Posts Tagged ‘Bookmark’

Pirate Latitudes – the last book ever to be published under the name Michael Crichton.  It was released posthumously and I was super-excited for another M.C. book. His science fictions are truly amazing.

This last book, failed in all points. I had expected a lot out of this book and I was entirely disappointed. I’m sure veryone who’s read just one other MC book will agree, that this was just plain

It started out quite boring, and didn’t really hook me in. The plot wasn’t good, and well, the sequence of events were poor. I mean, to attack a fort is one thing, to survive against the kraken is a whole new thing. It lacked all the science and suspense of MC’s general style.  His style incorporates intense research into the subject which Pirate Latitude evidently lacks. All the statements seemed just there as words, not really forming a picture in my head. The words never gave me sense of believing the story. A lot of the dialogue was cheesy, like some sort of movie.The length was very short, unlike his usual long, content-loaded books.

In fact,  Pirates Of The Caribbean, was amazing compared to this.

I’d rate it 2/5.

I just hope that it had been some draft of some sort that he was working on.

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wakin-dreamWodehouse has competition.OK, not quite. But I just finished reading Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome.K.Jerome and I am going to recommend this to anyone who will listen. It is the story of three men who want to get away from their tiresome city lives, and go on a bummel (” A journey, long or short, without an end; the only thing regulating it being the necessity of getting back within a given time to the point from which one started”).

If it isn’t obvious from the Wodehouse reference, this one’s a comedic piece and very well written. The novel basically deals with their misadventures in Germany, due mostly to linguistic and cultural complications. OK, clearly I’m not too good with the reviews, particularly when there isn’t much by way of a plot-line but I promise you, it’s hilarious. And I wont complain about college* if you do.Deal? 🙂

I liked it so much, in fact, that I’m going to go find his first book Three Men in a Boat and recommend that endlessly to you.


*Well, I’ll try, anyway.That’s all I’m asking of you!

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Color sprinklesOk, so basically, I decided to read this book by Belinda Seaward because the cover was interesting. Not in an OMG-it’s-so-good way, but just interesting. Also, the stuff at the back seemed quite good

I started with the first three pages and felt disgusted and sick because of the description of an amputated limb. This was (I feel) the only part where Hotel Julietdescriptions were good, even if it did gross me out. Honestly, the book sucks. The story line is that of a typical orphan who probes around to find the truths about her parents and then finds something that is either truly amazing or contradictory to what she’d’ve heard.

Belinda Seaward tries desperately to write in this particular style, which is sort of abrupt but pulls you to read the story. She seems to fail in this miserably. She hasn’t defined her style of writing and you can see subtle changes in the way she writes. Also, her characters are very loosely formed. I mean, she starts off with the people in a city-ish way which sort of changes. I mean, they are terribly formed that I don’t even have images or blobs or defining shapes of them in my head. It’s like these people would suddenly fall in love with the rural parts of Africa just because the bride’s dad sent them there as a mark of his disapproval.  The only reason, I skimmed through the pages of this book is because I wanted to see if there were interesting things to read about Africa. The one thing that I found interesting is the fact that Africans name their kids like Hope, Faith, Saviour, Memory and stuff like this. So maybe this is where Destiny Hope’s names inspired from.

If you ever see this book at a bookstore, no don’t get it. Please you’d be better off not reading it.

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wakin-dreamYup, we’re back with that boring old thing.But since people are just begging to hear form us..

Atonement by Ian McEwan :

In this case, I think it’s safe to judge the book by it’s cover which, if it isn’t apparent, I love.Or the title- take your pick.

On one level it is ” Ah, another romance novel”  and that’s what the movie deals with, mostly, but I think the author’s genius lies in the first half of the book.Briony Tallis. There are very few characters as compelling or believable.Well, that’s a bit of a contradiction, isn’t it? Because what I’m getting at is how unbelievable a character she really is.This, coupled with the brilliant ( I can’t say this enough) imagery elevates the book to ‘must-read’ status.

The psychology of a thirteen-year -old who takes herself too seriously, who is almost frighteningly self-assured and heady is brilliantly played out. She writes her first short story at 11- a little foolish, pretentious but her ponderings speak otherwise. She wonders if her characters reveal too much of herself, she is forever looking for long-tailed words, she means to have a good influence on her brother (several years senior to her) through her work..In short, an uncommon child, and very interesting.And these are the very traits that later cause her to devote her entire life to atoning for separating her sister Cecila from the charlady’s son, Robbie (who also goes to college with her, and whose education is paid for by the Tallis family). She misconstrues a confrontation between the two for a threat to her sister and resolves to ‘save her sister’ ( Like I said– heady!) from this ‘maniac’. And so it is, that when a terrible crime occurs, she believes Robbie guilty and goes to her parents with her theory. There is enough ‘evidence’ that the police are called.Briony repeats her fabricated story, although at first with a little reluctance and suggesting that it is only theory, with increasing confidence in her judgement.The result is that Robbie is sent to jail. Meanwhile, Briony grows up and realizes the enormity of the consequences of her actions, particularly as she now knows who the real culprit was. She spends the rest of her life atoning for this- first, through being a nurse instead of heading off to college as was originally planned and then (more importantly) in her old age, writing a novel ‘Atonement’ that tells the entire story. It is the perfect ending to a great novel because it also explains how the story is written– as things happened, and then through Briony’s eyes with the meaning she gives them.

Long story short, I would definitely take it along were I ever asked to pick a bunch of books and get marooned on a deserted island. 😀

Some of my favourite quotes:

She raised one hand and flexed its fingers and wondered, as she had sometimes before, how this thing, this machine for gripping, this fleshy spider on the end of her arm, came to be hers, entirely at her command. Or did it have some little life of its own? She bent her finger and straightened it. The mystery was in the instant before it moved, the dividing moment between not moving and moving, when her intention took effect. It was like a wave breaking. If she could only find herself at the crest, she thought, she might find the secret of herself, that part of her that was really in charge.” ( Briony)

“Their south-east aspect had permitted parallelograms of morning sunlight to advance across the powder-blue carpet. Her breathing slowed and her desire for a cigarette deepened, but still she hesitated by the door, momentarily held by the perfection of the scene – by the three faded Chesterfields grouped around the almost new Gothic fireplace in which stood a display of wintry sedge, by the unplayed, untuned harpsichord and the unused rosewood music stands, by the heavy velvet curtains, loosely restrained by an orange and blue tasseled rope, framing a partial view of cloudless sky and the yellow and grey mottled terrace where chamomile and feverfew grew between the paving cracks.” ( See what I mean by brilliant imagery?)

Was being Cecilia just as vivid an affair as being Briony? Did her sister also have a real self concealed behind a breaking wave and did she spend time thinking about it, with a finger held up to her face? Did everybody, including her father, Betty, Hardman? If the answer was yes, then the world, the social world, was unbearably complicated.” ( Also Briony)

Bernini’s intention must have been for the water to trickle musically from the wide shell with its irregular edges into the basin below. But the pressure was too weak, so that instead the water slid soundlessly down the underside of the shell where opportunistic slime hung in dripping points, like stalactites in a limestone cave. The basin itself was over three feet deep and clear. The bottom was of a pale, creamy stone over which undulating white-edged rectangles of refracted sunlight divided and overlapped.” ( Of a fountain)

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Of all the books I’ve read lately, this one sticks out by a mile.In fact I am so in love with this book that I think it deserves a post in itself.Any other book sharing space would just sound very ‘meh..’.

The lead character, Howard Roark, is like no other.If there is one thing I love more than the book (OK, almost), it is him:

‘Both men disliked Roark.He was usually disliked, from the first sight of his face, anywhere he went.His face was closed like the door of a safety vault; things locked in safety vaults are valuable; men did not care to feel that.He was a cold, disquieting presence in the room; his presence had a strange quality; it made itself felt and yet it made them feel that he wasn’t there; or perhaps it was that he was and they weren’t.’


Another excerpt, this from the antagonist-in-chief, Ellsworth Toohey  (Perhaps ‘The man who could never be’ , as the author intended to portray him would be a better description?) :

” Have you ever thought of the style of a soul, Kiki?”

” The ..what ? “

” The style of a soul.Do you remember the famous philosopher who spoke of the style of a civilization? He called it ‘style’.He said it was the nearest word he could find for it.He said that every civilization has a basic principle, one single, supreme, determining conception, and every endeavor of men within that civilization is true, unconsciously and irrevocably, to that one principle…I think, Kiki, that every human soul has a style of its own, also.Its one basic theme.You’ll see it reflected in every thought, every act, every wish of that person.The one absolute, the one imperative in that living creature. Years of studying a man won’t show it to you. His face will. You’d have to write volumes to describe a person. Think of his face. You need nothing else.”

And Howard Roark is every inch that man who knows his ‘style’, and finds an outlet for it in architecture.‘The man who was as man should be.”


” Howard Roark built a temple to the human spirit. He saw man as strong, proud, clean, wise and fearless. He saw man as a heroic being. And he built a temple to that. A temple is a place where man is to experience exaltation. He thought that exaltation comes from the consciousness of being guiltless, of seeing the truth and achieving it, of living up to one’s highest possibility, of knowing no shame and having no cause for shame, of being able to stand naked in full sunlight. He thought that exaltation means joy and that joy is man’s birthright. He thought that a place built as a setting for man is a sacred place. That is what Howard Roark thought of man and of exaltation. But Ellsworth Toohey said that this temple was a monument to a profound hatred of humanity. Ellsworth Toohey said that the essence of exaltation was to be scared out of your wits, to fall down and to grovel. Ellsworth Toohey said that man’s highest act was to realize his own worthlessness and to beg forgiveness. Ellsworth Toohey said it was depraved not to take for granted that man is something which needs to be forgiven. . . . To glorify man, said Ellsworth Toohey, was to glorify the gross pleasure of the flesh, for the realm of the spirit is beyond the grasp of man. To enter that realm, said Ellsworth Toohey, man must come as a beggar, on his knees. Ellsworth Toohey is a lover of mankind.” – Dominique Francon.

The woman for a man like Roark, Dominique Francon is an idealist who loves Roark for his impassioned work, and hates him because the general public will never see beauty in it.She pronounces him guilty of the crime of building structures fit for no man.While it is generally taken for an agreement with public sentiment, she believes that they are not a worthy audience and that his structures must be saved from the world, not the other way around.


“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.” ( Part of Roark’s stunning defence at his last trial. I wish I could put all of it here but 1) It’s the best part of the story, and something you should read for yourself and 2) We have too few readers as-is, ’nuff said.)


Genre : It’s a book on a man and his work and the formidable combination they make.Roark’s buildings are described as seeming to grow out of the very earth- so natural and true as they are.It might seem strange that one man’s ego give birth to that , but Roark’s personality accounts for everything.There is also a contrasting character in Peter Keating- the architect seemingly at the head of it all, with recognition in toxic quantities.Mr.Wynand, the man who could have been , for the part that he is ( is this all sounding too much like something from a legal document what with all the repetition?) is another absolutely brilliant character.

Bottom line? Must.Read.Book.NOW.

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