Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Books I read in October …


1. Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly


It has been quite some time since I read a Matthew Reilly. So as soon as I got my hands on a MR novel, I scheduled it up next. Scarecrow is a Schofield series novel not a Jack West Jr. one. Scarecrow novels are action packed adventure with modern technology weaponry. No myths or legends here. No ancient sites & unbelievable mythological stories here. There are secrets but not of the ancient types. The two characters have different genres although both thrive on nail-biting thrill. Having the expectations set right is important or else there is disappointment even if the book is good.


I have read Ice Station & Area 7 from the Scarecrow series and it was like a reading an action sequence out of a movie. I expected Scarecrow to be nothing but pure unadulterated action. It only turned out better.


The action was not only fast paced but uninterrupted. MR puts tight deadlines / timelines to his stories and a lot of action is packed within the confines of those tight timelines. In this novel in particular, action is seemingly pouring from all directions with a host of adversaries who are after Schofield's head. Literally.


I am a satisfied soul after reading MR novels. As with the earlier ones, this one was an unputdownable and I completed the whole of 500+ page novel in 3 days flat.


2. Hell Island by Matthew Reilly


I usually do not read from the same author twice in the same month BUT Scarecrow got completed in the middle of the week while I was in Pune and I did not have any other book at hand except MR's Hell Island. Well, I had to read something :)  


Hell Island was small as compared to MR's other books which are indeed huge. At about 80 pages, it is classified as a novella rather than a novel and I actually completed it in a single day.


This is again was a Schofield novel. A peculiar thing about this novel is the adversary Schofield is up against. The adversary is a 500 strong mob of well trained non-tiring combat-ready technology-aided deadly-weapons bearing APES. Yes, apes and not men or soldiers or mercenaries'. Apes


---- After completing this; I went through 1.5 days of time, when I had time to read but no book to read. The only week I travel to Pune with one book is the week when I complete the book ahead of schedule and left with time but nothing to read. :( Irony of Life!


3. If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern


An interesting storyline and very interesting insights into certain relationships, facts of life and how we tend to forget life itself and 'waste' it by overly concentrating on supporting things like job, responsibilities etc. Not to say those are not important. But they are not life either. They are there to enhance life and not take the fun out of it which eventually happens in practical reality. Chasing and trying to control money, career, responsibilities, relationships etc leads us into a trap where we just keep on doing the chasing bit losing sight of why we were chasing them in the first place. 


In some ways it also tells u that there are friends around. All you need to do is trust them and discover them. We adults have so many mental barriers and guards around us; not allowing anyone to touch us. These friends are in effect not visible to us, not because they are invisible but simply because we choose to ignore them.


This one got completed in 2 days (the only thing being that the day 1 and day 2 had about a week in between when I could not touch the book at all. I read 75% of the book on day 1 and remaining on day 2)


 4. Terror on the Titanic: A Morning Agency Adventure by Samit Basu


Time for some Indian fiction. DORK was indeed a good one. So was Meluha. Feluda is lined up for next year and I did try my hand at Ruskin Bond too. The premise of this Samit Basu book seemed pretty interesting and so I thought about trying it. Also, I saw the ad of another Samit Basu book which also seems to have a pretty interesting premise.


Found this novel a bit stranger with aliens and creatures. I like the idea of putting an adventure storyline with the backdrop of Titanic's maiden (and only) voyage. Well, as I read the book, I realized that Titanic was not just a backdrop. The movie took inspiration or built on various events and characters from the Hollywood movie 'Titanic' … be it the couple standing at the deck with arms outstretched or the painting of the girl wearing 'only' a piece of jewellery or the  girl from the first class visiting the lower third class decks for a 'dance session' which she enjoys. The book kept using the events from the movie and built the story around them with a touch of alien creatures and the two Morningstar agents.


I haven't really become a fan of the book or the author though. The characters neither had a strong personality nor did the Morningstar agency. I could not comprehend its purposenor the story had the gripping effect on me. Of course, I could always blame the Ludlums and the Matthew Reilleys of the world who have set the bar high for thrillers. Although not a fan, I am still looking forward to reading 'Turbulence' by Samit Basu since it has an interesting premise and I would like to see how he treats the subject. Maybe after that I will decide whether to continue reading his books or not.


5. Roads to Mussoorie by Ruskin Bond


Well… Well … Well … I picked it up finally. Happy to have read 4 books already this month, I decided to give RB a shot. And surprisingly I wasn't really disappointed. Of course, I am not really impressed either and may not pick up a RB unless my friend really pushes me to read one.

This one again read like a collection of memories put together. An interesting read.

My friend loves nature and goes hiking almost every year and RB books kindle her love for nature with the descriptions of nature and its bounties. They fail to do a similar kindling in me for 2 simple reasons. I am not really a nature buff (although I do love it) and more important, I don't really have a photographic memory and neither do I have a photographic imagination.

I can create fantasy worlds in my mind and I don't trouble creating cities and action sequences in my mind's eye. But I fail miserably when it comes to imagining nature , the riot of colors of flowers and leaves in full bloom, the soft cool breeze and the almost heavenly feeling it can instill within. I fail to do this imagination stuff and hence I am unable to enjoy literature which describes nature; hence, my inability to enjoy Ruskin Bond.
Well … Novembers gonna be a busy month. Relocation to Dubai/Sharjah and beginning of the project (2 projects actually – One I am on and the other I am supposed to supervise as a Change Mgmt Consultant). Lets see how do I score on the last 2 months of the year. A year which has been exceptionally good as far reading is concerned (and other wise too)

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