Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Conversations With God (Book 2) - Neale Donald Walsch

62/100 of #100bookpact Conversations With God (Book 2) - Neale Donald Walsch In my experience of reading (last three decades) I would say there are very few writers who have that kind of connect with his / her readers that one actually feels like talking to them and not reading a book or a story by them. This Trilogy (Although am yet to get the third book) has exactly given me the same feeling, not for one moment I felt like I was reading a book rather it felt as if I was standing on one side of the window with him on the other side and we were talking about his experience while talking to God - that too the same queries that I will have if God speaks to me. Although Theosophy is not my favorite subject but it is my Dad's favorite - so you see it runs in my genes I now believe, but this is even otherwise an outstanding series of books that everyone should read - I will call it an eye opener and one that gives so much food for thought. It's I believe an Art to criticize your own country (America) too in such a positive constructive way. Astounding is the way he has done it and not over do it at all. as captured God's thoughts and responses to our worldly queries and insanely great replies. Terrific imagination if I may call it that but so well convincing. It can very well be read as a self help book too but needs to be read again and again, I am totally hooked to them now and have already ordered the last of the series too.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Brethren - John Grisham (Book)

61/100 of #100bookpact The Brethren - John Grisham
Second book back to back from Grisham and it set me thinking what the fetish these guys (read American writers) have with Washington DC, The Capitol, President of United States etc. Almost all of them say Jeffrey Archer, Grisham and even Dan Brown have an inclination towards them all in almost all of their books. One more thing I noticed specially in a Grisham book that one of his characters will certainly be looking out to wrap up his life, buy a Sail Boat and set off a sail around the world doing nothing else in life. His definition of retirement is simple - make or get a lot of money one way or other (meaning hook or crook) get a sail boat and just move on. This one turns out to be a story of three retired judges who make a "Brethren" inside a prison. Why are they in the prison? or how they run their empire covering almost the entire US of A, how they collect money is the story all about. Keeping the reader engrossed with a parallel track of a small time politician who CIA tries to turn into the next President. But what has "The Brethren" got to do with this guy and how their path's cross makes up for a superb Cat and Mouse game. By the time I was towards the last 50 pages - I was thinking I will be easily able to predict the ending - had thought of three alternate endings but none of them worked - the way Grisham decides to end it, Super Awesome. A superb one time read for sure.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Women in Love - D H Lawrence (Book)

60/100 of #100bookpact Women in Love - D H Lawrence
One of the first that I read from D H Lawrence and what an amazing story this one turns out to be. Although it kept on reminding me of "Pride and Prejudice" which was written almost a 100 years before this one. They do have an uncanny resemblance but this too was almost as good as that one. Two of the best friends falling in love with two sisters and where love takes them is the story. Told in the most relaxed fashion - exactly the way I love the books I read. No hurry - no one's going anywhere and it all happens at a leisure pace. The best part of the book is the episodes between sisters as well as these two friends who have nothing in common yet their interactions are simply superb. Another wonderful thing in this book is a Man's opinion of another man and in contrast a Women's opinion of a man. If you have read the book you will agree with me but if you haven't and are interested in the subject - you better pick it up now :). I was totally rolling on floor with laughter as what they think of each other and how different they were in reality. I am sure the writer of "Women are from Venus and Man are from Mars" was highly inspired by this book. Its a beautiful beautiful book from all angles - I regret not knowing any German as there were so many instances where the writer throws German phrases and sentences which make no sense to us English readers. Also, the totally unpredictable outcome and unbelievably shocking ending of-course I should have predicted that because so much happens in the book because of women's (in the story's) different opinion of things. WOW - this proves how different we all are and how differently we think.

Monday, August 22, 2016

King of Torts - John Grisham (Book)

59/100 of #100bookpact King of Torts - John Grisham
Another damn good writer who was my favorite right from school and college days - picked up three of his books including this one and plan to finish them back to back, so I get the Grisham taste back. Like its said about his writing that he teaches you (readers and lawyers) what they don't teach at the law school. Precisely fantastic (read corrupt) ideas to make a struggling lawyers story from rags to riches and told in a superb thrilling way. Story of Clay Carter who happens to be a nobody, no one knows him suddenly shots to fame when he gets some insider information about a drug gone wrong by manufacturer. Trusting his source he starts a game of cat and mouse chasing company's who have done something wrong so they give in easily in out of court settlements, imagine with millions or billions are involved. Starting the story from a mere $40K salary to his private jet worth millions that too in less then a years time - it was such an amazing and trust-able experience that I was totally hooked and it indeed made me think why I didn't become a lawyer myself - ROFL. Author's note in the end was good too where he clears all doubts that its part fact and part fiction including the places, roads, buildings etc.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

1984 - George Orwell (Book)

58/100 of #100bookpact 1984 - George Orwell Second book from the writer that I picked up as it came highly recommended by quite a few people I know. And it became one of those few books which looked like a big challenge for me to finish. But as they say in literary world that If someone can read "John Galt's" speech without flinching - he / she can read anything thrown at them at any point of time. I will now call him definitely a master of satire (need to wiki him now), now I am too inclined to read a book "on him" more then a book by him. Seriously heavy stuff at least on me this book was.
The story of the year 1984 as he keeps mentioning not so sure about the time at times himself and the fictitious location which sounds more like the London of future (today may be). World has actually gone to the dogs, Humans work like machines, fed on a special diet, whoever goes against the system is hanged or just vaporized with all the data related to one's being is erased from the face of the earth. No more families, no more social life, you are being watched all the time (Big Brother anyone), anything one attempts or does has a repercussion. I wonder what made him imagine all that and where it all came from which actually sounds scary as well looks like not so distant truth too - you see one way or the other Apocalypse is coming for sure. But as every dark night has a silver lining this one too has a beautiful love story amongst the bomb blasts and their life's never ending troubles. It is indeed hilarious and horrible both together in equal measures. The terms used in the book are too good how the humanity is controlled by some kind of agency that even our thoughts are under their control and one who thinks of something which is forbidden - they need to pay by their life or may be 25 years in prison. The book actually becomes too engrossing and interesting after midways when it all starts making sense (scary at times). Followed by Revolution of sorts and unbelievable ending. Although it became that rarest of the rare books which actually made me feel "Yay I finished finally".

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sons of Fortune - Jeffrey Archer (Book)

57/100 of #100bookpact Sons of Fortune - Jeffrey Archer
So it was finally "Jeffrey Archer" time for me after quite a while I would say. Read a lot of his books earlier and almost loved them all till the very last page as he is famous for that - keeping his readers engaged to the very ending. This was no different - had read it long ago and totally loved a reread. Twin brothers and their story right from the birth to separation and the parallel tracks - how they keep criss crossing each other so many times, the similarities, the struggles, challenges and what not. Till they come actually very close and become rivals in politics - was the best thing. Although at times it does becomes predictable but never "uninteresting' its just too good. I am sure it would (not sure if they did) make up for a perfect movie (a Thriller). People knowing them both in the story too are equally amazed liked the reader with uncanny similarities in their lives. As I finished the book today - it was totally engrossing till the very ending and trust me when I say this - I had to actually read the last page thrice to get the ending as who was the one that Archer was referring as the winner.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Message In A Bottle - Nicholas Sparks (Book)

56/100 of #100bookpact Message In A Bottle - Nicholas Sparks
This must be the third from Nicholas that I picked up after "Notebook" and "The Choice" and as the name suggests - its simply amazing (totally out of this world love story). Its like drinking that perfect cup of tea (I love my tea cold) that one keeps sipping till the last drop and even hang in your mug in the end upside down for that last drop to fall in your mouth. Also, I love those Love Stories which start with a sort of a heartbreak, move to developing new relations and end with a note happily ever after types and this one is an exceptional story almost in the same format. Story of Theresa a single mother of a teenager who gets the first message in a bottle just like that one fine day and sets up to find more, followed by looking for the guy who was writing the messages. The reason behind them and as the story unfolds, its heart warming - I am sure I have seen the movie on this earlier still didn't knew how it all happens and ends. As I have already said earlier too - I love the smoothness the way Nicholas tells the story and the pace is nice too that I was able to finish it in flat 48 hours as I don't like keeping my heart hanging on for too long. Although it has its own twists and turns as well as ups and downs too but then that's the best part of a story. When reader wants to race to the ending he is predicting or the way we want it to end. Go for it if you like love stories even otherwise its a perfect one time read and fast too. I guess I am gonna order all the remaining books now and will finish soon.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute (Book)

55/100 of #100bookpact

A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

As a reader I already realized that its going to be a lovely book the moment I read the disclaimer on the very first page by the publisher that it is printed as it is written by the writer, is will be written as "ize" and so on so forth. For me it works big time as it actually makes me read the communication between two people with expressions as they would talk unlike the plain jane English which looks nice in print but doesn't make the same impression. The story which is mostly in flashbacks - just goes on and on and on in a most simplest way and abruptly comes to current time of two people talking. An aged Solicitor / Trustee who is fulfilling his clients last wishes of handing over his property's worth to his only heir a girl in mid 20's whereas the will says that the whole will go to her only after she turns 35. Till then she gets an yearly income from the estate - what she does with that money is what the story is all about and its just mind-blowing. Heartwarming, Touching and indeed one of the best I have ever read in a long long time. What pains she had gone through earlier in life and how she lands this fortune makes up for a superb story. How grueling life can become for some (like walking 500 miles on foot as a prisoner in six months) and how easy it turns out for us - it made me feel that all the time while reading the book. Their troubles seem never ending but they too have their own cherishing moments too, people do go out of the ways to help them and how - that is so touching. Spending three years of their life in an unknown land.

The best part of the book is Jean's (The girl) dreams and how she goes about it, her will to survive and save so many other lives with her. What she decides to do first after getting the legacy and so much with it is an eye opener and simply unbelievable. When she goes back retracing her life during the time of war and what all facts she get and they take her for another amazing journey of her life is the rest of the book. She is one person who brings in the "winds of change" in so many people's life. If someone has to review this book - you will have to write a book on it, its that kind of a story that I just want to go on talking about it. It is one heck of a book I would say which will be a permanent part of my collection now and I believe it should be read by all to learn so many lessons in it. I am definitely going to share it with a lot of my friends who love reading - spread the word I would say. The way I learned it from a friend of mine - lets keep up the good work. 

One of my very close friend who has moved to Adelaide (Australia) which happens to be very near the town of Alice - guess I may be going their some time soon to see it from my own eyes. After reading this book I will definitely go there once in my life. 

Monday, August 08, 2016

Seizure - Robin Cook (Book)

54/100 of #100bookpact Seizure - Robin Cook
This book had been in my collection for quite a while and somewhere I read about his latest release so thought of picking this up first. What an amazing Biotech thriller it is - written by a Doctor (MD) it actually gives a good glimpse in the life of likes. As the protagonist(s) of this one is a Harvard PHd, who has found the cure for Parkinson's which isn't yet approved by FDA. What all he has to go through to put it in the line of approval (by force) by illegally testing it on the same Senator who discards his idea in the first place. Because he wants to use it first for himself being a Parkinson's sufferer and is about to lose his ever flourishing career. With a superb twist thrown in which relates to Shroud of Turin thrown in - it makes up for a superb detailed thriller with eye popping details on Biotechnology advancements. Involvement of other characters, the illegal practices, their cross country travels on research and collection of required items - makes up for an amazing thrilling ride. The entire book covers up close to a months time and it is written in such an intelligent and engrossing manner that I actually had to go back to earlier chapters to check the dates and time to make the pieces fall on their right places. This is almost one of those very few novels which kept sending me back after placing the book mark on the current pages again and again. Too Good. I guess I am all ready now to pick up some of his other works as well need to pick up a couple of books mentioned in this one on Shroud of Turin now - that is so fascinatingly mentioned and written about in this one that its just impossible to resist now. Another good part about the whole story is the explanation given by Robin Cook in the end of the book clearing fact with fiction hence calling it a Faction, I really liked that.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Chronicle of a Death Foretold - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Book)

53/100 of #100bookpact Chronicle of a Death Foretold - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One of the most gruesome murder stories with fantastic (don't know how good it is to use that word for a murder) gory details told in one of the most chilled out ways. Can't say I loved it but yes as a book it is indeed mind-blowing for its size and what it covers. As the title suggests - I specially loved the way the whole story is narrated in the very first line itself the author has told us very clearly - what is going to happen, who is going to and why too. Even then the pace, the suspense, events relating to it, reasons, and almost everything else works supremely. Its gripping, intriguing and very captivating till the very last page. I just couldn't believe it the way story moves and it also got me thinking of an alternative ending, I actually thought and wished that its going to go some other way. I have never read a better murder story then this one ever and this is one of the best stories for "How Done It" genre (If that's even grammatically correct). Superb Book.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Animal Farm - George Orwell (Book)

52/100 of #100bookpact Animal Farm - George Orwell
Wifey got this book from her office library being the thinnest and smallest book in the whole rack and I gladly picked up as it came highly recommended by some of my own friends - even she liked it. Although its a nice one time read with being so smaller in size I could actually finish it in one sitting but once I reach midways - I started realizing that something wasn't right about it and thats when I Wiki'ed and realized what the author actually wanted to pin point at. Thats another problem when you read a book which was written say 50, 60 or may be a 100 years ago - you may not get its real point what it meant to make and like this one - for people who may not care to know it turns out to be a nice little book on farm animals who revolt against human barbarism against animals and start living on their own. They go to an extent of living almost a humans like life, play cards and drink whiskey like us. They even make their own anthem and sing it proudly too, they have their own Seven Commandments (Hilarious ones) and they believe the funda of "Four Legs Good Two Legs Bad". They change so much themselves that some of them become their own leaders and their internal issues start cropping up before the inevitable predictable end it draws to. Whereas the story has got a lot to do with Russian revolution and the characters mentioned in this story are taken from some of the great names from Russia (Old United). But even otherwise its a fantastic fast read which did put a lot of smiles on my face and made me laugh ear to ear with the hilarious situations.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Frankenstein - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Book)

51/100 of #100bookpact Frankenstein - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley I have no idea why but as and when the word Frankenstein used to come to my mind - I used to think of it / he was a man / ghost / robot or some kind of animal put together by a maverick scientist by taking parts of various animals or humans. Finally I get to read the book and set the score straight that it was actually Frankenstein (Victor) who makes the "Creature" and no the other way round. Heart touching story of an experiment gone wrong (rogue) and what happens next when its actually made and left on its own. How the Creature is made (not in too much details) its repercussions on its maker and his own family is the story. Initially it is written in the format of letters being written by a guy who is on some kind of voyage across the globe to his own sister, where he gets to meet Frankenstein and later it becomes the first person account of the maker itself to the world, followed by Creatures story to his own maker. The account of the Creature as how he sees us humans is an eye opener and something which indeed put a lump in my throat - poor soul. As he narrates his own story of survival where he tries never to hurt anyone yet he keeps getting hurt by us just because of his looks. What he does in anger or as a revenge to his maker changes their life forever. His one last request or demand with his maker before he promises to never appear on the face of the earth is heart touching, what was the demand? The loyalty of reader keeps shifting from Creature to Frankenstein and back to the Creature. Superb Book.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Inferno - Dan Brown (Book)

50/100 of #100bookpact Inferno - Dan Brown I love those writers (and books) especially the ones those are able to give me sleepless nights (although that has got nothing to do with my graveyard shift) and Dan Brown is one of those few good ones. This being his latest work that I guess isn't appreciated much by critics as his best but of course I totally loved it - as picked it up Saturday early morning and had to finish it this morning to not to have a break in between. After seeing a couple of movies based on his books and totally loving the character of Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks on big screen) it was simply impossible for me to not to have it. Again it is almost as pacy as his other works - same treatment for Robert too - wakes up in a hospital with a gun shot wound on his head - no memory of last two days, why is he in Florence, why are people trying to kill him, what has WHO got to do with him. The pace is simply frenetic with so much going on continuously (typical Dan Brown) and Robert on foot with a little help from another character who happens to be a doctor.  Another thing about Dan Brown is that his books are a total visual treat and so rich in Architecture, History, Symbols, Amazing places and the theories that he comes out with - totally believable (scary at times). Even in this book the mathematical calculation that he has given for world population growth and its impact on planet or humanity is scary. It's like he is actually making us aware that the end is near (yet again) and there is no way we can stop it, so does the villain in this one - kill half the population with one swift move and make the planet last long for the rest. The question is - is he really a villain? Should he be stopped? He has already set a time bomb ticking at a location no one knows where, will Robert be able to reach on time and diffuse, the bigger question - should the bomb be diffused or should it go off? The whole story in wrapped up in flat 72 hours I believe. Another best part of this book is that the movie is right round the corner and should be releasing in a couple of months- I am now so eagerly waiting for it - gonna be watching it first day first show for sure. If you like thrillers - you just cant ignore this and if you have read it already - do let me know how you liked it.
PS: Also, with this book - I have reached the halfway mark :)