Bookish

Ah! The rains! Fickle monsoon like an errant lover, delights some, while bring woes to a few, but still a welcome change from the summer heat. So what if we are mostly confined at home by the rains, that at least gives us a chance to catch up on some good reading. Hence We are compiling the ten good reads for you, to keep you engaged during this monsoons, keeping in mind the rains and its association with Romance- while the pitter patter raindrop trickles down the window pane; Thrill as the thunder and storm rages outside; Chills – when at night, the storm rages on lodging the whole area in eerie darkness, the lightning playing scary shadows on your window.  Hope you enjoy the recommendations which we have compiled with great care to include novels of a wide genre so as to satisfy the maximum of preferences.

  Immortals of Meluha –  It is always considered auspicious to start with the name of the Lord! And so our first recommendation is this book by Amish Tripathi which tells us about Shiva, the warrior whom legend turned into a God.  The first of a trilogy, obviously God is not the sole reason for recommending this book.  Set in the period 1900BC, the novel describes beautifully a utopian land Meluha, which is a kingdom in the then Indus valley, whose extremely righteous law abiding Suryavanshis are constantly in a war to protect themselves from the evil Chandravanshis ,who had joined  the Nagas, a supposedly sinister race. The novel draws parallel characters from Indian Mythology which has Shiva, the hero, a nomadic warrior from Tibet , who had been identified as the savior of mankind, Neelkanth, by an ancient prophecy, Sati, the cursed princess and also Shiva’s lady love; Daksh , Sati’s father and so on. The first of the trilogy highlights the romance of Shiva and Sati and Shiva’s attempt at understanding the workings of the Meluhans , their laws and preparation for a great war.

Plus points– A racy plot and a very much contemporary language are its greatest plus point. The pace never slackens yet you never have to strain yourself to keep up with the pace as the story moves forward with ease. The exchanges between Shiva and Sati may remind you of your own teenage romance.

Minuses– Many of you may find the contemporary language a bit jarring and unorthodox in keeping with the theme. Though the research has been done meticulously, there are few points that are not concurrent with the story and theme. Still the romance and the vivid imagery is worth a read.

Gone with the Wind–  The Shiva Sati romance  made me all fuzzy and warm inside and that coupled with the breeze and drizzle outside has made me yearn for some more romance and what better than  Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell  to satisfy the yearning. This Pullitzer Prize winning novel and the only published work of the author is a romantic novel, set in Clayton, Atlanta during the days of slavery and American Civil War. It tells us about Scarlett O Hara , the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner who finds herself  in abject poverty after the Confederacy loses to The Yankees. The novel is a linear narration of the impulsive protagonist Scarlett’s life starting from her first love for Ashley, her fight for survival during the adverse conditions, her meeting and third marriage to Rhett Butler, the hero of the novel, her children and her conflicting emotions at various periods of her life. The story is all about passion, love and a cycle of treachery –survival-upheaval.  A definite read!

Plus point– It is a masterpiece of a novel portraying passion in every sense. The novel is listed in Time’s top 100 books of all times.

Minus point–  Not that I know of any, but you might be slightly discouraged by the sheer size of it.

Wuthering Heights – It is just the perfect book for those who are into dark tragic themes and a perfect match to those stormy evenings when everything is dark and a shadow of gloom everywhere. This classic by Emily Bronte had received a lot of criticism when it was first published because of its desolate theme, but later on went on to earn commercial and critical acclaim and came to be included as one of the top 100 novels of all times. The essence of the novel is the passionate but failed romance of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, which culminates in a saga of revenge, death and destruction of two families -the Lintons and the Earnshaws .

Plus points– The intense characterization of Heathcliff and Catharine makes you “feel” the story in every sense.

Minus Point– If you are into candy floss romances with happy endings then this is definitely not for you.

Short Second life of Bree Tanner– Speaking of romances, how many of you liked the Twilight saga? Well if you loved them, then may be you should not skip this book which is sort of an offshoot of the Eclipse episode. If you hated the mush of Twilight, then also, I would suggest you read this one, which is way different from the Twilight saga. Here it narrates the world as seen from a new born Vampire’s eyes- full of mysteries, doubts and fears as they struggle to come to terms with their unquenchable thirst for blood. Though it doesn’t match Anna Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, Bree Tanner is still a good read.  Bree who appeared first in Eclipse of the Twilight saga for a short period of time, has been dedicated a whole book on her views, ethos and pathos by Stephanie Meyers.

Plus point– It is not the regular mushy Twilight thing.

Minus Point– The story is too retrospective at times and continues at a single tangent.  

Murder in the Orient Express– My personal favorite from the indomitable Hercule Poirot series authored by Agatha Christie, this murder mystery differentiates itself in many points. One of them is the ending which is quite different from the usual murder mysteries. The setting of the mystery is in a train which runs into snow and where within the confines of the train, a murder takes place. With all kind of communication and help cut off from the rest of the world as the passengers wait for the train line to be cleared, while Hercule Poirot uses his grey cells and solve this mystery with a unique end.

Plus point– A different one from Agatha Christie which keeps you mesmerized till the end.

Minus Points– One needs to concentrate at parts to keep up with the story.

Third Twin– If you are one of those, who are into science fictions or thrillers related to technology, then Third Twin by Ken Follet may just be the thing for you. Though Archer and Sheldon are more known amongst all spheres of readers, Ken Follet writes in, as gripping fashion as them. His novels are as well researched as Dan Brown’s and the thrill and suspense that’s present in a Follet novel is undeniable. Though he is more into thrillers, in Third Twin he deviates interestingly to genetic engineering with equal ease. Jeannie Ferammi , a researcher of criminology studying the role of genes in crime, is the protagonist in this gripping tale where she comes across Steve , a decent loveable boy who may have a dark secret hidden as a twin brother but where, which one, how? And that is the secret that is unraveled in a gripping suspenseful tale filled with twists.

Plus points– if you love reading Sheldon, Archer, Dan Brown, then I am surprised why you haven’t read any of Follet’s yet.

Minus points– I am too biased to see any minus point in a Follet.  Well maybe, the love making scenes are a wee bit vivid at times.

Pet Semetary– A rainy night and no ghosts, spirits, demons? Now a recommendation without a horror novel will be just so incomplete especially since we are discussing rains, thunder storms and lightning. To add perfectly to the chill factor, nothing can be better than a Stephen King, ranked the second best author in the genre of horror and so it is Stephen King for you. It was hard to choose from his numerous good ones but still after much thoughts I am recommending Pet Semetary which narrates the story of the Doctor who had just been relocated to a new place which lies just adjacent to a highway and with a pet cemetery (spelled semetary ) behind their new house. So the story proceeds with a death of a student, a warning, a visit to the cemetery, the death of a pet, the burial of a pet in an ancient burial ground, the death of a… okay, I am not gong to divulge the story anymore because I am sure that you will like to read that yourself.

Plus points– The chill factor.

Minus points– At parts you may find the pace of the story slow, but that’s for a good reason. Just have patience.

Exodus –Exodus by Leon Uris is the perfect one for those readers who love history and drama featuring courage and inspiration. The plot is set against the Jewish struggle to establish a Jewish land in Israel which also narrates some of horror stories of the Nazi concentration camps. It’s about Kitty Fremont, a Christian nurse who unwittingly becomes involved in the Jewish struggle when she comes across Ari Ben Canaan, the leader of the Jewish underground and Karen, both of whom are totally committed to working for their cause in spite of the grave danger. It’s an insightful journey for Kitty as she gradually becomes incorporated in the Jewish lifestyle and began to understand their thoughts, their struggle, their joys and sorrows. The book will leave you uplifted and spellbound with its magic as it describes in depth the characters, the thought behind and emotions. Perfect when the sunrays peek from behind the clouds after a spell of rain, symbolizing hope and new life.

Plus point– It is a masterpiece of a novel

Minus point– Not at all a good choice for frivolous time pass reading. This is deep stuff.

Recently we had conducted a survey in our Fried Eye fan page about our fans’ favorite books in which we received a very good response. We are picking two of the recommendations from them for you to check it out. Pratibha Sofat  had recommended Eight by Katherine Neville which is a thriller with a very interesting plot. It is about Catherine Velis on a special assignment to Algiers where she has to hunt out the legendary chess set- Montglane service, in an atmosphere of power, conspiracy and mystery. What is the secret of the Montglane Service? Why are people so desperately trying to seek it out? To know this you have to read this intriguing thriller. Thank You Pratibha for the wonderful recommendation.

Chiranjib Rinty Baruah had suggested Roots by Alex Haily, the book which has been tag lined as The book which changed America. It again tells us about the indomitable human spirit and traces the story of six generations of Afro-Americans . A story said to be of a rich cultural heritage that is universal in appeal and speaks for all races and communities. Thank You Chiranjib for this amazing book. That brings us to the end of our hit list! Hope you try them out .If not all, then at least the ones that are more your cup of tea. Mean while we will be waiting for your feedbacks, reviews and suggestions. Enjoy the rains. Have fun with some great books as companions.

We welcome your comments at letters@friedeye.com

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