Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Top Ten Tuesday : 8th Sept

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is  Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

I just know this is going to be an embarrassing list. There are just so many series I am yet to finish. Here it goes.

  1. The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson - I've read the Final Empire and own 2 copies of this series. I know I'll love this series but I haven't completed the series yet
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I've read the first book in this series too. Though I'm not sure whether I will be picking it up anytime soon.
  3. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare - I've never picked this series up though I've heard a lot about it.
  4. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - Same as the TMI series
  5. The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi - I tried reading Shatter Me once. I just could not get in to it. Maybe I'll pick it up sometime down the line but mostly not.
  6. The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness - I have heard nothing but good things about this series but have never picked it up. I might get to it somewhere down the line this year.
  7. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King - I love Stephen King. A lot of his books have some reference to the world in this series but I've never read the series, except for the 1st one. I will definitely read this sometime soon
  8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - I have read the first 2 and a half books in this series. These books are one of my favorite books and I do not know what is wrong with me. I cannot believe I haven't read it yet!!
  9. The Healer series by Maria V. Snyder - I have read and loved the Study series by Snyder. I have also read the first in this particular series, Touch of Power, and loved it. I own all of the books in the series. And yet I have not completed this series.
  10. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead - As with many other series in this list I have read the first of the series but have not continued on.
What's on your list?

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays : 25th Aug

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is  Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101

I thought I would break this list in to parts. I am not going to just list down books in one genre but many. So here goes.

Books That Would Be On my Syllabus If I Taught Fantasy 101

  1. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien - If you know anything about me it is that I love the Lord of the Rings series, the books and the movies. They are the epitome of fantasy in my eyes. The setting for this series is just epic
  2. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling - This is a series that introduced a lot of people to the magic of books let alone to that of Fantasy. I believe this is a series that will stand the test of time. 
  3. Elantris and Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson - You might ask why these 2 books and not Sanderson's more famous Mistborn series or the Stormlight Archive, but I think these books suit this list. It is very, very rare to see a fantasy book that is a standalone, and to see 2 from the same author is just awesome. Sanderson is a genius when it comes to setting up the fantasy world and the characters.
  4. The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett - This series would be in the curriculum because I just love the Discworld series to bits and find it funny. Reports on the Watch part of the series, with special attention to Sam Vimes would be very well received indeed.
Books That Would Be On my Syllabus If I Taught Sci-Fi 101
  1. The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov - I more often read Sci-Fi that is closer to fantasy in its epicness than the Space opera one's. I was bowled over by the sheer scope of this book. It is not everyone's cup of tea, it's not necessarily my favorite Sci-Fi book but it does teach you a lot about how a Sci-Fi book is to be written
  2. The Odyssey Series by Arthur C. Clarke - This is one of my favorite books. I reread this series once every 2-3 years. Even though this is a series the books can be read as standalones (though I would suggest reading it in series). This is a series that talks about contact between Human kind and Super intelligent extra terrestrial life. The science in these books is something that we are seeing come true in our lifetime and it makes it a little more relatable.
  3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Douglas Adams tried to come up with a Sci-Fi Comedy and he ended up with the masterpiece that is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This book would be part of the curriculum to show that Sci-Fi doesn't always have to be long winded and boring but fun too.
Books That Would Be On my Syllabus If I Taught Classics 101
  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - Any revenge story I read is always held up against this classic in my head. Among the books by Dumas this book has always been my favorite.
  2. War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells - This is a book that can also be categorized as Sci-Fi but I prefer to think of it as a classic instead. 
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I already own 4 copies of this book and reread it every year. Need I say more.
What is on your list?

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


This is a weekly book meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words and I thought it was a great Idea. So WWW WEDNESDAYS… is a weekly event where you share (1)What you’re currently reading, (2)What you recently finished reading, and (3)What you think you’ll read next.... And here goes

Q1) What are you Currently reading?
A1) I am currently participating in the Bout of Books 14.0. And I am reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for this read-a-thon. 

Q2) What did you recently finish reading?
A2) I just finished reading Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. I am not sure what I think about the book. This was not the story I am used to from King. It lacked that creepy horror element that he usually puts in his books, but it was a good crime thriller. So points to King for doing something with this book that he doesn't normally do.

Q3) What will be your next read?
A3) I am completely clueless as to what I will read next. I might just pick up The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, part 2 of the Hitchhiker's Guide or I might pick something up that catches my fancy at that time. I am someone who doesn't plan her reading, partly because I fail so brilliantly at following them.

What are you planning to read next? 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays : 18th Aug

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Of Your Auto-buy Authors

  1. Brandon Sanderson - I had only heard of the Final Empire a couple of years ago. And then I read it. Since then I've bought most of Sanderson's Adult Fantasy books that have come out except for The Words of Radiance. I am willing to buy anything this man writes. And unlike other fantasy writers Sanderson cranks out books quite frequently which is a boon to fans of his writing.
  2. Neil Gaiman - He's also one of my most read authors. I just love his writing. He is also on the list of authors I would love to meet. I had the opportunity to at least see him virtually last year at Comic Con. It was one of the best days. I am still catching up with buying his books, especially Sandman, but I do buy anything that he releases.
  3. Patrick Rothfuss - I haven't even read The Name of the Wind in it's entirety and I was compelled to buy the next installment in the series. I am looking forward to his writing a lot more books.
  4. A.S. King - I have read all the books A.S. King has written, Please Ignore Vera Dietz being my favorite, and I own all of them except a couple of them. She is one of my favorite authors who cannot really be fit in to a genre in my head. 
  5. Keigo Higashino - He is one of my most recent finds. I read Devotion of Suspect X by him and it was one of the few crime thrillers that has still stayed with me. Any book of his that is translated to English I will buy.
  6. J.K Rowling - Do I even need to explain why? I am happy with her Cormoran Strike books but I will always have hope that maybe one day she will write about Harry once again
  7. Laini Taylor - The Daughter of Smoke and Bones was one of my all time favorite reads of last year. The love story of Akiva and Karou is one of the most beautifully written romances out there.
Now I am going to list authors who are no longer alive and releasing any books. But I do buy their books whenever they are available. And I would also buy their books without a doubt if they were still alive and writing.
  1. J.R.R. Tolkien - One of my favorite books is the Lord of the Rings. If there are any unpublished manuscripts out there and they find it and publish it I am buying it in an instant
  2. Douglas Adams - I had never heard of a comic Science fiction book before. But The Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy was the most funniest books I've read so far. 
  3. Terry Pratchett - I can't believe there will no longer be any more Discworld novels. Especially the Watch books. I am still collecting his books though. So I still have quite a few of his books to read which is a plus.

Who are your auto buy authors?

Monday, 17 August 2015

Bout of Books 14.0 : Update Post

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, Aug 17th and runs through Sunday, Aug 23rd  in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.

Bout of Books

This is my update post for the Bout of Books 14.0

Day 1 -

Books Read - 1
Names - Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Currently Reading - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Pages Read - 531

Mr. Mercedes was not the kind of fare I was expecting from Stephen King. Though this book did not have King's usual addition of something a little supernatural I kind of liked it.

Day 2 -

Books Read - 1
Names - Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Currently Reading - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Pages Read - 128

Day 2 was a slower reading day because I was busier at work than I expected to be. But I hope to finish reading Hitchhiker's Guide today.

Day 3 -

Books Read - 2
Names - Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Currently Reading - The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
Pages Read - 160

Day 4 -

Books Read -3
Names - Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
Currently Reading - Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Pages Read - 218

Day 5 -

Books Read - 3
Names - Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
Currently Reading - Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Pages Read - 191

Day 6 & 7-

Books Read - 3
Names - Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
Currently Reading - Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Pages Read - 0

I read 0 pages over the weekend because this was the one time in the week I could meet up with friends. We went and watched Mission Impossible 5. It was pretty good.

So my Bout of Books 14 update is that I have read 3 complete books and read a total of 1228 pages. Not bad if I do say so myself. What about you. How was Bout of Books 14.0 for you?

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Bout of Books : 14.0

BOUT OF BOOKS IS BACK!!! For those of you who do not know what it is here is a bit of information.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, Aug 17th and runs through Sunday, Aug 23rd  in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.

Bout of Books

My TBR's are always flexible. So I will only put down 2 books on here for now. I am hoping to at least read 3 though - 
  1. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
  2. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


This is a weekly book meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words and I thought it was a great Idea. So WWW WEDNESDAYS… is a weekly event where you share (1)What you’re currently reading, (2)What you recently finished reading, and (3)What you think you’ll read next.... And here goes

Q1) What are you Currently reading?
A1) I am currently between books at the moment. I just finished reading a book yesterday and I'm agonizing over which book to pick up next. Right now the choice is between The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black and The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I am leaning towards The Final Empire for the time being and might decide to pick that up.

Q2) What did you recently finish reading?
A2) I just finished reading A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. I really enjoyed this book. It is based in the 18th / 19th Century in America. The protagonist is a lady of society who has been locked up by her family in an insane asylum while she is with child. I am not really great at summarizing the book so I would suggest you read it here.

Q3) What will be your next read?
A3) If I decide to pick up The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black my next read would be the Final Empire. I have already read the Final Empire but I am determined to complete reading this trilogy so I need to reread the first book to move on to The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages. If I pick up The Final Empire then I will move on the next 2 books in the series.

What are you planning to read next? Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays : 11th Aug

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten authors I've Read the Most.

If I like a book I tend to read a lot of the books written by the same author, one after the other, at a stretch. I actually have a worksheet listing out the books I've read and need to read. You can scoff at me but it really helps with list making, which is another favorite pastime of mine (other than reading of course). I also read a lot of Manga, in which a series is usually more than 10 volumes long. I'll just list a few of them at the end of this list. I will mostly write about the authors of Novels in this list.

  1. Dean Koontz  - 29 Books. I discovered Dean Koontz when I was in college, at a second hand bookstore. One of the first books I read was False Memory and I really fell in love with the story and the pace of the story. After that I just went on a spree of reading his books. I think what I like about them is that they thrill me and they do not take up too much of my time. I usually finish his books in 2 days.
  2. Neil Gaiman - 29 Books. I LOVE Neil Gaiman. This number includes his short story books and also Sandman. Some of my favorite books by him are - Coraline, Stardust and American Gods.
  3. Stephen King - 28 Books. My favorite King novel is IT. I was scared of clowns before but after IT its escalated to being a phobia.
  4. Agatha Christie - 27 Books. Agatha Christie is the queen of crime novels. My fave of course is Miss Marple. I have a whole post dedicated to her creations, you can read it here.
  5. Terry Pratchett - 16 Books. Among the Discworld novels, The Night Watch series is my favorite. His books are one of the funniest books I've read.
  6. James Patterson - 12 Books. I used to read a lot of Patterson in my teens. My fave was the Women's Murder Mystery Club
  7. Robin Cook - 12 Books. I grew up on Robin Cook. My favorite books are The Sphinx and Chromosome 6.
  8. JK Rowling - 12 Books. What list is complete without a mention of Rowling. I have read her Potter series, the companion books and The Cormoran Strike books that are out.
  9. Michael Crichton - 9 Books. My fave books are - Jurassic Park, Lost World & Sphere. Oh and The Andromeda Strain.
  10. Jeffrey Archer - 7 Books. He is one of my favorite authors. And my fave book by him is As the Crow Flies.

Coming to some of the Manga I've read - 
  • Naoki Urasawa - 20th Century Boys, Monster
  • Himoru Arakawa - Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Fuyumi Soryo - Mars, Eternal Sabbath

Some honorary mentions are - A.S. King, Arthur C. Clarke, Brandon Sanderson and so on.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Book Review : The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired…and who the world believes is dead.

When she arrives at the Sinclairs' enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her "too-good-to-be-true" position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls. 

I love reading books and watching movies that scare the bejesus out of me. I cannot explain why but I love it and my imagination just punishes me later when I start seeing the bogeyman everywhere. Having read this description I was expecting this book to be really creepy if not very scary. I mean there's this mansion out in the wilderness, isolated, with an old eccentric living in it who in turn was a very famous horror novelist. I mean it just cannot be not scary right? But it just wasn't. There were parts which would send chills down my spine but those moments were few and far between. 

There might be spoilers from here on out

Let's get to the parts that bothered me. I mean here is a woman that has been scorned by all the people she knows and the rest of the public because her husband betrayed not only his clients but also her. And when a complete stranger comes to her and asks her to come take care of his mother - who he claims is a writer that the world thinks to be dead - she takes less than half a day to decide to leave with him. Leaving everything behind. I can probably see her doing this to a certain extent. I mean maybe she was so scorned by her husband that she just wants to disappear and start a new life. 

But once she gets to Havenwood, she starts seeing things which she attributes to withdrawal from her medication. OK, I'll buy that. But the next moment she is talking to Amaris Sinclair about old houses having their own ghosts (the  real kind, not the metaphoric ones) and agreeing with her about their existence in that house. I just couldn't reconcile these 2 thoughts of hers. There were multiple instances in the book where it was alluded that the Sinclairs had an ulterior motive to get Julia to Havenwood, and Julia asks them about it, only to chicken out at the end. 

Even with all of this happening, the book did manage to creep me out a bit. But the story was built up so much for most of the book and only the last 10 pages or so were used to kinda resolve the issues addressed, which just left me in the lurch. All in all this was OK read. I would rate it between a 2.5 and a 3.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Book Review : Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.

Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet's obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book's final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick's gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession

This is my first Marcus Sedgwick book. I have heard of this author from Peruse Project's YouTube feed. She loves his books and I tend to like quite a few books she recommends so I wanted to pick up a book by him. The synopsis of Ghosts of Heaven intrigued me to say the least. Being able to read the 4 stories contained within this book and it making sense - I wanted to see how it worked. I mean its like one of those children's books where you start a story randomly form any page and it works. This book held another attraction for me - Spirals. I had read a manga called Uzumaki (meaning spiral) by Junji Ito. It was one of the creepiest and scariest manga that I had read, so I was intrigued to see how Sedgwick incorporated it in the story/stories.

It has only been an hour since I read the book and I do not think I'll ever fully know how I felt about the book. I cannot clearly tell someone if I loved the book or hated it. I decided to read it like any other book, from start to finish. I sped through the 1st story, partly because it was written in prose. The other 3 were not. The 1st story is I believe based sometime in our past when our ancestors were still cavemen. It follows a girl who wants to be the shaman (for the lack of another word) for her tribe. The 2nd is sometime in the middle ages I guess when the Witch trials were dwindling down. The protagonist of this story is a young girl who gets persecuted as a witch. The 3rd story I think is in the early 20th century and is about a doctor who has just moved to a new Insane Asylum as an assistant superintendent and befriends an inmate. The final story is set somewhere way ahead in our future and Mankind has decided to take to the heavens to find another home. Here the main protagonist is a man who is in charge of the maintenance of the ship while everyone hibernates.

When I started reading the book I just could not see how the stories could be connected at all. It just seemed that the only thing connecting them was the obsessions of the protagonists of the spiral form, but that was not the main focus. Especially in the first 2 stories. It is only in the 3rd and 4th story that you start to see why Spirals play an important role.  After having read the book I think the order in which someone who is planning on reading this book would be to at least start with the 4th story first. It will probably make a little more sense to you. 

I am looking forward to picking up another book by Marcus Sedgwick. The sories and the way he writes are both amazing. This book would have worked as a collection of Novellas/short stories too. The stories are awesome as a standalone. I would rate this book a 3.8 or a 4.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

My Love for Agatha Christie's creations - Poirot and Miss Marple

Agatha Christie was the one who opened the door to a library full of Crime, Whodunit novels. I do not clearly remember my first Christie novel, I am not even sure if it was a miss Marple novel or a Poirot novel. But whichever was the first book sure did make a lasting impression on me. One of my goals in life is to have all the books (stress on the Marple and Poirot books) that Christie has written. I am glad to say I am well on my way to achieving that goal. I already have all the Marple novels bar one and I've got quite a few of the Poirot one's too.

What is so special about these books you ask? Well, I don't really know how to describe how I feel. I don't know if it's because I am Indian or what but I just like books based in England early on in the 20th Century. One of my favorite children's books were the Enid Blyton Books. They just have a certain charm that I just fall for. And these books also have an added spice of having crime mixed in to make it irresistible to me. Let me speak of my two favorite characters that Agatha Christie has given to us separately - Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Hercule Poirot 

Hercule Poirot is a Belgian Detective who sought refuge in England during the war. His powers of deduction are first demonstrated in the book The Mysterious Affair at Styles when his patron gets murdered. This is also the book where we are introduced to Captain Hastings his trusty side kick for many upcoming adventures (though not all). Poirot is described as a man with an egg shaped head and a very unique moustache, of which he is most proud. He is the kind of man who says any crime can be solved if only people used the "little gray cells". Unlike his sidekick Captain Hastings, he does not believe in running around finding clues, when he has a perfectly capable Scotland Yard inspector doing so.

This little intro should tell you that Poirot is very similar to another eccentric detective, namely Sherlock Holmes. There's also a Dr. Watson equivalent - Captain Hastings. Both detectives are not known for their modesty, at least when it comes to their abilities and both sidekicks are thought of to be someone who is a sounding board for their genius. Even with all these similarities I prefer Christie's Poirot to Doyle's Holmes. I just relate more to Poirot, he just seems more human. For all his confidence with respect to his deductions he has at least admitted to having been wrong. And unlike Holmes Poirot is a bit of a romantic at heart.

I have not read all the Poirot stories but some of my favorite are - Murder on the Orient Express, Mystery of the Blue Train & Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

Miss Jane Marple

Miss Marple is completely different from Poirot, except in her ability to solve cases. She seems like this sweet, dotty old grandmother, but do not let that fool you. She is one of the shrewdest people you could meet. The thing I love about this character is that everyone just sees her as an old gossip from a backward village (St. Mary Mead). There's instances where people mention that living in a village must be peaceful and preferable to the city (if you do not want any  excitement in your life). But Miss Marple claims that being in this tiny village is what gives her insight that helps her solve the crime. Living in St. Mary Mead is like a microcosm of a city. It gives her a concentrated insight in to human nature. Miss Marple thinks back to some other instance in St. Mary Mead that is similar to what happens in that particular crime and deduces the culprit.

I have all the Miss Marple books except for The Murder At the Vicarage. And some of my favorite Marple novels are - 13 Problems, The Mirror Crack'd from Side  to Side, A Caribbean Mystery, Nemesis and a Murder is Announced.

Both Poirot and Miss Marple have a strong sense of justice. And I love both of them, but if I really had to name a favorite among the 2 I would choose Miss Marple. Though I love the unique character that Poirot is I still prefer Miss Marple's way of handling things and her general sweetness. For anyone who wants to read crime novels but are too scared of how violent the books that come out nowadays get I would suggest you pick Christie's books up.

If you are not up to reading these series I would recommend you watch the TV adaptations. You will not regret it. Some of the good one's are -
Agatha Christie's Poirot - 

  1. Murder on the Orient Express
  2. Mystery of the Blue Train
  3. The Third Girl
  4. Elephants can Remember
  5. Hickory Dickory Dock
Agatha Christie's Miss Marple - 
  1. A Body in the Library
  2. A Pocket full of Rye
  3. A Murder is Announced
  4. At Bertram's Hotel
  5. A Caribbean Mystery

Monday, 3 August 2015

Book Review : The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

It has been a long time since I wrote a book review. Though  I haven't been awesome at writing these I might be a bit rustier than usual, so bear with me please.

I have read quite a few books over the course of the past 6  - 7 months but most of them have been Manga. Maybe I will write a series review for a couple of the one's I really love. 

Coming to the book I will be reviewing in this post - The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C Clarke, I bought it from my local second hand bookstore on a whim. Just because I like the author and I suddenly wanted to read a bit of Sci-Fi. 
Vannemar Morgan's dream is to link Earth to the stars with the greatest engineering feat of all time -- a 24,000-mile-high space elevator. But first he must solve a million technical, political, and economic problems... while allaying the wrath of God. 
For the only possible site on the planet for Morgan's Orbital Tower is the monastery atop the Sacred Mountain of Sri Kanda. And for two thousand years, the monks have protected Sri Kanda from all mortal quests for glory. Kings and princes who have sought to conquer the Sacred Mountain have all died. 
Vannemar Morgan may be next.

I thinks it was the best thing I did going in to this book blind. I just glanced over the synopsis before I started this book yesterday and was intrigued about the Space Elevator bit. I remember reading something like this in 3001 : Space Odyssey and wanted to see where this story takes me. 

This wasn't your typical Sci-Fi book. Or at least it wasn't typical to the books I've read. The whole plot jumped from one time line to the next without notice. It alternated between sometime in the 2nd or 3rd century to the 22nd century. It went back forth a lot in the first few chapters. And this story is based quite close to where I live - in Sri Lanka, which was a major plus. 

This book for me was about 2 people - Kalidasa, a king from 2 millenniums ago and Vannemar Morgan, an engineer a century or so in our future. Kalidasa was a visionary king who created one of the best gardens of his time. and Vannemar Morgan is an engineer whose achievement is a 3 KM high bridge between continents. Now he has his sights set on building a Space Elevator or tower going up from the equator to 36,000 KM high, in space.  What's common between them you ask? They both faced opposition from the monks who lived on the mountain that was the best place on earth for the Space Elevator is supposed to be. Vannemar sees the similarities in the struggles of both himself and Kalidasa. 

This book broaches the subject of religion being a byproduct of us being mammals. There's also aliens in this future of ours. We are visited not by aliens but by a probe (like Voyager) that is named the Star Glider. This is an A.I that has been travelling through space for ages. It learns as much as it can about human life and transmits it back to its home world. The Space Tower is being built with all of this going on in the same timeline.

I think this is a book that someone who doesn't read a lot of Sci-Fi can just whiz through. It was not heavy on the technicalities and the science that was in the book was not something out of college level textbooks. This was a highly enjoyable read that has made me open the door toSci-Fi for me again. I would rate it between a 3 and a 3.5.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Book Review: Inferno by Dante Alighieri

Dante's dramatic journey through the circles of hell in search of redemption—and his encounter with devils, monsters, and the souls of some of the greatest sinners who ever walked on earth—is one of the cornerstones of Western literature, the summit of medieval thinking, and arguably the highest poetic achievement of all time

I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. This book was a lot of firsts for me. This is the first book I've read in verse & the first book that has the original verse and the translated verse in it. I thought the language would be a little difficult and that I would not be able to understand a lot of what's happening as the metaphors used and the events mentioned were those of the 14th Century. But I guess I chose the right edition. There was a brief explanation of what happens before every Canto and there were so many footnotes. 

Anyway, let me tell you what I thought of the book. As you know this book talks of the circles of Hell. Basically it describes what is the punishment for every kind of sin. The graver the sin, the deeper in Hell you are. 

As you can see from the diagram, there are 9 circles of Hell on the basis of the sins committed, with the 7th,8th and 9th circles being further sub divided in to different circles for the kind of sub-sin committed. As you can tell from the illustration above, Hell is a type of funnel and at the end/center of the earth is Satan (a.k.a Dis, a.k.a Beelzebub), the fallen angel. 

Dante must have been one imaginative guy. Or he was someone who was always high on something to have described hell in such gory details.  And Dante's vision of God is one that is pretty strict. An example of this are the souls of those who were good people while they were living but were from a time before Christ. They are all in Limbo. The description of the punishments are also good enough to be on any of the horror movies in our time. I mean, the punishment for heretics is to be put in a coffin/box with  fire underneath it, those who commit suicide become some kind of plants that are attacked by Harpies and they bleed and talk through the wounds, and many more punishments ranging from being frozen to being dismembered and also being drowned in boiling tar. 

But I guess that is to be expected, Hell is something that is made to keep us on the path of the virtuous. One of the things I found interesting in this book was that the old Gods like Apollo, Athena and the other Greek monsters were mentioned in this book and were a part of this Hell. So I was a little conflicted. They were real but we weren't supposed to believe in them? Anyway I just considered it to be another novel while reading it so that I didn't analyze it more than I should. There are still parts that I am unsure of or do not understand, but that just means I'll have to reread this book again. And that is the best kind of book in my opinion, the kind that brings you back to it time after time and teaches you something new each time.

I would highly recommend this to people who have an interest in History and literature. I rate it between 3.5 - 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Rant: Book to Movie Adaptations

I have 2 passions in life - reading books and watching movies/TV series. And these 2 passions of mine cross paths when an adaptation is made of the books on film. And being a human being I have an opinion about it.

Let me answer the fundamental question of what I think of Book adaptations - I am for them. I like quite a few of them actually. I'll explain why.

I know there are a lot of people that do not enjoy the book adaptations that are made. This is mostly because of the strongly held belief that a movie is never as good as the book. I agree with it too. But that has never stopped me from liking the movies that have been based off of books. I try to look at a movie as a different entity altogether. Of course I do not always succeed at this.

Let me take example of what  think are adaptations that suck and get them out of the way before I start stating why I actually like adaptations.

  • Let's start off with Eragon. This movie was based off of the series by Christopher Paolini. I loved this series when it had come out. I saved up money to buy the books in this series. I was so excited when I found out there was a movie coming out and then I watched the movie. I hated it. It was nothing like the book. I lost interest in the books too and have till date, not read the last book in the series. 

  • Then there's Twilight. A lot of people might say they hated the books but let's not kid ourselves. This series is one of the guilty pleasure reads for a lot of us. It is a series that has made a lot of people start reading or get back in to reading, like it did with me. But the movies did not even live up to the books. The major issue with this adaptation was the acting. 

So an adaptation might be ruined because of the inability to cover the story in 2 hours or because of wrong casting choices or even because the reworked screenplay has very little to do with the book. Sometimes the whole character gets changed or cut from the adaptations.

Now let me give examples of book adaptations that make me say that I like movie adaptations.

  • No list would be complete without Lord of the Rings. If ever someone needs to learn how to make an epic fantasy movie from a book, this is how its done. It stayed true to the characters and the world. That is not to say that a few liberties were not take with the screenplay, Arwen did not appear a lot in the book, but that was handled beautifully in the form of dreams/visions Aragorn has. There were a lot of things in the books that were left out in the movie but that was OK because the movie in and of itself was enough. This is a movie which can be watched without having read the books and that is a huge plus.

  • Another series that has to appear on this list to make it complete is the Harry Potter series. I have to admit that looking back the movies started getting better from the 3rd one onwards. The first two movies look a bit too kiddy for me now. Nut keep in mind that I am now (for all intents and purposes) a grown up now. But for those of you who like their book to movie adaptations to stick to the story in the books this is perfect. I cannot think of Ron, Hermione the Weasley twins or anyone else without associating them with the actors from the movies. This is a series that I grew up with. It holds a very special place in my heart and the movies did justice to that.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird is a movie that made me pick up the book. And this was a beautiful story. There was an element of mystery, drama, familial love and it touched upon racism too. 

  •  The Shining was a movie which chose to take a different tack than the one taken in the book. Though the basic premise was the same the story was not completely as the one Stephen King wrote. When it comes to this movie and book I look at them as something that is completely separate and different. I love both of them in their respective mediums.

  • The Green Mile and the Shawshank Redemption are other Stephen King books that have been made in to a movie (its actually a lot easier to list books of Stephen King that have not made it to the screen than the other way round)

  • 2001 : A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke is one of my favorite Sci-Fi series. I reread this book every couple of years. For a science fiction movie that was made in the '70's it was very well made.

There has been a recent rise in a lot of YA books being made in to movies which is great as a lot of people would then learn of the fact that they are in fact originally books and read them. But it feels like it has become a trend to just make a movie out of the books on the best seller lists. And a lot of the movies are not made in 1 part but are made in 2 parts, especially the last movie in a series. An example being Breaking dawn or even Hobbit. I would love the movies to be made because the content is great and they actually plan on making a good movie, and not to cash in on the controversy surrounding a book or the fact that it is a best seller. 

But all in all, as in all things in life, there are good things and bad things when in comes to Book to Movie adaptations. But I tend to look at the good rather than the bad. 

Things I Hate About Reading

I Know! I Know!I just wrote a post about me Loving books, why am I saying there are some things I hate about it? Well it's more of a Love/Hate relationship that I have with reading. So after having listed down the positives I thought I'd list down a few negatives as not anyone can take the negative effects of reading -

  1. You finally find a book that you really LOVE, with the characters that are fully fleshed out and the world building that is epic and then once you are done reading it's DONE. That's it. You no longer get to know what happens with them, how the protagonist you invested so much time in lives after he/she overcomes whatever obstacles they had. I do not get to read about how they live after. I mean after having read all those pages about how the protagonist overcame his/her circumstances to live their life in peace, we do not get to see any of this peace. Especially Harry Potter. I would have liked to read about Ron proposing to Hermione, or Harry to Ginny, how George coped with Fred's loss and a lot more. 
  2. I love book series. But I also hate them. Why? Because if it is a series that is still not complete I have to depend on the kindness of the author to release the next book early. But does that happen? No. So we have to wait so loooong before a book comes out. Like the next part in the Throne of Glass series, Lunar Chronicles, Game of Thrones and many more.
  3. Finances. That's another thing. I always need to buy books but my bank balance says I can't. Partly because a lot of the books I want to read are not available here in India or are imported so I'd have to shell a lot of money for them. And not being able to buy them makes me depressed. It's kind of an addiction.
  4. Another downside of this attachment to reading is the Reading Slumps. I think it should go into the medical dictionary. It is the worst feeling ever. I am currently in a Reading Slump and I just pick up a book and not finish it. I want to read a book but my brain just will not let me. Some slumps last for a week and some a few months. Thankfully I haven't had a slump last a few months since college. 
These are the negatives of reading. There might be more but these are the most problematic ones. If anyone is reading this do tell me if you have anything that you "hate" about reading.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


BOUT OF BOOKS IS BACK!!! For those of you who do not know what it is here is a bit of information.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th  in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
Bout of Books

I had a good time a few months ago while taking part in the Bout of Books Read-a-thon. I went back to my childhood books and read quite a bit of Hardy Boys. It was great fun. And I also got to interact with quite a few book-lovers. Then I took part in the next Bout-of-Books. But I was not able to be as active as I was the last time. I have been so busy that I did not even know that Bout-of-Books 13 was this week. So I do not really have a TBR.

I will probably read Dante's Inferno and one other book. But I will do my best to participate.

Rant: What Reading has done for me

I have always been a reader. When I was a kid it was books by Enid Blyton and now that I am older I still read her books along with a few other. Reading has always given me a sense of peace. My parents encouraged me to read when I was young.

I was not a child that enjoyed playing with dolls or playing house. I tended to only be friends with people that I had known for a long period of time as I did not make friends very easily (that is not entirely true today). I was never completely at home with the friends I made at school. I think they felt it too and I wasn't necessarily close to anyone in school. I don’t mean I don’t have any friends from school, I still keep in contact with quite a few of them, but none of them were my “Best Friend”. There was no one that I could really open up to. This is where reading helped me the most. I mean improving my vocabulary and giving me confidence in the language is all well and good but it also gave me the ability to create worlds in my head where I didn't feel as awkward, where even my awkwardness was a prized quality.

I do not remember the first book I read. But I think I can tell when my love for stories, which later extended to love for books, began. When I was young, maybe 3 years old or so, I remember my mother sitting me down and teaching me Shlokas (religious poems) and telling me their meanings. She also used to tell me and my sister a few years later, stories from the Mahabharatha and Ramayana. The stories were so rich with characters and the world full of great heroes and villains that I fell in love with it.

I guess I gradually went on to read fairy tales and other children’s books like the ones by Enid Blyton and Franklin W. Dixon. I read of kids my age, who were not unlike me, that went on adventures. I mean who wouldn't want to have a Magic tree in the backyard that was inhabited by wonderful creatures or find lost treasure and catch bad guys? I used to put myself in the same situation that my favorite characters were in, not as the characters but as one of their friends.

As time went on I read more books. I discovered Lord of the Rings, one of my favorite series of all time. I also fell in love with Harry Potter. I have never restricted myself to a genre. I've read Horror (mostly Dean Koontz and Stephen King books), Sci-Fi (Asimov, Clarke etc.), romance (Julia Garwood), Thrillers (Patterson, Deaver), Crime (Agatha Christie) and many more. Each book egged on my growing imagination. When I get bored I just go into a world that I had read about or even mix them up. I make up different scenarios in my head where characters from different books meet.
This love for reading that seemed like something that made me an outsider among people suddenly became something that I shared as something in common in college. I met a friend who loved reading as much as I did, though she was not necessarily someone who would fangirl. But suddenly I had someone to talk to about books. And this made reading all the more precious to me.

By the time I passed out of college and got a job I had discovered different mediums on the internet through which I could express my love for reading and also meet and interact with people that share the same interests as me. I got introduced to Booktube on YouTube, blogs and Bookstagram on Instagram. I have made great friends especially through Instagram and have finally connected (online) to people in the same country and even city as me. We might actually plan on getting together sometime soon.

This is what reading has done for me. It has given me a great imagination, albeit a weird one, great friends – in real life and otherwise and it hss also made me write, which I am not that great at but if the protagonists of books have taught me anything, it is to never give up.