Well, now I am into 3 book formats at a time – and you’ll see why.
I completed the Victoria Hislop book more because it was the only book with me on my travel over the week end. Its a straight forward story with fairly 2-dimensional characters. The writing style is also not anything exceptional – but there is a tale and so, once you start, you need to get to the end of it, to find out what happens to everybody. In this book, actually even that is not every compelling, as the momentous events happen in the middle of the book – nothing much is left to wait for. The interest in the story was mainly the setting and the period – a Greek coastal town through the 2 great Wars, and the civil war during the immediate post-WW II years. A town with equal numbers of Christians, Muslims and Jews saw the exchange of the Muslin population with the Greeks settled in Asia Minor, at the end of the WWI. And then the loss of the Jews to the Nazi occupation during WWII. By the end of it all, many hundreds of thousands were dead, and the town had become a Greek (meaning Christian) town!! There have been massive human migrations and genocides, forced by religion, through out the 20th century. But this one was one of those I had never read about!! It is ironic that current Europe, considers itself above ethnic killings and genocide – how quickly the past is relegated to history!! I actually bought this book, I think attracted by the locale and period. While I don’t regret the buy, I probably will not be looking for the other books by Hislop.
This book I am reading on my Kindle. It has been widely appreciated for its poetic language and is a translation from the original in Urdu. It is a well researched book, and takes one back to the elegance of the nobility and life in the early part of the 19th century, in a rather romanticized way. I have started this book before and given it up – for the very same reasons that I am struggling a bit to make progress this time around as well. I can almost feel the flavor of the language and style of its original Urdu prose. But, even in this sensitive translation, the long descriptions of the Kashmir winter , the beauty of the paintings etc… it is cumbersome, at least for me. I will struggle through it, since I rarely like to give up on a book and aloo because I want to know what happens to the beautiful heroine of the story. I shall report on that next week.
I must comment here on one of the disadvantages of the Kindle. This is a story spanning more than a hundred years with many characters and complicated relationships. There are family trees at the beginning of the book, and as the story proceeds it becomes necessary to re-look at these. And that is a difficult task on the Kindle – even if you book mark the pages, you cannot switch back and forth easily. How I wish I was reading the hard copy!!
The 3rd book I have started is a NYT bestseller – selected by a book club which I am exploring.I have not attended any of the meetings, but hope to do so this time. In any case, one of the members mailed the book to me and the iBook format is on my phone and laptop!
So, its a little bit of a digital maze at the moment – I am not sure how many of these formats are there and what is the compatibility etc… but will learn as we go along.