God Is Disappointed in You by Mark Russell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The first thing readers of this book should know is that it really is an abridged version of the Bible and not a mockery of it. The title and the funny doodle might turn some away who’re looking for a serious work that tells you the stories in the Bible without patronization but I think the author does a good job here of striking a balance between appreciation for and examination of the lessons the old Book has to teach us.
I’d forgotten many of the stories (not being a Christian and having read it out of curiosity at sixteen) but with the illustrations and the funny narrative it’ll be a long time before I forget them again. This is a book that’ll tell you the stories simply, keeping the essence of the morals from the original. But readers should be warned that the author has not only rendered the stories in modern tongue but retold them through the lenses of modern sensibilities a well.
My history professor tells us that we shouldn’t judge actors of times past from contemporary perspective just because we know what turn history takes subsequently. While I agree with him completely, in a book like this that very same ‘fallacy’ makes the narrative even more relateable to a reader like me who is less interested in the spiritual value of the tales and more focused on the bits of history that is hidden between the lines.
For instance I’m looking into this online course on the Rise and Fall of Jerusalem and reading the Old Testament was excellent preparation for it. I’ll have to refer to the unabridged version to study quotes but as far as well connected narrative goes, I’m keeping God is Disappointed in You right beside me.
The final word of appreciation I can give this book is the effort made by the author to keep the stories flowing and somehow preventing them from mixing up in my head. The personality he gave the well known characters was absent when I’d read my school’s hard-bound copy of the Bible. This is also the reason that certain momentous hours held more meaning and evoked more emotions in me than the original ever did.
This book is by no means the best abridged version out there, but it’s one of the more entertaining and therefore more engaging retelling of the old parables.
Now, a short note on the only thing that seriously annoyed me: The illustrations (doodles?). Sometimes they were funny and worked in concert with the text and sometimes they were just random and seemingly unconnected with the story the author was telling. I wish a different artist had been chosen or a better job of editing had been done. They added very little to my enjoyment of the book.
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To See Cruelty in Her Face
Characters: Eugenides and Attolia
Book: Queen of Attolia
Series: The Queen’s Thief
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
She dressed as always in imitation of Hephestia, but it was far easier to imagine the impersonal cruelty of the Great Goddess than to see cruelty in the face of the queen of Attolia. Looking at her, Eugenides smiled.
Attolia saw his smile, without any hint of self-effacement or flattery or opportunism, a smile wholly unlike that of any member of her court, and she hit him across the face with her open hand.
It was five minutes till midnight hour and my phone alarm went off. I straightened against the side of the building and fumbled to get it out of my jeans to shut off the insistent buzzing. My gloved fingers made this more difficult than usual, but I couldn’t take them off in this cold.
Charm smiled down at me and said, “Is it time for you to go home? At the stroke of midnight like a modern day Cinderella?“
I laughed awkwardly, the warmth I’d found in his arms slowly fading as my mind circled through the consequences of delaying any longer.
“I do have to go,” I told him, still smiling. “My dad isn’t that strict but I have a curfew.”
“Alright,” he said, pulling me closer, he words a warm puff on my cold forehead. “I’ll drop you home. Leave your car here. I’ll pick you up in the morning for classes.” One hand circled my waist while the other pressed into the middle of my back. He held me like he didn’t want to let go. Continue reading
Posted in The Stories in My Head
Tagged cinderella, fairy, fairytale, fiction, high school, love, Magic, retelling, romance, short story, teen
The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read this book two or more years ago and I still have the copy lying about somewhere. Recently I received a copy of Chauhan’s Those Pricey Thakur Girls and decided to at least add this book as “read” on my goodreads shelf.
I remember that I loved the first half. I hadn’t yet read a novel by an Indian author that wasn’t literary and yet boasted competent narrative skills. This author showed her potential from the very first chapter as she set the background for us and let us get a feel for her heroine.
Unfortunately it was like reading…have you ever watched one of those Indian TV serials that are focused on the misunderstandings and misfortunates of two fated-for-each-other people? Recently a lot of them seem to be cropping up and they have meet-cute beginnings and funny incidents and fate intervening to bring them together and so on. Basically every cliche romancelandia has ever invented.
Zoya Factor was like that only with better writing skills and some genuinely funny dialogues.
It was the second half that really disappointed me. Till then suspension of disbelief wasn’t so hard and the protagonist’s silliness, wrong assumptions, bad decisions all seemed endearing. After the halfway mark however my patience was severely tested as all I could feel was embarrassment for the heroine and bewilderment that the hero even liked her, when I couldn’t see a single thing they had in common or a single thing he could admire in her.
She’s textbook for the kind of heroine I could never root for. She wasn’t resourceful, wasn’t capable of independent, un-influenced thought, held stupid prejudices and made frequent and faulty jumps to wrong conclusions.
The hero was a lot more relatable and I felt almost bad for him because I knew he would end up with her. He was a decent guy, with a lot of integrity who just wanted to prove himself and do a good job as a team captain. The fact that he didn’t believe in lucky charms and the efficacy of having a free-loader hanging around his team, making them think that all their wins came from having her around, didn’t make him arrogant and close-minded. It made him a good captain and an intelligent man.
But you know what nearly made me give up the book three-fourths of the way? – That the heroine was so obviously inferior to the smart, capable, pragmatic hero. I know that’s a relationship dynamic often explored in books and movies – bumbling heroine and cynical hero – and it’s supposed to be a yin-yang, she-balances-him thing, but it didn’t work for me in this book. It just didn’t.
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So, a week and a half ago I got a pet. He’s a 2-month-old Labrador and when he’s not nipping at my heels with his needle sharp teeth, he’s the sweetest baby ever.
During the first days, he was very sleepy and seemed to prefer the company of my slippers over me. =)
Duke (that’s his name) with my friend.
With me. <3 =D
With my Da.