Posts Tagged 'Books'

Titanic, Japan, Nalanda & Cricket

If I can read four books in parallel, what is stopping me from reviewing four books in one post? Nothing, and hence that is exactly what I’m gonna do, as I did earlier. Posting mini reviews of the books that I finished sometime in last two weeks.

Terror on the Titanic – Samit Basu
Samit Basu is an incredible writer. I had become his fan after reading the Gameworld Trilogy (1, 2, 3). Fantasy mixed with dark humour – that seems to be a unique genre 🙂 In my opinion, he is one of the best writers in India.

Coming to the book, this one has been termed as Young Adults’ Fiction, although to be honest I never felt I was reading a YA book. Samit Basu weaves a thriller around the Titanic voyage, and the way he has used the memorable scenes from the movie Titanic as backdrop for his story is amazing. The plot never slacks, and all his characters are, to put it mildly, very interesting. Any one who enjoys reading the genre fantasy should always pick up the author’s books.

I think it is time for me to order Turbulence 🙂
Rating: 4/5

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The Wit Of Cricket – Barry Johnston, John Ireland
It is a must read for any person who loves tales about Cricket. Dickie Bird, Fred Trueman, and Richie Benaud are some of the guys who recall interesting, witty happenings that happen either on the cricket field or off it. One incident that amused me no end was one where the batsman in some club cricket match skied a catch, and as three fielders were converging on it he shouted “Mine”. All three fielders stopped and the catch went down.

A delightful book, especially when read in short-bursts.
Rating: 3/5

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The Nalanda Chronicles – Kalpish Ratna
This book is not just a fun read, it also seems to me a study in sketching characters for any written piece. This novella traces the story of a bus and its occupants for a single day when the bus gets hijacked. The writers (Kalpana Swaminathan and Ishrat Syed, who write jointly as Kalpish Ratna) could surely give a lesson to most writers as to how a character should be fleshed, and how the editing should be. A simple story told in a simple way. If you get your hands on this book, do not leave it before reading the book cover-to-cover.
Rating: 3/5

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Made In Japan – Akio Morita
It is the story of Sony Corp, through the eyes of its founder Akio Morita. Starting the company in a war-ravaged building with a handful of people, today Sony is a household name. The book also follows the growth of Japan, its relations with other countries and the author also talks about Japanese traditions. This book was a inspirational read – anyone who wants to start something of his own, and is afraid, should read this book. The book gives you a kick!
Rating: 4/5

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Book Review: Bala Takes The Plunge – Melvin Durai

Bala Takes The PlungeI have always felt that humour is one of the most difficult genre to write. I am not saying that romance, or thriller, or fantasy novels are easy to write, but they cannot stand in the same stead as a humour novel. Being a stand-up comedian, or being a quick-wit is no guarantee that that person can write humour well. Humour articles are another thing; they are short, they have a word-limit, and it is far easier to be humourous in short dosages. That is why, I was apprehensive of the book “Bala Takes The Plunge” by humour columnist Melvin Durai. But I was wrong, the book was hilarious!

The book deals with the most common problem faced by males in India – how to find a girl to marry? Bala lives in America, with his dog America, and has decided to look for girls himself as his mother is intent on getting him married soon. The book recounts his bizarre methods of meeting the girls, and his conversations with the ones that he eventually manages to meet. He tries to woo the girl at checkout counter, joins book-reading clubs and cycling clubs, buys a Rushdie and displays it to impress the lady visitors to his house, digs through the multitude of matrimonial sites, and even thinks of marrying his cousin in his quest to find the perfect girl.

I found two very different kinds of humour in the book – situational humour, and the word play. I’ve always been a fan of word-play and really enjoyed those small strokes of genius. There were sometimes sentences which would not make any sense, and only when I reread the sentence, would I notice the brilliant word-play. One minute the protagonist is talking about shelling money, the next minute is talking about shelling peanuts – and the reader could very easily miss this. Sometimes the humour is in your face, and sometimes it is too subtle to take notice – but in both cases the humour does not seem forced.

Generally I tend to have a few grouses with most of the books that I read, but in this book there were no major sore points. At times the book dragged a bit, and sometimes there were pages of paragraphs with no conversation at all – but apart from those few pages, the book was a very good read.

Go read Melvin Durai’s columns and if you enjoy his brand of humour – I would highly recommend this book.

Addendum: This is a author requested review. Melvin contacted me to review his book.

Book Review: Love, Life And All That Jazz – Ahmed Faiyaz

There used to be a time when you would find books by Jeffery Archer, Arthur Hailey, John Grisham strewn around my room. Even today you would find those books in my room, but now there has been a major overhaul in the look and feel of the bookshelf. Now I have two shelves dedicated to Indian authors; it is far more enjoyable to read a book, when you don’t have to rush to the computer and figure out where in God’s name is Tennessee, or is Ford County a real place or to find the actual meaning of a phrase/slang that is common in US and is akin to Greek in India.

I encountered yet another book by an Indian author: Love, Life And All That Jazz by Ahmed Faiyaz and thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is simple – the book follows the life of four friends over a period of 5-6 years. The struggles they face in life, their hook-ups and break-ups, their work and their families. The author has described each protagonist so well, that you feel – I know this guy, and you start empathizing for him/her. You curse the protagonist when he/she makes a bad decision, and you feel good when the protagonist finally makes a sane choice.

While reading the book, at many times I felt that the author has lived this life and is writing about it. Or at least his close friends have been through similar circumstances, and they are the inspiration for many of the characters he has sketched.

My major grouse with the book was that the story skipped ahead by 2-3 months to a year with each chapter – and that kept breaking the momentum you develop while reading. I had to go back and always check what was the date for the previous chapter and what is the date for current chapter and would try to pick the scattered threads of the thoughts again.

On the whole the book is a very enjoyable read, a perfect way to pass time on a lazy weekend, or a very good company on a boring train journey.

Addendum: I am reviewing the book on the request of the author Ahmed himself. Kudos to him for writing a book and getting it published; and double kudos to him for donating all proceeds from the sale of the book to charity.

Out of the Box : Harsha Bhogle

I have been reading Harsha Bhogle’s book Out of the Box over the last two days, and I am captivated. It is a collection of articles written by Harsha Bhogle over the last 5-6 years and it is such a delight to read them now with the added advantage of hindsight.

In the bookstore I also found the book that was released to celebrate Gavaskar’s 60th birthday – a collection of 60 articles by Sunil GavaskarStraight Drive. I read 2-3 pages of each before deciding to buy Bhogle’s book. The collection of Gavaskar’s articles are also very good, but just cannot be compared to the writing style of Harsha Bhogle. It is like reading match reports in Cricinfo and Times of India – ToI will tell you X batted well, Y bowled well, and Team-Z won; whereas Cricinfo will tell you all those things in such a way that you feel sorely sorry for missing the match, and make a promise to yourself not to miss the live telecast of the match next time India is playing.

Back to Harsha Bhogle’s book, it is really hard to keep it down. Each article is just 2-3 pages only, and has a footnote about whatever incident/match is mentioned in the article. I am opening the book at random, and reading whatever article I land on, and till now (I’ve read about 50% of the book till now), there has not been an article that I skipped over.

Out of the Box is a must buy for anyone who loves to read about cricket and all cricket lovers 🙂

Edit: And now I’m looking forward to reading The Winning Way: Learnings From Sport For Managers by Harsha Bhogle and Anita Bhogle.

A Million Words

A new house, an early morning, time to kill, stuff to unpack, open the first carton, books jump out, stack the books, arrange in shelf, leave the categorization for later, whip out the camera, shoot!

Marching Ahead

Stacked


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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