The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things by acclaimed writer Arundhathi Roy could only be hailed as a masterpiece in the literary world for more reasons than just winning the Booker Prize in 1997. Set in the Kottayam town of Ayemenem in southern India, Roy lures the readers into the secret world of one very fractured family upon whom an unforeseen tragedy lurks about. The tragedy of crossing into forbidden territory and tampering with laws that laid out who should be loved and how. And how much.

Told mainly through the recollections of the fraternal twins, Rahel and Estha, the story unfolds in a devastatingly arresting pace. From the funeral of an innocent child to the death of an innocent man, The God of Small Things captivates the readers in a state of dazzled shock as Roy unveils, with such melodramatic prose, how the dire consequences of crossing into forbidden territory has altered the lives of everyone in its path.

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The heart-rending narrative goes as far as exploring the inner worlds of each character with minute detail, beautifully woven around the tragedies of life. The readers are easily drawn into a world of secrets, tragedy, love and madness and yet nothing prepares the readers for the calamity about to descend. Roy’s uncanny ability to draw reader’s attention to her flawless portrayal of senses, brings the story truly alive.

A magnificent debut novel with a marvelous prose sure to mesmerize readers in every possible way. The God of Small Things is truly a book to be savored, devoured and treasured. It should definitely be on your list-of-must-read-novels-before-you-die, if it already isn’t. Recommended with the highest praise!

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My Legendary Girlfriend

Two men.
Three gorgeous ladies.
A donkey named Sandy.
Basically it’s your classic love hexagon.

Only Mike Gayle could pull-it off. Narrated within 3 days of time-span, we are drawn into the miserable life of Will Kelly – English teacher. Film fan. Pot noodle expert. Ex Boyfriend. Refusing to move on, Will is still hung-up on his legendary girlfriend, Aggi, who dumped him. Three years ago. Ouch! His good-friend Alice, who remembers his birthday, is there for moral support while his best mate Simon never is.

Twist in the tale. Will meets Kate, the previous tenant of his rented flat. Does he move on from The One to An-other One? Hard to say he ever will. Remember? He is still madly in love with his Legendary Girlfriend.

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Hilariously told through the eyes of Will Kelly, the protagonist, Mike Gayle’s witty style of writing is refreshingly invigorating. Quite often, almost make you laugh-out-loud. The reality of life experienced by someone who has been dumped couldn’t be more comical as Gayle describes it. An amusing novel for anyone in search of the so-called, true love, anyone who has been dumped or anyone looking for their Legendary Girlfriends (if there is such a thing).

Previously an Agony Uncle, Mike Gayle is a freelance journalist who has contributed to a variety of magazines including FHM, Sunday Times Style, Just Seventeen and Bliss. MY LEGENDARY GlRLFRIEND is his debut novel.

The Heart Yells Hurrah!

Dil Bole Hadippa! (The Heart Says Hurrah!) is a Bollywood comedy worth your time and money. Honestly! I wasn’t too eager to watch it at first but my very good friend Evelyn Rose convinced me. So there we were, falling down laughing, hooting, snorting, cackling, guffawing, having hysterics, and even rolling in the aisles. All because the movie was fantastically hilarious. Sidesplitting and uproariously funny.

Based loosely on the 2006 Hollywood comedy She’s the Man, Yash Raj Films’ Dil Bole Hadippa! wins over your heart, tickles your funny bone and guarantees a rib-tickling comedy with Rani Mukerji and Shahid Kapoor in the leads and Anupam Kher, Dalip Tahil, Rakhi Sawant and Sherlyn Chopra in supporting roles.

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Now the plot. Veera (Rani Mukerji ) hails from a small village and dreams big to play cricket in the big league despite all odds are against her. Obviously! She works at her dancing theater with star performer and femme-fatal, Shanno (Rakhi Sawant). Veera is so determine to fulfill her dream and goes as far as trying-out for the all-men Indian National Cricket team. Bravo, Veera! Initially humiliated but with re-newed determination, Veera fools everyone but herself and disguises as a man and adopts a new identity as Veer and tries her luck – for a second time. VoilĂ ! Veera is now part of the team. Things get out-of-hand hilarious when Rohan (Shahid Kapoor), the team’s coach, falls for Veera.

Rani Mukerji was absolutely fantastic in her first-time-ever, manly-role as Veer. As the extremely talented actress she is, Mukerji proves that she is up for any challenge and excels effortlessly for the role of Veera-slash-Veer. As the movie brings the best in Rani Mukerji, she deserves a round of applause for her versatility and her flawless yet humorous portrayal of Veer.

Easily the best Bollywood comedy so far this year, treating you for a cackle-fest. Watch it for Rani Mukerji, if not to go totally ballistic with hysteria just like I did. Oh, what fun!

‘Surrogates’ Rule?

Year: 2017. Humans live in near-total isolation. We see romote-controlled bodies who assume the roles of their human operators serving as their “surrogates”, allowing people to experience life from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Enter Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) and Jennifer Peters (Radha Mitchell), two FBI agents investigating the mysterious murder of a college student linked to the man who pioneered the creations of surrogates. Throw in some unexpected twists and turns (gasp! gasp!), you have got yourself a thrilling sci-fi that does not entirely disappoints.

Based on the comic book series of the same name, Surrogates then begins a quest to find out the answer to the ultimate question: How do you save humanity when the only thing that’s real is you?

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While the concept of robotic surrogates is quite intriguing, director Jonathan Mostow’s execution lacks a few ingredients of good filmmaking. First of all, the storyline is quite too complex and it results in a somewhat pointless screenplay. All the fast-paced action scenes were crammed to fit to the 88 minutes. Result of a sloppy direction and shoddy editing. To give the credit it deserved, the special effects used in the movie is praise-worthy but it alone cannot save the movie from what it lacks.

To the most part, Surrogates will appeal big time for its comic fans. For me (not a comic fan), the movie wasn’t half as bad. At least it gurantees a wholesome entertainment with a bunch of your sci-fi-loving buddies, if nothing else. I shall warn you though, if you have higher expectations then you might be in for a disappointment.

Revolutionary Road

Very rarely do we come across a novel so wonderfully crafted such as Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. The book has left me speechless with wonder as I turned the last page and put down the book. The word-to-word construction of each chapter is one thing. But what steals your heart is the descriptive yet rhythmic flow of life in American suburbia. From the most mundane descriptions to the most peculiar details, Yates shows you the suburban life as you have never seen it before.

At the epicenter of the plot are the two leading characters, Frank and April Wheeler, a young couple who are quite fed up with the dull life in the suburbs and looking for excitement in life. Their longing to be extraordinary takes the couple on a journey that would change their life forever. With perfect poise and clarity, Yates manages to reach out to the inner feelings of the characters as they embark on their life-changing journey battling against everyday life. What follows is betrayal and tragedy.

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The heart-wrenching tale continues at its poetic pace, leaving readers bewildered with excitement having no idea whatsoever on what’s coming. A surprising twist here and a tragic incident there. You’d be surprised but before you knew it, you will be reading the last few pages without even realizing it. Trust me.

I’d say this book isn’t for people who are looking for what I would describe as ‘a light-read’. Because of the descriptive nature, the book appears to be somewhat slow at parts but once you get yourself immersed in it you’d be hooked till you read the last page.

As simply one of the best novel I had read so far this year, it is pointless to mention that I adored this book because clearly you would have figured it by now. Highly and utterly recommended!

Are Readers Becoming Extinct?

Nowadays, most people don’t read at all. Its a fact almost everybody (readers and non-readers alike) knows. What we want to know is why. I am writing this because as a writer (and an avid reader) I am genuinely concerned about the shocking decline of readers year by year worldwide. My major concern as a writer is getting people to read what I write. Without a shred of doubt, even a few years ago that would have been difficult. But today, it has become nothing but a daunting challenge.

Every year thousands of books are being published but sadly there are only a few (like me) to read them. When did reading go out of fashion? Nobody knows, really.

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As I sit here writing this, I can’t help but wonder what went wrong. From what I have seen, most of today’s youngsters does not like reading. Either reading has somehow detached itself from their 21st century lifestyle or they have completely detached themselves from reading. Now, that actually puzzles me. I meant to say that today we live in the Information Age and things has never been easier. Everything is, quite literally, a click away.

I won’t hesitate to say that the numerous opportunities made possible by advancing technology provides just the more reasons for you to read. For instance, if you dislike shuffling through the morning newspaper, you have the luxurious choice of accessing all the latest news on your iPhone. But how many of you actually read news alerts (or anything for that matter) through your iPhones? I highly doubt the number would be anywhere near impressive. Okay, maybe young people doesn’t like reading news. Period. There are like hundred other varieties of reading materials available on the Internet. Why not read them? News is just a small portion from the millions of choices available on the Internet like blogs and e-books. There’s always something for everyone and you know that.

Granted, not everybody will be interested in reading novels like I do. Some doubt themselves whether they can finish a novel. Since you read at your own leisure, does the size really matter? Not at all. For instance, I usually read before I go to bed every night. A few pages or few chapters a night. Now that I commute to the University almost everyday, I read on the way. Its quite rewarding in a way only a reader would understand. No offense intended. Truth be told, I’d be miserable without a book in my hand during my long commute. A newspaper. A magazine. A novel. Anything really. But the reality is quite disappointing in Malaysia or anywhere else I have been. Hardly anyone reads.

As most books are being made into movies these days, people prefer watching rather than reading. Has technology got the better of us and made us into lethargic creatures? For a non-reader, the answer is simple. Why ‘waste time’ reading while you can enjoy watching them. As a reader, I beg to differ. Most books adapted into movies are a disappointment because most often than not they fail to depict the true essence of the book. Then again, I am saying this in a reader’s point of view.

Pre-conceived notions like ‘reading is for losers’, ‘reading is nerdy’ or ‘reading is not cool’ can’t be changed. All that we need is a change of attitude. A positive attitude towards reading. And whenever that happens (if at all that happens), the world will be a much better place. Oh yes, Absolutely!

I dedicate this piece to all my reader friends, (namely Shazana Rahim, Azie Izzati, Andrew Ong, Evelyn Rose Windsor, Cheryl Stephanie and Petrina Jo) for their continued faith and belief in reading. Keep reading, my dear friends and you’ll be truly rewarded.

Not ‘A Perfect Getaway’

I am a huge fan of thrillers. In fact, I have high standards set aside for this genre. Why you ask me? Thrillers are supposed to be thrilling: give you the chills, make your heart race, make you jump out of your seat (the more the better), raise the hair on the back of your neck, give you the goosebumps, and last but not least, even though you think you are ready for the next scare, a good thriller will always out-win you. Now if none of the above applies to a thriller you have just watched (with high expectations in my case), it would be nothing less of a catastrophe.

That was exactly what director David Twohy’s new thriller ‘A Perfect Getaway’ was. A minor catastrophe. Even with an ensemble of talented cast including the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez, Timothy Olyphant, Steve Zahn and Marley Shelton, the movie fails to achieve the ‘thrill factor’ quite miserably. Blame it on the sloppy direction and tasteless storyline.

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The newlywed young couple Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are on their honeymoon in Hawaii where they come across two hitchhikers Cleo (Marley Shelton) and Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and get off to a bad start. Later, Cliff and Cydney learn from a group of hikers that a newlywed couple has been murdered and butchered in the island. While the killers are at larger, Cliff and Cydney contemplate whether they should head back when they joined another young couple, Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez). A long way away from civilization, they were left in the middle of nowhere in the company of each other, seeing one another as a threat and not knowing who to trust until a series of unfortunate events reveal one of the couples as the brutal killers. Pretty plain, don’t you think?

I had to admit, the director scores well with revealing the killers. In fact, that was the only high point of the whole movie. The pace of the unfolding story does not live up to a good thriller which mainly involves more or less of a guess game on ‘who are the killers’? While you contemplate yourself the likely killers, you’ll totally miss the thrill of it due to the blandness of the whole plot. Whatever happened to creating a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat while you are taken on a roller-coaster ride? Beats me.