Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Word of mouth

It is no surprise that word of mouth plays a major factor in the success of a product. Be it movies, restaurants, shopping malls, brand names, music, theme parks or be it anything, word of mouth surfaces and resurfaces time and again, putting the final zing thing in a person's mind. OK, let me go for it or No, the reviews are bad, let us forget the whole thing! Our minds are embedded with set ideas, obtained from different sources that we are absolutely tuned to what we should expect. Over-expectations can sometimes be a real dampener. You expect a lot of things from something, and, even if it is above average, you get the feeling of being let down.

The reverse mechanism, don't hear from anybody's mouth, can sometimes work out to a terrific advantage. You know nothing about something, and when, finally, you get the taste of that something, it leaves you with an exhilarating feeling. Now, I should go around telling something about this. So, the bottom line is, over expectations can be stifling, while no expectations is bliss. You must be wondering, what the hell am I trying to say; as usual, I am making a complete mess of the topic!

Here I go! Life has been pretty hectic in the last few weeks. 8-8 (AM-PM) of outdoor activities from morning to evening leaves me with a drained up feeling. Not that I need an excuse to feel that way, but the truth is, I have kept myself busy. At the end of a hard long day, if in the mood to cook, after having finished up that, when He feels touchy about the whole thing for having treated you like this, will spare you with about forty five minutes to one hour before you hit the bed. This is the time, when you have shut down the always in problem HP (I wish I can write this in size 25 font and a hundred people can look at it) laptop and feel that it is time you took up reading, lest you forget what you think you are passionate about. So, you suddenly remember that you have brought some books from the local library, and there is a collection of books to chose from, for that book that is going to make a difference for the next few days!!!

After having heard so much about Brick Lane, at last, I finally got the chance to lay my hands on Monica Ali's much acclaimed, much talked about novel. Over the last couple of years, I have developed this disgusting habit of reading something and leaving it halfway. It has easily happened with two or three books, and I was determined, come what may, whatever I read, I will finish it completely before going to the next one. So, here I was, flipping through the pages, finding out what happens to this Bangladeshi family, which is settled in London. I sailed through the pages, finding myself immensely involved with the characters, with the usual oohs and aahs floating around, as I made my way through some exceptional quotes. I was truly impressed with the way Monica Ali has dealt with the plot, bringing out the good and vice in each character beautifully. This immigrant setup would lead me to an inevitable comparison with the other popular author, Jhumpa Lahiri, who I am a big fan of. Although it is wrong to compare two different authors, in this case, I was led to doing that. While Monica Ali has written a good book, I still feel that Lahiri brings out an eloquence, when it comes to handling these subtle nuances; those little things that make a big difference when you are reading a semi-fiction. But, at the end of the day, I would say that Brick Lane is certainly a good read.

Now, when I had to choose the second book, I had to select between two books, written by Indian authors. I had not heard of both the books, but I just went ahead with The Romantics, by Pankaj Mishra. He may be a great author, but with all due respect, I had not heard of him. I had not read a single review of the book, so, I had no idea how I would be journeying through the pages. But good books have this great quality of getting you into their fold within the first few pages. That's exactly what happened to me, as the inter-cultural theme set in Benares, India's home of ancient cultural heritage, discussed a complicated relationship between an Indian and a French girl in beautiful English. Some of the quotes are just brilliant, and I lapped up the novel in quick time. I was pleased with this, because, I somehow take ages to complete a book these days. Definitely a good read, and I would love to see a book lover read this book. It is a pleasant experience.

Now, I have ventured on to another unheard of (it may be a popular) book, The hungry tide, by Amitav Ghosh. I have completed about seventy pages, and the language has filled me with bliss. It is heartening to note that we have some amazing Indian authors, many of whom, we have not even heard of, but contributing so much to the world of literature. It is a pleasure to absorb what these people have to say, rather, what they put down in simple, plain English that can leave you with unimaginable after effects.

So, I definitely would recommend these books to you, but I hope the burden of expectations would not create a negative mindset when you read the books. Again, the way you treat a book depends on so many factors, but more often that not, I notice that there is a section, who tend to tread on similar characteristics. So, as I go on to find out about what happens to Piya, Kanai, Fokir and a bunch of other enteraining characters in the Sunderbans, I hope you read my recommended set of books with the least expectations. That way, you are assured of a good read!!! I hope to catch up with the blog world more regularly, and that entirely depends on my irregularly functioning laptop.


  1. I have noted all the three in my list.
    Thanks. :)

  2. Nice post, are rendering yeoman service to those authors, free of cost! :)
    I haven't read any of those books, but Brick Lane is certainly well-known. Unfortunately, having read Jhumpa Lahiri, any other story of immigrants will always evoke comparisons!
    On the same note, I would recommend Jim Corbett's 'My India'. It's a work of non-fiction, describing pre-independence India at the common man's level..I don't think it would be available here, though.

  3. Cuckoo,
    Glad to see you around, after a long, long time!!!

    Run, run, run!!! I have a feeling "you may not like the books" :-)

    First thing I recommend, google Pankaj Mishra and Amitav Ghosh!!! Just that we haven't heard of them for some reason!!! Jim Corbett, somehow I was never fascinated by those forest stories, but would love to read them now.

  4. I haven't yet been disappointed by the books recommended by you ! So I will add these to my list.
    And I don't do laptop support at HP, could have helped you otherwise ;-)

  5. Also Amitav Ghosh has been in the news a lot lately for his new release, Sea of Poppies.

  6. yup, it's better to try a book without expectations. this is entirely my opinion, but the Da Vinci code was recommended so many times, i read it, n didnt know what the heck was happening. thanks for the advise, i'll try our fav books. i've heard of this brick lane book. So, then, fix the laptop, Mr. GK, poepel are waiting u read u!! :-)

  7. Eh!

    A lot of books there...

    I personally don't like Jhumpa but agreed that her writings are neat...

    :) happy reading to u!

  8. Suchitra,
    Do something about your customer support!!! Amitav Ghosh's profile is just too good. He is a Harvard visiting professor!!! Sounds cool, right :-)

    Oooh, you didn't like The DaVinci code? Surprising!!! I really liked the book, and also thought that Angels and Demons was good, but the ending was bad.

    Thanks!!! Yeah, have been a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri, right from her first book!!! ;-)

  9. Hey, Mr. praveen, would be glad if u checked out my best friend deepti's blog. I'm promoting her and all, so am requesting all my friends to read her.
    And tell her how it went


  10. sir,its deepthi here...i profuselt thank you for the time you have taken off to read my blog......
    also, long before, lakshmi had advised me to read youre long before , along with others.....
    i am doing it now, amnd glad as i found another writer to add to my long list
    thnks again,

  11. Hey Praveen!

    Sorry it took me so long to get here....I've been vacationing and after I returned home it's been so hectic, I've had one heck of a time getting back to normal!

    I have two out of the three books you've showcased in this post. I loved "The Hungry Tide". You are so right when you say that the writing is so pure, so beautiful, it truly does fill one with bliss. Have you picked up Ghosh's most recent one, "Sea of Poppies"? It was everywhere in India when I visited a few weeks ago.

    I wasn't terribly impressed with "Brick Lane". Those letters from the protagonist's sister made me climb the wall! Why, I wonder, did Monica Ali feel compelled to write in pidgin English? It made it so hard to read. I saw the movie and I much preferred that. Keep reviewing the books you read, you do a wonderful job!

  12. LR,
    Oh, you must certainly read The Romantics, am sure you will like it :-) Yup, I have queued up Sea of Poppies in the library. Should be getting that sometime this week. I loved "The Hungry Tide". It set me thinking; wonderfully written and totally captivating.

    I totally agree with you on the letters in "The Brick Lane". It was pretty boring to go through the contents. As soon as I saw that it was the letter, I would lose the motivation to read that chapter.

    I am also planning to read Aravind Adiga's The white tiger, which again, along with Ghosh's Sea of Poppies is nominated for the Booker's on Oct 14. Right now, I am with "Freakonomics", to get into some light reading :-)

    Thanks a lot for visiting, certainly value your book comments :-)