Stories That Border on Euphemized Indian Lives

Book Title: At Close Quarters

Author: Sonia Narayanan

Translator: N/A

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

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A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Sonia Narayanan is based in Bangalore and as a writer; she creates stories that are captivating with a nice human twist to it. The storyteller of these pearls of stories has a unique understanding of human mindset. The author weaves in and out of each story with relative ease and she has set them in different parts of India, thus diversifying the whole collection. The characters are built with such care and details that it showed the writer’s sparkle of writing talent.

Story in a Nutshell:

The short stories in this collection are really interesting with multiple level of flavoring, that it covers all the reader’s entertainment requirement with ease. The collection has 10 short stories set at various places and with different types of personalities. The stories start off, as if ambling into the park of storytelling, while holding the feeble thread of an audience attention with great care. These stories are emotionally mature and yet so filled with human fallacies that become the part of our everyday commoner’s life.


My Likes and Dislikes

More than likes, I would say I found a writer who conversed with me. I was captivated by her storytelling style. I loved the fact that the characters were either casual stroke of the brush or intricate painting of Dorian Gray personality feel. There was a taste of R. K. Narayan in the description of the settings but the characters were Sonia’s own. I enjoyed spending time in the scene, while my emotions were the crumbling fourth wall.

There wasn’t much that I disliked about this book, but I did feel that she was hiding from actually placing the dark side without any obscurity. Because in the short story “Anand” I felt she played it safe and left the death of Anand’s wife as a mere apology. Maybe that is the only thing that I felt that the author was not doing it right. I think euphemism is good for certain stories and sometimes one just has to be brutally true in some stories.

But that brings up an unique question within me. Do we have to be graphically explicit in our stories to be authentic? Or just not talking about the bad stuff makes us more palatable writer of reality and social activist causes.

My Opinion

I enjoyed all the ten stories and would love to read it again. But the first impression of the stories can never be replicated. It was a wonderful Indian flavors presented in gentle spirit of being socially right. Great read!

A Well Spun 1001 Nights | Lifesaver Stories

Book Title: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights

Translator: N/A

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

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A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

The storyteller of this book is a woman with a set agenda of saving her life. Each story is well woven to provide the right kind of interest and curiosity to know its conclusion. This gave the storyteller an additional day to live.

Story in a Nutshell:

The stories are set in a combination of betrayal, adventure, blood and gory details. They are well spun with an interesting closure which makes sure that the listener’s interest is sustained for another night. The Minister’s daughter marries the Shah to prevent untimely death of young women in her country. The Shah feeling cheated out by his betraying first wife decides illogically to get married to a young bride and have her executed on the very next day.

Scheherazade is the minister’s daughter who decides to keep the Shah from killing further young women due to a unfair conclusion that all women are unfaithful. The tales to pass the night becomes so interesting, that the Shah is willing to allow Scheherazade to live another night to complete the story. She spins the tales in such a way that she gets extra nights to live finish them. Until eventually, the Shah understands his folly in his assumption that all women are unfaithful and conniving personalities.

My Likes and Dislikes

The part that I really liked was the times, when the Genie used to appear in the story. Of course, the initial stories were really very dark. But later on there are slight changes in the stories told because it was becoming a little light-hearted and more humane. I could inference the fact, that the Shah’s view on women changes with each consecutive stories. This speaks for the storytelling capacity of Scheherazade. She spins the tale is such a way that it confirms the belief system of the Shah. With each turn in the listener’s mood the stories also change course.

One thing that I disliked about the stories were the presence of really dark details. The fact that the characters and setting where in and around the Middle East. The settings were not as clear as the characters motives for me. But within the limits of the storyteller’s intelligence in expanding the settings to outside world was achieved by resorting to limited setting description. Meaning to say that women were limited to their female quarters and Scheherazade was well read so she could keep her knowledge listener engaged with the stories.

My Opinion

This book would be an excellent read for grown up readers who are fascinated by well spun creative stories. The more edited and abridged version of the story is acceptable for young readers. The stories are well told to the specific listener’s need. The magic of Arabian night settings are exceptional given the limitation in the exposure of the storyteller to the outside world

Girl Detective Novel | Dictated Summers

Book Series Title: Nancy Drew

Author: Carolyn Keene

Rating:  3.5 of 5 Stars

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A Bird’s Eye View

Author Bio:

At my early pre-teens I was not so keen about who wrote stories that I read. The detective story held more importance in my mind and thoughts during those early reading days. So much of what I know of the author was zoned off to just Nancy and her friends.

Story in a Nutshell:

There was a fixed frame work with Nancy Drew who is a freshmen or a sophomore is not clear, solves criminal cases and to bring justice to the victims of the specific story. Within this frame work, Nancy works on her cases during breaks or long weekends. She spends solving cases much to my pleasure. The story has different settings and villain characters with just few main characters who appear in all the stories and some who visit occasionally.

My Likes and Dislikes

Nancy Drew’s cases were not too complicated for my age; but I felt I can sufficiently solve it in one go. I like the working of the puzzles that was involved in each story. Nancy had a boy-friend who began appearing in the later parts of the series and the relation goes closer years went by.

The introduction of the Nick Johnson in Nancy’s life was kind of justified. The author could take up stories that required some mild brute force action to solve the mystery. Nancy was an intelligent person with the mindset of teen sleuth. Her adventures were innumerable which I enjoyed reading it.

But one thing that I felt was bad was the fact that I could never read the same book more than once. These were markedly just one time read for me. But that gave me such pleasure to read during the summer holidays breaks or during the weekends.

There was one particular case in which the story spins around the same facts. It was rather interesting to note. Nancy was puzzled for the major part of the novel. Multiple view of the video leaves Nancy none-the-closer to solving the mystery. I felt it was an excellent story trick that the author used to make the story interesting.

My Opinion

This is a great book for children who are growing up in their 7th or 8th standard according to Indian Education Scheme. Though there is much which is being explored but the parent should get ready for some open conversation with the child too.

First Mystery Novel | A Twist of Mystery

Book Title: The Famous Five

Author: Enid Mary Blyton

Rating:  4.5 of 5 Stars

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A Bird’s Eye View

Author Bio:

Enid Blyton wrote children adventure novels in English. Her works are popular among young audience who are venturing into reading by themselves. Her works was great read among children who crave for adventure. The author writes with great sensitivity and knowledge of adventures for young children.

Story in a Nutshell:

Five on a Treasure Island was not my first book. My first book was actually, “Five Go to Demon’s Rocks.” Then, I tried to find the first book but the local library had only few 20 books of Famous and many same copies. So I read the story of Five Children who become sleuths in mildly dangerous situation. They solve mysteries which makes them the Famous Five. I had read somewhere about 22 books during the span of my 5-6th grades.

My Likes and Dislikes

The fact that I was pretty much comfortable with the adventure part of the story, I think the attractive factor was George in this series. She was so unique and the cousins kind of sat well in the scenario. I liked the fact that relationships were forged under the variant preferences between the children.

The Summer visit of the cousins and excitement to wait for them to get together was my favourite part. I used to find it interesting to figure out what could possibly be the reason behind the problem. Of course there are a lot of indicators about the possible culprit or criminal.

For a long time I was a Famous Five reader to the exclusion other mystery stories. My memory of this book is connected with the local library that I haunted. Back then there was no television and all the free time was spent on reading books.

I didn’t seriously have any preference or was not looking the storyline or plot. I was just reading because of the mystery. So I didn’t dislike anything about this series of adventures of young adults. Of course, back then I was just eleven years old like George and so could easily relate to her quiet easily.

My Opinion

I would suggest this book as a part of Early Reader venture books for children. The reason is that, the series has some really interesting conversations and adventures in the seaside island. As a beginning collection of book for reading this book would be great.

My First Romance That Became a Habit

Book Title: Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

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A Bird’s Eye View

Author Bio:

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. This Georgian era writer dared to be different in a period which believed that a woman’s only aim in life to be married well in life. Her stories became popular among the present-day readers. The fact that Jane tried to express her thoughts with clarity and with much sensitivity gives her books a feeling of familiarity.

The story in a Nutshell:

The story is a simple process of match-fixing based on a factor called love. The couples whose lives have been set forward for discussion are unique and have their own character faults. Jane plays into each social, emotional and intellectual element to bring out a wonderful romance that was well thought-out plot progress.

My Likes and Dislikes

I really liked this novel a lot because it was so close to the Indian social setting that is still seen in the present day. I was taken in by the wonderful sense of similarity that I found in the 18th Century England and the present day 21st Century India. But our arranged marriage have been extolled for the patience shown by the couple. It seemed like novel were speaking of arranging love to fit a well-settled marriage proposal for a young lady.

I didn’t have much to dislike in this book because I feel more helpless at the stifling factor of marriage. The entire female fraternity did nothing but just get ready for the next ball and talk about trinkets of the suitability of match. At one point I couldn’t take it anymore.

The saving grace is that the story is beautiful flows into each section when the main characters undergo a change of heart. That kept me reverted to the story so much that I was quietly agreeable to the subject.

My Opinion

This book is an excellent tea-break read-up. If you don’t much think for arranged or love marriage, then I feel this book might be difficult to consume; but if you wish to experience the yester eras then this is the best book to try out. In my case, I am still stuck in the cloud with the thoughts of finding a marriage that really didn’t have any friction in it. I am rather curious as to how Elizabeth and Darcy would have lived. Since this feel-good book ends with Elizabeth finding a match that was made of love and financial sound too.

Simply Put Senti-Flick Karan Johar

Book Title: An Unsuitable Boy

Author: Karan Johar with Poonam Saxena

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

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Movies are great ways to live a dream and believe a lie that stands out like a sore thumb in your logical mind’s eye. When Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai came out I was just out of college going through an identity crisis. But the movie’s song track was the regular loop song that I would listen while working on my writing. Those were the tape recorder days. About a fortnight later, singers sound as if they were crying in my ears because of over listening to the songs. The electronic tape had been abused once too often.

My mother was visiting my brother and sister in the US and I was in charge of the house. Every three days in a week, I would stomp off to my Veena classes at my teacher’s flat. I would be so in the songs from this movie that it was such a fascinating package of lies that I fell for hook, line, and sinkers.

The Karan Johar that I recognized as he was from Koffee with Karan series. I never thought Karan as an effeminate person, but saw him as someone who spoke his mind. Of course, he was hip and fashionable for the moment. But I did feel his K3G was passé. Of course, I understand that bringing together the family that is in disagreement is simple stuff blown beyond.

But heck, I love all the songs from all of Karan’s films. I tell you; just try selling a non-musical to an Indian audience, the seller would be in deep shit. Indian audience wants to be wined, dined, and danced around trees to boot. Honestly how many album sellers make it with just audio?!! Mix the audio with a visual you get the magic in the roundabouts.

Karan was never my favorite, but then there is no favorite in the film industry. I just go to movies for the stories, if I laugh, cry, sigh or just be emotional just a bonus. But of late, I have stopped watching movies in multiplexes. I just do the waiting game, and then, low behold the movie gets screened in one of the movie channels of the satellite television.

Karan sold off India in the crème of crème lifestyles and you don’t go to his movies thinking that you have discovered the deep-seated truth. Maybe you would see the illusion of truth, where you are in mid-heaven for three hours. In that duration, you forget your surroundings and at the end of which you land with a thud on your cushioned multiplex seat. Welcome back to reality!

Karan’s autobiography is also about feeling good, nah! He is an old hand at making you feel comfortable, and then, drop the bombshell of his specific spice of understanding.

Of course, he made the socializing sound like as if it is just drinking tea in the afternoon. Excuse me, let me tell you I am a social freakout case, I have a hard time talking in a team meeting for just four people. I am not risking my butt for anything social.

There was something exceptional when you listen to Karan talk his mind and that magic came through in this book. I read the book non-stop until 174 pages in a day. It was only when the forced break of my life came in that I had a hard time finishing the balance of the book.

Karan was everywhere in the film industry. From picking costumes to lines helping roles to manhandle the camera with sensitivity, I must say I was impressed. He threw titles of movies that smacked of wealth and panache. I wondered if Satyajit Ray is turning in his grave.

Yeah, I’m that brand of viewer who is looking for purpose and deeper meaning to life and other factors. But even they would like to be entertained and have fun. That way Karan’s movies are fun to watch and sometimes overly sentimental. Then get ready to check out that heart-soul-mind mingle in his book too.

A lone cameraman trying to see this world with his color tint glasses in search of the truth and realism interested viewers must once have a watch of those movies that were completely just fam-dram-cram. I was totally taken in by his insecurities and strengthen which is as unique as he himself is. He is not afraid to voice it. Interestingly his entire voyage with the movie industry is exceptional and funky like him.

I would recommend a onetime read which would be fascinating as a Geminian character alone can bring to light. But surely I found a match with my reading as a true undecided Libran. Now I have comfortably boxed him into a stereotype that will revise as I go along. Worth it for once, at least!

Rishi Kapoor Goes Candid

Book Title: Khullam Khulla | Rishi Kapoor Uncensored

Author: Rishi Kapoor with Meena Iyer

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

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Rishi Kapoor has been my childhood hero whose acting used to have a light and frivolous carefree feel to it. There were innumerable of his movie songs that I remember swinging to with no sense of movement. But heck who cares how you danced as long as you were happy with the song.

So this year’s The Hindu Lit for Life 2017 book festival was a welcome invitation to pick some books. So, as usual, I hit the bookstall like I was the bull in the Jallikattu with the right touch of patience. I didn’t wish to be the charging bull in a China shop.

Anyway, I was skimming the shelf for a book to pick. Of late my interest in Creative Non-Fiction has become an obsession. So naturally, Autobiographies comes under Non-Fiction category, my eyes zeroed in on the two prominent celebrities and the book was being charged for on my card.

I was waiting for a workshop to begin, so I just found a nice cozy corner that I could possibly find in the crowded festival venue. Soon everything public just vanished as Rishi’s words captured my imagination.

Words have a way with my mind and I must say that there has been a great effort on the writing team to make it simple and easy to understand. I felt so relaxed as I was reading up the incidence and experience of the actor spoken from the angle of someone finding his way around his profession.

Rishiji didn’t get everything easily though he did have someone to launch which meant that he had to come with the baggage of expectation. With his father being a recognized actor, it is far more intense because the old timer attitude for actor’s sons and daughters make it filmistan as an immediate superstar is rather hard on the child.

Even though Rishiji doesn’t talk a lot about his time trying to manage all those thoughts that became a part of his character set in the industry. He is very careful with his angle towards his emotion. There is a marked restraint of a seasoned actor and yet he does speak of his relationship with such candor that the reader will like him for his plain speaking.

But there was some aspect of his industry based relation that seems to be rather affected. My inference on this point has been based on the way the book flowed from the point of his entry in cinema with the scene of walking in the rain in a raincoat for a song sequence in Raj Kapoor’s movie.

There is much of little of everything that Rishiji speaks about in his work that gives the reader an insight into the actor’s mind. Given that the Kapoor family is known as actor-producers, I am wondering if Rishi Kapoor was a reluctant actor but eventually got interested in his career while being subjected to pampering and heightened expectation.

Though his friends are almost all from the film industry and I didn’t get to know anyone with whom he had created a bond. That reserved part of Rishiji is clearly felt throughout the book.

Seriously, there is no information about having an incident in the set expectations for his multiple angles shot and repeating the scene multiple numbers of time until it is perfect. His gripe about not being able to pull off n-number retakes from different angles seemed so out of sort for his sensitivity.

Eventually, as we encounter the grown-up Rishji it was very interesting. The fan following that one finds in past and in the present and maybe even in the future is that actor is 360 degrees from social media boom day. I fear for the current day actors because they can’t be themselves away from the maddening crowd.

That way Rishiji era hero is given an innumerable view of the past, present, and glimpse of the future trend of an actor. His book brought out that beautifully. Because, after all, Romeo of Shakespeare, is still the young man with his heart beating in synch with the romance in the air.

Rishiji has evolved in his movies and his book might seem like a list of movies that he had done and nothing much. But without his knowledge, the color that he had given his work reflects in the angle of narration.

An enjoyable read if you are a fan of Rishiji if you are more for the old-fashioned restrained hero who couldn’t be wrong. But Rishiji as a person, I would love to have a cuppa with him and talk about his work. If you want that feel, then I suggest that you grab this book and a cup of steaming tea and rock that conversation.

Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan

Book Title: Ponniyin Selvan

Author: Kalki Krishnamurthy

Translator: C V Karthik Narayanan

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

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A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Kalki was the pen name of Ramaswamy Aiyer Krishnamurthy. He ran a Tamizhu magazine in the same name. The Ponniyin Selvan was part of the series which ran in Kalki magazine. It was so popular with the readers that the subscription for the magazine skyrocketed during the time when the series was published between the years 1951 to 1954.

Back then, the popular monthly activity among the reading public was to be engulfed in the vivid imaginative words that brought the past to life in the households of Tamizhu readers. Each plot progress and cliffhanger left the readers craving for more of the story.

Kalki was a prolific writer who wrote strong and passionate pieces in Tamizhu during the late freedom struggle days and the early days of post Independence years. His short stories are much more poignant and revolutionary.

The Story in a Nutshell:

This is the story of the royal Chozha family. The story has a central connecting character who is portrayed as an exemplary hero. The main character Vallavarayan Vandiyathevan keeps the fine net of the story together. The readers root for him because he such a humane person with his specific quirks which adds to the character’s quality.

The story mixes the past history and the poetic licensed imagination of the author together into a composite whole experience. The story ends midway after the Arulmozhivarman’s (Otherwise known as Rajaraja Chola I) coronation.


My Likes and Dislikes

I absolutely loved the first historical novel in my pitara of novels. This story was such a fascination for me, that I was taken in by the scenic expanses and minute details of the entire event in the life of the Chozha dynasty. The characters were no longer just historical figures but living and breathing human beings.

The way I rooted for the hero to be safe and enjoyed the endless skirmish that he got into during his journey to deliver a letter, is absolutely timeless. I couldn’t stop re-reading the novel three times and each time I couldn’t put the book down.

The one thing that I disliked the most was that the story got over. What happened to the main character Vallavaryan Vandiyathevan? A question that has become a reverberating and a niggling thought in my mind. It is a separate backstoryabout how I got this book and was besotted by the tried horse which had such umph factor in him.

My Opinion

I would suggest to read this book from start to finish or enjoy it in piece-meal fashion in keeping with each lull that happens after each series. I don’t think I had the patience when the story picked warmth in the very first chapter. I almost memorized “The First Floods” (Volume 1).

Image Source: Personal Collection

Gita Couldn’t Get Simpler

Book Title: My Gita

Author: Devdutt Pattanaik

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

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My experience with this book has been one of the best simple reading. Original Gita by Krishna is in Samskritam and it is rather difficult to follow if you are not good in the original language because it is filled with terms, words that shift completely with just a slight change in word-endings.

My journey with Gita began way back in 1998 when I used to read the translated lines from a pocket-size book. Even though I was familiar with most of the terms used in the song, but I still didn’t have a complete sense of the conversational poetry.

For many years, I continued to read the line by line literal translation without understanding the inner import. Reading the pocket-sized Gita was more an act of prayer than an act to understand.

But the most important phase of my journey with Gita happened while I was reading up on how the discourse happens right in the middle of a war. It is strategically placed in the center of the Epic Mahabharata.

That particular fact fascinated me so much that I was frustrated that I couldn’t fully understand the text. I kept religiously reading the text until I was given access to the next level of understanding the text.

I always believed that whatever you learned in your life doesn’t come to you until you are ready for the next level of understanding. Every time I had a question that I’m seeking from inside, the cosmos sends me the answer through books, articles and through sudden understanding or even a person explaining it to me.

So it was not surprised when I meet people at a specific time or place. For that matter, even chance meeting with people would result in me gaining knowledge from the meeting.

In 2011 roundabout, on such chance meeting with one of my professors led me to gain knowledge of Gita at the next level. He suggested that I read an autobiography written by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. This yogi was renowned at least in the west for propagating Yoga as a healthy life choice.

It was interesting to read about the yogi’s life and influences. This also made me realize that I opened up to the book much to my surprise. In my college days, I had been spending time reading a lot of Jiddu Krishnamurthi’s work.

While working towards staying away from the conditioning of any form, I read with openness to any text of spiritual import. So when in 2013, I invested in a book written by Paramahansa Yogananda titled “God Talks To Arjun”, and found myself totally understanding the Gita differently. But it was still not simple to understand.

Being a yogi, Paramahansa explained the Gita chapters like a hermit; whereas in the case of Devdutt, he was more of a householder and his explanation was that of a householder.

The language used is so simple and easily accessible for a light reading of deep thoughts. Krishna suddenly became easy to understand now that the text was not sequential one but thematic.

This is the first time that I read Gita completely from Chapter 1 to Chapter 18 while getting its main import. Devdutt has a wonderful way of explaining single words with multiple meanings. Because of the fact that Samskritam was very advanced by that time and was scientific too. The images included with the text helped to understand the Gita much more with ease.

Krishna became more of a collected and a scientific person who categorized the world in material and spiritual import. But then at the same time, the fact remains that to be a detached householder may actually be a great way to leave this world.

Devdutt explains the complex part of dharma, varnas, gunas, and the path to moksha is not about renouncing everything and going away to the forest. But to be within the web of delusion of this material world and act like a person who is non-judgmental about what one observes in life on Earth while anchoring faith in Krishna.

One of the best quotes for me were:-

Within infinite myths lies an eternal truth
Who sees it all?
Varuna has but a thousand eyes
Indra, a hundred
You and I, only two.

Great read! Totally enjoyed it and understood too.

Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’

Book Title: The Da Vinci Code

Author: Dan Brown

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

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This particular book I read only after seeing the movie. But thankfully, I had seen the movie a long time back, which basically means, that I forgot the plot. So when I picked this book up a couple of years later, I read the reviews first.

The minute I looked at the review, I began thinking, am I doing the right thing reading this book? But then I had already paid for the borrowed book taken out from the local lending library, which meant I am reading it.

So my choice to read was pretty much made once I paid for it. Sometimes reading a book should not be based on the dust jacket or book reviews; but then, I didn’t follow that rule of mine this time.

This book brought to the forefront the wonderful combination of art and cultural history with a murder mystery. I liked the blend. I’m not much of an academician who could critique the essential story plot. So, I’ll stick to my reader’s view of the plot.

I believe that every story is the vision of the storyteller. It is like getting a window seat on the storyteller’s mind. You can wander around within the framework of the story and gather your surrogate experience.

The book was fast-paced and was surprised it was around a specific timeline space. This took me by surprise, because it is rare, that you come across a book covering the entire action within a day’s time span. Either these stories are out there or I am not aware of it. I believe fewer writers’ experiment with close call time scales.

The main characters are introduced allowing the plot to move forward. One of the most important elements of the characters were, how each of them fills in on the main puzzle or adds more to the elements of suspense.

What surprised me as a writer, was the fact that the author has stayed put within the one day, by starting very early in the morning and almost finishing the story on the next day.

One of my writing prompts was to describe an entire scene by revolving around the central character; while doing a 360 degree inner perspective of the environment, emotion, reaction and valid reason for its presence in the scene.

Now this story plot does two things:

  1. Stays close to the time limit of a day and half
  2. Jumps many centuries on various topics history, artisans and their work

I felt it was a neat ploy to keep the present static and comparatively simple while the backtracked stories are information gathered over the wide span of the timeline.

I totally felt that the story was compelling. At the same time, it was like reading a seemingly true Art History. But then the real world reason for the interpretation given to the artworks could possibly be fictional. Yet the author had tried for an authoritative voice throughout the book.

The interesting aspect of being able to make inferences on how the art loopholes could be given a new twist of interpretations only to make it seemly a true event. I found that kind of creative thinking exceptional.

Since I totally appreciate that the story’s credibility stands on the aspect of creating a web of knowledge that is staged on the scrambled puzzles which the historians are busy putting it together.

There are a few rare books that once it catches my interest then I am reading it non-stop. This book reminded me of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys sleuthing mystery stories that I consumed in large quantity spending quality time with them.

Just like in these young adult mystery novels, I am usually half the time right in guessing who had been the culprit, but then in The Da Vinci Code book, I couldn’t guess who the real culprit could possibly be. So the Gordian knot of the plot became clearer only after the last few scenes.

Yet I somehow felt, that I liked the book for the understanding the dialogue and loved the movie for its visuals with occasional dialogue grips. Both had their own separate spaces in my appreciation of the story.

Bottom line: This book can be read once and watched maybe twice!!! By being a little forgiving about twisting of historical events.