Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publishers: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
Date of Publication: May 24th, 2012
Genre: Mystery and Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Length: 395 pages
My Source: Kindle Ebook (mobi)

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

When do you categorize a book as ‘thriller’? Going by the Wikipedia definition thriller is genre of literature that uses suspense, tension and excitement as its main elements, and if it is so, I must admit Gone Girl is the best ‘thriller’ I have read till date.

It is the story of Nick and Amy Dunne, a couple married for five years and their marriage is floundering for several reasons.  The book is written alternately from Nick’s and Amy’s point of view. In the first part Nick’s perspective shows you the present scenario of their marriage while Amy’s narrative, written in a fashion of journals, gives you glimpses of the past- Amy’s childhood, their meeting with each other, their courtship days- in short a pretty decent idea about  Amy’s life.  To be completely fair to myself after reading the first few chapters I was rather bored, the narration was interesting, alright but it somehow lacked the essence that a thriller usually does. But that was only in the beginning, part one. The moment you flip the page to begin part two- boom! You’re in for lots and lots of surprises! 

Even in the first part it doesn't fail to shock you how the narrations of Amy and Nick conflict each other.  It is as if the two persons are telling you different stories with same characters having very little in common. But of course the real fun begins in the second part when you begin to realize gradually that neither of the two people is completely trustworthy. They both have their versions of the story that they claim to be the honest one. While in the beginning it seems like they are victim of the troubled marriage, the couple show their true characters later. Even though I didn't grow any fondness to Nick Dunne, I thought he is just your regular bad guy falling victim of a troubled marriage, well, well was I wrong! This guy had an extramarital affair going around for almost a year. But then what Nick had done was nothing but child’s play compared to what his wife did. After reading the first part you get the impression what a sweet and loving person Amy is and then you’ll be amazed to see how ‘Amazing Amy’ actually differs from ‘Diary Amy’!

The things I liked the most about the book are,

The plot- It’s a genius creation, no doubt there. The way the story is woven you can not predict what is going to happen next. Not once. It is thoroughly unpredictable which I believe is the essential flavor of a thriller. 

Character development- I think ‘awe’ would be the right word to describe what I felt as Amy’s character was unfolded slowly throughout the story. She is vicious, yes, but she is goddamned brilliant and organized and you can not but admire her for the precision with which she carries her whole ‘kidnapping plan’ out. Imagine the level of dedication that she put just to punish his unfaithful husband! The amount of planning and working according to the plan for almost a year before the final act and she did it perfectly, every bit of it, except maybe the robbery in the motel. Hah! It’s incredible. And not only Nick, the stories of Hillary Handy and Desi Collings left me gasping! Amy is a character you can neither love nor hate and for that kudos to the brilliant author. She has created the character amazingly! 
Even all other characters, including Nick, Margo, Andie, Boney, Amy’s parents and all the sidekicks were just perfect. 

The narration-The narration was flawless as well. Being written from both Amy and Nick’s POV, it is quite intriguing, I kept guessing throughout what the other person has to say next. It’s gripping, fast paced and well-written. Once you get into the story it’s hard to put the book down.

You might be thinking if I liked the book so much why not give it five stars? The reason is I did not like the ending. What was all the revenge planning worth if Nick and Amy were to end up together ultimately? I do not understand. The characters couldn't be more realistic but even then I failed to grow any respect for either of the central characters.

Reading Gone Girl was like riding an emotional roller-coaster.  This book is about disloyalty, the fake pretentious people, the devious media and the root of all troubles (probably)- the recession.  There were numerous occasions when I was awestruck and my eyes wide-open! None of the characters is completely black or completely white; they are all varying shades of grey which makes it more and more realistic! The psychoanalysis of the characters is commendable. Overall, it is a book that I loved and am certain almost every person will feel the same after reading!

P.S. - Eagerly waiting to watch the Gone Girl movie! :D

Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families,violence and self-harm.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.
Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master's degree from Northwestern University.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Title: The Last Song
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publishers: Grand Central Publishing
Date of Publication: September 8th, 2009
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Format: Hardcover
Length: 390 pages
My Source: Ebook (epub)

Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children – that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts… and heal them.

I began reading the book with an uncertainty whether I'll end up liking the book or not as I didn't like The Notebook as much as everyone else and I think its overrated. Frankly, I was pretty much convinced that I will not like the book because the synopsis gave me an impression that it was the same girl-meets-boy and fall-in-love kind of story and well, it is a book of that kind but still I liked the book, a lot.

Ronnie Miller is a very rebellious teenager, she does every possible thing to disobey her mother. After her parents' separation when her dad leaves New York, she just lets everything go: her grades, her piano playing skills (because it was her father who taught her playing piano and the man himself was a pianist) and many other things. Her mom ships Ronnie and her little brother, Jonah, to North Carolina for the summer to spend time with their dad. When they first arrive, Ronnie wants nothing to do with him, in her heart she hates Steve, her father and practically spends all the time out of home to avoid him. Then she meets Will, whom at first she doesn’t want to associate with, either. Then Ronnie starts seeing more of Will and he really helps her open up. And the inevitable happens, they fall in love. Let me not give you any wrong idea about it, it was that typical love story, but the story is not entirely about it. There are a few more edges of the story that makes it different and beautiful!

Ronnie was a pretty well-developed character. At first she’s this mean girl who is very inconsiderate of everyone. By the end she turns into a mature young lady who wants to please everyone. Once she discovers that it was her mother who was really responsible for the divorce, years of misunderstanding towards her dad washes away slowly. The way she treats her dad when he gets admitted to the hospital and refuses to return New York leaving her dad alone, shows a complete transformation of a teenage girl to a determined young woman.
I liked Will. He was this really easygoing guy who didn’t act anything like his snobby rich parents. The little incidents, the little things Ronnie and Will did together were beautiful. There wasn't anything extraordinary about it, but perhaps its the simplicity of the relationship that made it truly wonderful.

As for Steve's character, I haven't met someone as generous and understanding in my life, yet. He was less a parent, more a friend to Ronnie. Because he trusted her when he apparently had no reason to, Ronnie began trusting herself. Apart from Will, the person who played the biggest role to change Ronnie into somewhat a better person, was her dad. Jonah was really adorable for a ten year old.

Like I mentioned before, the plot wasn’t very creative. If you have read anything by Nicholas Sparks before, you would probably have noticed, too. But the book won't fail to touch your heart, I can assure you that. The writing is captivating too. So if you are a romance reader, go for it.

As a child, Nicholas Sparks lived in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Grand Island, Nebraska, finally settling in Fair Oaks, California at the age of eight. His father was a professor, his mother a homemaker, then optometrist's assistant. He lived in Fair Oaks through high school, graduated valedictorian in 1984, and received a full track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.

After breaking the Notre Dame school record as part of a relay team in 1985 as a freshman (a record which still stands), he was injured and spent the summer recovering. During that summer, he wrote his first novel, though it was never published. He majored in Business Finance and graduated with high honors in 1988.

He and his wife Catherine, who met on spring break in 1988, were married in July, 1989. While living in Sacramento, he wrote his second novel that same year, though again, it wasn't published. He worked a variety of jobs over the next three years, including real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products by phone, and started his own small manufacturing business which struggled from the beginning. In 1990, he collaborated on a book with Billy Mills, the Olympic Gold Medalist and it was published by Feather Publishing before later being picked up by Random House. (It was recently re-issued by Hay House Books.) Though it received scant publicity, sales topped 50,000 copies in the first year of release.

He began selling pharmaceuticals and moved from Sacramento, California to North Carolina in 1992. In 1994, at the age of 28, he wrote The Notebook over a period of six months. In October, 1995, rights to The Notebook were sold to Warner Books. It was published in October, 1996, and he followed that with Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), and Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), Three Weeks with my Brother (2004), True Believer (2005) and At First Sight (2005) all with Warner Books. All were domestic and international best sellers and were translated into more than 35 languages. The movie version of Message in a Bottle was released in 1999, A Walk to Remember was released in 2002, and The Notebook was released in 2004. The average domestic box office gross per film was $56 million -- with another $100 million in DVD sales -- making the novels by Nicholas Sparks one of the most successful franchises in Hollywood.

The film rights to Nights in Rodanthe, True Believer and At First Sight have been sold, and Nicholas Sparks has written the screenplay for The Guardian, though he has not offered it for sale at this point.

He now has five children: Miles, Ryan, Landon, Lexie, and Savannah. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and children.

His ancestry is German, Czech, English, and Irish, he's 5'10" and weighs 180 lbs. He is an avid athlete who runs daily, lifts weights regularly, and competes in Tae Kwon Do. He attends church regularly and reads approximately 125 books a year. He contributes to a variety of local and national charities, and is a major contributor to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame, where he provides scholarships, internships, and a fellowship annually.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: The Prophecy of Trivine by Tnahsin Garg, Pulkit Gupta and Srivatsan Sridharan

Title: The Prophecy of Trivine
Author: Tnahsin Garg, Srivatsan Sridharan, Pulkit Gupta
Publishers: Good Times Books Pvt. Ltd.
Date of Publication: December 15th, 2013
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Length: 264 pages
My Source: Paperback (ARC)

An emissary of an advanced alien race travels to the Earth to undertake responsibility of an experiment that has gone out of control. The outcome of this fateful experiment, which was conceived millions of years ago by her species, now rests in her hands. As she prepares to deliver her final judgment, she comes across three young men in a sacred forest who change her life forever. These three men- a scientist, a hacker and an artist, happen to take refuge in that forest, trying to escape from the oddities of their own unfair lives. Struggling with their dreams and demons, they begin to explore the dark and paranormal behavior of the forest by forging a companionship. From the rare flora and fauna breathing alive on the ground to the deadly wide expanse of the whimsy black sky, everything they find is yet another puzzle unsolved. Little did they know that four of them hold in their hands the future of mankind and much beyond imagination, they are connected through an ancient Prophecy that was long lost in the sands of time.

I had long since stopped reading English books by Indian authors after trying my luck with the over-hyped books by Chetan Bhagat and a few other books of similar category for I found those stories melodramatic, repetitive and utterly unrealistic. So when Tnahsin approached me requesting to read and review The Prophecy of Trivine, I was initially unsure about accepting it, but then going through the book blurb, I had the instinct that it'd be a book worth reading and my instinct did not disappoint me. 
Without further discussing the synopsis of the story, I'd get straight to the things I liked about it.
~The plot and the background of the story: Both are well-thought, well-built and definitely well-executed. This was probably the first science fiction I've read that has its setting in a dark, dense forest, i.e., in the lap of nature, which was very appealing in the first place.
~The concept of Gucutep: It was very interesting, the whole of it. I especially liked the meeting of the Gucutep council, the generosity of Alpha, the skepticism of Xona and the whole new idea of aliens as form of energy! (well, it was totally new to me..maybe that's why I was so excited!)
~The characters: Not only Siv, Phil, Arty and Xona, I liked all the characters, each character was well-developed and true to their nature. So generally speaking I immensely like the characterization.
~The bond between Siv, Phil and Arty. Starting from absolute strangers, how they became the truest of friends was really heart-warming.
~The flow of the story. The style of writing is lucid and witty. It remains a curiosity though how the three authors wrote it together! I mean who contributed which part? Or was it just they thought things through mutual discussions and then wrote it down and edited each others writings? I'd really like to know this!
~The story itself as it teaches you a few things of immense importance. It shows the true face of humanity but side by side displays the worth of human race, it shows the quality of perseverance, it teaches us what friendship actually means. It shows you a lot in the small span of 260 pages!

I'd have given it a 4 stars if I liked the ending better. This was not how I expected it to end..but anyway, will there be a sequel? I wish there is one!

Lastly, but definitely not the least, I want to thank Tnahsin for providing me with the chance of going through such a wonderful reading experience. It was my first ever physical copy of an ARC, so thank you for making this a special read! :)) You people have done a remarkable job indeed! 
That being said, I really want the Indian authors to vent into this kind of stories more than writing the same kind of campus romances, which are really gross!!

The Prophecy of Trivine was written jointly by three friends, who were once together in college, and are now pursuing their lives & careers in distant corners of the world. But they still share the common passion of writing.
​They have come a long way, from the summer of 2010 when it all began, to the beginning of 2014 when the book will be in hands of friends. 

Tnahsin Garg: Tnahsin was born and brought up in India where he got a Bachelor's degree in engineering. After that he travelled to United States in search of higher education and adventure, and ended up getting a Master's degree in 2012.  When tired of his scientific pursuits, he's often found scribbling something unintelligible on some decayed corner of the Internet. He does have a neglected blog for those who like clicking around in curiosity. 
He is currently pursuing a PhD in applied sciences in Northern Europe. 

Pulkit Gupta: Pulkit is a Computer Science professional who completed his Bachelors in Engineering from Thapar University, India in 2011. He has been an avid reader and an enthusiastic writer since his childhood days. He maintains a number of blogs which are in various stages of decay, but his most recent short story work can be found on his recently createdblog:
He currently works as a Technology Analyst at Goldman Sachs, Bangalore.

Srivatsan Sridharan: Srivatsan is a Computer Scientist, who recently graduated with a Masters degree from Purdue University in the United States. He completed his Bachelors in Engineering from Thapar University, India in 2010. Along with computers, he is extremely passionate about writing. Most of his artistic ideas have taken shape in the form of short stories, speeches, travelogues, and essays. Some of them can be found in hisblog:
He currently works as a Software Engineer at Yelp, Inc. in San Francisco, California.


Friday, April 04, 2014

Blog Tour: A Beautiful Rock by Lilliana Anderson [Blitz + Excerpt + Guest Post (by the Author) ]

Title: A Beautiful Rock
Author: Lilliana Anderson
Series: Beautiful #4
Date of Publication: April 3rd, 2014
Genres: Romance, New Adult

 After the video of his public outburst catapulted him to superstardom, Marcus now has everything he ever wanted. Or so he thought. Be careful what you wish for, his mother always told him… After spending two years touring the globe, he’s growing tired, and that endless line of women has become a sea of blurry and meaningless faces. When he returns home and receives a visit from Naomi, his previous object of affection, he finally starts to look at himself and what he’s become. He doesn’t like it. Something has to change… On the surface, Lisa is a pretty simple girl. She goes to work, spends time with her friends, and adores her dog, Perry. She loves the quiet life and isn’t interested in the bright lights of Marcus’s world. So when he takes an interest in her, she makes it very clear that she doesn’t want what he’s offering. You see, Lisa has secrets, and being seen with Marcus will be the key to her undoing. Being a man used to getting what he wants, Marcus won’t be taking no for an answer. For the first time, he has met someone who he feels a definite connection with, and he won’t be taking no for an answer – even if it means inadvertently ruining everything Lisa has worked so hard to conceal… Will Marcus and Lisa find a way to deal with her secrets and be together? Or will she push him away, ensuring Marcus is destined to always have his affections unreturned?

New Adult Romance for ages 18+ due to sex scenes and adult situations.

I’m a rock star…
I remember that being this great idea that meant all of my dreams would become a reality. I could click my fingers, and anything I want would appear in front of me. Being obscenely famous is as close to magic as you can get.
The problem is, it’s lonely as fuck.
I’ve just spent two years travelling both Australia and the world, singing to audiences in every country imaginable. I’ve fucked more girls than I can possibly count. Done everything I’ve ever wanted to do, and a whole bunch of shit I didn’t even know existed.
I basked in the adoration of my fans. Let all of my values just slip away until I was the quintessential famous dickwad that I am today.
Now, I’m not even sure I’m ok with looking at myself in the mirror.
I used to have friends. I used to have family. I even thought I was in love once… Now, all I have are hangers on, and staff who are paid to nod their heads and make sure I’m happy.
But I’m not. I’m not happy at all.
I think back to where all this started, to that fucking video when I threw a tantrum on stage because I wanted the girl my brother had. I thought I loved her. At the time, I really did. But now I know it wasn’t love. Love is something I’ve never experienced in my whole over the top, gregarious life. Hell, I don’t even love myself. I’m sick of seeing my face plastered around. I’m sick of hearing my name chanted out loud. I’m sick of my own voice.
I need a break, and now that I'm finally back home where I started, I’m hoping that it won’t be long before I get that. Maybe I’ll pretend to be a normal person for a while. It’s amazing how many people believe me when I deny being me..

Engrossed in my movie, it isn’t until Perry jumps off the couch and starts barking that I realise that someone just knocked on my door. Picking up the remote, I hit pause and shoo Perry out of the way so I can see who’s there.
Glancing through the peephole, I close my eyes and wish away my visitor. Nothing good can come of this. “I’m not home,” I call out, feeling slightly annoyed that he’s here. Again. What part of ‘I’m not interested’ isn’t he getting?
“That’s ok,” Marcus replies. “I’ll just wait out here until you get back.”
Despite my annoyance, I can’t stop my mouth from quirking in a slight smile at his response. “You’ll be waiting for a while. I’m not sure what time I’ll be back,” I reply, watching him through the peephole.
He smiles and leans against the door. “Ok,” is all he says, as he pushes back and moves to sit on my front steps.
I assume that he won’t stay there for too long and move back to the couch to continue watching my movie.
“Perry,” I call, trying to get my preferred companion to re-join me on the couch. But he won’t budge from the door. He just sits there, looking at it, then at me as his tail wags impatiently. "I'm not letting him in. So you're wasting your time."
Perry starts whining then lifts his paw to scratch at the door. “Seriously Perry, what is your deal with this guy?" Perry responds by looking at me with his sad doggy eyes and continues to whine.
I roll my eyes and walk back over to the door. “Perry, if you still had your balls we’d be taking a trip to the vet after this. You’re supposed to be loyal to your owner. Not to some guy you’ve only met once.”
Seeing me place my hand on the doorknob, Perry’s tail starts to wag like crazy. I’ve never seen him so eager for me to let a visitor in.
“You might as well come in. My dog would like to see you,” I say as I open the door.
Marcus stands immediately and turns his charming smile toward me. “Your dog?”

“Yes. My dog.” 
The Beautiful Series Continues...

I get a lot of questions from readers wanting to know if they need to read every single book in my Beautiful Series. As much as I would like for you to read all of them, the easy answer is no. Each book is the complete HEA of one particular couple, and if you would like some more insight into their relationship then you can generally find a companion novella from my Beauty in Between series to help you out and allow you to spend some more time with your favourites. 

Even though you can jump in at any point, a lot of readers would like to follow the timeline, and read from start to current release. If that's something that suits you then the recommended order is as follows - 

Too Close: The Beauty in Between
A Beautiful Struggle
Phoenix: The Beauty in Between
A Beautiful Forever
Commitment: The Beauty in Between
A Beautiful Melody
A Beautiful Rock

I love writing this continuing series as it gives us a chance to get a glimpse of past characters. You get to see that they are still together, still maintaining their friendships and growing as people. The stories span many different industries and settings, but ultimately, all of my characters are Australian, and all of them are working through their early adulthood, trying to figure out what kind of person they want to be. 

Learning to trust is a huge factor in most of the series. Some of the characters have had distressing pasts and need to find a way to exist in a world that hurt them. 

In A Beautiful Rock, we meet a few new characters as well as getting a glimpse of some of the old. It follows Marcus (we met him in A Beautiful Melody) as he embarks on an inward journey. It's time for him to take a good look at himself and decide what kind of a man he wants to be. 
While he's at war with his own thoughts, he meets Lisa Russell. She's new to the series and seems to be the one person on the planet who doesn't know who Marcus Bailey is. The fact he's a rockstar doesn't impress her, and with a few secrets of her to keep hidden, she'd rather stay as far away from Marcus as possible. However, Marcus isn't very good at taking no for an answer...

Within the story, you'll also be introduced to the couple who will continue the series with my next instalment, A Beautiful Star. I'll be really interested to hear who you'll think it will be. 

Until we meet again, happy reading! 

Lilliana Anderson xoxox

Australian born and bred, Lilliana Anderson has always loved to read and write considering it the best form of escapism that the world has to offer. Besides writing Angelien's biographical trilogy, she also writes contemporary romance and drama all based around Aussie characters.

When she isn't writing she is a wife, and a mother to four children. She has worked in a variety of industries and studied humanities before transferring to commerce/law at university.

She currently lives a fairly quiet life in suburban Melbourne.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Splash of Colors in the Wonderland of Books!

Today is Holi, the festival of colors! Here, in India, we celebrate this festival with lots of joy, verve and enthusiasm throughout the country. The festival has many purposes. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. We color each other, almost losing our identities behind the shades of numerous colors, throw water balloons at others, even complete strangers at random, and above all have enormous fun!! ^_^ This festival is one of my favourites and goes without saying, I'm very very excited  about today!
In this regard I'm doing this feature post - the connection of colors and books! Lots of books have name of colors in the titles. I'd be talking about some of those most famous books and also the color coding system of Penguin Publishers books.

Title: The Color Purple
Author: Alice Walker
Publishers: Pocket (2004)
Genre(s): Classics, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback (304 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.12/5

Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.

Title: White Oleander
Author: Janet Fitch
Publishers: Little, Brown and Company (2001)
Genre(s): Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Format: Paperback (496 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 3.87/5

When Astrid's mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet, murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life, Astrid becomes one of the thousands of foster children in Los Angeles. As she navigates this new reality, Astrid finds strength in her unshakable certainty of her own worth and her unfettered sense of the absurd.

Title: Black Like Me
Author: John Howard Griffin
Publishers: NAL Trade (2003)
Genre(s): Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: Paperback (200 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.08/5

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.

Title: Green Eggs and Ham
Author: Dr. Seuss
Publishers: Random House (1960)
Genre(s): YA, Humor
Format: Hardcover (62 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.30/5

Illustrated in color. Sam-I-Am mounts a determined campaign to convince another Seuss character to eat a plate of green eggs and ham. Green Eggs and Ham is a best-selling and critically acclaimed children's book by Dr. Seuss (a pen-name of Theodor Seuss Geisel), first published on August 12, 1960. As of 2001, according to Publishers Weekly, it was the fourth best-selling English-language children's book of all time.[1] The story has appeared in several animated videos starting with 1973's Dr. Seuss on the Loose: The Sneetches, The Zax; Green Eggs and Ham starring Paul Winchell as the voice of both Sam-I-am and the first-person narrating man.

Title: A Clockwork Orange
Author: Anthony Burgess
Publishers: W. W. Norton and Company (1995)
Genre(s): Sci-fi, Dystopia, Mystery
Format: Paperback (213 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 3.94/5

A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to "redeem" him—the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked".

Title: The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia #4)
Author: C. S. Lewis
Publishers: HarperCollins Publisher (2005)
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: Paperback (268 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 3.91/5

The story starts when Eustace Scrubb, introduced in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is driven into the company of classmate Jill Pole at their miserable school Experiment House. The impetus is their need to find sanctuary from the gang of school bullies who run rampant in this laissez-faire and mismanaged school run by an incompetent headmistress. Eustace confides to Jill that he has recently been "out of this world" to a land called Narnia, and that his experiences there have led to the changes in his behaviour that everyone seems to have noticed. Jill initially believes that Eustace is lying, but when he promises and asks her to attempt to go to Narnia with him, she agrees. When the bullies are about to converge on the two, Eustace suggests asking for Aslan's help, and the two blunder through a gate that leads them to a high cliff in Aslan's Country. 

Title: Blue Highways (The Travel Trilogy #1) 
Author: William Least Heat-Moon
Publishers: Back Bay Books
Genre(s): Memoir
Format: Paperback (428 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 3.98/5

Hailed as a masterpiece of American travel writing, Blue Highways is an unforgettable journey along our nation's backroads. William Least Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about "those little towns that get on the map-if they get on at all-only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi." His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience.

Title: The Yellow Wall-Paper
Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Publishers: The Feminist Press (1996)
Genre(s): Short Stories, Feminism
Format: Paperback (64 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.11/5

First published in 1892, The Yellow Wall-Paper is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper – a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, The Yellow Wall-Paper stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.


Title: The Grey King (The Dark Rising #4)
Author: Susan Cooper
Publishers: Simon Pulse (2007)
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, Mythology
Format: Paperback (165 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.18/5

"Fire on the Mountain Shall Find the Harp of Gold Played to Wake the Sleepers, Oldest of the Old..."" With the final battle between the Light and the Dark soon approaching, Will sets out on a quest to call for aid. Hidden within the Welsh hills is a magical harp that he must use to wake the Sleepers - six noble riders who have slept for centuries. But an illness has robbed Will of nearly all his knowledge of the Old Ones, and he is left only with a broken riddle to guide him in his task. As Will travels blindly through the hills, his journey will bring him face-to-face with the most powerful Lord of the Dark - the Grey King. The King holds the harp and Sleepers within his lands, and there has yet to be a force strong enough to tear them from his grasp...

Title: My Name is Red
Author: Orhan Pamuk
Publishers: Vintage (2002)
Genre(s): Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback (417 pages)
Average Rating on Goodreads: 3.79/5

At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, My Name Is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul, from one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish writers. The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed. The ruling elite therefore mustn’t know the full scope or nature of the project, and panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears. The only clue to the mystery–or crime? –lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex and power.

The Penguin Books Color Codes

Arranging books according to color has become quite popular and looks great. However, it is a method that can result in placing paleontology next to poetry and novels next to non-fiction, a troubling thought indeed! That's why I adore the color-coding system that Penguin has been using 1935, wherein each genre is assigned a color and the spine (and sometimes the cover) of works within that genre are printed in the designated color.

The Penguin code is as follows:
Red = Drama
Orange = Fiction
Yellow = Miscellaneous
Green = Crime Fiction
Dark Blue = Autobiographies
Purple = Essays
Cerise = Travel and Adventure
Grey = World Affairs

For more info check out: Phil Baines' book, Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005

Finally, once again Happy Holi to all of you!!! (even if you're not playing with colors). 
Have Fun & Keep Reading!