Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Books I read in 2020 #7

This week also saw me reading less than I had wanted to. A lot was happening around me and the week was one wherein I couldn't do everything I set out to... 

However, the good news is that I finished reading Heads You Win and did speed reading of another book too. Here's a quick round-up:

Heads You Win – Jeffrey Archer

So, this was a typical story by Archer - the underdog making it big in life against all odds. If I remember correctly, all his protagonists are ordinary people who rise above others and become extraordinary.

What makes Heads You Win is the parallel narrative, which he seems to handle quite easily. The same character with different lives in two different countries. After reading Archer's short stories, which by the way I rate higher than his novels, I am not surprised he can tell the two stories convincingly. If he had to come up with a few more versions, I am sure he would have done that with much elan.

It was nice to follow Alex and Sasha to their different destinations - while they wonder what would have happened if they had climbed into the other crate, the readers don't wonder about it. The writer lays down the two different lives that leave no room for asking what if...

I guessed the identity of the childhood friend and it was oddly satisfying to know my guess was correct. 

Although this cant be termed as the best of his works, Archer definitely keeps the readers engaged and amused. A good read, to say the least.

Do it Today - Darius Foroux 

This was kind of reading in bits and pieces for me. I read this book in between my chores and other free times I managed during the week. This is not a book I would have read from cover to cover at one go.

It was good to read - I am a procrastinator when it comes to some tasks and it was interesting to read about the reason for such behaviour. I should say the author is right. Will it help me overcome procrastination? I am not sure.

There are few other insights that I received from this book and I think overall it made a nice read. I love to read personal development books and this one has its merits. The language is easy and understandable - no jargon or wordplays. That for me made this a good choice for some light reading.

And thus ended another week of not so much of reading. I have not been able to catch up with the Ivory Throne this week because I didn't feel I had it in me to invest time and attention for serious reading - so probably I will come back to it at a later date.

I hope all of you had a good time reading what you love. Keep reading and enjoy the world of letters.. until next time, bye...





Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Books I read in 2020 #6

So, this week I literally read very little. All I can say is I have read a few more pages of the Ivory Throne and started reading a book on procrastination (which is halfway through) and finally started reading Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer.

I enjoyed reading all of them and I hope to write a better review of these books next week. 

Although this was one of those weeks where I couldn't get enough reading done, I can't say I am hugely disappointed. On the contrary, I am at peace with myself - I knew a slump will occur sometime. Especially when I read non-fiction and on days when I am really busy with work, I knew reading would take a back seat. However, I don't intend to leave it there and so, this is not a failure or disappointment.

The main thing to remember is that like life, reading is also a journey - sometimes up, sometimes down. The key is not to remain stationary or think it is a lost cause. So, in that sense, this week has been a learning experience too.

That's all for now. Hope to be back next week with a better performance :)

Until then, you enjoy your reading journey... 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Books I read in 2020 # 5

February Week #1  

The first week of February saw me reading a little less than I would have loved to. Yet, I read a couple of books and continued my tryst with the Ivory Throne.

Tell Tale – Jeffrey Archer

I had taken this book on loan from the library and loved reading it. I enjoy reading Archer because his writing is easy and enjoyable. Yet it stands out from the ordinary because of the way he treats every storyline/subject. I enjoyed almost every book I read and Tell Tale was no different. I particularly enjoyed the 100 word short stories and the three different scenarios he presented in the story – a holiday of a lifetime.

‘A Road to Damascus’ was a profound story and so was the ‘A Good Toss to Lose’. The way Archer portrays the characters in the story is wonderful and one can picture them in one’s mind. ‘A Gentleman and a Scholar’ made a unique read and ‘Who killed the mayor’ was intriguing, to say the least.

The beauty of Archer’s writing is the clarity and simplicity he brings to the board. And yet, the stories are captivating like a thriller or so. Needless to say, the flair and command over writing are excellent. I have enjoyed all of his books – except perhaps ‘First Among Equals’, which I read when I was too young to understand UK politics and the way it functions. Ironically, it was one of the books I took ages to finish and was relieved when I finally read the last pages. (I don’t remember the story well and so, I might re-read it one of these days). 

The Essential Collection For Young Readers – Ruskin Bond

I love to read Ruskin Bond. He is an amazing storyteller and I absolutely enjoy reading his stories. That’s why I re-read this book now. It has a lot of stories – The Room of Many Colours, Last Tonga Ride, The Girl on the Train, Coming Home to Dehra, Four Feathers, Blue Umbrella and many more. It fills a certain degree of nostalgia in the reader.

Again, the language and premises are as simple as they can be. The characters are portrayed vividly and the story is told in such an endearing fashion that the reader feels one with it all. Also, the agony of losing the only parent who cared for you, the pain of losing friends, and such things never fail to touch you deeply. Your heart aches for the little boy…

I particularly love the way he writes about the nature around him and also about the people in and around Dehra. A delightful read without any doubt. Ruskin Bond is one of the few writers even the children can read and enjoy. His language is simple and easy to understand. More importantly, it connects you with the story and the storyteller.  If you have a child at home that you wish to initiate into reading, gift a few books by Ruskin Bond. It is highly likely he/she would be hooked.

That’s more or less what I read this week. Apart from finishing the Dead Man’s Shoes and progressing very slowly through Ivory Throne, I haven’t read much. I hope to start Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer sometime this week and finish it soon as well.

So, that’s all from me folks… until next time… enjoy reading! 

Image courtesy: Google 

Monday, February 3, 2020

Books I read in 2020 #4

Books I read in 2020

Review of Week 4 ending on 29/1/2020


This week saw me reading lesser than the past two weeks.

The Ivory Throne - Chronicles of the House of Travancore – Manu S Pillai

I had heard great reviews of the book from many corners. It was on my wish list for a long time but could manage to find a copy only now. I knew it was going to be a long read because reading non-fiction is always time-consuming for me.  

I have managed to read only about 20% of the book in the past week because of the nature of the topics. I absolutely loved reading the history of Travancore, of which, I must confess, my knowledge is very poor. The book helped me understand the Kerala society of the earlier times better and I hope that by the time I finish the book, I will be better informed.

The author has taken a lot of effort to research and validate his writings and it shows in the writing. As far as I know, I don’t think there are many books on Kerala history with such an in-depth portrayal of people and events. Although it is too early to say, I think all the characters are portrayed as they are and without any favour or opposition.

I have often wondered what would be the state of the world if we lived in a matrilineal society instead of a patriarchal one… I got a glimpse of it while reading about the Ranis and their reign.

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies – J K Rowling

It must have been almost twenty years since I read Harry Potter for the first time. Since then, I have re-read the books, seen the movies many times and been fascinated by what I saw and read. I watched some of J K Rowling’s interviews too. In those interviews, she mentioned how she developed each character with their own backstories.

So, it was interesting to read about the other sides of the normally impassive ‘Prof. McGonagall’, Remus ‘Moony’ Lupin, ‘dramatic’ Sybil Trelawney and ‘reckless’ Silvanus Kettleburn.  

Although the Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies was published some time ago, I read it only now. I loved reading this short book and hope to read the remaining books in the series in the days to come.

This certainly was a quick and light read, and it was a welcome change from reading the Ivory throne.


A Dead Man's Shoes: and Other Strange Tales - C.J. Wright

I had downloaded this book on kindle thinking it was a detective story or something like that. Instead, I found it was all spooky stories. It dealt with mind, spirit and all the supernatural stuff.
I can’t say I particularly enjoyed reading them. But as a book that offered an entirely different subject, the book was a welcome change. I haven’t finished it yet though. 

Of the 13 stories, I liked the first, A Dead Man's Shoes and Lay Me Down To Sleep better. The story Love Bite reminded me of Dracula, although there is nothing similar in the content other than the vampire.

I think I have two more stories left in the book, which I might finish at leisure.

So, that’s it for the week. I don’t think I have read as much as I liked. Still, I am happy that I have been able to keep the wheel running… I paid a quick visit to the library and have borrowed two titles by Jeffrey Archer, who is one of my favourite authors. I look forward to reading Head you win in the coming days. The other book, Tell tale is a collection of short stories and I have finished a couple of the stories by now. More on will follow in a detailed review.

So, that’s all folks… I hope you all are reading loads of books and enjoying them. Until next time, keep reading!!!