My Literary Pursuits

The hunger for books rages within me since my memory started its register. A separate world away from reality is a pursuit that I never wish to give up on.

Book Review: Message from Nam by Danielle Steel



This book of Daniel’s is not her best. She drags the story needlessly and the element of evoking emotions in the reader, which she is among the finest at, is sorely lacking in several parts of this work. We could never understand the days when young men were mandated to enlist in the army. This could be a reason why I was not able to relate to the plot, and hence the declaration of this work not being her best.


The protagonist heralds failure at two staggeringly diverse junctions of her life, the civilized world and the world of war. You get the feel that her paramours in the war-torn area will eventually die, as you move through the book, and you would think that she too will expect it, given the nature of the job she was covering. In parts, she does, but not entirely, and that irked me. I could quite relate to the fact that she felt disinterested in the daily life of her friends, once she returned from her journalistic work on the battle-field. Having witnessed men get blown up in action or by accident can render your heart cold. The daily parties that the civilized people revel in and the tantrums that teenagers throw during their mood swings do not seem interesting any further. Your perception of life completely changes.Steel succeeds in creating this emotion through her letter-assortments.


Her reason for migrating to Vietnam is very understandable. When you have a childhood where your family doesn’t support you in your endeavours, you have to make your own future. When you don’t know what love is, it is not your fault if you are swept off your feet by a person smitten with you. Returning that favour multi-fold and then losing him to an accident will break anyone’s heart. Mired in the cruelty that life bestowed on you is a silver lining. Hers was her long trip to Saigon to find reason, to find order in chaos.


As I moved towards the climax, I had this dreadful feeling that she once again had to return to civilized life heart-broken due to the loss of Tony Campobello, and this dread vanished when a parallel story of the protagonist interviewing the war’s survivors surfaced.


I have read better books of Steel’s, like The Ring and Toxic Bachelors. These books have made me cry and those are the sort of books that you would expect from Danielle Steel. If you have experienced any war at any level, then this book may appeal to you.





Book Review: The Ring by Danielle Steel



To start with, I shelve this book under the category of books to be never read again. And that is not because I hated this book or this book is an utterly boring or worthless read. On the contrary, this is a book that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime, just that they should not revisit it again. Why then did I say that I will never read it again?


From the elegant yet pathetic life that Kassandra led to the little kid that grew up with a fleetingly appearing mother to the pathetic yet fulfilling life led by that kid in her future, after crossing all travails, will move the reader from ecstasy to despair, finally terminating in joy. The horrors fictionally experienced by Ariana during the Nazi reign moved me to heart-rending tears that I had to keep the book away for some time, to gather my composure. This is precisely the reason.


All of us complain of our life being monotonous and boring and mired in a lot of problems, part true and part not. If we, for a moment, step into Ariana’s or of any other Jew’s shoes during that era, we would instantly feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the easy life bestowed on us.


The story is beautifully spun. Kasandra was not allowed to lead the life she desired, and finally ended paying for it with suicide, when she did so. Her daughter Ariana, slowly acquainted with the cruelty of Nazis by her wise father, learns to tread carefully even under intense interrogation by the Nazi soldiers of her father’s whereabouts. Like an oasis in the desert, the Nazi officer Manfred takes pity on Ariana and they get married. Manfred’s expected death during the Fall shakes Ariana terribly and finally through extended contacts and hard treks, she reaches the States to be eventually taken pity by the Liebmans’. I quite did not like the part where she chose to be disloyal to them, though I understand her reasons. As the plot neared its climax, I was very sure that Gerhard would appear. I would have liked Tamara to present Gerhard to Ariana, in some extended relation, instead of the ring paving way for recognition. But I suppose that is the whole point of the novel being named as ‘The Ring’, isn’t it?

Book Review: Toxic Bachelors by Danielle Steel


I am a queer type of teenager. I am disposed to Danielle Steel's works. That is queer, right? Reading her books, I always get the feeling that her work is meant for a family's breadwinner or in general, anyone who is past the age where he or she has to tone down the wild fantasies and start toiling under the veil of 'responsibility'. I had just finished reading her 'Toxic Bachelors' and was stunned by how I was able to relate myself to it so easily. Maybe, my experiences in life of friendships, though fewer, were exactly mirrored in lines of all the protagonists. Whatever be the case, this work of Danielle ranks right at the top for me. I have read quite a few of hers, and, I will admit that none of that has disappointed me yet.


Charlie, Gray and Adam were the typical normal-day people, albeit a little too successful. You could argue that success got to their head and thus they had this wishful thought of replacing companionship with materialistic pleasure. But that isn't the case. As any well-compiled narrative, the book takes us through the group's journey from being emotionally insecure and hopeless (pertaining to relationships)  to feeling connected and adjusting with another human, for the joy that sharing always gives. We do not see any connection between their girlfriends, but even they end up liking each other. This is pretty surprising. Published in 2005, it is almost a decade since. It is as if Danielle has future-thought that novels of this age mostly would have a horrible rape scene or a murder scene or any such related scene vividly or at the least , described in a fashion that leaves the readers shuddering at its recounting. She does none of these. Her work contains very minimal such scenes, and she almost often ensures (there are exceptions, as always) that the readers feel good after any particular story, thus lending to the overall fascination that her books give me.


Even though I love her books, one fact that I find disturbing is her tendency to explain her characters threadbare. A short physical, mental and relation summary would suffice instead of the long paragraphs that she employs. Her seamless transition into the story is once again on view in this book. All in all, this is quite an emotional read and I would advise anyone reading this novel to be alone in a room, solely to imbibe its true worth.



Book Review: Half Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat

Half Girlfriend - Chetan Bhagat

Reading a book on the day of its release is a joy. If that book happens to be from your favourite author, all the more reason for you to smile like an idiot! Half Girlfriend took me through the journey of Madhav, rendering me into despair at his break-up, humouring me with his lines to trap Riya and what not. At the start of the book, I encountered a nagging feeling of Riya and Madhav being siblings when, in reality, one was trying to woo the other. This feeling refused to desert me halfway through the book. Chetan preaches a parallel plot hinting at rural India's forced and natural reluctance with learning English and another plot emphasizing the moral integrity of never quitting in the face of adversity. These two plots needed to be woven into the story because Madhav leaves Riya, halfway into the book and the story could not be left teetering on a precipice. The latter half is about the rise of Madhav from a hopeless Bihari graduate with a non-existent English oratory knowledge to transforming the standard of a run-down rural school, using his limited oratory knowledge of English. Thus, taking care of his work-life, he leaves for the United States to do the same of his personal life. His sojourn in the States is a drag, till when he encounters Riya on the penultimate day of his return back to India. The climax truly is heart-wrenching. 

Based on the level of humour, this book is not Chetan's best. But otherwise, this is a must-read for all teenagers.

Book Review: The Colour Of Dawn by Janaki Murali

This book was penned to cater to the audience that would love to get 'feelings' from a book. It partially succeeds. Certain events in the book play out as a well-enacted movie and some events do not make the cut.


The flow of events at times confused me. The emotions, mostly of Kunjan, were not easily relatable. I personally believe that love does not entail such craziness. The first part of the book had me teetering on the edge aching to find out what transpired in the past between Kunjan and Sita, but after a prolonged wait, my patience ended. I was no more eager to find out the past, and breezed through that part with lesser than expected emotions. Towards the later part after the recounting of Kunjan's attack, my interest perked up. Suddenly, all the emotions underwent by Sita and Saras Athai and the rest of the cast played in front of my eyes as a well-enacted movie. I was able to visually imagine the entire story from that point. The acid attack on Sanjna was described aptly, without any under or over play. It was just the right quantity of words in a perfect blend. I felt that the curtains on the book could have been closed with a little flourish, considering there wasn't any.


Overall, I will recommend this book to persons who read one very rarely and only when all other options get exhausted. The language is simple and fluid, understandable by people in any of the seven stages of life.

Book Review: The Prediction by Darren Sugrue

Here goes my first ever book review. To start off, why did I chose this specific book of all the other proven good books that I have read? I myself lack the answer to that question.  'A thousand mile journey starts with a single step', Therefore, my first foray into book reviewing is this.  I hope that my interest in reading books and reviewing them does not diminish.


This is the author's first book and I read it on my laptop. The author's brainwave of employing stanzas of Robert's poem for each chapter had its expected effect. It gave me a peek into what the book's central theme would be, even before I read the synopsis. I have not seen many employing a poem as a synopsis, so this idea was refreshing. Onward to the book now. I am listing out in bullets all that I considered good and not-so-good in this book.


  •    The detailing of places and trivial events like household chores seemed to be a ramble.
  • The book had a preachy feel to it, when the part about dealing with the loss of loved ones had to be described. I felt it could have been played down a little.
  • The flow of events, the seamless transition of one event leading to another, the lucid and structured language, without any hesitancy in the thought process of the author during the book's writing,except for the occasional break, were visibly in display. These are but one of the many reasons that made me like this book. (and to do a debut-review!)
  • In many of the books I read, I get confused if many characters are introduced into the plot needlessly. Many of them are vestigial and could be done away with. Here, there was nothing of the sort. The characters in the book were just the perfect amount needed to carry the plot forward and keep the reader hooked.
  • I had the nagging feeling that there would be a twist somewhere along the story, because the plot till then was along expected lines, as any parent or husband would feel on their loss or about-to-be loss.I found it odd that Zoe wasn't even called once by her husband, who was in Amsterdam chasing down and protecting his former love. Thus, vesting the twist in her hand was brilliant but slightly expected.
  • The tragic loss of loved ones was elucidated in heart-wrenching letter assortments.
  • I almost expected that Rik would eventually bed Grace, but that was not to be. The author weaved that part tactically. Another element that I unexpected was that John would avoid his wife Claire on the date of death predicted by Daniel Geller. 


One word after reading the book : Phenomenal!


For a first time writer, he has not done badly. Hope to see many more books tumbling out of his imagination soon.


The Yearning

We talked unknownst to each other, that,

All hell would break loose.

What could possibly come of two talking in harmony?

Us, filmy for a film even,

Shattered beyond cry or wail.

Crying for spilt milk is adagedly a vestige

The value of milk spilt resurfaces only then,

And crying for lost value,

Is it a vestigial adage too?

After all, none can rue when they have what they crave,

Two people desperate for each other,

One voluntarily cocooning, the other involuntarily so,

Nothing of what we had felt fake,

Though people make it out to be.

Trust, on which everything should be based so,

Even that ensured,

Neither of us get why each of us is separate.

All four desperately wanting the other,

Too egoistic to spell it out

And yet still confined,

And shackled to persons that they bear less of the love to,

Or is that false?

"The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just where the hands will stop,
At late or early hour."

Robert H Smith