Tag Archives: Books

Unfinished Books; Why Should I Feel Guilty As Reader

I love reading books and I like reading them in parallel. At any time, I may have 10 of them going on. Depending on my mood I may pick up one of them during my night-time reading. Some of them will capture my attention and I end up reading without diverting to another book. But there are many of them that I have read, left, come back, left again multiple times before I finished reading it. The nature of story and my mood do not coincide always.

What happens when I leave the book midway and unable to return to it for a long time or forever. It is different when I read a small part of the book and do not like it to continue. But in many cases I like the book, continue to read it almost till midway and then lose interest. Currently there are so many of these books that are unfinished. “Sons and Lovers” by D. H. Lawrence, “Museum of Innocence” by Orhan Pamuk, “Social Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, by George Orwell, “Madame Bovary”, by Gustave Flaubert are some of these books that I remember now. There have been many more.

Sometimes even the authors that you like may not capture your attention for some of their books. I love reading P. G. Wodehouse. But there are some books of Wodehouse that I have started and just could not finish them.

I wonder whether I should feel guilty about not finishing these books. Did I not show enough patience to finish the book? How do I really know if the book is good or not by reading only half of it? I can’t be feeling guilty if the story or writing did not keep me engaged. It may be a great book and liked by many others but if I have to struggle to finish it then it is probably not meant to be for me. I may return back to these books someday but till then there are more than enough books and writers to explore and keep me engaged.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reading

“Half Girlfriend”, By Chetan Bhagat

The tagline was very intriguing and the author Chetan Bhagat has already created a following with earlier books specifically “Two States” and “Five point someone” in my mind. So reading this newest book “Half Girlfriend” was almost certainty.

The idea is very simple like tagline. Poor boy meets rich girl and falls in love but girl agrees only for half girlfriend status due to her own issues in childhood that become clear later in the book. The idea of half girlfriend is great and very delicate to handle but the author did not spent much time in that situation. Very soon it goes from half to nothing since the boy cannot face his friends with half status (sic). There are multiple twists and turns and almost a Bollywood style ending eventually. Interestingly the author has made himself as one of the central character in the book.

What I liked about the book was the simple breezy style of story telling that the author has followed in all his books. There is an interesting plot about Bill Gates visiting a poor school in Bihar and making big donation. What I did not understand was the reason for extended chase that the book shows in New York by the main character for his girl friend. The book is almost written for Bollywood movie. Even when I read “Two States” I felt the same but in that case the story did hold on its own. But in case of this book it is not true. I am sure the movie based on the book will do great if a good director picks it up but the book on its own does not impress.

I am sure I will still read future works by the author but not with same anticipation unless something really interesting comes along.

3 Comments

Filed under Fiction

Harry Potter And King’s Cross Station

While reading Harry Potter once again I was hoping to finally understand the mystery of King’s cross chapter in last book when Harry gets “killed” by Voldemort’s Avada Kedavara curse and meets Dumbledore in someplace that looks like Kings cross station. But the mystery still continues. I have still not understood what all is happening in this part of the story.

Of course it is clear that the last remaining soul of Voldemort that attached itself to Harry while he tried killing him for the first time gets destroyed this time and Harry comes out of this as whole. But why does he himself not die. Is it the magic of resurrection stone that saves him or is it just that the curse can kill only one soul and ends up killing the parasite soul and not Harry. We read about a small helpless child crying next to Harry. Who is that child? Is it indicative of Voldemort’s fragment of soul or something else.

How Dumbledore end up meeting Harry at this stage. Why does Dumbledore not come out when Harry’s parents, Lupin, Sirius come out to help him when he rotates resurrection stone in forbidden forest while he is going to offer himself to Voldemort. Also, in the end Harry asks Dumbledore whether it is real or happening just in his mind and Dumbledore tells him that it is happening inside his mind but why does he think that it is not real. Now this is a very profound statement for a philosophy book but does not really help in this story.

I wonder whether others have also found it difficult to understand this particular chapter or is it just me. It is true that the story here moves in the realm of death and life and everything may not be easy to explain. Perhaps, J. K. Rowling intentionally wanted to leave it that way but I would have really liked to understand it better.

Maybe I still need to read it more to understand or I may find some explanation on the Internet. If you understand it better, please share.

4 Comments

Filed under Book Reading, Fiction

P. G. Wodehouse And Sleepy Reading

It has been few years since I discovered and started enjoying the writings of P. G. Wodehouse and ever since they have never failed to amaze me in their simplicity of story and wonderful English writing. There have been long stretches of times when I have read Wodehouse books before falling asleep and the stories have always helped me to go to sleep.

You might think that these books must be really boring that I go to sleep reading them but that is not the case. These stories relax your mind completely. These are the stories where there are no bad people. The biggest problems in life are related to style of clothing one needs to wear to dinner or in some cases a lover’s tiff. There are times when a pet pig does not eat enough or there is an unwanted guest in the house. These are the simple problems in the world of Woosters and Jeeves or Blandings Castle.

It is such a difference reading Wodehouse books as compared to other stories that consist of thrillers, mysteries, suspense, murders that it hits you in the face. Even if the book is not about secret spy missions or investigation, authors tend to create a mystery around their characters. Of course you enjoy reading these stories but the story keep you on the edge of the seat and are really not great reading if you are trying to go to sleep peacefully.

On the other hand, reading about Wooster fussing over his dress or Earl fussing over his pig Empress brings such a peaceful state in your mind that your eyes start drooping just like Wooster or Earl after a great lunch and enjoying the sun on a hammock. I wonder if there are other such great writers who can claim to bring sleep to you but are not boring or complicated.

Only one thing you need to be cautious about while reading Wodehouse in night is that you may end up laughing out loud suddenly and that can be a problem if your partner or spouse is sleeping next to you. Otherwise you will mostly end up sleeping with a soft and goofy smile on your face.

I recently came across that somebody has tried to recreate the Jeeves and Wooster magic again and a new book has come out. Not sure if somebody can recreate it but it will be interesting to read it.

7 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Humor, Self-Help

Harry Potter; Reading Again And Discovering More

It has been sometime since I read or watched Harry Potter movies again for the umpteenth time. Finally my craving was too strong and I decided on a marathon reading of all the books once again and as usual I was not disappointed. It is a great feeling when you know the story by heart and still end up discovering nuggets that were hidden somewhere or finding something that you had not really appreciated earlier. Here I am going to focus on such simple things that I discovered.

This being a long series of books you wonder how J. K. Rowling managed to maintain consistency across characters and events. But the truth is that she did maintain it. It was a pleasure to come across the name “Lovegood” in book four “The Goblet of Fire” before the introduction of Luna in book five. But that mention tells you how Ron will remember that “Lovegoods” stayed close to “Burrow” in book seven. Similarly reading about Peverell coat of arms in book six while Dumbledore takes Harry to meet with Gaunts in memory was interesting since the actual meaning of Peverells gets clear only in book seven.

The most amazing discovery was during the final fight between Harry and Voldemort when I realised that during second round of fight nobody from Harry’s side gets hurt since he had already sacrificed himself to save everyone else and it was same sacrifice that her mother had made for him. Somehow I had missed that finer detail during earlier readings of the book in the excitement of final battle.

I also found one inconsistency in book four. I am not sure if it is a well-known mistake or not. It comes towards the end of the book four by when Harry had already faced Voldemort and seen the death of Cedric Diggory. He uses horseless carriages to return from Hogwarts to train station to catch the train at the end of the year but does not notice the invisible creatures “Thestrals” pulling on the carriages. In book five he notices them on arrival at Hogwarts and the explanation we are given is that he can see them since he has seen death. But he should have seen them in book four itself or he should have used another means of transport to return to train station.

I am sure I will find more such nuggets as I read it again sometime in future and it will amaze me once again. This is a great story however many times you read it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction