Past and future

21 01 2017

2016-highlights

2017-motto

 





2015 reading

1 03 2016

2015 was a rewarding year for me in many ways. As far as my reading is concerned, my preferences definitely got matured. I moved away from my comfort zone and picked up a greater number of non-fiction and audio books last year. Their proportion is still very small  but I have observed a  decreased, albeit slight, fondness of fiction and increased penchant for different types of non-fiction. Or maybe I became better at picking up appealing non-fiction. Consequently I also became pickier when it came to regular fiction. Most fiction I read last year was for book clubs. I’m sure this pattern evolves further in 2016.

Despite an eventful year, both personally and professionally, I managed to read 57 books in 2015, 2 of them re-reads (No Country for Old Men, which I have enjoyed thoroughly this time, and Animal Farm). I almost read nothing in Telugu, my native tongue, until the end of the year, when I was desperate enough to grab some random free e-books, which I read to my heart’s content. 😉

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Without much further ado, let me list the winners here 😛

Best Fiction – Goldfinch by Donna Tart  It’s a masterpiece. Enjoyed and got immersed in each one its 700 and odd pages. Do I need to say anything else?

Best Non-Fiction – Wild by Cheryl Strayed Wild is inspirational. I admire Cheryl for her courage; for pulling herself up from the abyss and coming out of it as a renewed person. In many ways, the hike was life altering.

Best Short Stories – There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In By Lyudmila Petrushevskaya

Best Thriller – I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Special mention) Oh my god! It’s the best page turner I’ve read in so many years. I still feel the adrenaline rush.

Best Book Club Selection – The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch (Special category) This needs a special mention. It’s a book I would never have picked up myself. It’s young adult book written from the perspective of a 13 year old boy who loves ocean and its creatures. It’s so refreshing and strangely magical.

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Though I had grand plans for visualizations that I usually include in
this yearly post, I honestly couldn’t find time to learn a new skill and experiment. I go the easy route this time and use Power BI, one of the newest tools in the market. Excuse me for not being creative with the analysis though.

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The year started off well with An Uncommon Reader, a subtle humor from UK. It depicts, in a very funny way, what if Queen Elizabeth at the age of 70 discovers the pleasures of reading and becomes an avid reader. Kazuo Ishiguro’s (my favorite author) The Buried Giant surprised me. It’s a fantasy novel.Fantasy isn’t usually my type. But when it comes to Ishiguro, it doesn’t matter what genre it is. Reading Ishiguro is pure, unadulterated pleasure any day. Amen.

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I discovered Lyudmila Petrushevskaya accidentally. In the local library. Her short stories are honest and dark. I found the  bestseller “The Girl on the Train” creepy. It’s genius. I both loved and hated it. I tried two chick-lit (not so) new releases – Landline and The Husband’s Secret. I can’t say I enjoyed them much, despite their popularity. They are definitely good, but just not for me. I liked the former better than the latter though.

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One book I found amusing and enlightening is “How to Travel the World for Free” by Michael Wigge. It indulged my day dreams :P. I learned good stuff from it. ;). I wish I could write about each and every book I read and loved last year, but I’m feeling lazy now. 😛  You can breathe a sigh of relief. I’m signing off. 🙂

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2014 in review

31 12 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,900 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.





2012 review of the blog

31 12 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.





2011 in review

1 01 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,700 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My remarks: Not a great year of blogging for me. Did poorer than last year. I definitely could have written more often. Also, I wince every time I notice “2 States” as the most popular post or “Chetan Bhagat”, “Anusha Bhagat” as the most popular search terms that lead to my blog, year after year. A big sigh!





Urumi

25 08 2011

Been to this historical fantasy movie last weekend. Liked it very much. It was so picturesque and beautiful. Of course, what else can we expect from the acclaimed cinematographer cum filmmaker Santosh Sivan?

This is the story of a little known hero from Kerala (Chirakkal Kelu Nayanar  – Prithvi Raj)whose mission is to kill Vasco De Gama, who did atrocious things to its citizens and had been a threat to its wealth and future. The way Santosh drew analogies between the history and the present was good. At the time of watching the movie, I thought it depicted the history accurately but a superficial search on Net revealed that much of it is fiction.

The narration in the first half, especially the first 45 minutes or so, had been so fast, as the director tried to acquaint the historic backdrop and significance of the story/events to come, that the audience were really kept on toes. But the pace dropped down alarmingly to match that of snail’s in the second half and it’s only the chemistry between Genelia and Prithvi , which attempted to hold the audience’s attention at that point – with marginal success.

The performances were good. Prithvi was awesome – elegant and macho. He is such a looker. I was practically drooling over him. Nitya, Prabhu Deva and Arya did well. Arakkal Ayesha is a very remarkable character and Genelia was adequate in it.

The backdrop chosen by Santosh Sivan was so novel and fresh that the movie acquired a unique appeal.

By the way, to those who are wondering what Urumi means – it’s a long sword made of flexible steel. It’s the hero’s weapon in the movie. Innovative, isn’t it?





Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

12 08 2011

Finally I got to watch the mega and much awaited movie of the year so far – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. It took us more than a few weekends to finally manage to make it to the movie.

Well, I liked it. It’s definitely new age, with sophistication in every bit of it – taking, story, characters, dialogues and the like. I admit that it’s slow but I feel inspite of that, it manages to exude a charm and make an impact. The slow narrative had in itself been a plus point for me, which enabled me to enjoy the whole experience in a leisurely way without being subjected to a whirlwind of emotions like in many other movies.

The spectacular and scenic Spain besides the beautiful Katrina (a few words about Kathrina here – She has improved a lot compared to her earlier films and I can see the truth in Bollywood’s comments that she works really hard. I feel that she is the most striking lady in the Bollywood second only to Aish. In fact I feel that in some ways, Kathrina is even better. While Aish always seems to me like a pretty doll, Kathrina has her sweet smile and her foreign genes in her favor which gives her an appeal much greater than that of Aish.) and hot Hrithik more than ensure one’s unwavering attention. Even though not all can really relate to the ultra-modern and cosmopolitan protagonists – living in London with means enough to take an expensive vacation trip and with an adventurous streak in them -, I feel that the image they portray has been very becoming these days and it’s something which can appeal to the fancies of many. Still, it can be said that it’s yet another NRI movie (movie made with NRIs as the main target audience).

Despite the rave reviews, I wasn’t very excited for the movie before. The sandy brown hues of the scenes from the trailer reminded me somehow of the dreadful Kites which, instantly curbed any kind of enthusiasm I might feel about ZNMD. I know it’s an absurd reaction but still there it was. So, the movie had been a kind of pleasant surprise for me and I took it all in greedily.

The songs didn’t really register with me.

My take on the comment that “ZNMD is the DCH of this decade” – I can’t really say anything about it as my memory of DCH has faded except that we loved it then and watched it countless times. I doubt ZNMD emulates that kind of reaction with any comparable intensity. Or is it just the fact that I’m a decade older now that’s responsible  for this judgment? 🙂