Friday, July 29, 2016

The Sialkot Saga - Ashwin Sanghi (Book)

49/100 of #100bookpact The Sialkot Saga - Ashwin Sanghi
After reading his earlier three works almost back to back and loving them too, I had to finish his latest book too and I am shocked by what I read. His earlier books were fantastic (Only the first one "The Rozabal Line" was good but not great), totally loved the "Chanakyas Chant" and the "The Krishna Key" - were able to keep me glued hanging over to race to the ending. Current book - he has actually picked up a subject which was kind of beyond him or he picked up too much stuff that he wasn't able to adjust somehow. Unbelievable that he was earlier compared with the likes of Dan Brown and all. The book is spread over almost 60 odd years, starting from India's partition in two (later three) countries. Throughout the narration it has that "been there done that" feel as he has almost roped in everything from Nehru's death, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, India's cricket world cup victory, Sachin's entry, Bhopal Gas leak, making of BJP, Babri Masjid, Mumbai attacks of 1993, USA 9/11, Mumbai 26/11 and what not. Imagine two of the leads who are arch business rivals and no awards for guessing that one is Hindu whereas other is a Muslim go through all those episodes here and there passing through in their lives (read 50 years), till finally they actually criss cross each other leading to a lackluster finale. The book was never able to keep me gripped unfortunately I have never left a book midways so kindda finished it with a predictable ending. After a couple of above mentioned episodes I realized he is going to make those things keep coming every 10 odd pages to keep the readers interest going but it becomes a little too much. I will call it a dead bore and a big turn off. Way way lower then my expectations from him.

The Time Machine - H G Wells (Book)

48/100 of #100bookpact The Time Machine - H G Wells I will call this as one of the wildest imaginations of the human mind coming true. But the way it is narrated is simply out of this world and the best part is the year when it was written - I just couldn't believe my eyes when Google said 1895. WHOA!! A beautiful book with a mind-blowing story. Just imagine if someone made a real time machine like the "Time Traveler" in this books makes one and travels. The main character has no name but is always referred as "Time Traveler", what he goes through with his machine is the entire engrossing story. Supremely written again I will say its simply unbelievably Unputdownable once you start. The year that he travels first time is about a thousand or more ahead of his time, just imagine what will happen of the humans, how will this world look like, what if he decides to travel a further thousand year ahead, what if he loses his machine in one of his trips? or what if he meets someone that he falls for? It has so much covered in merely the length of the book that is amazing the impact it makes on the reader (Midways I actually wanted the book to be a 1000 pages long). Totally loved the ending and actually kept looking for more, While reading the epilogue I was wishing that
Wells had written a sequel. It would have been such an amazing thing.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Conversations with God - Neale Donald Walsch (Book)

47/100 of #100bookpact Conversations with God - Neale Donald Walsch
Isn't the title itself too lucrative to just pick up the book and go for it? Also, it came highly recommended in an article I read not so long ago, since then it was a part of my "to be read" list. A series of three books written by Neale Donald Walsch as his personal one O one conversation with God. Unfortunately I got the first two books (e Copies) only and am glad that the third one is available in stores. It doesn't matter one believes his theory or not but trust me that there is not one thing that you can disagree with in the whole of the first book. It amazingly answers all the possible questions one can have to be asked from God - just in case we find him someday talking to us. No ways, I could actually read that he was asking precisely the same questions those keep cropping up in my own mind pretty often (You see age is catching up I guess). Commendable is the way he has recorded the whole conversation, too friendly, humorous and in a very easily understandable way, never gets too preachy. It almost covered everything like Career, Money, Goal, Reason of living, Love, Satisfaction and what not. This was another of those books which as per me is simply unputdownable, I will call it no less then an engrossing thriller of sorts. And I totally loved the way God talked to him. I am totally eagerly waiting to read the other two parts but just need to give myself some time to digest what this one talked about.
Just so you know what is covered in all the three books: Book One is to contain basic truths, primary understandings, and address essential personal matters and issues. Book Two is to contain more far-reaching truths, grander understandings, and address global matters and issues. Book Three is to contain the largest truths you are now capable of understanding, and address universal matters and issues—matters being dealt with by all the beings of the universe.

Monday, July 25, 2016

After You - Jojo Moyes (Book)

46/100 of #100bookpact After You - Jojo Moyes. Imagine even books have sequels - just when I thought they only made movie sequels and screwed the originals, came across this book which was a sequel to the authors last book "Me Before You" which I read about a month ago right before the movie on the same book released. The Book (Me Before You) was simply fantastic, amazing love story with although a sad ending - what could one expect from the love story of a underrated, non adventurous girl who has no career or dreams whatsoever with a guy who is at the pinnacle of his career - totally outgoing adventure loving character but an accident leaves him stuck to a wheel chair for life. Shockingly sad but predictable ending had me also thinking - whats going to happen the girl? Will she be able to move out of his shadow ever? Is she going to move on, get a life, love again? settle down? The sequel "After You' is actually her story forward as what happens a couple of years down the line in her life. It isn't half as good as the first part, almost drags initially, has a good mid part and an ending which simply refuses to come. I had a terrible terrible time finishing the last three chapters as it simply wasn't coming. But...... like her other book - the author was able to keep me hooked to the story that I had to finish it in flat 24 hours only. It works in parts but definitely doesn't works like a whole book and has no repeat value as such - am definitely not going to read again (Would love to read the first part though even after knowing the ending). Again the author was able to keep the reader guessing about most of the story, I wasn't sure what is going to come from his past which is going to sweep her off her feat and give her a reason to fight. Is she finally going to overcome the memory / grief, even when his own family had moved on. Is her dysfunctional family will ever come to her rescue? The book answers all the questions, does puts a smile on my face more than a couple of times and was a quick read too. If you like reading love stories - you can definitely consider both the parts back to back and enjoy you. I would love to know someone else's opinion too of the sequel though. Is it me only to who it didn't appeal like the way it should have? or there are others too thinking the same. Hope they make a movie on this one although I am yet to see the one they made on the first book.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (Book)

45/100 of #100bookpact Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist is going to be one of my all time favorite books not only by Charles Dickens but by and by general standards too (You see I started using his language too). Mind-blowing isn't the right word to describe the feeling I had throughout the narration - superb writing by any standards - it gave me everything, lump in the throat, sadness, put a smile on my face lot of times and finally had me grinning from ear to ear by the way it all ends. It just cannot be called any less then a perfect thriller too - although its a perfect piece of literature but amazing is the way he has written it with so much going on simultaneously. Some superb characters - even the villains portrayal is done in such a way that by the time it all comes to an end - reader actually has a sympathy or shall I say empathy for them. I kept wondering about the name initially why "Twist" in his name but as the story progresses and secrets are revealed I totally agree with it - his life was so twisty that he just cannot have a better name. Simple and sweet story of an orphan and as they say the story of Oliver Twist from rags to riches. If you haven't read this one - you haven't read nothing. Go for it and I am sure you are going to love it. I am definitely going to read it again some time soon even after knowing the ending, its going to be a great read. Looking forward to some more from him soon, totally in love with him (and of-course his writings).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie (Book)

44/100 of #100bookpact

Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie

Curiosity has killed the cat so many times that I have stopped counting anymore :). How can one forget about this one which was so much in news earlier and a Fatwa (Death Sentence) was issued on Salman's name - its his good luck that he is still alive after so many years of writing this controversial book. I am shocked to know that it is still not available in the book stores (not in India at least) that wherever I asked for it - got weird looks from the store people as if I was asking a book on "How to make a time bomb" or something. Finally got an eBook which is easier to get in todays time and got my doubts cleared that it indeed needed to be banned (after reading it). He has spared no one right from their own Prophets to shockingly Amitabh Bachachan, yes!! even I was shocked to read how could Big B and Rekha too get a mention in this book, Unbelievable. Its a story with two lead characters - Saladin Chamcha (Voice over artist in London) and Gibreet Farishta (An Actor), starting from Bombay with connections in UK and even USA. Actually after reading it - looks like Salman has poured his frustration (of what I don't know) into the book, even used cuss words a plenty, taken references from almost all the religions as he couldn't dared taking one only. It needs a lot of editing too (I believe) because he keeps forgetting words while writing and will leave it like that saying "What was that word...? " and leave it open like that.

Although it was a pain to go through after the story loses its track midways but I challenged myself to finish it and finally did it (took me good 10 days). And I am convinced that this needs to remain banned for good. So much use of Hindi and other local languages am sure will be turn off for a lot of people (if anybody care to go further). It is actually very hard to tell if he is making fun of everyone or is being sarcastic throughout. One of the star attraction of his book is his references and the way he molds their names i.e. Linda Lovelace (There is an important character in the book with that name), his mention of term Deep Throat, Pornography and all - I am shocked with the ease that he uses the same. Names like Rajiv Gandhi and family too with Bachchan and all he has used. I guess rather I am doubly sure that he wanted to invite controversy - just cant deny that now.

PS: In the end as my friend said in her post couple of weeks ago - I was glad like Yay!! I finished it finally. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Forget Me Not, Stranger - Novoneel Chakraborty (Book)

43/100 of #100bookpact Forget Me Not, Stranger - Novoneel Chakraborty
The Third and the last book from the Trilogy that I finished today to put my soul to rest finally. That is one thing I like about thrillers if they are aptly written - it was totally able to keep me glued to the very (Americanish) ending - which didn't work for some of my friends but worked for me, if Dan Brown and John Grisham can make a brotherhood - why can't we? Although it will be a crime using those names here but never mind - at some time some one can use those greater ones for inspiration - no harm in that. Finally the story of Rivanah comes to a conclusion and the stranger is revealed and the reasons are disclosed as to why someone was helping / blackmailing / forcing her to amend what she did in her past (knowing or unknowingly) and how she pays for it is the rest of the story covered in concluding part. I must say that the writer was able to keep me guessing the character till the very last chapter and it wasn't that easy (I wasn't right I can confess). So, if you like thrillers and have couple of days in hand to finish off in a jiffy - pick this series. As I go back to one of my heaviest reads after this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

All Yours, Stranger - Novoneel Chakraborty (Book)

42/100 of #100bookpact All Yours, Stranger - Novoneel Chakraborty
Second book from the "Stranger Trilogy" and almost equally engrossing, was able to keep my interest alive till the very end and still since its a trilogy - it sent me away looking for the third book of the series to set the score straight. Its a very nice cat (Protagonist) and mouse (Stranger) chase heading for an explosive finale - I hope it opens up the Pandora's box by the time it ends to my satisfaction. Journey of Rivanah from college in Kolkata to Job in Mumbai, from first crush to a serious relationship, family pressure, blackmailing by Stranger. And I am doubly sure that these books will make up for good Bengali movies if not Hindi in very near future as Bengali movie makers are anyways good in making detective / suspense / thrillers. The question still remains as whether Rivanah (whose story this is) is going to get? Will she be stuck with her past (her Ex) or will she move ahead and get her present (present boy friend) or is she in love with the Stranger. I am going to get the answers in next 24 hours as just picked up the third part and just couldn't wait to finish.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Marry Me, Stranger - Novoneel Chakraborty (Book)

41/100 of #100bookpact Marry Me, Stranger - Novoneel Chakraborty
I have a habit of challenging myself by picking up heavy subjects (Books) and it takes me some time to digest them thoroughly hence I kindda take a break by picking up this kind of books in between just to refresh my mind. Hence I picked up this "Stranger Trilogy" recently and thought of giving its first part a try yesterday. The book is written in such a nice way that it was actually very hard for me to put it down although nothing great but yes the writer has seen too many Bollywood and Hollywood thrillers that is inevitable - it races to the finish in no time. I totally loved its pace which was no less then watching a perfect thriller - almost every chapter ends with a new twist that you just cant not read the next and the next till you finish the book. Story of a fresh graduate traveling to Mumbai for her first job, her love affair, betrayal and help by a stranger (who is actually the hero or may be heroin) who never comes in front. There is a price too that she needs to pay if she doesn't fulfill his / her demands from time to time. Will she ever get the love of her life? who is this stranger? why is he helping her? what's his agenda? Is she falling for him? It raises too many questions and Another point that I really liked about the book was the writers knowledge of Mumbai geography and areas that he has captured - Perfect. For someone who has lived almost a decade in Mumbai - this works wonders - as I could actually visualize where it all happened. Its a very nice one time read - Imagine I am almost at the ending of the second book as I post this.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Inscrutable Americans - Anurag Mathur (Book)

40/100 of #100bookpact

Inscrutable Americans - Anurag Mathur

I am way way later in reading this one as it came highly recommended by a NRI friend (Of-course American) that it was a hilarious read as per her that too a decade back I guess. Today when I finished it - I felt like it has certainly lost its charm in time, initially it was a good read although sounds a lot exaggerated in todays time but midways it loses its steam and becomes boring by the time it ends. Yes in the early 90's when it was published first - it must be a unique book giving a first hand experience of a small town (read village) guy landing in USA for a year - getting cultural shock and all that. The protagonist is actually a little too dumb I felt or may be writer wanted to project him this way to make it more entertaining for us, didn't work for me. Finished it in flat two sittings. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Whitenights (And other stories) - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Book)

39/100 of #100bookpact Whitenights (And other stories) - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
(Whitenights) I am sure I have seen at least 3-4 movies based on the same story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky but none comes half as closer to the original story. Again I love the simplicity and a very straight forward way of telling a story by these Russians. Also, if you have read this one - did you notice that the main character (Our Hero) has no name. What a fantastic (Read heartbreaking) story - truly awesome and whats love if there is no sacrifice in it. A typical boy meets girl who is already in love with someone. Their friendship blooms in no time as they spend a couple of nights (talking their hearts out) and we get to know of them in a better way. And a twist in the end seals their fates forever. I am going to sit tight and read the other stories more carefully to see if he actually doesn't name his main characters in the upcoming stories. (Underground) I believe every writer (read person) goes through a phase where he or she contemplates his purpose of life - earlier I read a "Confessions" by Tolstoy as he went through this dilemma and now him. The second story which isn't a story in reality - may be chapter taken out of his personal life is a kind of confession by him of his so called wretched life which abruptly comes to a halt as he believes that its too much for us readers to go through it - although I kept asking for more and he does hints that it all doesn't end in here and may let us know the rest at a later stage in the book or may be in some other book - but those ramblings are too good and too real to life. Couldn't believe that someone as acclaimed as him would have gone through it too what we all go through in our daily lives. (A Faint Heart) Third story and back to back a sad ending - I wonder if he ends all his stories in that gloomy fashion. No doubt that I was touched but was hoping against a hope that it should end on a happy note. Poor Vasya (the lead) totally a lovable character, such a good soul - imagine he just couldn't take what life had in offer for him and succumbs. Right when everything starts falling in place for him, a great friend to support, almost about to get married to an amazing girl - all hell breaks upon himself or rather he crashes to his own insecurities - a very touchy story. Hoping the last one turns out to be a good one with positive ending with something to cheer about the book. (A Christmas Tree and a wedding) A very short story indeed on what sheer unbelievable things people do just for some money, Shocking.