Wednesday, November 07, 2012

October Reading – Part 4


Continued from previous post …


23. ACD Shorts: The Lost Special by Arthur Conan Doyle

How does one make an entire train disappear? No, we are not talking illusionists or magicians here. We are talking of a train disappearing off the tracks while in motion and police are unable to trace it for years. It is only the confessions of the man who was behind the disappearance that solves the mystery.


24. PKD Shorts: The Chromium Fence by Philip K Dick

In future earth, people are divided on the basis of habits and preferences. The population divided between naturalists and purists. One follows the image of humans created by the marketing of the cosmetic companies. People have to choose allegiance to one of the sides and the fence sitters are scorned upon by either side. Elections are held and one side wins. The other side is forced to comply with the rules laid by the winning side.

A very interesting perspective on how humans get divided over trivial. In the present age people are differentiated and discriminated based on country of origin, color of skin and religion. The story talks about a time when people might get discriminated on body odor, sweat and body hair. Scary !!


25. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon is a book by George Samuel Clason which dispenses financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. Through their experiences in business and managing household finance, the characters in the parables learn simple lessons in financial wisdom. Originally, a series of separate informational pamphlets distributed by banks and insurance companies, the pamphlets were bound together and published in book form in 1926 (source: Wikipedia)


26. PKD Shorts: War Veteran by Philip K Dick

A very interesting story where an old man finds himself in an environment which he believes is unreal and fake. He has memories of the earth being destroyed and when he finds himself in an earth city; he thinks man has just recreated the city for the handful of the survivors (including the sun and moon in the fake sky).

This perplexes other people around who 'know' that they are living in the real world and the earth was not destroyed. The old man's army credentials don't check out and his serial number has not yet been assigned. Conclusion: This old man has accidently arrived from the future where Earth has been destroyed as a result of a war which earth people engage in and lose.

The mysteries don't end here. But this is only the tip of an iceberg … an intricate plot !!


27-35. Short Story Collection: Love, Peace and Happiness by Rituraj Verma

I have written earlier about how I have fallen in love with short stories (all over again) in the past 2 years with the number of short stories that I read every month constantly increasing. So when Rituraj Verma dropped me an email with a request to review his short story collection, I did not have to think twice before replying in a 'Yes'.

It is a nice collection overall; with the novel concept of alternate endings available on the internet for readers to get more value out of the book. If the reader is not satisfied by the ending in the book or the web, they can suggest their own. Frankly, I had my expectations up and maybe that was why I was disappointed once again. There was hardly any alternative ending that I liked and I am too lazy to write my own and send it to the author.

Since it is a collection of short stories, even the review of the content gets split - some were good, some ok'ish while some did not make any impact on me.

Overall, the book is a nice read. It is emotional. You feel for the characters. You identify with them and often find yourselves wondering if it was you in the story. I would recommend this book to anyone who is open enough to the new ideologies of relationships and is interested in emotional stuff which touches your heart.
Full review posted last month


Series Completion Score: (as of 31st Oct 2012)

The Three Investigators          42 out of 43     Almost Completed     

Sherlock: Exploits                    12 out of 12     Completed

Sherlock: Misadventures        33 out of 33     Completed     

Total                                       87 out of 88


Note: The scores above have reached their completion point (almost).  The original Three Investigator series as well as both the Sherlock Holmes series (Exploits and Misadventures) have been completed this month. This block of score will not appear for next few months … till Jan 2013 when I pick up a new series which needs tracking like the ones above (and which I propose to read over a period of several months)

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