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Showing posts from November, 2014

Cult of Crime - Franklin W. Dixon (and a brief history of my early reading days)

This was pure guilty pleasure ! And given a chance, I would plop myself down with a Hardy Boys right now and try to finish two at one go...
I got introduced to The Hardy Boys when I was at school and as far as I remember, that is how I got hooked to reading in the first place. I mean, there were conscious efforts by well-wishers to induct me into the bookworm's club but as a kid, I was more annoyed than pleased when I found that about eighty percent of my birthdays gifts were books (I sound like Dudley Dursley). How the times have changed !
My high school library was a real gem. It was always choc-a-block with all kinds of books and besides my parents, I owe my reading interests entirely to the apparently glum-faced librarian, who often let me in during lunch breaks and suggested titles to me and kept aside a particular edition if she saw that I was distraught about not getting it next week (we were permitted to issue two books at a time). Well into my plus two levels, when most …

The Golem's Eye - Jonathan Stroud

Well, Stroud sure has a very endearing way of treating his characters. I finished The Golem's Eye a little before lunch today and though there were times in the book when I felt like things were slacking a bit, in the end, I was filled with the same warmth and snorting-smile-to-self as had happened at the end of The Amulet of Samarkand. It was a good story and even better story-telling. 
Perhaps the latter supersedes the former. 
The plot isn't exactly genius, if you discount the use of detailed mythology and historical facts, which, on the other hand, is spot on. I like the way Stroud weaves through his characters and actions, more than trying to build up unnecessary potboiler-suspense. The book benefits from the firmly established characters of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus and some other side characters, and the add-ons to their existing layers of personalities appear well-thought of and disconcertingly real. The opening pages of the book were absolutely riveting, but in all fa…

Reading List - November

Its a week into November already, and I am rolling over October's due The Golem's Eye into this month. (Yes, I never manage to meet my targets!). Besides, that I have a feeling, its going to be a well-balanced month, considering that there is one of each of the boisterous, the light and presumably the nerve-racking.
1.  James Herriot's Dog Stories: Reading James Herriot is one of the surest ways of uplifting the spirits. While I have read most of his other collections of stories, I never really got round to this collection, as my mother wisely thought it would exclude the cows, the pigs, the cats and the horses. But my last library book was The Night Watch, so I decided to take up Dog Stories anyway (and especially since I'm a dog-person!). I've read a few chapters and, though I had already read quite a few of them in his earlier collections, it isn't dimming the sparkle one bit. Its absolutely delightful! What's more fun is that this omnibus also includes …

HMS Ulysses - Alistair MacLean

Trying to pass off my opinions on HMS Ulysses would be a grave error of judgement. So I shall not. I hardly get the time to read as much as I want to, and so I try to pick books which I am fairly sure I'll enjoy. A lot depends on the mood that I am in at that point in time, which enables me to stick to the end. 
And then there are stories like the HMS Ulysses. They create their own mood. They shove you, face first, into an unimaginable world which is so unfathomably different from the your own environment that you almost forget to breathe. There is an attraction, like a fly-trap; I knew all along what would happen and that it would break my heart, and yet I couldn't stop myself from hurtling towards it.

HMS Ulysses is an aggregation of numerous complicated stories, which consolidates into a fairly simple one. There are no usual twists and clifffhangers, for the simple reason that the entire premise of the story is itself one giant cliffhanger. The shock factor is omnipresent, …