Tag Archive: my reviews

Rand take-downs

This article I  read at flavorwire  (The All-Time Greatest Ayn Rand Takedowns   – after the latest by Chris Kluwe – I agree with his opinion of Galt lacking empathy and divorced from reality) , sent me into one of my periodic Ayn Rand musings . I first “discovered ” Rand , in the form of an old tattered edition of  The Fountainhead  , on a searching spree after a loss – and the result of my treasure-hunt –  Fountainhead , Reader’s digests from the 60s and 70s etc. etc. – from the old attics in the village .

Thus started my  “relationship”  with  Ayn rand ,-from a  fanatic idealization of her philosophy , to a passionate  take-down and now we are on a neutral territory – Rand and I , but this was definitely not the case in my late teens when  I read  “The Fountainhead” – it was during that confusing transitory phase from adolescence into adulthood (do we ever fully crossover ??? ) and I’m sure all those “randians” who have read her  at that age will identify with me when I say that  most of  us turned into “Roarks” or “Rombies “(randian zombies , in my opinion) ,as i explained in an earlier  “Rand Ranting” ( https://excerptsandm.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/348/ )   . Well the Rand phase lasted for a long time  , and the latest article stirred up memories , Rand will always have her critics , but legions of  “RAN-doms”  – Ayn Rand Fandoms you know you are getting addicted to tumblr when you start using the word fandom ) and the websites , even the critics  are proof of her pure genius (only a masterpiece can spawn such passionate take-downs years  after its written ) and lets admit it – for all the rand bashing we indulge as adults now  , Roark  , or not to forget , John Galt  is certainly not a bad example to look upto  as a youngster .

So here’s the link and one can decide based on his/her “present”  opinion of her works


with this palatable side dish – http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=randroid

Review of the garden mysteries

Anthony Eglin's picture

Now that i’m into  my third Eglin mystery , I think he is more of a passionate connoisseur of the  arts of nature – as he says in one of his novels  ” Along with all the obvious sensual rewards of spending time in these places of beauty, tranquillity, and seclusion, there was often the dividend of meeting the inspired gardeners responsible for creating these Edens on Earth “ – so this is a novelist who is more into the research part than the mystery – he does build up a fairly good mystery to his credit – but it is glaringly obvious that he does his research well – that would be an understatement – inexhaustible research is the word i guess –  i mean if  you are interested in knowing about gardens or  Viticulture or as in the one i’m reading now – expeditions  – with a good dose of the whodunit – go no further than eglin . Talking about his detective – Lawrence Kingston is  a retired professor of botany and amateur sleuth.   He is an old school dapper english gentleman type , who is into solving crossword puzzles in the Times – we come across anagrams  frequently – which lead me thinking – Eglin is   ( well not exactly an anagram) in the word english -silly but couldn’t help it – he writes so extensively about the english countryside and food ‘n’ all. I thought  ” lost gardens” was much better than ” Water lily cross” . But i didn’t like the way eglin keeps inserting these references to his earlier mysteries – kingston solved this few years back  etc. ….. Will be blogging excerpts soon..

my review of the woman in black -twib

The Woman in Black (1989 film)…………

favvvvvvvvv horror

One of the really well-made horror movies , i’ve seen , thus far. proves that a you don’t need ‘special effects’ to scare the shit out of ur audience,  well-written script and as i learnt from this movie – good music and clever makeup is  all that is needed to do the trick – and  the actors to suit the part of course……..’coz it’s pauline moran’s large eyes  more than the make-up which bring the sinister effect to life (after-life rather). talking of  pauline moran- who mystery afficionadi are familiar with as the gr8 poirot’s secretary miss lemon (can’t easily miss out her trademark eyes even without the scary lenses) – especially in the room at the inn will sure as hell scare any one’s pants off .

Oh the joy of watching a well-made horror movie is really inexplicable …….the closest a horror movie-buff like me can come to is  like   the joy of savoring a dairy milk , ……………..bless the man who invented the chocolate ……………………..and a  good movie like this makes you titter   like   a  child .

so , coming to twib- i just wish there was a happy ending, ‘coz horror movies are more often than not built on grounds (where the dead lie /sleep)  of tragedy that it would be nice to see the humans and the technically inhumans (ghosts ) happy in their respective abodes – earth and h or h – heaven or hell – lives and after -lives…………

There is no doubt Christie is a master in the study of human nature – she is an observer , not a judge , of human nature and is mature enough to be aware of its imperfections . the reader herself becomes aware of christie’s genius when she reads her poirot or marple series ……… first you read it because of you are fan of mysteries and whodunits ( I wonder who is not ) but as u read a series of them in succession …….u realize that though  Christie doesn’t always succeed as well as conan doyle does with holmes ,  in creating a gr8 suspense , u  realize , as I said as u progress in ur study of christie’s prolific  literature that she is a master story teller  and I repeat a master in the study of human nature . so it’s no wonder that she has written a string of novels on the subject indicating her knowledge of it . I read ‘absent in the spring’ a long time back and now ‘the burden’ and as mary westmacott there’s always a bit of tragedy or sadness in her novels………………… but as human as we are , it is our tendency to hope that even if all’s not well in the beginning , it will end well in the end , so we may be left with a tinge of sadness in the end . although her profound observations in the subject gives one second-hand experience of life (good fiction always does)which triumphs over the  negative emotions.

So coming to ‘the burden’ the first half is fine ………no complaints whatsoever and the chapter introducing knox is excellent……..especially his childhood and the emphasis on following the human instinct…………………all this I’m afraid raises the expectation of the ending……which  didn’t satisfy me at all. Even in the case of laura – who we sympathise with from the beginning  and hope a happy ending for,Christie  disappoints in the end . I totally buy ac’s explanation for laura’s murder of henry………………but why make Shirley pay for it. But  the actual tragedy is that Wilding is the one who really pays for it , though Shirley has suffered on account of henry and laura…….it is no excuse to inflicther pain upon Wilding who has suffered as much in the case of his first wife , still retainng his sympathetic disposition . why does christie deny Wilding And Shirley  , both of whom suffered on account of their first spouses a chance at happiness ???? ao in the end it is hard to feel as happy as we would really like to for Laura and Llewellyn , as as it is equally hard to believe that laura would be really happy when  she knows in the end, that Shirley might have committed suicide out of unhappiness …………………………………….

Autobiography of a Yogi.- one of the many books given by Thatha , my beloved grandpa  – read this book if you want to know the real india – yes they exist the yogis – the ones transcending beyond life and death ; joys and miseries , the ONES.


The razor’s edge by somerset maugham — love this book , my compass / inspo for spiritual exploration – reading razor’s edge always makes me happy …………….feel light………some new insight everytime i read it  – the courage of the protagonist to discard all that is superficial , in search of the truth…………….it is neither self-indulgent nor a mark of laziness to pursue the soul……..nor is it a reason to feel one is an advanced being – the simple reason is that people are different – – driven   by an unknown passion in life and one can only be satisfied if she or he (yes she or he…..why always he or she ) is free enough to pursue it , it is not laziness or failure to do so . and i particularly like the last line which is non-judgemental – Maugham ends his narrative by suggesting that all the characters got what they wanted in the end: “Elliott social eminence;  Isabel an assured position; … Sophie death;  and Larry happiness.” . author is not propounding a philosophy – we all are struggling through various stages of spiritual evolution and need to cultivate compassion with each other . Pleasantly surprised when i came to know that maugham was inspired by our very own sri ramana maharishi


far from the madding crowd : The one word that comes to my mind while reading hardy…….. is his “rich ” use of language…….that makes reading  almost like luxury…………and  a self- indulgent pleasure- I felt the way he writes is like ” poetry in prose ” , i mean , especially the way he describes nature and natures (of individuals) so subtly yet so effectively .




Totally mesmerised when you read it the first time – especially when one is young -( you roam around with a  self-important attitude thinking you are the embodiment of roark- high brow- don’t care -attitude and oh so very antisocial thinking it’s the new  cool – realising after many years –  after u get over ur obsession of rand and roark) ….. but don’t agree with the author trying to to propound this philosophy as a way of life…… an individual even though he is antisocial, is nurtured , supported by and bound to his family in a very deep way ; and so i opine that you can’t only follow the work philosophy in isolation…….also applies to atlas shrugged. the bhavadgita is a much superior alternative. but then again , can’t really undermine the importance of this masterpiece ………….,  roark still towers above others – in his solitude and few , but true friends……………especially   in contemporary  culture  …..aptly representative of objectivst+ minimalistic attittude……………..towards life -with minimalism all the rage now ??  roark – anti-social/ anti-social networking then ????…………………the argument inside my head continues but putting an end to this unending monologue………………..NOW.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

the book has sooooooooo many characters , but is never confusing to the reader , and well written.

Crime and Punishment , Fyodor Dostoyevsky-  it’s been quite sometime since i read it……..deals with the the theme of repentence and starting over.

Les miserables – one of the first recommended by Thatha

PnP , persuasion -Austen – the original chicklit author – well ,  all romances till date are just well-disguised austen spoofs  (Ehle’s the best elizabeth ……hands down )

Jane Eyre– Charlotte Brontë

Wuthering Heights –  bronte haunting  and intense…………read only an abridged version.

the professor– bronte ….      amazing  how   the bronte sisters’  works are sooooo different from each other……

silas marner – George Eliot

few sheldons and the prodigal daughter by archer


own this exact paperback of mocking bird -loved her style of writing – narration , describes the world through a child’s eyes perfectly , explaining integrity and equality through the simple yet strong atticus finch……..played to perfection by gregory peck.  love the film too – peck  …….amazing as usual – one of the few films which does justice to the book


used to own it, lost it .one of the most well written characters……….can’t say whether it is due to the author’s style of writing , but the characters seem so real and alive,  u  feel u know them ……

  • The Mother by Maxim Gorky – communist , marxism – but still a worthwhile read – human relations – Pavel and his   mother
  • J.Krishnamurti: A Biography [Pupul Jayakar] – read- reread only a few chaps in med school but which helped me a lot
  • bridges of madison county
  • far from the madding crowd -from dad –  OAK !!!!!!!!!
  • memoirs of a geisha
  • conquest of happiness – russell
  • all the books in this blog………..have  blogged and will blog  excerpts from –  https://excerptsandm.wordpress.com/category/e-from-fiction/
  • most of  agatha christie and  sherlock holmes and a few chicklits , mary higgins clark etc. – some chicklits – by weiner , jane green ………..etc……….- really witty – about the single woman in contemporary times – while others are so dumb and cliched ..i have to read a christie as rebound to get the crap out of my head
  • Roots –  suggested by shekhar mama !
  • alchemist -Paulo coelho  , burden – a different christie

and……….many i can’t recollect as of now……..