Monthly Archives: August 2012

Selective Reviews of Two Gems of a Book

Marriage is not only the world’s oldest institution, but it is also the most cultivated one. It has gone through repeated cross-checks and has faced umpteen hurdles to reach the present stage.

In the Medieval times, men reigned supreme and women took a rather subordinate role in relationships that were based more on financial and political standing than love. Love was in fact thought as a great evil and love-child were almost outcast, to refrain people from fostering relations outside marriage. Women were supposed to get a sense of protection from their husbands and live within their challenged limits.

Only when the Enlightenment came, and the younger generation fought for their right of choice, there was more love in the offing. The problem was that it also created enormous scope for divorce, as was feared. The system prevailed right up to 1960s, where society faced numerous upheavals over rights of legitimacy and love marriage.

In the 1980s, when the water settled down, and the mix of love and arranged marriage somewhat fused into the ambit, it gave rise to a third front, namely to cohabitation. People realized that they could marry only for sex and children, but both did not necessarily require marriage for realization. Women married less in states where divorce was disallowed. And, the whole social stratification changed as the old “male-breadwinner” logic went under the bus, in favor of share expenses that became the norm.  In this hullabaloo, marriage took a rough beating.

Stephanie Koontz beautifully puts emphasis on respecting people’s right of choice and decision of remaining single. However, she interprets in her book “Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage” that those who do get married should make an effort to nurture their relationship by responding to the various bids of attention. For sometimes, even a plain statement by a spouse can dig a hole in his or her heart if it does not get an adequate response.

In the context of marriage and freedom of choice for women to remain single, unmarried or divorced, another excellent book has hit the nail on the head. “Don’t Say I Do! Why Women Should Stay Single” by Orna Gadish is a brilliant perspective on the chances that today’s women have, without marriage. Thanks to the sexual revolution, science and technology of the information age, and corresponding mindsets of society that have been changed, marriage now is just one of the many available options. Almost 47 percent of American women are staying single, as they do not wish to fiddle with an unhappy marriage.

Couples in general, and women in particular, have the choice of cohabiting, or living apart, having a family with children, or enjoying the status of single parent. They vouch for financial and sexual independence in their lives and can explore other relationship options and family structures with more prescience. Marriage, which is on the decline, is no longer a yoke. It is not even a privileged choice. Thanks to upgraded changes, the modern woman can now look forward to breathing under a free Sun, where she has got the freedom of choice, love and expression. Both books carry a significant message for modern women and drive the point home with a bang.


Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Book Reviews


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Fifty Shades of Grey: Scratches On The Bubbling Hormonal Fears And Excitements That The New Generation Engenders

They suggest that the easiest way to catch an audience is to play on their basic instincts. However, it requires immense control of the pen to hold Erotica interesting throughout an elongated book. There are bound to be stretch marks! One has to accept, though, that E L James has endeavored to take a potent route and delivered with gusto through Fifty Shades of Grey.

The plot is simple; about an undergraduate (Ana Steele) being tapered into submission by a millionaire (Christian Grey); how she begins to fall into the plot; and how her hormonal changes connect with her relations with her best friend (Katherine Kavanagh). The storyline revolves around a bizarre sexual contract that Ana needs to stick to; fringing on the popsicle-territory of BDSM. In between, there are pricey gifts; email communication and that is where James shows his immaculate magnetic writing skills.

Yes, this domain has been intruded and with stark precision before. An analogy can be drawn between the tortured Bill Buffalo and how he turns demonic on busty girls to feed his ego in Silence of the Lambs. Also, in the same book, it was enterprising to discern how Hannibal Lectern laser-scans Clarice Starling’s fears and prejudices through poignant questions and shows her the way out of fear.

Here, Christian Grey has some supposed qualms from his childhood and takes it out on adolescents by being dominant. We stare at a grossly rich fellow who loves to stick to antiquarian measures to torture girls and yet he keeps her savvy with laptop and Audi. The whole environment is of such a crushing confusion that the naïve Ana, definitely not as surefooted as her friend Katherine, is bound to be intimidated.

There is distinct pleasure in being ruled by a powerful authority; it generates more pangs than dominating a weakling. Ana is bought over by the clinical surety with which Christian proceeds; stepping at bars, keeping her away from embarrassment and even spanking her into propriety. At the near-end, Ana even asks to be punished so that she can fully understand the nuance of this dominant game. However, it ends positively for puritans, as Ana leaves Christian to live with Katherine.

The reason behind the book’ popularity is the way it scratches on the bubbling hormonal fears and excitements that the new generation engenders. You want to get off the park and yet you wish to play the games as well. This Catch-22 situation is James’ biggest victory, as Fifty Shades of Grey spills into its sequel.

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Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Book Reviews


The Buddha Walks Into A Bar: An Able Assimilation of His Thoughts with Current Culture

Yes, it may produce some raised eyebrows, but it is only fair to say that Lodro Rinzler has come up with a remarkable book that changes the perception of lifestyle. The Buddha Walks Into a Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation is a ready winner, shaped for the young birds; and exalts the religion into multi-dimensional spheres.

Rinzler weaves his viewpoints in allegorical fashion utilizing the four Shamanic animals, namely, the Tiger, Lion, Garuda and Dragon. All these animals have certain splendid characteristics. The writer brilliantly fuses those traits into general life, suggesting how we can infuse them to achieve the highs in life.  He scores high on interest as well, bringing forth icons such as Superman, Wonder Woman and Honey Badger. The maxim that there is good and evil in every guy is brought lucidly into perspective here. The book seeks a pattern whereby we can enjoy our vices but not get carried away by it.

Lord Buddha himself, keeping the steadily vitiating times of His era in mind, preached the Middle Path. His vision encrusted that everything is fair when done in moderation. Lodro perhaps has gone a bit over the top displaying the Western Outlook of Buddhism, where it seems all right to fall into one-night stands and liquor. He just about appears to burn the brides there with his anti-puritanical suggestions, but modulates that with loads of positive attitude that we should inculcate first.

He has a relevant way of how to control anger; he has nowhere denigrated the precepts of Buddhism, as stressed in His eight-fold path. He has also propagated the idea of how to broaden one’s horizon and spread happiness beyond oneself. He has clarity on matters of health, well-being and keeping conflicting emotions at bay. Yes, his evocative writing reflects something of a dressing down for Hinayana, a revered sect of Buddhism; but let’s look at the bigger picture.

Buddha Walks Into a Bar is nothing but an assimilation of His wise thoughts into the current mixed principles. He rakes it subtly that religion and morality are fast taking a back-seat only because the current crop cannot hang to the strict precincts of penance, abstinence and pain.

He insists that we enjoy the daily activities; relish life on a bigger platter and imbibe His teachings with a deeper meaning. So what if we duly celebrate our life with some excesses, the Sky won’t Fall! The book is a must-read, particularly for the new generation.     

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Posted by on August 5, 2012 in Book Reviews