Saturday, December 10, 2011

November Reading - Part 1


A couple of trips to Pune and also a trip to Dubai for 2 week in this month; meant that I had an increase in Travel time which boosts my reading. Reading score for this month's is a fabulous 13 !!

Started off with regulars - Sherlock Holmes and Three Investigators and also picked up a novel by James Patterson.

BUT the highlight of the month was the 'Return of Feluda' .. I read a total of 8 Feluda Stories to break of jinx of 'no Feluda' since several months ... it was like a Feluda Marathon at the end of the month.

Just FYI - November Reading post is in 2 parts. First part will talk about non-Feluda reading whereas the part 2 will focus on entirely Feluda reads.


1. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Six Napoleons by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The story has a culprit who goes about breaking (or to put it in a better word … smashing) plaster busts of the great Napoleon. And in due course, even commit a murder. Sherlock is able to see what no one else does and he finds the culprit as well as reaches the bottom of the mystery buried deep inside the busts.

I have often drawn parallels between Sherlock Holmes stories and the ones of the Three Investigators … here is another example. Even in 3I, there was a story where plaster busts were involved and their smashing was an integral part of the story.

More Interesting Parallels … There are stories in both series where tunnels are dug across the street from one house to another building holding a treasure / bank. Both have dealt with cases of the dog which did not bark and hence providing the most significant clue to the mystery at hand.


2. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Three Students by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This story had 2 specialties; one related to Sherlock and the other related to Me.  

Sherlock is involved to mediate in a case that cannot be made public. It involves a reputed university and 3 of its students. A 'student level crime' is committed and the culprit needs to be caught over-night. Sherlock nails the culprit without even meeting him and gains a confession out of him as well as from his unwilling confederate. The story displays Sherlock's unerring line of reason based on his acute observations. 

Now coming to Me. It was special for me because in spite of my poor memory, I remembered almost exactly all the details of the story (mind you … all the details). Considering the fact that I would have read the story at least 15-20 years ago; it is nothing less than a miracle for me that I remember all the details.


3. The Three Investigators & the Secret of the Haunted MIrror by M V Carrey

This one was a pretty interesting one where a mirror (actually the Mirror Frame) becomes the centre of a mystery which leads to first a buyer for the mirror followed by a thief and then of course the ghost of a dead magician appearing in the mirror. This story then turns from mysterious to criminal and a boy is kidnapped !! The mystery having its roots in the tale of a famous magician from one country and the tale of a political upheaval in another; with the current mystery's resolution having a country's political future at stake !! WOAH !!!

And as with all stories … all's well that ends well !!


4. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Often while reading, we assume the meaning of the words we don't understand. When I read the title of the story and started reading it; I assumed that the 'golder pince-nez' was probably a piece of jewellery with a precious stone. As the story progressed and Sherlock applied his methods; i realised that the pince-nez is actually a pair of spectacles with the side pieces missing. They are placed/pinched on the nose and you might have seen them in some period fims showing british era of 1800/1900's !!!

The key highlight of the story was Sherlock giving the physical description of a lady merely by looking at her 'pince-nez'. Pretty amazing!! The spectacles provide him with further deductions which lead him to catch the culprit in an almost magical fashion … which seems pretty logical once he has explained it (but magical otherwise J)

The pince-nez incident made me realize how many times I might have misunderstood some words /objects etc during stories and how I would have visualized this completely differently. For example; in a famous novel series, I had assumed a character to be female only to realize that it was a male character when a movie was made on the novel stories. I read some part of the book again trying to figure out how I could have made such a blunder. Wasn't that character ever referred to as he/she in the story … was it always by his/her name??? Strange !!


5. Witch & Wizard by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet

Picked this one out of the blue and it turned out to a nice light read

As usual, we have kids who have magical powers they don't know about and begin to discover. The brother sister duo are arrested by the 'police' and they are thrown into a 'hospital' from where they escape and end up in shadowland - a world of spirits and 'half-lights' - and after escaping from there … live in a large mall-like departmental store along with hundreds of other kids who are 'wanted' by the 'N.O.' … the New Order, which wants to control the world.

And then there are Prophecies … in a world of magic, wizards and witches, how can a story not have a prophecy J This one has not one or two but several; more than half a dozen.

It is written well and I liked it. There was a sort of Robert Ludlum quality to it. Several anti-climactic moments … where a sentiment is expressed in a very short sentence; which serves as a pause … a time where is push your head back and look up from the words and process what you just read and felt (yes, felt) often accompanied with a smile on your face. I liked Robert Ludlum writing for their thrill factor as well as the writing style where he would often end a scene with a few words which would punctuate your reading flow and give u a chance to smile and absorb what you had read.

For some serious readers, this novel might seem kid-stuff and childish … nevertheless ... I enjoyed it !!

BUT … the story ended abruptly. This looks like it might just end up being a looong series (I guess trilogies will go out of fashion after the runaway success of the likes of Harry Potter). This series does have potential to go into more than a trilogy. I have found the further episode to the story and will probably read it next month.

Well … part one ends here. Will talk about the 8 Feluda stories that I read in the next blog post


Series Completion Score (as of 25th Nov 2011):  

Three Investigators     21 out of 35

Feluda                         19 out of 35

Sherlock Holmes         38 out of 56

Total                           78 out of 126

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