27 July 2012

On Reading...

There was a time when I read books fast and forgot all about them even faster (even the great ones, no fault of the books themselves; solely mine). Then I started writing about the books I read, and it got a little better - some things stayed at least. Of late, I read books very slowly and often come to a halt when I encounter a line or two that make me think. I don't really proceed with the rest of the book for a while after that. I am stuck at that line, till it becomes too familiar to ponder over. I guess that's a better reading style than before. Very Zen-like, if you will!
One such instance happened recently with 'Doctors' by Erich Segal, a book I started reading simply because a cousin dropped it in my bag and I wanted to get it back to him quickly (without adding to the mountain of unread books lying in my room). Early in the book, one of the characters reads out a few lines by Ben Johnson (a contemporary of Shakespeare apparently and is the only person to be buried vertically in Westminster Abbey!!!) - though the context in the story is the death of a young child, the last line etched itself in my head as the most positive thing I have read in recent times.It goes...

"In short measures, life may perfect be."

You may not believe it, but I have now become so aware of those short measures, and therefore so much more grateful for my life as it is. I would have never ever appreciated the transitory moments of perfection or beauty or just a peaceful state of mind, if it weren't for this reading experience. Well, it may not last forever, this wisdom... but hey, didn't we just learn about short measures? enjoying it while it lasts :-)

1 March 2012

Dallas, Lieutenant Eve

eveMy one-time favourite fictional character, a creation of Nora Roberts writing as J D Robb. Eve is the protagonist in a series of books called 'in death series' - set in NY circa 2058, a time when real coffee, real meat, real chocolate, etc are luxuries and people normally eat soy-based stuff; communication is advanced, traffic is not just on surface but on air too. People use links and holos and VR goggles and fancy stuff like that. But one thing remains same - the business of murder. Since Eve is a homicide cop, each story is obviously a murder case but through the series you come across characters that develop and stay with you.
Its mostly about the personal journey of Eve into relationships and the life she makes with Roarke, who she marries early in the series. Its a story of survival from a gory past but not quite from the nightmares it causes. Its about the courage and sense of justice that drives the cop that is Eve. Oh yes, its also about her mean streak, stubbornness and extreme discomfort in social settings - dinners, conversations, gifts and get-togethers. Starting from a life where there is just one best friend and the job, Eve soon finds herself among people she comes to love and consider her own, and vice-versa.
Eccentricities like bad dress sense and aversion to decking up in any way, including getting a decent hair-cut, makes Eve all the more endearing. Some of her traits are even child-like, even if she is not so comfortable around children. It reminds that there is something to her beyond being the cop, even if she doesn’t realize it herself. All in all, Eve has become an integral part of my life, in a way that few would understand. I can almost guess what Eve would think / feel / do in specific situations and that’s more than I can say about some of my friends. For creating a character like this, kudos to Nora Roberts. In fact Eve has spoiled me for any other character the writer has ever come up with. I was wondering if someone will take it up for a telly series like ‘24’ but now I have found a near match in Kate Beckett of ‘Castle’ – happy enough!
p.s. also recycled from my other blog