Monday, January 31, 2011

Paths of Glory

Rating: 4/5

Title: Paths of Glory
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Genre: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 400
Publisher: Pan Books
ISBN-13: 9780330511667

Paths of Glory is an interpretation of the life of George Mallory. This book claims that Mallory realized his lifelong dream of conquering Mount Everest 29 years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay achieved their feat.

The topic has always remained a controversy since 1924 when Mallory and his fellow Andrew Irvine attempted to reach the summit of Mt. Everest but never returned alive. They were last seen by Noel Odell (another mountaineer climbing behind them) when they were around 1000 meters below the peak of the mountain before disappearing into an extreme storm heading their way. Whether they actually reached the top or not, continues to remain a mystery till date.

It was not until 1999, when Irvine’s and Mallory’s frozen bodies were found that the debate fired up again. Efforts are still underway to discover any clue or proof of what actually happened on that fateful day.

Archer, with his mesmerizing narration, does a brilliant job in bringing George Mallory alive again in print. A beautiful book and a must read for all Archer fans.

Friday, January 28, 2011

And Then There Were None

Rating: 5/5

Title: And Then There Were None
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 316
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN-13: 9780007282319

Although I enjoy reading Agatha Christie’s novels over and over again, there are a few books that fascinate me every time I read them. One of them (and my all time favorite, too!) is this particular book. From an exceptionally thought out plot to an array of interesting characters and a totally unexpected climax, it has the perfect ingredients for an even perfect story.

Twelve people are invited to a lonely island to spend a few days in a house supposedly owned by the host. Upon arriving, they realize that they have all been tricked. Inside the house they hear a voice accusing each person with an offense they had committed earlier in their lives. The story continues with everyone getting mysteriously killed, one by one until there are none. Who is the mastermind behind these murders and what the motive is, is all revealed toward the end of the book.

I have read this book around three times already and still can’t seem to get enough! This is definitely Christie’s masterpiece. A must read.

Cat O'Nine Tales

Rating: 3/5

Title: Cat O'Nine Tales
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 255
Publisher: India Book Distributors

Cat O’Nine Tales is another set of twelve interesting short stories by Jeffery Archer. As with his previous short story collections, this book too has a few stories he picked up during his prison days. Some good ones include ‘Don’t drink the water’, ‘Maestro’, ‘The Alibi’ and ‘In the eye of the Beholder’.

It is a good read although I found a couple of them too lengthy for a ‘short’ story collection. Nevertheless, Archer gives us an engaging set of stories once again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Rating: 4/5

Title: Jonathan Livingston Seagull - A Story
Author: Richard Bach
Genre: Fiction, Literary
Pages: 96
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN-13: 9788172235789

The book is about Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a unique seagull, which aspires to learn more about flying than just to catch food. It is an inspirational story and the author uses flight as a metaphor to explain how the very purpose of life is lost in the everyday fight for food and survival. The story is about a seemingly unattainable ambition and how it is achieved, in spite of oppositions, just by keeping faith in oneself.

It is a short and nice read (might fire up your goals and dreams). Some lines in the book made me pause and reflect upon them. One of them being “Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly” and another one - “Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now.”

My take - everyone could benefit in some way from this book. Especially recommended for young readers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2 States : The Story of My Marriage

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Title: 2 States - The Story of my Marriage
Author: Chetan Bhagat
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 268
Publisher: Rupa & Co.
ISBN-13: 9788129115300

Rating: 4/5

The fourth book by Chetan Bhagat, 2 States is about two people who fall in love and their struggle to get married due to the cultural differences. The book showcases, in a light humored way, the resistance to an inter caste marriage in India, even today.

The story begins with Krish, a Punjabi boy and Ananya, a Tamil Brahmin girl, meeting and falling in love at the IIM-A campus. Both of them choose to get married with their parent's consent. Thus begins the herculean task of convincing the parents. Krish and Ananya take turns in winning over each other’s families. Ananya’s family has been described as the typical stringent south Indian one, as a result of which the trouble Krish goes through to woo her stubborn parents. On the other hand, Ananya comes face to face with Krish’s pompous Punjabi clan and has to overcome the resultant prejudices. How the boy and the girl gain both the family's consent, makes the rest of the story.

This book is definitely recommended for a light and a quick read. The humor and romance is quite engaging. The teasing remarks on the Indian mentality and the light humored narrative makes for an absorbing read. The story emphasizes that marriage in India is not only the union of two hearts, but also of two families. And in this case, two vastly diverse states as well.

2 States is supposedly inspired from the actual story of how Chetan Bhagat and his wife got married. I guess, that is the reason it is most enjoyable as it is written from experience and concerns the delicate matters of the heart. A delightful book from Chetan Bhagat.

Definitely recommended!

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