Seven Ancient Wonders – Review

Seven Ancient Wonders by Matthew Reilly, Finished Reading on 21st July 2009

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Synopsis

“An Ancient secret is unlocked…

Two thousand years ago, it was divided into seven pieces and hidden within the seven wonders of the ancient world. Now, with the imminent arrival of a rare solar event, it must be found again and reassembled

One brave team…

Led by the archaeologist and soldier, Jack West Jr, a team of nine brave men must discover the modern-day locations of the seven ancient wonders and unlock the secret. But the odds are sacked against them:entire nations are also after the legendary prize.

The world will be changed…

For the swamps of Sudan, to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, to the Pyramids of ancient Egypt, the quest begins. Before it is over, for the first time in history, the secret of the seven ancient wonders will be revealed and the future of the world changed forever.

The great adventure has begun…”

The other day, as I was straying inside bookshop in search of a book that can revive my reading habit which had declined sharply since the last four months, Seven ancient Wonders caught my eye. By looking at the cover itself I knew, it is going to be a gripping novel.  A pyramid with an eye chipped at the centre, is good enough to create interest in anyone who loves history and mistery. I grabbed it at once. The book did not disappoint me at all. It has everything which I was looking for, Action, Mystery, Twists, Eleventh-Hour survivals, hero-raising-back-from-almost-dead, what else you need!

Though not exactly electrifying as Da Vinci Code, It has got some kickshaws which will keep up the readers interest. May be I have read too many thrillers, I could easily predict some of the surprises in the plot. But, believe me, Its a damn good book for someone who likes history. All the mystic crypts, Death Traps, ancient treasures, pyramids and all the wonderful stuff from the past will hold a grip with the reader so that he will never put down the book without reluctance. Those who like riveting, thrilling, action filled novels will love this one. The action starts, right from the first chapter and continues till the end.

The book is a perfect blend of truth and imagination. You never know where the author is making up things!!!. The authors description of Hanging Garden of Babylon, was awesome. Another interesting thing is the diagrams provided for the readers aid in almost every chapters, which I don’t see in many thrillers. A globe trotting hero and the mystic background really enriches a normal good-vs-evil and poetic justice plot. Good to read for time pass. Lot of food for thought for a History enthusiastic. At the end of the final chapter, you may feel a little more knowledgeable about the ancient wonders than before. Final verdict – Time pass read when you are bored and need something interesting.

Rating 3/5

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The Zoya factor – Review

The Zoya factor by Anuja Chauhan, Finished reading on 14th July 2009 (Around 6 AM)  

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Book Name:  The Zoya Factor – All is fair in love and cricket

Time Took to Read:  Almost 12 Hours (continuous)

Start and End time: Started around 7PM 13th July and finished it around 14th July 6AM. Night out.

 

Synopsis

“Khoda said, his voice deceptively casual,

‘So you think the only reason we’ve been winning is because you’ve been gracing our breakfast table  before the matches, do you?’

I opened my eyes very wild

‘Well obviously,’

I replied

‘Surely you weren’t thinking it was because of you?’

When the younger players in India’s cricket team learn that mid-level advertising executive Zoya Singh Solanki was born at the exact moment that India clinched the World Cup, back in ‘83, they are intrigued:when eating breakfast with her is followed by victories on the field, they are impressed:and when not eating with her results in defeat, they are convinced she’s their lucky charm. Between them and the eccentric IBCC president they coax Zoya to accompany the Indian team to Australia  for the tenth ICC World Cup on an All-Expenses-paid holiday, on the condition that she breakfast with them before every match… worshipped by her Indian fans, and vilified by the other competing teams, Zoya struggles valiantly to do her bit for Indian cricket in the thick of the World Cup action. It doesn’t help that she keeps clashing with the erratically brilliant new skipper Nikhil Khoda who tells her flatly that he doesn’t believe in luck”

I liked the book, In fact loved it. I did not put down the book till I reached the last page. I read even the Acknowledgment part, which I never do normally. Oops, Am I creating a hype for this book? Let me make this clear. Its a very normal book with a typical middle-class-heroine-meets-the-handsome-prince story and that too with very predicable twists. But you will love it, I am sure. We all love the Cinderella stories. right? Well I do.

The loves-me-loves-me-not storyline is the only week point in this novel. But the uncommon setup the author picked to tell us the story is interesting. The advertising agency adventures are quite interesting even to a novice like me. All the characters, including the ones in Indian Cricket team, are interesting.  My favourite is the five-year-old sex maniac Armaan. Funny at times, touching in a way and above all romantic, that are few words to describe this book.

If you are a intelligent-don’t-like-fancy-stuff guy, then don’t bother. You could try it , if you are a huge fan of cricket. Despite being neutral to all these cricketing hypes, I enjoyed all the cricket matches thoroughly. So there is no that kind of dependency also. One think I must mention is the superb language. With a bit of Hinglish spread over here and there, the presentation is very catchy and simple.

I think I need to mention something about the author as well.  It might be interesting to know that, author Anuja chauhan is the one behind a few the famous one lines in India Ads like the all time hit ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’, ‘Mera Number Kab Aayega’, ‘Nothing Official About It’, and ‘Oye Bubby’. And its hey first attempt to write anything more than 60 secs. Anyway the first attempt has itself hit the eye of the bull.

Result of the night out:  Puffy eyes,  A head-ache-day, Missed two deadlines (Which, anyways, I don’t regret). Tickled few search engines, to know M S Dhoni’s past/present/feature. Learned the meaning of VPL. 🙂 . (In fact now I know both the meanings).

Quote from the book:  Truly spiritually evolved people behave exactly the same way when they meet kings as they do when they meet beggars (Not applicable when I meet Shah Rukh and M S Dhoni)

Rating 4/5

The Wind in the Willows – Review

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Finished reading on 10th July 2009

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Synopsis

“When the Mole escapes from the tedium of spring cleaning and embarks on a new life on the River Bank with his friend the Water Rat, he has little idea of the adventures ahead of him. And the greatest adventures of all are concerned with the vainglorious Toad, who is thrown into transports of delight and finally prison by his love of fast motor cars. It is a hard battle indeed for his friends to reach Mr. Toad even a little sense.

“The world has held great Heroes
As History-books have showed;
But never a name to go down to fame
Compared with that of Toad!”

Kenneth Grahame’s tale of rural life has enchanted generations of children and adults since it was first published in 1908”

These goes another book which I would like to keep in shelf for my kids. A book which in detail, narrates the animal kingdom near the river bank and the quite innovative adventures of Toad, what else, everything a parent wish their children to read. But I really doubt how children of age above ten, will be able to finish of the book. May be its a way to teach them the virtue of patience. :).  I really should have read the book when I was a small kid. Now I could never comprehend the book as the way a child does. I found the book a bit dull and boring and had to drag myself to finish off the book.

I think I should ask a kid to rate the book rather than rating it myself. This book was initially a set of letters written by the author to his daughter. Do keep one copy of this book in your shelf for your kids.

Nostalgia

What would be the first thing that comes to your mind if someone asks you about the best days of your life? Is it the long vacation you took last year or last to last year? For most people it will be the childhood days. Even If those days were filled with hiccups like exams and grades, those were the best days of my life. In fact the more I think, days of yore seem more beautiful and livelier than the present days. I know it is a human tendency to idealize the past and compare it with present. I guess I am no different.
Childhood memories are special to everyone. For me too. I will never forget the grand summer vacations that we used to spend with my granny. The days were brighter and the nights starry. The river in front of our house, the small meadows, the small fishing trips we made to the river, the small boat which would take us upto a shallow corner in the river, all the games we played in the green fields, the soaking rain. As I sit here now, all these snapshots from the past flash through my mind. As someone wisely said, nostalgia is truly an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories. Everything about those days seems like a dream when you think about it, sitting in a concrete den, surrounded by the concrete forest. I could not escape the uneasy feeling of loss that creeps up till your throat, making your eyes wet. When I look outside my window I see a road with a drainage ditch alongside it right outside my apartment window, which reminds me how much my life has changed. The greenery and glassy river view of my granny’s house, seems to be a thing of thousands of years back.
We cannot cling to the past. We should always move ahead. Life always gets better. Is it really so? In the past, I made friends: now I make colleagues. Then, I talked, talked and talked to everyone around me: now I have my iPod. I used to go out and play: now I go to gym and aerobics and pay for stretching my own limbs. I used to eat whatever I get and still remained thin: now, I don’t eat anything worth tasting and have to keep filling my nutritionist’s pocket to keep me away from my favorite dishes and desserts. When we were young we raced and fought until the last ray of sun under the open sky: now I race and fight in a 14-inch monitor till my manager pings me for the task update. You had exams to get you to next class and to concrete the fact that hard work always pays off: now, we have appraisal meetings which makes you sulk even after all the hard work you have done the year along. Life is definitely getting better.
It’s been almost four years since I left my college. I see a lot of old college pics in Orkut, updated everyday, either by my batch mates or seniors/juniors, or even by teachers, which attract lot of comments. There would be plenty of moments in our campus life, which could lighten up your face with a smile even now. All the fights, small heartbreaks, and all the exam tensions, never dampen the happy feeling we have when we think about the magic days. Friends we made there are special, they still fill our heart with warmth and a feeling of closeness. When any of the old friends sends a mail, you will be clicking on it first right after you open your mailbox. When I look at those pictures, I realize that all the classrooms, corridors and hangout places of my college life, seems to be more familiar to you than anywhere else. I wish I could go back in time. Anyway everyone is not lucky enough to be seventeen again as Mathew Pherry.
To tell you the truth, I am even getting nostalgic about my last company. For god’s sake, that is not good!! Getting nostalgic about working in a software company! Never ever heard in history. I never liked that company when I was working there. Going by Bill Vaughn’s advice, I think it would take another job-hopping for me to get nostalgic about present one. Anyway these are just moments, It will just glide by. We all know how to forget and remember the past conveniently. Whenever you get a shot of this sweet and painful nostalgia drug, close your eyes for a while, enjoy the sweetness of past and then shake your head off. That is all it takes to reach back the chaos of reality.
“It’s never safe to be nostalgic about something until you’re absolutely certain there’s no chance of its coming back.” – Bill Vaughn.