Saturday, July 3, 2010

On and on and on...

I think I probably think about writing a new post once every week... at least. Just havent got around to it lately. I guess most of April and May went in working out the details of Li'l S's birthday party. My son turned 5 in May, and we had a blast of a party. Thanks to brothers and friends who travelled distances to come down and make the day special. My parents, my grandmom, they all came down to Bangalore. Its a rich feeling to have people you love around you, and it made my boy's 5th birthday truly special.

Other than that, work as usual kept my all wrapped up. There were a couple of good books i read though. Finished Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel, last years Booker prize winner. It was a really good book, and also kindof challenging. Its densely populated with characters, full of the atmosphere of 16th century England, there isnt as much happening as you would expect from a book this size.. its close to 700 pages. But what it provides, is a wonderful character study of Thomas Cromwell, who grows from being the son of a blacksmith, to the king's right hand man, the most powerful man in England.

One section of the book is called Arrange Your Face, in which Cromwell realizes the importance of never showing his internal emotions on his face. Whether it is fury or sorrow, triumph or defeat, arrange your face to only show the emotion which is apt for the occasion, which will not allow anyone to truly judge what you are thinking. It is the one key point i took away from this magnificent book. Beautifully written and captivating.

Read Josh Bazell's "Beat the Reaper", excellent fast paced thriller about a former hitman trying to avoid being caught by the mob men he has been trying to avoid through the witness protection program. Its very funny and full of shocking details, most of them about the medical profession as our hero goes about his day as a doctor. A patient recognizes him from his past life and threatens to let his pursuers know about his location unless he can ensure that the patient doesnt die! But this would require a miracle since he has stomach cancer, all our hero can do is try to make him live a little longer than the 6 hours of life left for him!

Re-read "The Green Mile", Stephen King's wonderful novel about the happenings in a prison during depression-era America. Stephen King has a wonderful talent for making his stories believable, making you empathize for the characters and here he builds such a wonderful portrait of the guards who work at the prison, whose job is not just to guard the prisoners, but also ensure their last few days on earth arent any worse than they need to be. And in the middle of this, comes a new prisoner convicted of the most hideous of crimes, but who seems strangely unlikely to have really done something so awful.

Right now, I am re-reading another wonderful novel - "To kill a mockingbird" by Harper Lee, courtesy of a friend who loaned it out to me. Had read this book ages ago, probably in my teens, and always remembered its wonderful characters and the precocious naration by the little Scout Finch. But now that I have a child of my own, i can truly feel wonder at how perfectly Harper Lee captured the essence of childhood - the games which the kids make up together, the bravado of the older Jem Finch, the tiny Dill being forced to play character roles, Scout's complaints about her nanny Calpurnia and her teachers who always seem to misunderstand her. More than anything, I can understand the difficulty children have in expressing their opinions or feelings to adults, who arent all as bright and clear-headed as Atticus Finch. And this difficulty is also captured so beautifully by Ms. Lee. I truly feel its one of the greatest books ever written from the perspective of a child.

On to music then! My brother brought a few albums down for me, recommendations included Slash's new album, Kasabian, Chickenfoot and Chicane!

I have to say, I think Slash is just brilliant. The album consists of collaborations between Slash and a bunch of mostly comparatively newer musicians - including Adam Levine of Maroon5 on "Gotten", Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother on the brilliant "By the sword", Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge on the excellent "Back from Cali" and "Starlight". My favourites from this album are "By the sword", "Back from Cali", "Promise" with Chris Cornell providing the vocals, and a brilliant number called "Saint is a sinner too" which features indie-rocker Rocco De Luca. Brilliant album, check it out!

I have been listening to a lot more music too, and just want to add a song which I am completely possessed by at the moment. Its by the strangely, but fantastically named band Death Cab for Cutie and the song is "I will possess your heart"! Did you ever hear "Every breath you take" by Police back in the 80's and get the feeling that this has got to be the anthem for all stalkers?? Well, here is the new anthem for stalkers, circa 2010! At one level, i guess the lyrics could be thought of as relating to never dying love! But at another level, it sure seems a bit creepy! But as Brian Tellis, one of the first RJ's playing rock music on India's FM channel once said, enjoy the music but dont take the message to heart!

Here's the brilliant song by Death Cab For Cutie, with the fantastic moody intro. This intro has to be the longest ever, the vocals only start around 4.40 into the song! But love this song!

Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

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