Friday, 15 September 2017

Jurassic Park Series #1 - The Book by Michael Crichton

          A billionaire has created a technique to clone dinosaurs. From the DNA that his crack team of scientists extract, he is able to grow the dinosaurs in his laboratories and lock them away on an island behind electric fences, creating a sort of theme park. He asks a group of scientists from several different fields to come and view the park, but something goes terribly wrong when a worker on the island turns traitor and shuts down the power.


Michael Crichton

          Jurassic Park, as for most people, has always been my childhood fantasy. As an 8 year old kid, seeing a dinosaur for the first time(albeit on screen) was an amazing experience. The movie with it's perfect cast, goosebumps-inducing BGM, amazing CGI so advanced for it's time captured my imagination as a child and made me feel watching it is an experience that no one should miss.

          Now that I had such a nostalgic connection with the movie, I couldn't resist picking up the book when I visited a local bookstore. It felt like the book was there waiting for me, destined to be picked up by me. Opening the pages of the book, I was transported 20 years back to the days of innocence. The book, not only overwhelmed me with nostalgia but brought the dinosaurs back to life in a way even better the movie I'd say. I was glad to be back in the park of dreams built by John Hammond, I was glad to be chased by Rexy and I was glad that I got a completely different perspective on Jurassic Park through the book.

          For starters, the book had more detailing. The process of creating dinosaurs - the DNA sampling, hatching and growing them are all beautifully explained in such a way that even someone who has zero knowledge on genetics and science could understand it. I also found that the book differed from the movie in characterization aspect and there were even subtle plot differences.(Differences between the movie and the book in coming up in another blog post soon.). The book also has it's share of fast-paced edge of the seat action and thrills. Grant and his mates being chased by the highly intelligent and skilled velociraptors is a treat to read.

          Hands down, my favorite parts of the book were the 'rants' that Ian Malcolm often got into. Be it him explaining the Chaos Theory or the Fractal Curve, or him admonishing Hammond and telling him about the timeless journey of planet Earth are just literary wonders. I could read those monologues by Ian Malcolm again and again and still my mind would not have gotten enough.

          This is one book that no one should miss. It offers a lot more than the movies will ever offer. Close your eyes and go for it. You will not regret it. See you in Jurassic Park!
Next blog in the series coming soon.


“The planet has survived everything, in its time. It will certainly survive us.”

“Let's be clear. The planet is not in jeopardy. We are in jeopardy. We haven't got the power to destroy the planet - or to save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves.”

“You know, at times like this one feels, well, perhaps extinct animals should be left extinct.”

“All major changes are like death. You can't see to the other side until you are there.”

“Living systems are never in equilibrium. They are inherently unstable. They may seem stable, but they’re not. Everything is moving and changing. In a sense, everything is on the edge of collapse.” 

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Shining - Stephen King

Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a 'shiner', aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.

As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?

Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel - and that too had begun to shine...


Stephen King

If ever there was one book that made me fear the dark and made my spine tingle with dread, this is it. This book was my third Stephen King novel and his first two books that I read had not gone down well with me. I read Dreamcatcher and Misery before this book and I understood that I have not read the best of Stephen King yet. Amidst this background, The Shining came as a great surprise loaded with horror and terror that can inflict fear on the bravest of hearts.

In his previous two books, I felt Stephen King was beating around the bush a little as he was taking loads of time to get to the main event. I felt that problem resurfacing in this book in the beginning. I still feel Jack's history of alcohol abuse was a little off track to the main plot. However, once the reader toils through a handful of pages and finds the Torrance family locked up in The Overlook for the winter, the action begins and there is not let up in the intensity and the pace from then on.

I'm still amazed how an author can bring fear to the minds of people just by "words". He doesn't get to use visual effects; he doesn't get to use sound effects; he doesn't get to use 'Jump Scare' techniques. All the author has at his disposal are "WORDS". And yet, I must say, the words from the pen of Stephen King has managed to surpass all techniques that a traditional horror movie director employs to scare his/her audience. Perhaps, that is why, the film adaptation of this novel The Shing (Movie) directed by Stanley Kubrick did not impress me as much as the novel did. There are some people who say the movie is better than the book, but I firmly differ from their opinion.

The characters are all well-developed. The Overlook, the haunted hotel is itself a terrific character with a mysterious and horrific past.

The Overlook Hotel(as shown in the movie)

Joey Tribbiani tells what is so great about The Shining
I personally liked Wendy, who struggles to save her son from his father who has fallen into the clutches of the haunted hotel and is slowly going insane. Dick Halloran is another character who leaves a mark in the reader's minds after the book is completed. I liked the fact that there are so few characters so that the reader is not burdened with too much clutter that are not essential to the central plot. King means business in this book.

Remember Joey Tribbiani in Friends, hiding The Shining in the freezer? Well, that is one way to avoid the Overlook haunting you.


"Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters."
"Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win." 
"Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just going to bash your brains in." 

If you want to be scared out of our wits, this is one book you must never miss. The Overlook is waiting for you! 

Monday, 3 October 2016

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India.

The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers--a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village--will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.

As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.

My Thoughts:

This is one book that is bound to leave a lot of readers teary-eyed. Though Rohinton, the author claims this work to be fiction, I wonder if this story was made up. You can still see thousands and thousands of Ishvars and Oms in every nook and corner of India. The book has everything that is impending the nation's development. It speaks about the deep rooted caste system and class differences. It speaks about blind urbanization and the resulting loss of nature and it's resources. It speaks about corruption. It speaks about politics. It speaks about population expansion. It even speaks about feminism. In general, this book IS India for you!

The story is about four  people who are forced to live together in a major city due to various circumstances. Ishvar and Om are untouchable cobblers turned tailors who have come to the city in search of a living. Dina Dalal, a middle aged widow hires them to work for a major Export company. She also rents one of her rooms in her apartment to her friend's son, Maneck, who has come unwillingly to the city from his home in the hills to pursue his education. Thus begins the extraordinary story of the four people and how life takes them on a harsh journey spanning poverty, illness, hunger, injustice, cruelty, prejudice, depression and misfortunes.

The story is grim - there is no getting around that fact. There is no happy ending. But everything is real. I wonder why this book did not win the Booker prize though it was shortlisted. This book is a gem. More people need to read this book. It helps to understand the ground reality prevailing in the country and also opens their eyes against their prejudices. The author has a knack of making a 600 odd page book feel like a breeze while you read. The author does not frustrate the readers by indulging in unnecessary narration or description, nor does he use complex words that render a dictionary indispensable. Instead he relies on his sharp wit and to-the-point narration to create a vivid picture and keep the readers glued to the book.

A MUST-READ book for everyone!

Golden Quotes:

"The human face has limited space. If you fill it with laughter there will be no room for crying."
"But nobody ever forgot anything, not really, though sometimes they pretended, when it suited them. Memories were permanent. Sorrowful ones remained sad even with the passing of time, yet happy ones could never be recreated - not with the same joy. Remembering bred its own peculiar sorrow. It seemed so unfair: that time should render both sadness and happiness into a source of pain."
"After all, our lives are but a sequence of accidents - a clanking chain of chance events. A string of choices, casual or deliberate, which add up to that one big calamity we call life." 

About the Author:

Rohinton Mistry

Rohinton Mistry is considered to be one of the foremost authors of Indian heritage writing in English. Residing in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Mistry belongs to the Parsi Zoroastrian religious minority.

Mistry’s first novel, Such a Long Journey (1991), brought him national and international recognition. Mistry’s subsequent novels have achieved the same level of recognition as his first. His second novel, A Fine Balance (1995), concerns four people from Bombay who struggle with family and work against the backdrop of the political unrest in India during the mid-1970s. The book won Canada’s Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. It was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was a finalist for the Booker Prize.(Source: Goodreads)

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