Ripples of my Reflections

I think, therefore I write

Tag: Books (page 1 of 2)

Book Review: The Confession

Book: The Confession
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Thriller
No. of pages: 418
My rating: 5/5

An innocent man is about to be executed.
Only a guilty man can save him.

I had this book lying around for a long time, never knowing why I didn’t pick it up. On an impulsive day and in a reading frenzy, I picked this up and found myself racing through the pages. I finished it in 2 days and it was absolutely worth the experience. I like crime and legal thrillers but sometimes find them placing disturbing images in my mind. The Confession did have such disturbing scenarios but I would say Grisham has used it sparingly only to support the plot and explain the context.

This is a book in which John Grisham is at what he does best, a legal thriller. Keith, a lutheran minister is unwillingly pulled into a race against time to save an innocent man from death penalty. Will he succeed? And then there are men like Travis Boyette who are hardened criminals who lie, change their minds like switching shirts, and never change. However, only Travis Boyette can save the innocent Donte Drumm from death penalty for a murder that Donte did not commit. Travis chooses Keith as his solution and pulls him into a roller coaster ride.

Does Keith succeed in saving Donte? Does Travis change and feel remorse? Who helps the duo in their race to Donte? There are so many characters involved and so many questions that arise. But Grisham deals with all of them deftly. The book is gripping to the point where the plot decides what Donte’s fate is and then from there, it takes a much more legal and a social view of what happens due to a wrongful conviction. What is at stake? So many people involved in a wrongful conviction, in so many ways. Are they able to live with it? Do they regret or are they worried only about saving themselves? The book offers closure on all these aspects.

As the plot grew, I encountered one too many characters but it did not have a tiring effect. The characters were unique and held different threads of the story together. I cannot blame Grisham for going into detail about some of the characters, we need it to understand how extreme humans can get. The gripping fact that what happens will happen shook me when Grisham threw the bombshell more than halfway through the book and my first reaction was that of being let down. But in his own style Grisham took the story forward and made me realize and accept that no matter what happens, life goes on. There are also places where the book strongly portrays the injustice of life in itself and how cruel people and time can get.

The only thread left till the last page is whether death penalty should be legal. There is another thread of whether death penalty is right or wrong. But that debate will go on even beyond the pages of this book.

Until later 🙂

P.S: A version of this review is also posted on Goodreads.

A case for Kindle

As much as I hate giving up buying hard bound or paperback books from the shop, getting lost in the new book smell and the pages of a whole new world, I recently realize Kindle has more perks to it than I care to admit. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t ever want to be that person who only buys intangible ebooks and I will not be. Now and then, I buy paperbacks to indulge and also to rest the guilt in me for moving away from them, even for a tiny bit.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize Kindle has more perks than I care to admit:

  • I love book shopping in book stores but currently I am on bed rest for a medical condition and I cannot go book shopping even if I wanted to. And since I have more time on hand, I can read more books at a faster rate and I find myself restless to wait until Amazon/Flipkart delivers the books I order. But with Kindle, one click and voila, I have a book to read in a matter of minutes.
  • Again, for a reason, I can only read books that are light, books that don’t turn my imagination to gore and violence. I was reading ‘The song of Fire and Ice’ and I had to stop midway. So this cuts down the type of books that I can read. So I get more restless once I find a book that I can read. I need to have it immediately. Kindle to the rescue!
  • I can carry my entire collection in one notebook sized device. No need to worry that I left a book at my parent’s place but have a craving to read it again. Of course, I shouldn’t be as mindless as to leave my Kindle behind! 😀
  • The biggest perk of all – With Kindle, lending books gets complicated. I cannot lend one book and read another – a good reason to not lend books. I am not selfish, I am just possessive about my books and book borrowers have only proved me right. At least, those who borrowed from me. I have a borrower who borrowed a book an year ago and never returned it. I doubt if she even remembers she borrowed it from me or if she has the book safely now. I have another one who borrowed 4 volumes of a classic and returned only 3 to me. I had to do everything short of begging to get the 3 volumes back. And she keeps saying she returned all 4. Sigh! I hate incomplete book sets. The saddest part is she didn’t even read the books. The least she could have done is keep it safe and return it, if she is not able to read it. These book borrowers being close relatives doesn’t help matters because you can only ask so many times. And if they say I already returned it and you know they are lying, well, what can you do? Spoil the relationship by speaking out or be quiet and mourn the loss of yet another book.

This is one reason I have a closed bookshelf at my place. I go gaga over open, artistic bookshelves but I have seen people who don’t even turn a page on a regular day ask if they can borrow a book when they see such beautifully arranged books. Can’t blame them, it is the magic of books. But I never get the books back and that’s the part I hate. Even worse, I get the books back in a dilapidated state. It just breaks my heart. Anyway, I digress!

So with Kindle, my heart rejoices that I need not go through the pain of lending and waiting anxiously for the safe return of my book babies. And when I am off my bed rest, I will buy as many paperbacks as I want and keep them in my closed bookshelf 😀

Until later 🙂

P.S: Don’t take me to be heartless because of my rant against book borrowers. I know a good book borrower when I see one. One who loves books as much as I do and one who understands the magic of reading. Such people rarely borrow books. They only do so, with great hesitation, when they can’t help it, like they really cannot get the book they want or if they want to check out the book first.

The Puppeteers of Palem – Book Review

puppeteers-of-palem-coverSource : sharathkomarraju.com

When I read Leo‘s take on ‘The Pupeteers of Palem‘ by Sharath Komarraju , I was excited and hesitant at the same time. I was excited because I wanted to read a book that Leo gave more than 4 on 5. I was hesitant because I don’t get along with spooky stories well. The only spooky tales I have read are that of Phatichar‘s on his blog and his book ‘Frankly Spooking’. Still I went ahead and decided to read it because the blurb on the back piqued my interest and luckily I won the giveaway of Leo’s post. So I started off the book with very high expectations and I must say it met everything and then did something more too. The book weaves a chilling tale around a lot of characters who come together in the end to form the plot.

1984: 5 kids grew up in the village of  Rudrakshapalem listening to Avadhani thatha‘s stories when one unfortunate day, he tells them the spooky story of Lachi. The one whom none in the village talks about. Their curiosity gets the better of them and the kids want to meet Lachi at the Shivalayam, which is her infamous haunt. Little do they know there is a bigger picture in the small snippet that Avadhani thatha told them.

 2001: The 5 friends who are now in various places and phases of life decide to come back to Palem. For what, they do not know. Something pulls them back to the place where they grew up in. As they take in the village that seems so familiar yet so strange, they are hunted down – one at a time. Why are they struck down? What part of their childhood connected them to the happenings that lead to their deaths now, after so many years? Through what means does their enemy strike?

In the first 70-80 pages of the book, I met a lot of characters who told me to read on but at the same time made me question why so many characters? But then, each one of them beautifully fits in the picture when the entire plot is painted. Except that, not one feature of the book ticked me off even temporarily. I read on seamlessly and my hunger grew. At times, I was genuinely scared to read on since I felt like I was a part of the story too. As the end drew, all the pieces of the plot came together and when I turned the last page of the book, I found the experience thoroughly eerie which is the best success for a book of this genre.

The Puppeteers of Palem has convinced me that I should read each and every one of Sharath’s books and I intend to do so. I thank Soumya so much for introducing me to this book and giving me a copy to read it too. You just gave me the cake and let me have it too.

My rating of The Puppeteers of Palem: 4.5/5

Until later 🙂

Book Review: Private India

What made me to click that sign up button for reviewing Private India was the thrill it promised and I would say it delivered most of it. However, while doing that, the book lost out on a lot of other basics. That being my short review, let me get straight to my take on the book.

privateindia

What kept me reading?

– The plot that was slowly built up keeping the readers’ interest intact. The build up ends in the fitting climax that comes as quite a surprise. Unlike most suspense novels, where you can kind of guess where it is going, this book doesn’t allow you to break it’s suspense.

– The alternate perspective lines, one chapter on the events and one chapter from the killer’s thoughts. This style comes in handy because if you are getting irritated with how a chapter is framed, you need not be irritated for long. The change in scene helps in distracting your mind to something else.

– The entangled mysteries, the sub-plot concept. It keeps you guessing about what the book is about. You frame a story based on the main plot in your mind as you read and then there is another plot line which will give you something to think about. This helps in keeping the question “What’s next?” alive in the reader’s mind.

What made me go “Awww, man, you shouldn’t have done that!” ?

– The main put off for me was the mixed styles. Whether this was due to the fact that the book was authored by two people or something else, I don’t know. Throughout the book, you can clearly feel two people talking to you about the story. The language, the style, the presentation, everything appeared to me in twos as if I was having a bad hangover. It disturbed my imagination as I read the book.

– The thought patterns of Santosh Wagh, one of the leads, as he thinks about the killer’s motive are funny. Yes, funny! Questions like “Why Lara Omprakash was your fifth victim?” and “What are you thinking?” made me feel like I am watching a bad episode of those CID types TV shows.

– The lack of class. For example, the killer’s thoughts. We are nowadays used to classy villains (The expectation keeps in pace given that James Patterson is one of the authors). However, the killer is portrayed as kid who was denied a lollipop, in places where the killer is upset because the police is avoiding revealing details about the murders, thereby taking away his publicity.

– This book could have done better with compressing, removing unnecessary descriptions here and thereby ending up in a 50-100 lesser pages.

I would not say this book is a bad read because it has some very good foundation as plot, holding the readers’ interest, an open ending for it to evolve. But there are certain things that fly around your head like that irritating bee with the buzz that you want to slap off. Especially when the book feels like a bad mocktail which has two things that shouldn’t be mixed.

My final verdict for the readers is you can pick this book for a engaging read on a train journey but not for satisfying a craving for an excellent read. So here’s how my rating goes : 3/5

review

Until later 🙂

P.S: I have not described or even used the character names and behaviours except for making my point because if I give you glimpses of them ahead, I might just deprive you of the thrill/suspense associated.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Of lost things!

On reading this post of Sri’s, it struck me that I have a kind of opposite experience when it came to lost things. I have lost many precious things in my life and have searched for them as if my life depended on them, but they never came back. We all would have had some things – significant or insignificant in material value but that we hold very dear to heart. When we lose them, the feeling nags in the bottom of the mind for a very long time. Even though you let go, some or the other thing makes you remember them and you gaze into the memory lane and dismiss it as nostalgia. But that feeling never leaves your heart.

In my case, this happened twice. One was a silver ring gifted by Adit with a cat’s eye stone when we were in 6th grade. It was given to him by his grandmother which he gifted to me for some reason. It was a normal pretty-looking ring, but I took such an attachment to it since I loved the purplish tinge of the stone. I wore it all the time and I lost it in our school ground when I was playing. I searched for it among the grass for so long that I missed the next class searching for it. I knew it fell just there, a few yards distance but I never found it. Till date, whenever I see a ring (even prettier and more expensive ones ), that ring’s memory and the feeling of possessing it rushes back inevitably.

Next thing was a watch gifted by a friend. Years later, when I think about it now, I have lost touch with that friend and don’t even know where she is but losing that watch which she gifted haunts me still. The clasp was a little loose and I was procrastinating getting it corrected. One fine day, when I came back from my tuition classes, I found that it had fallen off somewhere. I went all the way in a hope that went vain. It was a very pretty white metal watch with pink stones embedded. Many watches have come and gone but this one haunts me still.

I don’t even know why I want this ring and watch because they were in use years ago and have probably become antiques or at the least out of fashion. I don’t know the reason. Just the feeling of losing them and wanting them back exists. When I read Cecelia Ahern’s “A place called Here”, I could totally relate to the feeling. I started thinking about what if that ring and watch had a mind of their own.  Would they have wanted to come back to me as much as I wanted/want them back? (I know it sounds crazy, but that’s how I feel) The thoughts extended into something like what if I got lost like the protagonist in “A place called Here”. My mind immediately answered the same answer which was in the book – “I don’t want to get lost, but if I did, I would want to be found, more than anything else”. If that place  called here existed, I wouldn’t mind raiding it for my lost ring and watch and I *will* definitely come back from that place 🙂

So what is that you have lost? Have they come back to you like in the case of Sri or have they eluded you till date like in my case? And do you want any particular lost thing back so much?

Until later 🙂

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