My latest book is The One Who Swam With The Fishes.

"A mesmerizing account of the well-known story of Matsyagandha ... and her transformation from fisherman’s daughter to Satyavati, Santanu’s royal consort and the Mother/Progenitor of the Kuru clan." - Hindustan Times

"Themes of fate, morality and power overlay a subtle and essential feminism to make this lyrical book a must-read. If this is Madhavan’s first book in the Girls from the Mahabharata series, there is much to look forward to in the months to come." - Open Magazine

"A gleeful dollop of Blytonian magic ... Reddy Madhavan is also able to tackle some fairly sensitive subjects such as identity, the love of and karmic ties with parents, adoption, the first sexual encounter, loneliness, and my favourite, feminist rage." - Scroll

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26 August 2012

Paper Moon

I never thought I'd  be much of an ebook person. I'm old school, paper addicted, still buy notebooks, still buy pens from the little boys at traffic lights. I like to sink into my books, devour them, check to see how much is left, lie in bed squinting at typeface till my eyes hurt, prop my feet up on the coffee table (painted red about two years ago and which still leaves angry-but-painless red marks on whatever I rest on it), maybe with someone I like very much, and they're reading too, and sometimes we laugh out loud, and sometimes we say, "Listen to this!" and quote, but mostly, I admit, reading is an alone thing for me. This Saturday, I spent with my mother and I ransacked my old shelves and came home with books, and I've been dipping into Hobson Jobson with a bowl of chip-dip and a Cadbury Fruit and Nut, and it is awesome.

But, back to my Kindle. I wanted it so I could travel with it, but then, more and more, it began to phase out the paper in my life. It was so convenient, I get ebooks by the kilo (the gigabyte?) and I line them all up and read, read, read, everywhere, whenever I have down time. I'm never afraid of running out of books when I travel, or having to lug around anything heavy, my Kindle fits into my purse and has kept me company at many tables. The only annoying thing is having to switch it off at take off and landing (you don't have to do that with paper books) but no matter how much you explain to flight attendants that it's not transmitting any signal, they still want you to do it.

Exposition over, let me move on to books I have read and loved lately. I think you might too.

Gone Girl is brilliant. It's sort of part thriller, part character development and part breakdown of a marriage. There's a bit in it which stayed with me, about the wife, how she has to play a certain part with men and she says (and you've probably already read this bit, but just in case you haven't:

"Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl. Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men -- friends, coworkers, strangers -- giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them." (emphasis mine)

Read it.

How To Be A Woman and oh my god, I am in LOVE with this woman, because she rails against many things: marriage and fashion and babies (pros and cons) and Brazilian waxing and it's everything you've sometimes drunkenly rambled about if you're a feminist and don't shy away from the word 'feminist' ladies, it's not a bad word. You know what Caity says about it? HERE:

"We need to reclaim the word 'feminism'. We need the word 'feminism' back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42% of British women - I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of 'liberation for women' is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? 'Vogue' by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?” 

Read it.

Song of Achilles for some good old dude-on-dude action, especially if all this 50 Shades of Grey is making you a bit sick (and yet so turned on! WHAT IS WITH THAT BOOK? DEVIL'S MAGIC!). It's historical romance set during the Iliad, the ILIAD, so you can feel all smart and remember your college education and oh yes, there were hints of homosexuality between Achilles and Petroclus weren't there? Huh. That's how that played out, and if you did read it in college, you'll fall in love with Achilles all over again, except, because you were a weird teenager, you'll wish there was more Hector, ALWAYS MORE HECTOR, because Hector was all noble and he reminds you a bit of Eddard Stark, and you always felt sorry he (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) dies.
 Read it. But maybe when your boyfriend's out.

(Also, while I'm on the subject of Eddard Stark,  here's a video I've been watching all week. It makes me laugh each time:

And may I also offer up Hobson Jobson? My particular edition is purloined from my parents shelves (it's a lovely hardbound 1979 copy, which was a wedding present) and is described as "A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive." It's got some lovely out-of-fashion words in it, as well as the Indian (or in some cases, Chinese) root as well as a little story about the word. Particularly amusing to me, when I was flipping through it today was:
"Benighted, The, adj. An epithet applied by the denizens of the other Presidencies, in facetious disparagment to Madras." or the very solemn listing for "Crotchey, Kurachee, properly Karachi"
Read it.

And have a pleasant week with coffee and books.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi! Currently reading 'You are here' and that's how i landed here.. Quite an interesting mix of books, will surely pick em up next!


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