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Just wanted to say

please don't waste your time reading this. your time might be better served sitting on a beach on a sunny day and staring at the blue sky above.

Mo' Summer Reading - July 2011

Inspite of Everything - Susan Gregory Thomas - marriage memoir
The Difficulty of Being Good - Gurcharan Das - non fiction, commentary
Bossy Pants - Tina Fey - memoir, funny - 5/5
Little Princes: One Man's Promise To Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal - Conor Grennan - non fiction adventure memoir - 3.5/5
The Girl in the Garden - Kamala Nair - myster, desi lit

The question is

..why did I pick a lemon when the garden of love was full of peaches?

Summer reading - June/July 2011

True Grit - Charles Portis - 5/5
The Love Queen of Malabar - Merrily Weisbord - 3.5/5
The Beginners - Rebecca Wolff - drama/mystery/coming of age.
Nine Lives: In search of the Sacred in Modern India - William D. - 3/5
Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh - 2.5/5
Sister - Rosamund Lupton -  mystery
The American girl - Monika Falstrom - mystery
Lulu in Marrakesh - Diane Johnson - spy/chick lit-ish
Dreams of Trespass - Fatima Mernissi - childhood memoir
Yes, My Darling Daughter - Margaret LeRoy - mystery/ghost

The True All American Teenager.

I finished reading True Grit a couple of days ago, just in time to be able to watch the Cohen brothers version of it that G picked up from the library yesterday.The dialogue in the movie almost exactly mirrors that in the book - which is to say, a) the book is much much much better than any movie made about it can ever be, b) Charles Portis is a GENIUS and c) how is it that I hadn't heard of his books before.

At the very core of it, the plot is about 80 year old Mattie Ross who when she was 14, set out to capture her father's old employee and murderer with her hired gun - an world weary Federal Marshal named Rooster Cogburn. But of course like all fantastic novels, the story is not just about the plot. True Grit is set in the late 1800s and the United States was not as we know it now but instead - a fractured jigsaw of territories and states governed loosely by the law in some places and by quick drawing rifles in others. This is not Louis L'Amour's quirky, ranch hand world but rather, a harsher, bleaker, even bloodier universe; nevertheless, Portis' words make it a satisfying and wryly funny place to visit. Sometimes you will go over the same page twice because you just don't want the book to end.

Either way, you will probably fall in love with Mattie Ross who is fussy, prudish and humorless but who Portis blesses with the invaluable gift of being utterly without self-doubt. She decides to hire the one eyed Rooster after turning down more respectable choices not only because he is tough and merciless but because (as she writes) he has 'grit.' But little 14 year old Mattie is the one with the indomitable spirit, the one who we would be foolish to turn our back on - the True Grit of the novel's title refers to her and her alone.

Bookie

The upside of not writing regularly is that I have fallen in love with reading again.I have been bumping into so many awesome authors recently that I absolutely should write these down, in case (or rather, when) I want to remember all the great books I managed to sneak in while putting BabyG to sleep..

So, so far my reading list this year (from what I remember):

Winter’s Bone - Daniel Woodrell - 4/5
Committed - Elizabeth Gilbert - 2/5
Bad Mother - Ayelet Waldman - 2/5
Manhood for Amateurs - Michael Chabon - TO READ
I was told there would be cake - Sloane Crosley - TO READ
All of Laura Lipmann's stand alone novels - 5/5
Dark Places - Gillian Flynn - 2/5
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn - TO READ
Started Early Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson - TO READ
By Nightfall - Michael Cummingham - TO READ
Nine Lives - William Darymple - Nine Lives - 3/5
Stranger to History - Aatish Taseer - 4/5
The Temple goers - Aatish Taseer - 3/5
Lets take the long way home - Gail caldwell - TO READ
Nobody does the right thing - Amitava kumar - 2.5/5
India Calling - Anand Giridharadas - 4.5/5
The Imperfectionists - Tom Rachman - 5/5
The Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother - Amy Chua - 4.5/5
The Tenderness of Wolves - Stef Penney - 3.5/5

Daily Affirmation.

I am safe. It’s only change.
I cross all bridges with ease and joy.
The old unfolds into wonderful new experiences.
My life gets better all the time.

Past Imperfect Future Continuous.

I should be able to put my thoughts down on paper - I am after all good at this. For many years, throughout my twenties, I spent hours analyzing my daily life in excruiciating detail. Every move I made, every conversation I ever had with a boyfriend or potential boyfriend, every long distance fight I pitched with my poor suffering mother was fodder for a 500 word mini blog-essay about How I Feel. Posted online for the reading pleasure of hundreds of discerning strangers who couldn't care less. There's nothing really wrong with navel gazing, but seriously - thank God that phase is over. But what I am going through now seems just as worse. All this sore pulsing emotion lurk-lurk-lurking under the surface of my mind and nowhere for it to go.

I laugh as if my heart is strong enough to go on, while another part of me - 11 years old and untouched by any responsibility, stands aside and watches sadly as I pretend to be okay. This trip to India is turning out strangely. The weather here is spectacular (the evenings remind me of fruity summer cocktails on a Key West beach.) My son is spoiled with love, hugs and kisses. My husband and I are in a state of not-fighting, as are most couples who have been married for 5 years and who find themselves on opposite sides of the world for a month or two. But comments from a conversation I had with someone here recently continue to pop into my head like prarie gophers in a carnival game. Irritating thoughts are starting to bleed into each other. It feels harder to keep up all my plates twirling up in the air and to remain okay with knowing what I know. I am not sure why.

Arranged marriages are tricky that way. Selecting a spouse in this fashion is purely empirical in many aspects - one has to KNOW this going in or else you are just going to get hurt all the way. Your choice of a partner might be determined by many many things (including a pretty face, education, family background, financial background, caste, horoscope compatibility) but pretending that it is anything but a mating game fuelled by chance, a well written online profile and your parents' anxiety about a 26 year old daughter who is still unmarried is you lying to youself about what really happened. If you are emotionally sophisticated enough to know this, HURRAY! If not, it sucks to be U.

Writing..

I have been thinking of Writing recently - not like this (self consciously, selfishly) but more like doing it for a purpose. A concentrated, determined, focused effort towards something bigger and more imaginative.

I have always assumed that at some point of time I would finish a novel, mostly because everyone around me seemed convinced that I could. This also meant that I started to think of myself as a novelist, except I never actually wrote anything decent enough to be a novel. Then a couple of years ago, I stopped writing fiction altogether. My stories seemed too fanciful, too pretty and often all I had for hours of writing were 2 pages of total drivel. So, why bother.

But recently I have been thinking more and more of trying to write fiction again. Clean, sparse and preferably not doused with the smell of curry, coconut trees, spice boxes, nostalgia, love gone awry et al. I am not sure where to start, but am looking actively for my one true sentence that will kick start everything else that comes after.

Ruminations

I will be watching the Superbowl game tonight, but not by choice of course. G's a bit of a football hound, and this is one of those events I think where the 'guy' thing to do is to cut out four hours from one's perfectly nice Sunday evening and dedicate it to the Gods of the NFL; and there's nothing that anybody can say or do to change their minds. So, So be it.

G, BabyG and I went shopping yesterday at WF where I met somebody I hadn't seen in a long, long time and it made me feel SO happy. Both of us have been through changes that are life altering and happily, it seems to have brought our individual paths closer together rather than further apart.

Finally, how adorable is it that BabyG can now dance to high energy bollywood music? He waves his little booty, stomps his feet, swings his hands and seriously? - SO CUTE, and not just because he is my child.