Good Reads, Bad Reads

I have been reading a great deal recently, much to my delight! Also the fact that I am wandering through my home country with absolutely no responsibility makes reading all the time even more easier. I am not kidding. Try delving through a 400-page novel as the tensions of laundry and cooking and grocery shopping weigh in on you! Of course, the absence of Netflix, Hulu and a high-speed internet connection help a great deal!

In any case, I managed to read some books over the past 2 week or so — one in Austin, the other two pretty much in Mumbai. Here is a short summary.


OPEN, Andre Agassi

I recently borrowed and read Agassi’s Open — one of the few autobiographies that I have read. My roomie is a big autobiography fan, and I recently managed to read Craig Ferguson’s biography too — again, borrowed from my roomie. Craig’s bio was interesting, especially owing to his more than colorful life — it was decently written, but nothing special. Agassi’s,on the other hand, was fantastic. I managed to finish the whole book in 3 straight sittings over 2 days! I was floored by the language and the pacing of the novel and its black humor — especially given that Agassi has not been educated beyond the 8th grade…then I read the afterword and realized that it is in fact written by a Pulitzer prize winning author, who did not want to append his name to an autobiography. Thank God. The world makes sense again. The book is a SUPERB read, well-paced and scandalous enough to attract even the most averse readers. I highly recommend this, even if you do not enjoy tennis as much!


And Thereby Hangs a Tale, Jeffery Archer

The latest collection of Archer’s short stories, most of which are based on true-stories, is possibly one of his weakest works ever! It is well paced and gripping, as all Archer noels are, but there is something missing from this collection. Not one of the stories was interesting and I cannot even recollect a single one. There is one story set in India — that one is as bad as the others though! The first story is possibly the only decent one, although the ending was an easy guess. Go and read Archer’s older collections or any story by Roald Dahl. SKIP THIS!


The Great Indian Novel, Shashi Tharoor

A wonderful confluence of the Mahabharata and modern Indian history, Tharoor’s novel is a wonderous journey through English literature. His language, his style and the scale of the novel itself are sufficient incentives to go read this one! He has a neat cohesive plot going for him, and this Wodehouse-ian humor and irreverence/irrelevance makes this a fantastic read. The ending could have been a bit better though — it seemed a bit rushed to me. My first Tharoor novel and I am very impressed!


Now on to the others in my pile…