Fiction

100 years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

6:21:00 PM


100 Years of solitude
First published: 1967
Pages: 422 (Paperback)
Genre: Magical Realism
Original Language: Spanish (Cien años de soledad)

Bestsellers : 100 Years of solitude, love in the time of cholera

Synopsis: 
(from barnes and noble)
The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

Excerpt: 
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions. First they brought the magnet. A heavy gypsy with an untamed beard and sparrow hands, who introduced himself as Melquíades, put on a bold public demonstration of what he himself called the eighth wonder of the learned alchemists of Macedonia. He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs, and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquíades' magical irons. "Things have a life of their own," the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. "It's simply a matter of waking up their souls."

Nightflier Speaks: 
There are books and then there is 100 years of solitude. From the first word the density of the book hits you. Not in terms of complexity or obscurity, but sheer brilliance of characters, life, past, present, reality, dreams. And once you are caught it is difficult to let go. The story of a town from the stand point of the Buendia family over 7 generations. And what dramatic lives and stories of them. The moment you want to settle down in Macondo and relish its mirrors, the book zaps you with something so bizarre, that you feel embarrassed to not have expected it. Its not normal (And I say this in a totally positive sense). There are so many overlapping characters *with the same names* that at one point I took my time and drew a family tree! Rewards of being an obsessive reader. I can at least say I actually know the various generations of the Buendias!!


As I have said earlier, Gabo's books are not worth blabbering about. They have to be read. To feel them. And this one unlike any other transports you to a different time full of controversial reality and scandalous people, who if not anything have led rich lives. Full of passion and myriad experiences.


This is my second review on ALOP and not surprisingly its a Gabo review. I loved the way he multithreads various themes and brings them alive. Also the span of the book captivated me in a really weird manner. It was like being witness to a lot of history.


And even though I liked the book, somehow my first gabo read, 'love in the time of cholera' will remain more closer to my heart.


P.S. I have not written much on the plot and characters, because its really tough to stream line my thoughts after the first reading. These are mere observations. May be after a good 2-3 more reads I will be able to do so. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Price: 299 - Penguin India (Crossword)

alop admin

ALOP Membership Privileges

11:20:00 PM

Why choose ALOP??

What's so special here??

Oh wait! The giveaways are not enough for you :P
Just kidding, click HERE to read why!!

To go there Manually, hover on 'Contact us' in the upper menu bar and click on 'Membership Privileges' 

Arun Krishnan

The Loudest Firecracker - Arun Krishnan

7:05:00 PM



AUTHOR Arun Krishnan was born in New Delhi, lived in Pune and studied in Los Angeles. He quit Mechanical Engineering in 1996 and smoking in 2001. Over the last ten years, Arun has worked in the media departments of two advertising agencies in New York City. He has also worked for Concern Worldwide, an Irish international relief organisation and IBM, an international for-profit corporation.



SYNOPSIS
It's India versus Pakistan and as the excitement soars in the final over of a memorable cricket match, ten-year-old Siddharth sets off a firecracker. The blast that follows will change his life. Siddharth discovers that growing up isn't easy: he has to handle a tragic death, his best friend is gravitating to a rghtwing political party, and his film-maker father has troubles of his own as he shifts away from the commercial but lucrative world of Hindi movies. And Poona is nothing at all like Bombay. Will tennis matches help, or can his mother's beautifully retold myths do the trick? Will instant noodles come to Siddharth's rescue, or will it be his old elocution standby, The Charge of the Light Brigade? In this touching, poignant and often hilarious debut novel, Arun Krishnan has created a world we all recognise, one that will appeal equally to young adults and a more mature audience.




PULKIT SPEAKS -


An Honest effort to use writing as a medium of touching sensitive issues in the light of simplistic fiction.


This one started a bit slow for me but soon grabbed my attention a lot. The central character is a 10 year Old Boy, and the book deals with his vision of the world around him.

Its realistic, Its funny and yet very emotional. The story deals with his coming of age before time, as it happens to kids who unfortunately lose their parents in an early age. It make you ponder upon the bond that you share with your parents, The warmth of your mother, the coconut like compassion of your father.It also pulls you down your own memory lane when it deals with the long slow evenings of protagonist playing with his friends. Every aspect of narration from the third person speech at maximum places is sarcastic and hilarious and the same time intentionally touching a sensitive issue of the society, eventually leaving me in a flurry of emotions at many places. How straightfully we look at things when we are young and How complicated we turn them around us as we grow up is a lesson that every reader can learn when you see it from the vision of the author! I was glad to see someone attempting a work like on his debut novel. Childhood thought process and its innocence at its best is what one can expect with this one. Its a brilliant effort if not nessesarily a perfect entertainer book. Very unique from what young Indian author shelf usually provides you and I recommended you not to miss it and appreciate the attempted writing style.


RATING – 3/5.
Looking to read more intriguing works on the same lines by the young Indian authors, specifically those coming from the middle class. Someday I hope, the publishers look beyond campus stories to market debut works of writers like this.



PRICE - Rs 195

Hardcover edition

Tranquebar Press

purchased from Landmark bookstore,@ wave mall, Lucknow


PS – Gifted to me by my elder brother. He speaks to me, by the course of what he gives me to read. Love his ways.

Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson

1:24:00 PM


WARBREAKER

ISBN - 978-0-7653-6003-8
FIRST PRINTED - 2009
PAGES - 676
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE - Fantasy

AUTHOR - Brandon Sanderson

BEST-SELLERS - Elantris, The 'MISTBORN' Trilogy

SYNOPSIS - T'TELIR, capital of Hallandren, is a colorful city by the sea where gaily dressed crowds bustle through sunny streets and worship heroes who have been reborn as gods. Ruled by the silent, mysterious God King, the pantheon is nourished by offerings of Breath, the life force that keeps them alive and youthful.

Exiled in Idris, the former royal family reluctantly betrothed a princess to the God King. Arriving in T'Telir, she finds both the city and the marriage are not at all what she expected. Her only ally is Lightsong, a god who is skeptical of his own divinity, who fears that war with Idris is inevitable.

Meanwhile, another new arrival in T'Telir, one who bears the sentient sword Nightblood, makes cunning plans based on the unique magic of Hallandren, which uses colors to focus the power of Breath - plans that could change the world.

EXCERPT -
Vasher approached, backlit by the lantern, the sheathed tip of the sword dragging along the floor behind him. Then he dropped the sword to the floor in front of Vivenna.

"Pick it up," he said.

She untensed slightly, looking up, though still huddled in the corner. She felt tears on her cheeks.

"Pick up the sword, Princess."

She had no training with weapons, but maybe...She reached for the sword, but felt her nausea grow far stronger. She groaned, her hand twitching as it approached the strange black blade.

She shied away.

"Pick it up!" Vasher bellowed.

She complied with a gagged cry of desperation, grabbing the weapon, feeling a terrible sickness travel like a wave up her arm and into her stomach. She found herself ripping away her gag with desperate fingers.

Hello, a voice said in her head. Would you like to kill someone today?
 

FL Speak - Just when you thought Brandon Sanderson did everything possible with Mistborn and Elantris, out comes Warbreaker. Though not appreciated by all, this book do manage to keep you hooked.

Vivenna, the eldest daughter of the exiled King of Idris, is to be married to the God King of T'Telir. This marriage was fixed 20 years ago, the day she was born. The King of Idris hoped that the marriage would be enough to stop the Hallandren's from going to war against them. And thus, Vivenna spent her 20 years learning the matters of court and politics to prepare herself. But the day she was to be sent, the King faltered with his decision. The youngest daughter was sent instead.

Siri finds herself in T'Telir and comes to realize that not everything is as bad as the Idris people thought. Although she couldn't be her wild self and had servants following her everywhere, she was in awe of the Gods and the power they held. The most important commodity in T'Telir was color. Everyone in Hallandren had Breath. The Gods held thousands of them while the common man held a couple of them. Breath helped a person to animate an object to life and make it do as he/she wished through verbal commands. The Gods were once normal men, who died and were sent back among the living. They were sent back because they had a glimpse of the future and were supposed to help the humankind reach or prevent it. But the Gods who made the treaty of marriage were long dead. The young Gods had no intentions on a truce and politics ruled the courts of the Gods. Siri gradually comes to fall in love with the God King when she realizes what the real truth was.

Vivenna, comes to Hallandren to save her sister from the monster God King she was supposed to marry. Together with a mercenary crew of extraordinary people, they fight to stop the coming war against her homeland. Somewhere in the city, Vasher makes an entry. Together with his sentient sword, he seems to be interested in the Gods as well as Vivenna and her crew. As the lines between truth and lies vanish, Vivenna's world comes crashing down into a war she must take part if only to set her sister free and her city. Treachery and twists prevent Siri from making a bolt to freedom as the undead soldiers of the Gods change owners and prepare for war.

Extraordinary plot! Fast paced, complex and an exceptional tale of magic, betrayal and mystery that will take your Breath away. Even though Sanderson has said that this is a standalone novel, there is a lot of stuff that can be filled for a sequel. And all Sanderson fans hope that he comes back to Elantris and Warbreaker one day.

My Rating - 4.5 stars. [more than 4 stars in all his books. Brandon Sanderson makes it look so easy]

PRICE - INR 332/- [Flipkart Price]

Notice

An Added Bonus to Contributors

6:30:00 PM

Now that we have 15 members contributing to this blog [both active and hibernating], I would like to thank you all from my whole big, big thumping heart. It  gives me great pleasure knowing that there are fellow book lovers like me. Oh, I have great designs for this blog. Ask Nimue or Pulkit, we talk about everything we can do to make it huge, active and popular. [Damn! am turning into a bookslut]


Anyway, enough DRAMA. What I wanted to say is that, the awesome person who posts the most reviews every month will get a free gift. And yeah, sadly its gonna be a book and not movie tickets or Pizza Hut coupons. And yes, Freelancer's reviews will not be included. So you can breathe a little easy.


Also, the book will be decided by the admins or me [if an admin wins]. Don't worry I won't send you a fantasy book [even though i would very much want to turn you into a fantasy fanatic]. Hehe. Anyway, this is just my stupid way of saying thanks. And yeah, this month is included too. Nimue leads with Maithili and MSM closely behind.


Okay am going now. Am bad at goodbyes. *wipes fake tears*

bestsellers

Digital Fortress - Dan Brown

11:14:00 AM


AUTHOR - Dan Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author of Thrillers. Brown's novels, which are treasure hunts set in a 24-hour time period, feature the recurring themes of cryptography, keys, symbols, codes, and real life appearance covered conspiracy theories. His books have been translated into over 40 languages, and as of 2009, sold over 80 million copies..

BEST-SELLERS -


§ Digital Fortress, 1998

§ Angels & Demons, 2000

§ Deception Point, 2001

§ The Da Vinci Code, 2003

§ The Lost Symbol, 2009



SYNOPSIS Dan Brown set his razor-sharp research and storytelling skills on the most powerful intelligence organization on earth--the National Security Agency (NSA), an ultra-secret, multibillion-dollar agency many times more powerful than the CIA. When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage...not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves. From the underground hallways of power to the skyscrapers of Tokyo to the towering cathedrals of Spain, a desperate race unfolds. It is a battle for survival--a crucial bid to destroy a creation of inconceivable genius...an impregnable code-writing formula that threatens to obliterate the post-cold war balance of power. Forever.

Quotes –

· “I It is said that in death, all things become clear; Ensei Tankado now knew it was true.”


· “ there was no doubt in anyone's mind that Strathmore loved his country.He was known to his colleagues as a patriot and a visionary...a decent man in a world of lies.”


· “ Every night the young Tankado stared down at the twisted fingers holding his daruma wish-doll and swore he'd have revenge - revenge against the country that had stolen his mother and shamed his father into abandoning him.”


· “He seemed to have an uncanny ability to see past the moral perplexities surrounding the NSA's difficult decisions and to act without remorse in the interest of the common good.”


· “ An algorithm that resists brute force will never become obsolete.”

Pulkit Speaks –

Unputdownable is the word for this one. Now for those of you who have not come across Dan Brown’s books yet, I can tell you from my experiences that there are only two shades to it – either you will fall in love with them or you will end up feeling that they are just plainly overrated. I belong to the class of people who thinks that he is unarguably the best in the business in his genre. He writes books that enlightens you as well as entertain you at the same time. Digital fortress is just plain delight and a master read that runs at its amazing neck breaking pace and makes you turn pages one after the other, till the time you have read it all. The technical concepts and algorithms about system security and how they solve the problems in the book till the very last moment can actually double your interest to know about the field of cryptography. Yes at various stages of the book, it would be predictable but that is no reason not to appreciate the creatively engrossing and brain engaging plotline of the book which is almost a ten on ten pointer. In my personal opinion this is Dan Brown’s not only first one but the best one too, closely followed by Angels and Demons, Deception point being third. I found the lost symbol to be a little over lengthy. Let me know what you felt about his books if you have read them in the comments section.

Rating – 4.5 / 5. You will not regret spending on this one!

Price – 299

Original Language: English Publisher: St. Martin's Press Country: U.S.A. Publication Date: 1 January 1998 ISBN: 0312263120 Page Count: 431

PS – Apologies for the irregularity on the blog from my side. It’s not intentional but forcefull. The new schedule in the job is just too stressful at the moment . Shall try to post and stay interactive with all you guys soon. Came to Kanpur for a day at home and managed time to post this. How is everyone doing by the way? Let there be comments! : )

Maithili

Chromosome 6- Robin Cook

9:50:00 AM



Author : Robin Cook

Synopsis: (From book cover)

When notorious underworld leader Carlo Franconi is gunned down, his Mafioso competitors become prime suspects. Suspicions are fuelled when Franconi’s body disappears from the city morgue before it can be autopsied- much to the embarrassment of the authorities, but to the amusement of forensic pathologist Jack Stapleton.
A few days later, the mutilated, unidentifiable body of a ‘floater’ arrives on the autopsy table and Jack himself becomes disturbed by the case. While unidentified bodies routinely make their way to medical examiner’s office, what arouses Jack’s curiosity is not so much that the body is missing its head, hands and feet – but also its liver.
Aided by his colleague Dr Laurie Montgomery, he identifies the corpse as the missing mobster. But who actually killed Carlo Franconi? And was the killer also responsible for the theft of the corpse and its grisly disfigurement?
Their search for the truth leads them to the steamy jungle of equatorial Africa, where they discover a sinister cabal whose activities include surgical procedures a step beyond the latest in current technology- and a leap beyond the accepted medical ethics.

Excerpts:
“When I toured that island way back before all this started,” Kevin said, “I remember seeing some caves in that limestone cliff. What I’m thinking is that our creations are going into the caves, maybe even living in them. It’s the only way I can think of to explain why the grid would fail to pick them up.”
Melanie brought up a hand to cover her mouth. Her eyes reflected a flicker of horror and dismay.
Candace saw Melanie’s reaction. “Hey, come on, guys,” she pleaded. “What’s wrong? What are you thinking?”
Melanie lowered her hand. Her eyes were locked on Kevin’s. “What Kevin was referring to when he said he was terrified he’d overstepped the bounds,” she explained in a slow, deliberate voice,” was the fear that he’d created a human.”

Maithili Speaks:
This is one of Robin cook's best work in his genre. I picked up this book trying to explore more into the world of medical fiction and to those who feel this book would go over their head - Robin cook has explained all the terms in a language any layman could understand! 

The story is of a academist Kevin who has stumbled upon a research involving Chromosome 6. With the help of this chromosome and biotechnology he is able to make a double of human by inserting the same gene in a bonobo-an ape family. Little does he know that Chromosome 6 also contains development genes!

The bonobos are created as double and can be used in future for organ transplant without any issues of incompatibility. The bio giant GenSys has set up a huge hospital and facilities for the research with the help of a small Africa country government which is in dire need of foreign currency- so much that it has made a capital punishment for anyone interfering with the Company. 

The project incharge recruits doctors and there is  chain of cuts to be given for each successful double. But the only issue that GenSys is worried about it -secrecy! An hint of this operation and they could get into serious animal right issues.

Kevin notices smoke in the jungles were bonobos are kept and he fears the worst- the bonobos are behaving like cavemen and using fire!!!!!!

Back in New York, Laurie and Jack, two medical examiners are worrying over the strange circumstances in which body of Carlos, a mobster, is found. Their trail leads them to African country where they discover the terrifying overstepping of ethics.

This story is amusing and the whole concept of bonobos turning like cavemen is fascinating. The plot is excellent and fast paced.

Rating: 4 /5

You can download this book from HERE

crime thriller

Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver

3:06:00 PM


Synopsis : A highway patrol trooper notices something strange on the side of the road: a homemade cross, fashioned as a memorial. Except the date being 'remembered' is the following day - the day the police find a kidnapped teenage girl in the trunk of a car, left for dead.

Special Agent Kathryn Dance, the kinesics expert with the California Bureau of Investigation, is on the case. The teenage victim points her to an online community where accusations fly and the criticism turns from impartial to personal - and vicious. It looks as though the bullying went too far, and one teen has finally snapped.

Then further crosses appear. Now Dance must race against the clock to find the attacker before he can carry out his deadly plans for revenge . . . in the cyber world and the real.

Click here for a preview of the book (via Google books ) .



Nimue Says : Kathryn Dance is an expert in kinesics, which is the study and analysis of body language. In addition to the contribution kinesics makes to the mystery in the novel at hand, it's interesting to learn about body language techniques since we can apply them to real life situations we face daily.

While I love the author , am a fan of his Rhyme series books , and even liked this character of Kathryn Dance , this book though does not reach that high.  It does not disappoint , but some where you know that the plot is throwing obvious twists. All through the book,I felt it strongly that the person chased is not the real culprit , but yes, who is the real killer was a mystery till the end (Thank Deaver for that ) ! One good thing about Deaver's book is that they are informative too. He likes to give details of the technology or scenario he uses as setting of the book. This one deals with blogs , games , online profiles and general security related to these. Trust me, that the facts and explanation are quite good. I atleast enjoyed those.

Also, most of the characters in the book apart from Kathryn need to be sketched a bit more in detail. Its not enough to imagine their ways and psyche accurately from the descriptions.

In all, a page turner indeed. You will get a good idea of Deaver if you haven't read him before. He still stays my fav thriller author .

Rating : 3/5

Other details :
ISBN: 0340937270
ISBN-13: 9780340937273,978-0340937273
Binding:     Paperback
Number of Pages: 464
Price : 150 @ flipkart

Must read by the author : The Bone collector , The Vanished Man , The broken window

audrey niffenegger

The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

10:54:00 AM


THE TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE

GNERE: FICTION

AUTHOR: Audrey Niffenegger

SYNOPSIS:
(Blurb)
This is an extraordinary love story of Claire and Henry who met when Claire was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Claire was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force whcih they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Claire's struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable. 

EXCERPT:
Claire: It's hard being left behind. I wait for henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he's okay. It's hard to be the one who stays.
I keep myself busy. Time goes faster that way.
I go to sleep alone, and wake up alone. I take walks. I work until I'm tired. I watch the wind play with the trash that's been under the snow all winter. Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by absence?

Chandana speaks-
This book tells the story of Henry DeTamble, a librarian in Chicago and his wife Claire Abshire, who is an artist. Henry has a rare genetic disorder (Chrono-Displacement) that causes him to travel through time involuntarily. In the opening of the novel, when 28 year old Henry meets 20 year old Claire, he has no idea who she is although she has known him her entire life. Weird much? It just gets weirder. Henry begins his time traveling at the age of five, jumping forward and backward in his timeline. Where he goes, when he goes, and how long he goes is never in his control. He could be doing an everyday task like brushing his teeth and he would suddenly find himself with a 12 year old Claire. Most often he travels to places and times related to his history. He goes jogging to remain calm and stay in the present. Henry cannot carry anything with him during his sudden travels so he always arrives naked and then struggles to find food, clothes and shelter. 

The Time Traveler's Wife follows the story of their lives mostly in a straightforward chronology, at least from Claire's perspective. She's a child and then a teenager with their secret rendezvous throughout the years in the meadow. Henry first visited her at an older age, so he knew the dates that the earlier versions of himself would visit the older versions of Claire (Its confusing I know.. but keep up!) She kept clothes hidden for him in the meadow and sometimes hid him in a basement room of her house. He was her big secret that she always kept to herself. How could she explain the presence of an older man who traveled through time to be with her?  During another visit, he inadvertently reveals that they will be married in the future. Over time they develop a close relationship. Claire is last visited in her youth by Henry in 1989, on her eighteenth birthday, during which they make love for the first time. They are then separated for two years until their meeting at the library - which is the 'actual meeting' when both of them are in the present.

At its heart, and a very big heart at that, The Time Traveler's Wife is a love story, one populated by realistic characters. Even with the time travel and its effects on their lives, Henry and Claire are people you intimately know and empathize with, their fears and flaws common to us all. Even through their rough stretches of their life, the lifelong fear of something terrible happening to Henry while time traveling, their anguish at the miscarriages when Claire wants a baby more than anything else, the moments where they'd just rather be alone, their love for each other is never questioned and their hope is never extinguished. Henry plans carefully and worries often during potentially stressful situations, like his wedding to Claire or meeting her family for the first time. It also adds to the suspense of the story, not knowing when Henry will arrive or leave during any important part of their life together.

You kind of start to guess where the story is headed when finally Henry and Claire finally have a daughter,  Alba. Alba is diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement as well but, unlike Henry, she has some control over her destinations when she time travels. Before she is born, Henry travels to the future and meets his ten-year-old daughter on a school field trip and learns that he died when she was five years old. Once you're buried within this novel and fully immersed in their lives, you have to suffer their pain - the knowledge that they know Henry is going to die, as well as celebrate their joys with Henry and Claire.

When he is 43, during what is to be his last year of life, Henry time travels to a Chicago parking garage on a frigid winter night where he is unable to find shelter. As a result of the hypothermia and frostbite he suffers, his feet are amputated when he returns to the present. Henry and Claire both know that without the ability to run and escape when he time travels, Henry will certainly die within his next few jumps. On New Year's Eve 2006 Henry time travels into the middle of the Michigan woods in 1984 and is accidentally shot by Claire's brother, a scene foreshadowed earlier in the novel. Henry returns to the present and dies in Claire's arms.

Claire is devastated by Henry's death. She later finds a letter from Henry asking her to "stop waiting" for him, but which describes a moment in her future when she will see him again. The last scene in the book takes place when Claire is 82 years old and Henry is 43. She is waiting for Henry, as she has done most of her life, and when he arrives they clasp each other for what may or may not be the last time.

PRICE: INR 280/- (Flipkart price)
Film Tie-in (Paperback)
Pages - 615

RATING: 4/5


Notice

Kind Attention Please!

11:18:00 PM


Dear Members/Readers and Signed up Reviewers of A Lot of Pages,

It has been really disappointing and frustrating to notice that the so-called-Book-Lovers have NOT been reviewing even the least expected number of TWO books a month. The Admins alone cannot hold the ground, for, the reason of your joining this place is our mutual admiration for books and the need to share it with everyone else. However, the dwindling number of reviews and the same names doing the work, sort of, shows that may be passion to read has been diminishing in the people who have joined us in this quest to read on A Lot of Pages.

It is understanble that some of you have examinations at the moment (We do too!) and other important works and would rather not savor the pages of a book. However, if your reasons are genuine enough and you are unable to post for any given month, just send an email to the A Lot of Pages Id (alotofpages@gmail.com) stating why you would not be able to do soWe are not monsters. We understand. This would keep us informed so that we can look for alternatives. Non-information and No Posts reflect badly on the Blog that may be we are not convincing enough for the Book Lovers to do a review for us.

Following are the Additional Set of Instructions for smooth functioning, which are in effect immediately from December 1st 2011
  • The Admins can give a maximum lax for TWO months without completing the Quota of 2 reviews per month;
  •  By the succeeding 3rd month, the Pending Reviews  including the monthly quota have to be up i.e. to say if you are unable to do a review for a month, in the succeeding month, you will have to do a total review of 4 books.
(!) Non-adherence with this condition empowers the Admins to BAR you from doing any further reviews on A Lot Of Pages.
  • Also, it would be great if we could find the readers/reviewers, who visit here regularly, to contribute actively instead of gracing us only for the GIVEAWAYS.
Disclaimer: This notice is not intended to pressurize anyone, for we cannot force anyone to read. Reading is a passion and it comes naturally, irrespective of anything. Reading should be like hunger, which you need to satiate. Therefore, this notice shall be taken as a slight reprimand to remind you of the passion you might just have forgotten and neglected. The Admins do not hold any personal grudge against anyone. Thank you!

Much Regards,
The Admins

Fantasy

Stone of Farewell - Tad Williams

5:59:00 PM


Stone of Farewell

Book 2 of 'Memory, Sorrow and Thorn'

Read about the first book HERE

ISBN - 978-0-88677-480-6
FIRST PRINTED - 1991
PAGES - 749
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE - Fantasy

AUTHOR -
Tad Williams

BEST-SELLERS -
The Dragonbone Chair, War of the Flowers

SYNOPSIS - It is a time of darkness, dread, and ultimate testing for the realm of Osten Ard, for the wild magic and terrifying minions of the undead Sithi ruler, Ineluki the Storm King, are spreading their seemingly undefeatable evil across the kingdom. With the very land blighted by the power of Ineluki's wrath, the tattered remnants of a once-proud human army flee in search of a last sanctuary and rallying point - the Stone of Farewell, a place shrouded in mystery and ancient sorrow.

And even as Prince Josua seeks to rally his scattered forces, Simon and the surviving members of the League of the Scroll are desperately struggling to fulfill missions which will take them to the fallen citadels of humans to the hidden mountain caves of the Qanuc trolls....across storm-tormented waters to discover the truth behind an almost-forgotten legend...to the secret heartland of the Sithi, where the near-immortals must at last decide whether to ally with the race of men in a final war against those of their own blood.

EXCERPT -
An ash-darkened figure rose from the smoking  clutter at Ingen's feet.

"Venyha s'anh!" Jiriki shouted, and drove Indreju squarely into the huntsman's midsection.

Driven backward by the impact of Jiriki's blow, Ingen at last staggered to a halt, bending over the length of the blade which had been wrenched from its owner's hand. He gradually straightened, then coughed. Blood dribbled from his mouth and stained his pale beard, but his smile remained. "The time of the Dawn Children.....is over," he rasped. There was a humming sound. Suddenly a half-dozen arrows stood in Ingen's broad trunk. sprouting on all sides like hedgehog quills.

"Murder!"

It was Simon who shouted this time. He leaped to his feet, his heartbeat sounding loud  as war-drums in his ears; he felt the whipsong breath of the second volley of arrows as he ran forward towards the huntsman. He swung the heavy stone which he had clutched for so long.

FL Speaks - [contains spoilers. I strongly suggest that you read the first book or atleast the review of it]

Naglimund has fallen. Josua and a handful barely survive the destruction of the city by the Storm King and the Norns. With death chasing them, the prince and his company enter the Great Forest in the hopes that whatever old magic still resides in the forest is enough to keep their enemies at bay while they seek out the last hope of mankind, the Stone of Farewell. The Stone of Farewell is a powerful and a very sorrowful place for the Sithis...because that is where they and their once brothers parted ways.

Simon, on the quest for Thorn is captured with Sludig and Binabik by the trolls. Binabik is on trial for crimes he committed on his quest. As the days pass, the elders judge Binabik guilty and orders death. Simon manages to rescue them but eventually the trolls capture them again. But this time, they have proof that their common enemy was rising in power and so they are allowed to leave. Meanwhile Josua and his team are chased by the undead Norns across the forest and then captured again by some tribe chiefs whom he met before. [This chasing and escaping and chasing again can get a little too much for me specially when i don't get to read about the wars or the cunning evil plan that the High King was planning] It seems like Simon had his share of his adventures before he and Binabik and his small team were attacked by (wait for it....) GIANTSSSS!!!! Yeah! Soon enough, Simon is separated from them and finds himself in the land of the Sithi as a guest of Jiriki. The Sithi hometown greeted a mortal after ages but made it clear that Simon can never ever leave the city again.

The princess Miriamele is in Nabban with the mysterious priest Cadrach and soon they are in the cross-hairs of another political game which results in the assassination of the high priest by the evil Pyrates. Josua manages to reach the Stone of Farewell where he prepares for the last fight against the Storm King and his undead. With the final sword still missing the shift of power hangs in balance as Joshu'a men and the League of the Scroll try their best to keep themselves alive. The final act of war begins when the Storm King's minions attack the Sithi's own city killing their eldest. And its then, the Sithi decides to go to war against their former brothers.

Engaging continuation of the first book. This one doesn't give a moment's rest as the race for survival of the mortals hangs by a slim thread. In these two books they have been chased and chased, but I believe the final two books will start the the actual war that is looming over the horizon. Its time to take the fight to the Storm King, but without the third sword, everything else is futile. As the darkness envelopes the land, the Stone of Farewell is the last beacon of hope for the mankind against an enemy that was once a force of good but turned into a foreboding evil by circumstances and choices.

Can't wait to read the next one. Tad Williams once again proves why he is a must read along with Brandon Sanderson.

My Rating - 4 stars.

PRICE - INR 360/- [Flipkart Price]

Fiction

Tell Me Your Dreams - Sidney Sheldon

9:55:00 AM

Image Courtesy: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk

TELL ME YOUR DREAMS: Psychological Thriller, Fiction Novel

AUTHOR: Sidney Sheldon

BEST SELLERS: The Other Side of Me, Stranger in the Mirror, Rage of the Angels, Are you Afraid of Dark and many others.

SYNOPSIS (From the Back Cover):
Ashley - elegant yet haunted...Toni, sultry as well as vivacious...Alette, lovely and totally without conceit...three beautiful young women suspected of committing a series of horrifying murders. One of the most bizarre murder trials of the century is about to begin - and reveal an astounding, startling piece of medical evidence almost impossible to believe. Sweeping from London to Rome, from Quebec to San Franciso, this latest tale from the world's reigning master storyteller is so much more than a mystery: It is a searching, riveting and finally triumphant foray into the dark, wild depths of human heart.

EXCERPT:
Ashley PattersonSomeone was following her. She had read about stalkers, but they belonged in a different, violent world ... as Ashley turned the car onto Silverado Street, she had the uneasy feeling that he was behind her, following her. But who? And why? She looked into her rearview mirror. Everything seemed normal. She turned on the windshield wipers. They began to sweep across the window, hissing, "He's gonna get you...gonna get you...gonna get you", Hastily, Ashley turned them off. Two minutes later, she was heading for her apartment. She reached the front door, put the key in the lock, opened the door and froze. Every light in the apartment had been turned on...


Toni Prescott:
"All around the mulberry bush,
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey thought 'twas all in fun,
Pop! goes the weasel."
Toni Prescott knew exactly why she liked to sing that silly song. Her mum had hated it. "Stop singing that stupid song. Do you hear me? You have no voice, anyway." "Yes, Mother." And Toni would sing it again and again...the memory of defying her mother still gave her a glow. She was twenty-two years old, impish, vivacious, and daring. Toni thought about how much her mother would have hated the Internet. But then her mother had hated everything. Toni could never please her. "Can't you ever do anything right, you stupid child?" Toni thought about the terrible accident in which her mother had died. Toni could still hear her screams for help. The memory of it made Toni smile...


Alette PetersAlette Peters could have been a successful artist. As far back as she could remember, her senses were tuned to the nuances of color. She could see colors, smell colors and hear colors... She was shy and soft-spoken. "Why are you interested in that stuff?" Toni Prescott would ask her. "Come on to P.J. Mulligans with me and have some fun." "Don't you care about art?" Toni laughed. "Sure. What's his last name?" There was only one cloud hanging over Alette Peters' life. She was manic-depressive. Her mood swings always caught her unaware, and in an instant, she could go from a blissful euphoria to a desperate misery. She had no control over her emotions. Toni was the only one with whom Alette would discuss her problems. Toni had a solution for everything, and it was usually: "Let's go and have some fun!"

MSM Speaks: This was my first Sidney Sheldon book, 6 years ago. I remember being curious, thrilled to the core with every turning page. That is how Sidney hooks his readers. Like his many works, women play a crucial role in this one too. Ashley Patterson is a computer genius but has off late, been feeling very anxious that someone is following her. She even has evidences...her undergarments drawer has been gone through, all the lights of her apartment are on, when she had double locked-everything. She was sure, someone was stalking her. May be it was Dennis Tibble, the guy who had been trying to hit on her...Ashley was confused and terrified. All men wanted only one thing. Toni Prescott hated Ashley. She thought Ashley was no fun. She was from London and loved parties, wearing short dresses and heavy makeup. She also loved the Internet...new people...everything used to be fun...but then, they would ask the same question, "Where baby?" and she would sign out. All men wanted only one thing. Alette Peters was a shy, pretty girl of 20 years. She loved painting and colors and was from Rome. She always used to be coy and was involved in charity. An old woman once said to her, "Dear, if I had a daughter, I'd want her to be exactly like you. " And Alette's inner voice would say, "If you had a daughter, she'd look like a pig like you." Alette would be  horrified of her thoughts.

These three women work at Global Computers, with Toni and Alette together, who would make fun of Ashley as Miss Goody-Two-Shoes until a serial killer was let loose. 5 murders have taken place, all men, Stabbed to death and castrated. And all the places have evidences that lead to a bizarre connection these three women have. They realize a freak connection between themselves. Trial starts after the Suspects are arrested and the most weirdest medical theory crops up. Now it is on the Defense Lawyer David Singer, a Corporate lawyer who has no practice in Criminal Law but is under a serious obligation, to prove whether such medical situation could be a basis to let someone free.

Now this is what I call a Thriller. It drops subtle hints but you can never figure out the real thing (Unless of course you ain't reading for the first time). The moment I thought I am getting the story right, something unpredictable pops up. Loved it! I finished it in few hours. And then I felt like I wanted more. To know more. Sidney knows what he writes. Additional Note at the end of the book shows that. MSM Recommends this.

My rating: 5/5 (Because dreams can be dangerous...)

Tell Me Your Dreams (Paperback)@ Harpercollins Publishers (1998)
ISBN 978-8172234904
Pages: 352
flipkart Price: 175/- INR
e-book link ----->Here<------

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Innocent Erendira and Other Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

12:45:00 AM



Other Books :  Love in the time of cholera , 1000 years of solitude

Synopsis :
Whilst her grotesque and demanding grandmother retires to bed, Erendira still has floors to wash, sheets to iron, and a peacock to feed. Exhausted , she collapses into the bed with the candle still glowing, and is fast asleep when it topples over. 872,315 pesos , her grandmother calculates, has to be repayed by Erendira has to repay for the loss of the house. As she is dragged by her grandmother from town to town and hawked to soldiers, smugglers and traders, Erendira feels herself dying. Can the love of a virgin save the young whore from her hell?

This is a collection of Gabriel's stories written in different years, translated from spanish.

Excerpt : (Picked randomly From different stories)
Only then did she understand that three thousand years had passed since the day she had a desire to eat the first orange.

'My last wish", she said to her husband, "is to be buried alive". She said it as if she wason her deathbed but she was sitting across the table in a dining room with windows through which  bright March light came pouring in.

Because a dead man can be happy with his irremediable situation.but a living person can't resign himself to be buried alive.

But we wanted her like that: ugly and glacial, like a mean contribution to our hidden defects.

( I guess I can go on and on ... but here is my fav) :
I love you so much that I wouldn't go to bed with you ...... I love you so much that every night I'd  kill the man who goes with you.

Nimue says :  If you read most stories for the multiple characters, plot and flow of events , you might not like most of the stories. If you can savour feelings , settings and moods of your environs without bothering for the cause, this is the book to be read ! The stories go slow , unravel instantly but the description will take all of the pages. Each story is as unique as it can be. the details  , the creepiness , the ugliness , everything about the story makes you sit back , read and then let it grow on your sub conciousness. Some lines you will not easily forget. Some incidents show the deepest thoughts of human heart , tender , bitter sweet , weird yet so real.
Most of the stories are kind of depressing in general read but there is beauty to each. Its magical at places , poetic in every way. I felt like I was sipping old wine with best of the platter in front of me. Take time finishing this. and you will return to read it again for sure. I did.

Others:
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Perennial; First edition. edition (August 25, 1979)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060907010
ISBN-13: 978-0060907013
Price : 240

Rating 5/5

Fiction

Love in the time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

11:35:00 PM



Love in the time of Cholera
ISBN 0-14-011990-6
First Printed : 1985
Pages : 348
Binding : Paperback
Genre: novel, love story

Author : Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Bestsellers: One hundred years of solitude, love in the time of cholera

Original language : Spanish (El amor en los tiempos del cólera)

Synopsis
a proud, haughty Fermina Daza rejects the hopeless innocent love of Florentino Ariza, and instead settles for a seemingly perfect, wealth, looks, reputation and education wise man Dr. Juvenal Urbino. The ups and downs of unrequited love of Florentino and seemingly fuller life of Fermina and Juvenal, is what the story is weaved of. On the way we also meet interesting, quirky and scandalous characters.

Excerpt : 
It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love. Dr. Juvenal Urbino noticed it as soon as he entered the still darkened house where he had hurried on an urgent call to attend a case that for him had lost all urgency many years before. The Antillean refugee Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, disabled war veteran, photographer of children, and his most sympathetic opponent in chess, had escaped the torments of memory with the aromatic fumes of gold cyanide.

Nightflier Speaks :

First things first. I don't even know why I picked and then decided to buy this book. On a landmark trip I had almost bought 100 years of solitude, but then because of a self imposed intervention did not buy it. Nonetheless I think it was destined that I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's cholera first!

Masterpieces don't need any recommendation. Because I tried it once and meandered hopelessly. Hence I feel compelled to write what Roger Ebert says about Gabo's writing -  'I'm wondering, as I started by saying, if what makes Garcia Marquez so great a writer is his work's insistence on being read, not seen'.

Having said that, I can now freely sing praises for the book. It's a book which grows on you. The carribbean setting, the colonial architecture, the scandalous characters, everything. And the triumph of the writer is in the fact that he doesn't make us feel empathy for any of them. He weaves a story by making the reader an observer, a bystander in those times, those places. 

The people in the book are on a quest for love, which each explores in his/her own way, as fate permits. And by the end of it, it all feels very peaceful and calm. There is no clamor of passion, hope or disillusion. Also the book has a very amusing and funny undertone. As if it knows what not to take seriously.

This is an extraordinary book which makes us wonder at Gabo's finesse as a writer. To imagine that I read a translation and not the original book, makes him all the more awesome.

Rating : 5/5

Price : 200 Rs. Penguin India [flipkart price]

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