A wanted Man by Lee child

Yet another addition to the renowned Jack Reacher series. I would count Jim Grant alias Lee Child in the league of super intelligent writers. The way he creates a situation and then goes about breaking the codes in military sign language is completely mind blowing.  He takes you into his own thrilling world full of action where you get hooked on to his ideas through his writing.

Jack Reacher with his broken nose and battered clothes unveils a mystery about a Syrian terrorist organization “Wadiah”, that FBI fails to do. It’s a sheer game of his common sense and his ex-militia skills. This plot is exemplary of an ideal coordination between reflexes and skill.  He really surprises one with his eye for the finer details while on the ground. Till the last line of the book, you would still be reading about  revealing of the biggest secret of Wadiah….Well, I don’t want to kill the suspense by narrating the story here, but I will leave you with a clue….”Do you know how Wadiah raised money to run its organization?” Ponder while you read…please share your reviews on this book..

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hoseini

It is a masterpiece that can make your heart ache with the desire of being there for the small little angels of the troubled cities of Afghanistan. The spurt in egression to Pakistan, America and other parts of the world, triggered by the Russian takeover and followed by the Taliban regime, speak volumes about the atrocities on the civilians.  Khaled’s vocalization in the form of a series of events in this story is truly commendable. The ruthless killings of the innocent and rampaging one village after the other is just a glimpse of the animosity unfolded by the Taliban. The insanity of these human monsters would drive you crazy and you will find yourself cringing for the kids of that land.

This is a story of a boy whose mother passed away giving birth to him and about how he strives for the better half of his life to get his father’s attention. In the bargain, he gets his ties estranged with his best childhood friend in a way that they never meet again. It was very late in his life that the biggest revelation comes his way where he was told that the friend whom he had severed his ties with, many years back, was his half brother. The guilt of his sinful and cowardly act makes him an insomniac. The author presents this situation beautifully with one of the characters making a profound statement that meant anybody without a heart and conscience would never suffer. It’s human to suffer and then look for redemption. It was his redemption to go back to Taliban affected Afghanistan to rescue his half brother’s son from the merciless Talib demons.

This story is a real eye opener to the ones completely oblivious to the pain and suffering in Afghanistan and awakens ones moral.

I recommend this as a ‘Must Read’ for all !!!


Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer

A book well written however there are some loose ends. Elizabeth Barrington is one of my favorite characters from the book. I was quite impressed with the way Archer showcased her intelligence, especially when she sent across the newspaper cutting to the judge with a crossword puzzle solved on it just before she died, to prove that she was in her senses to have changed the will. Although, her role in this edition was limited but was instrumental in driving the story to a climax. The detestable character of Lady Virginia was portrayed well enough to be loathed by all readers. I also quite liked Sebastian Arthur Clifton who displayed maturity well above his age in family matters. Nevertheless Archer also was able to tell us how a teenager of Sebastian’s age can be vulnerable and agile to a lot of worldly matters.

The characters of Emma and Grace Barrington were also well written. Talking about the Martinez boys, I can’t seem to figure out how a criminal mind of such a stature miscalculate the consequences of almost abducting the son of a highly acclaimed author and member of a reputed family with strong political connections, to smuggle fake notes worth 8 million pounds from Buenos Aires to London. There’s another one that I felt was not apt, which is the title of the book. I kept wondering throughout my read as to what the secret was.After more than half the book was read there was this big revelation about Don Pedro’s criminal background. Then came the secret about him trying to send a lot of fake money to London by hiding them in a statue. This was a known to all secret and I wish this was kept more as a secret to readers as well, to justify the name.

Overall a good read. Now I can’t imagine one of my favorite characters dying in a car accident that was deliberately caused by Don Pedro Martinez. Though not revealed by Archer in the book but my feeling is that another series would talk about Sebastian having a narrow escape and I hope not to be wrong……………….

My favorite quotes – Manuscript found in Accra- By Paulo Coelho

This is one of the most fascinating books that talks about different hues of human emotions. Making every sentiment look unexceptional and handling each of one of the queries with absolute sophistication is truly laudable. This manuscript has answers to questions on life, death, defeat, victory, loyalty, miracle, fate, etc., delivered on the eve of a deadly invasion. It was unearthed after over 700 years.

The beautiful articulation of life’s spectacles wrapped in its simplicity with profound examples, catches its readers in awe.

I would like to share some of my favorite quotations from the book.

When talking about Defeat he refers to the cycle of death and resurrection. ‘And within that cycle there are neither winners nor losers, there are only stages that must be gone through. When the human heart understands this, it is free and able to accept difficult times and not be deceived by moments of glory. Both will pass. One will succeed the other. And the cycle will continue until we liberate ourselves from the flesh and find the Divine Energy’.

Then he says ‘Defeated are those who never fail. Defeat comes when we fail to get something we very much want. Failure does not allow us to dream. Its motto is : “Expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed”. Defeat ends when we launch into another battle. Failure has no end: it is a lifetime choice.’

‘For those who feel oppressed by solitude, it is important to remember that at life’s most significant moments we are always alone.’ Precision of this truth cannot be questioned.

He says: Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself: that is enough and that makes all the difference’. ‘Do one thing: Live the life you always wanted to live. Avoid criticizing others and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams. This may not seem very important to you, but God, who sees all, knows that the example you give is helping Him to improve the world. And each day, He will bestow more blessings upon it’. It magnificently opens one up to the idea of channeling the energy in being more constructive and making life more fruitful.

He then comes forth to address the fear of those who are afraid of change. ‘Difficulty is the name of an ancient tool that was created purely to help us define who we are’. ‘We will not fear what happens tomorrow as yesterday we had someone watching over us. And that same Presence will remain at our side. That Presence will shelter us from suffering or give us the strength to face it with dignity.’

Beauty, perfection and attraction are all our own perception of how we see ourselves. This could not have been portrayed in a better way. He elaborates ‘Outer beauty is inner beauty made visible, and it manifests itself in the light that flows from our eyes’. ‘So if a person looking into someone’s eyes has a dark soul, he will see only his own ugliness’. ‘We forget that the world is what we imagine it to be’.

By loving someone, we think that the other person is obliged to love us back the same way as we do. Look at how he counters this belief with this excerpt ‘Love is an act of faith, not an exchange. Contradictions are what make love grow. Conflicts are what allow love to remain by our side’.

He then crafts out his words to warn and caution us about the kind of people one should be friends with. ‘Avoid at all costs those who are only by your side in moments of sadness to offer consoling words. What they are actually saying to themselves is : “I am stronger. I am wiser. I would not have taken that step”. Stay close to those who are by your side in happy times, because they do not harbor jealousy or envy in their hearts, only joy to see you happy’.

“Elegance is accepted and admired because it makes no effort to be elegant”. This is so simple yet so eloquent and expressive.

To indulge in self-pity in difficult times and blame the wheel of fortune being unfair is very common in human beings. He addresses this emotion too with poise as he says ‘Fate is never unfair to anyone. We are all free to love or hate what we do. When we love we find the same joy in our daily activity as do those who one day set off in search of their dreams’.

Someone asked him that why are some luckier than the others. One of the extraordinary excerpts on this subject where he calls success as a consequence and not an end, ‘Success comes to those who do not waste time comparing what they are doing with what others are doing; it enters the house of the person who says “I will do my best’ everyday”’.

Miracle as he says is most commonly understood as an unexpected but pleasant surprise that goes against the laws of nature. He takes the definition further, by saying ‘They allow us to escape unharmed from the valley of the shadow of death, but do not tell us which road led us to the mountains of joy and light’. He then prays very humbly by saying that ‘Therefore, Lord give us this day our daily miracle. And forgive us if we are not always capable of recognizing it’.

Referring to anxiety as being natural and a part of every man’s life he concludes ‘It will never disappear, but the great wisdom lies of life is to realize that we can be the masters of the things that try to enslave us’.

On being asked about what the future holds in it for us, he vivaciously explains the phenomenon of love and faith that leads us to the road of success. One of the citation from this is ‘Our dream, the desire that is in our soul, did not come out of nowhere. Someone placed it there. And that Someone, who is pure Love and wants only our happiness,did so only because he also gave  us the tools to realize our dreams and our desires’.

Loyalty, love and respect perhaps have never been expounded with such agility like this one ‘Loyalty has its roots in respect and respect is the fruit of Love, and Love drives out the demons of the imagination – which distrust everything and everyone – and, instead, returns purity to our gaze’. He cites that ‘Loyalty can never be imposed by force, fear, insecurity or intimidation’. ‘And because it is a choice, it will never tolerate betrayal, but will always be generous with mistakes’.    

On being being quizzed about who our enemies are, he elucidates an entirely different concept about friends and enemies, much against the conventional definitions. A fragment of that is ‘The world does not divide up into enemies and friends, but into the weak and strong. The strong are generous in victory. The weak gang up on the loser, unaware that defeat is only a transitory thing. From among the loser, they choose those who seem most vulnerable’. He winds up by saying ‘Therefore, your enemies are not the adversaries who were put there to test your courage. They are the cowards who were put there to test your weakness’.