Saturday, 17 March 2012

Paths of Glory

Book Title : Paths of Glory
Author : Jeffrey Archer
Year Published : 2009
Date I Read : 17 Mar 2012
My Rating : 7/10


Paths of Glory is a book based on the life if George Mallory. He was the climbing leader of an expedition to the top of Mount Everest in 1924. It walks us thru his life and his climbing expeditions

What I thought about the book

Though biographical in nature, it had every element of suspense and drama in it. I really enjoyed reading it. It was all the more thrilling cause I did not know about him when I started reading the book. Well written.

Related links
George Mallory in Wikipedia (Spoiler Warning!!!)

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Friday, 16 March 2012


Book Title : Jaya
Author : Devdutt Pattanaik
Year Published : 2010
Date I Read : 15 Feb 2012
My Rating : 7/10


Excerpt from the back of the book

A son renounces sex so that his old father can remarry
A daughter is a prize in an archery contest
A teacher demands half a kingdom as his tuition fee
A student is turned away because of his caste
A mother asks her sons to share a wife
A father curses his son-in-law to be old and impotent
A husband lets another man make his wife pregnant
A wife blinds herself to share her husband’s blindness
A forest is destroyed for a new city
A family is divided over inheritance
A king gambles away his kingdom
A queen is forced to serve as a maid
A man is stripped of his manhood for a year
A woman is publicly disrobed
A war is fought where all rules are broken
A shift in sexuality secures victory
The vanquished go to paradise
The victors lose their children
The earth is bathed in blood
God is cursed
Until wisdom prevails.

What I thought about the book

This is a illustrated retelling of Mahabharata. Unlike the Shiva Trilogy (Immortals of Meluha and Secret of the Nagas) which are works of fiction based on the life of Shiva, this is just the actual Mahabharata. What is interesting is the small stories that we do not know or have not heard. In addition to the sanskrit mahabharata, the author has included stories from all over the country and some even from south east Asia.

On a personal  note, I always feel that Pandavas were as bad as Kauravas in many ways. I am particularly irked by Yudhishtira who to me is not a man if he is not capable of stopping his wife from being publicly disrobed (as well as being the cause of it). The Author has left me hating them even more. Not that I like the other side. They are equally bad.

The concept of Jaya and Vijaya was also intriguing.

Do read this book if you are interested in new stories. It was a really fast read. 


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Monday, 12 March 2012

Winter in Madrid

Book Title         : Winter in Madrid
Author               : C J Sansom
Year Published  : 2006
Date I Read      : 12 March 2012
My Rating         : 7/10

I was all packed for my long flight to India from London - book selected a long time ago. When I was checking in, the airlines offered to send one of our cabin along with the checkin so that we need not carry all the stuff along with our little one. As luck would have it, I missed taking my book out. I was waiting at the gate. It was one of the far away gates. After passing all the shops and most gates, there was a tunnel which was the way to the last 5 gates. It took us around 15 min to get there. Since I had time, I decided to run back to the shop and pick myself a book. This is what I ended up with. Reason - it looked interesting and it was on sale :-)

Did I tell you before - I never read a review of a book or a movie. Knowing parts of it makes me not interested in it. Sometimes, the backcover of the book tells most of the story. So I did not really know what I was buying.

Another lesson that I have learnt before is never to start reading a book in a train or plane. I always read atleast 50 pages before I board. As you can see I had no choice today. So I just could not read it. I knew I had wasted my money on this one. Anyways, I was out of book at home again. How I miss my home :-( I decided to give this a shot again. I am glad I did.


This is set in Spain (as the title indicates) post the civil war (1936) during the second world war. It is the story of Englishman (ex military) Harry Brett who is to work as a spy in Spain. His task is to spy on an old school mate Sandy Forsyth. Sandy's girlfriend, Barbara Clare is trying to find out about her ex-boyfriend Bernie Piper. Harry, Sandy and Bernie were together in a public school as kids.

What I thought about the book

It is a well written book. A little understanding of Spain's history will help in reading the book. I did not have a clue, but I picked it up from the book as I read along. It has heartbreaking description of the war, the prison, torture, the orphaned kids, religion, communism. fascism.

Would recommend the book

Related links

Winter in Madrid in Wikipedia


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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Death on the Nile

Book Title         : Death on the Nile
Author               : Agatha Christie
Year Published  : 1937
Date I Read      : 29 Feb 2012
My Rating         : 6/10

Death on the Nile is the story of  the murder of a rich women during her honeymoon. The story happens mainly during the Nile Cruise. Hercule Poirot is also present in the cruise and solves the mystery.

Personally, I do not like these kind of murder mysteries. So it goes without saying that I am not a big fan of Agatha Christie. Not a great thing to say out loud I guess :-( I read this cause I could not find any other book to read. I did moderately enjoy the book. It was well written.

Related links

Death on the Nile in Wikipedia


Linking this to letter C for A to Z by Author Last Name

The Folded Earth

Book Title         : The Folded Earth
Author               : Anuradha Roy
Year Published  : 2011
Date I Read      : 26 Feb 2012
My Rating         : 4/10

I was part of an Indian book reading club when we were in US and when I saw that this was the title they were reading I immediately asked my dad to pick this up. Reason -  I misread the title of the author as Arundhathi Roy. She is the author of the book - God of Small Things which won Booker Prize. She has not written a work of fiction since and I thought this was it. :-(

Later I realized that this was a different author. But I decided to give it a read since I have spent Rs.350 on the book. I really hated the book.

The book starts with the story of Maya who comes to live in Himalayas to find peace with herself after the death of her husband in the mountains during a hiking expedition. She helps a mountain girl Charu and lives in the house of a local Diwan Sahib. The book goes on to describe the life of Charu and her love life, her grandmother. We also see the life of Diwan Sahib. In the mean time Maya gets friendly with Diwan Sahib's nephew.

The book did not do it for me. It did not seem to have a direction. The narrative was boring. The worst part for me was how she crammed some story line in the last 20 pages to make up for the story missed in the first 300 pages.


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Friday, 2 March 2012

The Other Side of Me

Book Title         : The Other Side of Me
Author               : Sidney Sheldon
Year Published  : 2005
Date I Read      : 21 Feb 2012
My Rating         : 5/10


The Other Side of Me is an Autobiography of Sidney Sheldon. It is also his last book. He describes his early life, his depression and attempt to end his life. Then he moves on to be comes a successful Hollywood writer and later a producer and director. Then finally he becomes a novelist

What I thought about it

I was in my in laws house and had just finished a few books that I already had at hand. Now I was on the look out for new books. I guess this is why you should use a Kindle (We own one and my husband and I are not too keen on reading in it. more on that later.)

I picked up this book from a neighbor. To be honest I almost hated it at first and gave up on it. But picked it again cause I could not find anything else. It was not boring. It was just endless description of all the people he met and how someone gave him a chance to work and someone did not. I was like - why am I interested in it? Anyways, I did finish the book. I was surprised to read that writing novels was the last thing he did. After his film career ended.

Though I do not think highly of his books, I think as a beginner some 15 years ago, I did enjoy some of his books.

Related links

Other Side of Me in Wikipedia


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