LiVe YoUr DrEaM…

Author:  Ray Bradbury

Genre : Dystopian novel

Pages : 243 pages

Publication Year: 1953

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

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About book – from the Kindle edition:

Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television “family,” imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature.

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Imagine a society which doesn’t have any books – no books at all! And if you found carrying a book, you will be punished and your house along with books will be burned to ashes by fireman (not usual fireman which we have today – who extinguish fire but the fireman of Fahrenheit 451 has only one task ‘burning the books’.).

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature that Bradbury understood to be the auto-ignition point of paper. Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. The book is fiction but I think it’s kind of metaphor used to describe the past events which occurred around 19th century like Nazi book burning and later Joseph Stalin’s campaign of political repression, the “Great Purge”, in which writers and poets, among many others, were arrested and often executed.

The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found. The society is ruled by the selected individuals who rule the thoughts of people using the ‘interactive programming that dominates the living room’ called “the family” (A kind of television). The book banning didn’t happen at one – but the government banned books over the period of time when people started complaining about books; for example: when smokers complained about the books which warns them of lung cancer – those books being banned and burned. Similarly if some other group complained about poetry – poetry books are censored and burned and over the period of time the very essence of books was destroyed.

The book revolves around Guy Montag who is a “fireman” hired to burn the possessions of those who read outlawed books. One evening while returning to home from book burning he meets a teenage girl named Clarisse McClellan, whose free-thinking ideals and liberating spirit cause him to question his life and his own perceived happiness. Clarisse McClellan finally convinces Montag that he is not happy and something is missing from the society in which they are living.

While the government has made reading the books a criminal offense but what’s really disturbing is the society itself is responsible for book burning and banning of the book. Now freethinker are considered as a threat to society and ideas/creativity has been destroyed. People are now bound to home and virtual families and systemically brainwashed by government sponsored radio’s and television shows.

And what’s more disturbing is – we are moving towards Fahrenheit 451 society. How many books have been banned since mankind started putting his thoughts into books? We still hear everyday the books are getting banned/burned and some objectionable contents are being removed. We are slowly moving towards the society portrayed in Fahrenheit 451 – censorship, books banning and removing some contents from books because some XYZ grouped has objection about those contents is everyday affair today.

Hope our society will understand the values of books before it’s too late. A must read for everyone. If you haven’t read it yet, then go ahead and read it!

GOLEM-AND-THE-JINNIName: The Golem and the Jinni (P.S.)

Author:  Helene Wecker

Genre : Fantasy

Pages : 819

Publication Year: 23 April 2013

Is Review Spoiler: Yes

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

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About book – from the Kindle edition:

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a djinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.

The Golem & The Djinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

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I heard about this book few months back and everyone was talking about this book at that time and few groups even recommended this book, everyone seeming to be well impressed with it and it’s kind of genre which I usually like to read it so finally I picked up this book last month to give it a try.

So I am bit disappointed with this book and it’s not a bad book but it’s just that it didn’t meet my expectations levels. The book is bit slow in-terms of plot, nothing much exciting happens till half of the book – I didn’t care much about other characters which has to little to contribute to the story coming and going.

Though it’s a historical fantasy fiction set in 1899 – I never felt time period, what I mean is you will never feel that you are reading a book which is set in 1899. Though the book is based on two major cultures – Jewish and Arab – you won’t find yourself immersed in these cultures considering the time the characters lived in these communities.

Story begins with Chava (Golem) a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and who’s master dies on route to America. We have ‘Ahmad’ a Jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert – who was trapped inside copper flask for over a thousand years and released by tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Slowly story builds up around these two character and many more minor characters though the two major characters doesn’t meet each other until half of the book is done. Here is where it become boring because there isn’t much going on in-terms of plot and many side character are introduced with sub-plot which doesn’t add’s any thing original plot line.

The story line at the end become really weird and looks far-fetched specially the ‘reincarnation’ stuff [Spoiler alert: the Jewish rabbi who created Golem is the reincarnation of the same guy who trapped Jinn inside copper flask and now he is bound to Jinn after a spell goes wrong - which means he will be reincarnated as long as Jinn is alive].

Ending was not really satisfactory and many threads are left open [Spoiler alert: Jinn giving the trapped rabbi soul to the fellow Jinn members to take care of it till he dies and he is still bound], may be there is second book in the series coming? And all the philosophical discussion about free will and God were unnecessary – as they don’t contribute anything to plot line.

Overall a good read but not the best.

Bill_bryson_a_short_historyName: A Short History Of Nearly Everything

Author:  Bill Bryson

Genre : Non Fiction

Pages : 672

Publication Year: 2003

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

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About book – from the Kindle edition:

From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably.

Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as “The Size of the Earth” and “Life Itself.” Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it’s when Bryson dives into some of science’s best and most embarrassing fights–Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould–that he finds literary gold.

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Well, when I saw the title of the book – I thought it will be indeed a short history of nearly everything but as I started reading, I realized that it’s not at all short history instead it’s a history of nearly everything.

What we learn in this book is apart from science is how insane or competitive were the scientist who invented most of the things in science. As titled suggested ‘A Short History of nearly everything’ not everything is covered in this book, for example philosophy, religion, economics, politics, medicines, computers etc. What actually covered in this book is – physics, atoms, big bang, quantum physics, gravitation, (so-called) evolution, dinosaurs etc.

What you learn reading this book is – what you should have learnt as a student of science. This book answers many question which we wanted to know as a child when we were in school, for example – how on earth scientist know exactly the weight of earth or how the figured to weight of atoms or how the knew the atom can be divided into quarks etc.

Overall a pretty good read for anyone who wants to know about science and beware it’s not short history – the book is very dense and you might need some long reading hours to complete it.

So, here comes another year – 2014, a new year! But I didn’t see anything ‘new’ today? Kyun? May be ‘New’ is just an illusion? is it not? what do you think is ‘New’ in the so-called new year?

Today I woke up and while going towards office – I saw the sun and guess what? it was rising from east! nothing ‘new’ out there? may be Sun doesn’t know it’s a new year? then I looked at a tree and lo! it was the same tree as I saw it yesterday[may be some leaves are gone] but overall it’s the same tree, nothing ‘new’!

While crossing the signal – I saw bunch of rickshaw/biker’s jumping the signal as usual and guess what? nothing ‘new’ out there also? Still in hope of find the ‘new’ in my ‘new quest’ – I went further and saw same old ‘noise pollution and air pollution’ and people running here and there for catching buses or rickshaws – nothing new at all here also.

????????????????????????????????

Then I went further ahead – hoping I will find something ‘new’ – found that people are smoking in public places and also spitting here and there as usual and most of ATM’s are out of service – that too as usual, nothing new!

While walking – totally disappointed for not finding anything ‘NEW’ and suddenly as I looked ahead, there I found something ‘new’ which wasn’t there yesterday! I found the wastage in road after new year celebration – the crackers, the balloons, the food and lot more things! Well this is not what I expected to be ‘new’?

After all it proves that – ‘New’ is just an Illusion! it’s only change in calendar not in our lives. Hum Insaan hain – hum kya expect karoge aap? We are good at these things, not only good very good!

Quest won’t end here – it will continued till I find something ‘NEW’ in coming new years! Wish you all a very happy ‘new’ year!

dtdName: Dongri To Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia

Author:  S. Hussain Zaidi

Genre : Non Fiction

Pages : 408

Publication Year: May 25th 2012

Is Review Spoiler: No

 Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

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From ‘Once upon a time in Mumbai’ to ‘Shootout at Lookandvala’ till ‘Shootout at Waadala’ – Bollywood is/was always fascinated about  ‘Mumbai Mafia’ or ‘Mumbai Underworld’.  But there is always a huge difference between the Reel World and Real World - you will realize what’s that huge difference is once you start reading this book.

First of all – I would like to congratulate Mr  S. Hussain Zaidi for writing such a  intensely researched  book which is not an easy task and that too on Mumbai Underworld. He has done great job detailing six decades of Mumbai Mafia from the rise and fall of Haji Mastan and Pathans till the rise of Dawood Ibrahim.

This book follows the events of Mumbai Mafia since it’s inception before/after Independence to current day. What I liked most in this book compared to other non-fiction books of same genre is – this books follows the events in proper order and focusing on all major players including their family background, their lives in Mumbai, their struggle and lot many things – including what caused these bad boys to actually become bad boys.

Mr  S. Hussain Zaidi took seven years to research on this books before penning it down. You will find all the reference at the end of book and everything is authentic and well researched.

The book start from the year 1950 – detailing the Mumbai back in 50′s and the Bombay (in 50′s it was called Bombay) back in 50′s was way different from what shown in Bollywood movies. Bombay was/is a Jadoyi Nagari/Sapnaon Ki Nagari – back then also people used to come to Mumbai for improving their livelihood.  But soon these guys realized that it’s not that easy to get settled in Mumbai without proper education and good family background . The easiest way for these guys were back then was smuggling of imported watches and transistors in order to avoid import duty – from here it all began – the Inception of Mumbai Mafia.

The best thing about this book is – it flows like movies even being a non-fiction book and most the dialogue is in the Hindi and that too in bhai logaon ke style me – boletu ek dam jakkas (no worries if you don’t know Hindi – author has translated these dialogues into English in brackets). You will read the biography of many gangsters of Mumbai in this book including Haji Mastan, Karim Lala, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Chhota Rajan, Abu Salem and last but not least – Dawood Ibrahim - a young man who went astray despite having a father in the police force.

Before this book – everyone used to hear about only one side of the story  from police and media and no one knew about the other side. This book fills the void – here you will read the story of that side of Mumbai which no one tried before Zaidi to pen it down.

As author says:

This story is primarily about how a boy from Dongri became a don in Dubai, and captures his bravado, cunningness,focus, ambition, and lust for power in a gripping narrative.

but along with the story of the boy who become the don in Dubai – this book also covers the story of many other gangsters – some of which appeared in Bollywood movies like shootout at wadala, shootout at lokhandwala and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai.

Overall - the book is extremely fast-paced, intensely researched and it reads like a thriller. I will recommend this book to everyone who wants to know the story of darker side of our society and why it’s so dark out there?

Sycamore RowName: Sycamore Row

Author:  John Grisham

Genre : Legal thriller

Pages : 400+

Publication Year: October 22, 2013

Is Review Spoiler: No

 Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

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Sycamore Row is a sequel to a best selling novel ‘A Time to Kill‘ from acclaimed author ‘John Grisham’ . A Time to Kill was the first novel from John Grisham which was published way back in 1989. You can find the review of ‘A Time to Kill’ – here.

The plot in Sycamore Row – revolves around a white man named Seth Hubbard, who is dying due to lung cancer and doctors have given him one months time and who is also filthy rich. Set Hubbard writes a  holographic will which invalidates the will which was previously prepared by big law firm in Tulpedo – in which he has distributed his wealth between his tow children – Ramona and Herschel.

Now in newly created holographic will he gives away 90% his wealth to his black maid - Lettie Lang, 5% to church and 5% to his brother Ancil Hubbard – whose whereabouts no one knows. We know the Ford County from A Time to Kill – which has many people who still believe racism, Klan and white supremacy kind of things which people used to do in 70′s and 80′s.

Grisham hasn’t visited his most famous character Jake Brigance for almost  24 years, now after 24 years Jake is back in action again who by now feels like very old friend from ancient time. Here we also meet the most funniest lawyer Harry Rex and Jake’s mentor Lucien. Like other Grisham novels, this novel too has many twist and turn to keep the reader hooked till the end.

Twist here involves the suicide of the wealthy white man ‘Set Hubbard’ – who before hanging himself on a sycamore tree writes a holographic will in which he gives 90% his wealth to the black maid ‘Lettie Lang’. Very next day after his suicide Jake receives an envelope containing a hand written will and a letter addressed to Jake – in which Seth instruct Jake to defend his holographic will at all costs. He writes in a letter to Jake saying “These are not nice people and they will fight, so get ready,” he warns. “Fight them, Mr. Brigance, to the bitter end.”

Jake has to defend this holographic will created by Seth who is in lot of pain due to lung cancer and hanged himself, Jake has to defend this will at all costs as instructed by Seth himself. The dilemma now Jake facing is – he knows for sure that this will be contested by Ramona and Herschel and it will be trial by jury.  If Jake wins the case – then Lettie will become the riches black person in Ford County – but the Ford County of 1988 which is kind of racist is not about let it happen. Jake has to do something and that something has to be more than what he has done in Carl Lee trial three years ago.

All of a sudden a quiet, racist, Ford County is in news again and again for same contextual reasons – a fight between black and white. All top white lawyers are now in Ford County to represent Ramona and Herschel  and most famous black lawyer – who is most hated by white folks is in to represent Lettie Lang and Ford County is all set for one more big fight.

Jake knows that one bad move by him or Lattie Lang will destroy the case – now the coming of the black lawyer ‘Booker Sistrunk’ changes the game because he is the most hated lawyer by white folks and Ford County has majority of white folks and there is 90% chances that jury for this trial will be  ‘all white’ – in situations like this and in 1988′s Ford County bringing in ‘Booker Sistrunk’ will result in huge damages to the trial. Jake has to find a way to get rid of this guy and he has to find it quicker!

In this first novel – A Time to Kill, the beginning was most disturbing and heartbreaking when Tonya -Carl Lee’s daughter was brutally raped and beaten by two white racist red necks and in Sycamore Row the ending is most disturbing and heartbreaking when everyone come to know the actual reason ‘why Seth Hubbard has  given all his wealth to black maid Lettie Lang’.

As usual character development and the twist and turns and plot development is just awesome. Grisham know how to tell a story which will captivate the reader till the end and leaves him wanting more.

orientName: Murder on the Orient Express

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre : Crime novel

Pages : 256+

Publication Year: 1 January 1934

Is Review Spoiler: No

 Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

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Murder on the Orient Express is certainly the most famous Agatha Christie novel, the story is beautifully crafted murder mystery which definitely ranks among the top of the Agatha Christie murder mysteries.

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.

The death has occurred in a manner that will implicate one of the twelve passengers of Orient Express and the murderer is in train because due to snow drift, the train has stopped when murder took place.

Having nothing to do in train and being experienced in solving similar crimes, Hercule Poirot takes the case. He interviews all the twelve passengers one by one. interestingly all the suspects have the cast-iron alibis. As no one boarded the train and no on left the train and everyone have cast-iron alibis – the case seems impossible to solve, until Hercule Poirot uses his little grey cells to solve once more the seemingly insoluble murder mystery. Mrs Christie makes an improbable tale very real, and keeps her readers enthralled and guessing to the end.

Murder On The Orient Express is not like any other Agatha Christie books, the plot is ingeniously crafted, character development awesome and this book is filled with lots of twists and turns which will keep readers on the edge of their seats. The train setting is great, suspects are limited, reader will be given all the facts and evidence and everything you need to solve a murder mystery – you just has to sit and think. Even though you sit and think for hours, I am sure you won’t guess who the murder is!

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