Tag Archives: #guwahatiblogger

The genius that is Salander

The Millenium Trilogy aka my genius girl Lisbeth

I was really very happy when Hachette sent me a copy of THE GIRL WHO LIVED TWICE, the latest book in The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo series. The first three books were written by Stieg Larsson, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth are continuations by David Lagercrantz. They follow the brilliant and genius hacker Lisbeth Salander as she strives to assert her independence and continue being the brilliant ‘analyst’ that she is!

Check out this introductory post I made for this readathon!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo aka where we first see the brilliant genius that is Lisbeth

I had loved reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The plot written well, the characters felt real and very dynamic and flawed. The regular skips in the narratives were an interesting choice and kept the reader in line with the thinking of the characters. Salander is an enigmatic girl and I loved her despite her ‘weirdness’. Mikael’s portrayal as a very real and flawed human was great and I loved the way he progressed. The various human emotions portrayed in the book like that of frustration, anger, fear, hatred etc were very multilayered and interesting.

The Girl Who Lived Twice aka where we see more of the genius Lisbeth’s past

The Girl Who Lived Twice was a very plot-driven novel. It followed Lisbeth on another adventurous journey that showcased her genius. However, in comparison to the original Larsson books, this one fell a bit short when it comes to characterization and plot. The beginning was not very exciting and there were some pages I just wanted to fast forward. They weren’t very strong, is what I mean. However, towards the end, as the author brings in the various narratives together and intertwines the plot, it gets so much better. You just have to push through a few pages.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Girl-Who-Lived-Twice-Dragon/dp/0857056379/ref=sr_1_1?crid=Z2UNXSJT3T6X&keywords=the+girl+who+lived+twice&qid=1571900682&smid=APLYOO3IHSCW0&sprefix=the+girl+who+li%2Caps%2C646&sr=8-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42846882-the-girl-who-lived-twice?ac=1&from_search=true

Lisbeth’s family aka a brood of crazy powerful people

We also get to know a lot of things about Lisbeth’s past and her father (!) and it was exciting to see that about her. However, Camilla Lisbeth’s sister Camilla is no less tough than her, albeit in a different manner. In this book, we also deal with a lot of emotions as Lisbeth races against time to stop her sister. She has feelings of guilt and shame and it is interesting to see her process these feelings.

Overall, it was an interesting read and I rate it 3.5/5 stars.

You Will be Safe Here, by Damian Barr, 2019

Title: You Will be Safe Here

Author: Damian Barr

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Genre: Historical fiction

Format: Advanced Reading Copy

Language: Language

No. of pages: 352

Recommended for: All ages

Synopsis:

An extraordinary debut that explores legacies of abuse, redemption, and the strength of the human spirit–from the Boer Wars in South Africa to brutal wilderness camps for teenage boys.

South Africa, 1901. It is the height of the second Boer War. Sarah van der Watt and her six-year-old son Fred are forced from their home on Mulberry Farm. As the polite invaders welcome them to Bloemfontein Concentration Camp they promise Sarah and Fred that they will be safe there.

2014. Sixteen-year-old Willem is an outsider. Hoping he will become the man she wants him to be, his Ma and her boyfriend force Willem to attend the New Dawn Safari Training Camp where they are proud to make men out of boys. They promise that he will be safe there.

You Will Be Safe Here is a powerful and urgent novel of two connected South African stories. Inspired by real events, it uncovers a hidden colonial history, reveals a dark contemporary secret, and explores the legacy of violence and our will to survive. 

My review:

I received a review copy for the publishers in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I absolutely loved reading YOU WILL BE SAFE HERE. This is a poignant story that really touched my heart and I have changed after reading it. There are 4 parts in the story.

The first part is written in an epistolary format – in the form of a diary. The ton of Sarah van der Watt is so tragic. I found – not overtly so, but in its undercurrent – I could feel it as I read – Sarah’s knowledge that the need of her world as she knew it, was near. Things would greatly change and it is as if she is deliberately and often times forcefully trying to be cheerful – why not enjoy the last few days before all hell breaks loose?

Some lines I liked were –

“There is strangely little to do now but wait.”

During this period of the second Boer War, the Kaffirs were freed by the English. The resulting chaos was a great scar on the lives of so many people – both whites and blacks. I was also pleasantly surprised by the resilience of the people – specifically Sarah van der Watt and basically everyone else.  It also talks about the feminine issues – both social, and historical – the suppression of women and the masculine power play over them, their objectification, etc.  I also loved that Samuel, the husband had been such a supportive husband to Sarah, as we learn from the diary entries. Later on, the entries make you cry – just reading of the utter inhuman situations that they, along with so many other people were subjected to. The flashback method was also great and gives great depth to the story.

One thing that I really enjoyed was the inclusion of the literary references. It made the text very relatable to the reader, as it surely did for me! 

Throughout all the different parts, the Southern Cross is a recurring motif. I interpreted it as an objective correlative for the concepts of hope and strength that it bestowed on the different characters. The use of regional words at certain places give a certain authenticity to the text and a sense of reality.

In part 2, Willem says “They wouldn’t understand, they never understand” which I think resonates among so many teenagers, when thinking of adults and authority figures.

One of the major themes that I saw throughout Part 2 is that of toxic masculinity. For instance, seeing Willem cry in desperation once, Jan had turned away – after all, boys do not cry. We also see domestic abuse scenario in this part.

Later, when Willem is at the camp and Rayna misses him. She understands that at the camp he would be forced to do what they have wanted him to do always – things that other boys do generally. “It’s these markers of his willingness to try that break her heart”.

 I really loved Rayna’s character. She is the epitome of an independent and hardworking woman. When Irma accuses her saying she could never “keep a man” Rayna says, “I never needed one… Maybe I wanted one, sometimes but I never needed one. Not like you” and that is such a powerful sentiment. Rayna is an inspiring woman just as Sarah.

Verdict:

This is one of the best books I have read in my life, let alone in 2019. I rate it a 5/5 stars and will definitely be picking it up again.

About the author:

‘Maggie & Me’ is my memoir and ‘You Will Be Safe Here’ is my first novel (out in April 2019). You can follow me on twitter @damian_barr and insta @mrdamianbarr. I host my own Literary Salon at the Savoy: www.theliterarysalon.co.uk

‘Maggie & Me’ is my memoir of surviving small-town Scotland in the Thatcher years. It won Sunday Times Memoir of the Year: “Full to the brim with poignancy, humour, brutality and energetic and sometimes shimmering prose, the book confounds one’s assumptions about those years and drenches the whole era in an emotionally charged comic grandeur. It is hugely affecting.” BBC Radio 4 made it a Book of the Week. Following Jeanette Winterson in 2012, Stonewall named me Writer of the Year 2013.

I host my own Literary Salon at the Savoy. Guests include: Jojo Moyes, Bret Easton Ellis, John Waters, Mary Beard, James Frey, David Nicholls, Colm Toibin, Taiye Selasi, Susan Calman, David Mitchell and Rose McGowan. Do enjoy our podcast!

Commended as Columnist of the Year, I’ve also been a journalist for over a decade writing mostly for The Times but also the Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times, Guardian, Evening Standard and Granta. I’m currently a columnist for the Big Issue and High Life. My first book, based on a Times column, was published by Hodder in 2005. ‘Get It Together: A Guide to Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis’. I’ve also co-written two plays for Radio 4 and appeared on PM, Midweek, Broadcasting House and Today as well as The Verb and presented on Front Row. I live in Brighton with my partner and our intensely demanding chickens.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

February 2019 TBR part 1!

It’s time I showed you all my #februarytbr , the #part1 . Yes I plan on reading a ton of books this month so let’s see how I do.

1. Kaalkoot by @authorsvenkatesh
I’m already done with this book so the review will be up soon!
2. Shadows of the Night by Priyanka Lal
3. Scammed by @ahmedf45
4. The Perfect Drug by @chaitanya424
I’m currently reading this book
5. Between You and Me by @societalmoksha @bloomsburyindia
6. The Anonymous by @nidhikkukreja
I’m already done with this book so the review will be up soon!
7. Krishantak by Anuj Singh Nagaur
8. Wake Up, Girl! By @niharikatheauthor @bloomsburyindia
I’m also done with this book and the review will be up after 2 days!
9. The Lupanarium by @authoradeleleigh
I’m also done with this book and i wrote a really long review about it and l share it soon!
10. The Stalker by @sandeeplochansharma
11. Honey and the Moon by Kamini Kusum
12. Until Love Sets us Apart by @adityanighhot .
.
#qotd : so do you have any favourite festival? And I’m talking about the non major ones (so you cannot answer with Durga Puja, Ganesha chaturthi, pongal or such!) OR are you excited for Saraswati Puja tomorrow?

January 2019 book haul part 2!


🌷🌷🌷
Hey guys!
I’m back with #part2 of my #januarybookhaul ! I had got a total of 18 new books! And here are the rest!
1. Between You and Me by @societalmoksha @bloomsburyindia
2. A collection of stories in Assamese borrowed from my aunt. Im reading this book as apart of my #readyourmothertongue challenge.
For college:
3. A critical study of #kanthapura by #rajarao which I bought for my Indian English Literature class
4. A book on Literary Criticism
5. Aristotle’s Poetics
6. Classical Literary Criticism @oxfordbookstores
7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier @viragopress
8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
9. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells @maplepressofficial which I won in their #giveaway
.
.
.
#qotd : what series are you currently watching? Are you loving it?

January 2019 book haul part 1!


🌷🌷🌷
Hey guys!
How has the week been treating you so far?
I have been at a seminar since tuesday and have been enjoying listening to the various papers presented. I’ve had an amazing time here at #elysian19 a national students’ seminar held at the Cotton University!
.
Anyway, I am back with another #bookhaul ! So for January 2019, I got a total of 18 new books! #januarybookhaul #part1
Some of them are as follows:
1. Kalkoot by @venkatesh.kalaga
2. Krishantak
3. Wake Up, Girl by @niharikatheauthor
4. The Lupanarium by @authoradeleleigh
5. Honey and the moon by K Kusum
6. Scammed by @ahmedf45
7. Until Love Sets us Apart by @adityanighhot given as a gift by @pen_paper_tales
8. Shadows of the Night by Priyanka All
9. The Stalker by Sandeep Sharma
.
.
#qotd : how many books did you get in January?
.
.
.
#newbooks #indiabookstagram #guwahatiblogger #guwahatibookstagrammers #assambookstagrammers #assamreads #bookpile #aestheticphotos #booksflatlay #prettyfeed #warmfeed #historicalfiction #adventure #bittersweet #indianenglishliterature