Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cooped Up

It's that time of the year where we crane our necks looking at the handful of clouds that have migrated next to each other and strain our eyes trying to catch that first droplet of rain. So far, nothing. But then again, we haven't had much (any) rain in the past three years. Why do people claim that speaking about the weather is a downer of conversations? It's not. It's such a great opening that would lead you to things like "One time, I slipped on the rain stained marble at my university and broke my ankle" and from there, onto other escapades.

For disclosure's sake, I haven't slipped on any rain stained marble at my university. Well, at least haven't slipped and broken my ankle.

I have been reading lately, quite an erratic list. Several non fictions that I glide through, and read what marks my interest. And several fiction books that happen to be on my bedside table, or father's desk, or kindle's storefront. I'd like to try out an audiobook before the end of the year, so now I'm focusing my energies on searching for the best audiobook out there. Yesterday I read a whole book - Heads in Beds - on my iphone. Yes, apparently, you can read on that small screen, but you'll get tired switching the pages because there's just so little that you can display on that kind of screen. Speaking of Heads in Beds (My Review), I finally understand why my darling mother would always make a point of washing the glasses in hotel rooms before pouring water or drinks. And, I wish I had not read what happens to toothbrushes. Disgusting. 

My current kindle reading list

Here's my review of Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. His other book that I've read, About a Boy, had left quite an impression on me previously.

Juliet, Naked marks my second Hornby book, and while it was enjoyable enough, I liked the first one I had read - About a Boy - more than this. In Juliet, Naked we meet Annie & Duncan a couple who have been together for 15 years, and who reside in a small seaside English town, adequately named Gooleness. Duncan has always been obsessed with Tucker Crowe, a singer who stopped recording songs and went into 'hiding' many years ago. And while Annie appreciates Crowe's music, she has not yet reached nor wants to reach Duncan's level of obsession. Annie's relationship with Duncan leaves a lot to be desired, and now that she's 39 she invokes on a self reflective trip.

A period of self reflection is what Annie & Tucker seem to be going through, with a dosage of guilt thrown in Tucker's conscience. All three main characters regret a phase of their past, or all of it, and are coming to terms on how to handle the aftermaths of past decisions. I did not especially like any of the characters, but thought they were realistic. Duncan's character showed the least growth, and I personally wanted to clap a pair of drums on his ears to wake him up from his stupor.

Peppered with some witty dialogue, and writing that's engaging, it wasn't hard to read this book and for that I'm giving it 3 stars.

**SPOILERS**
Right, so from the very beginning it's apparent that Annie & Duncan are not fit for each other and yes, a lot of couples go through a phase where they hate each other (as Annie points out), but in this case, the hatred Annie feels stems from bigger issues (Duncan not wanting kids, for example) that can overshadow everything else. She has probably known for a long time that they don't quite click together, but stuck it out.

Duncan came across as very annoying, very lazy, very complacent and ho hum about everything except Tucker Crowe. People are obsessed about things, and will always be obsessed about things, but Duncan judges every one else through his obsession. When Annie wrote that scathing review, he started doubting how well he knew her, for example. He distances himself from other instructors at the college because he perceives himself a cut above the rest since he knows so much about Tucker. He cheats on Annie, but doesn't really feel any guilt. Just a sense of slight annoyance that his life would change from what it was.

Tucker's self reflection on how he wasted so many years and so much time was interesting to read. His lack of parenting skills and acknowledgement of that showed internal growth in his personality, but there was no reaction to that knowledge. It was like his thought process went from "Oh, I'm a horrible father" to "Well, who cares, no matter what I do it won't make a difference, so let me just go on as usual".

**END of SPOILERS**

Well, I would say that's enough reading for a day. Or reviewing, rather. I wish I was one of those folks who wrote reviews on the same day they finished the books. But I'm not. I review every couple of books together. The thing is, I review in my mind, as I read, but by the time fingertips come to contact with keystrokes, all the witty and quite intellectual sentences I had strung together seem to no where to be found.

Oh. Speaking of witty, there was a line in Juliet, Naked where Annie realizes her London friend and Duncan have a lot in common. It was quite hilarious.