Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Wishing all the Readers a Happy and Prosperous Diwali. May the New Year be full of Good Cheer.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Reading List: First World War

There is a new feature at The Blue Bookcase: Reading Lists. Here's what they have posted:

Welcome to this week's installment of our newest feature here at The Blue Bookcase: Reading Lists. Every week one of us (or a guest blogger) will post on one of his or her favorite topics and provide a list of books he or she is familiar with on that topic. At the end of each post we will invite you to throw out any suggestions of books, fiction or non-fiction, that you have read or know about on that topic and we will add them to the list on that post.

The week's topic being First World War and most of the books that I have read and loved: All Quiet on the Western Front, Goodbye to all That, A Farewell to Arms already being listed, I am posting about a book that is not so well known.

Mulk Raj Anand's Across the Black Waters.

Discussion of the First World War is usually Euro-centric, neglecting the contribution and sacrifices made by the soldiers from the African and Asian colonies of the European powers. Anand's novel, first published in 1940, and part of a trilogy (though it can be read as a stand-alone) talks about one such regiment from Punjab, India. Fighting in the fields of Flanders, far away from home, and being used as cannon-fodder, the soldiers try to make sense of what's happening around them. It's a brutally poignant book with all the tension of fighting in the trenches in a foreign land for a cause that is futile.

For more on the feature, the Reading List, and recommendations of others, go here:


Monday, October 17, 2011

The Monkey's Paw at Pretty Sinister Books

Since it is the season of Halloween, and people are citing their favourite ghost/ horror/ supernatural stories, I was reminded of one such that I read years ago: W.W. Jacobs' The Monkey's Paw. I was pleased to see John at Pretty Sinister Books refer to the story in a review of his. Since I wanted to read John's take on the story, I requested him to post an article on it. He very graciously complied.

Here's the link to his article:

If you are familiar with John's blog than you know for sure that he writes extremely interesting articles and this one is no exception. And if you are not, than I suggest you become acquainted. Go on, click on the link!

Friday, October 14, 2011

German Literature Month

I have decided to participate in the German Literature Month co-hosted by Lizzy from Lizzy's Literary Life and Caroline from Beauty is a Sleeping Cat. The event is planned for the month of November and includes read-alongs, thematic reads, discussions, and giveaways. The books range from Classics to Contemporary.

If you would like to know more about Germany - its literature, culture, people, history - why don't you too join me (and a host of others)? Details can be found over here:


Friday, October 7, 2011

Reading Challenge: The Birth Year Reading Challenge

Almost at the fag end of the year, I have decided to participate in another challenge.  The Birth_Year Reading Challenge hosted by Hotchpotcafe requires you to read at least one book from the year of your birth or if that doesn't appeal to you, there is an option of rolling dice and selecting another year.

Well, I decided to read only Indian fiction written in English for this challenge. Rolled the (virtual) dice and ended up with the year 2009. A quick search of the shelves revealed these two books (borrowed from a young cousin - who reads a lot of contemporary YA Indian literature - many moons ago) that I intend to read for this challenge:

'Oh Shit, Not Again' by Mandar Kokate

"Have you ever experienced what happens when a porn movie is mistakenly played in front of your grandma and the CD player Refuses to stop?"

Zero Percentile: Missed IIT Kissed Russia by Neeraj Chhibba

"Their conversation was broken by a loud knuckled knock on the door. It was the Sardarni Aunty from the lane behind our house. Her husband was the only proud owner of a telephone in our two lanes of twenty houses. He was the personal assistant to the secretary in the ministry and so enjoyed the privilege of a phone at home. From the look on her face it did not seem that she cared one bit for this privilege. She had been woken up from her siesta by the ring of her telephone. The call was to tell Papa that he had been summoned for an urgent meeting to the office. if looks could kill, the meeting in the evening would have happened without Papa."

If I have time I might read other books published in 2009 but as of now I am reading just these two.

If you too want to participate in this challenge (you can sign up for it till the 30th of Nov.), go here for the details:


On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun meme hosted by Book Chick City where you list the book(s) that you desperately want to read.

Well as it is the month of Halloween, how about a book left by a dark magician that casts its (evil) spell on anybody who reads it?

Robin Jarvis' Dancing Jax

To see what others are wishing for, go here:


Book Blogger Hop


Jennifer at Crazy for Books hosts a Book Blogger Hop every Friday which usually involves answering a book related question and visiting other blogs that have participated in the Hop. It's a fine way to discover new blogs and bloggers.

Today however it's not so much a question as highlighting something that you loved. Here's what she writes:

“It’s time to spread some love beyond the borders of the Book Blogger Hop! This week, we aren’t answering a question. We are spotlighting our fellow bloggers. Find your favorite(s) author interview(s), guest post(s), book review(s), or bookish article(s) that ANOTHER BOOK BLOGGER featured on their site recently and tell us why you love it/them! As an additional challenge, find your favorite one of EACH of the categories above and spotlight all 4 (interview, guest post, review, article).”

 Well, there are many reviews and book related reflections that I've enjoyed but am highlighting one that I just read. Patrick at At the Scene of the Crime discusses 10 rules of detection laid down by Father Roland Knox and argues (with suitable illustrations) about both their utility and futility. It's a Must Read article for all those who love reading about Crime and Detection.

Here's something to whet your appetite. Patrick is discussing the 6th Rule:
VI. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
This is debatable. Sometimes, the detective hears a scrap of conversation from two strangers and exclaims “What a fool I’ve been! Of course!!! Johnny Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow in four movies! That’s the key to the whole affair!”

For the article, go here:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time to Party

It's Wednesday. And thus time to party.

Dear Readers

Every Wednesday, Cym Lowell, author and blogger, hosts a party and gives away an awesome prize. (Ask me, I just won books and books!). And all you have to do is to link one of your reviews. As simple as that.

Here are the details (copied from Cym's blog):
It is real simple. Link up any (old or new, any genre) book review that you have
written to the below MckLinky.

A couple of things to remember while you're linking.

1. Add a permalink to your specific post, not the main page of your blog (only one review per blog).
2. Add my Book Review Wednesday Badge or a link-back to the party at the end of your review post.
3. List the name of your blog, Title of Book or Genre. Be sure to use spaces and limit characters to 50. For example: The Lost Symbol, thriller
4. Become a follower of my blog, pretty please (not mandatory).
5. Visit the other linked up reviews and leave comments....it's a party, have fun!
6. I will announce the winner in a weekend post. The winner is chosen from the linked up reviewers using Random Number Generator. All included.
So what are you waiting for, go party:

X Y Z: Intriguing Title, Predictable Story

"But such a party! who ever heard the like in a respectable town like this! It's wicked, that's what I call it, downright wicked to cover up the face God has given you and go strutting around in clothes a Christian man might well think borrowed from the Evil One if he had to wear them in any decent company. All wrong, I say, all wrong...

Cover image for

Sometimes you select a book just because the title intrigues you. So it was with this book. I found it while scouting round for a book whose title began with an X. That it was a mystery further gladdened my heart. It started off well. A detective while investigating a case of counterfeit notes, inadvertently stumbles upon a family with a secret. Delightful premise but unfortunately the unfolding of the events leaves much to desire and one can guess much of the mystery. The denouement is totally flat. If this seems like a harsh review, it is because I hate stories where a detective's personal likes and dislikes regarding people are reinforced by the ending.


First Line: Sometimes in the course of his experience a detective while engaged in fretting out the mystery of one crime, runs inadvertently upon the clue to another.

Title: X Y Z: A Story told by a Detective

Author: Anna Katharine Green

First Published: 1883


This long story can be downloaded from various sites, I downloaded it from manybooks.net.


Submitted for the following challenges:

Vintage Mystery

A - Z

Mystery and Suspense

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gateway to India: Night in Bombay

And downstairs on the groundfloor there was a vast hall and a huge stairway which led up and into the heights of the big hotel. Through the hall and the bazaar which occupied half its area came and went a procession of Arab horse-dealers, British Governors and Civil Servants, Indian Princes, jewel merchants, Parsi millionaires, Russian and German trollops, Comic middle-aged tourists, gamblers, oil prospectors. The procession went on day and night, for in the heat of the city and with the fantastic character of many of the guests, the place was as alive at four in the the morn as at midday.

Currently Reading

It is 1939. Europe may be sitting on a tinder box, but in one part of the British empire, the party continues. Bombay, the city of dreams, welcomes each and everyone. Bill Wainright is one such visitor. Travelling to India in order to look after his father's business, he runs into a motley crowd that includes his ex-wife, Carol Halma, and friend Homer 'Buck' Merril.

I thought I'd never like a book where Indians are constantly referred to as savages. But I did. The primary reason being the author's art of characterization. The main characters might seem cardboard cut-outs: Bill: the playboy who comes good; Buck: the missionary with the bleeding heart; Carol: the whore with the heart of gold, but the secondary characters have a life of their own. Jelly: the Maharaja of intrigue; Stich Trollope: the woman who simply cannot get it right; The Baroness who keeps everyone guessing; Col Moti  (Ahem!) who feels that the human heart is as logical as a science experiment. It is they who hold the book together.

Also it was nice to read about Bombay (now Mumbai) of yore and the Taj Mahal hotel being as accommodating as ever. Thus I could laugh at statements like this (remember this is an Indian speaking):

'You must remember,' said Mrs. Goswami, 'that they're savage. They're not like me. I've been to Europe. most of them can't even read and write. They think they're right.' (25).

Ahem and Double Ahem!!


First Line: His luggage was all ready to be taken ashore, his cabin in order, and now he stood on the upper deck just beneath the bridge watching the flying fish scud out of each green land swell of the Arabian Gulf like swift pencils of silver and disappear again in glittering jets of spray.

Title: Night in Bombay

Author: Louis Broomfield

Publication Details: ND: Penguin Books, 2011

First Published: 1940

Pages: 376


As Penguin India has recently republished the book, Night in Bombay is easily available in book stores and on the Net. I borrowed it from Dyal Singh Public library, ITO [823 B788N].


Submitted for the following reading challenges:

A - Z

Borrowed Book