Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Review: The Martian

The Martian The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Put simply, this book is just brilliant writing and sharp editing.
I loved the movie, but I'm happy that the movie did not spoil the book for me. Also, I realize now why it was so easy to convert this book into a movie; the source material is already so well-written. The book makes you smile, laugh at Watney's sarcastic sense of humor and cry at the climax. But above all, in this age where dystopias are all the rage, it restores your faith in basic humanity; at that primal human instinct to help anyone out in times of distress. I loved Watney's sense of humor, it's what kept him alive. For the record, I also loved Damon's portrayal in the movie, I was tied even between rooting for him and Leo for the Oscar.
The book seems to have reignited my love for these survival adventures like Robinson Crusoe, The Lost World, etc. I'd love to read more by the author.

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Review: The Guilty

The Guilty The Guilty by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first book of 2016 and this one has actually set the bar quite high. This is the fourth book in the Will Robie series. Robie messes up two of his missions. Meanwhile, his father, whom he ran away from as a teenager, has been arrested for a murder in Mississippi. Robie returns home to confront the demons of his past and Reel joins him later as the body count in his hometown begins to rise.

This story is about the repercussions of our actions that we sometimes don't even think about, of relationships with one's family and learning to forgive the past and move forward in life. You can travel the world, change your personality, escape your hometown; but you can never escape your roots.

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Book Haul - The new Amos Decker by David Baldacci

Hello mystery junkies! I have been AWOL for a long while now, but I finally decided to be back.So as my first come-back post I'm sharing my first book haul post with you guys. 

Today I went to Dolmen Mall, Tariq Road to find a nice dress for Ramazan/ Eid. However, as all brands are launching their festival collections tomorrow, I was unable to find anything good to buy. Of course, I had to stop by Liberty Books to browse through their shelves...duh! And boy am I so glad that I did, because look what I found:

Yup that's right, your eyes are not deceiving you. This is indeed a paperback for the second book of David Baldacci's new series, Amos Decker. The reason for my excitement was that the book only released this April and only the hardcover is currently available on Amazon USA website. The paperback edition is scheduled to be released in September 2016. I was afraid that I would have to wait till September to get my hands on this book. But thanks to Liberty Books and Pan Macmillan India, I was able to get my hands at a reasonably priced paperback so early!

The listed price for the book was Rs. 1195, but I got it for Rs. 1075 only thanks to my Liberty Book Club membership card. Plus 10% points was also added to my account balance to be redeemed later. (P.S. They were out of bookmarks, so I didn't get my customary free bookmark.)

To those of you who do not know it yet, David Baldacci is my absolutely favorite contemporary author and I've read almost all the books that he has ever written. The first book in his Amos Decker series was Memory Man which I have rated 5 stars on Goodreads last year. Memory Man felt way darker than anything I've ever read by Baldacci. A Serial killer arc, that chills you, disgusts you, but still keeps you turning the pages to get to the end. While I love reading the more spy-type Puller and Robie series, Memory Man reminded me of his old gems like Simple Genius and Last Man Standing.  

I can't wait to dig into this one, maybe I'll find time to start it this weekend. Watch out for my review when I'm finished with this one, meanwhile, leave a comment below if you have also been waiting eagerly for Baldacci's next!  

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Review: Deliver Us From Evil

Deliver Us From Evil
Deliver Us From Evil by David Baldacci

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another solid novel by David Baldacci. I did felt that it was a bit long and could have been edited better. But I loved reading all the detailed descriptions, even though it went a bit too gory for me at times.

Spoiler Ahead. Consider yourself warned!!

From what I have heard, Baldacci does not have any immediate plans to take this story forward. Even if he wanted to, there is no clear direction for the franchise to go. Does he make the future book only about Shaw? But then how unique would Shaw be from Baldacci's Will Robie and John Puller? It's his partnership (or I guess just his association) with Katie James that makes Shaw stand out from Puller or Robie. I'm not sure if officially Baldacci calls the series "Shaw series" only, but I seem to remember having the series referred to as "Katie James and A. Shaw series" someplace online. If Baldacci wants to explore this partnership further, he has to find a better plot to make Shaw and Katie part of the same story again. The romance-fan-trapped-deep-within-my-brain wonders if Baldacci would leave us hanging after Katie has admitted to herself that she is in love with Shaw.

Other than that, I'm still geeking out over the many references Baldacci made to other mystery authors; Agatha Christie, Lee Child and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!! I presume they were a fanboy'sman's nod to his favorite authors. Now would it have been too meta if Katie had picked up the latest King and Maxwell instead of a Lee Child.

“He rose, placed another small log on the fire, sat back down in his armchair, and opened his book.
"What are you reading?" Reggie asked.
"On a wild night like this? Agatha Christie, of course. I still feel compelled to see if Hercule Poirot's 'little gray cells' will do their job one more time. It seems to often inspire my own brain, however inferior it might be to the diminutive Belgian's.”

“That's because superstition has it that the first person who gets up from a party of thirteen will die?"
"Precisely. I believe Agatha Christie even wrote a mystery about it.”

“Katie James kept waking up. It was nothing unusual; it was just how she was. A noise here, an internal thought there, a nightmare that seemed so real she could touch it, kept hammering away. She finally rose, got some water and settled in an armchair, flicked on a reading light, and picked up the latest Lee Child thriller.”

“And he has guns and dogs that would make the Hound of Baskervilles seem like a bleeding Pekinese.”

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Monday, 5 May 2014

Review: The Associate

The Associate
The Associate by John Grisham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was a very good book at the start, but fell off at the end.

The last 100 pages were very good....but I was still looking for the end when I had finished it. Now I come to think of it, there was actucally no problem where Grisham left the tale. Maybe he should have written the last part in a different style so the reader would'nt have felt letdown. The excitement was building up, I was so curious about the end..........maybe he should have just ended when the Feds open the hotel room and find no sign of Bennie inside....

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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had wanted to read this book for a long time. I tried reading it as a ebook on my computer, but gave up after the first chapter. I found a paperback version of this book at the 8th Karachi International Book Fair in 2012 at the Discount Books section of Liberty Books stall.

This review is under construction. Thank you for your patience.

I am writing a review for this book after such a long time. At the time that I finished reading the book, the book had affected me so much that I did not think that I would be able to write a review for it. Nevertheless, I did note down my instant reaction so I could incorporate it in a review someday:

SPOILERS Ahead. Consider yourself warned!!

"I don’t know why I read dystopian fiction; why I do this to myself? After resisting the temptation, I similarly succumbed to reading The Hunger Games last year; and by the time I had finished the last book in the trilogy, I was feeling so morbid and disheartened. I guess my curiosity just got the best of me again. And the worst thing about 1984 was that so much of his predictions are now a grim reality.

The misplaced appendix at about Newspeak looked so out of place at first … that is, until I went back to read the introduction by Thomas Pynchon that I had initially skipped. As I read his interpretation of the appendix, I understood its significance; just like Goldstein’s book tells Winston what he already knows but cannot put into words. After reading the introduction, suddenly I was relaxed; the frown on my face vanished and began seeing a ray of hope once more. I remembered that the wheels of fortune are always turning and that the night is always darkest before dawn. Am I just a fool?

So there are like CCTV cameras everwhere in London, in the hallway, in the corridors and even inside your bedroom...and London is run by 4 ministries: love, peace, truth and plenty. And nothing is illegal anymore, so you get punished for each and every inappropriate behavior.

The narrator started a diary and fears that he will soon be caught by the Thought Police.

So the narrator works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, where he alters the historical records each day to cater to the wishes of the Party.

End of part I. Winston saw the same women in the street outside the antiques bookshop and he is convinced that she's spying on him. In a desolate mood he returns home to write his diary and ponder his future when she gives him up to the thoughtpolice.

So Winston has arranged a secret rendezvous with the girl, Julia. Winston has rented the room from the old prole man for his meetings with Julia. Winston's colleague, Syme, has been vaporised. Meanwhile prep for the Hate Week is in full swing. O'Brien has initiated the contact with Winston. So Mr. Charrington is not really an old man, he's actually a 35 year old men of the Thought Police. He has caught both Julia and Winston.

O'Brien tells Winston, "...One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

Winston is inside the Ministry of Love...or rather the Guantanamo Bay...he is told that he will be killed after they conquer is mind and he will vanish from the world without a trace...

"Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you and you sold me-"

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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Review: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

SPOILERS Ahead. Consider yourself warned!!

The Great Gatsby (2013) posters

I wanted to read it anyway, but now since the movie is coming out, I decided to push it up my Reading List. I know I would have pictured a different Jay, but now that I have seen the trailer...I can't wait to see Leo playing Gatsby. I didn't know Tobey Maguire was going to play Nick, but I guess he's the right choice. I haven't watched the older versions of this book, but I am eagerly waiting for May 2013 to watch this remake effort.

A still from The Great Gatsby (2013)

Nick Carraway is the narrator who has moved next door to a legendarily rich man who throws huge parties. Across the island lives his cousin Daisy who is married to Tom. He discovers that Tom is having an affair with a married woman living in New York. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Nick is going out with a professional golf player called Jordan Baker, who he met at Daisy's house. He is somewhat annoyed to find that Gatsby has a favor to ask him that Jordan will tell him about during their first date. He finds out that Gatsby used to know Daisy before she got married and wants to reconnect with her. He asks Nick to invite her to a tea party to his house so they can meet.

This book makes some hard statements about life in general. The first is about the fact that all of us are all alone in this world after all, there are no partners, no friends. Jay Gatsby gave wonderful parties where hundreds of people enjoyed themselves, most of them uninvited. Yet when Nick Carraway is undertaking his funeral arrangements, not one of those people agree to attend his funeral, even on his insistent invitations. Most prominently missing is the woman he loved, Daisy, for whom he agreed to take the blame of running over a woman in broad daylight on himself. The women's husband killed him for revenge, but Daisy chose that moment to start a new life with her rich husband and does not even send flowers to his grave.

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