The Biblio Blogazine

Reviews, Opinions, and More
Subscribe

Archive for October, 2008

Review: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

October 22, 2008 By: J.C. Montgomery Category: Reviews

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, 1999
A Collection of Short Stories, 198 pages
Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Company

Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Hemingway Award.

Interpreter of Maladies, Lahiri’s first book, is a collection of short stories depicting the lives of Indians or Indian immigrants. Some may immediately wonder how they could relate to the stories or characters. You may not to them individually, but what you will find is that the themes are universal thus eliminating such a concern.

“A Temporary Matter” centers on a couple estranged by the loss of a child:

But nothing was pushing Shukumar. Instead he thought of how he and Shoba had become experts in avoiding each other in their three-bedroom house, spending as much time on separate floors as possible.

“Sexy” about a woman having an affair with a married man and coming to terms with the choices she’s made:

There was no reason to put it on. Apart from the fitting room at Filene’s she had never worn it, and as long as she was with Dev she knew she never would. She knew they would never go to restaurants, where he would reach across a table and kiss her hand. They would meet in her apartment, on Sundays, he in his sweatpants, she in her jeans.

“Mrs. Sen’s” showing the hardships faced emotionally by someone having to adjust to a new life. One in a country where there is little to connect to on any level as there is no immediate family or a community of those with similar backgrounds to lean upon for support, thus the homesickness felt is as much as any one person can bear:

Mrs. Sen took the aerogram from India out of her purse and studied the front and back. She unfolded it and reread it to herself, sighing every now and then. When she had finished she gazed for some time at the swimmers.

“My sister has had a baby girl. By the time I see her, depending if Mr. Sen gets his tenure, she will be three years old. Her own aunt will be a stranger. If we sit side by side on train she will not know my face.”

There are nine stories in total and in each one there was always some aspect that touched me in some way that I could not picture myself, or anyone I know, caught up within those same circumstances and possibly having the same responses. I can say in truth, that I did not understand every nuance in some of the stories, as understanding the culture would have been helpful. But really, it does not detract from the enjoyment I had in reading this book. In fact, it was the first one I completed when participating in the recent Read-A-Thon.

As I stated in an earlier post, this book has got to be one of the better Pulitzer Prize Winners I have read in some time. In addition, I have not read many Short Story collections this year even though I had planned to.

I am glad I decided that this should change. This was a wonderful book and will be a nice addition to my personal library.

For this reason I am giving it 5 stars and a definite ‘must read’ recommendation.

Sunday Salon: All About Books

October 19, 2008 By: J.C. Montgomery Category: Miscellaneous


I saw this meme first done by Mrs S over at Blue Archipelago, who in turn found it over at tuesday in silhouette. She thought it would be a interesting way to participate in Sunday Salon. I couldn’t agree more, so here is mine…..

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I love trade paperbacks. Their feel. The artwork. I know their size is not always conducive for conveniently carrying them around, not like mass markets. But then again, I needed a bigger purse anyway.

Bookmark or dog-ear?
Bookmark. I never dog ear a page except for in magazines. I have tons of bookmarks. Some I received free from my library’s used bookstore, some from the library itself. Others were gifts, or ones I found to tantalizing and gorgeous to pass up while waiting in line at Barnes & Noble. Never one for an impulse buy at the supermarket, it is all I can do to restrain myself when at the bookstore. Perhaps that is why when I do buy somewhere other than the library, I shop online. It’s a lot easier on my pocket book!

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
I organize my keepers by size. Perhaps if I had an expansive library, I would have a more efficient system, but for now, I go by sight, not by logic.

Keep, throw away or sell?
I keep all that I like and know that someday I will read again. All the others are donated to my local library for them to sell in their used bookstore, thus helping them with their funding as a majority of the proceeds goes right back to them.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?
I leave it on. I generally am pretty good with the treatment of the books I read, so I never worry much about it becoming damaged.

Last book you bought?
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (with Bill Moyers)

Last book someone bought for you?
Naming the World: and other exercises for the creative writer – edited by Bret Anthony Johnston.

What are some of the books on your to-buy list?
The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
The Archivist’s Story by Travis Holland
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Collection (short stories, same author) or anthology (short stories, different author)?
I have read both, in fact recently. During the recent Read-A-Thon, I read Interpreter of Maladies and Irish Girls About Town. Both were very good – I enjoyed them each.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Hmm. I have read more of Harry Potter, but not because Lemony Snicket was worse, only that I had ready access to Rowling’s work.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?
Anytime, anywhere, whenever I have the chance.

The books you need to go with other books on your shelves?
Like I need another reason to buy more books. But seriously, I like this one. I may just use it next time my book budget is being threatened again by someone who doesn’t understand my obsession hobby.

Do you read anywhere and anytime you can or do you have a set reading time and/or place?
See two answers up.

Do you have seasonal reading habits?
No.

Do you read one book at a time or do you have two or more books going at once?
Never more than three.

What are your pet peeves about the way people treat books?
This only bothers me if they donate them or trade them at the used book store – but writing in the margins. I have done this myself, but mostly in those books I was reading for school, and in those I know will never leave my shelf willingly. This is why before I buy a used book, I leaf through every page. If it is just a few, and I can erase them, I may still buy it. But I really hate those that are marked up so much that it becomes a distraction.

Name one book you surprised yourself by liking
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It wasn’t so much the book or its subject, but the fact it was a new genre for me – young adult fiction – and I wasn’t sure it would suit me. But it did. Boy did it ever.

How often do you read a book and not review it on your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about a book?
Not very often. Sometimes I am just not moved enough in either emotion, love or hate, to write a review.

  •  

    October 2008
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep   Nov »
      1 2 3 4 5
    6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    13 14 15 16 17 18 19
    20 21 22 23 24 25 26
    27 28 29 30  
  • Archives