The Night Bird

If you can’t already tell, this book is gorgeous <and so that’s why I bought it>. But let’s not (just) be superficial.

The book in itself was pretty great. It was the typical psychological thriller that focuses on whether trauma and the memories associated should be repressed or expressed. Repressed memories, I feel, always come back and haunt you in ways you cannot imagine. They seep back into your life and wreak havoc in your life because fact is that our experiences make us who we are. Our retention of our memories is what shapes our lives and our sense of self. I believe if we bottle up memories of trauma, if we try to forget instead of shed, we are essentially choosing to retain those memories and they, in turn, shape us, the path we are on, and hence, the rest of our lives.

This is what that book was about. Although it was a psychological thriller, I felt the author truly was trying to make a statement.

The book in itself was very interesting. I flew threw it. It was an easy read and was in simple language that even a teenager would enjoy. My only fear is that this, like so many other books I have grown to hate, have become a series and that the quality of the work will decline as the pressure of minting money intensifies.

Passenger to Frankfurt

This book was a total disaster. Which is surprising, since this is an Agatha Christie. I guess it was one of the few that bombed but it was so far from what you would expect.

Obviously, she was out of her depth when she wrote this. It was meant to be a sattrical spy thriller. Unfortunately, it was just a bore. The cover may be beautiful, but the contents were far from it. So much so that as soon as I closed the book (and I remember I was on the verge of abandoning it), I promptly forgot everything about it. I don’t even remember the characters, the plot, or anything else about it.

I guess I am writing this review so that somewhere down the line, when I feel like re-reading some books or reading Agatha Christie and come upon this book, I remember I wrote this review and decide against re-reading it.

Agatha Christie – A lesson in life

Strip away the impressions, the opinions, the color, the language barriers and you will be left with the pure beating heart of cold facts.

If it’s one thing I’ve learnt from Agatha Christie, from Hercule Poirot, from any good detective story; this is the way to live life. Get as many versions of the same story as you can, and the truth will always reveal itself. You will, of course, have to do the main job of “cleaning the data” so to speak. Sifting through the bullshit people aim at you, in the hopes of convincing you of their version. DON’T FALL FOR IT!

Collect all versions of the truth and then glean what you will from it. That is what I have learnt. I am currently in a research class and one of our instructors spent an hour and a half trying to drill the same fact into my head, and I told him, “Hey! Don’t preach to the converted!”. I don’t know how or when I learnt this lesson. Maybe it was from all my reading of Agatha Christie. I think it is also one reason I don’t take anything people tell me at face value. I know there is always going to be a catch. Another side to the story that I am not being told. Or even a different side to the same coin. People’s opinions are colored by who they are and what they think of themselves. “Self concept” so to speak. I am realizing this about myself too.

Get as many opinions and impressions and versions and editions and stories. It’ll make it easy to strip away the prejudices, the biases and be left with only the truth.

It scares me sometimes; not knowing who I am. The way people see me, perceive me. I live in a bubble in my head. My boyfriend tells me I think too much. This is probably true but is it such a bad thing? I know I have tunnel-vision when it comes to a lot of things. I assume too much most of the time too. I am trying to change that about myself. Or at least trying to control it. I wish I could see myself from the perspective of those who really do care about me. At least for their sake, I would want to become a better person.

And diff ’ring judgements serve but to declare, That truth lies somewhere, if we knew but where. -William Cowper, Hope

Anyways, I digress. This book really did remind me of this theme I have been rattling about for so long. The book is beautiful. The cover, more so. I think it is one of my favorites from Christie. The story illustrates that people’s version of events might be incredibly skewed because of their own perceptions and opinions. However, if you really want to, you can find the truth of something if you try really hard. The hard part is sifting through the non-sense and coming out with the nugget of gold that you will polish into the truth; fitting the puzzle pieces so that they make sense and form a whole picture, instead of badly told stories.

 

Murder on the Orient Express

Oh, how I love this book! Just look at the cover!

Now that the movie is about to come out, I AM PSYCHED! And the cast is stellar too! I could gush about it for another two hours, however, this post is supposed to be about the book.

I’ve read this book about 4 times over the years. Now, the thing with the sheer number of Agatha Christie’s book, I read a lot of her books and promptly forget about them. I think this is a great thing. This means that I can return to these books and enjoy them again and again.

There’s something about Agatha Christie books that are synonymous with coziness. They just make you want to curl up on an armchair with a blanket, some hot chocolate and some dusty Cheetos puffs, stuffing you face with crumbs all over but who cares!? YOU’RE READING AGATHA CHRISTIE! They’re an easy read, and they’re so interesting, and you know no one you really care about it going to die. It’s awesome!

This is true for the Murder on the Orient Express as well. This book is not like the usual run-of-the-mill Agatha Christie, however. It’s not what you would expect. You cannot solve this by being smart and looking through the diversion techniques. It is spectacular. I won’t talk about it much, since the movie is going to come out. You should watch it or read it yourself!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Thank God for roomates! My roomate got this when she went home to Malaysia and one of her aunts gave her “The Cursed Child” as a present. Not a fan herself, she brought the book back untouched and unread, and handed it to me. I wanted to read the book but there was no way I was going to shell out over-$20 bucks for a book I wasn’t sure I was going to like, with so many conflicting reviews floating around.

I understand that this review is practically useless since I am sure a million people have already read the script by now. However, I am incredibly opinionated and so here it is anyway.

This script was no doubt different. I could still tell that J.K. Rowling had her hand in the creation of this play. The overall plot, the storyline, some of the personality traits resonated of her mind being behind this. The humor felt foreign but it was refreshing. I’m assuming that it was so because this was eventually going to be made into a play, which needs a little more in the way of comedy, since special effects aren’t the cornerstone here. Since we can’t have seemingly real dragons etc on stage, there needs to be one of the classic tricks that can keep a story glued together.

What I liked about the book was the what-if’s that it answered. What if Harry had been sorted into Slytherin? Ok, maybe not Harry. Maybe his kid. The personification of the goodness of Harry is Albus Severus Potter, who values friendship above all else, even if it is with the son of Harry’s sworn enemy, Draco. Befriending Scorpius, is the linchpin of the whole play, which reflects back what held together the original Harry Potter stories: Harry’s friendship with Ron, even though the seemingly, more-powerful Draco wanted Harry’s friendship. Harry rejected Draco’s friendship for Ron. Albus rejected Rose’s friendship over Scorpius’.

And that was a central theme for the script. It’s like the script-writers all sat together and asked themselves, “what-if alllll the particular points that made Harry Potter what is is, didn’t happen? What if Ron and Hermione didn’t get married? Ok, let’s add that to the list. What if Cedric lived? What if Neville died? And then there was Snape. Oh God, he always makes me cry. I love Snape.

It was an interesting read. Laid out in play format with dialogues going back and forth, it was different but you could compare it to reading Shakespeare. Yes, since it wasn’t in prose, a lot of the atmosphere is left to the imagination of the reader. Which is fine. You can copy paste all that from the previous book’s enviornment in your head to the current one. Read this book. For the love of Harry Potter.

I will only say this: *spoiler alert so look away* I only wished they’d dealt with my favorite what-if:

Continue reading

Nimona – a Web Comic / Graphic Novel

Besides the fact that the cover and the art work is gorgeous, this comic drove a hole in my heart and firmly made a place in there for itself forever.

There’s something to be said for the people who can make you fall in love with fictional characters: their mind and their social abilities work at a whole other level. People who can possess your emotions, take control and make them go this way and that, are people to be feared or revered. I haven’t decided which. Although, I must say the feeling of helplessly falling in love with minimally illustrated characters is refreshing. This emotional abuse, this manipulation, at the hands of a graphic novel was a roller-coaster ride. It had me rooting for the characters and I was emotionally invested in the final outcome of their lives. And that is what you want for your characters and their readers don’t you?

It’s almost always the small things that make you love someone and that knowledge is what the author used against us readers. She drove us into caring for this villainous creature and we didn’t stand a chance of coming out of this comic unscathed. It was spectacular. Little things like the witty banter between the two main protagonists/antagonists (honestly don’t even know what they are) made me squeal out of love. The story spun knights, legends, magic, science, love, and mystery into a tale that you could tell had been lovingly crafted by the author. It felt like a lot of time had been spent pondering over the seemingly shallow and yet inconspicuously deep story plot.

Somethings don’t need to be spelt out and the author understood that. Somethings are felt. The nuances of relationships that form the basis of love are like a universal language that everyone understands. I loved it every minute of it.

Authors like this make me wish that I could take a peek into a person’s mind. I want to know how it works, what makes it tick, and what it is capable of. People with such deep understanding of how to incite emotions in others scares me. It scares me to think what they could do with this kind of power; someone having this kind of power to manipulate my emotions is not something I take lightly because it is something I am so rarely in control of myself.

The work went beyond all expectations and YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW. That is all I am saying. READ IT NOW. GO.

Dark Matter

Nothing exists.All is a dream.

God – man – the world- the sun, the moon, the wilderness

of stars – a dream. all a dream; they have no existence.

Nothing exists save empty space – and you….

And you are not you – you have no body, no blood, no

bones, but you are but a thought.

Mark Twain

This was a decent book. The premise was interesting enough and most of the book was a mild read. Nothing earth-shattering. It had some good bits but most of it was just bland. I’d read it if I couldn’t find something spectacular to read. I don’t know if what I say from this point onwards is a spoiler or not, but how the plot was going to unravel was pretty obvious to me from the beginning.

It’s about a guy who gets kidnapped by some other version of himself that has managed to invent a machine that can allow him to cross over to parallel universes because he didn’t like the life he was leading in the other universe. Some things in it made sense. Some just got lost in translation from science to fiction. Read it if you wish. Everything was pretty bland from my point of view.