Quick Reviews

Of late, much has been consumed in the form of books and movies. Here’s a quick look at which measured up and which didn’t:

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson

When the subject grants you complete access, the information will be insightful and thorough. And Isaacson does justice to a subject who perhaps lived four lives in one.

What comes across is the fact that Jobs was no saint. He wasn’t the best human being who lived. But he was honest in his work (if not his personal life) and a visionary to boot. Isaacson doesn’t idolize Jobs but does a great job of bringing out the human side to the man we have come to idolize.

The detail in the book is fascinating and if anything, it reads more as a thriller than a biography. At the time I was reading this, I had glanced through a couple of other books and there was a 5-hour marathon reading I went through of this book.

One-word review: unputdownable!

Hesher (film)

I normally wouldn’t condone violence. But towards the makers of this disaster, I would. I don’t know why I sat through this ‘coming of age’ film. No one comes of age. All that happened was I aged.

IMDB excerpt says:

A young boy has lost his mother and is losing touch with his father and the world around him. Then he meets Hesher who manages to make his life even more chaotic.

Oh my god. How misleading. Seriously, watch this movie if you enjoy the sound of nails on a blackboard. Or if you love to see paint dry.

Yes, I know that IMDB users have rated this 7.1/10. I’m in the 2.9 category! It’s definitely not appealed to my cultural sensibilities. It’s just f****d up.

Having a threesome

For the last few days, I’ve been courting two lovelies. One a child of Alistair MacLean and the other of John le Carre. All right, I am talking about books. “A Perfect Spy” by le Carre and “Where Eight Bells Toll” by Alistair MacLean.

Admittedly, both are potboilers and spy novels in the best manner of the cold war mould or thereabouts. This post, though, is not about the contents of the books. They are above average in their genre. Entertaining. That’s about it.

My question is about reading two books simultaneously. I recall an ex superboss who did it. He was considered “a great mind”. Still is (considered). I have no such certification. And unfortunately, reading two books at a time doesn’t make me eligible for it. 

So while I await my greatness certification in another manner, let me share some experiences of reading two books simultaneously.

Characters seem to find their way in and out of novels. So Mr Philip Calvert who is a spy and has hitherto nothing to do with the disappearance of Mr Magnus Pym is now a prime suspect. Incidentally, both are British spies. And one has a wife. Right now, I can’t recall which one.

It’s an interesting experience. Le Carre is a slow, plot-building kind of writer. Pages upon pages are spent creating the characters and giving their life a background or their current actions a purpose. In the case of MacLean, it’s pretty much like reading a screenplay. Things are always happening. The descriptions are elaborate. So much so, that I have an image of the west coast of Britain around Torbay ready in my head. I can’t get lost there if I ever visit!

The most challenging part of doing this – so far – has been keeping a track of which book I am reading. It may work better if I read two books from different genres. Maybe. But in my current case, there is much scope for confusion and mixing up. MacLean’s novel should be over soon… just abour 300 pages in all. Le Carre’s will take some time. About 700 pages, that tome has!

I do recommend this threesome to those who have time to spare daily to manage two books. The trick is to have one book in one location and one in another. You figure where!

Next on the agenda: A foursome!

For myself

This is a post more for me than anyone else… a list of things I’ve done recently and would like to blog about… when time permits!

1. Review “The Enchantress of Florence” by Salman Rushdie: He is one of my favourite writers despite his long-drawn and often contrived manner of writing. In many ways, the book doesn’t disappoint, but honestly, it can’t even hold a candle to “Midnight’s Children” and “Shalimar the Clown”.

2. Review “The Dark Knight” by Heath Ledger!: One of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. So good, that I saw it twice in three days! Heath Ledger shall be missed… and I also wish they don’t bring back the Joker again. Continue reading “For myself”

A month… almost

It’s been almost a month since I last blogged. And I feel bad. But one can’t help it. Much work happening. Not too much to update since last time (except insane workload), but I did get some time off to meet up with a bunch of old colleagues from the Herald. Nice to have seen some people I worked with and some who worked there after me. More of these is a must.

Post that, the biggest plus point of personal life shall come from August 23-29 when I am off for a vacation to Goa. My first in almost two years. Vacation, not Goa trip. I was in Goa in June this year for 1.5 days on business.

Just thought I’d let y’all know that I am alive. And will post some new stuff soon (especially my impressions of “The Enchantress of Florence”; fascinating).

Be good. I am.