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Friday, January 31, 2014

Look What Came In The Courier Today...

The Treasure of Kafur
Aroon Raman


Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand


In my spree of reading more Indian books than international authors, I have read a quite a wide array of books. Most of them were love stories. IITians. IIMs. Contemporary college romances. Some chic-lits. Then came intense stories and authors, like Amitav Ghosh, R. K. Narayan. With Narayan came Mulk Raj Anand.

A line in the author's introduction in this book goes like this,

"... he together with R. K. Narayan, Ahmed Ali and Raja Rao, was one of the first India-based writers in English to gain an international readership..."

I have read R. K. Narayan. I see him as my idol. I admire his work. I decided to try Mulk Raj Anand in the hope that he writes with the same intensity as Narayan.

Well, I am disappointed. They are no same authors. They way of fiction differ entirely from each other, save for one aspect. Only that they write about Indians. Even the societal class of which they describe in their story differ!

But it must be accepted that every author has his own way of writing and his own stories. No two author's work must be compared. Keeping that in mind, I move on to write the review to a book, whose type I have never encountered before. It was fresh. New to me. And refreshing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Execution of Sherlock Holmes by Donald Thomas

Blurb (from the jacket):

Drugged, manacled, condemned to a dank cell in the depths of Londons infamous Newgate prison, the worlds greatest literary detective awaits execution by a vengeful crew of formidable enemies. Escape is impossible; death, a certainty. 

But not for Sherlock Holmes, who, in a stunning display of intellect and derring-do, will elude his hangmans noose and live to fiddle, spy and ratiocinate another day.

Against tremendous odds, Holmes will continue to defy his enemies in four more encounters, from cracking German intelligence codes, to going against Scotland Yard and the Crown in proving the innocence of a man condemned to death for the slaying of a pregnant serving girl, to an arsenic-wielding magician, and of course, to a battle of wits with the malevolent Moriarty. Everywhere in these five finely-wrought tales, riddles and mystery hover in the air. But they are not beyond the grasp of the incomparable Holmes.

Our review:
The cover picture of the book is pretty apt considering the title of the book. For the story, it is uncertain, for there are 5 stories in this book. The name of the first story is as same as the book's.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Look What Came In The Courier Today...

Mini God Series
Jaico Books
Jeffrey Armstrong
Rise of the Sun Prince
Shubha Vilas


Look What Came In The Courier Today...

Shiv Ramdas


Look What Came In The Courier Today...

The Prophecy of Trivine
Pulkit Gupta, Srivatsan Sridharan,
Tnahsin Garg


Look What Came In The Courier Today...

The Edge of Power
Tuhin A. Sinha


The Lost Years of Sherlock Holmes by Ted Riccardi


This is one of the three Sherlock Holmes books I have received from Marina, of Jaico Publications.

The other two books of the Jaico Sherlock Holmes Series,
I had already read and reviewed New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. That leaves me with only two other books. From the remaining, I guessed that the other one was about the execution of Sherlock Holmes, so I have selected this book to read first.

The review goes on like this...

Blurb (from the jacket):

From the Fertile Crescent to the Far Fast, the untold adventures of Sherlock Holmes during the three-year gap between his death and dramatic return.

Sherlock Holmes is dead or so most of the world thinks. His fatal plunge over the Reichenbach Falls as he struggled with his archenemy, Moriarty, has been widely reported.

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Donald Thomas


It has been sometime since I reviewed a book. 17 days, perhaps. So it feels pretty weird typing this. It is like I have lost the touch. I just hope it goes well.

This books was sent to me by Marina, from Jaico Publications. It is one of the three Sherlock Holmes book I have received to review. The other two were,
Basically, I never read Sherlock Holmes. My only exposure to his stories were when I was in my seventh grade - or maybe sixth, I don't actually remember - I had a non-detail text book, "The Hound of Baskerville."

However, I recently learned that it was a abridged adaptation and not the original version. Anyways, what is the difference? The words. Nothing else. Same story. Same characters. Same thrill. Same climax. Same twist. Same end.

At the end, I decided to read this book on the assurance of the other author of the blog, Srinivas, who had assured me that Sherlock Holmes stories have little connection between themselves. Well, indeed, he is true.

Blurb (from the jacket):

Were the hauntings at the Elizabethan manor house of Bly a vision of the walking dead, perhaps, rather than delusions of Miss Temples tormented mind? Or could it be that a criminal conspiracy is to blame for the psychic phenomena, as well as a second murder cunningly concealed in the past?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini


This book had done to me that which I had never experienced, ever: It abandoned me.

Yeah, you read it right. I didn't abandon it. It abandoned it. Well, it was actually my fault.

This was probably the last book I was writing last year, and was travelling. It was an overnight bus from Hyderabad to Chennai. When I woke up the next day, the bus had reached the terminus and the conductor of the bus was literally yelling at me to get down, so I had to de-board in haste.

Back in my uncle's home, when I was unpacking, I couldn't find this book in the bag. Well, I placed it on the top in my bag because I was reading it the previous evening when I boarded the book. That is when I realised that I left the book on the overhead luggage compartment of the bus!

The next half an hour, I spent cursing myself for the folly. In the book was a bookmark, designed and made by the other author of this blog, Srinivas.

I tried to pacify myself on the fact that the book was withering. Actually I got this book from a local bookstore that sold second-hand books, back in Hyderabad. It's binding was not in a great condition. The cover of the book gave off, always letting the pages slide and disorient. In fact, even before I got the book the initial pages were missing. I didn't notice that when I bought that book from the bookstore. Though not entirely, it provided some sort of solace. I pledged to get a new book and complete it. Which I did.

Blurb (from the jacket):
Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move people to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut


In my crazy spree of reading all those post-apocalyptic, dystopian novels - like Fahrenheit 451 and Anthem - I ended up with this novel.

Well, this is not particularly a post-apocalyptic novel. In fact, it is not literally dystopian, save for in some sense. But I was anyway recommended this book due to my interest in the above books. I checked out the blurb, it had time-travel. Sci-fi is always on my favourites list, so I started to read this book.

It is another reason that I have received this book as a gift. You wouldn't know how happy I was. Especially because it is a Vintage Classic - a new enthusiasm I picked up lately.

Blurb (from the jacket):
Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller - these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Virgins by Siddharth Tripathi


I would like to start this review by thanking The Tales Pensieve Team for feeling me eligible to read this wonderful book.

I am more obliged for reading this book for the second time. Someone said, "So many books, so little time." I am firm believer of this quote. I am always on the run to read all the books and as many books as possible. In the run, there is little scope for a re-read. There are seldom a handful of books that I would like to give a re-read. And The Virgins is one of them, and it is the first which I had re-read.

Maybe that must have provided you the idea of what possible the books holds in me. However, for details scroll on...

Blurb (from the jacket):
How does one become a man?
Three young friends are about to find out.

With six unmarried sisters and a perennially drunk father, Pinku, a 19-year-old school dropout, has only one dream left: to marry the plump girl who’d caught him stealing flowerpots. His friend and confidant, 17-year-old Bhandu, is not faring any better — his parents are divorcing, his father has abandoned him, and the American tourist he is infatuated with doesn’t even know he exists. Bhandu and Pinku seek solace in the distracting shenanigans of their friend Guggi — a pampered rich brat who can do anything for a thrill. Guggi’s reckless hedonism lands the threesome in a series of 'sexpot' escapades — each adventure weirder than the one before.

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