Book Recommendation-Trust Me by Angela Clarke

Standard

Sometimes, now a days while going book shopping, doesn’t there sometimes feel a disparity in book titles? Some books have names which are deep, metaphorical, such as “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, “The Fault in out Stars”, “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”, “and Tuesdays with Morrie”. Then there are books with downright atrocious names, “Twenty and Still a virgin”, “Can Love Happen Twice”, and some other books at the Kuwait Airport with tacky titles like “Conquests” or something like that.
Then there are inbetweeners with good names, which have meaning but don’t go as deep and could be more powerful. They are fine; though they feel cheesy and more effort could have been put in, maybe. Trust Me is that sort of a book. But make no mistake, it is a fantastic book none the less.
Trust Me is the sort of book you need to put your entire attention in when reading. If you breeze past it, it’ll be meh. But if you take your time, take it page by page, see how the characters talk, and how they talk and react, the clarity with which their actions and situations are described, and how every location is portrayed, it feels entirely different from just about every other cop thriller story you have read.
It’s a formulaic story: A young female cop who feels she needs to prove her worth, her friend working with her team as a computer analyst, a case which is handed to them, another which they stumble upon by communication with a woman brave enough to do something. But it’s an amazing story.
I loved the characters the most, especially Kate, the brave woman. The story is divided into chapters which center on different characters: Nasreen, Freddie, Kate and Nigel. Kate and her chapters stood out the most. They didn’t move the plot forward as much as the others. Hers were the most character and emotion heavy. Who she is, her past, how her life has been. But most of all, throughout the book, what I loved about her was her strength of character. Her character is hands down one of the most amazing and powerful characters I have read.
The characters are themselves usually formulaic. But the way they handle situations or how they look at their desk when telling something, or how they react to a name make them stand out.
The story, like all great thrillers makes great use of misdirection. It has the second best use of misdirection I have seen in a modern thriller, second to “No Time For Goodbye” by Linwood Barclay. There are times when you go, “This is it. I knew this would happen”, and the story goes like, “”Nuh-uh. Not like this.” Even in the end there is a clever twist, which I never saw coming. It was fantastic.
The actions are extremely detailed. How the characters speak how they climb the ladder or how they are assaulted by the main villain. There is great attention to detail in all the actions. You can see the actions in front of you and every inch of its execution.
If there is something which gives this book an edge over every other book of this genre are its emotions. The emotions are nuanced to the littlest detail.
It’s these little things which add realism to the story and make it authentic. It makes the characters feel like human, the situations grave and tense and life threatening. It also has one of the most heart thumping ending ever. My heart was in my mouth the entire time.
Trust me, Trust Me is a great book. It is a fine modern thriller. It does a lot of things right and gives a great ride to the readers.

Advertisements

Book Recommendation-Live Wire by Harlan Coben

Standard

Back from slumber! A new Book Recommendation! Live Wire is an amazing, and beautifully nuanced thriller. It does have some flaws inherent in modern day writing, but a great read none the less. Those who love books like No Time for Goodbye(Read my recommendation here:- Book Recommendation- No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay) will probably get a kick out of this!


Live Wire. It was only when I ended the novel when I realised the significance of the title. When I picked up the book at the store and read the title and the plot summary on the back, I put it off as another wannabe not so cool thriller. But the premise on the back was interesting enough to buy the book.
But the moment I ended the book and looked at the cover again to appreciate it, my eyes fell on the title again and I was like “Woooooooaaaahhhh!”. Live Wire. The words had assumed such grand meaning after finishing the book. Serves me right for judging a book by its title (That’s a joke).
Live Wire is a thriller written by Harlan Coben. Live Wire is a very different sort of thriller which most people who are tired by the foolish characters often in thrillers appreciate. In most thrillers, you will find a person caught up in the whole act by chance. That’s there in Live Wire as well. But the difference is, in most thrillers, the characters are sort of dumb and idiots. They usually do things that wouldn’t make sense in such a situation. They get caught off guard easily. They don’t get basic simple things of life. Myron and Win, the primary character and one of the many supporting characters respectively, are nothing like that. They are usually ready. They have the solution to every trouble. They can be forced into a situation they couldn’t imagine and have the necessary back up plans. They are always one step ahead, or try to be. Of course now people will start thinking if a thriller doesn’t have characters which are weak and rise to the occasion, the thriller is boring. That is not the case.
This thriller has thrills, but more of emotional and the sort you don’t usually see in a thriller. Instead of the high octane adrenaline pumped action, fuelled by the character’s inability to take on the situation, the thrills are abrupt, from the bluntness of the characters and the emotional situations the characters are faced with.
Like for example, in most thrillers, the lead characters let the villain live or people why can harm them live out of a sense of humanity and morality. Not in this. Just an example of why this book is different.
The book stars the lead Myron Bolitar, an ex-basketball player, now an agent for MB Reps, which represents sports stars and so on so forth. Helping Myron are his friends and colleagues, Esparanza, Big Cyndi and the enigmatic and mysterious and resourceful and smart guy you want to be, Win(His actual name is much bigger and much more grand).
In the entire book, Win is the guy you end up liking a lot (Though you fall for all the characters in the book, it’s Win’s different personality that draws you to him). He is smart, he is always one step ahead, he is always prepared, and he always has a plan. There’s this quality about Win, him always being prepared, that he cannot be taken down. Invincible. Bulletproof. Even though you can’t be Win, you imagine what it would be like. To have so much power in your hands, and the guts to back them up.
Getting back to the story, Myron is visited by Suzze T, a former sports star and a client of his one fine day. She tells him some problem of his life and he sets out trying to find a solution. And then he sees a part of his past, and the whole story is set into motion.
Myron is another character you fall in love with. Which is important, since you’ll be with him for the most part. Myron is smart, athletic and cool. He can have a gun pointed in his face and still be able to think properly. These are the outer qualities. On the inside, Myron is emotional as well. His actions in the entire book are emotionally driven, which is why you keep on reading the book. Whatever he does, he does for the people he loves. Most of the thrills in this book are his emotions. And they give you goose bumps.
This is the one thing I miss sorely in most thrillers written now a days. Goosebumps. The ability to make you hair stand, or make you distance the book away for a second to be shocked. The ability to shock you with a happy thing as well.
This book did a number on me. There are a few particular moments in this book which I still smile about, because they show the human condition. The ability of humans to care for the ones they love.
One last thing about this book, which I almost forgot to mention. Harlan Coben’s writing skills. His dialogue is amazing. It has to be one of the most amazing dialogues I have ever read in a book. In all exchanges, there are always these undertones under what the characters say. Coben doesn’t simple write dialogue to move the plot forward. He writes it to make clear some emotion or some aspect he feels about. He tries to teach you something about the world.
There was only one issue with the book. It can ruin the book for you, so if you don’t want it, skip to the next paragraph. The only issue was the starting of the book felt weird and eventually proves to be incorrect (in a way) when the book ends.
All in all, Live Wire is a live wire of a book (I thought let’s end this one with the traditional joke). It is one hell of a book. People who look for the intricate web of lies and thrills might not find it as amazing, but people open to great webs of mystery and emotions will love it!


Do let me know in the comments below about how you felt the Book Recommendation was and in case anybody has read the book, do you share my opinions?

Happy Reading!

Movie to Watch-Good Will Hunting

Standard

I’m changing the “Movie Recommendation” category to “Movie To Watch” category. For some reason, Movie Recommendation feels too formal. Honestly, telling somebody why to watch a movie should always be a free flowing and fun filled, pouring your heart out about the movie. Books, well I’ve written too many Book Recommendations to change it now (He says trying to be funny). So, here goes to the first Movie to Watch. Be warned, there is a torrent of emotions and other various feelings for those who dare to venture to read this article!


Screenshot (517).pngGood Will Hunting is one of those movies you keep in the category of the movies to watch at least once every year. For me, I have a lot of movies in that category. All the Star Wars, Good Will Hunting, Garden State, Up in the Air, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, This is where I Leave You. But Good Will Hunting, damn. Okay, I’ll let you in here on a little secret. Not proud of it, not many people know of it, but it’s still there. Here goes. I’m a big Star Wars fan. Star Wars was the first movie I saw that I actually remember. I say this myself, I was raised by my parents and Star Wars. I have seen all the Star Wars 15 times over 16 years, with the tally going as high as 30 for the Original Trilogy. So, Star Wars always reigned supreme as the best movie I had ever seen (the whole series just to clarify). But for a brief period, of about three months in 2014, Star Wars was displaced from the throne it had sat on for so many years. Good Will Hunting hit so strongly, I watched it twice, and gave all the good scenes a third run before I was satisfied by watching this movie. Good Will Hunting, for that brief period, became the Best movie I had ever seen. That’s something that had never happened before that and something that will never happen again. Probably. But for Good Will Hunting to do such a thing, all Star Wars fans as well as cinemaholics will agree, is a colossal thing. So, I think that about sums up how amazing I feel Good Will Hunting is, and how strongly I feel about this movie.

The way I feel about it, I don’t think anybody else will. It’s such a, such an unpretentious movie. It’s a simple story about this boy, Will Hunting (Matt Damon), 20, who is a genius, somehow. He cans solve equations that maybe only one or two people in the world can yet he lays bricks and cleans floors at MIT for livelihood. He has various charges against him, all of which were cleared because of his history as being in several foster homes. He is self-destructive, pushes people away before they have a chance to get to know him. He has a bullshit answer for everybody, to deflect the topic, because he doesn’t want to go near the truth. Because the truth is, Will Hunting’s past still has him in a solid grip.

Screenshot (532).png

Ladies and Gentlemen, Will Hunting.

This movie has all the things I most probably love in a movie.

It is such a simple movie. It is just a simple story about a person coming to terms with himself and becoming better. Becoming Good. And in turn, the people related to this person, in the process of helping him become better, become better themselves. I won’t reveal how they become better, and here, better does not mean Good as in good person, but good as in leaving the past in the past, being fearless or standing up to a friend and putting some sense into him.

The title is such a thought provoker. It can be interpreted in two ways. One, how Will Hunting, the central character played by Matt Damon is a good person. The other, more philosophical and I think not meant, is how all the characters are hunting for Good Will. Good Will as in doing good or trying to do good. They’re all hunting for acts to try to do good and be good.

And Matt Damon. Now that Leonardo DiCaprio has his Oscar, can we get to how Matt Damon deserves one? It was his strength in portraying Will Hunting that takes your heart away. I remember this scene, between Will and Sean (Robin Williams as Will’s therapist), where they’re talking and the scene focuses on Matt Damon. And you can see it in Matt Damon’s eyes. His eyes portrayed the emotion Will Hunting had. And it felt so good. I went back to the start after this, and kept a close eye on Matt Damon’s eyes. And damn it, it just wasn’t that one scene where his eyes felt so powerful. Every scene, his eyes were reflective of his emotion. So good, so powerful. I don’t think any other actor would have been able to pull Will Hunting off this gracefully. This is to date, Matt Damon’s best role yet. And I don’t mean to be an ass or a bad person, BUT JACK NICHOLSON WAS NOT NEARLY THIS GOOD IN AS GOOD AS IT GETS. I’VE SEEN AS GOOD AS IT GETS, I DON’T SEE IT (he says like a raging Chandler Bing who makes everything funny).

Screenshot (540).png

Like I said, the eyes are amazing!

Then there is Skylar, played by Minnie Driver, the love interest of Will Hunting. I won’t tell you the motions the two of them go through, but I feel Skylar is one of the most amazing characters I have ever seen. She is smart, she is kiddish, and honestly, her character is so cute. I mean, the way she talks, the way she treats Will and behaves with him, it feels so amazing. So perfect. When we talk about Good Will Hunting, how often do we talk about Minnie Driver’s Skylar? Very rarely. People tend to ignore or hoodwink her character for the two better performances in the movie, those being Matt Damon and Robin Williams. But for me, the very character of Skylar was a refreshing, easy to love character and the ay Minnie Driver pulls it of deserved an Oscar.

And Chuckie. Chuckie, Chuckie, Chuckie. Will Hunting’s best friend, played by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon’s best friend. Well, co-incidence? Hehehehe. Chuckie’s character was amazing, and as you can see in the pic below, I have said enough. The way Chuckie cares about Will, and puts some sense into him, that is one of the finest and most under rated scenes in film.

vlcsnap-2014-12-19-00h51m22s46.png

To one of the best scenes in cinema! Kudos Gus Van Sant and Ben Affleck, you made the movie with this scene!

ROBIN WILLIAMS! The skill with which he portrayed Sean was pure class. The way he managed so well between a person who has lost a lot and is still optimistic, a person who is calm and serious yet also funny, a person who has seen good times and bad times, and most of all, a person who is wise and caring. Robin Williams has that rare ability to actually make you laugh out loud like crazy. I remember having to pause the movie because my mom walked in asking what happened that was so funny that I was laughing so loudly and waking everyone up. That is class. I was hitting my table, would’ve fallen off my chair if I wasn’t careful and I think I laughed for close to a minute. Don’t judge me, even the camera man laughed in that scene!

But oh, Gus Van Sant. The simplicity with which he has directed the movie. I’m no expert in direction, but I loved it. The angles Gus Van Sant uses, the timing and the way he places his characters, it felt natural and easy on the eyes. Another thing I really liked about his direction was how he showed the characters for a few seconds more after their scene ended. That way, we could get a close up of the character as they reacted and came to piece.

But all in all, I will be plagiarising Roger Ebert the Great a bit in saying, I have never truly seen a character like Will Hunting. He is the reason why the people he knows became better. Without him, his group of friends would just be guys who worked and went for drinks, without him, Skylar would never have found a guy she truly liked and be stuck with snobby uptown university kids. Sean would have been stuck in his past and never play another hand at life and be just another psychologist. Chuckie would’ve maybe never pushed anyone to do better in life. Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) would have just been another MIT Professor who placed achievements and his own ego above friends. It feels funny thinking, of how without Will Hunting, these lives would have never been made better.

Will Hunting is a man whom I would recommend you all to meet at least once, and also his rag tag group he surrounds himself with. Caution though, he won’t let you get close to him, not till near the end, but even looking at him from afar is a marvellous experience. And such an experience warrants one view at least.

Screenshot (559).png

Goodbye Will Hunting. You be good now! XD


This movie is truly amazing. A movie that, like I stated above, warrants at least one view. You may not love it, or even like it, but you’ll be glad you watched it.

Book Recommendation-The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Standard

The Shadow of the Wind. A book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón in our world. A book by Julian Carax in the world spun together by Carlos Ruiz Zafón in this novel.

The Shadow of the Wind, both the books that you get to know about, the one you read whole written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón and the one you get to know about by Julian Carax are both books that seem of a different era of writing. A different style of writing books altogether. You don’t find books like these anymore. You will fall in love with the one by Carlos Ruiz Zafón because of how well he has written it. The words. The way Zafón strings together his words and the perfect way with how each character’s words feel real. His ink drips with the beauty of the Barcelona it is set in. His words give rise to the characters who are running around, bathing in the storms and rains and snowfalls and sunlight and bullets of that Barcelona. And the words and phrases he uses! Bellicimo. Beautiful. Words fail short for the masterful way he strings his words together. ‘A secrets worth depends on the people from who it must be kept.’ ‘The violet streaks of sunlight from between the clouds. ‘As if I believed that with that kiss I could deceive time and convince it to pass us by, to return some other day, some other life.’ As the tale goes on and on, you want more. More of the words, more these characters running around for their quest. You want to know their stories, the ones who are alive and also the ones who are dead, or about to die. Because as long as we remember someone, they never die. Even if we remember them in the dusty recesses of our mind.

The book, Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón centers around Daniel Sempere, a boy of ten who finds the book “The Shadow of the Wind” by Julian Carax in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books; feeling as though the book by Carax was waiting for his, maybe even before he was born. That night, he goes back home and reads the book full, well into the next morning. He has never heard about the author, Julian Carax. Nor has anyone else. All that is known is his books have a high price in the book collectors’ collection due to a legend related to all books by Carax.

Intrigued, Daniel sets off to uncover the legend of Julian Carax, who he was, or is, and what happened to him ,as his last steps are shrouded in mystery, and so his life.

The book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a thriller, a drama, a love story, a coming of age and a documentary about the Spanish Civil War. Whew! Most authors can barely manage a good thriller and this guy multitasks his genres. The book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón easily sneaks its way into one of the best books I’ve read. Like I said, nobody writes books like these anymore. It’s rare to find such dedication to a book and such detail and insane characterization as well. This book is almost perfect. Had it not been for a single hiccup in the story, the book would have been perfect (for me). Well up among my two favourite books, The Fault in our Stars by John Green and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini.

Now as for the hiccup. In most stories, especially thrillers, only the keen readers, whose singular quest is to find out the identity of the killer or the plot twist before its reveal and read and re read every page to be sure of the details find out. But in The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, the revelation of the twist is not grand. Because the chapters preceding it give you all the information you require to guess the twist and when it finally comes, you’re like “Cool. I know. Cool. Had to be it” rather than “Oh My God! Are you kidding me? No No No” sort of a feel.

The Shadow of the Wind is a rare book. Very few writers now a days write even stories remotely close to this one. Fact is, most of us writers now a days limit our imagination to an acceptable limit that we feel is fine. Carlos Ruiz Zafón lets it run wild and lets all those words fall on paper. We write a bit in fear of exceeding that limit. Zafón has set no limit and hence writes fearlessly. This is one book I would recommend to everyone. This book is a must read. One of the most amazing tales ever spun that deserves all praise showered on it.


It has been a long time since my previous book recommendation, that being of The Curious Incident of the dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This is sadly because the quality of books I’ve read in the past couple of months has been abysmal to say the least. Books that seemed great but were anti-climatic, or books that were just too darn stupid. Finding books that really make sense and feel great are becoming tougher and tougher to find. The Shadow of the Wind and The Gift(by Cecelia Ahern)(Never thought i’d like a Cecelia Ahern book) have been the two good books I’ve read in the past month or so, despite having read about six books.

Book Recommendation-A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Standard

IMG_20160614_204439.jpg

It has become a spot of bother to think of how to begin this book recommendation (Hehehehehehe. Another bad joke).

But moving on, after another bad joke to start another book recommendation, A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon is one of the funniest, sombre and subtle family dramas I have read. A lot like maybe Kapoor and Sons to anyone who has seen it, but maybe, more dark in its material.

 

The book focuses on the Hall Family, i.e. George, the hypochondriac (I guess) who is fifty seven year old and thoroughly enjoying his retirement, by working on his studio and being plagued by his thoughts of having cancer and dying and depression. His wife, Jean, who works two jobs in the city and is having an extra marital affair. Their unpredictable daughter Katie who does things just because, has a son Jacob and is getting married a second time. And last, their son, Jamie. Jamie is older than Katie and is gay, with some angst towards his family for not accepting him as he is.

 

The book is incredibly unique and refreshing. All four Halls are at the centre of the narrative. Each one of them has a distinct storyline, with their issues part of the cohesive while Mark Haddon is telling and the rewards of their storylines are seen in their characters by the end of the book. In essence, this book is about the four characters coming to terms with the situations they have placed themselves in and maturing into their roles and accepting themselves and their family, despite all their faults.

 

The book is 390 pages, and the most incredible thing is, it has 144 chapters. That’s about 2.73 pages per chapter. Some chapters are as small as half a page and the longest was maybe six pages. Haddon employs such a style because since the narrative focuses around all four Hall characters, whenever Haddon needs to put one of them into focus, the chapter revolves around the said character. Due to the relatively small length of the chapters, it’s often not too long before we go back to each character. The pattern as well is random. There is no, Dad, Mom, Katie, Jamie order. It’s as it is found fitting. Due to this, the book never feels too dragged or boring and the reader can always feel connected to the characters.

 

This book is also, for me, rare. Because it happens so rarely that you want to keep on reading about the characters and not want the story to end. Even on the last page, the last word even, I wanted Mark Haddon to continue the tale of the Hall’s and how they live the rest of their lives. This is something so rare and incredible, because most books that attempt such a thing become a drag that you want to finish their tales or because most books wrap up so beautifully, it just feels right to let the characters go.

 

All in all, A Spot of Bother is a hilarious, witty, and overall terrific book that everyone should take the time out to read, because in a way, it is also therapeutic, as the reader can relate so well to the characters, they can find some of their own problems across the four Hall’s and the various supporting characters.