The Puppeteers of Palem by Sharath Komarraju: A Review

the-puppeteers-of-palem-original-imaefa46a7jgjcvkThe Puppeteers of Palem

Sharath Komarraju

Six Word Summary: Stay the hell away from villages

I rate it : 7/10

Strange things have been happening in the village of Rudrakshapalem for many years now. A woman has disappeared after bashing in the head of her husband while he slept. Men from around the village are dying in the most bizarre accidents. A specter is spotted several times near the Shiv Temple on the village outskirts. And children are having vivid dreams where they can control the course of events. Something is haunting Palem, and it is up to five children  to unearth the evil and destroy it before it can do more harm. But apparently, what they think they have killed has only been pushed further underground, because it surfaces again, 17 years later, and the 5 children, adults now, are summoned back to the village by a mysterious letter, to finish what they started. Will these four men and one woman be able to fight the evil together, or will they find themselves pawns in the hands of the mysterious puppeteers who are punishing Palem? Continue reading

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist: A Review

“-there was something in her, something that was…pure horror. Everything you were supposed to watch out for. Heights, fire, shards of glass, snakes, Everything that his mom tried so hard to keep him safe from.”

coverLet The Right One In

John Ajvide Lindqvist

Translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg

Six Word Summary: Improve your life, befriend a vampire.

I rate it:7.5/10

Twelve year old Okcar can’t really catch a break. He is overweight, incontinent, friendless, horrendously bullied at school, his parents are going through a divorce, and his only reliefs in life are his books, his shrine dedicated to serial killers, his fantasies of murder, and compulsive shoplifting. Oskar seems to be well on his way to a miserable adulthood possibly complete with a basement full of dismembered bodies, when he befriends a new neighbor, a fragile looking 11 year old girl who walks barefoot in the snow, can see in the dark, can solve puzzles like a pro, and smells of decaying blood. But when Eli and her guardian move into town, they bring with them horrors that nobody is prepared for. Bodies, drained of blood, are being discovered strung up by the feet from tree and frozen in rivers, people who simply cannot be alive are being spotted walking, and cats are going bugshit. As Oskar discovers what his best friend is, does he recoil in human horror, or can this bonding, stemming from the loneliness of the eternal outsiders, survive undeath? Continue reading

Fourteen MORE Cynical Quotes about Love

Haven’t had your fill with part 1? Still think Love is the cat’s whiskers?
Read on.

Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

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Dorothy Parker, Unfortunate Coincidence

By the time you swear you’re his,

Shivering and sighing,

And he vows his passion is

Infinite, undying —

Lady, make a note of this:

couple

Continue reading

Ten Cynical Quotes about Love

All around me, on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, my blogfeed, quotes about everlasting love have started gathering, gently and annoyingly, like slow falling due. It’s like so many people have forgotten, or simply haven’t found out yet, what a ridiculous and dangerous thing love can be.
Anyway, I hope this dose of cynical quotes about love cures you little lovesick puppies of your temporary amnesia or naivete or whatever.
Always happy  to douse your burning passion with realism. Enjoy. And if one post is not dose enough, remember, there’s always part two.

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

1 perks

Continue reading

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman: A Review

cover The Sleeper and The Spindle

Neil Gaiman

Six word summary: Prince Charmings lose their raison d’etre

I rate it: 9/10

 

It’s not often that my reason for coveting a book is that it is beautiful. Sure, I have drooled over covers and artwork and bindings and even fonts before, but generally the book would need to have some substance as well.

If the text in The Sleeper and the Spindle was written by Amish Tripathi, I would still have spent a bomb on it just for Christ Riddell’s art, the black, white, & gold color scheme, and the gorgeous cover which is made up of a translucent dust jacket with black and gold roses, overlaying a black hardcover with the sleeper on the front and a (recognizable) skull on the back. Seriously, this is what fairy tales should look like.

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Happily, the text is written by Neil Gaiman, who is not amish or Amish by any turn of the imagination. In The Sleeper and the Spindle, Gaiman re-imagines the story of Sleeping Beauty, intertwining it with Snow White’s story, and turning both fairy tales pretty much on their heads. Continue reading

Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey: A Review

gorillas in the mistGorillas in the Mist

Dian Fossey

Six Word Summary: Basically The Godfather, except with gorillas

I rate it: 8.5/10

Sometimes, when the world does you in, and the pettiness of people exhaust you, a dose of the jungle is a healthy prescription. If you have it in you, you should visit the lands beyond the laws of man, sit in a shrub, be bitten by hideous insects, and observe wild animals in their element through your field glasses. If, however, you are a couch adventurer like me, the next best thing for you would be to pick up a book like Gorillas in the Mist. Continue reading

The Gambler by Dostoyevsky Adapted To Film

Guest Review.

DostoyevskyGambler_1

In late December, a Mark Wahlberg film called The Gambler was released to mediocre reviews. The main story about where the film came from was that it was a sort of reboot of the 1974 James Toback film of the same name. This is true, but going back a bit further, both films actually share the foundation of a short novel written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1867. Toback based his 1974 film loosely on Dostoyevsky’s work, so it stands to reason that the 2014 film also shares elements with that work. In this case of book-to-screen adaptation, however, a great deal changed along the way.

The projects are all similar is in their basic subject matter. Dostoyevsky’s book and both films share the premise of an intellectual figure seeking to balance the obligation to please elder family members, the desire to win affection from a beautiful young woman, and the temptations of a gambling addiction. And with all these factors in play, the works can accurately be described as cycles of hope and disappointment, as is generally the case in stories of gambling addiction. But beyond this shared basic structure, it’s interesting to view how the story has been twisted and changed through multiple adaptations. Continue reading

Yatrik by Arnab Ray: A Review

front_9789384030506 Yatrik

Arnab Ray

Six Word Summary: Dead guy asks questions, gets answers

I rate it: 6/10

Arnab Ray, I am aware, writes an enormously popular blog. Arnab Ray, I have been informed, has written the best Indian horror fiction in English ever. Arnab Ray, I have discovered, also writes mediocre erotica.

I read Arnab Ray’s blog, though not as regularly as I would have liked. I gave the horror fiction a miss, because books advertised as the best so-and-so ever are usually not, to my frequent disappointment. The erotica, as I might have mentioned, was mediocre (at best). And so, I started Yatrik, Ray’s third and latest book, with very little idea of what to expect. Continue reading

One Hundred Alcoholic Puns for Book Lovers (or Bookish Puns for Alcohol Lovers)

I apologize in advance. I’m a terrible person, and a worse punner.

One Sunday during the pujo build up, a friend mailed me a list of 20 book names with alcohol related punning. Delighted, as ever with anything that makes no sense, I sent him back a few of my own. He kept asking for more, and him being truly M and me being truly S, the list just grew on and on, from 30 to 42 to finally 100.

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The punathon began at 3 in the afternoon and went on till 8.30 in the evening. It would have amounted to self-torture, had it not been for the very lively discussion I was having on the side with The Bong Pen about the nature of literary punning. Two of the titles below are his creations, which I have credited properly because I am no punloiner. But many of the others are indirect pickings of his very fertile brain.

This is the list. As mentioned, the first 20 are generic email fodder, the remaining are mine except if mentioned otherwise. Many of these are in bangla. Each peg is not for everybody. Enjoy what you can.

Cheers. Continue reading

The Monogram Murders: The New Poirot Mystery by Sophie Hannah: A Review

monogram murders coverThe Monogram Murders

(Official Poirot Pastiche based on characters created by Dame Agatha Christie)

Sophie Hannah

I rate it:6.5/10

Six word summary: 3 murders, 300 theories, Poirot’s back.

Long Story Short: One evening at dinner at his favorite haunt, Hercules Poirot runs into a woman who seems to be terrified for her own life, and yet insistent that she not be helped in any way. On the same evening, three bodies are discovered at a posh hotel on the other side of town. Three bodies in three separate rooms, laid out identically and with a monogrammed cufflink planted in each dead mouth. With the help of his faithful sidekick, Poirot traces the victims to a common past and a shared, horrifying secret. But was it a suicide pact that led two elderly women and a man to breathe their last so far away from home, or was it an execution of justice, or was it simply murder moste foul? Poirot makes his way around red herrings and semi-fabrications to get to the truth behind the Monogram Murders, and race to prevent another killing from happening very soon. Continue reading

My Favorite Quotes from 10 Books I Love- A Variation on the Book Bucket Challenge

The Facebook book bucket challenge craze has come and gone, leaving each of us wiser about the tastes of our friends. We now know which unassuming elderly lady is secretly cool because she likes Douglas Adams, which colleague should be best avoided because Chetan Bhagat changed his life, and what books we should not make fun of in the presence of certain people.

The reason I didn’t respond to the multiple tags on my name was that listing out your 10 most favorite books is very similar to listing your 10 most favorite lovers, as in you’re pretty certain who 1, 2 and 3 are but after that there is this whole fuzzy internal debate with dilemmas like “But he had fabulous hair” and “Ah, no, he cried that one time during a really stupid movie”.

Anyway, I didn’t post my list to Facebook, because people there have the attention span of a mosquito at a nudist beach, and also because it is hard work figuring out who to tag and who not to.

Also, as Kriti Sharma pointed out, this whole tagging thing is so 2008 for us old blogkids.

So here is my list of 10 books I love a lot, along with my favorite quote from them:

Continue reading

Insects Are Just Like You And Me Except Some of Them Have Wings by Kuzhali Manickavel: a Review

It costs me never a stab nor squirm

To tread by chance upon a worm.

“Aha, my little dear,” I say,

“Your clan will pay me back one day.”

-Dorothy Parker, Thought For A Sunshiny Morning

 

 

“The cockroach would surely sing

 if it were made of other things”

 -Kuzhali Manickavel, A Bottle of Wings and Other Things

 

coverInsects Are Just Like You And Me Except Some of Them Have Wings

Kuzhali Manickavel

Six Word Summary: Insects have wings, people are crazy

I rate it: 9/10

Some books are magical because of where you read them, or when you read them, or who you read them with. Any other circumstance, and the enchantment fades, what was magical is revealed to be mundane.

Some books are magical because they just are. You could be reading one near the mephitic toilet of a sardine packed train running 7 hours late, and your fingers and toes would still be tingling.

Occasionally, but very occasionally, you will read a magical book, in a magical place, at magic o’clock. And who knows, maybe while using a wizard as a pillow. Continue reading