Monday, October 31, 2016

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Book)

85/100 of #100bookpact
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
As you can see with the list of the books I have read this year, I can claim I have read a lot :) hence decided to move on to my next target of reading the heavier as well as a little critical stuff from some well known writers and this one - fortunately falls in that series as the first book that I got from a very close friend - highly recommended. Fortunately not so long ago I had read one of his books (Chronicle of a Death Foretold) liked it too and it became one of those few books which I am sure I will never be able to forget specially for the stunningly gruesome account of killing it portrayed. So, basically had a little idea what to expect from this one but I wasn't prepared in reality for what I got, Mind-blowing stuff. Usually a book of 400+ pages I will easily wrap it in around 3-4 days but guess what - this took me close to 8 days, started on a Sunday and finished it late last night (Sunday). It is actually indeed very heavy stuff (at least from my fresher standards) and I couldn't grasp what he was throwing at me with a furious pace. No doubt, the details were mind-blowing (at times mind-fuck too), I am sure you will agree with the choice of words - if you have read this book. He is one of the most respected writer / personality from Columbia and a Nobel Prize Winner in Literature - If you need to know more about him, the search ends right there with that. 
I am sure Gabriel Garcia Marquez knew right when he started the book that its not going to be a easily tracked story for all the readers hence right at the very start he helps us with the family tree of Aureliano's initial generations as whose who that we are reading about. The entire book covers a little more then 100 years in the life and times of Aureliano's Seven generations in a fictitious place called Macondo which is assumed to be Columbia and a place around 100 miles north of the Carribean where the life and people are yet to reach. It is indeed a visual treat if you are in for the imagination - I totally loved the details told in the story and writers imagination. As the first generation starts living there (wild guess - around 1860's), imagine to send a regular mail they have to travel 15 days in an unknown direction where the mailman comes once a month. The story by the time it comes to an end - shows us the arrival of railroad in the town as well as the making of an Airport (Almost). What happens in between with the seven generation of Aureliano's and the 300 people who make the town of Macondo with the arrival of José Arcadio Buendía and his wife Úrsula Iguarán who happens to be his first cousin. How the family grows, after multiple relations with the well endowed men of Aureliano's generations, there comes a time when they make their own personal army of sorts. 
The way the life, their house (which becomes a mansion later) and the town changes with time is the most stunningly written details and descriptions I had ever read or imagined in a book. Although no denying that with that number of people and similar names (as almost all the guys are one or the other Aureliano) it was tough to keep a track of them all. My Favorite Four characters in no particular order will always remain the second Son Colonel Aureliano Buendía, the bravest man in the history of the Town (Country not sure), his life and story is one heck of a story. He turns out to be not only a Warrior but a very good poet too. During the wars Colonel Buendia fathered 17 sons by unknown women and all were named Aureliano :). How his wife Ursula keeps up with his nuances and his own end of the story is heartening account but I totally loved it. Second Favorite Character was Remedios the Beauty who happens to be Colonel's Grand Sons Daughter (you see you need to keep a track), the most beautiful women to have ever been born in Macondo and how many innocent people die because of her is a hilarious account. What happens to her in the end, I could never imagine in my wildest fantasies - too good to be true, totally amazing stuff. 
Third was Amaranta Úrsula, the Great Great Grand Daughter of the first generation José Arcadio Buendía. She is the only one from the entire generations to be the first one to go out of the town and country for her studies, gets married but returns back to have an affair with her own Nephew, have a son with him who happens to be the last of the line from Buendia family. The gory details of their affair and love making were simply mind-blowing and fall in the never ever read earlier category. But no doubt she comes back as a refreshing character bringing some respite for the readers if not for her own family who is already in ruins. And last but not the least - Fourth Favorite was an outsider from the family "Melquiades" the mysterious character who returns from his own death, does some superb inventions, writes his own prophecies - how true they come is something you've got to read the book to know. His presence all the time in the family house and mystery behind his room was something which kept me hooked throughout and the end was superb totally unpredictable. Even other then these four characters there are more then two dozen more characters with amazing presence and stories behind them, still these four outshine all the others for me and I am going to remember them for a long long time. 
Also, I am going to take a break from his other works for a while before picking them up. But what the heck - just cant miss his other works for sure. What an amazingly engaging writer and am glad my friend sent me this book.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Zahir - Paulo Coelho (Book)

84/100 of #100bookpact The Zahir - Paulo Coelho This is the third book from Paulo that I have read in the last 15 days or less and I must say that I totally love his flow of words and treatment of stories interwoven with real life. This one definitely is his own partial Autobiography of sorts where he has taken a chapter out of his own married life and put it as a back, his little more then two year long separation from his wife when she leaves him with no clue where she is going and what she is going to do. He also gets arrested briefly at the very start but later let go as they get no proof of any crime done by him (hilarious episode and loved his sense of humor). What is more inspiring in this book or any of his other works is simplicity and the way he just writes what comes to his mind in the form of a book and confesses too that - thats all he could do and it works for him and others too. Credits his wife for making him a writer as he himself wasn't sure if its the right thing to do or not, she actually gets him a typewriter / computer and he starts fulfilling his own dream. He says why he wrote / writes is to clear his mind off whatever coming into it so he can sleep peacefully :) now how inspiring it is for a budding writer - who gets a big clue as what to write on and where to go from there.
This starts after they have been married for close to ten years when the things start going south, static routine life, no change, they start taking each other for granted and finally his wife walks out without leaving any clue behind where she is going, why and with whom. How he gets the idea where she has gone and his subsequent journey of getting to find her or may be convince her back into his life is what this book covers mostly, a journey of around a little more then 2 years and a couple of months. If you like his books and like him as a writer - this one is a must must read as it gives a great insight on the man Paulo Coelho is, a terrific personal account of his own life and how he does things, what he thinks, his insecurities, passion and what not. I totally loved it. Hats off to the writer in him too as this one keeps the reader in a dilemma and sort of suspense too till the very end as how and what is going to happen at the end of the day. Close to 200 pages and a breeze to read, this one again is a book where the reader keeps asking for more by the time it ends. Also, I loved the way he talks about his other books in here narrating the story as that tells me what am I going to read next :), you see I told you - he is smart. 

Paulo Coelho I must say is one of those very few writers that makes every reader feel how the heck he knows what am I thinking? As he actually has written exactly what was going through my mind while reading it. If you have read this - you will know what I am talking and if you haven't - I guess its high-time you get a copy and read it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept - Paulo Coelho (Book)

83/100 of #100bookpact By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept - Paulo Coelho The best thing about a Paulo Coelho book is that they deserve multiple readings and every-time you read one of his books, they make more sense then they made it the last time. I am sure this isn't the first time I picked up this one as it did feel "been there done that" throughout the story but still made a lot of sense. Another fantastic philosophical or theosophical or spiritual read you can call it, told in the simple manner of a love story or the journey of two lovers but I guess how it ends is he has already given away by the title. Story of two school time friends, who grew up together in Soria (a city in north-central Spain), the guy goes away, they keep in touch through letters, finally he comes back after 12 years and the story moves as they go through a journey and spend some days traveling together. More details on what he did during their separation, how and why he became a spiritual healer, what all he has learned, lost, found etc. Now the big questions was - whether she and her love is going to hold him back from his duties that he thinks he is here for? Is she going to sacrifice the love of her life who she has found after so long finally to fulfill her dream of living with him the house on a hill? One of the most beautiful love stories as it progresses, I have ever read so far. What an amazing week they had together, learn so may new things about each other even after knowing everything else for so many years. The concept of God being a female, although nothing new for us but I guess its a big thing when it comes from Catholics because they don't believe in God being a woman. This is another little book of wisdom which needs to be read again and again to grasp its whole meaning. To tough to make any sense in just one read - I am sure of that and will keep it in my collection for re-reads. I am not surprised why almost every alternate book that I read talks more or less about our purpose on this planet and they all talk about the same stuff, Live life, be happy, spread happiness, live in today, dream and make them possible, experience life thats all there is to do, no other thing. But still we don't get it and get back to our nine to five lives.

Friday, October 21, 2016

One Indian Girl - Chetan Bhagat (Book)

82/100 of #100bookpact

One Indian Girl - Chetan Bhagat

So, the next Chetan Bhagat book is out - what are we going to do? Ignore it? Dump it without reading? Go by others opinion? as most are going to read and discard as another trashy book soon to be made into a hit movie or go with the other most who will read it and love it and of-course will wait for the movie too? Or the last option - what the heck! will read and will make my own opinion. I am definitely the third types - so got it at a discount in the first week itself and you see I saved 20/- by getting it only for 99/- Bingo! Thats a steal as will fwd it to the friends soon who are CB Fans. Also, I wanted to read it before the movie rights are sold to anyone and the lead cast is declared so I can visualize my own imaginative faces for the lead :). Thats the best reason so far that I could come out with to read this one - have read all his earlier works, some I didn't like much, some I did and guess some I loved too, he has written six before this one if you already don't know. Also, I am anyways no short of time to put some man-hours to an Author's year long efforts. The choice of words in this one confirmed one thing though that he has read "Harry Potter" books for sure.

And he has left no stone unturned in breaking off all the clichés in the society specially for girls, you will agree with me if you have read the book. So we have Radhika in lead here an IIT and IIMian (Of-course CB cant look beyond that so far) and its always good for us Indians passed out from Hamidia Colleges to read the rocking life of those prestigious college pass-outs who land in jobs worth paying quarter of a million American dollars in the their very first job (Being a financial geek working with Goldman Sachs NYC). Why cant a girl make more then her own boy friend i.e. three times more then what exactly he makes, how he takes it is worth a read, also what happens next could be anyone's guess. Of-course this girl wants her man to go down on her, why not? She too has a right on pleasure and she loves "Brazilian Wax" if you know what he means and we already know by this time how far Chetan Bhagat has come from "Five Point Someone" days. He aptly uses his own knowledge of Financial Industry in this one that too on layman terms. Giving us a gist how GS and its employees made money and hopefully he will end it the way I predict it to end. So, Radhika is on the verge of getting married (read arranged marriage - we are Indians after-all) and her X boy friend crops up, so we have to go through a flashback of her success and not so success story to come to the end and see what happens. Will a girl get her due finally as this is the 21st century and no one is able to understand her yet. Also CB has definitely given some competition to Samuel L Jackson from "Pulp Fiction" in using the F word this time around especially by his Girl - I guess a first in his books and why not? If you ask why. I am loving it so far.... I love her dad too (Although he had hardly anything to do).

So, Miss Radhika is definitely in and out of love a couple of times, have all the experiences of tough life, traveled a lot starting her career from NYC to Hongkong to London and in between her job makes her travel a lot too. She isn't a virgin, can spend a Crore on her own on her destination wedding. Drinks, Smokes, does drugs too when she wants to yet she cant decide how and where her life goes at times. I was totally convinced with the story and also loved the fact that he ended it exactly how I wished it would end after reading the first 50 odd pages as all the characters lay their cards on the table. It's a must read for all as its a breeze of a book, short and sweet especially for those who happen to be the parents of a girl child in our part of the world. I have a lot of cousins and friends who are going through the same battle in their lives, even after having good education and jobs - they still cant fly free. And Chetan Bhagat has left no stone unturned with this book and story (call it a work of fiction) in clearing all doubts that he is a pakka feminist - nothing wrong in that and why not? I am totally with him, high time we accepted the smartness of our better half's hands down and respect them too. Although the book may not prove to be too great or the story not to be too different (I haven't read this kind of a story in the past ever) still he makes a very clear point and I totally loved it. Can definitely not disagree with him on anything he says through his characters - they are totally apt and unbelievably true as this is exactly what we all go through even today. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Digital Fortress - Dan Brown (Book)

81/100 of #100bookpact

Digital Fortress - Dan Brown

After reading and watching "Inferno" with various comments, reviews and recommendations I realized that this wasn't Dan Brown's best work. Hence decided to go the very start and picked up all his works to be read and enjoyed thoroughly. Even this one - his very first book isn't considered a great book from any standards but it was able to keep me hooked to the very end, suspense was good, thrill was enough to keep me on toes and actually made me finish the fastest way possible as I seriously couldn't stretch it anymore as how it all ended. Also realized with the description of its hero David Becker that this was actually the making of Robert Langdon in the long run, his fear of two wheelers, his love of Khaki, Teaching background and of-course his mastery various languages and of solving the complicated puzzles. Superb story of another American invention gone rogue when they build up a machine to decode all the communications going on world wide, may it be email, calls, texts - although built with the purpose of country's safety but its hazardous to privacy. Someone has to do something about it and an X employee of NSA (National Security Agency) takes it on himself to destroy it - he has more then one good enough reason to do it. How he does it in style stretched the narrative to the very last page and keeps the readers glued.

The story moves at a brisk pace with at-least five parallel tracks leading to one explosive finale. Although it does gets predictable around the mid section and I really wondered if it was me only who could see it or others too were able to guess the connection between North Dakota and Ensei Tankado. Making of the code breaking machine TRANSLTR and then the entry of Digital Fortress as the breaker of TRANSLTR is simply too good. The way Dan Brown has written the characters even the villain doesn't look like a villain by the time it all ends and he ably confuses the readers loyalty from one person to other. Topsy turvy love life of David Becker with NSA's best Cryptographer Susan is too good - visually it would have been too good if anybody made a TV series (not a movie for sure) on this one. Dan Brown's characters have to religiously travel to Spain, Italy and will have to speak many languages without fail and it all is very much there to our delight, I really like the way he pushes the reader to use his own intelligence to understand whats going on and its mind-blowing and surprisingly even then this isn't considered as one of his best works, so which one is? Gotta read them all to know better.

This one written in the late 90's is a definite must read as it certainly builds up the basic premise of making of Robert Langdon and I totally loved it. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Almost There - Nuala O' Faolain (Book)

80/100 of #100bookpact Almost There - Nuala O' Faolain Sometimes you come across amazing books just by chance and same happened with this series that I came across. A very dear friend got me this one which is the second of the three books written by a Irish woman. She wrote these books simply as her personal memoirs which became grand success as no one had done it earlier from Ireland. I tried finding the first book first but unfortunately neither it was available on-line nor on the book stores so had to read the second one first and now I am looking for the first one big time titled "Are You Somebody?" (An accidental memoir of a Dublin Woman), followed by this one "Almost There - The Onward Journey of a Dublin woman (A Memoir)" further followed by a work of fiction by her titled "My Dream of You" and by the time she ended this - she was working on her second novel (which will be her fourth). As I said those are some interesting titles, isn't it? which actually got me hooked to it and as I started this one - it turns out to be one of the most simply written books as she anyways claims it to be her personal Memoirs and that actually what it is - but written in most simplistic yet amazing ways. It is hilarious a times, gets you thinking too and most of its complete narrative - it looks like written out of our own lives too, as her life is no different from our own and that makes it all the more interesting for the readers.
A woman in her mid 50s with no family, friends (as she breaks off with her long time live in partner who was her only friend), no husband no kids, other then her Journalistic job she has got nothing to do but feed her cat and dog. She has enough money to see her through the rest of the life, followed by the Sr Citizen pension her country offers, what excites her and how she looks at her own town, country and the world is the book all about in continuation from the first. A comical tail of her travel mostly to USA and her partial stay there for longer duration at times because of her successful book makes it all the more interesting read. She does fall in love too may be not the right kind of guys like she says or may be she is too stubborn to go through it this late - her insecurities in relations are a serious food for thought. Also, her relations with her own parents and siblings specially her mother are heart warming affairs (too good). Her angle of looking at people with families, wives, kids and people to look forward to or fall back on is amazing and hilarious at times. I could actually see myself as one of the non fictitious characters, a wife follower and a doting father - she actually made me laugh out loud to know how she will look at me with contempt. It is so well written that I had to actually turn the book and look at the cover multiple times to look at her face - I hope its really her own picture on the book cover as that keeps coming to my mind as I read her own story and imagine that face as the main narrator. 

I believe a book like this (read a successful book) is very inspiring especially for those who themselves want to be writers as it is very motivating as she keeps saying herself that she has no idea that her personal memoirs could be so interesting to others that they will make it a grand success and will changer her life for good. Also, it is very engaging that I could just not help myself but fall in love with her so much so that I want to know now what happens in her life after she finishes this one and picks up her next work, how her life moves on. Would she be able to find a "Match" as she got hooked to that matchmaking site and actually goes on dates with the like minded guy(s). What happens to her family and its remaining members, will their yearly reunions in Italy continue? Will she go back to her old room made and patch up with them? I gotta find answers to all those questions and more.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (Book)

79/100 of #100bookpact The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho The Little Book of Wisdom - as I always call it whenever I share it with any of my friends. Picked it up again as its almost been a year that I read it and it simply keeps getting better with every read. Such is the story of the boy - a shepherd from Spain with a small herd of sheep looking forward to his treasure as guided by a Gypsy and a King hidden near the Egyptian Pyramids. His journey to the Pyramids is all struggle and a great lesson in learning as he keeps getting closer to his dream which looks impossible at times yet achievable. Will he get his dream fulfilled of finding the treasure as well as the girl of his dreams is the little story all about. As I have mentioned earlier from my Theosophical and Philosophical reads - all these books and stories point out to only one way. We all are like this boy only - working one more day of our life to make enough to be able to fulfill our dreams one day. Our destinies wait for that day to arrive when we have made enough and when will be the right time to do what we always wanted to do but never did thinking other way round that it isn't the right time to do it. They all teach us nothing but just to live and experience - thats why we all are here that too before its our time to go back where we came from. Life keeps giving us hints - some of us take it and move on but some don't and keep doing what they think is best for them throughout their lives till they realize (in the end) that it was futile but its too late and there is no going back or reliving. When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Godaan - Premchand (Book)

78/100 of #100bookpact Godaan - Premchand
After reading the entire Harry Potter series (7 books) back to back - I had to pick up something entirely different to change the mood and it had been ages that had read anything from Hindi (Indian) Literature. Premchand or better known as Munshi Premchand (Dhanpat Rai Srivastav in real) was and still is one of my all time favorite writers right from my school days. My mother as well as my school's Hindi teacher (who happens to be her best pal) both had lots of his books, stories and what not. It isn't easy in todays time to read Hindi literature especially the kinds I started with - I realized that right after I finished the first few chapters. I have got so much used to English now that had to actually take quite a few pauses, re-read the sentences, even paragraphs and some words again and again to understand the meaning behind them. But once I picked up the momentum - as I usually say - there was no turning back. Although written in 1936 but shockingly even today it made so much sense and I realized we still haven't come too far from those times at least in our part of the world. Heart warming / wrenching drama of a poor farmer's family life, who has no land to toil, a family to feed, too many loans to pay off, too many people to report to and with no respite or future in sight. His struggle to acquire a cow at that time (costing mere 80/-) and its repercussions is the rest of the story. Wow! What a journey it had been for me to delve into the life of Hori the village with no life. A poor farmer with a small piece of land (3 beeghas / 1.5 acres) and a family of five to feed on. Two good for nothing brothers who take their own share in ancestral property and never look back at him. One furious wife with a killer attitude who at times do comes to his own rescue when in trouble. A good for nothing son who falls in love with a widow, dumps her on his family as she conceives his child (before marriage) and elopes to town (Lucknow). The Cow that Hori finally buys that too on a loan from a friend is killed by his own brother (jealousy) who too elopes leaving his family to be fed by Hori again. Already in so much debts of the landlords and local sahukaar's that his life never seems to come on track ever. Other than the village life - the book depicts the life of Bigtowners too from nearby town of Lucknow and shows us a great glimpse of their life and the times. Industrialists, Editors, Doctor and the workers unions, what not. It is actually astounding the way Premchand has crisscrossed so many characters in one story yet in such a convincing way that it is indeed amazing. As he very well justifies their presence and stories too, almost all the characters are supremely developed. Like the Character of Malti the London bred Doctor with a suspicious character and how she turns out to be by the time story ends is heartening. I wasn't expecting that kind of a treatment to the characters in the story when it merely is 500+ pages. On top of that he kept the suspense going till the very end and kept me hooked to most of it looking for more or some respite for its lead Hori (but that never happens) and how it ends is shockingly / heartbreakingly abrupt. How the "Godan" (Cow Donation) takes place is something you've got to read the book for. I had a big big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I have no idea when they abolished the "Rule of Landlords" in India as this is written in pre-independence era and the life in rural was so much affected by the rule of Landlords and their own set of rules, even the then Govt has no say in it. I am sure literature like this one must have helped a lot in abolishing the same as its unbelievable that this could go unnoticed by the then leaders and taking a cue from it they must have got so much food for their thoughts. Although it did took them a couple of decades to rule it out in reality. Also in parts it was hilarious to read the accounts of bigtowners and their life (and debts), it was such an irony that the villagers were struggling for their every day life yet the bigtowners wanted the peace and tranquil a village offers. Also like Hori's Son Gobar who runs away to the town in hopes of making it big, save some money, go back and bail his dad out of trouble, what happens with him is an eye opener. The book covers so much and at such a great pace that at times it does feels unbelievable that it all was happening that too in the mid 30s. Premchand's views on "Live - In" relationship, intercaste marriage, untouchability etc that too at that time are too good, shocking and surprising both. Also one thing that I totally loved about this book was that it has no political connection, preaching or tones. A simple story told in the best possible way which covers so much of the times it is told in and delivers one heck of a message which takes its own sweet time in registering on its readers mind. Mind-blowing - a must must read for all especially because where we are today and where we are heading. I will definitely get couple of his other works and would love to read. Any recommendations?

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - J K Rowling (Book)

77/100 of #100bookpact Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - J K Rowling Last of the series (7th Book) and its shockingly the end of the terrific journey so far I had with Harry Potter and his friends. Just couldn't believe that I have come to the end of the road and as I picked up the book in my hand it was another shocker of sorts - mere 500 pages. Hows JK Rowling going to end up everything in only these many pages was my first doubt. I still cant believe that its just a month back I had no idea of this guy and now I am so engrossed in his story that I did't want it to ever end, but as all good things come to an end - this had too as well. Shockingly in the last book Dumbledore was killed while attempting to capture one of the Voldemorts Horcruxes (captured piece of soul), as if One Voldemort wasn't enough now we have 5 more to kill in this one. As his soul was ripped in 7 parts, out of which Dumbledore and Harry has killed one each, now Harry has to get 4 more hidden souls (with no idea where they were dumped or hidden by Dark Lord) and no Dumbledore at his disposal to throw more light on his upcoming adventure. Also, he is now 17 and an Adult as per the magical worlds rules, last year of Hogwarts before they pass out. How he is going to go from here and how he is going to defeat Lord Voldemort's army of death eaters including his hidden four more souls before making him mortal and killing him is the rest of the book.
As I prepared myself to read this one before going through the two movies they made on this - I was bracing or rather preparing myself that lots of people (all my favorite) are going to get killed as of-course story is coming to an end and it will ask for sacrifices from both the sides. What an amazing (yet again) start this one has - totally thrilling and unbelievably fast paced not giving any opportunity to the reader to think of anything but Harry and his world, right from the word go straight to business. Of-course there are good moments too thrown in between for some respite for reader like Hermione and Ron's love story finally coming to a conclusion. Dumbledore's will and his own dark story which comes as a surprise not only to Potter but to the readers too. Taking it ahead to the final conflict with some new twists and turns and deep dark secrets, almost everything gets opened up in this one - I am sure this book must have been one heck of a discussion point between its fans back then - even now I guess. No ways they could have justified this whole book in one movie - hence they made two and after reading the book I am convinced hopefully they will finally do some justice to the final book. I must say after finishing it off and watching the movies too - what a befitting ending this one was to the entire series. Totally amazing work. Even the movies turned out to be beautifully made - almost leaving nothing out of the book - were able to do justice to the book (Although I will still maintain that the book was better). After the superb ending and Epilogue - just couldn't believe that Rowling is going to end it just like that. I can definitely feel that there will be a coming back for Potter (kids and family may be) in another couple of years. And I am sure readers will definitely look forward to his future journey - at least I am looking forward to it.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince - J K Rowling (Book)

76/100 of #100bookpact Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince - J K Rowling Sixth book of the series and things are still getting very interested in this one too as to my shock and surprise they are now finally getting us muggles involved too in the story. I was actually thinking about this earlier too - how come they always live in a parallel world of sorts and never come to our side - finally they do in this one as the real people too are under threat by Lord Voldemort and his followers - High time that Ministry of Magic looks forward to Dumbledore's and his army for support to save the world I guess. Harry Potter's journey has been outstanding so far and this one too had a crackling start - with this its pretty much clear that now it becomes a "How done it" - I am amazed by the way she opens it up right at the start but the suspense is killing now as whats going to happen next and will they succeed? Harry Potter's inheritance and Dursley's loss did put a big smile on my face although its quite too late but looking forward to his turning seventeen eagerly now. Sometimes I wonder about writers that how in the world they know what their readers are looking forward to and give them exactly that? JKR has certainly become one of my favorite writers (after reading 5 books back to back - of-course she had to) and in this one - I had been waiting for this moment specially the one O one between Dumbledore and Harry and him walking up to his place and taking him around - totally loved that part - was expecting it for so long and glad that it finally happened answering a lot of questions too and its hilarious the way they both recruit the new "Defence against the Dark Arts(!?)" teacher that makes it all the more interesting to see and wait for the final outcome. Now this part is super interesting for me especially when one of my all time favorite character "Snape" gets so much attention. His loyalty to Hogwarts, Dumbledore and the Order of Phoenix is doubted by Harry but what is the reality? But I must say again that Hats off to Rowling for writing the character of Snape most trickily, as she almost pulled it till the sixth book.
Finally, this one gives a great insight on the birth, history and making of "Lord Voldemort" and the way it does is too good. It was simply fantastic the way they give out the story and taking it forward to the oncoming superb finale (as expectations are sky high now definitely). The Jigsaw puzzle is almost getting completed here still it keeps the reader suspended to more secrets, role of the new Potions master, his hidden memory, who is the Half Blood Prince? and whats his role? too good. Totally hooking till the very last page and still some questions remain unanswered which I guess will be answered in the grand finale. But in the ending this one actually opens up a sort of Pandora's box for the readers with so much going on and everything falling at the right place in the end is simply superb. Had me in splits almost falling off the chair laughing at times specially at the episode when Harry uses the 'Good Luck Potion" and Prof Slughorn is having a good time with Hagrid - hilarious laugh riot. Also, its too good to see Harry getting a girl friend finally and Ron too not running out of luck totally in that front either. But this one gave me the biggest lump in the throat with one of my favorite (Snape) finally going the wrong way and leading to one uncalled and totally unexpected killing, funeral scene did actually made my eyes go moist. What can I say of the shockingly abrupt ending, even after 650+ page length, trust me it feels abrupt and just cant wait to pick up the last of the series right after I put this on-line. 

This one definitely is one of my favorite from the series for sure as have no idea whats in store for me in the final book of the series. 

PS - The Movie: As I mentioned earlier in my previous book reviews - Movies are a big let down as far as you see it from the Reader's perspective. I mean imagine the tile "Half Blood Prince" and it gets mentioned only twice during the entire course of the movie - hilarious in the end when the prince himself declares that "I am the half blood prince" and I say "my foot". Of-course I wasn't expecting them to cover the whole stuff but missing so many characters and on top of that changing the story bits here and there but one good thing about movies is that they do put a smile on your face with superb casting - wonderfully perfect people they have chosen. After watching this one last night - I am doubly glad that I didn't read the books earlier and watched the movie parallel as I had no connect then with the characters but this time after reading the book - I was all in tears at the death scene in the ending with a big lump in my throat.