Obsession can be a tricky thing. It can compel us to achieve great heights or push us into the darkest depths of depression. Nick Hornby’s obsession i...moreObsession can be a tricky thing. It can compel us to achieve great heights or push us into the darkest depths of depression. Nick Hornby’s obsession is Football (NOT Soccer); Arsenal Football Club to be precise. And the obsession is so deeply ingrained that during a phase in his life, he believed that the only way for him to overcome a career and life ending depression is if Arsenal starts playing well again. Such is the premise against which the book is set.
In Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby takes us through his first encounter with Arsenal in 1968, to Arsenal’s astonishing season-ending-title-deciding match against Liverpool in 1989. One of the points that he’s made at the beginning of the book is that a true Football fan won’t remember his/her life in term of years (1968, 1969, etc.) but rather in terms of Football seasons (68/69, 69/70, etc.) nor would he remember some of the memorable events (both in personal life or world history) through the dates that they occurred, but some big match that took place around that event. And thus it is that, in a book where he describes his life with respect to Football; and how it affected the course of certain events in his life, each chapter in the book begins with a match details as sub-heading (for example: Liverpool vs Arsenal, 26.5.89) and then goes on to describe the other details surrounding the match.
Normally, I am not a big fan of autobiographies, and though this may come around as one, it is not exactly so. It’s a crisply written book describing a fan’s view of Football and Arsenal. And though the book is about Football and Arsenal (about 85 % of it), it is still a book that can be read by most sports fans and thoroughly enjoyed. (less)
A slightly better book that he previous part. While the previous part concentrated on the makings of Harry Clifton, and the established the relationsh...moreA slightly better book that he previous part. While the previous part concentrated on the makings of Harry Clifton, and the established the relationships between each of the major characters, this part traces the journey that each of the characters make.
The one thing that can be said about this book is that it was less predictable than the last one. Though again, like its predecessor, even this book had lot of coincidences occurring out of nowhere. I would give it 3.25/5.(less)
Absolutely. Bloody. Brilliant. Excellent writing, very good art work. Joker is probably at his most frightening, unpredictable best since 'The Killing...moreAbsolutely. Bloody. Brilliant. Excellent writing, very good art work. Joker is probably at his most frightening, unpredictable best since 'The Killing Joke'. Only fault is that the ending could have been slightly better (or grimmer, given the overall tone of the book and what the Joker had accomplished till then). But still, definitely worth a read; for Joker if no one else.(less)
Another Neil Gaiman book, and another gem. ‘Neverwhere’ stars a young man (Richard Mayhew) pushed, unwillingly, into a set of events which take him in...moreAnother Neil Gaiman book, and another gem. ‘Neverwhere’ stars a young man (Richard Mayhew) pushed, unwillingly, into a set of events which take him into a world beneath his ‘normal’ world – both the worlds being set in London; ‘London Above’ and ‘London Below’. The inhabitants of this world pass anonymously through London above, noticed only when they create some major chaos and are caught in the middle of the ‘crime’ scene. It’s not easy to find London Below, but once you do find it, it’s almost impossible to return to your normal life in London Above.
The plot of Neverwhere takes place against this backdrop. Richard Mayhew, timid, simple, unambitious, and engaged gets caught in a ‘murder investigation’ of a Royal family from London Below. Gaiman takes you through the gripping journey undertaken by Richard and his newfound acquaintances as they strive to solve the murders that rock the London underworld. But no, this is by no means a crime novel. It is a fantasy fiction novel with no investigation involved whatsoever.
As usual, Neil Gaiman’s writing is crisp and riveting. The story flows at a good pace. London Below is scary enough to provide the perfect backdrop to the dark events described in the book. And you get into the thick of things almost immediately. But once again, as was the case in Good Omens (the only other Neil Gaiman book I've read), it is the characters that keep you fascinated. They are funny, dark, mysterious, quirky, sane, insane, grim, gentle, and every other sort that you would want to see. The transformation of Richard Mayhew from a timid, unassuming man to a bold, confident one is clichéd, yet not boring. Others like Door, marquis De Carabas, Old Bailey, Hunter, Messrs Croup and Vandemar, and Islington the Angel have different hues and play an equally important, if not more important, role in the storyline.
The one major flaw that I think that books has - and it is a tribute to Gaiman’s ability to churn out interesting characters - is that the characters, while well defined, leave you with a thirst to know more about their origins and history; especially, marquis De Carabas, Hunter, Mr. Croup, and Mr. Vandemar. But that is a minor flaw which does not have much impact on an otherwise brilliantly written book.
Overall, a fine book which will keep you riveted till the very last page (literally!). Worth a read. I would rate it 4/5.(less)
**spoiler alert** How would you rate a book that has a very simple story, no twists and turns and hero of the book is a lawyer by profession who teach...more**spoiler alert** How would you rate a book that has a very simple story, no twists and turns and hero of the book is a lawyer by profession who teaches his kids the value of tolerance and cool-headedness rather than fighting back when provoked? Boring? Commonplace? Well, then I suggest that you read 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee. Having read Mario Puzo, Khaled Hosseini, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon and the likes my entire life, I had never thought that a simple story could be so powerfully written that it will keep you engrossed from the first page to the last. The story is based on a true incident which took place when the author was a kid living in Alabama. The best thing about this book is that the author hasn’t written it from an adult’s perspective – which would probably have made a book on moral instruction - but from the perspective of a child. It portrays the feelings that the young girl, Scout, felt when all the events taking place in the book were unfolding before her.
The events take place in the early 1900’s when racism was prevalent in America. Scout is a six-year-old girl who lives with her father, Atticus Finch and her brother Jem. The initial part of the story tells us about the neighbors surrounding the Finches, especially the Radleys. The rumors about Boo Radley - the boy whom none of the good citizens of Maycomb County have seen - and the intriguing behavior of his parents, both fascinate and terrify Scout and Jem (though Jem does not readily show his fear). The arrival of Dill, a nephew of one of their neighbors’ and their growing friendship with him, not only creates a lot of curiosity among the two kids (regarding Dill’s past and his father), but also brings forth a hitherto unknown sense of adventure inside the two kids. Together, the three of them hatch various plans to bring Boo Radley out in the open. Their misadventures and the eventual circumstances which finally bring Boo Radley out of his house are indeed heartening to read.
Meanwhile, another event takes place which grabs the attention of all the Maycomb County (except our little adventurers). An African-American, Tom Robinson is accused of raping a white girl. The County Attorney appoints Atticus Finch as the defense attorney for Tom. Atticus’ decision to take up the defense causes a great uproar. From here on the story revolves around how Atticus has to deal with criticism and ridicule not only from his community, but also from his relatives. As always, there are a few people supporting Atticus, but they are reluctant to show public support to Atticus. Needless to say, even the two kids are dragged into this mire as they are teased and taunted by the townspeople and their friends. This is where Lee is different compared to the authors. By common experience, most authors would have introduced a tinge of drama, people physically manhandling the kids, which would provoke Atticus to make a great speech in the town center with the townspeople watching all around him etc.(yes, these thing also happen in books, and not only in movies!). But, she has stuck to facts and portrayed how such a situation can be handled without losing one’s sense of pride and dignity. The situation becomes grimmer for Scout with the arrival of her aunt who is determined the turn Scout – who is a tomboy – into an elegant lady. Scout’s plight on being invited to numerous afternoon tea parties is quite funny to read.
Another powerful message that emerges from the book as it moves on is how the hatred prevalent amongst the society can effectively destroy innocence. The events that unfold during Tom’s trial (which they watch secretly), make a profound impact on Jem. His transformation from a carefree, and headstrong boy to a mature and thinking teen is beautifully portrayed and without any drama. Also, the exemplary behavior of Atticus goes a long way in influencing Jem. Indeed, the way in which Atticus treats the whole situation at hand should serve as a reminder to the society today, which at times takes the right decisions in the wrong manner thus having a wrong impact on the younger generation.
The characters are well sketched out. Atticus Finch as the morally upright lawyer, determined to imbibe in his children a sense of tolerance, and the sense to treat all human beings equally, is brilliantly written. The way he handles his kids, when Jem is rude to an elderly woman who calls Atticus ‘nigger-lover’ or when Scout asks him the meaning of ‘rape’ is brilliantly portrayed. I believe that he is one of the finest heroes crafted both in written literature and visual entertainment including our childhood heroes like Superman, Batman etc. Jem Finch as firstly the friendly and loving elder brother, then the secretive and slightly embarrassed elder brother to the protective and mature elder brother tends to remind us of ourselves during the same stages of life. Scout, with her inquisitiveness, stubbornness, and quarrelsome nature in endearing. The character of Dill, though he appears inconsequential at first, gains prominence later on. All the other minor characters are well sketched out with different quirks and human frailties.
Briefly put, the book is funny, touching and can leave a deep impact on the reader’s psyche without appearing to be preachy. I would definitely recommend it to all book lovers. (less)
Set in the a postwar totalitarian England, this graphic novel follows the story of the anarchist 'V' as he strives to overturn the fascist Norsefire r...moreSet in the a postwar totalitarian England, this graphic novel follows the story of the anarchist 'V' as he strives to overturn the fascist Norsefire regime.
Alan Moore's writing is great as ever. David Lloyd's pencil work is equally commendable. The characters are well sketched out and and are really intriguing. Great dialogues.
Also, for those reading this particular edition, don't miss the article written by Alan Moore on what thought process went in to the making of V. (less)