Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Psychopath, The Cannibal, The Lover - Tejaswi Priyadarshi (Book)

The Psychopath, The Cannibal, The Lover - Tejaswi Priyadarshi. 

Another addition to my collection of Author sent books which I finished last night which blew my mind off. To keep the record straight of (almost) never abandoning a book once I start, I kept chugging through and somehow finished this one. Going by the title and on top of that a debut book, I should have kept my expectations low from this one. But unfortunately the hopeless positive expecting person I am, I thought it will get better as the story progresses. Right from the very first murder which was gruesome (but not too bad as I have read and seen much worst earlier which have given me sleepless nights and refuse to go off my memories), the story keeps going downhill to a very predictable ending with a twist which gives hints of a sequel (I will probably stay away from). I was excited when Tejaswi approached me to read his book, looking at his background (an XLRI pass out) I was very hopeful of at least a heart touching story but he had something else in his mind for his characters. And on top of that his editors have let him down big time too, of-course the book is published online only so far hence the outcome. I will not get into details but repeatedly same mistakes and on top of that narrative shifting from first person to third too was confusing. And I really dislike the Chetan Bhagatesque idea of two people meeting and one telling the story to second person (who is supposed to write it). 

Going by the title I thought there will be a psycho lover who for sure will not get love of his life, in the end he will end up killing one and all to get her, only to eat her in the end :) if that is how this story would have gone, I am sure I would liked it as that would have given it the correct "whys" but what Author has done with his story as I said earlier I didn't find it very convincing. Writing is too advanced as far as Indian standards go, even in this jet age it was too hard for me to digest school going kids doing something his characters were doing (even in fiction). A very straight forward story of a kid being bullied all his life who takes up to take revenge on the people who've been bullying, betraying or letting him down throughout his life. How it all happens and how he takes revenge coming across a Cannibal and a lover in his stride is the story all about. Unfortunately neither I could connect with the psychopath nor with the Cannibal and the lover's character hardly gets much attention from his own created that the reader in me felt betrayed for that part. The only good part was that the books length isn't too long and I was able to finish it in flat three sittings but whatever I could quote from the ongoing story to my wife and kiddo, they were shocked that I was still reading it. 

Shockingly other than me, everyone else who has read the book and posted their thoughts on Goodreads have somehow liked the book. If you have read The Psychopath, The Cannibal, The Lover - do let me know how you like it but if you haven't yet read it, I highly suggest you stay away. 

PS: I guess Tejaswi has read a little too much of Surendra Mohan Pathak or James Hadley Chase kind of books and decided to dedicate his first book to the master himself. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Brass Verdict - Michael Connelly (Book)

The Brass Verdict - Michael Connelly.

I have a weird habit of picking up and reading the "filler" books that I go through on and off 🙂. I never read a Michael Connelly book before I picked this one up 🙂, what made me pick this one was its super glossy cover with a courtroom in background, its size (550+ pages) and that last name Connelly. I've been a Jennifer Connelly fan all my life (you've got to see her in leather) so I thought how bad a book can be with that similar last name 🙂. On top of that I have read a few Grishams and Jodi Picoults with superb courtroom dramas in the recent past. And on top of that I recently finished a Thomas Hardy so I wanted unwind a little before I pick up my first Kafka next. But what a terrific heartbreak this one was, totally predictable with almost no character development, I could feel nothing for none of the characters, almost no thrill element even after multiple murders and an unknown killer roaming around looking for his / her next target. Lackluster courtroom scene and dialogues, almost good for nothing detectives totally clueless as what is happening and unfortunately they do not uncover anything as I said that the ending was totally predictable. I was able to guess the killer in the first 50 pages only 🙁. Some of my favorite names from Hollywood too weren't able to make it any better for me like Johny Depp, Angelina Jolie and Mickey Rourke 🙂. 

Started reading this on Sunday morning and finished it on Tuesday afternoon, was a breeze of an easy read but just about a very average story (much against my expectations). Perfect setting of an out of work lawyer taking break from his practice recovering from drug addiction. No work and family to look forward to, his fortune changes as one of his close buddy (another lawyer) is shot dead with a high profile Hollywood producers case hanging in-between. The producer is a suspect himself of a dual murder (his wife & her lover). Two ex wives with one of them working with him (and her boy friend) and a daughter in toes, his father's best buddy as the detective helping him solve the case, imagine it had so much scope of being a fantastic novel but I guess Mr. Connelly has read too much of Christie, Grisham and Conan Doyle but learned nothing, as it all falls flat on the reader. Even for a person like who reads books for pleasure, this didn't had almost nothing for me in it, still I kept going forward thinking it may shock me somewhere down the line and may have a different ending than how I imagined but even that wasn't the case. The only good thing about the book was that it kept reminding me of the terrific movie Lincoln Lawyer that I watched and loved a few years ago, based on Michael Connelly's most successful book I guess. 

After a long time I guess I found a book which I won't be recommending much to my own heart-break. But do let me know if you have read "The Brass Verdict" and liked it too. If not, do let me know if you have a favorite Michael Connelly book, I would like to give the Author a second chance.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy (Book)

Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy.

Disclaimer: If you have read my earlier posts saying that I have found my all time favorite Author, this post makes those posts Null & Void and finally I have found my all time favorite Author and Thomas Hardy is now my permanent favorite.
I still very well remember by FYJC days when I was smitten in love (now I call it infatuation) with a girl whose name even was so rich that I couldn't dare dream of ever having her in my life but that never stopped me from being in love with her. Although we were as different as chalk & cheese, she was rich I was poor, she was beautiful and most of you have seen my pictures 🙁 she was bubbly in a group of admirers and I usually had my lunch alone sitting on a puliya. But what has that got to do with the book in question? if you want to ask me that, it means you haven't read this one or any of the Hardy books. Wonder why is he so cruel to his characters, especially to his men, women he is still at times fines and gives them some leverage but he is brutal to his men, I tell you that in advance. Also, I started this while travelling and as I boarded an Aircraft this Sunday morning holding the book in my hand, even the air-hostess who welcomed me in quickly added pointing to the book "Depressing, is it?" and while she made coffee to me I dared asked her "Why is he so hard on his men?" to which she retorted "He isn't easy on his women too, especially in this one". And I must tell you that this story and the book again invoked so many unbelievable emotions that I can't properly put them in words, I had to race to the end to know if it would be any better than his last that I read "Jude the Obscure".
Love (and life) story of a shepherd who faces severe hardship because of his sheer bad luck, a gem of a man from all angles but God (mean Hardy) has some different plans for him. Initially I was totally in love with the man Gabriel as I can bet my life that you will not find a better character than him even if you search with the help of Aladin's lamp. Falls in love at first sight but as I know Thomas Hardy so much better going though his second book that I could predict, it ain't be easy for Gabriel to get the love of his life. But how he goes through after his rejection and where his destiny takes him especially when the reader hopes that his path should cross again with the love of his life, like I said earlier once you love someone, you just can't unlove it and so is the case of Gabriel. How he goes through in life still in shadows of love of Bathsheba Everdene is the rest of the story. But by the time I hit the halfway mark, Mr. Hardy plays with my loyalty so royally that it is very hard to explain. Just when I thought he was too cruel to his Men he changes gears and we have a second story, and just when I thought that was that, he decides to give me another twist 🙂 but with so much heart and emotions in it that he very ably swiped me off my feat and not only made me fall in love with a few of the characters but the Author himself too. You've got to keep trust on your Author to know more and feel the depth that he actually wants you to feel. Throughout the 320+ pages I was totally clueless as what would be the right way to judge the things the way they were going.
Undoubtedly Far from the Madding Crowd I will always remember for the amazing characters carved out by Mr Hardy so beautifully. And his prose is so poetic that it flows like a smooth river which flows without making any noise or ripples, if you know what I mean. This is ultimate story in poetry I should say. I am dead sure that I will never read a book ever from any other writer which will come any close (in prose) to Thomas Hardy's work(s). Also, if you are into collection fantastic one liners, t his is the book which will give you at least a good dozen for your collection. Thomas Hardy's philosophies are simply incomparable. And If you ever want to know the meaning of a word called Selfless, you've got to read this book for the same. And this will always show up on the top of my list now onward whenever a discussion on the best love stories will ever start. Oh! and before I forget I must mention that it has some BEAUTIFUL illustrations, and they are so true to life that I could never imagine a more beautiful (and fragile) face for Bathsheba, and farmer Gabriel Oak or the two men that I shouldn't mention here 🙂.
Have you read Far from the Madding Crowd? if you have read it, do let me know how you like it and if you haven't, I must say that you've got to read it ASAP. Also, do let me know which one is your favorite Thomas Hardy book.
PS: I so much wish that I run into the same Air-hostess on my way back to Pune this weekend so I could tell her whether this was depressing or not 🙂.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Tara Road - Maeve Binchy (Book)

Tara Road - Maeve Binchy

My very first Maeve Binchy and what an amazing heart touching story this one turns out to be. A huge thanks to whoever sent this one my way :) since I received the book so long ago that have totally forgotten who gifted me :) apologies and thanks from the bottom of my heart. Now that I have finished my first Binchy :) I've got to make a list of her best works and pick them up in my next haul (sometime in next 6 months depending how long my current stock lasts). Surprisingly Maeve Binchy's writing is totally my cup of tea, straight forward, no hard hitting words, flawless writing, totally life like and believable characters with their own set of struggles, aspirations, dreams and desires for which at times some of them betray the same people who in turn totally love them and still keep their faith on them. The story has so much heart in it that it made big time emotional, gave me so many lumps in my throat but it equally inspired, made me smile as well as made me laugh quite a few times. On top of that my search just returned me an amazing result that a movie was made on the same with Andy McDowell playing one of the lead characters with the same guy who played Sir Jorah Mormont in much loved Game of Thrones TV series :) tempting me big time to get hold of the movie and watch it tonight. 

As the title suggests "Tara Road" is the story of one posh locality from Dublin (Ireland) where the lead pair of Danny Lynch and his amazing wife Ria (Maria) make their home. How that get that house and how heavenly she turns it out with some amazing set of friends, relatives and neighbors which always kept the reader in me all delighted. But not everything remains always as good as we expect them to be and Binchy hit me hard with that unexpected twist, giving another set of amazing characters from thousands of miles away who gets in touch with Ria out of sheer co-incidence and they end up doing a house exchange for two months, both recovering from their own set of set-backs. How they help each other from miles away, never have met and with no clue about each other's lives makes up for an amazing cliff hanger story with so much going around that I just couldn't resist and end up reading the whole 600+ pages as fast as I could to get to the end :). Author has done an amazing job of showing two poles apart cultures from Ireland and United States in such an amazing way that it adds up so much value to the whole narrative. It indeed was so amazing to grasp that how different yet how same we all are, wherever we may be living. Ria and Danny's cute kids especially Brian the younger one who is always annoying his teenage sister make up for two super entertaining characters with their own set of problems. You've got to read this wholesome family entertainer as I kept updating my own teenage daughter and wifey with the going on story that I was loving big time. 

As I mentioned earlier this is my first Binchy book but I must say she has a mastery on relationships. This was one superb example of Husband Wife relationship, how different we all are. A perfect story for Father Son and Sibling chemistry (or rivalry). Mother Daughter relationship (two sets) totally amazed me especially the ease with which the story develops and how the characters are carved out and handled, loved it. I have read a lot of books in the recent few years but none comes any close to this one when it comes to talking about depths in relationships, trust, love and even betrayal too. Unbelievably amazing this story is and like I said totally life like. 

Unfortunately I had no idea of Binchy's writing but I must say she is one heck of a writer. I guess I read it at the right time as it has given me some terrific food for my thoughts on teenage life and how to handle them (or set them free). If you have read Tara Road or seen the movie version, do let me know how you liked it :) and if you haven't read this one, I suggest you take a break and grab it ASAP. Also, do let me know if you have a favorite Binchy, I would love to lay my hands on it at the earliest. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Mind Whisperer - Rajesh M Iyer (Book)

The Mind Whisperer - Rajesh M Iyer.

I must have read at least a dozen odd books from the Mythological Fiction genre in the last few years and for sure half of them were either based on Karna's life or revolving around it. And I must also add that almost all of them have worked with some that have such beautiful memories in my mind that I will for sure read them again in very near future. I don't know why but Karna's character is totally mesmerizing for me from Mytho stories and every story adds up more to the enigma called Karna for me. So, a few months back as soon as I came to know that one of my favorite authors from our part of the world was writing a book on another chapter of the much loved character, I was totally excited to lay my hands on the book. Last week I got my own fresh baked copy of the book with a superb signed note by the Author himself :) Can anyone be more luckier than me when it comes to reading :). The title was so intriguing that I almost abandoned a Stephen King book to start this one but then realized it will be a blasphemy (King being my all time favorite) so waited another few days to finish that one. Look at that beautiful cover and the note by the Author himself, although I am going to complain about the length (or lack of it) for sure that my heart kept asking for more whereas the writer had different ideas :) (may be a sequel in future or another chapter from his life).

As soon as I started this one, my daughter after knowing who this one was based on commented that I am going to give her further more gyan on Karna's life once I finish this one :). Unfortunately she hasn't yet read neither the epic Ramayan or Mahabharat, although we are watching the TV series based on the first one and will start the one on latter shortly. The book as I said earlier is based on the last few days of Karna's life, starts almost while the last of the great war is taking place and he is about to kill is own brothers because of the call of the dharma. Although because of the much read and adored epic, we already know the ending still it was fantastic the way Author has waved his magic wand and given us another terrific chapter from the much loved man's life in making his character a few notches more deeper. To know who the actual Mind Whisperer in the story and what changes those whisperers bring to Karna's life (or shall I say death), you've got to read the book which is simply too good but too short too. Hardly 160 pages and the pace is so fast and suspenseful that I had to finish it in two days with no respite. Super thanks to him but it was great to read further more about lesser known characters from the epic especially about Karna's charioteer who competes with the best ever charioteer Krishna himself. Visually it is beautifully told that I had no option but to bring those characters back to my mind from the much loved TV series and see them in a new light from Rajesh's pen.

Although it takes nothing away from the book or the story but I believe it would have done wonders if he had added a few pages from Epic's background especially for those who haven't yet read the original story in full. My kiddo actually started the book but had so many questions to ask about different characters and stories that I had to tell her to read the original full story first before attempting a book like this one based on one character's one particular period from his own life. This one will not work like a stand alone book but will be much enjoyed by people like me who love reading more reference stories based on that era.