Monday, June 27, 2016

The Prophet - Khalil Gibran (Book)

38/100 of #100bookpact

The Prophet - Khalil Gibran

I will call it another fantastic little book of Wisdom by Khalil Gibran. After reading a couple of books touching philosophy here n there by the likes of Tolstoy, Nietsche and even Ayn Rand for that matter - thought of trying something from a more closer place. And this one exactly word to word teaches the same stuff and confirms what other philosophers died preaching the world. I am surprised to know that even to check the existence of the city where this story takes place - one needs to do a lot of research - I had to actually read another little book to know where it all was happening and I gave it up gradually finding that someplace imaginary and closest they came to conclude was Jerusalem. Looking at the small size of the book I was shocked to read that it almost covers up all the subjects under the sun, talk about Love, Life, Job, Family, Business, Religion, Truth, Death and what not. Written in such a simple way yet superbly meaningful. Kept reminding me of Paulo Coelho from the recent times - a book one can finish in simple one sitting but it will be on the back of your head throughout the rest of your life. If one is in search of something that one doesn't know what? this is the book which will make one understand what exactly you were searching - actually you already had it from the very start as per the Prophet. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown (Book)

37/100 of #100bookpact The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown I am sure I haven't read a Dan Brown book in last decade or more may be and let me tell you - if you haven't either. The books written by him cannot be reviewed once you finish them, if you know what I mean. WOW, again he has left me totally hooked to one of his amazing stories with a fantastic disclaimer of sorts in the very start. It is simply unputdownable - I am almost on the 100th page and the pace is so furious with three parallel tracks running for the same destination and it is the way he changes tracks that the read is keeping a third of his brain unoccupied with anything else then what comes next in that particular track. The filling in the gaps he leaves with the little pauses is so amazing that I believe next time I am going to pick up any of his works - I will make sure that I have no disturbances for another 48 hrs at least. One thing I love about his books though is the suspense that he creates and now after watching the movie on his book - whenever the name Robert Langdon is mentioned - unmistakably Tom Hanks comes to my mind. But it so unfortunate that they never made a movie on this one, not so far. One heck of a book so tightly written that it is tough to take a break even between the chapters. Freemasons, CIA, Scientists, Hackers, it has everything and a Symbologist (If I may call Robert that or Historian for lay man) in a chase at breakneck speed and everything going around the Capitol of Washington DC. A perfect combination of Science and Philosophy that too in superb doses. Its a must read for all thriller / suspense lovers.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Udta Punjab (2016) - Movie

Let's see how high and well Punjab Flies. Just wouldn't miss at any cost. It's an eye opener. Needs more publicity and guess the world needs to see it. Its a fantastic movie - although wont call it a hardcore Entertainer if thats what people expect from every movie but it has all the other things you expect in a good movie (qualifies for a meaningful movie). No idea of the subjects authenticity as never stayed in Punjab - passed thru couple of times but cant judge. But yes in other cities the situation isn't this bad and I can say a lot of my own friends do a lot of stuff these days which is very easily available in Mumbai, Pune, Goa etc. Superb Job by entire team - totally into the characters all of them. But my favorite will be Diljit - he is a revelation of sorts. What precise expressions - this will definitely get him some good debut awards for sure. If you haven't seen it yet - you better watch it right now as its running to empty theaters in here and will go off soon. I really pity those who have seen either a pirated print (people staying in foreign lands exempted where movie didn't release) - they have no freaking idea what they are missing. This is one of those rare Shahid movies that I would love to see again on big screen.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks (Book)

36/100 of #100bookpact

The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks

I saw this movie quite a few years back and totally loved it - I thought it was made for those hopelessly romantic people and still made a lot of sense to me (Not that I am any less romantic or I was at that time). Never knew it was made on a book till I actually got it from a crazy friend of mine who I am sure would have cried a night after finishing this. It didn't make me cry cry but yes made me all nostalgic, thinking, gave me a little lump in my throat but kept a smile on my face throughout the day I read it and made me love the open ending. This is the second from the Author that I have read so far and I guess I'm gonna have to get the remaining to my collection soon. Also, I gotta watch the movie again to relive the memory and need faces for the lovely story. Story of a charming lovely couple in and out of love and back in with a fantastic lifetime of love and affection. I am amazed with the pace of the book - couldn't believe that it actually ended that fast. I was thinking I will be able to stretch it to the weekend but it got over way before the Friday night ended. Read it guys - if you've ever been in love - this is it - a perfect book for the hardcore romantics. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (Book)

35/100 of #100bookpact

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

Last month I picked up quite a few books for my kiddo and saw a couple more good ones from Charles Dickens like David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist etc. After reading a few on heavy subjects which took a little toll on my little head - decided to refresh myself with this one and what a delight little story this one is. Although I am sure I have read this earlier during my school days I believe but had totally forgotten. What a challenging life this guy had which had its own up and downs but there was always a silver lining in his sad story. Initially it was the house keeper followed by a close friend, then his love interest which again goes for a toss, his marriage and finally the heart warming ending. Finished this one in two sittings was a very easy and lovely read highly recommended to all literature fans. This one again made me smile from ear to ear as I have always loved the way these Brits talk - its a magical way of talking which kept running the story on back of my head as I was very well able to see the visuals in my imagination. So well explained - a wonderful book in all. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anthem - Ayn Rand (Book)

34/100 of #100bookpact

Anthem - Ayn Rand

It will not be an exaggeration if I say Ayn Rand is one of my all time favorite writers (right now) although it took me three attempts to finish "The Fountainhead" that I totally loved and I had sat through the pain of John Galt's speech in superbly written "Atlas Shrugged". If you have read any of those - you would precisely know what I mean. The current book in context is one of the easiest read as its not even a one fourth of her earlier works. But for book lovers like me - the fatter the book the better it is, unfortunately this one is not even one evenings worth but covers a fantastic subject in one of its own best ways. By the time it ends I could actually see a guy like Howard or John climbing atop the hill to claim his own house (call life) as the winner well deserved. I have no idea in reality but I am sure it would be too tough for Ayn to come out of shadows of her own two strong characters that I could still see their shades in her work. It takes place at some unspecified future date when mankind has entered another dark age the world has come to an end (looks like). But the Man's will is still not broken and he is going to do what he is here for. This became a sort of third book back to back that I read which again clarifies our purpose on this planet and kind of tries to answer what we are supposed to do in comparison to what we are doing right now. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Red Queen - Matt Ridley (Book)

33/100 of #100bookpact

The Red Queen - Matt Ridley.

I am so much inclined to read Charles Darwin's theory of evolution for quite a while - although I very well know that a lot of it is going to get bounced way above my head (Say understanding) but still would like to give it a try and in the meantime I stumbled upon this one. This Book was basically a topic of discussion between two main characters of another book (you see I pick up what I am going to read like that too). Hence I picked it up and what a mind blowing book this one turns out to be. Totally in Awe with Darwin's theory and the likes - Matt Ridley (Author) has done some superb research while coming out with this one and wrote it in such an interesting way that it makes a lot of sense for even a lay man like me who hasn't read anything about Biology (Human as well as other species) since 10th standard. It was actually like I was watching a series on Evolution and progress of species on this planet earth on National Geographic. Terrific details, superb examples and stories thrown in with real time debates, arguments etc to put a point across. How it all started, why it took so much time for us to be where we are and in the end even the Author is ready for brickbats as he very well knows that a lot of others will not agree with what he has to say about the subject. I would call it one amazing book to read if at all this subject interests you - so much so that by the time it ended - I was literally looking forward to read some more. So I guess its high time that I got a copy of the Original Darwin book and read it some time soon. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Bookseller of Kabul - Åsne Seierstad (Book)

32/100 of #100bookpact

The Bookseller of Kabul

Again this book came as a gift and recommendation from a close friend - found it just about average as I just finished a superb Irani book right before this one hence the expectations (may be) were on a higher side. Unfortunately this one has too much of politics and current affairs covered in the book with too less on story (on which I was more keen), hence didnt work for me the way I expected. Åsne Seierstad the Author entered Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks and she spent three months with the Afgani family a bookseller whose story it actually is. Although its a superb real time account from the local citizen's perspective, also gives a great insight on everyday life in Kabul that too not so long ago. It has almost everything in right amount, call it Humor, Shocks, Adventure, Sadness and what not. I am going to try another of her work shortly something she wrote while staying in a country for 101 days. It was a quick over the weekend read. 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Book of Fate - Parinoush Saniee (Book)

31/100 of #100bookpact

The Book of Fate - Parinoush Saniee 

A very close friend got this book, read it, loved it, cherished it and the best thing she did is that she sent it to me to read too ;). A book which was banned due to its content which I am sure is mostly true covers the 50 years in the life of an Iranian woman (the Author) and I have no words to explain what all she goes through. Indeed it is no less then a thriller from any angle as it just made me race to the very end as I actually craved to see if anything good is finally going to happen to her or not. Right from her childhood to her education, marriage, career, children, the famous Iran Iraq war etc - how her life gets entangled / torn in between all those is the account covered through heartbreaking narration in the book. But as they say "Every cloud has a silver lining" and thats exactly what I kept looking for and it has its own moments when it actually made me smile and feel some respite for her. Never once the book gets predictable because as hard as I could imagine the shocks to my amazement kept coming and kept pushing me to a positive end (at least), but the question remains will she ever get what she so rightly deserved in the end? You've got to read it yourself to know that. Now I am going to pass it on to another good friend as it needs to be spread.

The cover of the book which I initially thought is the face of an amazing beautiful lady with red hijab but as the story progresses it actually becomes haunting in a way that I started feeling sad for her, how could they do all that to their own kids, sisters, wives, mothers and all that, unbelievable. The memory of that face is going to go for a very long time in my head I guess.

A couple of her other works too I believe got printed and some are waiting for the bans to be lifted so they should see the light of the day and come in our hands to be read. I pray it happens soon as I will be hooked to get them now. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

A Confession - Leo Tolstoy (Book)

30/100 of #100bookpact

A Confession - Leo Tolstoy

What is the meaning of my life? Why Am I here? What am I doing? What will come of my life? Generations have come and generations have gone from this planet - but what happened in the end? nothing. We are still here busy doing nine to five, make money, eat, sleep, rave and repeat - what happens to life in the end? We all die so is that the truth? Is that the only end we can have or can there be any other ending. Is this why we came to this planet or took birth, no memory of the past, no guarantee of a future, just the present that too we are not sure where we are going, or why we are doing what we are doing? Who started all this?

There will be no one person who hasn't thought that once in their lifetime but again since we have EMI's to pay and a life to live we continue. Leo Tolstoy was the man who stopped at the peak of his career, did a little research on his part and came to some conclusion by end which again wasnt that convincing (as per him). This is kind of his own confession of what he thought of life and its meaning. I got this book as a part of my "Philosophical Reads" and totally loved it. It cleared almost all the doubts I had in my mind about faith and philosophy. Although it has three more parts to it - which I am definitely going to pick in due course of time (need some time to digest this one first). If you like Philosophical reads - pick this up any day and you will be floored by the simplicity of the writer. I have read couple of his works earlier and have always rated Russion Authors very highly and he impressed me big time yet again. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Satyajit Ray On Cinema - Satyajit Ray (Book)

29/100 of #100bookpact

Satyajit Ray On Cinema

After watching all his movies back to back not so long ago - I decided to read all the works by him and on him as well. Unfortunately to my shock and surprise out of a huge list of books and stories written by him there is hardly anything available in our book stores as I walked into Crossword and they had nothing (Almost) with his name on it. Got a couple of books from Amazon and totally loving it. This one is written by him (Edited by his Son) and is basically his review / opinion on world cinema. The names and movies he has reviewed in here are some of the Iconic Classics and its totally unbelievable the way he has seen and understood them. Satyajit Ray I am sure was one of the best critics one can ever have (I am sure of his own time) the keen observation and points that he raised of a few movies that I had seen - its mindblowing. His views on his own works and how he could have bettered them too is amazing. This book clarifies if anyone has any doubts on him being a giant of a Man and an Icon then being a normal human being. As soon as I picked it up and the way it is written - I sincerely prayed that it would never end and with some outstanding precious pictures thrown inside - it actually makes it a collectors item. Imagine in one of the pictures there is Ray, Kurosawa and Michelangelo Antonioni over looking Taj Mahal. It has so many things inside those 200 pages that I am sure I will pick it up again and this book itself is no less then a school of Cinema. I am so looking forward to his other works now - let me see how many I can lay my hands on now. 

Saturday, June 04, 2016

A Second Chance - AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Book)

28/100 of #100bookpact.

A Second Chance - AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

I got this book while passing through a traffic signal in Mumbai by a follower of Krishna Consciousness Movement as he was offering it just like that - no price - although he was open for donation if we willingly wanted to make any. The title was very tempting - A Second Chance (The Story of a Near-Death Experience), that sounded pretty interesting but unfortunately it turns out to be a total disaster. I really seriously (look at the stress) wondered throughout that millions of people worldwide are part of this movement and this is what their literature says? Unbelievable. The gist is that as per them all the other religions are meaningless and the chiefs of those religions are called "Rascals" - trust me if I had counted this word is used like a good 500 times for various religious leaders, call it Christianity or Mohammedanism or whatever - they are all fake, even the Hindu gods and goddesses are called demigods as their supremos as per them is Lord Krishna - not that I have any issues with Krishna but... anyways. They have a right to their opinion after all still I thought how could so many people follow their teachings blindly.

Although the story told in this book is nice (again debatable) as the protagonist Ajamila a Brahmin by birth ends up marrying a prostitue and fathers a couple of kids (he names one of them as Narayana) - on his death bed he calls his son as he is in pain and all his sins are washed instantly by chanting Narayana (even when he doesnt mean to chant Krishna's name) and he is delivered to heaven. Super. The interesting part throughout the most of the book is the debate between Yamadutas (Yamaraj and his followers) and Vishnudutas (followers of Vishnu who come to save him from Yamaraj). I do not agree with neither their theory or ideology but didnt mind reading and knowing their perspective.

Also, reading this book - now I am totally inclined to get a simplified version of Bhagwadgita written with keeping us mere mortals in mind by someone. Do let me know if you know of any of those versions - I really need to read it and clear my mind of what is right and what is wrong.

This book is a no go.
Give it a miss if you come across anywhere. 

Friday, June 03, 2016

The Choice - Nicholas Sparks (Book)

27/100 of #100bookpact

The Choice

After a long long time got a proper love story - not that I mind reading but just couldnt help but fall in love with it (or say characters). What a beautiful book, a breeze to read obviously as all love stories are and aptly titled. The characters are so well intertwined - the way they interact - what they chose to say and think is totally amazing. The story could take a turn this way or that way - the reader knows but it all changes with the "Choice" they make.
Unfortunately based on the twists and turns - it is the second book on almost the same subject but with a different (heart touching) ending. But it didnt work the way I expected it to work for me, although good but not great. No Goosebumps, Lumps in the throat, smiles with tears in my eyes and so on so forth but nevertheless a good fast read. I am definitely going to pick up the authors other works too as I liked the way this one is written.