Saturday, February 25, 2012

You gotta take the Bookworm's Word !

Before I explain what this post is all about, I'd like to post an update on my health for those who care. So you read about my twisted ankle and the related frustrations about 20 days ago. I'm glad to be able to say that it's much better now. Except for that little pain that is part of my ankle now, the sprain is almost gone. But you must know me better than to believe that I'm finally fit and fine. Far from it actually. The twisted foot was followed close on heel by a God-only-knows-how-it-happened stomach infection that hasn't gone away even as I write. Loss of appetite, nausea-like symptoms and cold and cough very graciously accompanied, leaving me gastronomically deprived of all my foodie pleasures and orally challenged so as not to be able to even sing for a few days. Gosh...I do sound like a big house of illnesses now that I read what I'm writing!

With that done, I come to the thing that is getting me all excited right now. I've been thinking a lot these past few days. Given the amount of reading I've done in these twenty odd years and the rate at which I devour books, as also how strongly I feel about every book I read, why did I never think of writing reviews on my blog before?!

I personally always prefer to read a decently written review of a book before I shell out money to purchase it. (Reading a borrowed book without a review never hurts, I maintain.) A well written review always makes for some healthy debate and sharing of views among fellow readers.

And so, for none of the aforementioned obvious reasons but purely out of a sudden whim, I hereby introduce another new segment on my blog - The Bookworm's Word.

Under this label, I'll review books that I found to be worthy of my time and probably you would too. Not being one who feels very strongly against any book (they're BOOKS after all), I usually let bad writing slip my radar of criticism (except for really extreme disasters!) I'll strive to review the best of my reads, mostly classics, as first priority, only to launch into wider territories as I proceed. I invite honest feedback on this brainwave of an idea. Let the bouquets and the brickbats flow in!

In the meanwhile, coming back to where I started from - illnesses - I read this really amazing book once and can't help but quote an excerpt that makes a lot of sense to the case in study (being mine).

It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt.

I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch - hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into - some fearful, devastating scourge, I know - and, before I had glanced half down the list of "premonitory symptoms," it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.

I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever - read the symptoms - discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it - wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus's Dance - found, as I expected, that I had that too, - began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically - read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright's disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid's knee.

I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of slight. Why hadn't I got housemaid's knee? Why this invidious reservation? After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed. I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and I grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid's knee. Gout, in its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me without my being aware of it; and zymosis I had evidently been suffering with from boyhood. There were no more diseases after zymosis, so I concluded there was nothing else the matter with me.

Excerpt from Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) - Jerome K. Jerome.

Yeah, those parentheses are very much part of the book title! The e-book is available online and you may download it here (look for the little red download box on the right, it took me forever to find it!) This is one of the funniest books ever written. Written way back in 1889, it is a humorous travelogue chronicling one of the author's holiday boat trips with two of his real life friends, while not to forget the adorable little dog too. No slapstick humour, no nonsensical mockery, no sarcasm - this book is the ultimate classical unadulterated comedy that will have you in splits at the sheer incongruity yet funniness of all that happens with these 3 friends. A sure must-read for every literature enthusiast. And for those who think this isn't really their type, trust me, it would be a welcome change from all that &%^$*#*@ stuff being churned out everyday by the bandwagon of 'young and modern' Indian writers led by our dear old management graduate cum investment banker, Chetan Bhagat. You seriously need to start reading something...erm...finer.

P.S. It feels good to sometimes know that you've been missed. I get to hear these words a lot less often, so it's all the more special to know at least some of my readers really notice my absence. Thank you, Furo!


Anonymous said...

get well soon :)

Stay Blessed ^_^

Mahima said...

Thank you so much! :D

Anonymous said...


I'll read it all again when I'm more coherent and less(er) lazy and give you a slightly useful response. but for now:

:( do you realise how bad it is when what you're going to write comes so close to what someone else writes.. not a good feeling.. :-/ and it doesnt help that we think somewhat similarly.. anyhoo... enough with my emotional atyachar (senti mat hona :P) book reviews are a great thing to do.. and 3 men in a boat is an excellent choice to stars with. wonderful book, indeed.

Mahima said...

@Garima - Hahahahaha...what are you doing, commenting so late in the night in a half-asleep state, that too under your real name?? What is up girl? ;)

And yeah, I wouldn't really know how that feels, given that you seldom ever write, and rarely ever on similar lines as mine. So all I can do is..well..sympathize. :P

Glad that you've read Three Men in a Boat though. I hardly find people today who read such classics. That is why I sometimes feel we were born conjoined twins and somehow got separated aft birth. (pardon the imagery :P)

Cartic said...

Well, that is a good thought to start writing reviews. I would like to recommend this site, if you are the one who reads reviews before buying, say a good book.

I wish you get recovered soon.

And yeah, liked this part of the review - "this book is the ultimate classical unadulterated comedy that will have you in splits at the sheer incongruity yet funniness of all that happens with these 3 friends". It sounded like an author's review!

Mahima said...

@Cartic - Author's review? That really sounds like appreciation for my first review. Thank you so much. :)

Do read this book Three Men in a Boat if you haven't yet - I guarantee you won't regret it. And as for the reviews, I do have an account on Goodreads. But I usually prefer to just Google the name of the book and read a few reviews that pop up. Easier that way!

Cartic said...

Will take your word about that book. I recently came across goodreads, so thought of letting know some like-minds as well. The best part of that for me is the creation of the online shelf!