragment of imagination that Margret Atwood takes us through in her novel. And you know what? Somehow we are all conditioned to living and adapting to these rules, that we no longer think that we are complying with them but accepting them as the way of life. Yes, I no longer feel The Handmaid’s Tale is a far-fetched work of fiction.
Book review of The handmaid’s tale
The Handmaid’s Tale might be a little hard to get into, yet once you are into it, you can not stop it. I started reading the book and heard the rest of it when I was out and about living my life because I could not put it down.
The narration is not linear, there are places where you might be confused, especially at the initial parts, but it will grow on you. And oh, I loved the emphasis thrown on the importance of the written and spoken word in creating a new world, as any bibliophile would.
And my dear grammar nazis, yes there are a lot of commas, quotes and other generic rules that are broken, but somehow it works. In fact they make it better. (Mother Earth can swallow me). There are too many seemingly simple lines that make them powerful quotes for that very reason. The ambiguous ending works so well that I cannot stop pondering over.
I am yet to watch Hulu’s take on the book as a TV series, but it is on my to-do list (update: done and I loved it) . You can not read The Handmaid’s Tale as a breeze through the weekend read. You can not unsee once you have been to the Republic of Gilead and not relate it to the real world.
If you are one of those who gets offended by the term ‘feminism,’ read the book with an open mind. Given the current state of chaos we live in you will relate to it.
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Let us talk
Have you read The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood? I love the Hulu series, how about you? Let us talk.
I have wondered time and again of a world without a government, or without the rules as we know. Most dystopian novels help us have a glimpse of such a world but a very few makes us wish they were true. Go ahead read if Fluence made the cut.
Book Name: Fluence
Author: Stephen Oram
Genre: Fiction – Dystopian
Characters: Amber, Martin, Sam, Ms. Joyce
Setting: London, England, The UK
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author free of cost in return for an honest review.
I am so excited about the world the book is set in. A world ruled by corporate, a world that sustains on a assessment of performance – sort of- a class system based on the scores they have cut during the year. But he twist is the scores are based on their popularity or the Fluence points and magine people having to try and get more social credos by updating their social lives to run their normal life. I could not stop comparing the Facebook like that few people are desperate about even in our own world.
The protagonists work for the Bureaucracy – the one that grades people into color codes as a part of disability management department. The department segregates people who have to be supported by the government from the other. Amber is trying to do her duty which is to reduce the number of people of with disability registered, so that she can gain her points for her performance.
She is ambitious to move on higher status and focused on that, come what may. Martin on the other hand has lost his vigor to try and win and just wants to stay put on his green status, but to his dismay his score keeps dipping without apparent reason, and he is determined to find out why.
The book is well twined with loopholes and the story is set in a steady pace that it would be quite hard to put it down until you finish it. Being one of the outliers, I would have liked to see more of them and how the system would fall apart. Reading about people pitted against each other and the subject of a shallow morality have always worked for me, and Oram’s Fluence is no different.
I liked the author’s descriptive tone of narration at most places, it helped to understand the different world we are at – but oh enough of those building and bakeries already. Though I didn’t feel connected with any of the central characters, I do understand their actions which speaks much of the author’s writing tone. I would look forward to reading more of his books in future for sure.
Do let me know what you think of the book Fluence or my review in the comments.
This Review is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours