Nov 29, 2011

When authors loose their ways...

Have you ever picked up a new release from bookshelves with anticipation and confidence that the read is going to be great...because you've known the author and his style, know the characters that feature in the novel? How many times have the author lived up to your expectations? For me, it usually ends up in disappointment when I expect much from the author. Sadly, over the years the disappointment for anticipated novels have given way to bad expectations... most prominent of the examples was the Harry Potter series finale. Deathly Hollows literally felt like a rushed-to-meet-the-deadline novel. It was very disappointing. (though I have to admit, the movie was better than the novel)... something similar happened when I was reading The Death Relic by Chris Kuzneski.

I've read ALL of his novel, except his debut novel, The Plantation. There is a protagonist duo in his novel, Jonathan Payne and David Jones. Both ex-military men, one white other one black, both from different family background and posses a varied skillset....BEST of friends. I met them both in Kuzneski's second novel, The Sign of Cross. Interesting plot, riveting flow and an interesting writing style was what entered Kuzneski in one of my safe writers list. With the following novels to SoC, I was proved right for trusting his writing and storylines. So, when I saw his latest novel The Death Relic and the backcover claimed it was Payne and Jones novel, I picked it up without much thinking. I even remember saying to myself, "Its a Payne and Jones novel, its GOT to be good." yeah...right



Nov 18, 2011

Plans and change of plans...the godly way...

Decided to take a break from Indian Fiction. The original plan was to read Chris Kuzneski's lastest installment of Payne and Jones novel, The death relic... I even started to read that. But then I got a mail from Flipkart.com; saying "Look what's new" and I saw Sidin Vadukut's continuation of Dork, God Save the Dork. Thats been on the list of will-be-reading-when-it-comes-out since I read the first part; so I had to log on to Flipkart. And there it was... another entry on the list... next in series of Heros of Olympus by Rick Riordan.

Hey...I think I've told you about Rick Riordan and me being his fan earlier. I think you'll find my first review of his Kane Chronicles series here... as that post says, my intro to Rick came with Percy Jackson.

The Heros of Olympus is a continuation of Percy's story, only this time...Percy is not the ONLY protagonist. In the first novel of the series, Percy is nowhere to be seen. He's only mentioned in bits. The first novel, The Lost Hero, introduces the second camp for Heros. Though the second camp is only mentioned in the first novel with the action happening in the Camp Half-Blood. Second novel in the series, The Son of Neptune is set in the second camp...the Roman Camp.

Rick Riordan has a very interesting view of the whole Roman - Greek god scenario. He uses the adaption of Greek Gods into Roman way of living very cleverly. Anyone who has ever been curious towards Greek/ Roman Gods or anyone who had time to compare the similarities between these gods and Hindi deities like Indra and his Sabha...would be easily drawn to the whole Percy Jackson series. While staying true to original series Riordan manages to engage the readers back into the worl of Mystic and Godly Magic.

The Olympian, Heros of Olympus and The Kane Chronicles...all three series will be a perfect gift for any teenager who has even a slightest interest in magic, mysteries and teen heros. Rather my guess is anyone who has enjoyed Harry Potter Series will be a perfect audience for all of these series, be it teenager or not.

Now its time for me to head back to what I was originally reading...Chris Kuzneski's The Death Relic.

Nov 13, 2011

Tintin...a movie experience for all movie-goers

I'm not a Tintin fan. I've never read Tintin as a kid. When I was young, I was busy reading Chacha Choudhary, Billoo & Pinki. For adventures I read Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruv and best of them all, Faster Fene. When it came to English comics (which were very limited since I couldnt really read being in vernacular medium)...my reach was limited to Sunday editions on TV like He-Man. So, when I first heard that Tintin is being made into movie, I wasn't really thrilled or something. For that matter we reached PVR to catch Tower Heist. Our second choice was Immortals...Tintin was "last" choice if all else failed. As luck owuld have it, we reached PVR at a time that the only advisable movie was for Tintin.

Following a  short visit to Crossword and lunch at Thai Chi, we took our seats in Audi 5. Sometimes the mood for a movie is set even before the movie starts...with Tintin, the commercial showcase started with an amazing trailer for Arthur Christmas...a movie which is "not" coming soon. :)

The mood continued once the movie started with Tintin getting his caricature done from an artist in market & Snowy wondering off to chase a pickpocket... The movie sets the scene and pace in initial minutes itself. Like any comic adaptation, the good guys and bad guys are visually separable in colors and physicality. Like I said earlier, I've never read Tintin in my life, so I'm not familiar with its characters but the way they are presented in the movie and the flow of story, it makes the job of a nvice like me very easy. The plot is simple yet exciting enough. Clear enough without being too "mature"... for that matter the way it flows, I'm compelled to compare it with Feluda series by Satyajit Ray. Where "crimes of passion" were consciously avoided. the movie stays true to its core comics ethics. Action for the sake of action with humor sprinkled around with great deal of courage and splendid action sequences.

Spielberg's Tintin is a visual treat. Technically its as good as it gets. But that's something you "expect" from Spielberg so nothing really noteworthy in that dept. If you go to theater expecting to watch a Spielberg special.. Tintin will do justice to  your expectations. I'm not sure how true to the original comics he is but I'm sure if you decide to watch it for what it is...you'll find a very exciting movie equally suitable for kids, youngsters and parents as well... 

Special mention:
Am waiting for the next one to come out....if not for anything else, then just to watch the amazing way in which Snowy is depicted. So lifelike and realistic.... I simply LOVED the way he is. He certainly has become my fav character in the movie...with his quizzical expression and curious face. Simply adorable. If I ever got myself another dog, I'd probably end up getting a wire fox terrier and name him Snowy... hee hee hee... 

Nov 11, 2011

Breaking the dry spell... FINALY

I’m not 24...I've been 19 for 5 years by Sachin Garg

What should I say? Or rather where should I start...!.!. Let me start by saying "Thank You!" to Sachin Garg, for breaking my BIF mode (Bad Indian Fiction read), and for reminding me of a few very nice books I've read in past.

I’m not 24 is NOT a typical love story. For that matter, even when it has ALL the elements of a typical B-school oriented book, it steers clear of all clich├ęs and delivers a rather pleasant experience. When I started reading I’m not 24, I assumed its going to be another disaster originated in one of those IIMs... but strangely, it wasn't so. The book is great on eyes, the cover design clever and eye-catching, the font readable and the size of the book, manageable during travels. The novel catches your fancy in the first introduction itself. And you don’t even realise when you are sucked into the narrative and tangled into the storyline. (I was on page 74 when I realised I had tea on the gas which by the time I reached had turned into brown liquidy mush).

When you read "I’m not 24"; you enter into the world of the protagonist, Soumya, who BTW is a girl, not a guy. Soumya has got a job with one of the most reputed Steel Company and has been asked to report to work on a certain date. But due to her unfortunate unisex name, is assigned to a man's profile in the steel PLANT in one corner of India rather than the plush corporate office more suited for a girl. The story is about Soumya's stay and survival in the steel plant. If anyone of you have ever visited an industrial plant, you'll realise how drastic the change would be for a city raised urban girl to move into a plant and township in middle of nowhere. She is facing challenges that she's not ready for. Unknown town, unknown language, unknown work profile, unknown culture and surrounded by people who are extremely unaccustomed to seeing a female amongst them. There are major adjustments for Soumya to do in this setup. No friends, no family...no one to really TALK to... no SHOPPING.

It’s in this uncertainty that she meets and make friends with unlikely of people. A hardcore engineer with experience and an attitude problem, a fellow college-mate who is only good till he actually opens his mouth, a boss who seems too nice to be true, and a Indian hippie who looks like Hugh Grant.

Nov 8, 2011

I've been 19 for past 5 years... under review


Currently under review... for book review program from Blogadda.com

On principle, I've decided NOT to read any other reviews before I actually finish reading this one... In past, reading rave reviews had raised my expectations so much that I ended up messing my reading experience royally.... so, no reviews prior to reading the novel.

Hope this breaks the disappointing novel read streak of the season....

There was a skeleton in the closet....

Ruskin Bond...is one of my most fav authors. Over the years, I've found myself absorbed, enamoured and intrigued with his words. I've tried to pinpoint the reasons why his words work on me, the way they pin magic. But I've never come up with any other reason than... Simplicity. Its really hard to explain to non-bond readers, the allure of Bond. There is something magical about his writing. Its possible that his narrations speak to the desire for "the Simple Life" lying deep within me. Kipling used to say (something to the effect of) "Once you breathe in Himalayan hills, you are drawn back to them, to visit, to live or at least to die..." Being bitten by the Himalayan bug, I'm a living testament of the calling. Bond's words make the wait easier to bear. That's possibly why, I find myself turning to Bond whenever I'm in emotional turmoil.

Secrets by Ruskin Bond is a collection of stories in the familial setting. Sleepy little towns by Himalayan foothills during his teen years, during n around WWII. The people, the times n events that are non-events...all in a town which will be lost in the flow of time, soon enough. The stories remind us that no matter how small n non-eventful the life in these towns is, there is ALWAYS something special, something hidden around the corners...something SECRETIVE.

True to his style, the stories in "Secrets" are simple, spoken in first person, through eyes of a teenage Bond. What's refreshing is that even though these have all Classic Bond flourish to them, they offer you a side of Bond that you probably hadn't seen before. The side that speaks to you of a young chap who fancies himself to be a sleuth. The one who wishes to solve mysteries, become famous n the one who makes friends with tiger-chasing shikaris and cold-blooded.murderers....