By some quirky logic of Kindle, this book was coming up on top every time I updated my Kindle with more books. Finally I gave in to the Kindle’s logic when I was not able to settle on anything else and started reading this book “The girl in the garden”. I did not know that it is author Kamala Nair’s first book. I probably confused her with some other name. The book is about the journey of teenage girl living in US back to small town in India with her mother. She is not interested in going back specifically leaving her father alone in US but it seems she was not given any choice.
After she gets over her first shock of being in India and staying with large family, she ends up finding lot more than she had thought of. She finds out about her mother’s old romance, her family’s murky history and also the story of unknown girl who has been locked away in a forest due to facial deformity.
I liked some parts of the book but a lot of time I found my attention wavering and I just wanted to reach the end. It was not because I was hooked up but I was looking to finish the book and start something else. Some of the parts just did not seem real even if you consider some old age customs and issues that may plague the society in rural India. Yes, there is a lot of stigma attached with kids having deformity on face but the family is supposed to be running a hospital and should have known that treatment can be done for such issues. Yes, people want to hide unwanted pregnancies but they do not give away all their freedom to some unknown person and keep on living in its shadow for so many years.
Filed under Books, Fiction
Yes, that is the journey books have taken over the course of thousands of years once human beings started writing down the knowledge instead of just talking and remembering. Earliest known books were in the form of stone tablets where writers had to carve on stone using chisel and hammer. From there the books progressed to palm leaves, cloth, paper and finally the digital form on tablets. I am using the word tablet to represent all kind of digital book readers including but not limited to Kindle, iPads, computers or smart phones here.
You could write a page worth of data on a stone tablet and it would still be difficult to carry it along. Today you can load thousands of books in regular digital tablet and carry it anywhere with ease. Difficulty in creating stone tablet also meant that only most important knowledge was carved. Today everything gets published in digital form and you find it so difficult to search for real knowledge in lot of junk that gets written. Of course, the knowledge from stone tablets was available to very few privileged people but this digital abundant junk including all the knowledge is available to a much larger set of people and in coming days will be available to everybody in this world.
My book reading started with paper books and there was a time when I felt that I will never transition to digital version. It was the process of relocation from one country to another that changed my thinking. I realised that there was no way I could carry my collection of hundreds of books with me and it was time to switch to Kindle. Digital book reading is convenient, easy to carry, buy and use though not same as paper books.
I wonder if they can make my Kindle smell like a fresh or old book depending upon the kind of book I am reading. Or maybe it can be made to look and smell like stone tablet or palm leaves (the experience that I missed in book reading).
I guess many of die-hard book lovers may not like the last mode “Download” which is referring to reading books online or many of the Kindle type book reading devices, but it is a reality of this world. After all, this blog is also possible only because of power of Internet. I wanted to write about the way people acquire books and use them and also talk about what is my preferred mode. I would also like to hear from other readers about their preferred mode and why.
As a kid, we normally borrow books from friends or neighbors or get them as gifts on various occasions. There is never enough pocket-money to buy all the books we want to read. So all the kids share their books with each other. Other than borrowing, we also try to find out a local book renting library and we all must have read hundreds of books from such libraries. Typically, school holidays was the time when such libraries were very useful.
As we grow up and start earning, we start buying books on our own more often. Now we own the books, read them and keep them with us. There is a different kind of pleasure in reading a fresh new book which has never been opened before. We can never get that pleasure in a library book. But what do we do after we finished reading a book. Do we keep it for reading it again later? Do we keep it and never read it? Do we give it as gift or sell it back? I guess everybody will have different preferences. I have felt that keeping all the books that I purchase is not a good idea. Very soon books start taking over all the space in your house. And if you need to shift your house then packing and unpacking of books can be back-breaking. If I am sure that I am not going to read that book again, I prefer to sell it back to some second-hand book store or gift it to somebody. But there are books that I don’t want to give back because I keep them for future reading again and again.
Renting a book does not work for me because then you need to read it in fixed time and it becomes work instead of pleasure. On the other hand sometimes you may end up buying books but not read them. That is almost a crime and in some cases I am also guilty of it.
The new concept of book reading is download and read it on monitor. It is easy, cheaper, light-weight but it is not a book. Somebody may say what is the difference, it is the same content as in the real book. I agree, the content is same but it is still not a book. Hard to explain but very strong feeling.