Archive for May, 2010

Gone, But Not Forgotten

One fine day I decided that I was bored and would pick up the first book I would come across. And hence I ended up with ‘Gone, But Not Forgotten’ by Phillip Margolin.

Those who are familiar with Margolin’s work would know that he specializes in legal thrillers, half the time involving serial killers. This book, not surprisingly, is of the same genre.

The story is set in Portland and follows Elizabeth Tannenbaum, a criminal lawyer who had recently become famous as a feminist advocate. The world turns upside down after she is hired by multi-millionaire businessman Martin Darius. Young and wealthy socialites are being murdered and to nail the murderer, Tannenbaum has to dig into her client’s horrific past.

Well, to say the truth, I was hoping for some detective job in the book. There was none. There was no clue finding, elementary deducting. Everything was done by interrogation and pulling out theories from the air. Oh, well. Was there any mystery? If the author was trying to prevent the reader from guessing the killer, then CONGRATULATIONS! He succeeded, by introducing the killer’s character when the book is nearly over….. sorry for the spoiler, I had to say this.

Nevertheless, coming to the pros. The book has a decent narration, jumping between Hunter’s Point in the past and Portland in the present. That, and a good pace. For all its shortcomings, it never drags anywhere. That would explain how I finished this book in one sitting.

OVERALL, I give this book 2.5/5. Sorry Mr.Margolin, I prefer your other books. Read this only if you have nothing else. As far as this book is concerned, its gone and forgotten.


Mistborn: The Final Empire

This book was suggested to me by a good friend of mine, though, at first, I was reluctant since fantasy genre had nearly always let me down ( just so everyone knows, for me Tolkien is no longer “fantasy”, its mythology, epic) . But thanks to his good judgment, I did not miss a fantastic story.

The book is set in a dystopian fantasy world ruled by an empire called ‘the Final Empire’ presided over by a tyrant god known only as The Lord Ruler. The population is divided into Nobles and skaa. Needless to mention, the Noble minority are filthy rich, while the majority skaa are a poor and oppressed lot. Vin, a half-skaa street urchin, is chosen by Kelsier, a powerful and charismatic Mistborn, to be his disciple. (Mistborns are people who are gifted with wide ranging allomantic powers. What is allomancy? READ the book.)

Kelsier and his crew seek to overthrow one who has ruled the Final Empire like a God for hundreds of years in what seems like a bloody and impossible revolution. Vin has to struggle against her inner turmoil while fighting Nobles, Lord Ruler’s minions, Kelsier’s megalomania and even her own feeling’s for a handsome nobleman.

The book near entirely follows Vin in third person, and we come to know more and more about the world from her perspective. This is why childish notion of good and evil, which is strong at first, soon starts getting blurred as the story progresses. The author has paid a decent amount of space for character development. Resulting in rounded characters and this is about one of the things that I like most about the book. In nearly all of the fantasy books that I had read so far, there is a very sharp distinction between good and evil. This book is a raging debate on which is preferable, order and suppression or anarchy and freedom. The book is breathlessly paced which may not appeal to all, but I felt that it suited the story well.

The concept of magic in the book is ingenious and not some stupid harry potter-ish wand waving. Kudos to the author for thinking up such an amazing concept.

Moreover, the book is incomplete as far as the bigger story is concerned, and is followed up nicely by its sequels. Many questions are answered in the sequels so if you can’t understand something, hold your horses!

OVERALL, I give it a 4.5/5. It’s a gem of a fantasy novel and a must read. Don’t miss it. All hail Brandon Sanderson!

P.S. : don’t miss the beautiful cover design by Jon Foster.

Marilyn Monroe. Unseen Archives by Marie Clayton

A lady globally accepted to be a legend, a lady globally admired yet wrongly stereotyped as a ‘dumb blond’, yes, MARILYN MONROE was a lot of things but never a dumb blond. This book is a reliable window to the real character and the complex and beautiful persona of Norma Jeane Mortenson turned sex symbol  and the adorable actor MARILYN MONROE (1926-1962).

Most of us have heard the name and have undeniably seen pictures of her more than once in our lives, but how many of us have had the courtesy to look beyond the stereotype description that the world came up for probably the worlds most intrinsically photogenic, commercially successful, and arguably one of the best multi-talented actors of all time. This book is a great place to start knowing the beautiful person and even more wonderful work of art turned artist, the one and only MARILYN MONROE.

The book is a compilation of photos that stretch far from the usual on screen stills and the scantly clad pics of the beautiful lady. It is an extensively researched and chronologically categorized archive of photographs that describe the complex, glamorous, extremely short and tumultuous life of the legend. It takes great pain about being correct and sympathetic about the unfortunate personal life that Marilyn Monroe lived and gives great focus on her short and spectacular career as a renowned Hollywood Star in every sense of the phrase.

It is a book that cannot be outmatched in any way for the beauty of the subject matter it covers. Every page of the book is thing of beauty by virtue of focusing on putting a moment of the life of arguably the most beautiful female body ever to walk the surface of the earth into perspective of the reader. Hence a true collectors item in every sense of the word. (Small and affordable too at under the Rs 300/- mark)

I would be correct in saying that this photo biography of MARILYN MONROE focuses on bringing out that side of the ‘dumb blond’, that side that encompasses the disturbing childhood, the lady in her that could never be loved more, all the failed marriages, all the male characters in her life that have tried and at times succeeded in taking advantage of her, the inherent sense of insecurity she felt, and a very aspiring and hard working artist who has always excelled and constantly tried to perfect her mastery in the craft that slowly but steadily consumed her. I can be sure that after going through this book, no one will feel easy hearing someone call this spectacular lady a ‘dumb blond’.

“Dogs never bite me, just humans”… Marilyn Monroe

The Painter Of Signs

This is my first attempt at a book review. I have decided to start with one of my all time favourite author R. K. Narayan’s bittersweet tale of two lovers set in Malgudi, a town like any other in India, but unique in its own beautiful way.

The Painter of Signs is about Raman, a signboard painter, a professional in the true sense of the word. He is a rationalist who has an air of aestheticism about him. Narayan portrays Raman’s struggle to try to make the people around him see his point of view by quizzical dialogs  which Raman conducts with himself throughout the book. Raman lives with his traditional aunt, whose only pleasures in life, it would seem, was tending to Raman’s needs, reminiscing about her past and taking up the name of God.

A delightful read...

Enter Daisy. A highly independent and attractive young woman, who believes in “Women Power” and has a sole aim of reducing the growth rate of the Indian Population. She enlists Raman’s help for painting signs and slogans all across the surrounding villages and thus begins one of the greatest love stories of all time or wait is it??

As he has done time and again, Narayan, has touched upon a variety of subjects through his characters and has managed to give life to even the most inanimate of things through his story-telling techniques. The beauty of this and all of Narayan’s works lies in the fact that anybody, from a 10-year-old to an 80-year-old, can read them, feel contented and laugh at his humor.

So, grab a copy of The Painter of Signs, to know more about Raman, Daisy and their signboards.

The What! Why! When! etc…

This little world isolated in a cold corner of the universe kept warm by a dying sun has seen a lot of books down the ages. Some of them got engraved right into our hearts… some of them made us realise our line of thought was actually a complete circle ( a ZERO)… but then.. there were ‘bestsellers’ which could have been avoided by a good teacher.. and those books whose cover pages were too far apart.

So a  few of us at the National Institute of technology who make up this small group of  people with appetite for fun start this initiative called BOOK LOVERS FORUM  which is a library with the warning board ” thank you for NOT  keeping quiet”. Be as loud as you can about a book that you love and be even louder when it comes to criticizing one you found a waste of time. Oh yes! here we have the good books, the not so good books and “you call that a book ?” books too. because at book lovers forum we believe, a bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author’s soul.

But then we realized, some people’s laptops are too heavily placed on their laps that they live online more than they actually LIVE!. So the same above mentioned group of people open up this Cafe Quill for all the book lovers who stand up for the books they love and find even more fun in making fun of the books they don’t .

So, basically here you have a place to discuss anything and everything about books, the authors, especially the cute female ones and everything else.

Enjoy ! ! ! . . .