Posts Tagged 'Book'

Book Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

This was a book which I picked up solely based on the title and without a doubt this is one of the most hilarious books I have ever read! The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is originally a Swedish novel authored by Jonas Jonasson and published in 2009 – I of course picked the English translation. I have never been a fan on translations till now, but now count me as a convert.

Allan Karlsson is no mood to attend his 100th birthday party and disappears from his old-age home. Along with him a suitcase full of money also disappears and so we meet a criminal gang, an elephant, a hot-dog vendor who has unlimited knowledge, an overzealous prosecutor, a foul-mouthed beauty, and many more intricately woven characters. And this is just the present. After all the protagonist is 100 years old, and has a lot to tell.

We revisit Allan Karlsson’s life and get a completely new perspective on the major events of the 20th century. While he is a completely apolitical person – he loses the conversation thread as soon as politics make an appearance – Allan has played a pivotal role in the world politics. He has a hand in rise of General Franco in Spain, Mao in China, and Charles de Gaulle in France. He has foiled an assassination attempt on Winston Churchill, he has sung songs with Stalin, and is indirectly responsible for the fall of the Soviet Empire. Oh and did I mention he made the atom bomb at Los Alamos while working on the Manhattan Project and later spilled the secret to Soviet Union over a bottle of Vodka.

Wish this book was a few hundred pages longer and wish I could take a 15 year vacation like Allan. Go pick this book today, you would not be disappointed.

P.S.: Posting a book review after a year! 

Book Review: Chinaman – Shehan Karunatilaka

As soon as I had read Chinaman – The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, in spite knowing that the book is a work of fiction, I googled for Pradeep Mathew. That is the power of the book. I knew that there is no such person, but the way the story has been weaved and the way it evolved it leaves you thinking, wondering “What if?” And the writer, Shehan Karunatilaka, has also taken care of all the details. He has created websites where you can find mention of this bowler, he has a few pages where the different balls bowled by this mystery bowler have been detailed, and there is an even fake Cricinfo profile. (I am too lazy to link to those articles, but a simple Google search should yield all these things)

Chinaman is the story of an aging Sri Lankan sports writer W. G. Karunsasena and his search for the best cricketer that Sri Lanka has produced, supposedly Murali learned his tricks from Pradeep Mathew, Ranatunga got his confidence to stand up to Australians from him, and our mystery cricketer is the one who gave wings to Sanath Jayasuriya’s aerial shots.

There are a few books which when you read you get lost in its world. The writer has such a grasp on you that you feel whatever is happening in the book is real, not fictional. For me it has always been a problem that I get too involved in a book, and here also I was so engrossed in the book that I would like to believe there is a guy named Pradeep Mathew and he is the best cricketer that Sri Lanka produced. The story follows Wije as he tries to find the cricketer who has vanished, and along with his search there are glimpses into the life of Sri Lanka.

If you have not read this book, pick it today. It is a compulsive read.

P.S.: Wrote this  last year November, posting it in May :)

Book Review: The Company Red – Shantanu Dhar

After gaping with an open mouth at the fan-following that Twilight Series garnered, I had lost appetite for any vampire book/movie. But then it is foolish to blame one pathetic movie and avoid a full genre. Added to that, many positive reviews of The Company Red by Shantanu Dhar compelled me to buy the book. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

The book starts following the abysmal life that the protagonist Ardhendu Bose leads, and the fabulous turn-around his life takes when he joins one of the biggest life sciences company – RED. From a rat at the far-end of the pack, he soon emerges as the leader of the race. But in any such scenario there is always a ‘But’. The twist, how it effects Mr. Bose and where do the vampires fit in – these things make up rest of the story.

This thriller is quite fast-paced and makes for an interesting read. It seems obvious from the start that the book has been written keeping in mind that one day a movie would be made based on this book and proof is available on the book-cover where it says the book will soon be a movie. The plot is very simple, the book keeps moving ahead at break-neck speed full with complete filmi scenes.

All-in-all a perfect read for a lazy afternoon.

Book Review: The Book of Answers – C. Y. Gopinath

“With great power, comes great responsibility” – somehow this line has made a permanent home in my conscience. This line from Spiderman keeps cropping up at various times. Anytime I’m reading a book or some story where a common man like you and me is thrown into an extraordinary situation, I keep imagining how would that person react? Not all people are born heroes, most would shirk away from the responsibility, and the ones who do not make for good heroes in books and movies. C. Y. Gopinath’s hero in The Book of Answers is surprisingly of the first kind, and I’ve to say makes for a most intriguing hero.

As soon as I had read the blurb of this book, my interest had been piqued. “The Book of Answers” is the story of Patros Patranobis. He inherits a book that supposedly has the answers to all the problems plaguing the world. Not wanting to add more problems to his already problematic life Patros disposes of the book but is shocked to see it again on National Television under the control of India’s most powerful (and corrupt) political leader. The rest of the story follows Patros and his (mis)adventures as he tries to grapple with unwanted heroism thrust on him, and the repercussions of him becoming the forced leader of a political movement.

The story is gripping and you keep turning the pages to know what happened next. There are rarely any places where the pace of the story slackens and that is saying something for a 350+ pages long book. The flow of the book was mostly linear, and there was no problem following the story anywhere. I especially loved the names of the characters. The protagonist is Patros Patranobis, his son is Tipperary (Tippy), the ‘ruler’ of the country is aptly named Ishwar Prasad, and once you hear the name Shinde – you know it is going to be a cop. Apart from the names, almost all the characters have been given quite a bit of personality. All the major characters have an interesting back-story which helps in understanding nuances of that person’s characterization.

What I did not enjoy about the book was the usage of a few words which would not have been amiss in an advanced English vocabulary class. I would say my knowledge of English is not bad as I’ve been a voracious reader since I don’t remember when, and even then at many times I had to interrupt my read to find the meaning of the word. Mostly I can figure out what a word means from the context, but while reading this book there were times when I had to resort to a dictionary to find the meaning. Thankfully I had been reading this book on my Kindle and thus I had quick access to a dictionary and that saved me a lot of hassles. Apart from this trivial complaint there are hardly any negative points about the book.

In summary, I would say this is one of the better books I’ve read this year and I completely enjoyed the read. Read a few excerpts here and if you enjoy it, do not miss The Book of Answers.

Addendum: This is an author requested review. I was contacted by the author to review his book.

Book Review: The Secret of The Nagas – Amish Tripathi

Update: Oath of Vayuputras is up for grabs!

As soon as I had read (and reviewed) “The Immortals of Meluha“, I knew I had to read the sequel. It was too interesting to leave the trilogy midway and not know what happens next. So it was no surprise that 80K more people agreed with me. That is the number of copies of The Secret of The Nagas that had been pre-ordered as per some article I had read. Thanks to Flipkart the book was delivered within a day after its official release and the wait was not too long. Now I cannot wait to pre-order the book-3, hope Amish Tripathi comes out with it soon.

The Secret of The Nagas picks up from where Meluha ended; and steams ahead for a few chapters before resorting to a tranquil place in the events that take place at Kashi. After those few languid chapters, the book keeps on speeding ahead with new revelations, new opinions and ends with a nice twist (although a tad foreseeable), and yet keeps the readers hanging for the part three of Shiva Trilogy – The Oath of Vayuputras. Many new characters have made an appearance. Primary of those are the sons of Shiva/Sati, the royal families of kingdoms in Swadweep, and a few Naga characters too. There were a few parts of the book where I felt Amish was going on a tangent, but later on realized that events that took place earlier always had an impact on the happenings later on.

While the events in book-1 took place in Meluha and ended in Swadweep, events in book-2 unfolded in Swdweep and ended in Dandak Forest – the Naga territory. Going by the same logic I’m assuming events in book-3 would be concentrated around the Dandakaranya. Comparing this book to “The Immortals of Meluha“, I feel the first part of trilogy was better – but then that book was a genre changer. While “The Secret of The Nagas” pales in front of Meluha, it is better than most of the books I’ve read this year. Amish Tripathi is a very good storyteller and has rarely penned in any flab in the book. Each word, each event, each chapter moves the story forward with an eye on whatever is to happen in the next chapter or next book. The author has a very firm control on the flow of the book.

If you’ve read The Immortals of Meluha, you must read The Secret of Nagas. And if you’ve not read the books of Shiva Trilogy and are even a tad interested in Indian Mythology, go buy both the books now and read them.


Meet the Blogger…

I write! Topic does not matter, can be my life, or my travels, or any match I saw, or the Hyderabadi life, or reminiscing about Raipur, or penning Short Stories & 55s.

I can be contacted at kunalblogs[at]gmail[dot]com.

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