Angels Fall


Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Murder, Mystery, Contemporary Romance, Thriller.

Page Count:  391

Book Synopsis:  A chef moves to a small town in Wyoming after her Boston restaurant is shut down because of a fatal shooting. She starts to come to terms with her situation and the town,  untill things take a turn when she witnesses a mass murder in a hiking trail.

Movie Adaptation: Angels Fall (2009) 

This is the first suspense/mystery novel I read in my early teens and it’s an absolute thriller!(And I don’t say that from a thirteen year old’s point of view)

The journey is fluid! Each event glides past smoothly and tantamounts to a really good mystery! The novel has elements of romance, mystery, thrill, murder-making it a really engaging experience.

Here’s a sneak:

REECE GILMORE smoked through the tough knuckles of Angel’s Fist in an overheating Chevy Cavalier. She had two hundred forty-three dollars and change in her pocket, which might be enough to cure the Chevy, fuel it and herself. If luck was on her side, and the car wasn’t seriously ill, she’d have enough to pay for a room for the night.Then, even by the most optimistic calculations, she’d be broke.She took the plumes of steam puffing out of the hood as a sign it was time to stop traveling for a while and find a job.No worries, no problem, she told herself. The little Wyoming town huddled around the cold blue waters of a lake was as good as anywhere else. Maybe better. It had the openness she needed—all that sky with the snow-dipped peaks of the Tetons rising into it like sober, and somehow aloof, gods.

My preferences don’t take a liking to reading romance, but this bubble of love painted by Roberts is subtle, is calm, and it just glides through like it was meant to be. The spark between the lovers is unmissable! 

Sly comments, under-appreciated symbolism, satisying and engaging and moreover, an overall terrific plot- this one definitely is worth the read!

 Ratings:

Critics : 4 / 5

I’d rate it : 4 / 5

 

Kafka on the Shore


  • Author: Haruki Murakami
  • Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Romance
  • No. Of pages: 615

You must’ve heard of those “100 books to read before you die” lists; well this one is definitely one of them!

A book of its very open kind, it’s not bordered by any genre whatsoever. It is a science fiction, a mystery thriller, a fantasy with science and adventure. And oh yes it has romance too! 😛

Considered one of Murakami’s better works, Kafka on the shore takes the reader on an exhilarating ride in a world of bizarre. With unimaginable events happening things do tend to get a little gory, and gory it does get. But the words don’t​ let the interest deter on bit.

Let me show you what I mean:

Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. 

Why? 

Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

But the one major dip in the book is the whopping number of loose ends it gives way to. Too many things are left unanswered, which might make the reader feel unsatisfied even after a read of over 600 pages.

This clash of things good and bad makes one either applaud at how cunning Murakami is as a writer or how selfish he is to have left the reader hanging in curiosity forever!

Selfish or no, Murakami does give us various points to ponder over- human nature, our superstitions​, our prejudices, our very existence. Such food-for-thought easily compensates for all the loose ends one could possibly find.

Ratings:

Critics- 3.9/5

I’d rate it- 4.2/5

The Importance of Being Earnest

Author: Oscar Wilde

Page Count: 76

Genre: Farce, Comedy, Drama (also a Rom-Com, if you may!)

Book synopsis: (Basically, a story of two bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff, who create alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives).

Movie Adaptation: The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)

Book outline: Play

This one is a Wilde one! The plot is really simple. A plot so plain with too many twists makes a classic that is The Importance of Being Earnest!
Oscar Wilde’s sharp wit is insuperable, and its judicious use in this social sattire is impeccable! The art of deceiving for love is portrayed enigmatically with comical consequences, as classy as literature could get!
The stock characters are as equally entertaining as the protagonists! Lady Bracknell was sassy long before it was cool. Algernon might as well be the founder of memes we have today. Also, isn’t faking a name  so much easier and less damaging than faking your entire identity to impress that lad/girl?
It ends with an overwhelming number of twists and consequently ends quite abruptly. You could say the climax of the story is quite at the end.
The writing is not your ancient English you would expect! The literature is quite modern, simple to understand and straightforward . Being an easy read, It’s not head-wrecking; Hell you don’t even need to sit with a dictionary or Google chapter/scene summaries! There is not even a single page mundane!

If you find classics uninteresting (and feel overwhelmed by or wanna get back at your collection of snobs that are your bookish friends who constantly quote classics), this one is for you! It’s really short so moreover you will finish it in an hour or two in a sitting.
Many of you must have been forced to read this one in your literature coursework! If you haven’t, this farcical comedy is definitely worth a shot!
Ratings:

Critics: 4.2/5

I’d rate it: 4.5/5

The Diary of A Young Girl: Anne Frank


  • Author: Anne Frank
  • Genre: Autobiography, Historical
  • No.of pages: 312

Now here’s a book nobody can really review. How could anyone possibly review the words of determination and will by a girl of mere 13 years of age, who’d written them in hiding from the mass murder of the Holocaust?

So hence this is less of a ‘review’ and more of ‘my opinions’ about the diary.
Imagine being in hiding behind a faux bookcase, away from all normal life without even the liberty of making the daily household noises. And all this while hoping the Nazis do not catch-and-cook you! Well that was Anne’s life for years on an end.

In conditions like these, Anne showcased such optimism, such clarity of thoughts that has perplexed both the young and the aged alike!

I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right.

There were times when I read the books and could not help but look at her picture on the cover page and wonder HOW in the world could a child so young have so much to think, so much to write, so much to look forward to!

I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. But, and that is the greatest question, will I ever be able to write anything great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, for I can recapture everything when I write, my thoughts, my ideas and my fantasies.

This is one of the books that gives the reader much more than mere reading pleasure; it gives the teachings of sheer hopefulness and optimism what come may.

Ordinary people simply don’t know what books mean to us, shut up here. Reading, learning, and the radio are our amusements.

She’s so “us”, isn’t she?

Ratings:

Critics- 4.1/5

I’d rate it- 4.5/5

The Three Musketeers

  • Author: Alexandre Dumas
  • Genre: (Fiction) Historical, Romance, Social Commentary, Adventure
  • No. of pages: 554 (the Wordsworth Classics edition)
  • Book synopsis: The Three Musketeers is one of the most celebrated historical romances ever written. It tells of the hot headed young Gascon, d’Artagnan, and his three companions Athos, Porthos and Aramis. In their gallant defence of the Queen of France, Anne of Austria, they put their wits and their swords against the machinations and men of that archetypal eminence grise, Cardinal Richelieu, as he schemes to hold on to his political influence over King Louis XIII. Their swashbuckling adventures take them from the high fashion of the French Court to the murkier aspects of espionage on either side of the Channel in a thrilling story of seventeenth century international intrigue. 

The drama! The theater! The excitement! That’s what The Three Musketeers is primarily about. Alexander Dumas’ debutante novel with its calm and its utter zeal, is a real page turner.

A hefty 600-pages novel, The Three Musketeers is big and plush but sinfully comfortable. It’s one of those books which could make you nostalgic when you’re done reading, nostalgic about the times of the French when horses were the only vehicles, when men were still chivalrous and when women were wasp-waisted.

Easily one of the best French classics, the quotes that Dumas’ offers in this book are numerous!

I do not cling to life sufficiently to fear death

Athos liked every one to exercise his own free-will. He never gave his advice before it was demanded and even then it must be demanded twice. 
“In general, people only ask for advice,” he said “that they may not follow it or if they should follow it that they may have somebody to blame for having given it”.

All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be, with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face.

Oh how I’d love to keep quoting Dumas forever! That’s the effect of him right there!

Finally, The Three Musketeers winds up saying that everything that matters — love, courage, pleasure and, especially, all-for-one-and-one-for-all friendship — exists most vividly not in the supposed centers of power, but elsewhere: in the margins of history, where the musketeers, immortally, live.

Ratings:

Critics-❤️❤️❤️❤️

I’d rate it- ❤️❤️❤️❤️ for these original friends-forever!

The Great Gatsby

                                        TheGreatGatsby_1925jacket

  • Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Genre: (Fiction) Romance, Tragedy, Social Commentary 
  • No. of pages: 180                                                                             
  • Book synopsisHere is a novel, glamorous, ironical, compassionate -a marvelous fusion into unity of the curious incongruities of the life of the period which reveals a hero like no other- one who could live in no other time and in no other place. But he will live as a character, we surmise, as long as the memory of any reader lasts. “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity of the promises of life….it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.” It’s the story of this Jay Gatsby who came so mysteriously to West Egg, of his sumptuous entertainments, and his love for Daisy Buchanan-a story that ranges from pure lyrical beauty to sheer brutal realism, and is infused with the strangeness of human circumstance in a heedless universe. It is a magical, living book, blended of irony, romance and mysticism.                                                                      
  • Movie Adaptations: The Great Gatsby (1974); The Great Gatsby (2000); The Great Gatsby (2013)    

 

Take a bow, Fitzgerald! If there was ever a man with a way with words, he it was. With a writing so intense, The Great Gatsby is nothing short of a ballad.

Set in the early 1920s (commonly referred to as the ‘Jazz Age’), the story depicts the lavish but meaningless lives the “well-to-do”s lived in the pursuit of money and pleasure. So lost were they in their chase for all things materialistic, that they’d lose track of reality. Very much like our poor Jay Gatsby; very much like our poor 21st century world.

Timelessly relevant, The Great Gatsby makes one realise that one must know when to quit. One must know what goals are unattainable. One must, at some point or the other, accept the changes. If all this makes the book sound like a moral-story, then yes it is but..well..it has to be the best moral-story ever written (no I’m not exaggerating).

The New York Herald Tribune referred to The Great Gatsby saying “…it contains some of the nicest little touches of contemporary observation you could imagine-so light, so delicate, so sharp…a literary lemon meringue.”

What works best for The Great Gatsby is its impeccable characterisation. A very convincing description of Gatsby sang:

 He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.

A sense of melancholy is what the book ultimately leaves us with. The ending, howsoever tragic, was foreboded by one and all but was yet unavoidable. But also does it give us the hope that despite of all that happens to us and to all around us, life DOES go on.

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

 

Ratings:

Critics-  ♥♥♥♥                                                                      I’d  rate it- Four green stars at the end of the dock ♥♥♥♥