Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Highway Man - J Alchem (Book)

The Highway Man - J Alchem.

There are three types of books that I read these days :). The first one(s) are the ones that I already have or the ones that I keep hoarding left, right and center as and when and from wherever I can lay my hands on. Second types are of-course the ones referred and recommended by you lovely people that keep making me poorer by the day (monetarily). But the new third types are a little special these days - now these are the one(s) sent to me either by the Writers themselves or by their marketing / promotion guys who are always on the lookout for sort of a genuine feedback. This year, if I am not exaggerating, I must have read close to a dozen published books from the third category (and I am not complaining yet), have read two unpublished ones as well as two manuscripts (looking for publishers - any recommendations:)). You see I am basically a sucker for reading and I don't mind from where the books are coming as long as they are not costing me too much, I would love to buy anything and everything I can get at whatever prices. So, this particular book in question popped up like that from someone who is credited by the Author too. As this was a very short book (70 pages precise) and I must tell you this, she was too kind to send me an Amazon gift card so I  could buy a Kindle version :) the least I could do is read, rate and may be give my opinion of the same. And as a very highly respectable friend once told me "If someone ask you for a genuine advice, do them a favor by being genuine - they may or may not like your advice(s) but it will help them in longer run". I keep doing what I do best, blabber about it :).

As it came recommended by someone who is already credited by the Author in the book and I was told that its a quick, easy and fast read. It actually turned out to be one that I finished in flat an hour and a half I guess. On my way to Indore from Pune, lying down on a Luxury Sleeper Bus, I wrapped it up in one shot. The book actually is a collection of three short stories. First one is about a Writer, who has written a series of books revolving around one female character. What happens when he himself falls for the character he had created and how his life turns to be is the story is all about. Unfortunately its a short story so there is not much scope of character development or background hence it didn't work one bit for me as everything looked like too flimsy and the ease with which it all happens evokes no feelings in the reader and that tame predictable ending just kills it in the end. Second story is about a loving couple, this one I really liked as I had a little connect with the Husband's character, one fine day he wakes up to make his wife happy and do what she does all the time for him and what he gets in return had a wide smile on my face. Who makes the other's day and life better is what I kept thinking in the end, was a superb charming read. But the title story "The Highway Man" in the end as they say, keep the best for the last, that should have been the case if and only if this was a full fledged story. Unfortunately the idea of writing a short story goes again against it and the reader is kept asking for more. Life of a guy after losing his wife in a freak road accident, who is on the verge of losing his son too, trying hard to make up for the little kid, goes on a road trip meets a hitchhiker who changes their life. The ending of this one too which should have taken the cake but misses the bus altogether (at least for me) for its sheer predictability.

Short stories and books I believe usually work as they are fast read and do not give much time to the reader to think but the main reason why these did not work for me is because there is no heart in it. It would have worked I guess if there were a dozen of stories to choose from or may be if they were full fledged stories with detailed character development or backgrounds which isn't the case here. Another point that doesn't work in the favor of the book (and stories) is the Acknowledgement and Preface where they have written so much about the book, author and story that it kind of soars up the expectations of the reader and then it falls flat on its face. Imagine the initial 15-18% of the book is the Introduction and all that.

Although, in the end of the book the Author says that she will come out with a full fledged book on the character of "The Highway Man" I guess. I would love to give it a try as and when it comes (2018). 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Bend In The Road - Nicholas Sparks (Book)

A Bend In The Road - Nicholas Sparks.
Nicholas Sparks and Jojo Moyes were two of my favorite writers when it comes to reading "fillers", before I discovered magical "P G WOdehouse" but now it will be a different story altogether. As every-time I pick up a book from the likes of Murakami, Gabriel Garcia Marquez or say Mr. King as I recently did, I need a filler to create a kind of gap. And their books have always worked like a charm with me. One of my very close (and very kind) friend happens to be a huge huge fan of both of them and she has sort of given me their entire collection in eBook form. Hence I keep picking up a book from them in order of their publication and keep reading them to create gaps, to refresh my mind so I can put it to work again as I plan to pick some heavy read next (God of small things and Ministry of Utmost Happiness coming up next). I even used Chetan Bhagat books like that not so long ago, alas! they are over and he has taken a premature retirement from writing (thank god for that?). So, this was a pretty easy read as well, a typical Nicholas Sparks story. So far I have read half a dozen of his books and realized there is a pattern in his book, like they will always start with some kind of loss in life, gradually move forward with something nice to look up to for characters, following with a twist in the tale, will keep the reader in tenterhooks for a while and they will finally end with a happy note (mostly) but will leave a lump in your throat, tears in your eyes but will still make you grin from ear to ear. Although, I haven't forgiven him for that mind-numbing ending he gave to "Message in A Bottle", No ways that books calls for that ending. But what to do, so is life with Nicholas Sparks stories I guess.
A beautiful story of Deputy Sherrif Miles, who is happily married to his high school sweetheart with a terrific cute son Jonah. A bend in the road changes their life for good when his wife is killed in a hit and run case. With no clue who killed her or was it an accident? Miles spends all his time looking for clues, overlooking his son's school and stuff. Till the charming Sarah comes along as Jonah's school teacher, who not only helps him in school, they gradually develop a good repo. She too has her own past and a story to tell. How they fall in love and as life starts looking good for them, comes the twist in the tale to finish it all in one terrible swoop. Story is very smartly told from two different angle's, the first one is narrated by a third person who is following Miles and Jonah all the way from accident and thereafter and the second is how the story opens up for the reader. Nichoals Sparks is able to very well keep the reader in suspense throughout (Although it was easily predictable for me) still works. But the way and the timing how it opens up all is one terrific twist. Again, even in this one too, the entire story, cast and everything revolves around the sleeping town of New Bern, North Carolina (USA) as it always happens with all his books. It is very charming to go through their easy going slow country life, actually thats what always works in the favor of all his books I guess as he gives us what we do not have in our real life (peace and tranquility). Fortunately this one doesn't have an ending that I always dread for, of-course anything can happen with him but it isn't as hunky dory as well.
If you have read this one, do let me know how you like it or if it didn't work for you. Also, which one is your favorite Nicholas Sparks book of-course other than the fantastic "Message in a Bottle" and "The Notebook". I would love to read them breaking the sequence :).

Saturday, June 24, 2017

My Man Jeeves - P G Wodehouse (Book)

My Man Jeeves - P G Wodehouse.

I read and finished my first Stephen King book last week (The Shining) and I am sure you did read my review of how I lived through the terror :). P G Wodehouse had to come in picture as a saving grace for my fragile heart which wasn't performing well as I went through Mr. King's terrific book. Although, I consider myself an ignorant fool as about a month back I had no idea as who this Mr. P G Wodehouse was :) can you believe that. But then my great friends in our every growing book club on Facebook kept talking about PGW and I was shocked to see that, not one person ever disliked any of his works. let alone criticizing it. And with all those lovely reviews, I gather that his books are a laugh riot (a warning coming up on that). What "The Shining" did to me can only be undone by a book and a writer like that. Hence I had to start this lovely "my first PG Wodehouse book" at the dead of the night on one fateful Friday. Around 3 AM as I finished King's book, of-course I couldn't hit the bed as I happen to have a bed which has no covered box and its more like a bloody cot with so much space below it. I just couldn't gather all my guts to climb up on it where my lovely wife and kiddo were peacefully snoring. I thought better of it all and picked "My Man Jeeves" right then and there and started. Around 20 pages down the line, (Trust me when I say this) I was actually laughing out loud, so loud that my mom got up and asked me "Have you bloody gone nuts? what the Deuce you've been smoking and drinking all night?". And that is what Mr. P G Wodehouse is all about. DO NOT start or read any of his books in the night or beware - THAT could happen to you too my friend.

Jeeves as the title goes is the right hand man of Bertie Wooster, a hardcore English (Johnny English and Mr Bean came to my mind). These short stories are some of the actions Bertie has and is always saved by the ever efficient Jeeves, who has solution to all his worldly problems. The problems could be as big as what to wear for an evening party to a formal meeting, to what to eat and what to have with tea. How to take care of uninvited guests, solutions to even Bertie's friends problems are a left hand job for the charming man Jeeves. Now Jeeves is definitely not from the same planet that we inhabit as he doesn't walk, talk or do other humanely stuff, he floats on the floor, seriously you've got to read in PGW's words, how he enters a room, roams around doing his chores, how he talks and advises them, gets their attention (I love his coughing). But beware of what he hates, his mood swings are to die for. Imagine when his master decides to grow a mustache, the world must come to an end for Jeeves. He is totally a damn good lovable character that you just cant get enough of. This book and these characters of Bertie and Jeeves got me thinking that aren't they bloody English's response to our own "Akbar and Birbal"?. If you have read PGW and these stories, I am sure you will agree with me here, would love to know your thoughts on that. Also, there is a mention of Bertie's Aunt Agatha who lives in London, I guess comically they are referring to Agatha Christie? may be. Since this was my first PGW, I am yet to explore it fully but any light thrown on these characters from the experience and well read crowd will be highly appreciated.

Do let me know if you have read this one or his other works, how did you like them? As I am definitely inclined to go further poor by getting his all other works too. Which one you recommend that I jump to after my next King book which I am about to start soon ;). And if you are an ignorant fool and an unread person like me, who hasn't heard of PGW, go rob a book store, hide behind it and read some of his works before showing your face to your well read friends. I am ready for the brick bat anyways as just cant lie about books that I haven't read or writers that I haven't heard of :(. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Karna's Wife (The Outcast's Queen) - Kavita Kane (Book)

Karna's Wife (The Outcast's Queen) - Kavita Kane.

I simply love Mythological books and as the latest trend there is a plethora of Mythological Fiction available, which is even great for someone like me. I keep taking breaks from the heavier stuff and I need these books to go back to normal life especially when I am done with one of scariest thrillers or horrors. They work wonders for me, although I am hardcore Non-believer but love the story aspect of the same. I don't know how and when it all started but joining my hands in front of a statue is not my thing, I do not deny the presence of a supreme power but thats that. Now, when it comes to books specially (mytho) fiction, I have read a lot of  them and mostly liked them, some I loved, some I hated too thats life for a book-lover. It all started with Amish Tripathi's "Shiva Trilogy" which I totally loved and finished back to back, had never imagined Shiva like that, I always loved him as God of death, the destroyer and was always in awe with his character, might, life and story behind it. Next I moved to Ashwin Sanghi's works and they were even better researched barring his latest which wasn't a mytho but didnt work for me at all. While I kept reading whatever I could lay my hands on but I was looking for something based on one of my favorite character (Karn) from the Epic Mahabharat till I got hold of Chitra Divakaruni Bannerjee's "Palace of Illusions" WHOA! that was a mind blowing book and I must say this that works of Amish and Ashwin Sanghi and company just paled in front of her imagination (mean fiction), totally awesome and I thought my search ended there, till I got Kavita Kane's "Karna's Wife - The Outcast's Queen".

If I go back in time to my school days, I vaguely remember our 5th or 6th standard CBSE curriculum, we had "Sankshipt Mahabharat" and "Sankshipt Ramayan" as a part of Hindi Literature. I was never a "Ram guy" but I was more of someone totally in awe with either "Karn or Krishna" both were my type of guys who never got their due. Even while the Doordarshan days, I am sure you will agree that these two TV serials were totally fantastic and sent us closer to our mythological epics and were unbelievably terrific (then). But if you watch them today, you will find them hilarious to say the least but the character of Karn was so well played by Pankaj Dhir, I can still not forget his name I guess and the one of Bhishm Pitamah were carved out totally beautifully. While reading Palace of Illusions as well as Karna's Wife - their faces kept coming to my mind and believe me when I say this, so many dialogues that they had in the book I actually ended up reading the way these two would have said those lines, with pauses, laughter, anger and all other emotions. The Book, the story, the characters and the way it is told is totally mind-blowing and outstanding work of fiction I must say. Kudos to Kavita Kane's imagination and story telling, it was totally hooking stuff and one that I will never forget in my life, also will look forward to read it again sometime soon. Although Palace of Illusions didnt had much scope for mighty Karna's character but with Karna's Wife, its a different story as in its entirety it is dedicated to the misread, misjudged man who was right, righteous and just but at the wrong side of the things.

Before I read this book, I had no idea whether Karn was married or not. Oh Yes! who can forget the scene at Draupadi's swayamwar where she turns down Karn for being a Sutputra and not a Kshatriya, actually that is where the rivalry between her and him starts and what turn it takes, we all know so well. Of-course since its a work of fiction, the writer takes her own liberty with the story but the characters are all real. Reading a mythological epic that too which is told to death in our part of world by word of mouth through parents, books, stories and what not. I always wondered what new these writers could come out with but let me tell you offhand, if you plan to read this one, be ready for shocks, surprises and breathtaking moments too, even after knowing what is coming next, what works in favor of fantastic story telling is, how it happens and comes out in the book. I always imagined it will be a "been there done that" experience but no, I was so wrong, this book was very well able to invoke so many emotions in me, it made me smile, laugh, cherish, it even made me hold my breath so many times in anticipation of things to come and shock me. There was this moment when I knew that the war between the right and wrong is inevitable still just for a while it was so convincingly that it felt like they will be able to stop it, Unbelievable?? you've got to read the book to know that. So is the power of words and Kavita Kane's imagination yet a very convincing story telling with so many emotions.

If you have read this, do let me know how you like it and if you have not, I guess you need to read it big time. I will move to her next "Sita's Sister" and see what impact that has on me. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Shining - Stephen King (Book)

The Shining - Stephen King.

I am one of those (read very few) guys who gets frightened very easily, I still haven't forgotten the memory of "Evil Dead", "Exorcist" and unforgettable movies like "Psycho" which had given me sleepless weeks. I haven't yet seen one Horror movie on big screen except Psycho which I will not call Horror but at best a damn good thriller :). I believe I have a very fragile heart and I don't want to die of a heart attack anyways. Plus to top it off - I bloody work in a graveyard shift and it is indeed a task for me to go to office basement parking (at times level 3 or 4 too) to get my car at times like 3 - 3.30 AM. So you see, I indeed deserve a sort of bravery award to not only read this brilliant book by Mr. King but I ended up seeing the movie again too today :). It all started with people talking about terrific books written by Mr. King in so many Facebook groups (I am unfortunately a member of at least three) and then as a cherry on cake, last week I came across a teenager on a train reading a King book :(. I actually asked him as he was almost half the way, "Hows it?" and he said with shining eyes "too good, have you read it?" and I shamefully couldn't confess to him that I had no guts to read one of his works but that was that. Came home, gathered all my guts, asked my colleague if she isn't going on leave for a week at a stretch, checked with home security guard on night duty that I will see him everyday for the whole week in our building lobby. And as they all promised to keep up with me, I picked this up last week and finished it and as you are reading this, I am still alive :).

I guess I had seen the movie "The Shining" by Stanley Kubrick half a dozen years back but I still remember the terrific background score, those bloody blood thirsty eyes of Jack Nicholson, cute kid Danny and not so beautiful wife Wendy (at least in movie) rather she looked hideous ;) and superb Halloran, the man with a little shine. As I set up to read the book, though the story and handling is a bit different in Book and Movie but both hold up pretty good on their own. Loved the book totally as the characters of not only Jack (the crazy) his beautiful wife Wendy and Danny the kid plus his imaginary friend Tony are simply superbly carved out. This is one of those very few books wherein reader feels so helpless that I actually kept asking, why was Jack doing what he was doing and I so much wished I could actually help them in some way :). Story of Jack, who loses his job as a school teacher after an incident, they have no option but to move to a secluded hotel "Overlook" as caretaker in Colorado (no mans land for six months of winter). He gets it easily as referred by one of his very close friends (you've got to read his story too) who happens to be a big shot. But right from the very start, we know that there is something very wrong not only with Jack but even his cute Kid Danny too has some special power or say vision. How and what he does with it is simply mind-blowing, chilling and almost nerve wracking (at least for me it was). Why he gets the job so easily and what happened to the previous caretaker and his family adds up to the suspense and drama as it unfolds. Unfortunately the pace is so damn good as I guess all Mr. King books, no doubts on that, that its just unputdownable. I for so many reasons kept taking a break now and then to digest what was going on and had to take care of myself too.

While I was going through their story in secluded hotel with 100s of empty rooms with one room having a bloody weird story of itself. It was too tough for me to walk the corridors I have to take every night without feeling Jack's presence in it, opening the washroom door and being their alone, waiting for someone to barge in the room with a huge wooden Hammer and turn me to pulp is what kept coming to my mind all the time. Also, of-course every-time I took the elevator ride to our third floor office I was scared to come across someone in the dead of the night and lets not even talk about how I walked up to my own apartment after getting dropped by my cabbies every night for last one week or so. Stephen King has left no stone unturned in making me an Atheist a firm believer :). Fortunately no one came with a wooden hammer to kill me and just as I thought that corridors and elevators was the only connection I had with Jack and his story when a day prior to my finishing the book I was reminded by my own colleague when I told her that the story revolves around a Room #217, she asked me "Do you know what is our office address?" and I actually freaked out that we bloody have been working in an office numbered 217 for last decade or so :D. But one thing I must mention that this book and the movie has finally made me a little brave I guess. And I am seriously considering reading some good Horrors in very near future. For now, I have picked up a PG Wodehouse book for a change so I can get over the memory of Jack Torrance :). If you have read this book and seen the movie - do let me know how you like it and is there a more horrifying book than this one? that you would like to recommend especially if it happens to be from a someone called Mr. Stephen King? be my guest :) I would love to give it a try too. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My Gita - Devdutt Pattanaik (Book)

My Gita - Devdutt Pattanaik. 

Imagine my excitement to read this as my very first Bhagwat Gita experience, I was all delighted to lay my hands on Devdutt Pattanaik's version thinking that it will be an easier version for a layman (the uninformed) like me and what a disaster it turns out to be. Like my friend mentioned last week in his review that he couldn't finish it - tried as hard as he could, unfortunately I have a track record of finishing the lousiest of the books - so found this to be not that bad that I couldn't finish and trash it without reading full. Fortunately my Devdutt Pattanaik journey started with his "Illustrated Ramayana" which I totally loved, followed by "Illustrated Mahabharata" which was still OK - nothing great I will say rather I found it pretty underwhelming, going back to that time I was expecting a terrific story telling with something new to look forward to (Like Palace of Illusions - I totally loved) but that wasn't the case to be. But this one "My Gita" was an Epic bore if I can sum it up in short. I guess its high time that I asked some DP fan's - which one as per them is his best book other then of-course these three so I can get it and give him another opportunity before not going ahead with rest of his books - although to tell you the truth - I have all of his books already in my collection. Imagine what kind of impact the "Illustrated Ramayana" had on me :).

Even "Gita" for that matter has such a wide scope - I haven't unfortunately read any other versions yet. My dad being a huge huge Bhagwat Gita fan, will certainly recommend me a better simpler version that I will read again to get over the memory this one has given me. Looks like DP tried a little too hard to make this work and he anyways calls it "My Gita" as understood by him and he kept picking up stuff from both the epics to make it up a little more understanding. I guess I should have rather picked up a straight translation then anybody else version of the Original. This was an epic fail for me. Do let me know if you have read this one and how did you like it. Or if there is any other better version that you think I should go for? Feel free to recommend and would love to know your thoughts on this one. I will not recommend this to anyone anyways. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Inherit the Wind - Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee (Book)

Inherit the Wind - Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee.
This is one of those books that I accidentally stumbled upon and more than the content or the story - how I got it and what edition I read is more of a story in itself. Last month made a new friend and she had reviewed this book earlier on Facebook where she mentioned to have a 1969 edition (guess even she didn't know it then) - Now imagine my excitement when she actually put the book in my hands and let me have it as well to read :). The book actually is in a fragile state yet very much readable - who doesn't love those yellow old pages with very small lettering :) but after reading a couple of pages I actually realized that I may tear it apart while reading so immediately picked up a kindle version just to keep the book safe. Also. to make sure that I was not losing anything in the newer version - I did a page to page comparison for couple of pages and realized they haven't changed it in as many years. Also the size of letters was in control in Kindle :). The pace, story, handling, characters and even the size is so reader friendly with only 65 odd pages (Kindle version) it was finished in a jiffy. I did stretch it to two days - couldn't stretch it any further as the ending was not only shocking but very gripping. Especially if you love courtroom dramas that too the one which is fought between the faithful (Bible followers) and the ones who believe in Darwinian theory of evolution (when it was banned to be taught in schools). Terrific read.
It is actually in a play format - a first of its own kinds that I ever read. Unfortunately try as hard as I could - I haven't read one work of Shakespeare yet - guess he has written plays only and so far I thought "Plays" are not my cup of tea. But this short book or Play has changed my opinion of the same altogether and now I am so looking forward to Uncle Shakespeare's works that I cant tell you. And guess what? this is based on a true story (a real trial). The two lawyers fighting the case are actually old close friends and one of them could have been the President of United States thrice - just imagine. How they interact off the court and we the audience are subtly told about their background is too good. You've got the read the book to know what was the crime, how it gets defended in the court of law and the final outcome. Its very hard to review it and not to give any spoilers. But with the size of the book and the way it is narrated - it works beautifully. As it keeps the reader totally engrossed from the stage on left to the stage on right, from the front to the back - it is so well written and explained that I found it pretty engrossing as well as visually delighting. I believe there is a movie adaptation too that I guess I need to check out at the earliest.
Every-time I read a book which mentions Darwin's book on Evolution - I make a pact to read it as my next. This is high time that I picked up the original and read - how come it inspires so many debates, books and theories yet I haven't read it. How about you? Have you? Do let me know if you have read this one (and Darwin's) and how you like it and if you haven't yet - go ahead, get it and read it fast as it shouldn't be missed.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman.

A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman. 

Last week I read "Kafka On the Shore" and  totally totally fell in love with Mr. Nakata and thought that he is going to be one of my favorite fictional character for a long long time to come and then I read "A Man Called Ove" this week and now I am in a dilemma to who to chose as my favorite between Mr. Nakata and totally awesome "Ove". This book and the story is simply "Wow"stuff, I will run out of adjectives if I start praising it - its indeed that good. I have seen the movie a couple of months back as a part of my "Academy Fever" and saw this one in "Foreign Language Film" even that was too good but the book of-course takes the whole thing couple of notches ahead as has been the case always with adaptations. But the casting of the movie is too good and totally apt - I can say this now with no doubt as I just finished the book against my wishes :(. This became one of those very few books which I never wanted to end, unfortunately (or say fortunately) its just unputdownable and I tried stretching it as much as I could but finally finished in a weeks time - last part I read on my way from Mumbai to Pune this weekend. Terrific book and an amazing story.

I just cant not quote the blurb on the back of the book which describes it perfectly without any spoilers: "Ove is a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” However, behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations." What Ove likes, dislikes, loves, hates and does plus his antics make up for a lovably hilarious story - it made me grin from ear to ear with people around me wondering what I was reading which was so amusing - I wish they knew "Ove". He hates people driving Audi's and BMW's and lets not even talk about people who drive a Hyundai :D - if you have read the book and know Ove - I am sure you will agree. Every-time I will step now into my car - Ove will come to my mind and I will think - what he would say about my car - I am glad there is no mention of Suzuki in his story - he doesn't even spare Toyota either but I guess was a bit fine with that. Also, I wonder how to get a "Saab" in India - the car that the "Real Men" drive as per Ove :).

There is no way that one wont fall in love with Ove. His life situations at times are hilarious but at other times makes one emotional - there is so much happening with him. It has an amazing start - totally loved the way he visits his wife, talks to her, have his own understanding as how she will react to different situations and he exactly does what she would have asked him to do :) - I guess Ove is such a hardcore romantic. How his life was before Sonja's arrival and how it all changes and becomes colorful is simply too good. Also the tragedy, life ahead and how he takes it. Arrival of new neighbors, his relations with older one's, differences with his best friend and how they work it out is such a nice read. Also, I realized this is one that can be re-read a couple of times without any issues - even if one knows how it ends it still will make up for a perfect book to be read again and again. I am definitely up for a second read soon, no doubts on that. And guess I will watch the movie again too now that I have read the book and will see how good it holds.

Fredrik Backman has written the whole book in such a terrific way especially from the point of view of the man in title that it is indeed hilarious. I totally loved those sentences, big ones, smaller ones and even one worded ones :) simply too good. They actually draw the reader too close to the character and work big time. If you have read the book and loved it the way I did - I am sure you will agree and guess I will be on the lookout for his other work - I believe he wrote one on a Woman similar to Ove :) - I need to get it ASAP now and read it. Do let me know how you liked this one and if you haven't read - you have no idea what you have missed - go grab it today and enjoy. Fall in love with Ove. Do not miss it at any cost. 

Friday, June 02, 2017

Kafka on The Shore - Haruki Murakami (Book)

Kafka on The Shore - Haruki Murakami.

Haruki Murakami (thats a tuff name) became the second author whose name I hadn't heard a month ago but now after reading one of his books - I totally am a huge fan of his writing(s). The other one of-course is the fantastic "Gabriel Garcia Marquez" my all time favorite - again both of them came highly recommended by friends, had seen a lot of their works on various book stores. As I read a few of Marquez's novels last year and fell in love with his surreal writings, I actually slowed down after reading a couple of them realizing that he hasn't written much (in numbers), so I need to stretch it as long as I can to enjoy it more. But after reading (my) very first Murakami book - I guess time has come that I finish Marquez's books quickly and move on to Murakami :D. He is simply superb and I am sure if you read both of them - you will definitely agree that both their works transport you to an entirely different world altogether and its unbelievably unreal, fascinating yet so convincing. Totally loved this book and will never forget the fantastic characters - so many of them. Of-course Japanese as well as Koreans have some kind of specialization on Blood, Gore and Sex too - so not so shocking for me, neither predictable but nor gut wrenching like the way Marquez does. If someone has read and loved him - this one is a piece of cake. There is another point that I so much want to talk about but unfortunately that works like a spoiler for those who haven't read it, if you have read I guess you know what I wanted to say :).

Kafka on the shore came very highly recommended by various book readers groups and I was shocked that I hadn't heard the name of the writer ever so I had to pick it up and give it a read. Initially it had a very slow start but as I kept plowing through as per my Kindle after 20% - there was no looking back. Story of a 15 year old kid who calls himself "Kafka Tamura", runs away from his home in search of his mother and elder sister who had abandoned them (him and his dad) long ago. Parallely we have another fantastic story of Mr. Nakata (a totally totally lovable character) who has no memory of his past, cant read or write, is on state subsidy aged around 60 years. I mean it was such an interesting read to have one chapter on Kafka and his adventure of running away, finding a place to live by (even that is a terrific story in itself), finding friends, trying to find his mother and than on the other hand we have second chapter on Mr. Nakata and his adventure, in search of something, he has no clue where to find and what exactly he is looking for? why is he the way he is, how he finds help and the thing and what it leads - is simply unbelievably gorgeous story that you've got to read.

Once I completed like 20% - the story became so engrossing that I just couldn't put it down - unfortunately due to my travel I had to do that so many times but I picked it up again as soon as I could, have actually spent some sleepless nights reading the story of Mr. Nakata and the kid Kafka. Flashback of Nakata's past as a kid, the accident and its repercussions, the way he talks, his cat connections were hilarious. For me Mr. Nakata was the real hero of the book with a terrific ending (I will call that, that). Another thing which works big time in favor of the book is its parallel tracks - I kept imagining that sooner or later they have to cross their paths, there has to be a connection between the kid and the gramps. Does it? and what was the connection and how it all ends is what this book should be read for. Now that I know - I was thinking - would I ever pick this book again? I certainly will. Another thing that I love about Russian and Japanese books is their character names. They are totally too good and I find them pretty interesting when it takes some time for me to get used to the names and how they should be pronounced - here too there are a loads of them, like Kafka Tamura, Mr. Nakata, his help Hoshino the lovable truck driver, Oshima, Ms Saeki, Sakura, Johnie Walker (cat killer) and the KFC's Colonel Sanders - terrific.

Do let me if you have read the book how you like it. And what would you make out of the ending. The ending leaves so many questions unanswered but the philosophical turn it takes - it actually doesn't matter by that time. Overall a terrific read and I will be totally looking forward to his other works now. And I am sure you must have seen my last post - a friend just gifted me two books - one from Marquez and one from Murakami :). Happy reading.