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Pyre

The story is set in a small Tamilian Village with narrow dirt roads and narrower views of the villagers. A story of unacceptability, brutality, indifference, superstitions; all because of caste-ism
Saroja, brought up in an uptown environment elopes with Kumaresan, an optimistic, innocent village man after their marriage. She is unaccepted and disrespected in his village. She struggles to adapt herself to the new situation where nothing is positive towards her, except her husband.
The suffering and torment makes her paranoid resulting in a tragic end, the dream.

Every time she wondered if she would have to change herself completely, the heaviness in her gut grew.

There was nothing more difficult than being an object of everyone’s attention and scrutiny.


  1. the characters are merely outlined, the personalities are not drawn properly.
  2. similarly, the story lacks depth.
  3. the often use Tamilian dialects, interrupts the reading.

Distracted, defeated, monosyllable responses scared her, because he was all she had. No matter how exhausted he was after a day’s work, his face would break into a smile as soon as he laid eyes on her. Even with the entire village against her, she could keep the spark of her life aflame with the strength he gave her. With just one kiss, he could unburden himself and reassure her. He could carry her in his arms like a piece of cotton, vanishing the day’s woes.

Sense & Sensibility

Author: Jane Austen

Publisher: Fingerprint Publishers

Genre: Classic, Romance

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Sense & Sensibility is the story of two sisters, one emotionally reserved and proper and the other emotionally volatile, as they struggle with life and relationships following death of their father.

After her husband’s death, Mrs. Dashwood with her three daughters move from their home at Norland to Barton Cottage. Elinor is sad to leave because she has become attached to Edward Ferrars, the brother-in-law of her half-brother John. At Barton Park, Elinor and Marianne meet new acquaintances. John Willoughby and Marianne courts openly, and together the two flaunt their attachment to one another. One fine day, Willoughby announces his departure to London, leaving Marianne lovesick and miserable. The Middleton’s guest, Lucy Steel informs Elinor about her secret engagement with Mr. Ferrars.

The novel follows, Elinor and Marianne travel London, living at Mrs. Jennings’ residence, knowing more about their felicitous relationships.

Quietness of manner was no longer uninteresting when she knew his heart to be warm and his temper affectionate.


NUTs and BOLTs

  • The novel has a large cast of characters, each with unique personality and varied level of likeability.
  • The Dashwood sisters have a refined taste and are far more discerning in regards to men.
  • Though the sisters have their values, faults, and approach to life; they help and look out for each other.
  • Elinor’s approach of being sensible is shown extreme. Somewhere, the balance has to be met.
  • Marianne is too self-righteous and annoying. She turns a new leaf in the end, but it comes to late to like her.
  • Mrs. Jennings’s characterization is hilarious.
  • Unlike other Austen reads, the obsession with money is vividly shown.
  • The romance is fickle and self involved.

The Namesake

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

Publisher: Harpercollins India

Genre: Indian Culture, Contemporary

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


Ashok and Ashima Ganguli are Indian immigrants. They novel begin with Ashima expecting a child. While they wait for the child’s official name to arrive from Calcutta, India, they name the child Gogol, after Nikoloi Gogol, a Russian writer. Sadly, the letter from India is lost in mail. Gogol begins school, and for official purpose the parents settle on a new name, Nikhil. Gogol resents to the new name until he learns about Nikoloi Gogol.

Gogol passes his graduation years in Yale. Since then, he meets and un-meets various girls, until his mother introduces him to Moushumi, a Bengali family friend. About in a years’ time, they marry in a large Bengali ceremony, in New Jersey. Time passes, conflict rise, Gogol learns about her affair, they divorce.

Ashima is to return India. Gogol flies to Pemberton road for a final Christmas Party!


NUTs and BOLTs

  • Above the story, the main theme of the book is the difficulties experienced in simultaneously living two different cultures. Gogol is tasked with living the double life – fitting in with the culture of his parents as well as the culture of his family’s new country.
  • Gogol and his relations with women appear immature and mundane.
  • It doesn’t quite end from where it all starts!

Snakes In The Meadows

Author: Ayaz Kohli

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Genre: Fiction

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Snakes In The Meadows is a narrative of the onset of militancy and resilience of people, of the hilly village of Pathri Aali, Jammu & Kashmir. The book shows the lack of recognition and ignorance of authorities towards the village and its people, resulting into militants’ power, cruelty and torture, turning like heaven like meadows into prison of hell.

Along with the protagonists, Aslam and Ashwar, the story centers zillion other characters.  The misery and atrocities put up by the militants is horrific. The clashes between the militants, Indian Army and the villagers worsen the situation. The women are raped, children molested and men beaten, everyone is shaken from inside. The notorious militant groups lure the teenagers into their trap with money and when they decline, are murdered brutally. This circus continues and as the population of male sex fall the women are left to fend for themselves, and yet there are hopeful to stand against the demons.


NUTs and BOLTs

  • The author has amalgamated many stories, each having an independent storyline, yet bound together to present a single message.
  • The author hints at the challenges and fright of the people residing in such remote areas. The lack of response of government on the important aspects of Kashmir, because of which the people have to wage a battle to defend and protect themselves.
  • The various subplots and shift in narrative makes the plot a bit confusing.
  • The plots are a mix of the tales of different families in the village, there happy-go-lucky-times and that of militants (Mujahideen) and Pakistani terrorism activities. The author has made an effort to maintain a balance.
  • Despite being fictional, the characters succeed in catching the hold of readers’ empathy.
  • The book is captive to arose numerable emotions like love, courage, bravery, disgust, hatred, and humanity.
  • The cover page earns +1.

(Book received as a review copy from Half Baked Beans Publishing)

GODPLAYER

Author: a condensation of the book by David Beaty

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Genre: Medical Thriller

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


Godplayer is a medical-thriller. It points at the drug addiction in doctors, the balance needed in the healthcare sector between teaching cases to educate doctors and private cases to keep the budget funded, and patients dying at the hands of the ones entrusted to care for them.

Someone is killing healthy patients at the Boston Memorial. Cassandra Kingsley and her friend Robert notice a pattern in deaths that’s doesn’t have proper explanation. Thomas Kingsley – the superstar of the cardiology ward and a surgeon of top class, wants his wife to stop, as if these deaths have a medical reason, it will bring down the hospital. Mrs. Kingsley takes upon her to catch the killer after the murder of her friend, who is murdered in the similar pattern. The discovery of the murderer leaves her spell bounded.

The book falls short on character development.

Illustrated By: Mort Rosenfeld

1566482096913
Reader Digest Condensed Books – Collector’s Library Edition

A Shine of Rainbows

Author: a condensation of the book by Lillian Beckwith

Publisher: Hutchinson

Genre: Fiction, Cultural – Scotland

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


It is a story of Mairi, the devoted, kindly mother; Sandy the taciturn father and Thomas, the orphan, set on a Scottish island.

Mairi and Sandy is a loving couple living a Croft’s life on the island of Corrie. Mairi who has lost babies, foster Thomas from an orphanage. Sandy is disappointed by the boy’s timidity and physical weakness. Mairi seeks to nurture Thomas, he blossoms, growing stronger and confident. He learns and loves the island life, helping his foster parents with the tough island chores. Sandy observes the change and acceptance in Thomas, yet fails to connect with him, until life gives them lemons.

The tale is predictable, sweet, charming, emotional, simple with extraordinary natural beauty to appeal to any reader.

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Illustrated By: Liz Moyes

1566482096913
Reader Digest Condensed Books – Collector’s Library Edition.

Bones Never Lie

Author: Kathy Reichs

Publisher: Arrow Books 

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Anique Pormerleau, who eluded capture while on the spree in the 80’s and 90’s, is suspected for the recent killings in the US. The detectives then Dr. Brennan and Andrew Ryan are summoned to the Cold Case Unit – Charlotte. Teaming them is Slidell from CMPD, agent Tinker from SBI and many other specialists and experts. They work a solution around multiple numbers of similar murders where the victims are young girls. As the investigation picks up pace – they are frustrated with lack of evidence, suspects keep turning dead, there is friction between certain detectives.


NUTs and BOLTs

  • The technical terminologies relating to the forensic anthropology is overdosed towards the climax.
  • A single one-liner at the end of every chapter, keeps the reader guessing.
  • A highlight of the book is Dr. Brennan’s mother. Her moments in the story give a unique perspective and often time provides comic relief.
  • A reader unfamiliar with the series will absorb the flavor from page one.

80C12A67-07CB-4C94-81DA-EE518BF2199C They say a daughter becomes some variation of her mother. A different reading of an old script. A new interpretation of an existing character.

You Only Live Twice

Author: Ian Fleming

Publisher: Vintage Books

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


James Bond is mourning his wife’s death; it is when he is summoned for one last assignment. He is asked to convince the head of the Japanese intelligence service, to provide with radio transmissions from the Soviet Union. Instead of providing the transmission, Tiger Tanaka, the head asks Bond to assassinate Dr. Guntram Shatterhand, a man who operates The Garden of Death, a well-known location where people go to commit suicide.

Bond undertakes training, learning the Japanese culture and etiquette. His appearance is changed, and he is given the name of Taro Todoroki. He then goes undercover as a Japanese coal miner to observe Dr. and The Garden of Death, only to discover that Shatterhand and his wife are the two people, names changed, responsible for his wife’s death – making the mission personal as well.

Sadly, Bond is held captive. The rest of the world believes Bond to be dead – his obituary ran in newspaper followed by the destruction of The Garden of Death.


NUTs and BOLTs

  • The projection of Japanese women are happy submissive slave/objects – is a little disturbing portion of the book.
  • It is not a novel involving the usual gunplay and gambling. The plot of The Garden of Death – the garden of deadly plants and creatures for Japanese people intending suicide does not turn out interesting.
  • The chemistry build between Bond and Kissy Suzuki is dull, probably an unnecessary plot of the story.
  • The pages of the novel wherein Bond is in learning of the culture are pretty enjoyable. It has light humor at places, plus the reader earns insights on the Japanese culture.

Poonachi or The Story of a Black Goat

Author: Perumal Murugan

Translated By: N. Kalyan Raman

Publisher: Westland Books

Genre: Indian Culture

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Poonachi is a weak, fragile, orphan, black and a miracle baby goat. She doesn’t know her biological mother. A mysterious man one day, hands over Poonachi to an old man and his wife. The couple is poor to feed and nurture her yet; the woman struggles to keep her alive and in the middle of all the hardships, develops a bond with her.

The story further shows Poonachi’s fights against all the odds, her life’s ups and downs, experiences of love and loss, sacrifices, being a miracle and a miracle taking her life.

Miracles and exhibitions were meant for when people were relaxing after a sumptuous meal.


NUTs and BOLTs

  • Initially the book seems like a fable for children, its only later that the reader gets the deep meaning the author aims to deliver.
  • The writer has done a tremendous job at raising some serious and political issues in a subtle manner. Touching themes like gender and racial discrimination, oppression, injustice of government, social hierarchy; keeping animals, Poonachi a goat specifically the center of the book.
  • It presents emotions of an innocent animal that undergoes exploitation by human beings for their own good.
  • The emotion of love between the animals is written with conviction.
  • The essence of being a woman in the form of a goat is nicely captured.
  • Another brilliant point is there is no character sketch of the human characters but that of the animals. That gives a strong feel that you reading about animals, but its way beyond them.
  • Personally, being my first animal take, I got to know much about animal and their emotions. Poonachi’s pregnancy period got me goose bumps.

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There were so many moments she could recall with pleasure. Why then did the mind always blow up and despair over sad events?

Persuasion

Author: Jane Austen

Publisher: Amazon Classic (Kindle Version)

Genre: Classic, Fiction, Romance

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


Frederick aka Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot first fell in love when she was nigh teen, but he had no money, and her family objected, persuaded her to refuse him.

You are never sure of a good impression being durable, everbody may sway it. Let those who would be happy be firm.

The Elliot’s are a respected, landowning family at Kellynch, with three daughters. The youngest is married to a wealthy man, Charles Mangrove. The lavish overspend has brought the Elliot’s into a great debt, to which they decide to relocate themselves to a house in Bath, leaving their mansion to well-mannered Navy people.

Prior to moving to Bath with her father and sister, Anne visits her younger sister’s place at Uppercross. Anne finds the Musgrove family absolutely delightful and marvels the bustling household.

A recent and regular visitor at Uppercross is Captain Wentworth, a friend to Mr. Musgrove. Shortly, the Musgrove family and Captain make a trip to Lyme to their friend’s place. There Anne meets a good-looking gentleman, later to be known as Mr. Elliot, one of his cousins.

After Christmas, Anne joins her family in Bath. She is then formally introduced to her cousin, she reacquaints herself with an old school friend who makes her learn a hidden past, and the Crofts arrive with news of two engagement. Anne is overjoyed to know that Captain Wentworth is not promised to Lousia!


NUTs and BOLTs

  • The first half of the book has an autumnal feel, when Anne’s hopes and she herself is disregarded and mistreated by almost everyone around her. Then the slow, gradual return of joy and hope is seen in Anne’s life.
  • The writing is simple and quite. Even the declaration of love is done in a subdued form.
  • Austen has created the pain-in-ass characters with great perception.

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Yes. We certainly do not forget you as soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quite, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions.