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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Life Of Pi by Yann Martel

Life Of Pi by Yann Martel  
Rating: 5 out of 5

ISBN (edition I've read): 9781841954257

The plot is like this:

After a tragic sinking of a ship, Pi, the lead character of the book, finds himself lifeboat-bound with no other human being, save for four animals - an organ-utan, zebra with a broken leg, a hyena and a 350-pound Bengal Tiger, named Richard Parker. How did Pi stay alive, all the way, till he met civilization? You will have to read this one.

That's what the plot claims but the novel is more than it. Read the name of the book - Life of Pi. Nothing like Surviving at Pacific or boat-bound with a Bengal Tiger. The point I am trying to make is the story tells more than the pacific adventure.

The picture and the ISBN features above are of my 2003 edition of Life of Pi. I feel lucky for getting my hands on such an old edition of this prestigious book!

The starts with author, Yann, reaching India, in search of a story for his next novel, which starts in India and ends in Portuguese. Like fate would have it, he meets Pi a.k.a. Piscine Patel.

Then, the story fluctuates between the story narrated by Piscine and author's own experience with the narrator.

If you want to get to the thrilling part of the book from page 30, you would be disappointed about this. As I have already told you, this book has more than the plot claims.

Piscine is a Catholis Muslim - Hindu. If there is anything like that. He is a Christian. He is a Muslim. He is an Hindu. He is a Jew. He doesn't have a religion. All he believes in is God and every form of His.

The first part of the story deals with his story how he was born an Hindu; how he started to be a Christian; how he started to worship Allah. Then, about the zoo, his father ran. Then, about Anandi, Pi's love.

One day, Pi's father decides to sell off all the animals of his zoo and thinks of settling in Canada. Of course, Pi wouldn't be happy with his decision. After all, he had his love in India. But then, he was helpless. His father, the head of the family, had taken the decision and it is unalterable.

Finally, the day of the great journey in a Chinese cargo ship, Tsimtsum, loaded with various animals of the zoo, starts.

Few days, into the voyage due to a storm the ship sinks and Pi finds himself, sharing a solitaire lifeboat with a orang-utan, hyena, zebra with a broken and a Bengal Tiger.

The best part of the whole book starts here. The rest of the story describes how he survived from being eaten by the Tiger or hyena, for that matter. How he survived for so many days at see, with not a piece of land in sight. How he befriends the tiger. Yeah! He befriends - trains, actually - the tiger!

What I think about the story:

The book is invincible.If you have come across this book but overlooked it. Believe me, mate, it is the worst day you are going through.

Truly worth the Man Booker Prize. This is my first of my Man Booker reads and it just swept me off my feet.

Personally, I read books on adventure and travels. So this book was like a ultimate survival story for me.

A must read for every human being.

After completing reading this book, everyone has one question in their mind. Is this fiction, as it is claimed? Or, a non-fiction, which it seems?

Well, I don't think anyone could clear that doubt. Not even the author, I could say. The story is so convincing that it is even hard to believe what author claims, if it is against our conception.

At the end of the story, the same story is repeated replacing the animals with humans. That version of the story seems reasonable, too. That's when the reader is thrown into the dilemma. The present question in mind is, "Which version of the story is real? The animal one or the humans one?"

Let me tell you something, the truth doesn't matter. Your believe is all that matters...

Indeed, it is a story that will make you believe in God(you will get it, after reading the author's note)...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Till The Last Breath by Durjoy Datta

Till The Last Breath by Durjoy Datta
Review: 4.5 out of 5

I am not a big fan of Durjoy Datta. I have read a few of his books - You were my crush, oh yes I am single. They were a disaster. Then came his book, If its not forever. I didnt want to read it. But the title of the book made me read it. I wasnt disappointed. It had love stories with travelling. A perfect blend. The 'my kind' book. So I was in a quandary, whether to read it or not. The name seemed interesting. The cover, it is not that great. But as they say, 'Never judge a book by its cover'. And plot seemed convincing. It gave the impression of drama. And, I hate dramas or literature.

Within a week after the book was out, it was in my hands. I just completed reading Jeffery Archer's Twist in the Tale. After reading a few short stories with twisting ends at its best, I was ready to take on a boring read. That is what I had in my about this book.

The book in my hand seemed alien to me. I didn't see many books with white covers. The front cover blended with the papers inside. Also, the book was very light for a 240 pages book. A riffle through the pages told that the paper was very light weighted - indicated low or high quality, I don't know.

I started reading it.

There are in total five main characters of this book - Arman Kashyup, Kajal Khurana, Pihu Malhotra, Dishyant Roy, Zarah Mirza. Arman is a doctor; Dushyant is a patient, who is at the brink of his mortality, admitted in Arman's hospital. Pihu is young, normal medicine student. But fate doesn't play fair with her. She is affected by a deadly disease ALS. Kajal is Dushyant's ex-girlfriend. Zarah is a trainee doctor, who reports to Arman and who also, in turn, falls in love with Dushyant.

Everyone has a different past. Everyone has a different story. Everyone come from different backgrounds. But they come close together, physically, in the hospital. And closer mentally.

Each character of the book are very inspiring. Fabulous characters created by the author. Nothing like any other of his books.

The book is pretty light and only 240 pages. But the font was so small that it took me more time to complete than I took to complete a 240 pages book. Every chapters states name of a character and that chapter narrates that character's story.

The end was predictable. When I was almost to the end of the story. I knew what is going to happen. But the story was too serious to take light. It is very intriguing and it is what people call 'unputdownable'.

So far the maturest work from Durjoy Datta...


Thursday, November 22, 2012

What Young India Wants by Chetan Bhagat

What Young India Wants by Chetan Bhagat

Rating: 4 out of 5

Firstly, I am not very much into non-fiction. Especially, when they are about change in country, in its economy, in its infra structure and so forth. Of course, I love India. But reading about such things are way over my head. And how I got to pick this book is a story in itself.

I knew about this book, a couple of months before it was out. The title says, 'What young India wants'.

"I am a young Indian, myself. Why do I want to read it?" I asked myself and laughed. After that I never gave it a thought. Also from a few people, I came to know that it was not worth it. Not worth it because non-fictions are not my type.

But then, two weeks after the book is out, there was a buzz - though low, there was a buzz - about the books. The ratings online were pretty good. Still reading a non-fiction is not what I am prepared for.

One day, I was dusting my books and came across my Chetan Bhagat collection. I looked at them. Mind you, I am proud of my book collection. Then I noticed there are all the books of Chetan Bhagat except for one - What Young India Wants. So with due consideration and suggestions from many friends - believe me, that is the first time I took such an effort to pick up a book - I got this book.

Now, after reading it, I feel so fortunate to pick it up.

After reading Introduction - named, My Journey, in the book - of the book, I was glued to it. It contained about ten pages of author's autobiography. Short and quick autobiography. He described his journey, how he - a novelist - ended up writing a non-fiction.

Line liners adores at the starting of every chapter.

It projected the real India - the present India - in front of me. Right in front of my eyes. There were many issues discussed in this book. Most of which I am not aware of, due to my fair lack of interest in knowing the happening or watching news.

One thing I want you to notice is the title of the book. It isn't 'What young India wants?'. It is 'What young India wants'. Hope you get that. It doesn't end with a '?'. It isn't questioning. The author questions India. And then, answers them. Gives the solution for numerous issues., which make India a better place to live in.

Of course, blaming the politicians could answer all the questions. But remember that politicians are always elected by us, Indians.

Wake up, India. At least, I have....

Very powerful and carries a very strong message.

I would recommend it to:
I would recommend this book to every India who can read English. Everyone because change starts with a person, but the country is changed only when its people change.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Rating: 5 out of 5

About the author:

Jon Krakauer has been so far my most favourite author. It is not because he writes about adventures - and, I love adventures and also, reading them. But because he lived a more adventurous life. For me, surfing, mountaineering, scuba-diving and so forth aren't adventurous enough. For me, adventures means taking on whatever it is, not going searching for troubles. It is some like camping in the woods, travelling by hithing, etc. Jon Krakauer, himself, has spent his life as a hitch hikers. After that, under the pressure of his spouse, he wrote many articles for the magazine Outdoors and many other magazines.

About the story:

It is the story of a boy, named Christopher McCandless, just done with his graduation. It is the story if his attempt to live. To experience the inexperienced. Deeply disturbed by his parents' relationship and clashes in them, he walks off on to the road. He hitchhikes all across America and finally, to Alaska, where he lives for 119 days and unfortunately, breathes his last.

He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.

En route to Alaska, he meets many people, who influence his life and are influenced by his life. The love he possessed for the wilderness is entirely wonderful.

Many critics claimed that he was so foolish - to just walk off into the wilderness without enough knowledge - and ruthless - because, he didn't think twice before abandoning his parents and sister. But when I first started reading the book, I, not at once, thought him as fool. Instead I admired the man for his courage. Not everyone can follow their dreams so obediently. After reading this book, my life, which seemed aimless till then, completely changed. I have always loved outdoors. But in a country like India, outdoors persons are treated like a nutcase. 

"Who wants to leave the comforts of a house and venture into the woods to experience life, wilderness, except for a maniac?" they say. Yeah, that seems practical enough. But free minds never ask these kind of questions to themselves. First of all, they mightn't have the answer for questions like those. Even if they had, they wouldn't care to explain others. Pursuing ones dream is not madness.

Apart from Chris's story, the author compares himself with Chris. He writes about his journey and adventures.

He also writes about the people who have ventured into the wilderness and met the same, unfortunate end like Chris's.

If someone asks me, "What is your most favourite book?" or "What is the best book you've ever read?" I would answer the next moment they asked the question, "Into the wild."

This book has changed my life. My vision about everything changed. The way I look at things in life changed. All credits to this very book, which I am now holding in my hand, writing the review.

I would recommend this book to everyone. To every single human being to read.

P.S.: After reading this book, watch the movie, 'Into The Wild'. I certify that you will weep. I did cry, afterall. 

Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer

Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer

Rating: 4 out of 5

Indeed, Jon Krakauer is the master of the literature of Adventure...

I always hated literature. They are always boring. But Jon has his way in literature. It is completely impossible for me to write so many worlds about a mountain. A mountain is a mountain for me. But for Jon, it is more like a book of words. I am pretty sure, make him walk a tiny hill, in the outskirts of your town and he could write a book about it. That too, very interesting one. Hats off to him.

About this book:

The description of the book claims to reveal answer for the most significant question - why would a normal person want to do this stuff (adventure stuff)? I, myself, several times, wondered the same. Why would anyone want to do something so dangerous, so life threatening; which doesn't earn a penny. So that is why I picked up this book.

But the book doesn't give you the answer!

If I am not wrong (if I haven't missed the story), there isn't an instance in the whole book, I felt that I found the answer. Instead, the book is a collection of 12 stories - 11 published by author in different magazines and newspapers, and the last one - THE DEVILS THUMB - is exclusive for the book.

About the stories:


It is a collection of stories related to the many climbers who tried to climb the mountain - The Eiger - when the author, himself, tried to summit it.


Personally, I enjoyed this story very much. It introduced me to the whole new new concept of 'bouldering'. The whole story revolves around John Gill, the person who first started 'Bouldering' and the concept of 'Bouldering'.


The story is about a small town in Alaska named, Valdez. It discusses about climbing huge, frozen waterfalls and the town itself.


This story is all about spending time in the tent. It discusses how it feels to be caught in a rough whether, prisoned inside a nylon prison - the tent; how choosing the wrong partners to share the tent has a bad effect; how to choose the best partners for tripping and so on.


This story is about the life of the flyboys, living in the a cultural hub of Alaska's upper Sisitna valley, named Talkeetna. The flyboys over there can leave you anywhere, accessible on the Mt. McKinley!


This story is about Mt. McKinely and various stories of the people who tried to summit it, in the same year as the author.


It is about paragliding and some random stories related to the town, Chamonix.


This is another story which I enjoyed reading. It introduces to a new concept, at least for me, 'Canyoneering'.


The name says it all. It is the tale of selecting the highest mountain in the world. Even after the Mt. Everest was declared the highest mountain in the world, there were many conspiracies claiming to see a peak about 30,000 mts. So the story deals with the unfought battle, of the mountains, for the title, 'World's Highest Mountain'.


It deals with the lives of two twins, namely Adrian and Alan Burgess- together known as Burgess Boys. They are also known as 'Bad boys of Himalaya'. Different, yet funny, story.


Stories of many climber, including the author, who tried to summit K2 in the summer of 1986, which, author, claims to be a very bad summer in the history of K2.


It is the story of the author, when he tried to summit Devils Thumb. It has a lot of emotions and adventure in itself. My third favorite story in the book.

So the book is not, just, about mountaineering. It is like a encyclopedia of adventure.

Finest collection stories of adventures...

Lord Of The Flies by William Golding

Lord Of The Flies by William Golding

Rating: 4 out of 5

A plane crashes on a deserted island. The survivors are only few school boys... That's what the plot claims. It gives a picture of a adventurous story. Yeah, of course the story is adventurous, but the narration has a lot more than that.

It is not the story of how they survived on the island and got rescued - if they are. It is the story of how kids - eldest being 12 yrs and youngest being 6 yrs - at the time of crisis. It deals with the depth of civilization and savagery. It deals with the depths of mentalities of different people. Different kinds of human beings. And their nature...

The narration is that of prolonged one. With every tiny detail in the background. Author has got a great imagination, I would say.

And the last chapter, it was a adrenaline busting one. When I was reading it - the last chapter - my heart beat literally rose. Narration at its best..

Before reading this book, I got the movie. I argued that I would watch the movie after reading the book. But when reading the book I always had an urge to watch the movie. I wanted to know what happens the end. So was the narration!!

Hugely moving and intriguing...

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