Thursday, September 06, 2012

August Reading – Part 2


Continued from previous post …


8. Non-Fiction: Putting the One Minute Manager to Work by Kenneth Blanchard

Just like FISH, I had read the 'One Minute Manager' almost a decade ago. This sequel to the famous book caught my attention at the company library when I went to return Fish Sticks.

The first book established the principles of One Minute Manager. This book (sequel) aims at laying down a set of principles which help operationalise the One Minute Manager principles and convert them into measurable performance. The book simplifies the philosophy of performance management.


9. ACD Shorts: Danger by Arthur Conan Doyle


This story has a history behind it which is narrated and mentioned in the preface of the book holding the collection of short stories. It talks about this story being a warning by ACD to his own government (Great Britain) who were ignoring a major threat to their country.

The story is about how a captain of a small country managed to bring down the British on their knees during war time by using tact rather than fire power. He focuses his attention on cutting off food supplies to Great Britain taking advantage of the fact that the only means of transport to Britain is by sea and most of their food supplies are imported.


10. PKD Shorts: Fair Game by Philip K Dick


I picked up a few collections of short stories by PKD which I will read over the coming months; besides reading at least one novella by PKD every month.

A professor is being watched; first by a huge eye (only an eye, no body) and then by a face suspended in mid-air (again, Huge). Discussions with colleagues leads to speculation that it might be a higher / superior god-like race which is seeking to fill some skill gap amongst them by watching / kidnapping the Professor (funny, isn't it?). The professor is eventually kidnapped by the higher beings and the professor is no longer scared or worried. He is in fact honored. But … the last paragraph of the story changes everything.


11. Three Investigators Novella : The Mystery of the Rogues' Reunion by Marc Brandel  

Readers familiar with the series know that Jupe played a plump baby in a TV serial when he was 3 years old and was called 'Baby Fatso' (a name he hates). Someone from Hollywood decides that in light of the recent repeat telecasts of this old TV show; they would like to bring together the original cast of the program.

Jupe is not interested but there is a chance to get back at his co-stars at the mistreatment he got from them during the show and so he agrees. Things don't really turn out to be that simple and some things are stolen while they are shooting. A Quiz contest with prize money of 20 grand also comes into picture and kidnapping also becomes part of the plot.

This story was not really great nor was it high on adventure or suspense. Not at par with the other adventures of the trio.


12. Sherlock Misadventures: The Adventure of the Norcross Riddle by August Derleth

Solar Pons and Parker (a parody of Sherlock Holmes and Watson) have a visitor who married a lady whose husband died under suspicious circumstances. The lady has begun to have visitors off late and she has begun to ask for huge sums of money from out visitor, her husband. The husband has complete trust in his wife and can't even think about questioning her devotion. Sherlock needs to handle this one delicately as he finds the true story about her ex-husband's death and the real cause of the latest set of problems.

Unlike the other stories read in this series till date, this one is a pretty serious one; reflecting the style of Conan Doyle and could even be passed off a Conan Doyle Story (ignoring the names – Solar Pons)


13. ACD Short Novel: The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

Besides the short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, I decided to pick up a Dr. Challenger novella. 

Dr. Challenger returns from an unbelievable trip and as expected, no one believes him since he is no able to produce any concrete evidence of the same. The narrator of the story gets involved along with another young man and an old man in a journey meant to verify the claims.

The journey is perilous to say the least and is filled with wonders and danger wrapped together. They discover pre-historic life on the inaccessible plateau with some surprising company which they had deemed impossible. How they arrive on the inaccessible plateau of the lost world and how they get out makes an interesting reading.

It is an adventurous tale of 4 individuals who shine through adversity. Dr. Challenger does not steal the show; Conan gives an equal opportunity for all the characters to shine through.


14. PKD Shorts: The Hanging Stranger by Philip K Dick

How do you react when you see a dead body hanging from a pole on the road? How do you feel and react when you are in a state of panic bcos of that dead body and no one else seems to be perturbed or remotely affected by it? When people around behave as if it is OK for the body to be there … how do you feel?

The protagonist of this story goes through the same. AND then discovers an alien race of human-insects invading his town. He has to escape. The identity of the hanging dead man comes as a realization … to the protagonist and to the reader. Questions are left unanswered in the end … but I guess that is yet another fun part of such stories. They keep you guessing and speculating even after the story has ended.


To Be Continued …

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