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Showing posts from April, 2017

Book Review: The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Bowen Tyler is an American hailing from ship-building business family. But his interest lies in aviation so he sets on a sail to join Lafayette Escadrille – French Air force run by volunteer pilots from America in the WWI. En route France the passenger ship, in which he is journeying with his dog - Nobs, is attacked and destroyed by a German submarine. It is a U-boat. Bowen immediately identifies that the sub was made in his shipyard. Amid the disaster, he and his dog manage to survive in a small boat. He also picks up a young girl called Lys La Rue. Next morning they are picked up by a British tug boat but soon the boat is attacked by the same German U-boat. This time the crew of the tug boat gives a hard-hitting fight, though loses some of its men, and captures the submarine. The German crew is taken as prisoners. German’s captain – Von Schoenvorts – turns out to be Miss Lys La Rue’s fiancée. In the aftermath of the attacks, she changes her mind and abhors him and sticks to

Book Review: Poos Ki Raat by Munshi Premchand

Poos Ki Raat is a very famous short story by legendary Hindi writer Munshi Premchand. This story is widely circulated in the schools of India for various mediums, in English it is often taught as Wintry Night or January Night. Halku is a poor farmer who owes money to his landlord, Sahna. Whatever crop Halku toils, most of the share goes to his landlord as the interest rate on the borrowed money is so high that Halku has a feeling that he will not be able to pay off the debt all his life. Sahna is waiting outside Halku’s home, demanding money. Somehow Halku has managed to save three rupees to buy a new blanket, since he needs a heavy blanket while guarding his field at night. Munni, his wife, is reluctant to give that hard-saved money to the landlord but Halku insists that cold nights are better than his jibes. He gives away the money to Sahna. In the dark and extremely cold night Halku reaches his field. He settles down in a cot under a thatch canopy made of bagasse. Under

Book Review: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

The First World War I is on. In the Alps Italy is busy stopping Austro-Hungarian Empire to merge with the German army. Italian army is aided by America, Britain, France and Russia. Among many soldiers, one is Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American, posted in Italy; his main job is to oversee a group of an Italian ambulance drivers.   Rinaldi is not only a surgeon but his friend and roommate as well. One evening he takes Frederic Henry to a hospital to introduce him to two British nurses: Catherine Barkley and Helen Ferguson. Henry and Catherine discuss war-related aspects, and she tells about her fiancé’s loss, which was killed in France the previous year. In a matter of a few meetings, they become lovers. Initially Frederic hesitates to involve in a serious relationship but it happens gradually. During duty one night Henry and his fellow ambulance drivers hide across a river bank, from the opposite bank Austrian troops begin bombardment, as a result Henry wounds in the l

Book Review: Our Great Escape by Ruskin Bond

Fourteen-year-old Rusty, who is also the narrator of this story, is a student at Bishop Cotton, a premium boarding school in Shimla. He is not like other unruly students who most often play pranks around their teachers. Rusty feels lonely and a little mature than his age because of his parents’ separation. Somehow he finds solace in writing. And secretly he has penned down a story about his school life, in which he lampoons and criticizes all that things persistent in his life as a student. Instead of focusing on writing, he is much engaged into sports like hockey and volleyball. One day he finds Omar, a boy like him. Soon they become good friends and share a good understanding. To beat the humdrum of banal life, they discover a tunnel which leads to outer part of their school. They often escape to the outside world through that tunnel and there they discuss many worldly topics but mostly about the Second World War and imminent India-Pakistan partition. One day Rusty says that th

Book Review: The Ice Boy by Patricia Elliott

Edward and his elder brother Matt return Uffenham after a year to spend summer vacation with their uncle, Hodder. Uffenham is a coastal area, a year ago their father went for sailing on a stormy day, he didn’t return but his boat was found. For the world he is dead but not for Edward. He believes his father is alive and alone on some remote island. So he wishes to find him, others scrape his idea. One evening Edward meets a mysterious old man who scribbles a message on a piece of paper for his son. The old man wants Edward to relay the message to his son. However, Edward doesn’t know who his son is and where to find him. That same evening Edward also finds Mistletoe stone - sparklingly green pointed from front. After some days he finds a man being washed ashore. Edward takes him to a nearby hut and offers him his father’s canvas shoes and clothes and then takes him to Newnes sisters up the alley. Since Newnes sisters have magical powers, he gets to know about that the man

Book Review: Dust on the Mountain by Ruskin Bond

Dust on the Mountain by Ruskin Bond subtly highlights the grim issues of deforestation on the mountains in the wake of modernisation.  Bisnu lives with his younger sister and mother in a very small village of Tehri Garhwal. Since the mountains have received scanty rainfall and bare minimum snowfall last year, as a result orchards of fruits and farming in the field have yielded minimum output. The streams and rivers that descend from the peaks are shallow and dry, so the villagers are facing the problems of inadequate ration and fail to obtain any income from the farming-related chores. To save his family from starvation, Bisnu goes to Mussoorie much opposite to his family’s wish. Since summer is a happy time in Mussoorie and the place is full of tourists from the plain areas. After many attempts he finds a job in a cinema hall as a tea seller during the interval. There he meets two other boys Chittru and Bali. They all become friends and work as per the orders. However Ch

Book Review: The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth

The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth is a novel based on coup d’état and the lives of mercenaries. The setting in the novel is of Zangaro, a small fictional African country on the western coast. A British Mining Company, Manson, owned by James Manson has founded positive results for platinum in the Crystal Mountains of Zangaro. They want to own it but the president Kimba, an oppressive figure, is friends with Soviet Union. Thus James Manson with his financial expert Martin Thorpe and security chief Endean devises a plan to throw off the current president of Zangaro and to keep a puppet president from their side. This move will help them to devour the platinum mine at very less cost. Based on a freelancer writer’s recommendation, Endean approaches Shannon, an experienced mercenary who has spent most of his life fighting in the African countries. First, Shannon goes to Zangaro as a tourist and collects the information about military and arms present in the country. The mili

Book Review: The Householder by P. Jhabvala

The Householder is one of Mrs. Jhabvala’s major novels. Here she portrays the life of a lower middle-class individual in urban setting. And this she does with fine insight and her portrayal has a credibility that is commendable. Prem is the householder in the novel. He is an imperfectly educated teacher drawing a poor salary of Rs.175 in the Khanna Private College in Delhi. He pays a rent of Rs.45 which, Prem himself tells us, is more than 25% of his salary. His landlord Mr. Seigals who along with his family lives a happy-go-lucky sort of life. Prem is a second class B.A. from Ankhpur College, a mofussil college which produces graduates who can fill in clerk’s posts in government offices, as his friend Raj has done, or who can become inefficient teachers like Prem. Thus, Prem is an object of great sympathy of the author. In fact he is the hero of the novel. He cannot perform his duties and fulfil his obligations because of a meagre salary and he has a household in which h

Book Review: The Lost Child by Mulk Raj Anand

The Lost Child is a riveting short story by Mulk Raj Anand. A little boy and his parents are on their way to a village fair on account of a spring fair. The alley leading to the fair is alive with a vivid combination of colours and people. The boy is happy and chirpy and walking between the big limbs of his father, between the long strides. As he can see there are toys in the shops lined along the way. He is captivated by the colourful toys of different sizes and shapes but in his observation he lags behind. So he runs ahead to be with his parents. When he expresses the desire to own one of the toys hanging from the shops, a cold stare from his father breaks his heart. Suddenly, to break his attention from the lingering toys, his mother tenderly shifts his attention to the swaying muster field, which seems to be full of golden ripples – moving to and fro. The boy enters the field and begins chasing butterflies, black bees and dragon flies. But soon he is called back.

Book Review: Terror in Eagle Basin by Cliff Farrell

Dan Cameron was one of the toughest law officers around the borders of Montana and Wyoming. He was so ruthless in his job that to an extent he was popular as ‘Dan the killer’ and people feared his presence. However when tragedy thumps him - his bride dies in his arms – shot by one of his enemies on the very first hour of their marriage. He vows to renounce the arms. Soon he hears about his friend Ed Vickers’ murder and arrives at Rimrock to help Lennie and Tansie, the brother and the wife of Ed Vickers respectively. There he also meets a chirpy and bold woman, Jennifer Spring, who is going to settle down in Eagle Basin, where terrorizing of locals is continued by some unknown gang members. The prime suspect of the murder is Bart Webb but Dan senses something else and takes up travelling to Basin to discover more as well to hand out justice to the brother and the wife of late Ed Vickers. During their stay at Rimrock and travelling to Eagle Basin they resist some missed att

Book Review: Cry Wolf by Wilbur Smith

Cry Wolf is a war fiction novel by Wilbur Smith. In 1930's when colonialism and fascism was blending and there ran a competition across European countries for gaining maximum colonies out of Africa, that time, in the same pursuit Italy, under the command of Mussolini, sends fully armed army to invade on Ethiopia. On the other hand, the tribal people of Ethiopia are defenceless and listless. They have only spears and stones to withstand the powerful Italian army led by the General Count Aldo Belli. Gareth Swales, a ravishing personality from Britain, strikes a deal with the Ethiopian prince for supplying old but functional cars fitted with ammunition to fight against the merciless Italians. To get derelict cars in motion and have them fitted with equipment like turret he approaches Jake Barton, an American from Texas State who was in the US military but has turned into a motor mechanic of great knowledge. After repairing and fine tuning the motor cars and with ammunition

Book Review: Angry River by Ruskin Bond

Among all Ruskin Bond books, Angry River is a beautifully written novella. The main theme of the story is nature. When nature causes havoc, humans find it tough to avert. Though this story is of a poor little girl – Sita. She is too innocent and out of worldly affairs to create any damage to nature, well she is concerning the voice of many who get stuck with the ways of nature. Continue reading to know her story. Sita is a little poor girl living with her grandparents on an island that is located in the middle of the river, which originates from the high mountains and ends in the sea. During the rainy season, the river turns gloomy and violent. The last time when it flooded the island was twenty years ago. However, her grandparents are living here for over ten years now. This year, as the monsoon is on, chances are that the island may get flooded. Grandmother is ill and feverish, her condition deteriorating day by day. Thus, one day grandfather takes her on a boat to

Book Review: Valhalla Rising by Clive Cussler

Valhalla Rising by Clive Cussler is a typical suspense thriller, featuring Dirk Pitt. The novel goes credibly smooth like a Hollywood movie, with subplots, the huge greed of a hidden villain, and his dangerous team, and much more. The story is about investigating the sinking of a luxury cruise ship called  Emerald Dolphin , set on its maiden voyage. The ship has the best in class amenities and is fitted with revolutionary engines that run on seawater and fuel. But sooner the shine of the luxury, revolutionary cruise ship begins turning into the gloom, it catches fire.  Ironically, all technology that is needed to curb the fire seems to be being disabled deliberately. But who did that remains blurred? Too many cooks spoil the broth is the case with Emerald Dolphin’s crew members, who helter-skelter vainly and ineptly and totally forget to send Mayday signals. Dirk Pitt, a project director on board Numa ship, Deep Encounter , catches the fire sight on Emerald Dolphin accide

Book Review: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Among all Ruskin Bond books, The Blue Umbrella has, so far, gathered immense applaud from readers and critics alike.  This is a short novel, but the kind of moral lessons it teaches to us are simply overwhelming. This is a story of Binya, a poor little girl living with her mother and an elder brother, Bijju, in a small hilly village of Garhwal. One day while herding her two cows back home, she stumbles upon some city people enjoying the picnic in the valley. She is enthralled to see them well-groomed and rich. She craves to be one like them and among many other things of their, a blue frilly umbrella catches her attention. She begins craving for it. On the other hand, the city people get attracted by her innocent beauty and the pendant in her neck. The pendant consists of leopard’s claw – which is considered a mascot widely in the hills. Binya trades her pendant off with the blue umbrella. The blue umbrella is so much beautiful that soon it becomes a topic of conversation fo

Book Review: Brida by Paulo Coelho

Brida is quite a famous novel by the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. The book delves into the human existence and poses questions about religion, spirituality, mysticism, and magic and what are the threads that bind a human being from discovering oneself – the true reality of one. Brida is a 21-year-old fine-looking girl from Ireland. Outwardly, she has everything that otherwise an unhappy girl like her cannot have. Hedonistically she is perfect, but monastically incomplete. She is on the verge of losing herself i.e. she craves to find more about herself because she holds an affinity for the magic world and wants to see herself as one of the successful witchcrafts. Hence, she sets herself on a journey. The destination is she herself. Brida enters a dark forest with an intention of getting taught by Magus of Folk, a dogmatist of the tradition of the sun. When she confronts him, he asks her a question about love and wisdom, over which she chooses love. Being impressed by her

Book Review: One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat

Radhika Mehta is a successful lady. She earns well over a crore in New York with Goldman Sachs. She is into living relationship with one of her colleagues, Debashish, a mean guy yet her boyfriend. Their relationship is so far going good only needs a conversion into marriage. As she is so much career-oriented and perfectly settled in that Debashish refuses the marriage with her because he believes for marriage one needs a homely and out-of-career kind of girl and also he is less paid than her. He assumes that expecting homely things and the future that ensues after having kids is somewhat that Radhika will not be able to deliver. He walks out of her life. On the other hand, Radhika plunges into depression after having been rejected by Debashish. She takes up the transfer to Hong Kong. There she meets Neel. He is an interesting man to her but he is almost twenty years older to her and has a family which consists of two kids and a wife. As the affair advances, she faces the same