Monday, January 30, 2017

The Sins of The Father - Jeffrey Archer (Book)

The Sins of The Father - Jeffrey Archer
Book 2/7 of Clifton Chronicles
Like I said in my previous book review - this one starts as soon as Harry has landed in United States with a changed identity to save trouble for so many (and so he thought) but unfortunately lands in prison right as he enters. The very first scene with him in front of the prison warden and that discussion on British vs American writers indeed put a ear to ear broad smile on my face - Archer really knows how to keep his readers happy. What a way to take the story forward - this one becomes further more engrossing then the first part and there is no respite for the reader but to keep going forward into every characters journey forward. But I must say in the second one a lot of attention is given to The Barrington's especially Hugo (totally loved the ending) if you have read you will agree. Its mind-blowing the way all the characters are scattered all over, with Harry serving his prison sentence in America. Emma (his wife - debatable) trying to find whether he is alive or not, his location and her struggle to reach him, Hugo the unwanted father of all paying for his crimes and his journey from riches to rags and a superb ending. Giles adventure with the Germans and serving as a POW at a camp - I loved this part the best in this particular book. Harry's mother Maisie's troubles still not coming to an end, the fall of the Barrington empire - there is so much happening in this book and the pace at which it all is happening is simply superb, unputdownable I will say again.
Fortunately Unfortunately I had decided this year to go slow on book reading as have a lot(s) of movies to catch up on but I tell you there are some writers like Archer - who will not let you rest at all. I have ended the second book within a weeks time of the seven book series of which I got only three with me, dreading the day I finish the third part as I am yet to get the remaining four delivered :). And try as hard as I can - just not able to put them down. Reading Steve Job's biography parallely and haven't gone like beyond 50 pages in last one week ;) not that it is any less interesting but the suspense and thrill of what is going to happen to Clifton's and Barrington's is killing. Also, I love the way he has written these books as different versions of all the characters involved rather then a simple narrative from one persons point of view adds up more value to the series. I so much wish someone makes a TV series on this series soon and I must say it will be more successful then Game of Thrones (Although I haven't seen a single episode only heard a lot from friends). That reminds me - may be I will pick them up as my next series read. Also, although this is a series of books but it damn well works like an individual book too as Archer has so smartly written them and I totally love the way he refreshes the reading in his own easy way the happenings in the first book and merges it with this one to take the story forward, very subtle indeed. And an ending leaving you hanging in a see-saw.
If you haven't read the Clifton Chronicles - I will say - high time that you picked them up and read them back to back.
A series of thrilling books to be read by all and now I move on with the third book after posting this one on-line. (See you in next 72 hrs)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Only Time Will Tell - Jeffrey Archer (Book)

Only Time Will Tell - Jeffrey Archer
Book 1/7 of Clifton Chronicles
The book (read the series) came highly recommended by a friend from the master story teller. As I have read quite a few of his books - got all excited and picked up the first few books but let me tell you this right after I have finished the first one in flat 72 hours that there no freaking way out of this series now. Guess I need to get the balance 4 books like NOW to finish them off back to back leaving everything else in my hands pending. Like they say "Once a Harry Potter fan, always a Harry Potter fan". The protagonist of this book and series (I hope) is Harry Clifton, just couldn't stop myself from drawing parallels with Harry Potter. If you have read the book I am sure you will agree that both the Harry's do have an uncanny resemblance. Although this Harry does have a mother unlike the Potter who had no parents, both have an Uncle who we do not like initially as a little negative type character, both of two good friends to die for and one of them has to be rich. Also, he has to fall in love with his best buddies sister (more on that later). They both go for a kind of boarding school to go forward in life and even schools (although no school of magic here) still make you feel similar but by the time first book ends - I guess the similarities too come to an end. Do let me know if you have read the book - did you too have the same feelings or is it me only :).
Superb story of ups and downs in the life of Harry Clifton right from the day he starts understanding things, told in the most thrilling fashion as is the case with all Archer books. He makes you develop such an everlasting connection with his protagonists that you just cant help but feel for him so much. Totally loved the way his life starts, so much struggle by so many people who love him like anything and how it all criss crosses to take the story forward ending in a mind-blowing way that you will race to pick up the second from the series to know where he goes from the first one. Son of a widow with almost no future, how his life changes once voice of a singer is noticed by his school teacher and he uncovers the truth behind his father's death in war is the story in the first book. Also the dark secret behind his birth and roots is simply superb, it can be guessed or predicted but how it all builds up and comes crashing on Harry Clifton is unbelievable, I totally loved the timing and handling. His journey from the elementary school to Oxford, from licking a bowl of porridge to having a full meal, from a choir singer to Royal Navy and finally from Britain to America but how it ends is like leaving the reader on tenter hooks. Even the background is too good with world on the verge of another world war adds up more spice to the already thrilling story.
A must read for all thriller lovers and I hope and guess the entire series is going to be a fantastic journey for myself (just like Harry Potter books).

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

She Walks She Leads - Gunjan Jain (Book)

She Walks She Leads - Gunjan Jain
What could be better then getting introduced to the Author by a very dear friend (you know who you are :)) got the book home delivered to be read and reviewed - life cannot just get better then that can it? I anyways love biographies and this had a plethora of them that too from the Indian subcontinent. Who haven't heard these names? but the question is that how they became what they are and the untold stories behind each one of them - such an inspiring and eye opening experience it became for me. Each celebrity named in the book has her own story to tell not in greatest and minutest details but its good enough for me as almost 25 - 30 odd pages are dedicated to each one of them and the cherry on top is the interviews of their Husband's, Parents, Family or Mentors in the very end. Superb Idea and great execution I will say. Also it is a perfect book for someone's collection plus the copy I got is huge in size with a hard cover on top - makes it more eye candy on my book rack. Although thick in size, almost 600 pages but a breeze to read as it covers up so much in so less that I kept asking for more as more or less I had heard of almost all of them pretty now and then but the way she has done her research and has picked up the most important episodes of their lives is too good and indeed super inspiring.
I will not be able to cover up all the leading ladies that she has covered in her book but would love to mention some that indeed amazed me. Who in India or abroad too wouldn't know of Neeta Ambani's contribution to the Ambani Empire as well as the things she does for society, What I didn't know about her was about the tree plantation and farming work she has administered and the way she keeps up with her family, professional and social life too - commendable. Super Inspiring is Mrs. Rajshree Birla's struggle after untimely and sudden death of Mr. Birla, how she took the forte of business as well as family life is too good to read and get inspired with. How many men let alone ladies will have the guts of writing to JRD Tata himself about a negative trait they had at Tata's and then get selected as the first female ever to get appointed in Telco's engineering department - Hats off to Sudha Murty (Wife of Narayan Murty - Infosys). How Infosys got incorporated (by Pawning her jewelery for capital) and her contribution in the same is simply mind-blowing story to read - one that I will never forget. The entire book is full of various women's achievement and the WOW factor never comes to an end as you turn every page and are again wowed by so many "Firsts" after a certain time I just stopped counting and got totally engrossed with the little success stories.
It has exactly 24 great names that we all have heard in our daily lives but covering their achievements and the background stories is simply too good to know. I just couldn't imagine what it told me about these inspiring ladies. Not only from the super rich in India to Bollywood, Arts, Sports and so on - she has almost covered all of the sectors. What I was little shocked to see was no mention of Kiran Bedi and Bachendri Pal, I was expecting both of them at least if not the likes of Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams. But anyways - still kudos to her for the book and coverage. Its one hell of a book worth collecting and letting every read and get inspired with it too. Another good part of the book is that you can pick it up from anywhere and read it - no cover to cover compulsory read it is. Depending upon who you want to know first - you can chose to read. A very highly recommend book and superb collection of little biographies if I may call it that. story in it big time.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Book)

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
After reading two of his earlier mind-blowing books that simply refuse to go off my memory even after six months of reading them - I can certainly claim that GGM is one of my all time favorite writers now. The current book in discussion is such a change from his usual works - unbelievable that it comes from the writer of 'Chronicles of a Death Foretold" and "100 years of Solitude". Also, this is now onwards going to be one of my all-time favorite love stories too that I will have to read again and again every year without fail. Right from the first chapter and the very first few pages - I just couldn't help but fall in love with Dr. Juvenal Urbino and his best friend Jeremiah de Saint-Amour and of-course their game of Chess. Dr and his wife Fermina Daza's story is simply hilarious and I must say the little tiff's between the two characters even after being married for 50+ years are simply outstanding. It became one of that book which actually made me laugh out loud so much that my kiddo asked me if I have gone mad reading a book :) - just imagine. If you have read the book you would precisely know and agree with that Soap vanishing from toilet episode, the little crazy parrot, the luncheon and the heartbreaking accident in the end of very first chapter - so much happening in such a damn nice pace that too in the very first chapter - OUTSTANDING. The way he keeps the story in current, delving into the past with such an ease, the lovely way he develops a character that the readers loyalty goes actually for a toss with every chapter.
What I loved about this particular book and story is its simplicity and of-course the simple way it is written n told. Initially I thought its the love story of Dr and his wife, but as the story moves I came to know that it isnt (the only one) - actually the lover is someone else who's been in love for more then 50 years and has his own story to tell. you've got to read the book to know the story of Florentino Ariza the lover and what all he goes through - its totally amazing, believable and heart warming at the same time. Also, I love the way GGM keeps mentioning his character's full names at all times - too good - I love it that ways, although they are no ways the easiest of the names but using them in full at all times is too good as it does makes a big difference. What all his characters do for a living, what all secrets they share (themselves) and with each other is another parallel track which keeps going with the superb flow of the narrative keeping the reader glued to it with so much suspense and interest. Also, I must mention and believe that it is indeed GGM's specialty to not to give away the time-line or the location of the story that easily, you will have to work hard and read closely to know where and when is all that happening and that is true to I guess his other works too. Imagine the time-line of this one as the lead cast of the story do come across two of the greatest personalities of history Victor Hugo and Oscar Wilde in person :).
There are so many characters that I actually fell in love throughout but Florentino Ariza takes the cake - simply superb. Hats off to GGM to carve out such a lovable character and what a finish this one had. I am totally looking forward to the movie on it now, just can't resist to see those awesome characters come alive on screen. Hope it works for me.
Movie Adaptation: One word - Superb. The choice of cast for those awesome characters is simply superb, of-course barring the guy who plays Fermina's dad but still he does his job quite well, although doesn't looks that old to be her father but I loved his attitude. Javier Bardem here is simply amazing and so is the lady playing Fermina Daza - beautiful and sensual, quite an actor. Sunning visuals with awesome background score and those awesome songs. Also the movie almost covers all the important incidents, obviously they cant cover the whole book as it is always the case with adaptations but this one is good, I liked it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Rebel - Albert Camus (Book)

The Rebel - Albert Camus
Going by the title and as it came recommended by a great Philosopher friend of mine - I initially thought this is going to be a deep meaning thrilling story of a rebel unable to keep up with the society in todays time and Oh My God! what it really turns out to be is exactly same but not the story of one person but the whole of humanity. A very heavy (read VERY) read indeed and took a great deal of my time in understanding of the book as it mostly talks about the revolution of 19th Century and in damn great details. It was indeed very tough for me to read more then 30 odd pages a day as it had so much to offer and so many unbelievable names and references to throw on the reader that its simply impossible to keep up with the pace. Or may be I am not yet ready and qualified to read and understand this kind of work in its totality even then even if I was able to grasp a mere 10% of what it was offering - it is indeed MIND-BLOWING to say the least. I won't claim I have read a lot of Philosophical stuff (especially the German side of it) but I am glad that last year I had read a little of Nietzsche and it was superb to see how much Camus was in awe with Nietzschean theories. The simply great and out of this world references and theories / beliefs of Marx, Hegel, Lenin, Dostoevsky and Sade to name some of the greatest that I had heard. After finishing this (somehow) I am not too keen to read some on and by Sade - WOW that man had some mind I must say.
This I will definitely call one of the most challenging books of 2017 for sure (Although its too early to declare that but I am sure already) as it took me almost a week to finish. And I must say the kind of way it has blown my mind that I have picked up a love story to refresh my brain. But I must say that I am in love with Camus now and would definitely like to read some of his other works after I read a little of Sade. Fantastic is the way he takes the word "Rebel" and "Revolution" forward and opens it up for lesser mortals like us is simply unbelievable stuff, you just cant not agree with him. Although as I said it was a tough read - at no point of time I was not in agreement with what he was saying but still for some reason we humans just don't follow the points and keep going the other way thats so unfortunate. one perfect line sums it all up in a very nice way that "This rebellion, is the product of a basic contradiction between the human mind's unceasing quest for clarification and the apparently meaningless nature of the world". If you have come this far - I will let you know this little about the Author too that - Albert Camus (French) born on 7 November 1913 was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as "absurd-ism". He wrote in his essay The Rebel that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957. Now that is saying a lot about the guy. Need I say more?

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Lord of The Rings - The Return of The King - J R R Tolkien (Book)

Lord of The Rings - The Return of The King - J R R Tolkien
There are a very few books and book series written, read and loved in such a way that once you are about to end them - you actually feel that they should never end. This is the second most loved book series for me that I have read in last one year - the first will always be the Harry Potter books. When I started the first book, around midways I was feeling not so good, but once I finished the first one and picked up the second one - the pace / story / twist n turns go such a way that it was just impossible to let go of it. And as I was reaching the final ending in this one - although felt been there done that thing still the way it all culminates - its simply superb and outstanding to say the least. I so much wanted it all to go further forward and give us a little more glimpse in the life of so many totally lovable characters, but as all good things come to an end - this has to and it did. Again I am sure you will agree if you have read them that it is indeed very tough to chose one character amongst the plethora of damn good ones to be your all time favorite. Hence I chose the following three as my all time favorites in no particular order, do let me know who was yours :) Mine - definitely Gandalf The Grey (And white both), Samwise Gamgee (I loved him more then I could like Frodo the Ringbearer) and Strider / Aragorn Son of Arathorn - the King - Oh man! what an amazing character. Totally loved them all. The less I say about the Princesses the better - oh my my - I can write a whole chapter on Princess Eowyn, Beautiful Galadriel and Arwen. Phew!!
The third and the final book takes the journey forward to the upcoming inevitable war of worlds between the dark lord with his army and the forces united by the Great Gandalf The White with The Returned King. I had to race myself forward full throttle as just could accept my favorite Aragorn missing from action with Ligolas and Gimli into the paths of death for so long. Again to my surprise Tolkien indeed gives their due to the awesome character of Pippin (Frodo's friend another cute Hobbit) the way he saves the King of Gondor and his son Faramir - Brave Mr. Pip. Finally the Dark Lord makes a solid earth shattering entry in this one. The way all the friendly countries come to the rescue is too good to be true visuals captured in such a way that it was breathtaking (I can imagine how it will be in the movie when it is so good in the book). And towards the ending the way Sam takes the story forward with the evil Gollum playing his tricks on them and Frodo almost on the verge of death and defeat - simply too good. I even loved the way story goes further ahead after the war, the final outcome and all - its too good. Never in the history of my reading books I have ever seen this kind of ending, unexpected and totally satisfying the reader. I am definitely picking up these three books once again may be after a year or so as they are simply awesome and must must read for all book lovers.
If you have read and loved them - do let me know your thoughts and if you haven't - you have no idea what you have missed (like I did). 
High time that you got them and read them back to back.