The Fourth Giveaway and audiobooks

by Ahalya on September 30, 2009

How time flies, it was just moments ago that I was frantically refreshing my window, waiting for comments, staring despondently at my dog waiting for someone to say anything! And now! All the BUZZ! And there you were! With books on your mind!

So, here I am, with the fourth book, wishing I had more than seven this time, promising you that there will be more, just maybe not new books. But books. Before I ask you the fourth question: I listened to an audiobook today 🙂 The Bridget Jones Diary: Edge of Reason It was really good and all those British ‘Gah!s’ are better heard than read! The others I have heard are some novels by P.D. James, almost all the Roald Dahls, a few Christies, one BBC adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, I think. I like audiobooks. If they are read nicely, I love them. ‘Tis a pity there aren’t many places selling them here.

Ok, now that WASN’T the fourth question. The fourth question is, which books haunts you, made you feel bad? I will tell you the one I cannot forget – The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor. I read it when I was in college, and I swore never ever to read such a book ever again. I remember being absolutely dumbstruck with the horrors that were described in the book. And to think that maybe some of it was true… some of it happened to women… that is something I cannot deal with. I gave The Color Purple a wide berth for several years, till I finally plucked up the courage to read the first page, and then the first chapter, and then the book. But, I still cringe in pain when I think about the bad parts.
Oh and one more book, Schindler’s List. Need I tell you, how sick I still feel, thinking about it?

But, I guess these stories have a purpose, sad endings are maybe just as important as happy ones. What say? Which emotional wringer have you been through? Let it out, we are here, coffee/ tea in hand.

Same rules as before. Write more than 150 words if possible. Spread the word (and you could win a special book). Winners are chosen randomly. There’s a site called random.org that picks a name from the ones I enter into the list. If you have a problem posting the comment write to me: ahalya@literaryangels.com

I hope you are enjoying this… I am! 🙂

The winner for this giveaway has been chosen, but discussions can continue!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Divya September 30, 2009 at 8:25 am

Oh, there have been so many. Books and stories. While The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor and Color Purple by Alice Walker came to my mind first, for the sake of avoiding repetition, I’d talk about some other’s that also share the same stand.
When I read Possessing the Secret of Joy, a sequel of sorts to Color Purple, I felt revolted at the gruesome ‘customs’. What a ‘tradition’ to brutally abuse and destroy the women of the society? While the protagonist’ strength (in letting herself mutilated? Shaking my head, but that’s the way it is) stands out, it didn’t stop me from feeling utterly disgusted and cringing from time to time.
Then there is this short story, Christina Rosenthal, by Jefrrey Archer. Unlike most of his work, this seemed to have the least titillation. Sad to the extent of making me sob. A love story which ends with the death of the lovers. However, it is not that they die that wrings your heart. It is the constant, twist in the tale that gets the lovers this close and then far apart… not once but twice. You long for such love when you know it doesn’t exist.

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Vishal Devgon September 30, 2009 at 10:00 am

God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
Though its a wonderful book, but the sickness of the content – i just can’t ever go back to this book.
Heyy Ahalya your site is too good, the whole concept is so well put.
When reading a book its like living another life altogether. A good book has us hooked to it and we start living in the author’s world. And for days the taste lingers. I really wait for the moment when the book ends. Those few minutes after finishing a book and getting onto another task are so captivating. The whole book fast forwards and scenes from the book flashes vivdly and am just dumb. Mind goes blank has to put some effort to bring it out of its dazed state.

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Deepika Mital September 30, 2009 at 11:31 am

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is the most recent for me. Have always avoided these books on principle, because I know that they put me through an emotional wringer and I cannot throw off the feeling for weeks and months after.
I have enough other ‘real’ concerns, without adding to my list by reading such beautiful tales….even though my thinking mind knows that I am letting emotional sustenance pass me by.
These books are always on my ‘to read’ list, but never actually purposefully read, unless by divine intervention.
Ok, ok, I am a weakling – yes I admit it.

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Vishal Devgon September 30, 2009 at 11:38 am

I’m loving this book giveaway.

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Vishal Devgon September 30, 2009 at 11:40 am

Khaled Hosseni’s – ‘The Kite Runner’ was another book which made me go weak in the knees. I purposely avoid such books.

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Meenu Aggarwal September 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm

My status msg, immediately after I finished this book was:

‘The Kite Runner’ By ‘Khaled Hosseini’ – Can Even Move The Hardest Of Hearts!!! N Dat’s True ‘He S Nt Afraid To Pull
Every String In Ur Heart To Mke It Sing.’

N Ofcoz I wont read it again. 🙂

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~`aditi`~ September 30, 2009 at 11:49 am

There are many books I wouldn´t go back and read again, even though I thought they were important books. Blindness by José Saramago, for instance, is one such book. Actually, most books of Saramago, I don´t revisit. Whilst they all make sense based on their premise, and whilst they are all inventive and urgent, I find them disturbing. They never leave me happy.

120 days of Sodom Marquis de Sade is another such terrible book. I didn´t even enjoy it. Matter of fact I don´t remember if I even completed the book.

The Lord of the Flies. I would never read that book again either.

Fanny Hill is another depressing book.

However, the #1 depressing book, which I totally regret having read, even though it was well, a “good” book is — Requiem For A Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.

Incidentally, I find The Colour Purple a beautiful book. I don´t know. I guess I did cringe at certain bits. Overall though, it´s just lyrical. In fact, I convinced the kid I tutor to pick Beloved and The Colour Purple as book selections for her final term paper. We´re writing a paper on Africana Womanism. It´s liberating, if anything 🙂

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~`aditi`~ September 30, 2009 at 11:49 am

There are many books I wouldn´t go back and read again, even though I thought they were important books. Blindness by José Saramago, for instance, is one such book. Actually, most books of Saramago, I don´t revisit. Whilst they all make sense based on their premise, and whilst they are all inventive and urgent, I find them disturbing. They never leave me happy.

120 days of Sodom Marquis de Sade is another such terrible book. I didn´t even enjoy it. Matter of fact I don´t remember if I even completed the book.

The Lord of the Flies. I would never read that book again either.

Fanny Hill is another depressing book.

However, the #1 depressing book, which I totally regret having read, even though it was well, a “good” book is — Requiem For A Dream by Hubert Selby Jr. It´s bleak, bleak, bleak. All the way. Nothing good you can take out of it, AT ALL.

Incidentally, I find The Colour Purple a beautiful book. I don´t know. I guess I did cringe at certain bits. Overall though, it´s just lyrical. In fact, I convinced the kid I tutor to pick Beloved and The Colour Purple as book selections for her final term paper. We´re writing a paper on Africana Womanism. It´s liberating, if anything 🙂

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~`aditi`~ September 30, 2009 at 11:54 am

Oh, another author who is primarily depressing because of the sheer bizarre and twisted protagonists is Junichiro Tanizaki. Any of his books. I carried Quicksand with me on a beach holiday. I still can´t figure out why I did that to myself.

On the subject of audiobooks, you might wanna check out The Grapes of Wrath audiobook. Of course, nothing compares to reading Steinbeck, but it´s a good listen.

P.S: Kindly delete the first posted comment. I stopped it but it posted anyways.

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Meenu Aggarwal September 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Only The Best can make you feel Good or Bad So I believe that the book you like the most is the one which haunts u and makes u feel bad as only it has that capability to let your mind wander in the directions where it has never been. For me it’s Eleven Minutes – One big reason for me to understand and to like the movie “Laaga Chunri Me Daag”. That’s a wonderful book and I was deeply moved by this. It makes u realize the hidden truths behind a profession. N Yes, I would recommend it to everyone as it deals more with feelings than with acts. My fav. book, the best till date, made me to think and to feel bad for the central character of the book.

Another one being the “The Kite Runner”… An awesome book but again too emotional and too depressing at some stages. You actually feel like the whole story is going on around you and u being a part of that instead of just a reader. 🙂

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kunal September 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm

wel that is an easy one for me. my first Patricia highsmith. gossssssssssssh. cry of the owl[ i think thats what it was called]
for some reason, i sort of ‘became’ the narrator of the story and read the book in one sitting…and then suddenly, just before the end, the narrator dies[ sorry to have to burst anyones bubble here, but go to tel the reason why this is the book]
and i was……..shattered…i was in some sense…gone.dead.kaput.gosh.i just sat there, felt like a bomb had gone off and i was deaf[ dead too :)…]
the scene that comes to mind is adrian broody in the pianist when the bomb hits his building.
it was getting rather dark, and i was just sitting in a corner dumbfounded.
i then continued reading the book and ”became” again the new narrator and he too went through hell. and the whole thing left me totally shaken. i didnt and coudnt eat for a day and a half and hardly muttered a few words when spoken to.
never touched highsmith since.

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kunal September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm

had to study lord of the flies in school!!! crap 🙁

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kunal September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm

but i think it may be a good book. in the sense that it does show how human beings become violent, and their possessiveness, how religions start,etc. in that sense its brilliant. just not when ur 15…

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Ornella DS'ouza September 30, 2009 at 6:37 pm

The book I will never pick up again is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by the late Stieg Larsson. This book gave me the ultimate goose bumps. What shakes you here is the unassuming tone of the book. The beginning is a sober corporate fraud that a financial journalist tries to bring to light. When he fails he is backed by a corporate giant-Henrik Vanger to pursue the case on a condition-that he finds what happened to Harriet Vanger; his absconding grand niece since three decades.

Suddenly towards the latter end of this investigation-that is after three-fourth of the book is over; gory sex crimes come to light. The details of these heinous acts on the female victims is nauseating especially since the crimes are based on the psycho killer’s interpretation of verses from the Bible. And the description is not colourful over-the-top literary jargon. Since the book is transalated from Swedish, the text is simple straight-cut English; and this is what creates the scary impact. I remember wishing that no one- not even my worst enemy should ever endure something so brutal. A few sleepless nights followed after completion of the book.

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Swapna September 30, 2009 at 7:00 pm

You’re making us work hard. Plus I avoid thinking about bad stuff. I try not to pick up any books which seem to be about such stuff. So I’m hard put to find material for this question.
Hm. There was this absolutely horrible book I read last year, whose title I’ve forgotten but I think was called “The Children in the Attic” or some such thing, about a mother who remarries and hides her children in an attic for years until they manage to escape. Shudder. It is supposed to be a true story!
Any others? There are several books I wish had different endings, particularly fiction, because that’s the whole point, right? That fiction need not be true to life and full of unwished-for endings. For real life, I prefer travelogues (although one of those, Pico Iyer’s Falling off the Map was depressing enough), because they take you to places from the comfort of your favourite perching place.

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Puja September 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Guess its true… what they say about each one us having a unique perrception.. this may be a difficult question for some… for me it was the easiest… cos this is one area i avoid so studiously that i barely have anything to say on it… Books touch a chord so deep in me that many of them become a part of my being… in which case it certianly would not make sense for me to carry the haunting ones in me…
So… as fas as books that you make you feel bad are concerned, i avoid them like the plague… there is enough wrong with the world already and we get to hear of every atrocity through the newspaper, television and internet… i would want to keep books out of it… don’t want them to be the harbringer of bad news.. be it fiction or truth…love them too much to associate them with bad stuff….

Anyway coming back to the question, I have read three books that drilled a hole in my heart and no matter how many Sophie Kinsellas or Wodehouses I read the pain does not abate…

The most haunting….

Lajja by Taslima Nasreen….. it will take me a lifetime and more to erase the vivid and horrifying image of a young girl being forcibly carried from home with her parents fighting for her.. and yet not being able to save her.. her body is found a few days later… in water… distorted.. puffy…bearing the tale of her last horrendous hours of life….the anguish of a brother who wasn’t home… but then even if he had been there.. what could one person have done aginst many… For a long time I heard her screams and cried over the helplessness we feel when we are unble to protect those we love…..

As I write this.. i realise the power of the written word and it is not that i do not respect those who have given harsh realities a voice… after all we may escape the pain that human tragedy evokes by avoiding reading such books… but how do we escape the truth… the truth that there are those who had to live the pain and not just read about it…

Hey Ahalya, something cheerful and funny for tmrw…please….

C ya..

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admin September 30, 2009 at 11:46 pm

First up, apology. I know this question was rather ‘difficult’, I apologise for making you relive those sad memories. I hope it was cathartic though. And to tell you the truth, all the books you wrote about, they’ve been entered into the ‘Must Never Read’ List. And I promise to keep running away from books that are sad. I know it’s not the book’s fault :/
So, let’s put the joy back in the week and I have a weird question coming up. Plus, something amazing happened today, and I can’t tell you yet what it is, I will when I know for sure, but I have a feeling we are going to have lots more company soon 🙂

Puja: Yes, something not so macabre for the next post, I promise! I liked what you said, “there is enough wrong with the world already and we get to hear of every atrocity through the newspaper, television and internet… i would want to keep books out of it…” I know. I feel the same way. Have you read Alexander McCall Smith yet? There is something extremely reassuring about his books, I would recommend his books no matter what the time of day or life it is!

Swapna: The book sounds horrible! Did you read it all the way through? Are you one of those people who reads a book, because books cannot be left halfway??? Cease, desist!

Ornella: You really write well ya! I think you’ve summed up the book quite well! I found the book extremely nauseating and disturbing. But, I must admit I admire Lisbeth Salander. She is a very courageous woman and the best character I have read about in a long time. I wonder how the author imagined her. But, yes definitely a book that must come with warnings!

Kunal now that you’ve told us the end…… :> But, I don’t think I will
read the book, your words have scared me off rather effectively: “i didnt and coudnt eat for a day and a half and hardly muttered a few words when spoken to. never touched highsmith since.” I will comply! Glad to see you here again, thank you 🙂 I hope to see you tomorrow and through the week!

Dear Meenu, thanks for dropping by! I think Eleven Minutes sounds interesting. I hope I get to read it someday! I have Kite Runner on my table, hoping to read it soon, you think I should?

So Aditi, Junichiro is off limits, and 120 days sounds kooky too. But, I really want to know, do you finish a book you know is bleak? (I don’t) I just pretend, I can’t find the book one afternoon and pick something else up and read it guiltily. :/ Your paper sounds amazing! African(a) womanism! Yes, if there’s one thing I have learnt from most books written by African American writers is that strength that powerful sassy angry creative strength that they possess. Have you read about Mma Ramotswe?

Vishal I like the way you put it, “I purposely avoid such books…” hahahahaha. Yes, yes, me too. And yes, I agree that the moments after finishing a good book are quite an experience! And hey thanks for the encouraging words and the efforts you are putting into spreading the word!

Deepika, you are among fellow weaklings who hate going through the wringer as well. There shall be no stones cast here!!! all is forgiven!

Divya, it’s interesting that you mentioned a short story. I always wondered about them. I usually don’t like short stories, since I feel incomplete, like I didn’t brush my teeth in the morning. But some authors can really write huh. Doesn’t Archer always twist his tales?

Alright folks, it’s 12, I am moving to the new post! I hope this one is better. Please keep writing in!

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