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Showing posts from February, 2018

Book Review: The Black Widow by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva is a world renowned author for penning down spy thrillers for all sorts of backdrop and era, like WW I & II, Cold War, and modern time. His created spy you will find everywhere. Daniel Silva shot into fame with his spy thrillers like The Unlikely Spy, The Marching Season, The Mark of Assassin and some more. Later he formed a character, rather a strong spy, called Gabriel Allon. How and where did he come from? For that you need to read the series in a chronicle order. The Black Widow is a sixteenth book in the Gabriel Allon series. It was published in 2016. In this book, Gabriel Allon is a legendary assassin and art restorer, and he is all set to be appointed as the new chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But well before that a terrorist attack in parish shakes the peace of the world. And this is the time when is called back into the field for one last time or say for one final task. The task is to assassinate the man responsible for the bombing

Book Review: The Sensualist: A Cautionary Tale by Ruskin Bond

The Sensualist by Ruskin Bond is not a children’s book. Rather this book takes a stance on a man who once was obsessed with having sex and driving pleasure from women. This book, in particular, discusses the darker aspect of human psyche. The narrator is walking long a river bank while going somewhere up in the hills. As it begins to rain, he seeks shelter in a cave. The cave is inhabited by a man: he is like a saint but of well-built physique. The narrator and the man begin conversation. The saint-like man talks about his past life and how he came into the hills. Both men are nameless in the story; the only names that appear in the story are of women. The saint-like man’s sex drive story starts something like this. As a child he was under the caretaker of a voluptuous female servant called Mulia. She was of strong flesh and bones, they both get attracted to each other and though he was only a child then but he began enjoying her body and cuddling. The boy’s mother was aware

Book Review: The Perils of Being Moderately Hit by Soha Ali Khan

Two things are very clear and evident from this book. First, Soha Ali Khan is a wonderful writer. She did not take assistance of any other writer to pen down her own life story so far. Possibly this is the reason that this book is light and entertaining both at the same time. Second, the title suggests transparency and honesty about the story bearer. She knows that she is moderately popular unlike her brother and father and other family members. Also, in the preface, the writer has made it clear that the book is about herself – her true identity as a daughter, sister, wife, and an actress. She is not there to talk about her brother Saif and his wife Kareena, the duo famous as Saifeena. The book consists of nine interesting chapters. People more into Bollywood or celebrity gossip can look forward to read this light and genuine memoir. It is not very heavy and path-breaking memoir like of Maria Sharapova and Mohammad Ali. But a peek into a simple person who is accidentally born

Book Review: William – The Conqueror by Richmal Crompton

Everyone in their childhood enjoyed reading fairy tales and some peculiar character-based books to relate more with their day-to-day mischiefs, isn’t it? Hardy Boys, Billy Bunter, Enid Blyton series, etc. Well, then, what about Just William series? Though intrinsically British humour, but pupil can still relate a lot with this tousle-headed, snub-nosed, chirpy little devil. Among many children’s character, William was all time favorite because this lad always emerged out grumpy after ensuing troublesome case. He was bit weird in terms of envying adults. In other books the children did implausible things that animated the imagination of even the saintly people but William was something that readers could directly relate to. While many of us have not carried things as risky as William did, we were quite familiar with his thought process. We too used to do many of the things William did. Undoubtedly, we all immensely enjoyed this completely humorous read. Also the thing is not en

Book Review: Vampire Stories – Chosen by Alan Durant

Vampire Stories is a collection of eighteen bone-chilling horror stories written by various writers, based on vampires and werewolves. Alan Durant has only compiled these stories into one book. This book is preferable for children aged nine to sixteen. Vampires have always given many of us creeps: those piercing red eyes with their sinister, hypnotic powers, those sharp, menacing fangs and all that blood-sucking…Warevolves, on the other hand, have a pathetic quality about them that we find somehow endearing. Whereas vampires are cool and calculating in their malevolence, werewolves have the air of desperate, cursed creatures, acting from some unhappy compulsion. This may have something to do with the way the creatures were portrayed in the horror films we have seen. Dracula was a suave, cunning, remorselessly evil villain, while the Wolf Man was a hairy snarling, but rather brainless beast. Both creatures, though, have inspired a rich and varied literature – and indeed contin

Book Review: The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman

The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman is a second book in ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy. The book is set into two contemporary worlds. One, where normal humans live, and the other where witch, daemon, specter occultist, sorceress, enchantress and other haunting animals and mammals co-exist. Will Parry, a young boy, is worried about her mentally-ill mother. She is being continuously haunted by some men who often come to his home for searching a green leather case that belonged to his father and that possibly holds something enigmatic of high value. His father has been disappeared before Will’s birth. And Will doesn’t know how his father looked like, not even a picture or media coverage of him. It is bit odd for him. Mother says that his father was an explorer of remote places and Will has the mantle of his father. Soon, he will take the path of his father. To place his mother under better care, he takes her to the house of Mrs. Cooper, a kind-hearted woman who used to teach h

Book Review: Letters To My Ex by Nikita Singh

So far Nikita Singh has written around ten novels which mostly deal with love and relationship. This time she as written another love-and-relationship-oriented novel but through letters. So, if you love reading letters and if you are someone who writes regularly emails to your lover, then this book may have something for you. This time she has changed the format – only readers can tell whether this time it is drab like every time or something serious and gripping. Well, her publishers claim that her books are bestsellers; paradoxically none of her books has a Wikipedia account. Then what kind of best-selling books are those? The story is of two characters Nidhi and Abhay. Once they were in love – something serious kind of stuff – but as soon as they were out of college their love began to disintegrate because of their choices to excel at lives. With these letters, the writer tries to understand the reasons why people fall in love, the reasons why they stay together, the re

Book Review: When the Chief fell in Love by Tuhin Sinha

Tuhin Sinha is known for writing political thriller. ‘When the Chief fell in Love’ discusses the political landscape of Kashmir through the point of two lovers. Most likely, the book possesses a question: what is Kashmir issue and how it can be resolved? Under the book title, you will see four word/slogans written in Hindi, namely: Kashmiriyat ! Jamhooriyat ! Insaniyat ! Hindustaniyat ! These four words discuss the overall plot of the book. First three words were given by the former prime minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. And the last one is added by the author himself. The backdrop of the book mainly shuttles between Kashmir and the rest of the India, with other places in sight as well. The book is bit futuristic, as it covers the timeline from 1990 to 2030. The story is between two people who love each other: Vihaan Shastri and Zaira Bhatt. But they couldn’t get married because of the reasons, like they are torn between India and Kashmir, they practice diffe

Book Review: Current Show by Perumal Murugan

Current Show is a Tamil novel by Perumal Murugan that deals with the uncertainties faced by poor young people of the country engaged into deplorable and odd jobs. Originally, it was written in Tamil and later translated into English by V. Geetha. The novel has no definitive plot or structure, rather built on descriptions of its characters and their activities. More of like flowing water in the river! But the depth it presents is of high value. The novel is totally unglamorous and its main characters are young boys from downtrodden background having nowhere to go, and not to miss their physical appearance is filthy. The story delves into the life of Sathivel (also known as Sathi). He leads a squalid life – the conditions in which he lives are far below than the basic needs of life. He sells soda bottles at a rickety movie theatre. The time of the novel is of late 1950s to early 60s. So, that time cinema used to be single screens and a much awaited hangout place for all types of

Book Review: Every Time It Rains by Nikita Singh

Would she like to fall in love again? This is the question asked by the author in this book and then she tried her best to build a story around it. Nikita Singh is a pretty-faced Indian writer. She is known for known for contemporary novels with modern themes like love on social media, how to move on after break-up, falling in love many a time, etc. etc… She has written many light and racy novels – all set in India – for light and young readers. Now, let’s see what’s new in her new novel Every Time It Rains. It is a sweet sequel to ‘Like A Love Song’, in which the story was narrated through Maahi’s point of view. Well, ‘Every Time It Rains’ is about Laila’s point of view, and also explores the inner soil and traits of this lonely intriguing character. The first half of the book is about business deals and bakery business and cupcakes and cookies. But who knows the lass trying for a national level franchise is a heart-broken from within. Trying to still come up with the te

Book Review: The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

It’s not an ordinary book for the readers who finish books in a matter of few days. Even those who have read and grasped it fairly would dread to review it extensively because it's an inspiring book, thus, exaggerating its one–sided content doesn’t yield better fruits. It is good in its simplest form. Reviewers know that it is a pretty difficult book to review. Well, it's fascinating in a morbid kind of way. It is converging at the two poles at a same time: hopelessness and hope. The USP of this book is that it has made horrid subject like cancer disease so accessible and fascinating to people who aren’t even distantly connected to medicine. In short, it's a remarkable effort and deserves to be read widely. However, after all reading and dreadful fascination with the disease lasting over 400 pages detailing the 4000 year war waged by various people to find a cure for the disease, one paragraph in the final chapter chillingly resonates: "Perhaps cancer

Book Review: The Last Dance and Other Stories by Victoria Hislop

Victoria Hislop is an English writer, however she is known for writing stories and novels on Greek people and culture. Either she loves Greek culture or wanted to create a different field of interest as a writer. For example, Wilbur Smith’s novels are based out of Africa – with backdrop as both modern as well as ancient. She writes well, language is as high as of expected from the British authors. But sadly, her stories are insipid: they talk too much about the setting, people, their minds, etc…etc. But a firm plot or charming pace is totally missing. One such bad book is ‘The Last Dance and Other Stories’. The front and the back covers of the book are full of praises from elite newspapers and critics. That’s all paid marketing. This book consists of ten short stories, all set in Greek (modern day Greece). The first story of the book ‘The Priest and the Parrot’ is an interesting read; this story discusses the silent plight of a young priest who decides to remain celibate

Book Review: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is a terrific story that reminds us the pain and suffering Jews went through during the WW-II, especially under the cruel regime of Hitler. Though many books and novels have been written and diaries have been collected on Holocaust literature, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank has no match. It is damp with the blood of innocent people’s lives. The diary on which she began writing was a birthday gift to her in the June of 1942, she was barely thirteen then. She was a native of Netherlands, when Hitler invaded her country she went into hiding along with her family members and some other people. They remained hidden for almost two years in the annex at the back of Otto's company building in Amsterdam. Unfortunately when they were found out in 1944 by the Gestapo and the Dutch police, they were taken to the concentration camps. Later, she died of typhus in 1945, imagine a beautiful girl dying at the age of fifteen. Her diary and o

Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown

Origin by Dan Brown has received mixed reviews by readers from all across the world. Some liked the concept while others reported it was so uncharacteristic work that it didn’t even make sense. The same, old plot structure: prof. as a fugitive along with an attractive woman, a prominent personality gets murdered leaving an enigmatic secret. Only here, the chase is shockingly boring, the locations simply an opportunity for Brown to drone on and on about architectural factoids that do no interest, and the twists that make Dan Brown's books special? Robert Langdon is at the Guggenheim museum, Spain to witness a presentation to be made by his eccentric ex-student, Edmond Kirsch who claims that his discovery will challenge the basics of human existence. But during the presentation he is murdered in view of more than a million viewers and the discovery is stopped from being revealed. It is now up to Robert Langdon and Ambra Vidal, the museum director who is also engage

Book Review: Mr Rosenblum's List by Natasha Solomons

This book isn’t for those who love to ready very fast and prefer racy read; in patches it is quite slow when the author delves in describing the English countryside, the seasons, recipes, etc. Though the story stems out of war circumstances but still it isn’t a war fiction, rather it depicts how war forces the exodus of civilian mass, make people stranger from their own countries, and so on. All in all, the book is about ramification of war on the lives of common people. The story is about a German family who are struggling against the rising Nazism. Jack and his wife Sadie and their toddler daughter Elizabeth are Jews. They have succeeded in running way from Germany to enter England as refugees in 1939. As they land in Britain, they are handed a list. This is the list mentioned in the title: a list of things to do to become the ideal Englishman. Jack takes this list to his heart. From there, starts his journey of trying to become the perfect English gentleman. Jack's att

Book Review: Like A Love Song by Nikita Singh

‘Like A Love Song’ by Nikita Singh in the guise of a romance novel is a chick lit. The book on offer has an ordinary tale of a very young girl Maahi, imagine she is just twelfth passed and hoping from one branch to another in quest of love. Will she get comeuppance for her hastiness or something else? When she moves to South India, opposite the will of her parents, just for the sake of love of a selfish guy, this book becomes ‘too-early-to-fall-in-love’ kind of novel. As expected the guy breaks her heart and she come comes back to her home, to her parents, in North India, in Delhi. Now what? She must start a new life somehow. Instead of choosing a degree in a university, she rather begins her job search, first in an IT firm and then in a bakery-kind of bistro only to make a career in the bakery business. And from there on the banal story goes on…learning bakery products, finding a friend with whom she can share and cry on her shoulders, to another guy knocking at her heart, a

Book Review: The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

Once in a blue moon comes a delightfully chaotic book that enchants as much as it frustrates, that heals as much as it scorches, and that soothes as much as it disturbs. Reading such a book in which thoughts, consciousness, and perceptions appear as fragments that do not combine to form a coherent whole, one is often left wondering how to make sense of it all. How should one come to grips with its determined melancholy, its breathtaking audacity, and its insistence that inaction, despair, and renunciation are the sine qua non of life? The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa is one such modern masterpiece. The book is an aggregation of disparate diary entries that are abstract, dense, and at times, eccentric. For its entire four hundred pages it offers a philosophy of a melancholic life, a philosophy of dreaming, and a philosophy of art. The book is a disorderly collection - a fragmentary collection of tormented aphorisms, reflections, and musings in the form of diary entries fo

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is her third novel written in 2013 after a long gap of eleven years, in 2002 she published The Little Friend. The Goldfinch won her Pulitzer Prize of 2014 and some other honors as well. It is a coming-of-an-age story where the author has shown the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood. The protagonist is a young (13 years) boy Theodore Decker, known as Theo. His life takes an unprecedented turn when he goes with his mother to visit an art museum in New York displaying Dutch masterpieces. There bomb explosion takes place, his mother dies and many other people. In a nervous state he encounters a mysterious old man who gives him a message and a ring. Theo wakes up dazed and bereft, while staggering to save his life, in total chaos, misunderstands the old man’s message and then picks up the Dutch golden age picture called The Goldfinch, a rare work of Carel Fabritius. From there on Theo takes a different life an

Book review: By The Tungabhadra by Saradindu Bandopadhyay

By The Tungabhadra by Saradindu Bandopadhyay is a historical fiction written in 1965. The original piece was written in Bengali but now available as translated English version by Arunava Sinha. The backdrop of the novel stretches Vijayanagar to Kalinga of fourteenth century. Basically, the story is about two sisters Bidyunmala and Manikanakana. They both are the ravishing princesses of the kingdom of Kalinga, currently known as Orissa. The king of Vijayanagar Empire is Devaraya. On account of a political agreement, Bidyunmala is arranged to marry Devaraya. She is unhappy about the prospect because Devaraya already has three wives. The marriage voyage starts from Kalinga on barges to reach the bank of Tungabhadra. En route they save a man drowning. He joins them, his name is Arjunvarma and then soon Bidyunmala feels herself getting attracted to Arjunvarma. Reading this book is like taking a journey in time. Once completed it will bring a deep satisfaction leaving readers l

Book Review: To the Light House by Virginia Woolf

To the Light House by Virginia Woolf is rather a philosophical book throwing insights on love, lust, life and aspirations. Can you believe this piece was written when she was just eighteen? You would rather read with shock. Virginia Woolf fans are aware of the fact that her books are awe inspiring. Even if you haven’t read any so far, you can go ahead and pick up this book, or can also pick up any book randomly without having to read reviews, blurb, and synopsis. You will not be disappointed for sure. This novel is, a matter of fact, breathtaking poetry stretched to the size of a novel of over 180 pages, in which you will find short and long sentences with equal gusto, and chapters as short as three and a half sentence to as long as twenty-five pages with paragraph striking paragraph thrown at the readers that will eventually put remarkable and satisfactory grin on their faces before the book ends. Written hundred years ago, readers will find it tough to believe at that ten

Book Review: Night Crossing by Robert Ryan

Some readers have strong natural inclination toward war fiction books. They would pick up a book by looking at its cover not even bothering to read what was written at the back. The love for war fiction is as good as a good addiction. Every time readers pick up the book thinking that the book is based on a war, that there will be military, spies, love affair with a stranded woman, some trying to escape the POW camps and so on. Mostly, war fiction books are same with themes and plots but still they go ahead because in the war fiction book intensity is something that separates the book from its own heap. Robert Ryan isn’t a famous writer of war fiction like Ken Follet and some others, but still his books on war are quite prevalent among serious readers. The timeline of Night Crossing stretches from pre-war days to the end of Hitler and the war. The story is entwined between some Germans and a few British characters. Ross Cameron is in the police service. He visits Germany to inve

Book Review: Seeing Red by Lina Meruane

The semi-autobiographical book by Lina Meruane is the story of an ocular hemorrhage suffered by Lina, novel’s diabetic heroine. Like the novel’s author, Lina is also a Chilean writer currently in New York pursuing an academic career. It has been long known that there is a time bomb ticking in her eyes, but as to whether it has a long or a short fuse, is not known. She has been asked to take precautions, modify her day-to-day life style, and refrain from jerky movements because any sudden move can rupture her veins and tear asunder her retina leaving her blind. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens. Lina will now have to make use of the eyes of Ignacio, her new boyfriend, who becomes her guide, helping her navigate the narrow confines of the house, the chaotic traffic on the roads, and the elbowing people on the streets. And when he is not around, she has to teach herself to connect with the world in all sorts of different ways – through sound, memory, and touch. In a

Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Those who have read Harry Potter series would have wanted to read everything ever written by J K Rowling. That’s true to a long extent as no one likes to leave a writer like JKR unexplored. To keep the pace with the expectations of her fans and especially readers, she took a pseudo name to move away from the children’s fiction to try something serious like ‘The Casual Vacancy’ and now with a detective series featuring Cormoran Strike. The Cuckoo’s Calling is the first book in the series. She has written this book with a pen name of Robert Galbraith. This book isn’t a magical like HP series, but looking it from a crime suspense thriller then, yes, it is a book beyond expected standards. The profundity with which she unfolds the details and move from one character to another is indeed laudable. That’s the genius of British authors, and readers fall in love. Another amazing  thing about her  story telling is that she totally keeps the readers under suspense so much that imagine