nose buried in quite a few books. This year has started on a reading high even though my reviews hardly reflect that. Sometimes, I just feel so lost in the book and the million thoughts that loom over my small head that I fail miserably to makes notes of it. How do I note down a gazillion questions that don’t find answers but give rise to more questions? Anyhoooo, I better gather the scattered thoughts and start writing about my reading experience before I close this window for another day.
Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle
I chose this for 2 reasons: the title (Tquila mockingbird from To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee) and the phrase “literary twist”. Yeah, I choose books like that. It sounded so tempting that I bought it on my Kindle at 3A.M. one fine morning. To summarize in one word: I loved the book. I loved the wit, the precision, the information and just the way it has been brought together in neat little chapters that have brilliant wordplay with literary gems and end with food/drinks. What’s not to like, right?
The book consists of 5 parts namely, Drinks for the dames, Gulps for guys, Bevvies for bookclubs, Refreshments for recovering readers and Bar bites for book hounds. Each drink recipe is assigned a very witty name associated with a particular book e.g. Love in the Time of Kahlua is a wordplay of the book “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez. Each recipe comes with a satirical description of the book it is named after followed by the recipe and measurements. I don’t enjoy alcohol and I am the one who orders virgin everything or sip on some wine occassionally. Nevertheless, I loved this book. My favourite section was ofcourse the one on bar bites. I actually marked a few recipes. Read it for the wit, read it for the unique way it has been written and for the sheer joy that the names of drinks such as The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose, The Last of the Mojitos, Love in the Time of Kahlúa, Romeo and Julep, A Rum of One’s Own, Are You There, God?, It’s Me, Margarita or Vermouth the Bell Tolls, all named after books, brings. Go on, read this one. One of those rare times when you can have your drink and read it too!
The man who was Thursday: A Nightmare by G.K.Chesterton
I picked this up to read on my Kindle as well because I loved the intrigue and curiosity that the title created in me. Plus, I love Chesterton. I grew up listening to Bernard Shaw and Chesterton’s wit by pa.
The book begins in the most interesting of ways. Two passionate poets argue about the society, its good and bad. The focus is on whether chaos should reign the world or order be the true characteristic of mankind. Starting from this, we are drawn into the heart of anarchy characterised by several events and people where none can be expected to be who he is. The main protagonist, Syme, a policeman/poet joins a bizarre group of anarchists. These anarchists each have a name of the week as their title and Syme is given the title of Thursday. The events leading up to this itself are very amusing. However he quickly discovers that it may be harder to hide who he is in the group as he discovers some surprises about the anarchists themselves.
I was piqued to know the ending, to say the least. But the ending I must say is not easy to comprehend. It wasn’t for me. I tossed and turned in my sleep because I wanted to find answers. The book is an allegory. It is also a symbol of fight between law and order vs. anarchy. While the book was written more than a hundred years ago, the question still holds true today. Apparently, when Chesterton wrote this book, the threat of anarchist movement was large. Even to this day, we have a lot of forces that fight law and order/ go against it. But different readers feel differently about the ending the true meaning of the book. There are several explanations offered – Christianity, Communism, experiencing pain to reap the good and so on. But I never really understood the book in its entirety. What started off as a good James Bondery expressed in unique detail with superb wit (as always!), turned out to be one seductive web that threw questions about life and society. What I also inferred was the masks people wear to hide/protect themselves from others. We aren’t what we show ourselves to be.
The book is written beautifully. The story moves in and out of locales and yet does it with such finesse and fluidity that not many can boast of. I loved Chesterton’s language and the ubiquitous humour. Sample this:
His respectability was spontaneous and sudden, a rebellion against rebellion. He came of a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else. His father cultivated art and self-realisation; his mother went in for simplicity and hygiene.
I wouldn’t recommend this book for everyone. If you enjoy an allegory, some drama, some mystery and a blend of the remaining genres all in one, do read this one. And when you do, please tell me what you make of it. I am yet to sleep in peace.