On Goodreads


I was facing a reading drought in 2014. I was reading more non-fiction than before but was at a loss on what to read in fiction. Every time we were at the library, I would go through the fiction section and did not know what to borrow and ended up choosing the same old authors – Nicholas Sparks and Janet Evanovich or pick nothing. I was getting tired of them and wanted to expand my reading repertoire. Choosing non-fiction was relatively easier: just go to a particular section like health and check out whatever looked interesting. But then, I wanted to go beyond certain topics in non-fiction too.

That’s when, I saw ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette‘ by Maria Semple recommended on a blog (A cup of Jo) and picked it up from the library and I loved it! What’s more, I had been to Seattle and knew the places and things the author was referring to. I still remember this because this was when my reading changed dramatically.

After this book,  I decided to look for other recommendations on blogs, Goodreads and started filing books for my future reading.  I tried to have a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. Having this ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads really made my life easier and organized. I knew what books to look for in the library and I started borrowing more because I did not have to spend time in indecision every time we were in the library. I just went through my list and checked what was available. Later on, I started noting down the catalogue number of the library of the books and availability even before I visited the library to be more efficient.

This one change increased the number of books I read dramatically. In 2014, I read 15 books of which 6 were fiction and I didn’t like some of them. In contrast, I read 6 times more in 2015, 50% of which were fiction. All because I had a list and was more organized. Of course, one does not need Goodreads to organize their books but I like it.

Some people may see list making as a chore but I love it and feel it contributes to my life significantly and I am so glad to have my lists.

*This is not a sponsored post and is my personal experience. 

On Gone Girl – 2


Contains spoilers.

From the time I was freaked out by the movie ‘Gone Girl‘ and decided against reading the book, I read 2 other novels by Gillian Flynn. As I liked her work, I decided to read Gone Girl but I couldn’t find a good edition in the library. I mostly came across those tiny print books and not the larger hardcover edition for the last few months. The moment I saw the hardcover edition, I picked it up.

So, have my opinions changed since I last wrote about it?

Not really.

For starters, I have become fairly familiar (and not too shocked) with psychopathic characters and their behaviour as I read other novels with similar characters and read other books by Gillian Flynn.

I found the book a bit slow in the first 120 pages and then it was terse and great. I do wish I had read the book before the movie and it is quite rare that I have watched a movie before the book. I have to admit that I would not have seen it coming the way I could in the movie.

I felt the book overall, had an undercurrent of hatred running through it.

  • Nick and his dad – Seem to hate women
  • Amy – Seems to hate her parents and Nick and men and has contempt for everyone.

I liked how the book explored additional things like how Nick felt when Amy came back, thoughts running through their minds and the additional people Amy had harmed. One thing I could not get, was how 2 psychologists could not see the psychopathic tendencies of their own daughter. Also, I felt Nick should have walked away citing (publicly) that he was not good enough for Amazing Amy, the moment, he found and destroyed her vomit jar and not have informed her that he threw it away. His reasons for staying pre-baby seem unsatisfactory to me.

This book paints a very depressing and creepy picture of Missouri.

Did I feel it was a portrait of a marriage after reading the book?

Not at all.

The section that seemed like a commentary on marriage was the first part with Amy’s diary entries but clearly it was engineered and written by a psychopath after studying people and other media (books, movies etc.). Psychopaths are great at studying others and make it seem like they get it but they really don’t and they can be highly intelligent and never get caught for all their lives. These mundane things like normal relationships bore them. They love playing and challenging people, both of which Amy did. I think it is pointless to try to understand the mentality of a psychopath because we never can. They are great at manipulating by mixing what triggers us at the raw emotional level with what they want. At the time of the book, Amy wanted a perfect marriage.

  • Amy pretends to be a ‘cool girl.’
  • Then, some guy (Nick) likes her.
  • Nick with a huge need for approval from everyone was also pretending to be this likeable guy .
  • All seems normal till now because many people are pretending while dating.
  • However, she is a perfectionist and has contempt for every human fallibility (another psychopathic tendency).
  • Everyone and everything has to be perfect.
  • They stop pretending after marriage.
  • She fills with hate when she realises that he doesn’t like her the way she is and when he is not perfect either.
  • Of course, the guy is a total douche bag and deserves to be dumped.
  • She plans for an entire year and works hard to frame him for murder.
  • He plays her and makes her come back.
  • He is shit scared of her.
  • He stays because he can’t settle for the normal girl anymore.
  • She gets pregnant by her own scheming.
  • He stays to protect the baby.

If marriage with a psychopath and a crazy jerk is the portrait of a marriage, then Gillian Flynn’s other books should equally freak us out about trusting our own parents and siblings. So, should Angela Marsons’s books. Because, everybody is out to kill you by that token.

Was this book feminist or misogynistic (one of the critiques to the author)?

Neither. Nick’s dad was misogynistic. Nick was afraid of turning into him. Amy zooms in on everything that can go wrong in marriages and wants her marriage to be perfect. Additionally, she goes on ‘feminist’ rants when men seem to like the woman she pretends to be and not what she really truly is and how she has to pretend. To me, this comes of as this man-hating anger and full of resentment and not really feminism. Amy has contempt for everything that is not perfect, so there’s nothing surprising there.

It also makes me wonder how when a guy is a psychopath, he is just a psychopath. When a woman is a psychopath, she becomes a representative of all crazy bitches women and cannot be just viewed as a psychopath.

 

What I’m Into – May + June 2016


Books

You can follow me on Goodreads here. Books I really enjoyed reading in the last 2 months are:

  1. Habits of a Happy Brain – Interesting take on modern Neurobiology and helped me connect several of my ideas.
  2. Reclaiming Conversation – I thought this book would be boring but  I liked it a lot! It is about talking in today’s age of emails and avoiding face-to-face conversations
  3. Gut – I really liked this. I miss scientific books put in a fun way. I got so many ideas from reading this.
  4. A man called Ove 
  5. D.I Kim Stone Series – I really loved this and can’t wait to read book #3

TV Series

  1. Game of Thrones – This week’s episode was one of the best this season!
  2. Full House – I love it!

Movies

  1. The Conjuring 2 – Was a good horror movie

It is summer time and I have lots of books to read. So, I have cut down on my movies and TV series!

How To Take Care of Books


Updated on June 8, 2016

Dear Book Readers,

Try as I might, I cannot forget the trauma I endured today, when I was reading a book and feel the urge to say this for the common good of mankind and all library users.

DO NOT pick your nose and stick the boogey with your thick black nose hairs on the pages of the book. Doing it even on a page is not okay but doing that on every page from page 15 to 60 is unacceptable. Makes me wonder, how hairy your nose is!

Pointers on how to take care of a book

  1. Do not pick your nose while reading a book.
  2. If you do, wash your hands.
  3. Stick the hair and boogey in a tissue and wash your hands.
  4. Do not stick the boogey with hairs onto every page you read. A book is not the place to stick your nose hair you plucked with your fingers.
  5. If  you do, clean the shit up! With alcohol. Just don’t do it, please.
  6. If you want, do this with your own books not borrowed library books. Because nobody wants to discover your hair stuck on every page for 2 chapters.

Besides, the book was meant for medical students and people with advanced science degrees, not 3 year old kids. God help me, if you are a doctor.

P.S: I cannot bring myself to read the book now but I diligently cleaned the pages with a sanitizer. Don’t ask me why.

Updates: I went to the library and showed the book to the librarian. I had missed out on cleaning 3 pages which was good because I could show the librarian the condition of the book. I told them to create some educational poster telling people not to do that! Phew!

What I’m into – April 2016


A summary of media I am taking in.

Books

You can follow me on Goodreads here.

Books I really enjoyed in the last 2 months include:

  1. Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
  2. Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins
  3. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  4. Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein

TV Series

  1. The Night Manager – I really enjoyed this short series and thought the lead actor was great (He played Loki in the Avengers).
  2. Quantico – I wouldn’t really recommend this. It is like they thought of extending the series after a few episodes and came up with a botched up story line with unbelievable twists.
  3. 11.22.63 – Started out great, fizzled out in the middle and the ending was better. Could have done with fewer episodes. Not bad overall.
  4. Game of Thrones – It is back and I am glad because I love it. I want to binge watch all the episodes and all the future seasons at a go now but I can’t bear waiting till all the episodes play.
  5. Fuller House – Full on nostalgia factor here. I felt it was above average.

Movies

  1. Kung Fu Panda 3 – It had its funny moments and I liked it.
  2. Captain America – Civil War –  I felt it was definitely better than the previous Avengers movie-Age of Ultron but slightly less great than the previous Cap movie. It is humor and heart and I cared about the characters. Some scenes were great but there were moments the camera spun too fast.

The Need for Independence & Control


I was reading Atul Gawande’s ‘Being Mortal’ when this hit me.

The author discusses how old people became depressed being in old age homes as there was loss of independence and privacy. They were being treated like kids – the home tells you when to get up and when to eat and what to eat. This is why assisted living in the original sense (the author talks about how assisted living as a concept changed over years) became popular because people could live in their own home by their own rules. The medical system and the oldies families were concerned with safety while the old peoples were more concerned about living the way they pleased with nobody dictating their lives.

If human nature strives for independence and control which is evidenced by research and old people are so unhappy about being told what to do, what about the countless daughter-in-laws (DILs) and sons in traditional societies who never get to be independent?

The moment the DIL comes into the family, everyone from her husband’s mother to father to other relatives take it upon themselves to show the DIL her place. They tell her what to cook, what to wear, when she can go out and even, if and when she can talk to her own parents. For the sons, unless they have studied/worked in another city, many of them never get the opportunity to explore their own tastes or desires. For the couple, they often do not get to explore setting up their own house or creating a home with their own rules. Often, it is about assimilating into somebody else’s home. 

On top of it, the in-laws and the husband are surprised when the DIL is upset about ‘trivial things’ like the colour of the curtains and wonder why she can’t ‘just adjust and give in’. That is because nobody likes being made to live their entire life according to another person’s whim and fancy. Yes, one could argue that one has to follow laws but everyone likes to have a semblance of control over their own lives to the largest extent possible as an adult.

Also, we (I sometimes do) often tend to go into parent mode with our parents as they grow older. Something we need to work on avoiding. 

Food for though for older people who wish to control their kids and their spouses lives. They may obey but they are not happy and this is why. If you are a DIL who feels irritated but can’t find anything wrong, this is why. Our societal norms are so ingrained in us that it is difficult to articulate what feels wrong. If you are a husband whose spouse complains about your mom/dad/sis/relative picking on her and you can’t get why she is so upset, this is why.

Give space and freedom to adults because that is how we are meant to be. How can one truly lead a fulfilled life if they do not get to live an independent life?

What I’m Into – March 2016


I have been wanting to write a summary of what I’am reading, watching or listening to after seeing many other bloggers write about it. I love reading such posts and because I consume so much media, it is a great way to reflect and track for me. I wish to post at the end of every month as a summary but I can’t wait to get the first post out of my head!

Books:

You can follow me on Goodreads here.

Roller Girl: It is technically meant for 8-12 year olds but I liked it. Nice story. I was introduced and learnt a new thing – roller derby!

Roller Girl

Spark Joy: I loved her previous book and I liked this one too. It had sections I wished the first book had- about kitchen and other parts of the house. I did not find it weird because in a way I am exposed to Japanese culture.

Spark Joy

TV Series:

One Punch Man: One punch manI watched this in February and loved it. In general, Japanese anime does not interest me but I found this interesting and funny. It mocks all the superhero genre movies (like the Avengers) and show the superhero doing mundane stuff like grocery shopping. Do note that there are barely any good female characters and if they are there, they are pretty or crazy. No normal ones which again is typical in a way of this genre. I watched it in Japanese with Eng subs.

Walking Dead: Walking DeadAfter watching every single episode from Season 1, I finally decided to stop watching this series. I am tired of the repetition and lack of hope. Every time it is the same story – find a new place to settle > Some crazy guy comes in > They lose the place > Move to a new place.

Agents of SHIELD:

Agents of Shield

Another TV series, I decided to stop watching. It is not great. We initially started watching it because it was mean to be tied to the movie universe but somehow, they have decided to not link them at all. So, out it goes.

Agent Carter:

Agent Carter

I liked this TV series because it has a strong normal woman as the lead and her chemistry with the butler – Jarvis is awesome. Hope they continue and move ahead in terms of how SHIELD was founded.

Movies:

Lately, I have been into R rated comedies.  Kindly don’t watch if you have a problem with people cussing.

Deadpool: It was funny and different from most Marvel/superhero movies. It made fun of  Marvel Superheroes and of X-Men. Interesting because it broke the 4th wall.

Deadpool movie

Spy: Funny and I loved how it mocked James Bond movies.

Spy  2015

The Heat: Was funny and I liked the female buddy-buddy detective theme.

 

I feel both Spy and The Heat pass the Bedchel test, especially The Heat. You have a not-skinny woman dealing with not-love problems. That is rare.