Sunday, December 02, 2012

November Reading – Part 1

After 2 months of Indian Author dominance, November gets one novel by a foreign author in the form of the new Sherlock Holmes novel; while the Indian dominance continues with 3 novels coming in for review. The novels of the month were 'The Bankster' by Ravi Subramanian and 'The Edge of Machete' by Abhisar Sharma; both received for review from BlogAdda. I also received the 500+ page novel 'Collision of Dimensions' by M V Ravi Shanker directly from the Publisher. Last but not the least was the new Sherlock Novel – the House of Silk.
I also read (or let us say 'tried to read but eventually abandoned') a short novel by Philip K Dick - 'Radio Free Albemuth'.
With 4 novels this month (which included the 500+ pages one too), the short stories got less time and hence their count took a hit this month as compared to previous months. Amongst the short story regulars I read 5 by Philip K. Dick and 5 by Arthur Conan Doyle giving a short story count of 10.
New authors this month: Al the novels that I read this month were by new authors; Ravi Subramanian, M V Ravi Shanker, Abhisar Sharma and Anthony Horowitz. The Indian dominance was penetrated by Anthony Horowitz (with help from Sherlock Holmes of course)
This month's reading score – 15 … literally half of what I have scored in past few months. As explained earlier, this is the result of reading 4 novels which ate into the time for short stories.

1. Novel: The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian
This month from's Book Review Program is the novel 'The Bankster' by Ravi Subramanian. Ravi has been in my sights for some time but I saw mixed reviews for his books and somehow did not pick up any of his works till date. Blog Adda's Book Review program gave me the opportunity and now I can safely order his past works.  
The novel starts out with a bang … CIA, arms pilferage to terrorists, blood diamonds … and then the author then begins to introduce different characters of a bank in Mumbai and the story seems to describe the target-meeting-frenzy, office politics, extra marital affairs and greed of individuals and the conflicts of those who don't fall in line with the others. A parallel track about a nuclear power plant and protest against its commissioning is also there; with the involvement of politicians and powerful people. The bang at the start is forgotten. And then a person dies. And then another murder(s) and then another one and the story picks up pace … with the active involvement of a new character who turns out to become the protagonist of the story (although appearing half way thro' the novel)
After a slow and steady first half … the novel turns pacy and racy in the second half becoming almost an unputdownable. The story converges in the end and all the loose ends are tied together. Several of the small unimportant details become suddenly significant and play an important role in typing them up together. The climax is really good and the suspense is fantastic. This could have been a script of a bollywood suspense movie and I wish someone picks up this book to convert it into a movie.
Full review posted last month.

2. ACD Shorts: The Beetle Hunter by Arthur Conan Doyle

A young medical man interested in beetles and hard on his times (financially) comes across a peculiar classified in the paper. Someone wishes to have the assistance of a medical man with interest in beetles and with a very good strong physique. Our protagonist qualifies on all counts and is equally intrigued by the requirements.
The story is about his talents and physical features are put to good use by his employer who has a strange problem at hand.  

3. PKD Shorts: Stability by Philip K Dick

The human race is 'progressing' at a rapid rate and we often wonder what the limits to progress and technological advancements are? So imagine the day when human race has reached the zenith of advancement and it is widely accepted and formally announced that human race will not progress further? No moving forward … and of course it cannot be allowed that we move backward … so what happens then, considering the fact that we associate human life to forward movement in life?
Cut to another thought … what if you are suddenly called by the 'Inventions and Patents' department and informed that your invention has been rejected? What if you never invented anything at all? What if the invention in question is a …. Time Machine
Now, put the two thoughts together. You have no idea that you have invented a time machine which has been rejected by the governing bodies who are guarding the world against any signs of progress !!!   

4. PKD Short Novel: Radio Free Albemuth by Philip K Dick <abandoned>

The novel has PKD playing himself with a protagonist whose life he is following. At times, one wonders if PKD is describing real events from his own life. Like other PKD novels, this one was hard to swallow and read. And the interesting thing is that 'this' is discussed in the novel in a conversation between the protagonist and PKD where the protagonist is talking about the 'weird' writings of PKD which are difficult to fathom for ordinary people.
I scraped through half of the novel but could no further as nothing was making sense to me. So this becomes the second of PKD novel that I abandon midway.
This is an interesting contrast between the PKD short stories and novels. While I love his short stories, I am beginning to feel that the novels are not really something I would want to read. I guess, I will read another one of his novels and then continue with his short stories only.

To Be Continued …

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