Category Archives: Book Reviews

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Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Published / by Elizabeth / Leave a Comment

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Lucky Us – This might be the most pointless story I have read in recent months. It is not that there is no good story line, but Amy Bloom makes a mess out of the post war era and story of Eva – child abandoned by her mother.

Eva is left off by her mother at her father’s place without even a good bye, and she meets her half sister Iris there. Iris persuades Eva to elope to city to pursue an acting career and later their father finds them and they all starts living together. Some unfortunate circumstances destroy Iris’s plans and they relocate to another city to try their luck elsewhere. They take up odd jobs and continue life while Eva nurses ambition of going to college. Then unfortunate circumstances turn things around.

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Charlotte's Web by E B White

Classics Club #3 – Charlotte’s Web by E B White

Published / by Elizabeth / Leave a Comment

Charlotte's Web by E B White

How can you have an entire story revolving around a spider and a pig? This question was on my mind when I picked up Charlotte’s Web for reading, but I realized that you can a very beautiful story around them as proved by this story.

Charlotte’s Web is that story about a seemingly inconsequential spider named Charlotte living on the barn door of a farm. She strikes a friendship with the piglet named Wilbur who is to be butchered for Christmas feast and decides to save her friend from being killed.

Some facts about Charlotte has to be told here. She is not an ordinary spider. She can read and write English and she skillfully use her talent to save Wilbur from becoming the Christmas feast.

Charlotte’s Web is the story of a friendship, the kind in which you put your heart and soul and of course brains too. Also the kind where you sacrifice your own happiness for the happiness of another.

One another character that needs special mention is the rat named Templeton who is not helpful by nature, but do help these friends out in the end. There is something beautiful about that gesture too. Fern and Avery who are the children of the farm owner do play their parts, but Wilbur and Charlotte are the central characters.

My idea about children’s books have changed drastically ever since I started reading these classics. They are fun to read whatever be your age. I caught a bit of the 2006 adaptation of the movie on TV in which Dakota Fanning plays the character of Fern and Julia Roberts has given voice for Charlotte. I plan to watch the whole movie one day.

So to conclude Charlotte’s Web is a wonderful book that needs to be relished by both young and old.

If you have read it and enjoyed it like me, do let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Movie Adaptation: Charlotte’s Web (2006)

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Published / by Elizabeth / 1 Comment on When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I read several reviews of this memoir and was possessed with an incessant desire to read it. Now, I have developed a problem in the recent years: I have lost the ability to buy books without a reason. May be it is because of the guilt from the number of unread books on my bookshelf and kindle. So I spent a few days wondering if I should buy this book …and then I got a good excuse to buy it.

I realized I should get TH a gift for his birthday and what could be a better gift than a book? I ignored the voice in the back of my mind telling that this might not be the best book as a birthday gift. Anyway I went ahead and ordered it. I read the book within days of its arrival and I have extracted a promise from TH that he will read it one day. To be frank, I do not see him reading soon.

Paul was passionate about literature and pursued it with all will and passion. Then he realized that that literature does touch souls in many ways, but not to the depth what he yearns. That yearning brought him to the steps of a medical college and there he was for next few years of his life.

I wonder about the amount of courage and conviction  it takes to leave the career path after years of hard work? Paul would have been looking forward to years of helping people to fulfill his life’s desire of helping people when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Terminal disease is something that is difficult to deal with. As a doctor, Paul was aware of his condition and how fast can it deteriorate.  After treatment, there occurred a time when he could back to his medical practice,go back to neurosurgery and work like any other doctor in his profession. Soon his cancer relapsed, bringing an end to his medical career and brought along the realization that there might not be many days left for him.

I admire the courage Paul had to write down this memoir when he realized he was dying and did it when he was undergoing harsh treatment. I loved reading his thoughts about life and his career path. The writing may not be of  great literary quality and the prose has gone a bit overboard at few places. But there is something honest about his writing that kept me glued to the book. I confess that I just skipped through some of the prose, after all I wanted to know what happened after that.

What surprised me the most about his life is their decision to have a baby, something unusual when one of the couple is having a terminal disease. After all, the baby will have to grow up without one of them. In the end I loved reading about the girl’s birth and the amount of joy she brought to Paul’s last days.

The epilogue by his wife Lucy Kalanithi brings a good closure to the book. A good round of editing would have been good for the overall writing quality of the book, but I liked that much of it was as how Paul wrote it.

When Breathe Becomes Air may not contain the best writing, but it is still worth every minute of reading for the experience. Do give it a try even if it may make you cry.

Note: Do search for Paul Kalanithi on youtube and watch some videos made on him. Here is one of them: Dying Doctor’s Memoir Teaches About Life And Loss