Monday, November 30, 2009

The Palace of Illusions

]The Palace of Illusions is a book I picked on a whim at Crossword but I must say haven't regretted buying it even once!Many a times after buying a book and reading it I have instantly repented buying the book.I have a long list of badly plotted,over the top,over preachy books that I have bought and not enjoyed!

In today's times a good marketing strategy can sell any book at ridiculous prices too!The book that comes into my mind right away is 'The Mistress of the Game' which must have sold lacs of copies just because it had Sidney Sheldon written boldly on the cover but is actually written by another author as a tribute to the deceased celebrated author.I don't even remember the name of the actual author who has actually written it.It was supposedly a sequel to Sidney Sheldon's bestseller 'The Master of the Game'.I am sure even Mr.Sheldon would be squirming in his grave.

Ok so now to get to the point this book The Palace of Illusions has been written by Chitra Banerjee Divakurni and it is a guaranteed one sitting read.The story is about Paanchali (aka Draupadi) and the legendary Mahabharat through her eyes.What is unique about this book is that it is the first time that a book based on the great Indian mythology has been written through a woman's point of view.

The great war between the Kauravas and Paanchali's husbands the Paandavas triggered off because of Draupadi and the great humiliation she faced due to the Kauravas.It explores her relationship with Karna (who she deeply loved),Krishna (her friend and her guide),Kunti (her Mother in law-who she was always at loggerheads with) and her husbands (Yudishtir,Bheem,Arjun,Nakul and Sahdeva).

The book is easy flowing,riveting till the last page,insightful and more importantly beautifully written.

A must read!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My review :2 States

This book was really not on my to read list.Though the entire country seems to like what Chetan Bhagat writes I am not a fan.We can't take the fact away that he has a huge fan following and two of his books have been adapted into full fledged movie. Facebook is a good indicator of his popularity.Everyone's status update as soon as the book released was about how funny the book is.When I entered Crossword his book was all over the place from the top ten best selling fiction,to the billing counter,to the shop front it's all over the place.And for 95 bucks you definitely not have people picking it up from the book shelves.So I would say picked up the book simply because everyone else was reading it!

Chetan Bhagat is a mass writer his critics might trash him but his fans ensure that every book he writes becomes an instant bestseller.

I must say didn't regret buying it!It was funny from the word go.the story is simple about a guy and a girl meeting in college and falling head over heels in love and deciding to get married.The hitch is convincing both sets of parents as he is a punjabi and his girl a tam brahm.And as any Indian would know it is definitely not an easy task convincing parents for a love marriage and more so if you are from opposite parts of the country.So this is the premise and must say he has handled the difficult situations with aplomb.I personally liked the Panju mom....she is so typical north Indian mum...!Over dramatic,OTT,food loving,loud mouth (guys am north Indian too!)So the boy and the girl set out to woo the families ...and the various hurdles they face and overcome to marry each other is really funny!I read somewhere in his interview that the story was autobiographical...that it was his own story.If thats the case then I must say it was very candid.

Beneath the humour is also a very strong message that he has tried to convey and the prejudices that we Indians have about each other.Every state in India is different and unique with different languages ,different festivals,different cultures thats what makes this country unique.This uniqueness can also be used for selfish purposes to divide people we have the north Indian mum referring to all south Indians as Madrasis and dark and we have the tamil family who is deeply unhappy with the girl choosing to marry a north indian as they believe all of them are loud mouths and over the top.He says we are Indians first.That's what Sachin Tendulkar said and look what he got back.Really thats beside the point but yes a stark reminder that differences are created for own gains.

Ok now for the brickbats I just couldn't understand his 3 min conversation with god to propose Ananya if he (Krish) wanted god to help him get a job with Citibank.So Krish makes a mad dash to propose marriage while she is in the final round of interview with HLL.Krish's father's sudden U turn to make his son happy after so much bitterness is also highly unbelievable.his trip to Aurobindo Ashram and his fateful meeting with a guru is also a bit off.

All in all value for money book...makes you feel good whenever you read a happy ending.Was just the right read after the book on Mughals and start of My name is Red.

Soon my review on Nine Lives..

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My review :Raiders from the North

Ok so I was MIA for a couple of days as I was on a holiday (yipee!)and also because the net connection was down and out for the last two days.Finally managed to finish the book...believe me hardly an effort as the book was indeed very interesting.Let me start off with the fact that until recently I was not too interested in the Mughal history if someone was to ask me who was Akbar's father I would not have an answer yes as clueless as that!So I thought this bad knowledge of History and disinterest had to change and I should have the answers before my children end up learning history.So in that way this book was a good pick as it starts off with the story of how Babur managed to end up invading India and thus followed the great Mughal era which is much chronicled by various historians.
So in this book we get to know about Babur not only as a ruler but also as a son,grandson,brother,friend and a father.At the age of 12 after being anointed the king of Ferghana his ambition is to ultimately rule Samarkhand.After his two failed attempts he also ends up losing Ferghana to his half brother.He ends up as a king without a throne till fate finally smiles on him.He is requested to take over the reigns of Kabul, as the king who was Babur's distant relative is dead, and he being the descendant of Timur is offered to take charge.He accepts the offer and moves to Kabul to rule as the king but his sights are set on Hindustan.So from there his journey begins to capture Hindustan and his yet another failed attempt to rule Samarkhand.
Every page offers a vivid image that captures the deeply violent world of the Moghuls. The rivalry, the paranoia, poisonings, torturing and killings, flaying, blinding,'d find it all in the pages of the book.
SO if you would want a course in History this is the book to read!though it is a historic fiction it is filled with historical characters and situations which indeed happened.

Some interesting facts about the book and the author: ‘Alex Rutherford’, author of the historical novel relating the epic rise and fall of one of the most powerful, opulent and glamorous dynasties in history are actually Michael and Diana Preston, the husband and wife team !Read more about them here
the second part of the book is Empire of the Moghuls:Brothers at War which will hopefully be out by early next year! Looking forward!
The book I also just finished reading is Chetan Bhagat's 2 states...more on that soon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Empire of the Moghul:Raiders from the north

I am currently reading this book.It is written by Alex Rutherford.Raiders from the North is the first novel in The Empire of Moghul quintet.Raiders from the North chronicles the life of Babur and how after his father died he took the reins of his kingdom Ferghana at the tender age of 12.Babur from a very young age had to learn to defend himself and his kingdom from enemies outside and also from within the family.It more importantly chronicles his heroics against Shaibani Khan ,the Uzbek king who is bent on killing the blood relations and lineage of Timur.
It is very well written till now will give an update once I am done with reading the book

main bhi book critic!

Nope I am not your typical book reviewer !Neither am I a qualified journalist to speak/write/review a book.I am just a book lover! Many a times there are books that I want to know more about but I don't end up finding reviews.Or if I do I most of the time don't end up agreeing with them.Most of the time after reading good reviews for a particular book I end up buying the book and at times don't end up agreeing with the critic.
No I do not read Literary , Nobel worthy books...if you are looking for those reviews then sorry this blog is not worthy of your time!Though I must admit Orhan Pamuk's book 'My name is Red' has been bought and will be started off?No most of the time my reading a book or starting one depends on my mood..
This blog will also not just have my book reviews but also will try to include any other fellow blogger who wishes to review a book they have read.I'd be glad to put it up on my blog!
So guys if you would like to put up a post of your reviews do send it to me and will try my best to put it up..!