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Children of Air India: un/authorized exhibits and interjections by Renée Sarojini Saklikar

04 Apr

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Children of Air India: 3 Treasure Boxes


In the early part of 2014, I went to a poetry reading where Renée Sarojini Laklikar read from her book: Children of Air India: un/authorized exhibits and interjections. I found her words moving and unforgettable.  This assemblage of poems is dedicated to the people who died on Air India Flight 182 on June 23, 1985, as well as to those who lost their loved ones.  While this plane was flying through Irish airspace, in route from Montreal to Delhi, with a planned stop in London, a bomb exploded. The Boeing 747 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and 329 people died.

Although this book is a work of fiction, and many of the details were derived from her imagination; it merges fact with the fiction.  It many ways it is a form of docu-poetry. Saklikar spent many hours researching and reading transcripts and archives. She was born in India, and lost an aunt and uncle in the bombing of this airplane. She experienced the loss first hand and through her work she has brought the loss of these 329 people into the hearts of her readers.

I found the book well laid out and presented in an interesting manner. It starts with a short introduction that shares with the reader the terrible loss of the individuals as well as the unfathomable injustice of the resulting trial. Throughout the book, Saklikar redacted all the names of the victims, and in many instances, simply refers to the individuals as “Redacted.” For me, this represents the finality of the loss and death of each person.  From page 113, she writes, “Write the names all the way through. Write them down. In writing there is redaction, redact. That is the burning that is the body.”

Part One of the book is “in which N imposes meaning” with “N” representing niece and/or narrator, in other words, herself.  She is searching for meaning for herself, and for those who perished. Through her words she brings the departed briefly back to life, as in page 21,

“…she loves to read,

wins a prize in math.

 

Her sister follows, arms holding

large heavy books…

 

Status: bodies not found.”

 

Saklikar makes the passengers real, and at the same time is able to impact to the reader the  horrendous plane crash. I found the poems that related directly to the passengers very touching, and there were many such poems throughout the book.

Throughout the text, Saklikar effectively uses white space. In so doing she speaks volumes without the use of words. I found this technique haunting, because many of these people’s bodies were lost in the open space of the ocean.

Saklikar is able to blend the terrible with the dispassionate and in doing so able to combine human tragedy within the confines of the impersonal court. In this way she brings into the poetry the injustice of the mishandling of the trial, without sermonizing. She effectively shows both to the reader.

However there were other parts that I did not understand. Like on page 61, it is filled with what appear to me to be random letters, “ACI-ACISS ACPS ACS…” and this page also includes two randomly placed 2.2cm2 squares. Additionally on page 85, entitled “Exhibit: June 4, 1985, in the woods outside Duncan, items of examination,” I did not understand what these items were nor why they were included.

In writing this review, I found the subject matter quite upsetting, and very, very sad. Several times I was moved to tears for the lost of so many people, each one cherished. I recommend this book of poetry as a very good read.

 

Dead and Alive by Dean Koontz

22 Mar

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Dead and Alive: 1 Trash Can
Frankenstein, book 3
Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (July 28, 2009), (352 pages), ISBN-10: 0739317172, ISBN-13: 978-0739317174

Dead and Alive continues the story of the modern day Doctor Frankenstein. The premise is that Doctor Frankenstein, now known as Victor Helios, has created a way to prolong life, including his own and that is why today he still appears to be relatively young. Not only has he created a way to prolong life, but he is also creating an army of genetically modified humans. 

I was not able to finish this story. I found the writing atrocious, and the story improbable, as well as gruesome. But what I disliked the most was how undeveloped the characters were, especially Victor Helios, who was one-sided, all evil. I do not recommend this story, I thought the book would be better used as tinder.

To purchase: “Dead and Alive” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Reverb by J Cafesin

16 Mar

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Reverb: 3 Treasure Boxes

Reverb is a story of redemption, healing, and love, with a twist of foreboding. The majority of the story takes place in Greece and revolves around James, a musician in hiding, and Elizabeth, a young mother recovering from the death of her husband.

The book captured my interest from the first page. The story was well told, and I liked all the characters, who I found to be well-rounded and complex. I enjoyed how the tale unfolded, and many parts I found original, although I did think the ending was a bit abrupt, and perhaps a tad too concise. Overall, I enjoyed the story and I recommend this book as a very good read.

To Purchase Reverb from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Longbourn by Jo Baker

27 Feb

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Longbourn: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Knopf (October 8, 2013), Sold by: Random House LLC, File Size: 1708 KB, Print Length: 353 pages, Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385351232, ASIN: B00CCPIITQ

 


Longbourn is a look at the world of Pride and Prejudice from a different point of view, from the view downstairs. It is the story of the servants who work at Longbourn, the home estate of the Bennets. The author, Jo Baker, has created interesting backgrounds for the lives of these people.

I really enjoyed the book. I thought it was well written and I liked the characters. I enjoyed tying the story into Pride and Prejudice. I thought it was an interesting look at the separation of class, especially in England during this time. I recommend this book as a very good historical read.

Favourite Quotes:

“She was as sweet, soothing and undemanding as a baked milk-pudding, and as welcome at the end of an exhausting day.” Page 50

“A blur of rich colours—one green velvet coat, one blue—and the soft creak of good leather, and a scent off them like pine sap and fine candlewax and wool. She watched their glossy boots scatter her tea leaves across the wooden floor. The two gentlemen were so smooth, and so big, and of such substance: it was as though they belonged to a different order of creation entirely, and moved in a separate element, and were as different as angels.” Page 195

“Fear now was a creature; it slithered around him, covered his face and got in amongst his hair and he could not breathe and he could not think, and he just stared across the wide poor land, and along the empty road, then spun to look back off the way they’d come from.”  Page 236

“ It was not the end, of course; it was just an end. Mrs. Hill’s thread may have become snarled up into an intractable knot, but others were still unspooling. One had wound all the way out through the wild Derbyshire hills, and then along the gentler lanes of Cheshire, and then drifted across to the flat lands by the sea.” Page 328

To purchase Longbourn from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Power Vs Force by David R. Hawkins M.D. Ph.D

23 Feb

Book Review

Book Review

Book review of Power Vs Force: 3 Treasure Boxes

Power Vs Force is a fascinating look at how spiritual power is superior to physical force. Dr. Hawkins backs up his book with thousands of tests to support his position. I recommend this book as a very good read, it is interesting and informative. Plus I like the way Dr. Hawkins shows how good will always overcome evil in the end.

 

The Invention of Wings is the next book in the Online Book Club

22 Feb


The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is the next book in our Online Book Club. We are reading this book from February 22 until March 31. This should be a great book, because it is by the same author who brought us The Secret Lives of Bees and it is a story about two incredible women.  This looks to be an uplifting story, and if it is anything like The Secret Lives of Bees.

To join us in reading this book, or to share your thoughts on the book club, click on this link http://books-treasureortrash.com/find-the-treasure/

“A remarkable novel that heightened my sense of what it meant to be a woman – slave or free. . .will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to find her power and her voice. . .Sue Monk Kidd has written a conversation changer.  It is impossible to read this book and not come away thinking differently about our status as women and about all the unsung heroines who played a role in getting us to where we are.”—Oprah Winfrey, O The Oprah Magazine

This is a summary of the book from Sue Monk Kidd’s website:

The Invention of Wings

Overview

  • Published by Viking, January 7, 2014
  • Selected for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0
  • A New York Times #1 Bestseller

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees: a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimkes’ daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. Read the rest of this entry »

 

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

15 Feb

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood: 3 Treasure Boxes

Second Book of the MaddAddam Trilogy
Random House Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 14 hours and 4 minutes, ASIN: B002Q1IUNK


The Year of the Flood begins in a post-apocalyptic world with Snowman living alone and yet somehow connected with a group of human-like creatures. As Snowman stumbles through his life, the events that lead up the ruination of the world are slowly revealed through flashbacks. Snowman is the same character as Jimmie from Oryx and Crake and both stories run in parallel. I liked how The Year of the Flood explained the ending of  Oryx and Crake, because I felt that ending was a bit too open.

Margaret Atwood is a famous Canadian writer born in 1937, and she has written numerous books, short stories, books of poetry and essays. She has won more than 55 awards, both Canadian as well as international. The Year of the Flood is speculative fiction and the story is told in the first person narrative by the main protagonist, Snowman.

This trilogy presents a grim view of the havoc that genetic engineering could cause. I thought the characters were great and I liked where the story went, but at times I thought it was a bit too much preachy. I was listening to the audio book and didn’t care for the religious songs.   I am looking forward to reading the final book in the series to see where this trilogy is headed. 

I recommend this book as a very good read, but it is important to read Oryx and Crake first.

Favourite Quote: “But I prefer to say, ‘We are what we wish’. Because if you can’t wish, why bother?”

(Ch 73@5:48) Track 11 ch 2

 

 

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

14 Feb

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Revolutionary Road: 2 Treasure Boxes

Revolutionary Road is really well written, but I am finding it quite depressing.  I find it difficult to pick up the story to read it, due to the bleakness that emanates out from within the pages. Additionally, I do not really like any of the characters because I found them unlikable. Frank, the husband is cheating on his wife and for me this is a real turnoff. The story revolves around an unhappy couple.

The story addresses mental illness, and brings awareness to this issue. Revolutionary Road was released as a movie in 2008, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I saw this movie in the theater, so I knew what was going to happen, and because I knew where it is going I was not able to fully appreciate the novel.

The writing was amazing and I give Revolutionary Road 3 treasure boxes for the writing, however the story was depressing and I did not like any of the characters so I give the content 1 treasure box, which leaves me to give the overall book 2 treasure box rating.

I have written an interesting essay about Revolutionary Road called The Fragility of Masculinity. Please click on this link to read the essay.

 

The Fragility of Masculinity

14 Feb

The Fragility of Masculinity:

Revolutionary Road Characterizes the Fracturing of the Male Identity in the 1950s

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates takes place in 1955, in the
suburbs of America, and examines the inner life of an unhappily married, middle-class couple—Frank and April Wheeler.  This novel highlights some of the key issues of this era; including the need for perfection within the American family, the shift to life in the suburbs, as well as the changing face of masculinity. Throughout the story, Frank purports to disdain the traditional American suburban lifestyle: where each family is expected to be identical, they dress the same, live in the same style of home, do the same things, and each aims to appear perfect. However, his outward contempt is actually a camouflage to hide his lack of confidence in his own masculinity and deflects his fear—his inability to fulfill his role as a man within the traditional family. Frank is insecure about his own manliness, but he is not experiencing this doubt in isolation; instead his reactions and responses reflect the prevalent uncertainty about masculinity during this post-war era. The suburban lifestyle and male expectations were encapsulated in television shows during this time with the longest running show being
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Both Frank’s and Ozzie’s struggles with their masculinity embody the changing face of masculinity in the 1950s.

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet epitomize the lifestyle that Frank scorns because they depict the perfect, traditional, conservative American family where everyone appears happy. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Sabriel by Garth Nix

13 Feb

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
First Book in The Abhorsen Trilogy
Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (August 23, 1997), Paperback: 496 pages, ISBN-10: 0064471837, ISBN-13: 978-0064471831

Sabriel is a necromancer, but instead of raising the dead, she returns the dead back into the grave.

Garth Nix has written numerous young adult fantasy novels and series, including: the Old Kingdom series, The Seventh Tower series, and The Keys to the Kingdom. Sabriel is the first book in the Abhorsen Trilogy and it is told in a third person narrative from the perspective of the main protagonist, a young woman who can control the dead. The story takes place in a world filled with magic that can be controlled through sound. Particularly the sound created by whistling or bells.

The story was intriguing from the first page.  The characters were all interesting and the concept of the world was unique and captivating. I was never too sure where the story was going but I was anxiously turning each page to find out what was going to happen next.  There was plenty of action during the fight scenes against the dead.

“Sabriel” is a standalone novel. There are two other books in the series, but each has its own characters and storyline, which only lightly touch each other. I recommend this book as a very good read.

To Purchase: “Sabriel” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 
 

WISH LIST

The Catcher in the Rye
The Great Gatsby
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Me Talk Pretty One Day
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Lovely Bones
The Secret Life of Bees
Eat, Pray, Love
The Joy Luck Club
Under the Tuscan Sun
A Time to Kill
The Silence of the Lambs
Jurassic Park
The Hunt for Red October
Kiss the Girls
Like Water for Chocolate
Stranger in a Strange Land
Neuromancer
Snow Crash
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
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