BINARY (1972) 3.5/5 YES Sci-fi Thriller Rs.77 ( John Lange aka Michael Crichton [3.50/2333 ratings Goodreads]

Review #443 (Book Review #143) :

WHY? I am a huge fan of Michael Crichton and read some of his novels – the andromeda strain, the great train robbery, eaters of the dead, congo, sphere, jurassic park, the lost world, airframe, timeline, prey, state of fear, pirate latitudes, micro & dragon teeth, last 3 published posthumously. Out of these 14 novels, except micro, (you can easily see the difference as it is completed by someone else) I liked all of his works, reason, his edge-of-the-seat thrilling writing and no foolish thrill, most of them are sci-fi thrillers, well supported by scientific facts/assumptions and even having sci-fi jargons thrown in, which makes his books unique, and interesting for me, so when I get a chance of ordering few more books of him in a bookchor sale, I ordered 4 more books online, though 1 got cancelled later. And now I present to you a review of a book which he wrote long back and by the alias JOHN LANGE, not using his real name, book named BINARY.

WHAT? BINARY is a story of a known criminal JOHN WRIGHT who was in continuous surveillance from US defence department, and the guy who follows him, and know in and out about him is JOHN GRAVES. But both men have a similarity, both are exceptional mathematical genius, and can predict many outcomes on basis of assumptions. President is in San Diego, and John Wright also, and it seems something big is planned by him, so to tackle him, Graves and his team is trying to find out what’s going on and to stop if anything bad happens.

HOW? This book is a small sized book having less number of pages, my copy contains 169 pgs in all and I took 7 days to complete it. Its written in easy-to-understand readable language (Crichton) and it’s a fast paced thriller, you will feel you’re part of the action going in the book. Then as usual you have that sci-fi jargon thrown at you with explanations and facts, which add to the credibility of the story. Even in such a small book, Crichton is able to establish the facts and the characters. Its just like a cat-and-mouse game between the 2 main characters of the story.

I didn’t found any negative points with this book, its first published in 1972 but it has the feel of today, though the technology depicted is obviously of that timeline. If you like sci fi thrillers, you can read this, its not a long book as well so even a starter can complete this book with a little discipline. I rate 3.5/5. Go for it!

GRuchirG. (“Jee” Ruchir “Ji”)

Jai Raam ji ki 🙂

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A Thug’s tale!! Boring!!

CONFESSIONS OF A THUG (1839) 1.5/5 NO Historical Drama Fiction Rs.64 (Amazon Kindle) Philip Meadows Taylor [3.59/232 ratings Goodreads]

Review #442 (Book Review #142) :

One day I heard about a bollywood movie which is currently in shooting phase named THE THUGS OF HINDOSTAN, which stars heavyweight stars like Amitabh Bachchan & Aamir Khan, so obviously it got my attention, name also looked different, obviously it seems a period piece, so I googled and found its inspiration, and as a big novel reader, I bought its inspiration, a kindle ebook named CONFESSIONS OF A THUG written by Philips Meadows Taylor in 1839, yep a period piece.

Let’s checkout it’s story – Someone is narrating his story to a British Indian officer, and it’s the era of British Raj, when British rules India through East India Company. This guy is a thug and goes by the name Ameer Ali. He narrated his full life story from his adolescent stage till the present time. How did he become a Thug?, details about thuggee, a cult following in middle India which was on rise during that period (not verified, going by the author’s claims), and all his adventures. So basically the novel name stands correct, confession of a thug.

Aesthetics of book – I bought a kindle version once I found out about this book (read 1st para again) and it was available just for Rs.64 (later on it was available only for Rs.29). This book is 399 pages in the kindle normal font format (on kindle android app, phone 5.5inch), and guess what, in this format page numbers changed after 3-4 pages, so 399 are not just 399, but its 399×3 to 4 pgs.

Since this book was written long back in 1800s, its studded with old-style English and many such words which will give grammer error if you write that now on Word. Words like ‘Thou’ ‘hast’ ‘thy’ etc and these words has given to the native characters for their dialogues, looks odd, them speaking such language, but in every book, its upto writer, he only decides the dialogues.

Some more insight into book – The book is quite long, even for an avid reader like me, I’ve read many books having more than this number of pages (399), like ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Alaska’, ‘Hawaii’ by James Michener (currently reading ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’), but those books were indeed interesting. LOTR was adventurous and fantastical while other two were interesting piece of historical adventures, but this book was boring. It started well, and it got my interest when the main characters started telling his life journey from a child to adolescence, and then his 1st journey for thug expedition, but then in the whole book, he explained more such expeditions, with nothing much new to add to it. Meaning only some characters are getting added but nothing new happening, kind of you’re reading the same pages again and again for 399 pages. In LOTR, it’s again a journey but those characters got something new everytime, its studded with adventures and many happenings, here, its just plain old story. So its basically a redundant tale after a 100 or so pages.

Let’s talk about the end – End was simple and plain just like someone’s talking and now that discussion is over, so the readers will not get the satisfaction of successfully completing a novel, then what’s the use of reading it. I don’t know how the filmmakers will cope up with the story, I guess they’ll somehow manage the screenplay accordingly so as to make the movie interesting to watch, with some end to it, there are some events in the book which can serve as a good end, and as we all know adaptations will always have some or more cinematic liberties with them so as to suit the viewers.

So I will not recommend anyone to waste their precious energy on this book, as reading it for just some starting pages will not serve the purpose, and 399 pages of a redundant tale is just too much. I rate it 1.5/5 for some of the events and starting pages. Avoid, let me see its adaptation whenever it will release here.

GRuchirG (Jee Ruchir Ji)

Jai Raam ji ki 🙂

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The EXTREME Race!!

A VOYAGE FOR MADMEN (2002) 4/5 YES Non-fiction Adventure Rs.83 ( Peter Nichols [4.25/2781 ratings Goodreads]

Review #441 (Book Review #141) :

So finally after 27 days, I completed one more book, and which is an achievement for me, why? Well, I will tell you later. Here is the review of a wonderdul book named A VOYAGE FOR MADMEN written by PETER NICHOLS.

This is my 1st read of this writer, one fine day when I was surfing the 2nd hand book app Bookchor, I found this book in a weekday event for very low price, and as I’ve already used this app quite some time, so I know that this is not a bad deal, hence I ordered the book looking at its synopsis. And glad I did! Its a non fiction adventure story of 9 brave men aka madmen.

About the story: In 1968, there held a race sponsored by the UK paper Sunday Times, named the Golden Globe Race – the non-stop Solo circumnavigation of the world in a yacht. You cannot stop at any port, or take the help or supplies from anyone after you start, you have to round all the 3 famous capes – Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin & the notorious Cape Horn, you have to leave from a port degree latitude, start and end the voyage at the same port, between the date range 1Jun-31oct1968. Otherwise you’ll not be considered for the race or you’ll be disqualified.

About the book: Since it is a non-fiction book, it is having all the real names of all the competitors and all the other person and entities related. There are a total of 9 contestants, and there are 2 prizes to be won – 1st person who will complete the race and fastest person who will complete the race. This book is studded with a seamen’s technical lingo, details about everyone’s preparations for this arduous journey and to-minute details of every boat the contestants are using, reason the writer himself was a seamen, done a solo navigation along the antarctic, so to read this book, many details could go above your head, if you don’t know about in-and-out about boats, but mind it, it will not deter an avid reader like me, that’s why I was able to complete this book in quick time. The read was full of adventure details, and the writing did the justice to their eventful journey.

About the author: As per the description given in the book, Peter Nichols spent 10 years at sea working as a professional yacht captain, living on his small sailboat, he has written other books like ‘Sea Change: Alone Across the Atlantic in a Wooden Boat’ & ‘Voyage to the North Star’. He has taught creative writing at Georgetown university & now lives in Paris.

Final verdict: Its a wonderful book to read, and it will not bore you, and every now and then it will give you a feel of the events our competitors faced. So it’s recommended, and I rate it a 4/5. The non-serious readers OR the readers who avoids non fiction, should avoid this book.


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THE FOUR LEGENDARY KINGDOMS (2016) 4/5 YES Thriller Rs.293 ( Matthew Reilly [4.29/4455 ratings Goodreads]

Review #440 (Book Review #140) :

16 days 430 pgs later and I finally finished a book for which I was waiting from quite some time, and this book is named THE FOUR LEGENDARY KINGDOMS written by MATTHEW REILLY and it belongs to JACK WEST JR. series, it’s 4th book in the series and came after a lot of wait, the last book came in 2009 so it’s almost 7 yrs wait, but nonetheless this wait is successful.

I am a fan of Jack West series more than his other Shane Schofield series, so my wait was enormous. This book starts where the last one ends. Somehow Jack West found himself in an underground place where he is one of the competitor of some games which he has to win, you cannot lose this game because then you die, and all your support group, that consists of your near and dear and which are captured and now they’re hostages of the game organiser Lord Hades (nickname of one of the king of 4 secret kingdoms), Now Jack has to find a way out of these games and to understand actually what is going on!

This is usual Matthew Reilly, the best of him, and its written in the same way as his other Jack West books are-: fluid, fast paced action thriller, and lot of diagrams and fotos of areas/arenas to clear you mind as where the deadly games are being played. At the starting I felt why did MR added game fact, since we all knew about famous deadly game-concept books & movies – HUNGER GAMES & MAZE RUNNER, so it gave me a thought initially that MR has also fallen to the concept, but he tried his best to be original, and brings another thriller which takes the story forward with an ending which ask you to buy the next part (will be coming soon THE THREE SECRET CITIES)

It is an edge-of-the-seat thriller with fast paced action, even being a 400+ pages book, the pages went passed so fast that suddenly I realize, “Oh! I’ve already crossed 100 pgs”, that is the effect. And MR has a surprise for you in this book, many of you avid readers of MR may already know about it because the surprise can only be enjoyed by a MR fan. The language is pretty easy, though for a new reader it may take time to understand the surroundings, but for that purpose MR has supplied diagrams.

SPOILER ALERT: The story is based in my country. 🙂

If you’re a MR fan and esp. a fan of his JACK WEST JR. series fan, you should go for it, I rate 4/5.

GRuchirG (“Ji” Ruchir “Jee”)

Jai Raam ji ki 🙂

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I Do What I Do!!

AN UNSUITABLE BOY (2017) 2/5 YES Autobiography Rs.100 (from shop) Karan Johar Poonam Saxena [3.49/3484 ratings Goodreads]

Review #439 (Book Review #139) :

So I’ve finally completed the auto-biography of Karan Johar named AN UNSUITABLE BOY which was first published in 2017 jan. This book is written by Karan Johar along with Poonam Saxena. Now before proceeding further with the review, let me give you all a brief introduction of who Karan Johar is.

Karan Johar aka KJo is a well-known Indian film director, producer and screenwriter. He is the son of yesteryear Bollywood producer Lt. Yash Johar and now he holds the reigns to Yash’s production house ‘Dharma Productions‘. He had created blockbuster movies ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ (won India’s biggest movie award, Filmfare for Best Director), also made ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’, ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ and produced many movies under his production house many of which are superhits. Till date he directed 7 movies and produced around 30 movies, written 8 of them.

Back to book: Since its an autobiography you can easily guess what could be the content of the book, its his life story, chronicled as he liked it. This book is divided across 15 chapters, a prologue and an epilogue. He started explaining about his childhood, growing up times, how did he land up with his first movie in direction, also casting the superstar Shahrukh Khan in his first movie, about losing his Dad, getting reigns of his Dad’s company, starting and maintaining the company, his chemistry with Shahrukh Khan, how he felt about his se*ual preferences and troll tweets, what’s his ideas about love & se*, about his midlife angst, about his famous TV show ‘Koffee with Karan’, his fallout with Kajol (a famous Bollywood actress) and his ending thoughts on adoption of babies.

Now let me share what I think about him and his book. As many of us are aware that he is not straight and looks dubious, he has shown his angst and his feelings in his book, how he faced others regarding the same, he also joined vocal classes so as to improve his baritone, to sound more male. But he didn’t rant about anything. He didn’t went that way explaining his se*ual preferences, he just thought not to share anything about it. He share some incidents about his fallouts with Shahrukh & Kajol, he even dedicated a whole chapter to his relations with Shahrukh.

It’s an okay book and it’s my 2nd read of a biography/autobiography, earlier I’ve read the autobiography of Bear Grylls. This one I would say less a biography, more of an advice and instruction booklet as per mindset of Karan Johar. In the starting, the book sticks true to its path and where he explained what all things he has gone through in his past, alongwith his start of filmy career and direction and whatnot he did but during later half and end of book, it becomes a bore since he indulge in giving advices and do’s and dont’s as per what he thinks, repeated lines and incidents, and overdose of instructions killed what could be a gem of a book. Usually an autobiography always has some masalas for readers to dig into, but this book seems more on diplomatic side, somehow KJo didnt shared everything what he wanted to.

He’s still 45 and have lot of years to go through to elongate his career, in which he can rewrite many things, he’s going great guns in his current life, he’s making movies, hosting and judging shows on tv and enjoying his time in parties with his dressing sense, already adopted 2 babies whom he named Yash (his father’s name) and Roohi (opposite of his mother’s name Hiroo), I just wish him all the best for his remaining life, may he entertains us all with his romcom drama genre style movies.

On the book side however, I rate it a 2/5, I will recommend it, since you got to know something about Karan Johar, but if you really want to start reading biographies, try something else first.

GRuchirG (Jee Ruchir G)

Jai Raam ji ki 🙂

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He will kill you…….

THE BUTCHER OF BENARES (2014) 3.5/5 YES Thriller Rs.46 (Kindle ebook) Mahendra Jakhar [3.45/319 ratings Goodreads]

Review #438 (Book Review #138) :

Preface: Some time back I got intrigued by a book from an Indian author, the book was named THE TAJ CONSPIRACY, reason its title. I bought it and read it, but it was a dud, one of the worst thriller I ever read. Then after some time I got intrigued by another book named THE BUTCHER OF BENARES, reason the title and the cover page, but I was very sceptical whether I will like it or not, or will this book again cheat me like the previous one, since this book was not written by any well-known famous Indian writers like Chetan Bhagat or Amish or Ashwin Sanghi or even Krishna Udayasankar ( I liked their books), so one fine day I finally bought its kindle version thinking that even if it comes out bad, I didn’t invested much money in it. But the book was really good, and here’s my review along with my recommendation.

Hawa Singh is a senior inspector with Delhi Police Crime Branch and is in Varanasi aka Banaras aka Kashi with his father Fauja Singh. Fauja singh wants to attain moksha by dying in Hindu’s highest order pilgrimage Banaras and he is in his older stage. Meanwhile during Hawa’s stay he observed some murders and hence got involved with Banaras police department and an agent from FBI named Ruby Singh, foreigners are getting murdered and a serial killer on loose. The killer got a nickname THE BUTCHER OF BENARES while our protagonist Hawa Singh is also known as the Ghost. The book is Bollywood thriller movie styled wherein we get all the masalas, 2 different investigating officers and obviously they had to be of different genders, also some pages has also been given to killer, where he is explaining his plan and intentions.

This book is wonderfully written, studded with lovely explaination of the oldest and mysterious city of Banaras. The time depicted in the novel is winter time and the perfect time for a killer to hide since in winter Banaras is engulfed with heavy fogs during evening/night and morning times and its closer to 0 temperature. Book captured the mood of the city beautifully. The book is a taut and edge-of-seat thriller, and never looked boring to me. Readability is good, character and environment descriptions are fine. But there was one big mistake, which, for me, cost the book a half star.

When the book was about to finish, and its the climax time, and the climax ruined it all, all the anticipation and the excitement led to a bad finale. The final twist in the tale about the main antagonist was bad, when antagonist identity was revealed, still it was believable but I don’t know why author gave one more twist to it, plus I didn’t liked the motives behind the serial killings. I have guessed the killer somehow but author gave one last twist which ruined the ending. I rate the book a 3.5/5 just because of the bad end, and the repetetive explanation of already explained environs of benaras, but all-in-all its a good timepass thriller.


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What is Chennai?

TAMARIND CITY (2012) 4/5 YES Travelogue Rs.49 (Kindle ebook) Bishwanath Ghosh [3.85/386 ratings Goodreads]

Review #437 (Book Review #137) :

So I completed my 2nd ever read of Bishwanath Ghosh, I read his other travelogue some time back named CHAI CHAI. And that book encourages me to buy this one. His simple writing style and mixing up simple happenings and emotions in his writing, plus always sharing the positiveness of Indian countryside made him the guy to read, unlike many other Indian travelogues where the writers only share the negative parts and the problems they faced. And ask me, I was not at all disappointed after reading CHAI CHAI, or even this one TAMARIND CITY.

(check out my review of CHAI CHAI here: )

This book is a travelogue on one city’s history and its legacies, and the city is MADRAS aka CHENNAI. His last book covers some small cities which falls on railway tracks where ideally less people get down from trains, but this one covers one of the 4 metropolitan city of India CHENNAI. The writer tried to tell and cover as many aspects of a city as he can, he tried from beginning, not only cover the story of the city but also the story of people who made it chennai the way it is.

Now let’s explore the book chapter by chapter. This book contains 11 chapters in around 314 pages.

Ch.1 tells how did the author, a Bengali journalist from Kanpur UP lands in Chennai for a job and how did he liked and stick to chennai for more than 10 yrs

Ch.2 is all about some initial history of chennai and prominent people landing in the port city

Ch.3 covers religious aspects of chennai, the differentiation between Brahmins and Dravidians upcoming and ruling over Brahmins and how chennai excels in curbing the high caste Hindu culture but still maintaining the temples in the city

Ch.4 covers some of the main areas and iconic places of Chennai like Triplicane, Mylapore and Ratna cafe, parthasarthy temple and area’s history

Ch.5 covers a taboo topic about se* and the city plus feminism dealings in chennai, also covers the famous doctor (India’s no 2) of se*ual disorders and his story

Ch.6 covers the Ganesan family and chennai’s affairs with movies

Ch.7 covers the story behind one of the famous yesteryear children magazine Chandamama and of the artiste behind it

Ch.8 covers the life on Marina beach, the 2nd largest beach, and the story of a self-made entreprenur cum restaurateur and her struggles and also about Tsunami havoc

Ch.9 covers the story behind December music festival/month which happens in chennai every year and how the music is related to chennai

Ch.10 covers some developments related to the city and what makes chennai a better place to live, for e.g. the medical revolution, industrial revolution (chennai and its neighbouring towns are manufacturing industry hubs)

In Ch.11, finally but not the least he covered the details and history related to the street where he lived, and who all big named guys lived there.

So I must say that if you’re into city travelogues, and into good reading this book is for you, and if you’re a fan of Indian cities esp. chennai you should have this book in your collection. BG’s language is very simple, he writes in common man’s language, so you can enjoy all the scenes described without looking at dictionary. Only negatives I found is typo errors, which are at some pages on the book, I counted more than 10, which can be rectified in further editions (however I’m not sure if typos are only in the kindle edition or in all the editions inc. paperback). The descriptions of locations, history is explained nicely, and the reader was able to relate to it, and still it didn’t went boring (as usually the case with history books), the book is informational and enjoyable at the same time.

I liked the book, I’ve even bought 2 more books of him (I guess he’s written 4 travelogues till now), Bishwanath Ghosh is the guy to look for. I rate the book 4/5.

GRuchirG. (G Ruchir Ji)

Jai Raam ji ki 🙂

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