Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Chekhov and Hosseini

Once upon a time there was a book I bought at a book fair two years ago which sat on my book shelf waiting to be picked up. Sometime ago, on a Saturday morning I picked it up and started to read it when I got bored of doing my French verbs.

For a reader like me who likes to visualize everything, the tone of the stories was a little difficult to adjust to. There are no flowing descriptions, just enough to get you started, visualizing the people, the places, the sounds, the smells and then the astute observations come with melancholic undertones as grayness wraps the words.

Having been swept in the world of
Anton Chekhov I have slowly come to admire his style of writing. There is an amazing detached quality, of watching everything from a distance as the characters struggle with their mundane, sad lives and putting it into words. It has to be read to be experienced.

And now I am so addicted to this big fat book which is a compilation of Chekhov’s greatest works, both short stories and plays, that every evening I come home from work, read a bit and then do anything else.

After my
Khaled Hosseini hangover this is quite a change.

Hosseini’s stories weave a visual magic. You can feel the wind blowing, see the blue skies, taste the Afghan food, the characters leap out and you feel their pain, their agony, their happiness.

And he has the distinction of being the only writer who made me cry. I remember bleary eyed, awake at 3.00 A.M reading about Amir and Hassan in the Kite Runner, tears streaming down my face, not caring I have to go to office the next day.

And for days I wondered if someone could be like Hassan and if such a man existed, what would he be like? Just like I imagine him to be? I am already dying to see the
movie version of the book and keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t disappoint me like most books-turned-into-movies have.

They are two very different authors, with very different styles of writing, generating very different reader reactions but both have one thing common - they have produced literary enchanting works.

So, my fellow bloggers, what have you been reading?


Meher :) said...

Haven''t read the ones by these two people as yet... wanted to read Kite Runner though.. heard it was a good book!

I prefer light reading, though sometimes, can end up sitting late in night readig a serious book when it gets really engorssing! More into Sidney Sheldon types :D :D :D

One book that I found a little wistful and yet very engrossing was John Grisham's 'The Chamber'. I thought it was a wonderful book...!

And if you are into light reading too.... I suggest you read VSEVOLOD NESTAIKO'S "TWO TOREADORS FROM VASUKOVKA VILLAGE". Its an absoluet delight to be reading that book an I strongly strongly suggest you get your hands on tat book :)

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey Meher,
I used to love reading Sidney Sheldons... haven't read them in a while... one of my favs were- the other side of midnigh', rage of angels, tell me your dreamsn...

My fav John Grisham book has been the runaway jury... the movie version was quite disappointing...

I'll defenitely try and get my hands on Vsevolod Nestaiko.. I love devouring books :D

Prasad said...

eerrrrr.....i jus read wikipedia!!

n.aka.zephyr said...

:D :D

Meher :) said...

Tell me your dreams is a wonderful book!! Though a lot of people differed with me on that!

Rage of Angels - have an ebook, so taking a LOOOOT of time to read it :D

And I dont think there have been any new books from him after Are you scared of the dark..! so been a while here too

Runaway Jury - I have been trying to get the book from somewhere actually! Hae The Pelican Brief right now.. but he start has been very boring.. haven't moved past the first 3 pages :D :D :D

Prasad said...

pxwnikpoo btw i also read tintin..astrix...harry potter...calvin hobes...tinkle...champak :DDDD

Vrij said...

As Ms Meher says, me too not much into heavy stuff! No wonder I red blogs!

Amongst the present day authors, I like Robin Cook the most. Being medico-legal books, I do undersand them well and can appreciate them.

My all-time fav is Sir Arhur Conan Doyle. I have lost count of the number of times I have read the Holmes myseries.

taureandude_23 said...

hi NG
well havent read Anton Chekov as yet, but have seen a couple of his short stories on tv n was quite impressed.

Khaled Hosseini, he is one authour i really really admire. have read both 'The Kite Runner' and 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'. needless to say, both books have impressed me beyond words.

i know what u mean when u say, the book moved u to tears. i was choked beyond words in dat part of the book when Amir agha comes to learn what had ultimately happened to Hassan. ditto with ATSS, poor Miriam!

Hosseini actually brought alive Afghanistan before me. the way he has described every little facet of the Afghan way of life, pre- and post- Taliban. i dont think any other book would have attracted me to read bout Afghanistan the way Hosseinis books have.

whats worth noticing in Hosseinis books is the significance of the settings, if the setting isnt in Afghanistan then its a completely different story altogether. i dont think i have read many books where the protagonists surroundings have influenced the flow of the narrative.

i did c a mention of 'Kite Runner' in the US top 10 movies list in da papers the other day. cant wait to catch it in the theatres here.

take care

taureandude_23 said...

NG n Meher
couldnt resist posting this comment after reading about Sidney Sheldon in your discussions. well thnx to mr.sheldon, i was introduced to the world of novel reading.
i have read all of sheldon's works, sans his last book [which was more of an autobiography]. best part bout his books are his strong character sketches. i tend to remember atleast 1 character from ech of his books, long after i have finished readin it;d dats sheldons magic.
reg his books, 'Tell Me Your Dreams', is my all time favourite for the awesome concept it actually introduced me to.
im srprised as i dont find you'll mentioning 'If Tomorrow Comes'[ITC], in the favourites;d if Bunty n Babli went to any con-school, then Jeff n Tracy would definately be princis in dat skool. ITC is one helluva con-game spcl novel.
then ofcourse there are 'other side of midnight' and 'memories of midnight' for the strong characters like constantin demeris, noella paige, napoleon chotas, elizabeth. 'naked face' for its awesome thrill ride. 'doomsday conspiracy' for the intelligence thrill. n many many more. ill end here as da comment is off topic;P
take care

moai said...


I have finished reading F. Pohl "Space merchants" and G.Lem "Solaris". This two are Sci Fi coated books but is the subject that far way?
I have read this two upon the "advice" of Salman Rushdy. Please refer to "Fury". Some more Sci Fi ahead.

I am really experiencing something stressing on my new job training and I miss time. Just the time to read and spleep. Computer and internet is from now on only for WE.

Take care, Enjoy Sarkozy and...

n.aka.zephyr said...

I used to looove reading champak when I was a child :) then I read tinkle, target, chacha chowdhry, pinki, even nagraj :D :D then came along tintin and teens today

Somehow I never became a fan of harry potter and astrix…

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey Vrij

Blogs r easy reading… am so addicted to reading some blogs religiously!!
I read a few robin cook books but somehow it’s a genre which I wasn’t drawn towards that much….

I absolutely used to love reading Sherlock Holmes.. hound of baskervilles, the speckled band, red headed league, adventure of silver blaze are some of my fav mysteries…

When I visited London I had to visit baker street but as you might know.. house no. 212 does not exist… Instead there is a souvenir shop where a Sherlock look alike sits on the chair with a hat and pipe, next to a fire place… all the tourists can get a picture clicked with him :D :D

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey TD

I agree with you abt Hosseini… even ATSS was so moving with delicately woven emotions… esp when Miriam comes home after spending the night outside her father’s home… its so heart wrenching…. I can write posts completely dedicated to the two books…

Good to see the movie version doing so well in the US… I am eagerly waiting for it to release here…..

As for Sheldon… ITC is one of his best books… infact u’ll notice how the main female protagonists are so strongly portrayed in his books…. I have spent many school days reading Sidney Sheldon, Jeffery Archer, Robert Ludlum, John Grisham.. I was simply hooked :)

n.aka.zephyr said...

I can’t believe I missed your comment… in my head I had already replied to it :D
TMYD was a good book… no doubt…I never got arnd to reading pelican brief..

Other Grisham books which I liked were The Client and The Testament… if u get time do read them….

n.aka.zephyr said...

Salut Moai!
Haven’t read either of the sci-fi books.. the only sci-fi book I liked was Asimov’s I Robot….

As for Salman Rushdie… have you read Midnight’s Children? It was one of the best books I read… the way so many characters move back and forth in time… each page of that book like a present waiting to be unwrapped.. so many unexpected twists and turns….

Don’t get stressed out at your job… take care!

P.S: Sarkozy visit was a damp squib… no Carla.. no controversy.. so fun for the media :D

P said...

Hey Sista :) Good one !!

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey Nysa
Is that you, sista??
If so >:D< >:D<

Pramod said...

Am no book reader, but the books i have enjoyed till date are eth ones suggested by a particular friend. I asked him to suggest a few more and the Kite Runner is one of them. He even got eth book for me and i have to start reading it. lets see how I go with that.

Sumit said...

Hi NG,

Well I am a terrible reader, in my school days, I could only read comics, and now I generally restrict myself to some blogs and mostly news. Still I bought this book "the world is flat" 2 months back, and whenever i get time i read this book, which is very very good. It's not fiction, but a short history of how world has changed in the last few years. It's information coming to you in a very reader friendly form.

Maybe a diligent reader like you can check it out!!

Cheers !

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey Rp,
Its a good book..
When u complete reading it... do let me know whether u liked it.... :)

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey Sumit,
Which were ur fav comics??

The world is flat is on my reading list... I have become a slow reader these days.. The amount of reading I have to do at work means I have cut down on my leisure reading... :|

P said...

Yes its me sista *Hugs *... :)

Me too have got a copy of the world is flat ,but no time to read it :(
nyways hows you ??

taureandude_23 said...

hi NG n sumit n P
and everyone who is reading 'The World is Flat'. i have read this book, and all i can say is that, if anyone wants to witness research at its best over a variety of fields, then this is the book.
Thomas Friedman has wonderfully covered how the economics of the world are slowly but surely changing, and how the world is going from unipolar to multipolar, with India and China leading from the front.
things like web 2.0, logistics, supply chain management, globalisation have been wonderfully explained.
its a definate winner.
take care

Anonymous said...

Hey Houdini ....

Here's wishing you a sooooper, splendid, rocking day ...

have a good day and a great year ... Happy B'day :)


n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey P
Why didn't u tell me u have moved to blogger? U shud have left a msg... I wud have dropped by....
>:D< >:D<

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey TD
Ab toh book padhni hi padegi... You've recommended it..

Btw came by ur blog... the pictures were really beautiful... you've inspired me to revive my photo blog again.... :)

n.aka.zephyr said...

MV key bacchey,
Thanks for wishes... :)
Long time, no see... kya haal chaal????
And u keep lurking here and don't even leave a comment... not fair :(
aisa nahi chalega....

Anonymous said...

hey banput ...

have been bz lately ... you know how it is after marraige .... ;-)

and me is maze mein .... tu suna kaisi hai ... kya chal raha hai .. tera mumbai ya singapore k trip ka kuch hua kya aaj tak ...

waise aaj kitne saal ki ho gayi ... (just taking my chances ;-) ... not expecting a reply ... or am i )

aur party kaha hai aaj??


n.aka.zephyr said...

Marriage??? :O
Mai theek hoon.... Kaam chal raha hai as usual... :D
I was in Mumbai and then travelling in interiors of Maharashtra last week for a story... bahut hectic trip tha.... :)

I was supposed to goto s'pore in the last weekend of feb but it got cancelled :|

aarey.. asking a femal her age??? hadd hoti hai :P :P chal bata deti hoon... i have lived a quarter of a century...

no party in mid week.. just some friends r coming over at my place...

and keep dropping my here... okies...

tc mate!!

lostpatrol said...

Cha Fra, a Konkanni playwright, novelist and short story teller and a childhood friend of mine, interested me in Chekov while I was still in college.

I haven't read anyKhaled Husseini, but your recommendation counts.

Jitu said...

Hi NG,
Belated Happy Birthday dear. :) >:D<

Kamesh said...

Hi N :)

Sorry, hv been away for long.. life's been damn hectic..
How r u?
And when was ur Happy B'day?? Belated wishes, though :)

with the kind of work i m into, i don't get much time for reading.. but i like reading management books or business magazines when i get a chance..

hope to come back soon.. take care :)

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey LP,
long time, no see.. hope u are doing fine!!

I haven't been exposed to regional writing much exept for some bengali and south indian writings translated in english...

But do read Hoesseni's books if u get a chance....

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hi Jitu,
thanks for the wishes!!
and welcome here :)

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hi Kamesh,
Long time, no see... kya haal chaal??

I am doing good... My b'day was on the 5th.. same as Abhishek Bachhan:D
Thanks for the wishes!

The only business/management books are read were lee iocaca's biography and c k pralad's bottom of the pyrimid... bas!

u tc as well and keep dropping by here when u get time..

tejbir said...

dont know about hosseini but i got hooked to chekhov when in school we had his short stories as part of curriculum for two years in a row and i think i have done this tome containing many of his short stories and a few plays that you bought "once upon a time" (and that is 2 years back!!!!!!!!! - LOL - like your bag your time too seems to have huge proportions!!!).

anyway, it seems o3 admins troubled u a bit too much, u have completely moved over to here :)

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey Tej,

Welcome here! I never had the opportunity of reading Chekhov in my younger days... So I glad to stumble this treasure recently... :)

I also refer to teenage years/ younger days as ' many years ago' only to have people remind me - 'what do you mean when i was younger?'... u see i can still pass off as a school girl :D :D
yeah...my huge proportions are quite diff from the regular ones... :D

the o3 admin pissed me off sooo much, i moved bag and baggage (including the rucksack) here :)

hope to see u coming here often...