Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Review: Catch 22

Catch-22Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is extremely rare that I leave a book unfinished(i rarely pick up unsung authors LOL) and this one made it extremely difficult in the first few pages to not dump it. The wit, the sarcasm,the paradoxes were a great too many in the beginning, blowing me out of my mind and making me fall in love with the writer astoundingly fast and as quickly, started appearing repititive, monotonous, even tortorous. I decided to persevere.
Perhaps this had more to do with my general attitude these days as exams are going on.
Surprisingly, I was paid beautifully for my patience very soon. I got almost addicted to the second half and finished the last 200 pages in 2 readings (big achievement when u r a DU student appearing for final university exams).

Now, what exactly is it that made this book such a favourite? The supremely intelligent sarcasm, the fantastic paradoxes, the loud humor- all making it the best work of satire I have laid my hands on. The irrationality dominating the war times, the sheer illogicality of war in itself is so beautifully touched, there were times I was amazed I had not heard more about it. The few friends who said they had tried reading it, had left unflattering remarks. None had read it from cover to cover. I will now 'make' them read it as soon as the exams get over. IT is right there in my top favourites shelf and I bless the book vendor uncle in Kamla Nagar who recommended it to me.
Thoroughly entertaining, intellectually stimulating, rib tickling, thought provoking- all at the same time.
My feminist leanings made me remove the last start, otherwise, it is one of the best books I have read so far.

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Book Review: Stillness Speaks

Stillness SpeaksStillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My mamma would be ashamed of me but I will say it nevertheless: I am done with spirituality.

At 19 years 8 months, it seems incredible that I have tasted spirituality, found bliss in it and now, well,...it doesn't appeal to me any more.
Blame it on Ayn Rand and her Objectivism that I have taken keen fascination to.

I bought this book for my mother and decided to read it before I passed it on to her. A book review in flipkart termed it to be one of the best in the genre and even went on to pronounce those lucky to get their hands on this book to be apparently having good karmic account! I knew at once this was the kind of book Mamma would enjoy and one I might. I ordered it immediately (incidentally, it has not been a month since the time I completed 'For the new intellectual' ) and to my surprise, right from the very first chapter, I knew I was in a territory of criss-crossing loyalties.

Eckhart Tolle
It upholds being in a state of thoughtlessness (expected), acceptance and surrender (expected) etc. and looks down upon the egoists (expected). But the point is, it does so in a manner that u find the word 'witch-doctor' hanging above you all the time. Any objectivist would find it extremely tough to read it from cover to cover. I am not an objectivist yet, though I must admit the only thing that stops me from being one is my belief in the existence of God, and I read this one for discovering if Ayn Rand could be refuted somewhere. Fortunately, I found no such thing. Though I do meditate after an angry outburst or a spell of crying to recover my senses, I don't see myself advocating any of this book's teachings.

I know this is not a very good review, granted this one says nothing of what exactly is the book about, but I can tell you why I made it a point to write it:
All those who have read the essay 'For The New Intellectual' in Ayn Rand's book by the same name must never pick it up. It is sheer torture for the objectivist minded.

As to why I gave it 2 stars and not 1, I can't really say I liked nothing at all in this book for the simple reason that some vestiges of spirituality continue to dominate my being (though I am done with this genre of books).
For those on a spiritual journey, who knows, this might be a good read.

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