Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

This is the first Dan Brown book that I have read, as I normally keep away from popular authors.I found this book to be quite interesting reading though.

This book has all the qualities of a great thriller. It is fast paced, moving from France to England, and the readers are kept to the edge of their seats. The suspense is maintained till the very end. The author also does a good job of doing lots of research, so the book is intellectually stimulating as well.

There are a few things though, which I don't like about this book. I was not satisfied with Sophie's decision of hiding the crypt: I believe all secrets should unfold for the benefit of those who are in the quest of knowledge. The author could also have put in more puzzles, and symbols to make the book more interesting. And most important, I don't agree with his choice of the villan. I am a great fan of education and hate relegious fanatics in all form. If I were the author, I would have made the church the villain.

Overall a nice reading. Definitely worth the bestselling status it has obtained. I would give it a 7 out of 10

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Miss Marple Omnibus Volume I

I can never say enough about the writings of Agatha Christie. It is a mix of emotions whenever I pick up any of her works. I plan to have her complete collection some day.

I had in my collection quite a few of her works. I had Herucule Poirot, Tommy and Tuppence, and others but my collection was incomplete because I did not have any Miss Marple works. Recently I bought Miss Marple Omnibus Volumes I and II to do justice to this amazing lady.

Currently I am reading volume one of this collection. The novels that are included in this volume are:

  • The body in the library

  • The moving finger

  • A murder is announced

  • 4:50 from Paddingtom

Currently I am done reading the first three novels. Each one is very crisp, and very smart. She hypnotized me while I was reading through them, and after every chapter I was suspecting someone else, and in the end, when the plot was uncovered, I found I was wrong.

One more thing that attracts me to her writing is the fertility of her thought. The framework she constructs is absolutely mind-boggling. For example, in the novel "A Murder is Announced", I was struck by the audacity of the plot; a charade is conducted which led to the murder. Again, in "The body in the Library", the Red Herring effectively took my mind in a spin. That is the quality in her writing which I like: I would describe it in one word: smart!

I am very partial to Agatha Christie, and I would definitely recommend this work; or for that matter, any of her works; to anyone !!! And you guessed it !!! I would give it a perfect 10 out of 10

Saturday, April 22, 2006

How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life : Kaavya Viswanathan

Before I start, I would like to put a disclaimer; the views expressed are absolutely my own. I also took the liberty of putting in a picture of the title page. If that is inappropriate, please let me know and I will take it off.

The book caught my eye, while I was surfing through the offerings that were placed on display, in the book fair within our office campus. The title was something that attracted me; it made me think of the eternal story that is happening within any middle class Indian family. In order to get an education and a career, we are compromising on life itself.

I would classify this book as an adult fantasy. It has the charm of a fairy tale through and through. The heroine is an ugly duckling (not really ugly...I am just using a metaphor), she gets into all sorts of hardships, in Project HOWGAL (How Opal Will Get a Life), as the prime condition for her to get into Harvard was to act like a normal human being. It was comical and pathetic to see her parents chalk out plans for her to become popular. The story ends in the true fairy tale fashion. She gets to harvard, and gets her boyfriend back, whom she estranged when she tried "too hard" to get a life.

It is a nice reading, if fairy tales are your thing. The author uses crisp language, and the flow is smooth. The story is horribly predictable though, there were no element that caught me by surprise. The topic could have been given some serious treatment, but the author kept away from that route. There are no insights, and no way this book can be classified as serious stuff. I would give it a 5 out of 10