Keep the Change : Nirupama Subramanian

March 4, 2011

Damayanti Balachandran “D” is an intelligent Madrasi gal from a conservative Brahmin family. She has been studious, without much fun in school and college. She hates her job and to top her worries, her parents are pestering her to get married. She decides to go for a corporate job in Mumbai. Her life suddenly changes, she has to now deal with corporate madness, her bosses and a size zero room-mate. “D” visits Goa for a corporate training, returns falling in love. Further story is how “D” manages her love, career and betrayal.

Image from Harper Collins site

The plot is nothing new, the story is very predictable. The only savior I felt is the witty humor that keep you smiling throughout the read. If you are, traveling or say you need a relaxing read with “दिमाग की बत्ती off” then this book is an excellent choice. Its not riveting yet not  boring, its witty and time-pass read.

Verdict: I rate this chick flick average, however it is a pleasant read.

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The Fist of God : Fredrick Forsyth

November 6, 2010

The plot in Fist of God is based on the first Gulf war, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, followed by the American war on Iraq few months later. Many of the details are based on the facts of the Gulf war. The topic is well researched, I really admire Forsyth books for this reason. And ofcourse like his other books its a pacy read.


After Iraq invasion of Kuwait, Arab states panic. America utilizes the situation, to make Saudi Arabia believe that their oil wells are in danger. Meanwhile the intelligence agencies CIA, SIS and Mossad of the USA, Great Britain and Israel respectively try to understand the next steps and motivation of Saddam Hussein using intelligence intercepts and a high profile mole in Saddam’s cabinet. Americans plan Operation Dessert Shield that transforms to Operation Dessert Storm to attack Iraq. Allied forces come to know about a dangerous secret weapon of Iraq, “Fist of God”. Later part describes how the Allied forces find what the weapon is, where it is and how they destroy it.

My gist of the book sounds boring, however  the book has many interesting espionage plots and gulf war facts makes the read very entertaining. I would not classify this book to be as good as The Day of the Jackal. But better than the Icon.

I give a thumbs up to this book, worth a read.

[Cross Blogged here]


The Day of the Jackal

August 18, 2010

The book starts off with the plot to kill Charles De Gaulle, President of France by Jean Bastien Thiry. This is adopted from a real life attempt to kill the President, by the OAS to show thier anger and discontent on granting Independence to Algeria.

OAS a secret military organization that failed to prevent independence of Algeria, wanted to kill the president seeking vengence . The chief of OAS, Aurgoud is captured by the French, the organization becomes weaker. Their network in France was easily infiltrated by French police and intelligence. During this time, Rodin, deputy to Aurgoud takes over and decides to make a final attempt to assassinate Charles De Gaulle. They hired a foriegn assasin “Jackal” for this task.

Now on the book becomes unput-downable. Jackal starts his meticulous preparation, he flicks the passports of an American tourist and a pastor from Brussels. He gets a custom made rifle for the job from Belgium. French intelligence get to know about this plot when one of the body guards of Rodin reveals all this information.

All that the French know is that a foriegn assisin is hired to kill the President of France. They do not know who it is or when and where this going to happen. Its gets more interesting from here on, how the French police with the help of Scotland yard go about tracking the Jackal. Go grab the book to know how things unfold further.

The book is fast paced, and the author is witty. Sometimes I wondered if the author was a goon to know all tricks of trade. The plot is very well thought of, with no loose ends. This is by far one of the best thrillers I’ve read.

A big thumbs-up for the “The Day of the Jackal”.


Icon : Frederick Forsyth

January 20, 2010

Image via rediff.com

The first part of Icon felt as though I’m reading one of the best thrillers. The first 2/3rd of the book is awesome fast paced and action packed. However the remaining 1/3rd is disappointing after the initial build up.

The story is set in late 90s after the break up of USSR to Russia. The entire deal begins when a top secret file goes missing, from the Igor Kamarov’s headquarters. Kamarov is the most popular presidential candidate, who is guaranteed to win the elections. This file gets into the hands of British secret service and the Kamarov’s fascistic plan is revealed to them.

Meanwhile a flashback on Jason Monk runs in parallel. How he joined CIA, and the shrewd ways in which he hired Soviet agents. A high profile CIA agent, Aldrich Ames, works for the Soviets, provides them the names of the Russian agents working for CIA. One by one his Monk’s Soviet agents either get caught or go missing. Unable to keep the promises given to his agents, furious Monk revolts to get himself expelled out of CIA.

When this file reaches the hands of the former SIS (Secret Intelligence service) head, Nigel Irvine. He and the covert group on learning the contents of the file, decide to take the matters into their hands, to disallow Kamarov’s victory. They decide to hire Monk for this job. It then gets very interesting the way in which Kamarov’s political machinery is destroyed one by one.

After this that story kind of loosens the grip. Jason Monk is always aware of what Kamarov’s men are planning, and is prepared for a counter attack. This kind of feels unreal.

This is the first Frederick Forsyth book I’m reading, I really like his narration and the pace of the story. The book tells the way in which secret agents work, hire assets and the state of Russia after the disintegration of USSR, I found these interesting. I give Icon a 3 out of 5.


Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight – Review

November 21, 2009

I heard about this Rujuta’s book in a post by Rashmi Bansal. I’m for last three years trying to get into mode of slimming. All I’ve succeeded is to increase my waist line from 32 to 33 inches. All I do about exercises and diets is follow hearsay. I thought reading this book will be help me get real on this topic, rather that follow what people say.

****

Image from Amazon.com

I must say, this book turned out to be an eye opener. I realized the extent of abuse my stomach has taken by not feeding it right. The book tries to explains loosing weight by feeding our stomach right based on our daily activities, rather than to starve and loose weight.

First of all the organization of the book is excellent. What I mean is the flow. Rujuta first gives some real life cases and describes them. These cases allow us to understand how badly we abuse our stomach and clears the myths associated with weight loss and diets. Then she goes on explaining the importance of the nutrients (carb, fat, protiens, minerals, vitamins) and their role in body. Once all this is understood she explains the 4 golden rules of healthy eating habits, nothing complicated, its very simple to follow.

She tries to make understand that loosing weight is not all about working-out or starving. Its about eating healthy nutritious food in right quantity at right time, with a bit of work out and this will require some amount of change in our life style.

Quote from the book

“There is no such thing as going ‘on or ‘off’ your diet. Eating correctly is a lifelong commitment, and the diet should be a reflection of this.”

There is no magic formula in the book, most of it common sense that we either tend to neglect or oversimplify. The book makes you aware of the cause and effect of eating right and not eating right. So it kind of brings about a difference in the way you think about diet and weight loss.

Quote from the book

“Love and respect your body, Everything is ok in moderation, Think of nutrients, not calories”

I’d say this is a good read for anyone wanting to be fit. If you can follow her advice and become fit, the reading will be worth it. I’m trying hard to make my read worth it 🙂 let see how the result turns out…


A Thousand Splendid Suns : Review

September 22, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns is Khaled Hosseini’s second book.  His first book Kite Runner is a classic. I regard him to be one of the best storytellers I’ve read. Kite Runner is a must read, for any book lover.

I do not regard A Thousand Splendid Suns to be as good as Kite Runner, but it certainly does not disappoint. Like Kite Runner the story is set in Afghanistan, the story has similar shades of betrayal, suffering and vindication. Here Khaled Hosseini tries to explain the plight of Afghan women, their relationships, the stress they have to go through.

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/10/A_Thousand_Splendid_Suns.gif

The story is about Mariam, a illicit daughter of a wealthy business man Jalil Khan in Herat. Mariam’s life goes upside down when on her 15th birthday she plans to visit her father. She faces betrayal from her father, her mother commits suicide. At a very young age she is forced to marry an old man Rasheed. Rasheed is already married thrice. Mariam moves to Kabul with Rasheed, slowly her life turns into a living hell.

In the second part a young, lively, pretty girl from Kabul Laila is introduced. She is deeply in love with her childhood sweetheart Tariq. Laila’s life falls apart when her house gets bombarded and she looses her mother and father. She has already lost her brothers in the fight against Russians. Tariq and his family moves to Pakistan, Laila is left alone.

The story of two ladies converges when Rasheed marries Laila. Then the story progresses in an interesting direction.

Khaled Hosseini’s narration is really extra-ordinary. You really feel as if its happening in-front of you. You to sympathize with the fates of the two ladies and numerous Afghanis who have seen their country battered incessantly by Russians, the local war lords, the Taliban and then the US. The Trauma Afghanis have gone through, loosing their kith and kin, their wealth, property and culture to war mongers hungry for power. You really feel thankful to be far away from such insanity.

I certainly would recommend this book, its a great read. It gives one a vivid idea how Afghanistan has transformed from being a peace loving country in early 1980s to an insane state of terror post 2000.


My Friend Sancho : Book Reveiw

July 23, 2009

I’ve always liked Amit Varma’s wacky humor. He is no stranger to netizens, his blog India uncut is very popular in the blogophere. This is Amit Varma’s first book. Its a wholesome entertainer. This is the kind of book that one can start with a cup on tea on a lazy Sunday morning and finish it by lunch-time. The story is fast paced and funny. Story feels genuine, and one can relate to the characters in it.

The story is about a wisecracking tabloid journalist, Abir Ganguly. How he lands up in a unusual situation, while covering a story for crime beat. How Sancho gets into his life, and changes his life. There are many funny anecdotes and one-liners from Abir and his imagination is hilarious. It will make you laugh, I had good laughs. Its thoroughly entertaining, if you liked five point some one, one night at call center, then you will devour this. [read chapter 1 of the book]

I will not be surprised if a bollywood producer picks up the story and plans to make a movie out of it. It has everything humor, melodrama, rona dhona, rantings on the functioning of the government, police force, the underworld, it has a small religion angle also  and like all bollywood movies a happy ending, they lived happily ever after kinds.

@Amit Varma if you are reading this, do consider writing a sequel to this. I feel there is a lot in Abir’s character, than can be exploited. Anyways it was pleasure reading the book. Cheers.