Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: Lost and Found

Lost and Found by CP Surendran is a kind of a book that can actually turn out to be bollywood blockbuster. It has all the right ingredients to make it an out and out masala movie. A struggling actor, a terrorist from Pakistan who is in Bombay to create havoc, a whacky lady out to seek revenge from a man who she believes raped her sixteen years back and the man himself meet one fateful night and what is revealed is something that no one is prepared for!

The story begins with Lakshmi who after a drunken night kidnaps Placid Hari, a journalist, who she believes is the man who raped her sixteen years back.  The morning after things start going awry as events unfold they find themselves taken hostage in a terrorist siege of Bombay. Along with them is a teenage fledgling actor Nirmal. The terrorist, Salim, who is trained in Pakistan to create havoc in the city, is prepared to kill and die for the cause he believes in.  What he is not prepared for is the story that unfolds and how the hostages are connected to him. He is deprived of the cause he came to lay down his life for. Nothing is what it seems not just for Salim but all the people involved in the hostage drama.   

 It does end up being a little confused when some characters are briefly brought into the plot.  At times during the story the sarcasm seemed a bit forced. 

The book is funny in parts, witty and sarcastic throughout.  Over the top characters, full on drama makes it interesting.

A good read.

About the Author:

C.P.Surendran is a poet and a novelist. His poetry collections include Gemini II, Posthumous Poems, Canaries on the Moon, and Portraits of the Space We Occupy. He is also the author of the novel, An Iron Harvest.

Surendran is a journalist and columnist as well. His popular columns include ‘Low Life’, ‘Bitch’, ‘Cat Scan’ and ‘Brief Grief’. Currently, he is a senior editor with The Times of India and is based in Delhi.

Review: Adrenaline

Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott is one of the most gripping and interesting thriller in recent times. It is a fast paced story; if you are a fan of Robert Ludlum you must definitely read this book. The story reminds one of vintage Ludlum books like The Bourne Identity while reading this. An espionage story well told.

The story is about Sam Capra who is a CIA operative in London. He is living the life of his dreams. He is an American living in London; he has a perfect flat, a perfect job and a perfect wife Lucy who is seven months pregnant with his first child.

But one sunny day, it all comes crashing down. Sam receives a call from his wife, who is also with the CIA, while he is at work. She asks him to leave the building immediately, which he does- just before it explodes, killing all those who were inside. Lucy vanishes after that call and Sam finds himself in a prison cell. Sam is now under suspicion of being a part of the blow up conspiracy and an enemy agent.

It is Sam’s fight to find out the perpetrators of this crime and to prove that he is innocent. It is also a race to find his wife Lucy and his child who he has not seen yet. The book will keep you hooked to the very end. A kind of a book which you have to read from start to finish in one go thanks to all its exciting twists and turns.

Immensely readable book by the bestselling author of Panic.

About the Author:

Jeff Abbott is the internationally bestselling author of eleven novels, which are published in twenty languages. He is a three-time nominee for the Edgar Award. He lives in Austin with his wife.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: The Very Thought of you

“Of all the people we meet in a lifetime, it is strange that so many of us find ourselves in thrall to one particular person.Once that face is seen ,an involuntary heartache sets in for which there is no cure.All the wonder of this world finds shape in that one person and thereafter there is no reprieve ,because this kind of love does not end,or not until death.

For the lucky ones,this love is reciprocated. But for so many others everywhere,anywhere,there follows an unending ache of longing without relief.Incurable love is a great leveler.Yet I believe that this bittersweet love is better by far than the despair which blights those with a dead heart.”

If you loved reading these lines, you’ll love Rosie Alison’s book, The very thought of you. I picked up this book from the library when I spotted a list of accolades and awards the books have been considered for. It’s been shortlisted for Amazon Rising Star award 2009, Long listed for RNA Romantic novel of the year 2010 and Le prince Maurice prize and for Literary short stories 2010.

It is 1939 and the world is at the brink of a war. Thousands of children are being evacuated from London to protect them from the bombings that everyone anticipates,with Hitler gaining momentum.Anna sands is an eight year old girl, who is displaced and is sent off to a school for evacuees along with 80 others to a large Yorkshire estate called Ashton Park.There she meets Mr Ashton, the owner of the estate,a cripple who teaches them Latin ; Elizabeth Ashton, a beautiful ice queen; Ruth Weir ,the plain-Jane teacher who has a lovely way with children among many others. Ashton park,a rambling house with gardens and sculptures and it’s secret nooks act as a brilliant tapestry for the undercurrents that run in the household. Anna is a quiet, introspective child,who prefers keeping her own company rather than playing with the other children.

The Ashtons are a childless couple and both pine for a child of their own. Their marriage is on the rocks with both of them having receded into their private shells. They really need a baby to revive the marriage.Elizabeth gets anxious and lives a bohemian double life which nobody knows about. It is her way of escaping her soul- less, passionless existence. Then there is Roberta, Anna’s mother who lives alone in London .With Anne away at Ashton park and her husband away in Egypt in the army, Roberta feels the need for male company and starts seeing a man. Meanwhile at Ashton park, romance is on the cards for Elizabeth as a new guest enters the household.

Suddenly, Anna becomes a witness to things a girl her age shouldn’t witness and in a strange way gets drawn to Thomas and her teacher, Ruth. Will Elizabeth fall in love again? Will she leave Thomas? Will Anna go back to her mother? Will Thomas find love of his own ? Well, for answers to these questions,you need to read the book.

What could have been a wonderful, flowing narrative from the word go, sags because of a lot of flashbacks The book is an essay in melancholy and flows slowly letting us delve more into every character. The 3rd person POV doesn’t work for this book and after a point gets choppy and repetitive as you have all the main characters talking about their loneliness and inadequacies.

However, the language is beautiful and serenades you, making you fall in love with it. With the war on, the need for comfort in another human being is so heightened that morality and the question of being right or wrong becomes secondary to the guiding emotion itself. The book makes you realize this at every juncture. A wife is not just a wife, but a woman with hot-blooded passions.A cripple is not just a cripple,but a wounded man who is grappling with questions about his self-worth.

Overall, a lilting book that left its haunting mark on me, despite some minor complaints.

3.5/5 for this lovely, brooding tale.

(This book has been reviewed by Bedazzled. She lives in Chennai with her husband,loves to travel and read. After spending many years in cubicles getting cross eyed, she took to writing. She blogs at )

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: By the Water Cooler

Recently got a chance to read an immensely enjoyable book , Parul Sharma's By the Water Cooler. Any management student or corporate types (slave/slave driver/ wannabe/guru/czar or whatever) will identify with the characters and laugh out loud while reading this book. By the Water cooler is a hilarious mix of office tales, management fundamentals, and workplace politics. Mini and her friends will be hard to forget long after the book is over.

The book is the story of Mini and Tanya who are the typical best friends forever who have studied together and are now working together. Both of them are restless and discontent with their jobs in an advertising agency, they soon quit their jobs and join JR Enterprises. They both have stars in their eyes and dreams of making it big in their new corporate career but their dreams are short lived. As soon as they join the company they realize things are not as easy as they looked. Right from the HR Manager who hired them gets fired on the first day of their joining to having a CEO who is a megalomaniac to the madhouse which is also known their office. The book will keep you laughing with Mini and Tanya’s tales.

The book is a crazy, whacky, and full on fun ride complete with office deadlines, dirty office politics and eccentric characters. Some of their types you would have encountered in your work place for sure.

This is Parul Sharma’s second book. Her first book was a hilarious account of a first time mother’s desperate attempt to be a super mum. Many would say her first was the book version of her popular mummy blog but with her second book she has convincingly proved herself to be a fine humour writer.

If you haven’t read the book yet go read it now believe me you won’t regret it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Book Lovers Book Club Meet

The Book Lovers Book Club December meeting details are as follows:

Date: 19th December
Time: 2.30 pm
Venue: Prithvi Cafe, Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu,Mumbai-49
To attend and to join the group contact us at : bookwelove (at) gmail (dot) com 
Book discussion of the month : Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires

Book Summary: 
Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg an awkward maths prodigy and a painfully shy computer genius were never going to fit in at elite, polished Harvard. Yet that all changed when master-hacker Mark crashed the university s entire computer system by creating a rateable database of female students. Narrowly escaping expulsion, the two misfits refocused the site into something less controversial The Facebook and watched as it spread like a wildfire across campuses around the country, along with their popularity.nnYet amidst the dizzying levels of cash and glamour, as silicon valley, venture capitalists and reams of girls beckoned, the first cracks in their friendship started to appear, and what began as a simple argument spiralled into an out-and-out war. The great irony is that Facebook succeeded by bringing people together but its very success tore two best friends apart.

About the Author

Ben Mezrich, a Harvard graduate, has published ten books, including the New York Times bestseller Bringing Down the House. He is a columnist for Boston Common and a contributor to Flush magazine.Ben lives in Boston with his wife, Tonya.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review: City of Thieves

Cyrus Moore’s book ‘The City of Thieves’ shows the murky insider dealings of price fixing and how the big broking houses fix share prices for their own and their clients gain. The lengths that these broking houses can go to, to achieve their goals makes this book worth a read.

The story, set in London, is about Nic Lamparelli a journalist who is hired as a research analyst for a telecom practice. Nic soon becomes a sharp and insightful analyst whose views and analysis of companies can move the share prices of the companies. He rises through the ranks to reach the pinnacle of his profession, and soon he has a high flying career in the city, with a reputation as one of the bank’s star analysts. But things change for him soon enough when Nic is pressurized to raise his call on a particular share which his bosses are fixing with their clients to make a killing on the insider prices. Nic refuses to play along and soon whatever Nic has managed to build starts to crumble right in front of his eyes. But in the face of everything can he hold true to his principles?

A very interesting and novel concept which shows the Armani suited villains of the financial markets in their true light. The villains may not be larger than life like Gordon Gekko but stay true to his mantra of ‘Greed is good’

A controversial page-turning thriller set in the days leading up to the credit crunch, City of Thieves is the novel that lifts the lid on city life.

Good and fast paced read.

About the Author:

Cyrus Moore is the writing name for Cyrus Mewawalla, a leading City analyst. After twenty years’ experience in the City, Cyrus left corporate banking to set up independently. In 2006 Bloomberg ranked him the number one telecom analyst in the UK. He lives in London with his wife and two children.