Books: Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger'sLook Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a moving memoir about living with Asperger’s syndrome. John Elder Robison, who wasn’t diagnosed till he was 40, describes a painful childhood due to his inability to pick up on social cues. Having a dysfunctional family didn’t help. His only comfort: an uncanny ability to tinker with machines and make them work. I found some chapters a bit repetitive, but there is little doubt that younger brother Augusten Burroughs is not the only writer in the family.

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Book: Transmission by Hari Kunzru

TransmissionTransmission by Hari Kunzru
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hari Kunzru’s second novel is the story of Indian programmer Arjun Mehta who loses his dream job in America when the IT bubble bursts. He will do anything to stay in the United States, even if it means creating a computer virus featuring the dancing figure of Leela Zahir, his favorite Bollywood actress. “Transmission” seems to have underwhelmed readers, but I think it’s underrated. On the whole, this 2004 novel is a compelling read and not just for geeks. Its biggest flaw – a caricaturish British entrepreneur who gets caught up in the havoc unleashed by Mehta.

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Book: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass CastleThe Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a powerful memoir about growing up poor in the Walls household – with eccentric non-conformist parents who had no interest in feeding their children. The Walls siblings moved to a new town within the United States or slept in the car each time their charismatic but alcoholic father lost a job. Jeannette Walls’ story is one of resilience and coping with hardships in an unsympathetic world. Looking forward to the Hollywood movie adaptation releasing in August 2017: Brie Larson as the adult Jeannette with Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts playing her parents. I smell some Oscar buzz already.

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Book: The Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh

The Complete Stories of Evelyn WaughThe Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh by Evelyn Waugh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This underrated British writer is a master of short fiction. The enthralling collection includes the story of an explorer who is lost in a remote Brazilian jungle and finds himself the prisoner of an illiterate native who wants him to read aloud the works of Charles Dickens – a storyline that was later expanded into Evelyn Waugh‘s novel “A Handful of Dust”. Waugh’s body of work would have merited a higher rating were it not for the dull opening story, but I persevered and my patience was rewarded. My only other grouse was the inclusion of fragments of incomplete novels, which serves no purpose and detracts from this otherwise brilliant collection.

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Books: "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One DayMe Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

David Sedaris is at his wry best in this collection of autobiographical essays that mostly deal with his moving to Paris. All the essays are enjoyable but my favourite is one where American tourists travelling on the Paris Metro mistake him for a pickpocket.

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Books: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wanted to read Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel before watching the television adaptation. I have been let down by hype before, but “The Handmaid’s Tale” lives up to its fame. This is a powerful and hard-hitting tale of a theocratic dictatorship that may have seemed far-fetched back in 1985, but is entirely plausible in the new world order of 2017. Highly recommended.

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DEAD CELEB INTERVIEW: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn 1956Audrey, did you read this newspaper feature about Christie’s auctioning your stuff?

Hand me my purse, will you, darling? A girl can’t read that sort of thing without her lipstick.

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