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Sunday, January 08, 2012

December Reading - Part 2

Continued from December Reading … Part 1
 

Well, taking the December Reading post further, as the end of the year 2011 came near; I read some of the best of my 2011 reading along with my favorite. I had read DORK and Immortals of Meluha last year and had also read about these being trilogies with sequels to be expected in late 2011. The wait was over and I could get my hands on their sequels only by December.

 

17. 7 Secrets of Shiva by Devdutt Pattanaik

This one is a very interesting book that I have reviewed independently in a separate blog post. I received this book for review from BlogAdda as part of their book review program. I had heard about the author from my best friend and was planning to pick up some of his books from my friend and start reading them in 2012.

It was interesting to read a book with pictures; after a long long time. This book was half text and half pictures with every left hand side page of the book filled with pictures. That would be almost 100 pages of pictures.

The book attempts to explain the symbolism of Shiva and what the concept of Shiva represents.

 

18. Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A lot of the details from this story were pretty strongly etched in my weak memory. The hound, its glowing mouth (thanks to the illustrated versions of the children's version I read in school days), the missing shoe (not shoes) and of course an adversary who challenges and amuses Sherlock Holmes by turning the tables on to him in an almost funny way … something which made Sherlock have a hearty laugh and then regard the adversary as worthy one

The adversary was keeping a watch on someone and following them when Sherlock 'almost' caught him. Sherlock then traced the cab and the cab-man and enquired about the passenger only to be told that the passenger had actually mentioned his own name to the cab man … it was Sherlock Holmes. The adversary had sent out a strong message to Sherlock by doing this.

The story provides plenty of opportunities for Sherlock to use his deductive powers and there is a time at the beginning of the case where he has three threads of clues to follow and ALL of them turn out to be dead ends!! Also for a change, Sherlock is busy with other cases so he sends Watson alone along with the client; or does he?

Nature plays a spoilsport in the story when a heavy fog engulfs everyone in the climax putting Sherlock's client to a fatal risk. The 'villain' is ultimately not caught but is presumed to be dead; his death assumed to be caused by nature.

 

21. God save the DORK by Sidin Vadukut

I had read DORK last year and had loved it. That's why when I got the pre-order opportunity; I did it without thinking twice. But the actual reading of the book got delayed. The second book of this series lives up to its reputation

It has a 'gripping' story right from the start and it holds you in suspense of a combination of 'What happens Next' and 'What really happened' … the author choosing to tell some and hide some. I would consider Sidin a very good story teller who holds the reader's attention completely.

He writes in a way that if possible, I would indeed read the whole book in a single non-stop sitting. I would give that kind of a compliment to only to a Matthew Reilly book so you can imagine how much I am impressed by Sidin's DORK series.

What MR does for Action-Adventure; Sidin does for humour. Gripping (in a humorous way) storyline and writing full of suspense and edge of the seat anticipation; and that too on every page, throughout the novel. J

 

20. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A client arrives at Sherlock's home and even before he begins to narrate his problem, Police enters the room and want to question him. A murder has been committed; say the police BUT the client has not come in for seeking Sherlock's help in murder investigation.

He simply came to inform Sherlock about a new friend if his who invited him to his home and then disappeared in the morning with all staff and sundry of his house. A very interesting problem which upon Sherlock's investigation leads to a complex plot of murder and betrayal

There were a few things in this story which kind of struck strange to me. There is a dead body found with its HEAD/Face completely smashed out; which is usually done in cases when you don't want the dead body to be identified and often done to actually give an impression that a certain person is dead whereas the person is hale and hearty and has escaped putting his identification things on the dead body and smashing his face to avoid recognition. THAT was not the case in this story. Another feature was that there was a dead bird found in the kitchen of the house and there is a giant of a man in the story, both seemingly have no great specific purpose. The dead bird is but an indication of a ritual and the giant of a man is just an aide.

I was so sure these things would form an intricate part of the mystery but they did not. WHY?

Did Canon Doyle plug these into the story with some intention and then simply wrapped up the story without directly involving them (since that might have made this one also into a novella rather than a short story) or was it intentionally done to make us wonder and then provide an anti-climactic end.

 

19. The Secret of the Nagas by Amish Tripathi

This has been a long awaited one. The sequel to 'Meluha'

Expectation from Amish Tripathi was anyway high because of Meluha and I would say he did not disappoint. The Secret of the Nagas is a worthy sequel and now makes us yearn even more for the third and last part of the trilogy.

Amish can weave an excellent story with characters from mythology. The story has a fair share of twists and turns with plenty of action and thrill. There is a tendency for the reader to compare the story with the mythology and that is where things get confusing at times; we trying to correlate the mythology to the story.

If you really want to enjoy reading Meluha series, you have to take the story independently of the mythology and the ideology of Shiva as a God. When you finish, you are free to correlate and connect the dots. You will probably enjoy it that way rather than get confused.

One thing which did confuse me was the story has Lord Rudra as a GOD or another human like figure who rose to godliness. We know that Rudra is one of the names of Shiva and they are but one entity, so how come we have Rudra as a God in the story and Shiva as a mortal. Confusing

Reading two books on Shiva within a span of 20 days and both being so much diverse in their ideology and concept was a pretty unique experience. While Devdutt Pattanaik attempts to explain the symbolism behind every aspect of Shiva; Amish Tripathi makes Shiva a mortal human who rose to god like stature by his actions and virtues. It is interesting to read both as one explains and other fictionalizes.

 

24. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Cardboard Box by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A parcel is received by an old lady leading a peaceful life. It has 2 human ears.

Looks like a joke and a mild harassment by an old tenant of hers but turns out to be something else all together. Sherlock does not ignore any clue that he can find and deductions are made which are far beyond the obvious (but seem so logically simple when explained).

He deduces a lot about the dead people by simply looking at the ears and then some more about the whole mystery by his observation of the old lady and some photographs in her room. Such is the expertise of Sherlock !!  

 

25. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Dancing Devil by William Arden

Random things begin to get stolen which would seem to have no perceived value to a thief and this itself is an interesting and intriguing fact that draws the attention of Jupiter who decides to investigates and manages to find a connection between the seemingly unrelated thefts … going to the extent of laying a trap for the thief.

The plot involved a small priceless statue and a larger than life real alive replica of the same who keeps confronting the trio and frightening them. The thief turns out to be a most unexpected fellow who is kind of never suspected by the trio while they keep their focus on the usual suspects. In the end, it turns out that the culprit was actually 'toying' with the trio and 'using' them as a means to an end; but makes some small mistakes leading to the discovery of his plot.

 

26. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Red Circle by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

There is a mystery close at hand in this story with the 'victim' being Sherlock's own landlady who has a mysterious tenant she has seen only once and who wishes to remain in his room without showing his face or coming out for what so ever reason.

Sherlock takes interest out of his kindness and also just for his own education (no client here who would pay his fee) and again he exercises his logical mind to draw out several deductions from tiny clues.

 

27. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Dying Detective by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This is one story where I remembered practically every detail of the story. They were kind of etched in my memory from my school days. Don't know why but that's how it was.

Sherlock is dying and he seeks help from a particular person who is not a doctor but someone who has knowledge of the disease. He even insults Dr. Watsons skill and capability in the story.

The story is NOT about deductions … its about an entirely different skill of Sherlock which we haven't seen much. It's a remarkable story and special for me since it is somehow permanently etched in my memory.

 

The Sherlock Holmes stories were the last to be read in 2011 and the one before them were the sequels of DORK and Shiva trilogy … What a fantastic way to end the year … !!

 

Series Completion Score (as of 31st Dec 2011):  

Feluda                         35 out of 35 – FINISH*

Three Investigators     25 out of 35

Sherlock Holmes         43 out of 56

Total                           103 out of 126

* I have read only 34 out of 35 Feluda stories and still claim to FINISH the series since the pages of one of the stories are not in proper order and some of them are missing. So I can't read that story and hence consider that as 'read'.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the nice review man!

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Sidin

    The book was really awesome buddy.

    BTW ... I wanted to talk to you about something. Tried leaving a comment on Twitter but i guess the msg was lost on the wall.

    How do we talk ... just need about 2 minutes.

    Check out www.arbitmba.com

    You can catch me on hemantkumarjain@gmail.com or we could catch on mobile.

    ReplyDelete