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Showing posts from December, 2008

Retrospective 08.

While 2007 was awesome for me , 2008 was not. A lot of things did not go well for me and people close to me this past year, and I'm not even counting my writing failures yet. I won't go into my non-writing disappointments this past year but I will touch on my writing disappointments. Of the three resolutions I made earlier this year , I achieved none. No surprise there, really ... since when have I kept a resolution? But still! Pretty disappointing! I mean, I would have loved to have finished that novel and would have been blown away to be able to write 12 short stories, one for each month. As it stands, not only have I not finished the novel, I went and started another unfinished novel for this year's NaNoWriMo, and I didn't even finish that. I did write 5 or so short stories this year, but all of them are unfinished. Yep, 2008 was an epic fail and not a year I will look back on fondly. On the other hand, I did have more book reviews published this year than th

REVIEW: Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup.

This review was published in The Star on 28th December 2008 . Unusual Whodunnit Review by TED MAHSUN Instead of following along in the steps of a detective unravelling a crime, we’re given a different perspective in this simply-told but cracking good mystery. SIX SUSPECTS By Vikas Swarup Publisher: DoubleDay, 472 pages ISBN: 978-0385608169 VIKAS Swarup’s latest book, Six Suspects , looks conventional at a glance: a notorious mob tycoon, Vicky Rai, is murdered in his own house during a party, and there are six suspects. Sounds like a straightforward whodunnit, right? Not quite. Unlike most crime novels, this novel does not employ a sleuth; well, not it in the conventional sense, anyway. But then, Swarup is not your conventional novelist, either: he is a diplomat, currently posted in Pretoria as India’s Deputy High Commissioner to South Africa. His debut novel, Q & A , was also unusual in that its protagonist is a slum dweller who wins the jackpot on the Who Wants

REVIEW: The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb.

This review was published in The Star on 28th December 2008 . Revisiting Columbine Review by TED MAHSUN THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED By Wally Lamb Publisher: HarperCollins, 832 Pages ISBN: 978-0007290697 THERE’S a selection of the book-reading populace that thumbs its collective noses at books picked by talk show host Oprah Winfrey for her Oprah’s Book Club. I don’t get this. Shouldn’t one judge a book by its own merit rather than dismissing it just because one isn’t fond of the talk show host? I was pondering this after I finished reading The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb, whose previous two novels had both been selected for discussion by Oprah’s Book Club. It would be such a shame if Lamb’s latest novel is disregarded just because Oprah likes it! Well, those who hate her book club ... they won’t know what they’re missing. The novel is intriguing and enjoyable; it constantly reminded me why I enjoy reading. The novel weaves fiction and fact by placing its two

Tales of the Unexpected.

Well, that was unexpected. I not only have one, but two book reviews in today's Star. The other review is for Wally Lamb's Hour I First Believed . I only noticed when I went out to get my own deadtree copy. I'd have noticed sooner though if only Google Alerts wasn't being so choosy... Anyways! A few months ago, I was given an advanced review copy (or as they call it, ARC) of Wally Lamb's Hour I First Believed for review, but when I finally finished writing the review, MPH Bookstores, who provided the ARC, told me they decided not to have a promo for the book so I thought, well that's that. Maybe the review wasn't going to be published. Turns out the Star editors turned to another bookstore to get a promo discount coupon from them instead. Neat! So there you go. If you get a copy of today's deadtree edition of The Star, you'll get a 25% discount coupon for both Hour I First Believed , Six Suspects and even Vikas Swarup's earlier book, Slumdog M

I have a review in The Star today.

Dude, I totally forgot. I woke early today too – a rare event for me on a Sunday – to go to the dentist's. If I had remembered then I could have just picked up a copy while I was out. Dammit, now I have to make the long trek out to civilisation. Anyways, behold, a review of Vikas Swarup's Six Suspects , just for you .

That Post-Writing Feeling.

Ahh! I feel pretty good. I just finished writing a book review and it was the easiest peasiest book review I've ever written. Usually a book review would take me days to finish (sometimes even weeks !), but this one just took me 45 minutes. Can't say what book the review is for, because I haven't sent it in for publication yet. This isn't on commission so I won't know whether they'll publish it ... until they do. In the meantime, I'll be basking in that nice post-writing afterglow. It feels nice and warm!

It's December.

And before long it will be the New Year. Hurray. Well, NaNoWriMo was a complete and epic fail for me. It wasn't all a loss though. I do have the beginnings of a novel that I'm pretty excited to continue writing, but for now I'll have to shelve it because I'd like to continue writing the novel I was working on before November ... which was really last year's NaNo project. Anyways, did you hear the news? Syed Alwi passed away. What a bummer huh? I enjoyed immensely his play "Alang Rentak Seribu" and regret I haven't seen any of his other theatre productions. Al-fatihah.