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Showing posts from December, 2014

In the Year 2889 by Jules Verne (or possibly Michel Verne)

Somehow with every passing day, my tastes in reading are inching towards the wildly fantastical rather than the thought-provoking. My current reading list would attest to that. As I noted in an earlier post, I had picked up this article In the Year 2889 purely out of my utter reverence for Jules Verne, and I dare say that I derived some childish pleasure in reliving some of his visions. 
I wouldn't certainly put this up as must-read, but for a 'futuristic' article, it serves its purpose quite well. As the title suggests, the article follows a day in the life of a Rupert Murdoch-ish character in the year 2889. You should remember that the article was written in late 19th century and most of the author's fantasies have been already realised. Some are yet to be conceptualised though, and make for good imaginative reading. 
The work however lacks the awe-inspiring nature of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, and sounds more like a wishful after-dinner…

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

This was my first H.G. Wells. After The Caine Mutiny I was looking for something entirely different to read and science fiction was the obvious choice. Flitting through Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, I came across this. And I think it was OK. 

The premise of the story was far too mundane for today; in fact it even surpasses today's thought-processes - it is, after all, about Martians attacking the earth. Nevertheless, there is something attractive about the way the book starts. It is a first person narrative, and hence is a slightly rambling, personal account, with plenty of digressions and explanations. There are negligible dialogues and a few flitting characters besides the narrator himself.
What holds the story together, is however, the timelessness of the concept of chaos. I have always scoffed at what a good friend calls 'apocalyptic doomsday scenario' plotlines, but The War of the Worlds brings out very accurately, the repercussions of mass panic in the face of the sai…

The Caine Mutiny - Herman Wouk

I remember that there have been some books that have left me utterly sucker-punched: To Kill a Mockingbird (my favourite), Stuart - A Life Backwards, Birdsong, The Catcher in the Rye (my second favourite), Apollo 13 and HMS Ulysses. (I'm sure there are more, but these are the few that come of the top of my head). These books have mostly made me walk around like zombies, thinking and re-thinking and feeling incredibly insignificant and ashamed of my pettiness. When I recall my feelings during or after having finished these books, I can almost pin-point the instant of the change in my thought process. 
Then there are others - Rebecca, The Casual Vacancy and quite possibly I Capture the Castle for instance, upon finishing which I have heaved a sigh, smiled to myself and thought, "Now, that's a proper thinking man's book", not quite realising that I did not really understand all the thinking that went into the pages; at least not until much later. My mother put it d…

Reading List - December

Last month of the year ! The weather is near perfect and the prospect of snuggling up with a book and a steaming cup of tea is increasingly taking the shape of the carrot dangling before me every day. I had a spell of slightly frenzied reading in November, what with The Caine Mutiny and The Golem's Eye, so this month I decided to keep things light and fun. 
1. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells: I had heard of it as a kid, and tucked it away as one of the innumerable stories I swore I would read some day. All these years later, as I was browsing through my Kindle store, I came across it again. I started the book a couple of days back and am quite delighted to find that the story is very much on its way right from the first page. Considering that the novel was penned in 1897, the language is not in the least stuffy and the descriptions are remarkably cinematic. There has been very little exchange of dialogues yet, and the Martians have already arrived on the scene, though their de…