Click on the image for more information... Click on the image for more information... Click on the image for more information... Click on the image for more information... Click on the image for more information... Click on the image for more information...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Te Amo... I Love You by Rohit Sharma

Te Amo... I Love You by Rohit Sharma

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

ISBN: 9789350880128


WINNER OF DEBUT AUTHOR OF THE YEAR 2012 - BY Butterfly and the Bee Literary and Book Marketing Agency.

It is about two people - Aryan and Isabella - and their love journey. Aryan is not the one to believe in love. He had his reasons. The harsh marital results of his parents was one reason. But that was only until he met Isbella, a Spanish beauty. Unknowingly, both fall in love and get closer to each other like never before.


Isabella's father had already fixed her marriage with his business partner's son, Ethan. Ethan was a guy not to messed with, so Isabella in an attempt to save her love, Aryan, she gives in for her parents' decision and gets married to Ethan.

Ethan was also a brute. The cruelest when it comes to love. So Aryan decides to save her love, Isabella from him.

Will he succeed in doing that? By sacrificing her life, did Isabella really saved Aryan's life? What will happen to their eternal love?

My take on the book:
Actually, I have won a give-away of this book on GoodReads.com . A signed copy by the author himself, Rohit Sharma.

The first feeling I got when reading this book was that it so similar to the movie 'Kites' starring, Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori. The female protagonist is a Spanish beauty  The lead character, Aryan, is an Indian. Both love fall in love with each other incidentally but there is the problem, same like in the movie, of the female protagonist fixed to another rich, influential and evilistic villain.

The most irritating aspect about the whole book is you would find at least a couple of 'Gracias', three 'Te amo's and innumerable 'Love you's every page. I have never read Cecelia Ahern or Nicholas Sparks but if romantic novels are meant to be like this then I prefer giving away my copy of 'The Last Song'.

First of all, the book is 300-pages thick and the font size is so small that it could easily scare the day-light out of me. I got this book on a give-away, that was the only reason I started to read this book.

Every scene in the book is detailed. I felt such a description is very much unnecessary and the whole concept of saying 'Love you' every second line got on my nerve. I think it needs a good editor, actually they call them trimmers, who could cut off the crappy part of the book. I am sure after the trimming the book will be reduced to half.

At one point of the story, Isabella, who will be then the wife of Ethans - the villian - will elope with Aryan to Canada. For about more than 6 months, they spend there, never once giving away a clue to Ethans. And for those 6 months, Ethans keeps looking for them but in vain. According to his description in the story, Ethans is one of the most powerful personality in America and in Spain. If he was so powerful, he could have easily traced the couple's location through their passport details. Or maybe using his connections he could have inquired the local airport authorities about destination to which an Indian guy and a Spanish guy left on that day. And another flaw is that Isabella and Aryan both were in contact with Isabella's father. Ethans could have trapped the call Isabella's father got and trace their location.

It was so foolish. How could anyone be so naive and leave so many big flaws in the story?

Very poorly edited  Though I didn't find many spelling or grammatical mistakes, I think there is lot of crap that should shortcutted.

But the climax was pretty unexpected for me. At least I didn't such an end. And then came the epilogue which had an unexpected end, too. Maybe the story was not bad, but the whole crap made it worse.

Over all, good novel, thick and bur boring, story too much filmy, read it on your own wish.

To romance lovers. To those roman lovers, who don't have anything to do with practicality but love and romance...



A review I came across on Goodreads

My politest reply...

Wow. That was the first. Please someone tell me this review - Or the so called 'Comment' - is not directed at me.

Ashwina, first of all, hope you are not fictious - like this book. Are you really kiddin' me? Maybe this book was better than the 4 other books on your list. Of course, I agree the author has done a very hard work. I don't want to bring author into this.

You better watch 'Kites' one more time. Better get one with a subtitle. Then, we will continue the talk about it.

And, by the way, that last statement - "And all those people should try writing a book." - that was more than provocative. You should try reading better books. Try spending a little more than 60 bucks a book, you will come across better books.

Also, go get a life. Keep your views from pointing to others and stop guiding people to waste their money. Kudos.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Anything For You, Ma'am by Tushar Raheja

Anything For You, Ma'am by Tushar Raheja

Rating: 3 out of 5

ISBN (edition I've heard): 9788129119179


This is the author's, Tushar Raheja's, first book that I am reading. I also learnt from the back of the book that he is also the author of another work of fiction titled Romi. I've never heard of that book, though. There is not much to be expected from him. Actually I picked up this book because a friend of mine asked to read it. So here I am writing the review for it... And one more thing, he is another one from those generation of IITians who turned authors.

The whole story deals with Tejas Narula's, the protagonist  ultimate journey to meet his love, Shreya Bhargava, who lives in Chennai. On the verge to take up his journey, Tejas tries all the best possible adventures. Perhaps, misadventures. Tale filled with college misadventures and comic entanglements are a result of the twisted hand of fate.

My take on the book:
First of all, I couldn't help but notice that both the author and the protagonist turn out to be the students of IIT Delhi. And one more thing is that the name of the author - Tushar Raheja - and the name of the protagonist - Tejas Narula - are almost anagrams. The point I am trying to make is nothing. I was just sharing a piece of, probably useless, information.

Other than the story of taking up a journey to meet his love, across the country, the story deals with Tejas's own character and how he met his love. Every paragraph, every sentence is narrated with such a wit that I was amazed at the end of the book. It is not because of a wonderful story but a wonderful narration.

Of course, there are quiet a criticism for the author - and there always has been against Indian contemporary authors. I still don't see any bad against these generation of authors. In fact, I liked Indian Contemporary novels. There is so much content in the whole affair that could be compared with oneself. A rare feeling you could expect from the foreign novels.

Damn the prize-winning novels, yaar. At least for once take a break from those shit filled, unconventional books and read something light and entertaining like this one. In fact, there were quiet a many instances when I found books - many award winners - boring. At the end, it's up to a read to read a book, take twice the time to contemplate what that book meant and then, trying make some sense out of it. I would tell, just leave it, man. Books are meant to give pleasure, not torture.

A light-hearted book. Very entertaining. Extremely witty. A perfect read which would steal you from the current pressures of your life and keeps you intrigued until you notice that the book is over and you can't have same feel of warmth any longer....


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Long Way Round by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman

Long Way Round by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman

Rating: 5 out of 5

ISBN (edition I've read): 9780751536805


About the authors:
Ewan McGregor, the author. Does that name ring some bells? Yeah, he is the same guy from the movies Star Wars, The Impossible (2012), The Island (2005), Big Fish (2003).

It is claimed that the other author, Charley Boorman, is also an actor. Though I've not noticed in any movie, as I far I could remember, here are a few movies which starred him. Travellers (2011), Deliverance (1972), Excalibur (1981), The Serpent's Kiss (1997).

The whole idea of the book is to cirucum-navigate around the world from London to New York.

My take on the book:
This is first of its kind I've ever read. Of course, I was familiar with the word 'circum-navigation' but never read anything like 'circum-navigagting on motorbikes'. To top that, by Ewan McGregor and his actor friend Charley Boorman. It is not very often that you get a chance to see two famous, successful actors of Hollywood, struggling in the muds and potholes with their bikes. I don't know any reason why they would even attempt such a thing.

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman are no childhood-friends, as it happens with many. Their love for bikes is the only thing which binds them and makes them good friends.

The narrative style of the book impressed me no end. There are two authors and each took turn narrating each chapter. Like, if the first chapter is narrated by Ewan, the next one is narrated in the first-person narration of Charley Through the read there wasn't a hitch. The narration was as smooth as it could be. In fact, it is the best form of narration anyone could come up with two people travelling together. That way, it is possible to get to know each of the character's feelings and emotions.

First of all, Ewan and Charley make a plan of circum-navigating around the world. It is as simple as travelling from point A to point B. Point A being their departure point - London - and point B being their arrival point - New York. The distant between London and New York not much but what they decided to do was take the long way round. Travelling from London to New York the other way round the globe, crossing three continents, 20,000 miles, on two BMW 1150GS Adventures.

To take up the trip, they knew there is a lot of funds required. So they decide to make a show on their trip, while the sponsorers could fund their trip. The best idea anyone could come up with. And that is how they had written this book...

The book is very good, light-humoured and filled with emotions. There is adventure in every turning page and putting down is such a pain. Awesome read.

After reading this book, I've seen the whole TV series 'Long Way Round' and it was equally fantastic. The book leaves nothing behind...

I would recommend this to bike lovers and the arm chair travellers. To others, it is worth reading for all the adventure...

The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

ISBN (edition I've read): 9789382088301


About the author:
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was born in Oak Park, Illinois, started his career as a writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. He wrote this book - The old man and the sea - in 1951 and got it published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction he published. This story was awarded Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953 and was cited by the Nobel Committee as contributing to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Hemingway in 1954.

This most acclaimed story from Hemingway centers on Santiago, an aging fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

My take on the book:
It is the shortest book - shorter than the 'Siddhartha' which I claimed be the shortest, before - I've read. And  probably, second of Pulitzer Prize winner - The Road by McCarthy being the first.

Heard a lot of praise about Hemingway and more about his writing. The latter half of the praise was true. The writing was as simple as it could get. There were many lines in the story to support that. Here is one of my favourite among those simple lines,

he watched the aeroplane until he could no longer see it

I can't recollect an instance when there was hard word and I had to refer the online dictionary to know the meaning. Of course, there were few fishes whose names I never heard. Apart the narration was filled with simple words and sentences.

Coming to the story, it wasn't so great a story. Most of it was about Old Man going nuts and all. There was a couple of times when I fell asleep reading it.

Best of all, I completed the book in one read!!

"Even when he[Hemingway] was ass-drunk, he was a freaking genius," Stephen King said. Maybe he wasn't talking about Hemingway's most famous work of fiction - this book. Maybe he was talking about the simplicity in the narration. Or Maybe he was referring to some other work of Hemingway.

Overall, the thought me a few things. Story was a bit boring but the narration, like I was always telling, the best and simple.

About the edition:
With the ISBN I have provided at the start of the review, I doubt you could find any book on any famous online sites. This edition was by an Indian publishers, Abhi books, who didn't even mention the details like when this book was first pulished and all, anywhere in the whole book. One edition I've found to be similar to my edition is with the ISBN, 9780099908401.

I recommend it to those who want to experience narration as its simplest best. Others, read it because it has earned someone a Nobel Prize but be aware, the story is considerably boring...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Spire by Richard North Patterson

The Spire by Richard North Patterson

Rating: 3.5 out of 4

ISBN (edition I've read): 9780330456500


Richard North Patterson. This is my first book of his.

I came to pick up this book by its cover. I have always been a person like that. Judging a book by its cover. The mere cover of the book gave a gothic feeling. Frankly, I didn't even know what the word 'Spire' meant. I guess, most you won't even. The author has put a Webster's definition of that word not very far from the start - one page 4, to be precise. That was pretty intelligent. And helpful. It saved my searching for the word in the dictionary. So from what I have heard of the author and the cover of the book and, a little, from the description on the back of the book, I picked it up expecting a thriller. Later, it turned out to be just it. And more.

Mark Darrow - the protagonist - grew up with no much means. Both parents always drunk and abusive, he always wanted to get away from all that but don't know why. Until when Lionel Farr, a professor at Caldwall, the local college, offers a full scholarship to him.


Sixteen years after passing out of the college, Mark is asked by his mentor, Farr, a favour - To be the president of Caldwell. After the years, there had been a incident taken place, which threatened the very existence of the college. Would Mark accept the offer?

Mark would accept to be the President, only out of feeling of indebtedness than anything else. Without the college's help and Farr's, Mark think of a successful life he was living then. But then, is moving back to his former town a good idea? The old town, open old wounds and Mark sees himself getting attracted into a murder of a black female taken place almost sixteen years ago, to which his closest friend, then, is convicted.

It is only after another murder takes place that Mark will know that his life is danger. That is when he comes to doubt that the real murderer of that black female student is still at large. Will Mark be able to detect the murderer? In the process, will he stay alive? Or is it just his friendly instincts that made think beyond the obvious and be terribly wrong about?

My take on the story:
First of all, the story was pretty slow. It starts with the references to Mark standing in the shadow of the Spire - the iconic tower of the college. Then it refers to a black female student, Angela Hall, who was murdered there sixteen years before. Then it gets into past and present of the prologue. At first, I had to re-read the names and the pages to not distract from the story.

The story is divided into three parts and a prologue. With 34 pages of prologue, it is the first book I've read with so big a prologue. In fact, it is the book I've read with biggest prologue, so far. Then the story is divided into three parts, the similarities I didn't care to figure out - namely, The Part Shadow, The Return, The Spire.

I've not much experience with the thrillers. Of course, I've read some like Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. But this one is completely different. They were both educative and fast-paced. But this not at all fast-paced. Very slow, at that. I didn't see a point. Slow-paced and thriller. How can they both come together? Every scene, every character, every dialogue is followed by the detailed description. The facial expression, the mere act of fingers, everything - I mean everything - is explained at utmost detail.

It only after completing the book and reading the acknowledgement part of the book that I came to know that this is what called Psychological Thrillers. It made sense. The details, the slowness, the descriptions gave my goose-bumps when I read them. I could actually picture every act in front of my eyes.

This is the first my psychological thriller after I was told Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. But after reading it. I think Amsterdam stands a chance against this one.

Hats off to the author for such an exquisite work of narration which made the thriller slow, yet razor-sharp!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing by Stephen King

Rating: 4 out of 5

ISBN (edition I've read): 9781439156710


This is first of my Stephen King's read. Heard a lot of praise about him. And, every single one of them turned out to be true. Stephen King. That rings a few bells. Even though I didn't read any of his books, I have seen few movies, based on his novels - Green Mile and Stand By Me, for example. Both the movies were awesome.

I am not particularly a fan of non-fiction. In fact, I hate non-fictions. Come on, fictions are more exciting and interesting than non-fiction. But I am proved wrong. This is one of those books that proved me wrong. The story doesn't matter. The narration matters, I started to believe.

This edition (I am not sure of other editions) starts with three forewords!!

The first part of the book is a memoir (autobiography) of the author. Though, the author calls it a 'cirruculam vitae', rather than a biography. His childhood was a occasional glimpses through the mist of the memory. When he tries to recall his childhood, all he recalls is a fandful of memories - just like me!

I don't reckon reading a funnier account of autobipgraphy. It also dates back when King, first, sent a draft to the publisher; when his first book was published; a bit about his mother; funnier - actually, narrated funnily - account of experiences he shared with his brother, David.

Then followed a short reviews of list of movies the author has seen and liked. Actually it was to present how the author came to love science fictions. Then followed his career as editor of his school's newspaper, his life as a sports column journalist, then his first story which was sold for two-hundred dollars and so on. This phase of the book was bit boring. The comparisons and movies, he named, were never heard by me. During that part, I felt very out of place. But then, little did it affect my interest.

The following is about how he came to publish first novel and how much he was paid. How connected he was to the characters? All the emotions he felt for the lead character of his first novel. Bit more about his other novels and more emotions he felt about them and his, so called, 'curriculum vitae' ends around 100th page...

Now, after reading the book, I know the reason King has added his biography. He wanted to motivate the reader. At least, I am motivated. After reading his biography, I penned down two of my stories. Hopefully, will complete one soon...

The next part is about writing, he says, and it won't be very long, he assures.

The real lessons on writing is amazing. No guide, I guess, could be more detail about what-to-do and what-not-to-do. S. King doesn't hesitate using some authors as examples who is bad at few things like dialogue writing. He praises other authors for their authenticity.

Authors want a writer to be honest. One of his examples says that 'if the character is to use the word 'shit' then use it.' Never change it to something polite just for the sake of critics. He wants the reader to be honest about the made-up story, in other words.

Then, he goes to explain his experiences how he made up his characters. He comments on some of his novels. He discloses how he came upon the idea of many of his novels. From this part, the book seemed more like a non-fiction. In other words, boring. I tried hard to concentrate but the words don't have the attractiveness, anymore.

If I was granted to give a small piece of advise, it would be: Man, why don't you small things? You are dragging a boring tale...

And then it got interesting. Don't take me wrong, readers. But I am writing this review while simultaneously reading the book. When I last informed that the book got boring. It was boring. Boring for that part of it. Then, after two chapters or three, it got back on track, again. The author started to discuss various other important aspects like literary agents, how to find a publisher and all.

I am now reading the last phase of the book, On Living...

I have never read any books on writing before. So I can't very judgemental about this book. All I could say is, this is book is a good one. If you are really serious about writing, this book is a perfect one.

Deserves a five star if there is no boring part in the middle...

Off note:
This book is a winner of:

  1. Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction (2000)
  2. Locus Award for Best Non-Fiction (2001)
  3. Puddly Award for Writing (2001)

I'd recommend only to those who are damn serious about writing. For others, it'd be like any other boring, non-fiction...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Interpreter of Maladies is a book collection of nine short stories by Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri. The stories are about the lives of Indians and Indian Americans who are caught between the cultures of East, which are genetic and West, which are of the “New World.”

My Review:

Each of nine stories is an equal gem which is equally extracted, purified and polished, which have enough radiance through the words of the author to make one to feel loss, hope, tensions, struggle to adjust in new cultures, struggle to understand and maintain relationships.

No more to say. Just read the book. I am just giving a brief anecdote of each story.

1.A TEMPORARY MATTER – Darkness brought light into the lives of a couple who mentally switched of their light towards each other.

2.WHEN MR. PIRZADA CAME TO DINE – War fetched them close and Peace separated them miles apart.

3.INTERPRETER OF MALADIES – Interpreter is needed in life not only to interpret an unknown language to us, but to understand us.

4.A REAL DURWAN – Time is changing. So people. That means relations with others also changing. A single incident can cripple our beliefs, our promises, our trust on others.

5.SEXY – A word brought an end to their relationship. The word in which she embraced herself. The word which is adored by her.

6.MRS. SEN’S – Sometimes it is hard to leave the yearning towards the physical things which were entangled with us in our small pleasures.

7.THIS BLESSED HOUSE – Is accepting one’s eccentricities is a grudging act of compliance in a marriage?

8.THE TREATMENT OF BIBI HALDAR – Having raped cured her disease not the one implicated by her body but the one by her own people.

9.THE THIRD AND FINAL CONTINENT – It isn't that much hard to adjust ourselves in new cultures. If we can just stop to struggle against the new culture and start to understand it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Rating: 4 out of 5

ISBN(edition I've read): 9780141189574


About the author:
Hermann Hesse is a German poet, novelist and a painter. He also won Nobel Prize for literature in 1946. Siddhatha is his most acclaimed novel.

"If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us." Is from his novel, Demian. This quote is one reason I like him. It portrays his deep-style of thinking and quantity of knowledge, he possesses, on the human beings.

In the shade of a banyan tree, a grizzled ferryman sits listening to the river. Some say he's a sage. He was once a wandering shramana &, briefly, like thousands of others, he followed Gotama the Buddha, enraptured by his sermons. But this man, Siddhartha, wasn't a follower of any but his own soul. Born the son of a Brahmin, Siddhartha was blessed in appearance, intelligence & charisma. In order to find meaning in life, he discarded his promising future for the life of a wandering ascetic. Still, true happiness evaded him. Then a life of pleasure & titillation merely eroded away his spiritual gains until he was just like all the other "child people" dragged around by his desires. Like Hesse's other creations of struggling young men, Siddhartha has a good dose of European angst & stubborn individualism. His final epiphany challenges both the Buddhist & Hindu ideals of enlightenment. Neither a practitioner nor a devotee, neither meditating nor reciting, Siddhartha comes to blend in with the world, resonating with the rhythms of nature, bending the reader's ear down to hear answers from the river.

My take on the book:
I came across this book in a bookstore, which sold old second-hand books. When I first looked at the name of the book and the picture on the cover, I was sure it was about spirituality and the story is of Goutama Buddha.

I read the description on the back of the book and from what I could make out, it was about Siddharatha. There is a terrible misconception in we, people, that Siddhartha is one of the various names of Buddha. Actually, it is not.

I asked many people, whom I came across, "Who is Siddhartha?" Except for few people who pointed towards the actors and other famous persons with that name, most of them said, it is Buddha. At first, even I mistook the name to Buddha and picked up the book thinking it must be his biography or something.

I was awed by the fact that the book is Buddha's biography and is so thin. There were only few pages more than 100. That was another reason I picked up the book.

There were parts of the story which were pretty lame. Not many - if any - kids in India - if anywhere - are so much into spirituality. Kids tend to play. They don't give up their family and friends, to go and live with ascetics, in the forest, to attain nirvana.

But the story which was followed was amazing. After completing the book, I was amazed at how much the thin book held. I felt like enlightened. Not that I know how enlightenment feels. But there was something calm I felt.

I would recommend to those people who would love and understand spiritual stuff. Not everyone can understand spirituality and ultimately, this book...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Zombiestan by Mainak Dhar

Zombiestan by Mainak Dhar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

ISBN(edition I've read): 9789381626924


I am very glad that I came across this book.

It was completely impossible to come across this author, if not because of a reading group on Facebook. Mainak Dhar, I came to know, is a best-selling author on Amazon. In fact, he has already got thirteen best-selling ebooks on Amazon.

After reading this book, I was wondering why such a brilliant writer is not getting the lime light he deserved. Just consider my rating - 4.5 out of 5. It is not a normal rating! I rarely give any book 4 and scarcely above 4, save if the book touched the deepest of my heart. And this book did touch.

A new kind of plague starts to spread around the world. It all started in a small village, in the outskirts of Afghanistan. Then start, it spreads faster than a fire could spread in a field full of hay. Just on the second day of the outbreak of the plague, there are reported spotting of humans turned into some creatures - with sores all over their skin, blood and pus spluttering out of their boils, their skin yellow in colour, with crooked teeth - when the infected bit them. All the zombies - thats what they seemed to the people - performed an act, immediately after transforming - typing a black turban around their heads, just like Muslim terrorists. After all, the whole idea of plan was create terror and avenge the loss of their leader, Osama.

Back in India, there are five key survivors - a US navy seal, trying to get back home, an old history professor, a guy in his late teens, a girl of just about his age and her brother who is three-years-old. They come to know that the key to survive the plague is hidden in the three-year-old kid.

During one radio broadcast, they come to know that high in the Himalayas, there was hope. Hope of surviving from the monsters. Then starts their journey to hope.

Will they get to the place, broad-cast on the radio? Is there really a place like that? Will they able to fight back the monsters? Does the kid really holds the keep for survival and stands a chance of hope?

My take on the book:
With all the interesting aspects, thrills, twists and action, Zombiestan takes you on a 'on the edge of the seat' journey, which will remain etched in your memory for quiet some time.

The biggest honor a book gets from me, is completing it in two days. Considering my snail-pace reading ability and meager amount of time I spend reading, it is handsome achievement made by any book.

The best thing about the story it is that it is very fast paced. The fight against the Zombies and the struggle starts even before the 40th page.

I felt, the author must have had a very imaginative mind to think of such a plot and transform into a story and then, into a book.

This is the second book - after The Road - that touched the deepest feeling of my heart, this week. It is an exaggeration to say that I cried, but when I was almost nearing the end, one scene made tears well up in my  eyes.

Hmmm... Read this book, if you love fast-paced thriller. Others, also read this book. I am sure you will start loving fast-paced thriller, after reading this one....

Overall, a great read and 'hats off' to the author(also the second this week)...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Rating: 5 out of 5

ISBN (edition I've read): 9780330520997


My first Pulitzer Prize winner read, so have a lot of expectation. Also the online ratings rate this book as one of the best of the time.

Even before I read this book, I saw the movie. The movie was pretty boring, when I try to recollect the story, my mind draws a blank. Probably, the book is supposed to be bad too, isn't it? But the online ratings speak altogether something else. To top that, it has won Pulitzer Prize - one of the three book prizes I respect!

The plot:
A father and his son walk along the roads of the burned America. Their only goal being to reach south.

What do they have? A meager amount of supplies. Fear of being killed and eaten by other humans. Desperate willing to live. Nothing to expect when they reach their goal - South coast. A pistol with three bullets. It changed to two after the man's wife is gone.

They spent weeks, months, in fact, years trekking South. They come across very few people. Actually, they don't want to come across people. Everyone's on lookout for food. Any form of food.

The days are gray. The, normally, invisible wind acquired gray colour, as there is always ash flying about in the wind. The nights are starless, coal-black. Day by, the climate turns cooler and darker.

Will the man, with his son, get to Southern coast of America? Will they find they expected - if, at all, they expected anything? Will they see life again?

What I think:
The book is very boring. At least, at first. The story post the burning of the country. In fact, there isn't a mention that it is America. Not that I noticed of, save for in the description of the book, on the back.

From the entire story, the author's vivid imagination of the country, burned to ashes, is excellently described.

The whole story consists of their journey South. There are very occasional dialogues. Save for that, it is mostly prose.

Done with the book, one couldn't help but wonder that one doesn't even know the name of the lead character. In fact, he doesn't know the name of any character in the whole book.

Every scene was differentiated with the next with a double space between them. There isn't any quotation marks for any kind of verbal exchange between the characters.

When you are reading, there is always a air of suspense. You also wonder what is going to come next? Will they ever reach South? What will they be welcomes with at the South? How did the burning of the country happen, in the first place? Are there other people? If yes, are they good? And many such questions, keep ganwing you, all the while. Well, while some of them are answered, the book leaves behind the others for yourself to solve.

When I was almost to end the story, I was scared. The end defines the story. If the end is not good, the story is tagged not good. If the end turns out fine. The story is labelled fine. The end actually made tears well up in my eyes. A perfect ending, I must say.

One of the very few literary works, I enjoyed. Like praised by some critic, 'it makes McCarthy a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.'

The best part of the whole book is the father's love for his son. It is very touchy.

I had an habit of under lining few lines in the book, which I feel makes some good quotes.

Lines I underlined:
*You forget what you want to remember. And you remember what you want to forget...
It isn't much of a one-liner, but with this story, it has a huge meaning, hidden under the imaginations of the reader.

*How does never to be differ from what never was?

And then, I noticed that there weren't any more lines that I underlined. There were only two and they were from the first thirty pages of the book. That was when I realized that, after thirty pages, I was, what people call, hooked onto the book. I was more like involved into the story. I was lost in the story, that I literally forgot to underline things out.

In simple words. The best work of literature, I've read so far...

Hungry Ghost by Stephen Leather

Hungry Ghost by Stephen Leather

Rating: 4 out of 5

ISBN (edition I've read): 0671753002


This is a pretty old book. First printed(publish, that is) in 1991. And the book I am holding right now is of 1993. I found it in a closer a long back. My father said it was my grand father's. Since it is old and I believe old book suck, I never got to read this. Then one fine day, when I was deciding what to read next. I couldn't get to decide on one. There were so many good books in the shelf. So I decided to read the one, I didn't want to read. So that is how I came to read this one.

And now, after completing reading the book, I am thankful I read it...

When I was reading this book, I knew nothing of the author - Stephen Leather. I didn't even care to know about him. Come on, I am not the kind to check out the authors of yester-generations. The current generation authors' stories are more relatable and I prefer relatable reads.

However, I read the plot on the back of the book. These were the points, I could make out of them...
*The story of the genre, either, crime or mystery
-It turned out to both and suspense and action and romantic thriller.
*The story is set in Hong Kong.
-Yes, it was.

And nothing else. That was one reason I hated old books. There are so hard to decipher.

This story goes back to the Communists revolution of 1997 and its effect on Hong Kong. Most part of the story happens in Hong Kong. It follows a theme of a dangerous killer, Geoff Howells, probably the Hungry Ghost, who gets pleasure in killing, cracking of the bones, etc, being let free.

As usual, the start was a bit slow and I had a hard time understanding the writing. But just in 50 pages, I got used to the writing and it was just as smooth as butter then on. The writer was one of the bests. Each and every scene was so clear that you will feel like you are watching some movie. Every move, every punch, every kick is described to vividly that when I am reading the action sequence, the hair on my hand stood on end.

This being my first action novel, I don't have much to compare it with and rate.

Interestingly narrated. Vividly described. I didn't come across any book, yet, with such a narration of the fights and the story. With such a powerful writing author, Hungry Ghost delivers non-stop action and suspense...

All in all, the book was a killer. Good start for a Action novel.. 

To top the above all, Hungry Ghost has given me many memories of my late Grand father. So it holds a special place, personally...

Mumbaistan by Piyush Jha

Mumbaistan by Piyush Jha

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ISBN: 9788129120175


I came to know that the author is a film director and an ad film maker. I was impressed. I always felt that Indian film industry story writers must publish the book version of their movie. That way, the movie would be less graphics and more realistic.

As this is Piyush Jha's first novel, I have no idea what to expect from him. But now, after reading the whole book, I think he deserves a 'hats off'. Each story was excellent and very well written that the respect I had for writers, which downfalled after reading a few 'worst' novels, hiked no bounds.

"Really, man, Piyush. You must continue writing, such wonderful stories."

I am writing this review story-to-story. This book has three crime thrillers and I will be writing the review after reading each story. That way, I could be more honest with the review.

Story One: Bomb Day

There are five key characters of this story. Tanvir, the lead character, a gangstar. Hani, an ACP. Rabia, a run-away from Kashmir and a prostitute in Mumbai's red light area. Zohra, Rabia's prostitute friend. Alamzed, a Paskistani terrorist.

After 26/11, it is rumoured that there is another group of Pakistani terrorists, who stayed in Mumbai, living a life blended with the normal citizens of the maximum city. Now, years after 26/11, Mumbai is threatened of an explosion that would outthrash the previous castastrophe of 26/11 and will be equivalent to that of the hullabaloo created in New York. Mumbai could be spared the disaster only by one person. ACP Hani, who with the hellp of Tanvir, could stop the disaster.

The ACP has a plan and everything goes according to the plan. Or, that is what he thinks. Was his plan coming along or is he just brought to believe so?

With purest love and twistiest twist, Bomb Day is a very good story...

Story Two: Injectionwala

A series of murders take place in Mumbai. The only thing common among the murders is the way they are murdered - with an injection (hence the name of the chapter, Injectionwala).

Later, police finds out a link between the victims. They are all part of a organ trafficking racket. Someone is killing all the corrupt people involved in the organ racket.

When reading, I thought I figured out the ending. That happened when I read the first stroy, too. But in both the cases, I was terribly wrong. The twist at the end of the stories are at its best.

In this story, after few scenes comes a journalical report of the the story so far. The concept of placing a detailed report of the police findings and the expression of the media and public about the injecitonwala is very intelligent. It was very well thought.

Two stories down. After the first one, my feeling was that, this is a good book. Then, I moved on to the read the second. And now, after reading the second one, I feel this is a great book. Cant wait to compelete reading the third one. Hope it doesn;t ruin my expectations.

Story Three: Coma Man

The story starts with a recollection of Samir Khanna gifting a necklace for his wife, Bahaar Khanna, on her birthday.

The next moment Samir is out of Coma - the state he was in for the past ninteen years! He was in Coma for such a long time, so people at the hospital, in which he was admitted in, referred to him as Coma Man - hence the name of the chapter.

With a start, Samir remembers nothing about his past.The quest to know about his past, to know about himself, starts. All he he rememebers is his name, his wife's name and that that day was her birthday.

Like all his other stories, this one's plot was filmy, too. But we Indians love films, don't we?

The perfect end-story for the collection. The order the stories were arranged is excellent. The present story is better than the presiding one.

After reading the first two stories, one would notice a trend in the unexpected twists at the end of the stories. At least I have. And as I expected, the third one also followed a similar twist. Still, it didn't alter the affect of the twist on me.

About the book:
Excellent stories. Mind-blowing twists. Intriguing narrative style. Good language. Overall, a worth-reading-at-least-once read...

I feel like, after reading these stories intently for a couple of times, one can have a mental map of all the lanes, streets and areas of Mumbai, who never once had been to Mumbai in their entire life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Reasons, why, I read this book:

* I watched the movie trailer “The Great Gatsby”. I was simply awe with wonder. The trailer is full of life -grandeur, opulent, with lights, parties, music, singing, dancing and sudden spasms of uncontrolled emotions. I thought if a trailer is like that, then, how would be the movie? Most important, how would be the book on which this movie based?

* Because of what I heard - “the book is widely regarded as a "Great American Novel" and a literary classic.”

* The Modern Library named it the second best English-language novel of the 20th Century.

* This book is a part of “Time's List of the 100 Best Novels”.

* Several Goodreads friends of mine immensely liked and highly rated this book.

* I am a little behind in “Goodreads Book Reading Challenge, 2012”. So I am reading only short books and this one has a mere-200 pages.

Beginning Line:

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.”Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.”

Read, mind said wow, such an intriguing line, yes, you are absolutely correct, Mr. Fitzgerald. Sometimes we forget this and what we do? Just picture the people in a way we want, attribute the characters we seen not in them, but in our eyes only, not ready to understand them, not ready to give a least shit on them - suppose we do, that is also the way we feel, began to criticize them. We criticize them saying this, that, every bullshit but not ready to accept that he/she is not me and he/she hasn’t had the advantages that we have had. 

The Great Gatsby isn’t great instead it’s a tragic tale, simple but well composed, finely narrated, about Jay “Great” Gatsby, who came from rages into riches, who orchestrated opulent parties, but himself absent in most of them, who loved a single woman till his death, for that he was killed. 

I must appreciate the author. The writing is intense, full of life in detailing the things, describing the scenes with a realistic aura that looks like a painter painted an ordinary hut but with so much precision and passion that it is looking like a villa in a countryside.

The best thing about this book is Nick as a narrator who observed every virtue of the Gatsby. Other characters are empty. The story started and ended very quickly which, might be avoided the unnecessary details, but left the story incomplete. Gatsby is good, but he could have been great only if didn’t choose Daisy. Daisy is a woman with a fiery burning passion. She chooses Tom to marry over Gatsby. But she wants Gatsby’s love. About Tom, I don’t have any specific opinion. Actually I don’t consider him much as a part of the story much either, even Tom was the reason for the tragedy. Tom and Daisy, as Nick said, are simply careless people who do things carelessly for which people like Gatsby are needed to pay, a high price, sometimes with people lives. In the end, what happened between Nick and Jordan, I didn’t understand. 

“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”.

This is what Gatsby said. At that moment my reaction was “what fuck he thinks he is doing”. Recently, I just failed in that. But, whole heartily, I wished he could do that; change the Past and make Daisy love him. Is it possible to change the Past? I, myself want to do that; undo the things I did and do the things I didn’t. I know Gatsby is not only the one and will not be the one who tried to repeat the past. But, all these for whom? For the people like Daisy who took the careless decisions for which Gatsby needed to take the blame. When he said that, I am totally afraid of the thought that is Gatsby inspiring me to repeat the past which is almost succeeded in erasing myself out from my own life. In the end, Gatsby failed, no defeated by his love for Daisy, most accurately Daisy herself made Gatsby to be defeated.

Ending Line:

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther ... And one fine morning ---”
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Mr. Fitzgerald again bewildered me with unimpeachable words.  I completed the book. Just sitting there, thinking this phrase only. What I was feeling, didn’t know. I didn’t get the answer why did Daisy leave Gatsby? May be I will never know the answer.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian

The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian
Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

John Grisham is a lawyer. So he writes thrillers based on Law. Robin Cook is a physician. So he writes about medicine and topics affecting public health. Here, Let us WELCOME, Ravi Subramanian. He is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, worked nearly two decades in the financial industry. So he writes thrillers about banking and bankers.

THE BANKSTER is a story based on money laundering, banks, CIA, blood diamonds, materialistic greed, murders, politics, environmental issues regarding nuclear proliferation etc.

In the beginning,
a thriller-story must have a gripping Prologue. THE BANKSTER is a multiple-layered yet interconnected thriller story. It starts with a prologue, where there are three apparently unrelated events taking place.

1. A CIA agent is buying blood diamonds worth of an eye-shattering money.
2. A hotel resort owner is being accused of ivory smuggling.
3. The picturing of a reputed global bank and its employees.

A perfect prologue- no connections between the stories, don’t know what is happening and what is going to happen. But the reader already knows that some thing ominous is going on.

In the middle,
a thriller-story must have some chilling crimes, back-stabbings, and double-crossings etc. which prompt the reader to sit and read the entire story in one sitting. THE BANKSTER has some hot and spicy murders of the employees of that bank in questionable circumstances which give suspense to the story. A GOOD man (the hotel resort owner), fighting for a GOOD cause, is being used by a BAD man with BAD intentions in the name of providing help for GOOD man’s GOOD cause, but for his own greedy benefits. An inside, but unknown person is letting the information about GOOD people to BAD people.

In the ending,
there is must be an investigation. Isn’t an investigation to find out the truth is the main essence of a thriller? Here that is what lacks in THE BANKSTER. The entire process of investigation in which a reader finds some adrenaline-pumping chasings from bad guys, near to death experiences in the hands of bad guys, the deaths of mates in the game, “never able to believe” truths. Where are all these? The author simply did a fine calculation, used some intuitive thoughts, some fate chosen incidents to reveal the real facts about whole story.

Tell everything. But make sure that a reader didn’t know anything. Then reveal everything one by one and make reader awe with the twists. THE BANKSTER has little such twists, but has a clean view of twists about the crime propagating through the banks on which THE BANKSTER based and that is what make you to read this story. THE BANKSTER is not a surprising, kick-assing but a simple, cozy thriller which could be a better story in my view. Those who like to read a thriller with a different aspect can give it a try.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com . Participate now to get free books!

The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattanaik

The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattanaik

My rating: 4 out of 5

‘I am not sure that I am a man,’ said Yuvanashva. ‘I have created life outside me as men do. But I have also created life inside me, as women do. What does that make me? Will a body such as mine fetter or free me?’

At first:

A first class kudos to Devdutta Pattanaik, for writing such an interesting, yet an intriguing story.


The title “The pregnant King”, isn't it bizarre? I guess it is. So I picked up this book merely for its eccentric title. After reading, my “GUESS” is turned into “SURE”. 


Yes, the story is bizarre (read the blurb), unconventional (only few know it’s a conventional), intriguing (story longs in your mind even after completed reading it, for several days), entertaining (I hooked up till I get the end), interesting (the story is based on Indian myths about which, I know nothing), out-of-the-path (the concept on which story is based and the questions, the story is imposing).

The story is about Yuvanashva, a childless king, who accidentally drinks a magic potion meant to make his queens pregnant and gives birth to a son. Then, there, started the story of struggles of contradicting forces.


The story is taken from “Mahabharata’, one of the greatest epic and certainly one of the oldest. Those who know about Mahabharata, certainly know that this great epic is written, by Vyasa, about Kurukshatra, the bloody battle of Pandavas with Kuvravas to withhold Dharma. Then, what's about the side characters and the several myths which are concocted in the Mahabharata. Devdutta took one of such myths and told such a profound story in a contemporary style. 

Questions, the story is imposing:
  • What is more euphoric – being called as a mother or as a father or as both?
  • What is meant to be a man or a woman?
  • What is more difficult - being a man or being a woman?
  • Can a man have a heart of woman and a body of a man?
  • Can a woman have a heart of a man and a body of a woman?
  • What is more significant – Destiny or Desire?
  • Which is more potent – Destiny or Desire?
  • Is sexual identity so necessary to be considered as a person in a society?
  • Can a man choose to marry a man or a woman to a woman?
  • Can a man be a woman or woman be a man? What if one chooses to be other?
  • Are we ready to accept the truth that a male can show womanhood and a female can show manhood?
  • What comes first – Physical Projection of self or Mental Manifestation of self?
  • Can a person go with Desire over Destiny or vice versa?
  • What is matter? What is soul (energy)? Which one has more significance? Matter is a holder of soul. Soul is creator of matter. Both are interconnected. Then why to choose one over other? Can't they be one, single, unison?
  • What is TRUTH? Why can't people accept TRUTH? What is poisonous – TRUTH or our inability to handle the TRUTH?

What I like most about this book:

This could be a contemporary story without having any myths. Then, people might not accept it. In a country like India, still now, where a bride can choose her bridal saree, but not the bridegroom, she is going marry.  So Devdutta picked up the myths in India, which are already telling the truth - Every person has a Right to become what ever they want to be, which both society and its people are ignoring, added his own imagination and made the truth acceptable in a contemporary world. That’s what I liked most about this book, the brilliant way of telling a story and making it acceptable in a practical world. 


You might also like: