White Corridor by Christopher Fowler

Christopher Fowler books are my latest addiction. His books featuring elderly detectives Arthur Bryant and John May in Peculiar crime unit (PCU) are gems to read. So far, I have read three of his books and each of them made me glued to his story till I finish it off. The last one being ‘White corridor’. 

 

In this, the pathologist of Peculiar Crime Unit (PCU) has been found dead behind fastened mortuary making the entire team at PCU as suspects for the crime. For the first time, Arthur and May is not there to investigate the murder as they get struck in a blizzard. Hence the PCU has to solve the crime without the aid of their senior mentors.  In the meanwhile, Arthur and May finds another serial killer who waits to murder the stranded people in the blizzard.

 

The novel has two interesting plots and Christopher Flower has weaved a chilling suspense out of it. The chapters are intertwined with the happenings at PCU and Arthur/May’s adventure at blizzard. The elderly detectives crude humour and unorthodox approach are fun to read. And most importantly, the ending connected all knots making it a most satisfying read. I couldn’t pinpoint any cons in this novel. I would highly recommend Christopher’s novel to anyone who loves crime fiction.

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Autobiography of Agatha Christie

One among the many fine things that I want to accomplish this year, is to invest my minimal mind on biographies, especially, of authors. Biographies, unlike fictions, in general, will demand lots of patience, acute concentration and undying will, if one want to traverse till the last page. Fail to retain those specifications, will turn a inspiring account to inducer of sleep, and the readers could be readily seen dozing off with toppled spectacles and thick volume of book at hand. To put in a nutshell, biographies cannot be completed, unless, some efforts has been embarked from the side of reader.

Knowing the sides of disadvantages, didn’t flinch me a bit, for my thirst to peep into others life was enormous, and that made me not hesitate to grab ‘Autobiography of Agatha Christie’ at the Chennai book fair which I happened to visit on January. I am quite a fan of this queen of mystery. I have read handful of her novels and I must say, I am rather intrigued. Her baffling mysterious novels always make me feel, Infosys, delayed by a quarter of century, missed out one of the most potential puzzle setter for their campus recruitment papers.  Well, too late to worry.

I devoted my attention to this 550 pages book immediately after I had bought it home. However high my spirit was, to steal a look on others life, I must confess that I accepted the defeat at first, for I couldn’t penetrate beyond 150 pages. The childhood of Agatha’s was hopelessly boring and explained endlessly .The mere mention of her dog which she had happened to love lastingly, didn’t appeal to me at all.  Soon, I slept off, the thing I always disgust to do while I am in the middle of reading. There after, I didn’t touch the book.

Last week, I was deprived of sleep due to constant stress and my disposition was to read anything that could ease me in deep nap. Agatha appeared before my eyes and hoping to sleep soon, I set to read the book again. To my surprise, I find it interesting. Instead of inducing to deep slumber, I found myself engrossed by her adulthood, subsequent marriages and her wide interest in touring all over the world.  True, even after 150 pages, the book had moments to stimulate sleep. And with strong reslove, I overcame it and finished the book at last.

You may ask, Does it worth the pain ?

Yes, definitely.

True stories, often, lack the grip, but never fail to stir.

Earthly Heavens !

Yesterday, I blog hopped and landed here.

First, I hyperventilated , then stared at it almost for an hour.

After enough staring , I downloaded the one below and again gazed at it intently

‘It is amazing isn’t ?’, I asked myself.

‘A Heaven’, I heard replying myself.

With an uncontrollable urge to share the greatness that I found amidst the online heap, I directed the attention of my friend to this earthly heavens. She looked at it for a second and said ‘ oh, library ya’ . Then she went off.

Mark my word, the taste of present youngsters are degrading…lowering…terrifying ..descending to too dark pit.

A couple of weeks back, we discussed about this picture for more than a hour. Especially, the blue shirt that is displayed on it. The same friend talked about it for an hour or so.Now I am showing this striking snap and expecting for appreciation, at lest the words to the effect of ‘OMG”, instead, all I could hear was ‘oh library ya ‘. Ghastly.

They are not just libraries. Heavens. Worldly Heavens.

Chennai Book fair 2010

A steeled silence lingered at my home when I hinted about the Chennai book fair 2010. Nobody really wanted to escort me. When I threatened, I will go and stare at those 600+ stalls endlessly with out returning home, my amma agreed to accompany. I think she agreed, because, to curb me from buying any books. I guess it is quite natural in her position to do so, because only last week, on the account of New Year, I migrated bunch of books from Landmark to my book shelf, So, she is not naturally inclined in me, spending all my money – according to her- on useless books, which otherwise would be safeguarded in the bank locker for matrimony. I digress…Anyway, That’s how I started to Chennai Book fair 2010 at St. George Anglo Indian Hr. Secondary School.

This is my second visit to book fair. The event was well organized. There were around 600+ stalls covering wide range of Tamil historic literatures, Contemporary Novels, Biographies, periodicals, poems, spiritual guides, encyclopedias, dictionaries and many many other writings. Like last time, most of the stalls predominately displayed Tamil works. The legendary Kalki’s work, still, welcomes from each stall’s front shelf. The works of other popular Tamil writers like Sujatha, Jayaganthan,Ramanai chandran, Kannadasan, Vairamuthu and so & so were also displayed at most of the stalls. The prices were pretty okay. But I have very limited knowledge on Tamil authors, so I just passed over them. The problem in buying Tamil novels is that you need to know which publisher publishes the books you are looking for. There are simply too many stalls, and after a point, if you don’t know what you want, you will not get anything except for the headache.

As far as other languages are concerned, I am disappointed. Yes, a decent number of stalls had English novels but nothing extraordinary about the collection. Jane austen, Shakespeare, HG Wells ,Jeffery archer, Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse, Robin cook, Nicholas spark, Meg cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Dan brown, Bill Bryson and few more popular authors books, Biographies of Politicians & Business honchos were available in most of the stalls that offered English works. I have seen all these books in Landmark itself. Even the prices were bit higher than landmark. I searched for the book “On Writing by Stephen king” but no luck. “Book World from Bangalore” and “Book point” stalls had quite impressive collection of English novels.

I seriously wish, at least next time, more celebrated Tamil works should be translated to English and available readily for book lovers. It is sad that even Kalki’s already translated works were not widely put up for sale. Similarly, the great works in other languages should be translated to Tamil.

Now coming to what I bought, I was thwarted. I managed to get only two books 1) “Please ! Intha Puthagatha Vaangatheenga” by Vijay TV Gopinath 2) Autobiography of Agatha Christie.

My amma bought some cookery books which I looked at with pristine loath. Seriously one cannot get good number of books, if one’s mother hovers around with Vigil eyes and has her mind setup sharply on Matrimony and culinary. Let the sadness rest inside me and don’t bother the readers. Any way, the sight of thousands of books and the book lovers made my day!

Don’t you know Dostoevsky?

My friend told me once – I like Orkut, especially the concept of communities where people who have the same feelings on something usually discuss on why they tend to have the same feelings.   For example, If it is a “dream lovers” community, they would discuss on what they dreamt on each day, how day dreaming help them to live decent life, which is better way of dreaming – “day dreaming or night dreaming” and so on. If it is “Rain lovers” community, people would debate on why they feel so special about Rain and not the same way with sun…etc.

 Do you see the power of orkut communities? It has space for everything. If you feel Sambhar is better than chutney or vice versa, you can voice your views by enrolling to the corresponding community.  People would comfort you that there is nothing wrong and perfectly alright in thinking so highly of Sambhar as they all feel in the same way about it. This is believed to be wonderful feeling, to be backed up by so many people, appreciating your divine thoughts on Sambhar. This would really boost the person’s confidence instantly, making him bright and bold over night. Soon he would be the dear member of community posting regularly on good characteristics of sambhar and ways to achieve it.

 I was so intrigued.When I came to understand the conception of communities, I immediately wanted to give a try as I was so determined to waste my time despite of whatever it costs.  So I promptly joined one of those book communities, only to find out it was not as fascinating and supportive as I had expected it to be. It has four moderators and an owner, unlike the owners and moderators of other communities, they are strict.  They have so many warnings in the name of rules, violating them will make the member banned from the community ceaselessly. I think those moderators are well disciplined school or college going kids, who used to participate in the weekly literary discussion on Raskalnikov’s Psychological upheaval on Dostoevsky’s Crime and punishment. This only complicated things for novices. I mean, for a mind which confers Crime and punishment, it must have been really hard to see a member who is interested on discussing some second rated contemporary  fiction.   It is like discussing A, B, C,D with PhD in English literature. The moderators would swiftly delete those members’s request, murmuring  mildly “if you don’t know Dostoevsky then don’t discuss anything!” .This continued and finally everyone stopped conversing in the community, feeling inferior about the books they read, leaving the moderators to peacefully analyze the mind of Raskalnikov .

Happiness sold separately by Lolly Winston

A couple of months back, I picked up this book in a secondhand book shop with out the slightest hint of the story or about the author. I generally do not buy books blindly. Because sometime reading even most recommended book would turnout nightmarish. When I was blinking before the heap of the books in front of me that day, I eyed this book by chance. Somehow, I was impressed with the book cover and bought this book. Since then it has been laying in my shelf and I never bothered to read it until yesterday.

 

 

Happiness sold separately by Lolly Winston is a story about love, marriage, infidelity and infertility. The book begins with Elinor a 40-year-old attorney in Silicon Valley finds her husband Ted having an affair with his fitness trainer Gina. Elinor is not entirely surprised of her husband’s affair. After miserably failed to have children because of infertility problems, both Elinor and Ted ware exhausted and grown detached. Ted’s affair is an indication of their failing marriage. Things get complicated when Elinor becomes pregnant again and Gina’s son Toby finds strong attachment to Ted. With little twist and turns, the story ends touchingly.

I liked the book. It was a sheer surprise I finished it in a day. So it must be evident it is a page-turner. Lolly Winston has narrated the story at each character’s point of view. Therefore, at the end, surprisingly you will not blame any characters but only feel pity for them. Some of the chapters were depressing but it was mended by characters sense of humor and sarcasm. Overall, a safe bet for an easy read.

So it is time to change my premonition and start experimenting with new books and authors.