Monthly Archives: June 2011

2 States: The Story of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat

This is the first book I have read written by an Indian author for an Indian audience still living in India. Chetan Bhagat is quite a famous writer in India. Aside from selling many copies of his novels, two of them were made into Bollywood (Indian Hollywood) movies. One of those movies – 3 Idiots – had cross cultural success, with Indian-Americans going to theaters in droves to watch it. I would actually recommend it to non-Indian-American audiences as well. It is a wonderfully directed/written movie, the actors are good, and the songs are entertaining. Did I mention that all Bollywood movies have songs and dance routines? Yea, they do.

Anyway, back to the book. Me thinks this may be based on Chetan Bhagat’s life. I mean, aside from the title saying “the story of my marriage,” the characters bear a striking resemblance to people in his own life. Before I can really get into the story told in this novel, it is important to have an understanding of arranged marriages. And I don’t mean the superficial understanding that leads people to say stuff like, “How can you get married without loving somebody?” or “You’re letting someone else choose your life partner for you?” I’m not saying these aren’t valid questions. I just want to give you a fuller picture of the concept. At one end of the marriage spectrum is the historical context of two people getting together in matrimony. Marriage often served a political purpose. People exchanged heirs to maintain peaceful relationships with foreign powers or tribes. Many people are involved and the two people in the center of this exchange aren’t so much consulted as told of the impending match. Two people coming together for love is on the complete other end of the spectrum. Here, nobody except the two people involved consult about the match. Arranged marriages are somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. These marriages involve the coming together of two families that share common beliefs, cultural practices, languages, etc. The bride and groom are consulted, but everything is seen through a familial lens: how will this person fit in with my family?

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Five Minutes with Marcus Sakey

Marcus Sakey

Marcus Sakey

Marcus Sakey is the award-winning author of five crime novels, three of which have been optioned as films.  That leaves two titles still available, if you act quickly and outbid the hordes of Hollywood people who are surely planning to snap them up.  His newest book, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, is set to be released on June 9th.  (Our review will be posted early next week.)  Sakey lives in Chicago, where he will be celebrating his book release at Printers Row Lit Fest on Saturday, June 4th, and at The Hidden Shamrock on Sunday, June 12th.  He was kind enough to spend some time with us to talk about his new book, his forthcoming TV show, and more.

[Booksellers Without Borders]: Why should anybody buy your book?

[Marcus Sakey]: Because my mother will publicly shame you otherwise?

Although that’s true, I owe you a better reason, or at least one that doesn’t require Mom to travel so much.  To me, a good book manages to do two things — first, entertain, and second, leave you thinking.  Now, I’m not sure I accomplished those things, but they were at least my goal.

Also, the novel has no f@#&ing vampires in it.  In this day that should be worth something, right?

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Book Trailers Worth Watching

In case you weren’t aware, the 2011 Moby Awards were presented last night.  I know what you’re thinking: the what awards?  The Moby Awards are only in their second year of existence, commemorating both the very best and the very worst in book trailer videos.  Winners receive a gold sperm whale to celebrate their superb or superbly bad book trailers.  Formal attire is recommended.

I’m fairly ambivalent on the subject of book trailers.  I can’t remember a single instance where I saw a book trailer online and thought, wow, now I really need to buy/read that book!  This is probably because I never seek them out; I am most likely to stumble across one while looking up information about a book I know I’m already interested in, or already own.  I’ve certainly seen some entertaining book trailers, and we periodically post them with our reviews on this blog.  But the best advertisement for me is the book itself or a trusted friend’s recommendation.  I don’t look to YouTube for additions to my TBR.

So I am not certain how useful book trailers are in the first place.  Feel free to weigh in if you never buy a book without watching its trailer first, or if that is your main source of reading recommendations.  But I’m willing to bet that’s not the case.  You see, we’re readers.  We don’t need to watch a video to convince us to read a book; we simply pick up the book (or read the summary, sample page, and reviews online) and decide if it speaks to us.  And when it does speak to us, it most often says, “Take me home with you!  I’m cute and I like to snuggle.”

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Posted by on June 3, 2011 in Industry News


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