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Pirate Latitudes – A Smashing Pirate Tale!

Michael Crichton’s latest novel, Pirate Latitudes, took up one marathon reading session this weekend. It was, to be cliched, unputdownable.

The blurb reads:

An irresistible adventure of swashbuckling pirates in the New World from one of the best-loved and bestselling authors of all time.

Jamaica, in 1655 a lone outpost of British power amid Spanish waters in the sun-baked Caribbean. Its capital, Port Roayl, a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses – the last place imaginable fron which to launch an attack on a nearby Spanish stronghold. Yet that is exactly what renowned privateer Captain Charles Hunter plans to do, with the connivance of Charles II’s ruling governor, Sir James Almont.

The target is Matanceros, guarded by the bloodthirsty Cazalla, and considered impregnable with its gun emplacements and sheer cliffs. Hunter’s crew of buccaneers must battle not only the Spanish fleet but other deadly perils – raging hurricanes, canibal tribes, even sea monsters. But if his ragtag crew succeeds, they will make not only history ̷

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Slumdog Millionaire – A Prelude

I recall the first time I came across Vikas Swarup’s Q&A in the huge Landmark at Spencer Plaza in Chennai. That was in 2005, and I remember being fascinated by the blurb, though not enough to buy it right away. I made a mental note that I should read it sometime. It got added to the ridiculously long reading list in my head.

Some time ago, I heard about Slumdog Millionaire, and how it was a movie being made out of Q&A. And then, I read the rave reviews it had received, and how it was the next big movie. This brought the book to the top of my reading list, and into my shopping cart on Indiaplaza. That was when Angie lent me the copy she had, and I finished it a single, albeit interrupted, reading session.

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Crossword, Hyderabad – Ill-stocked, Ill-organized, Ill-run

It all started with a gift voucher from Crossword I got for something or the other. Deciding to take advantage of it, off we went to City Center, where, suitably fed and glowing, I went into the aforesaid bookshop (Vidya cleverly slipped into Max to look at clothes, well knowing my propensity to take an inordinately long time in bookshops!). So I started looking around, trying to decide what I would buy, and in the process discovered that Crossword (at least the one at City Center) is one of the most pathetic bookshops I have been to in any city.

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Forty Books!

Last Sunday found us on the pavements of Abids, accompanied by the adventurous Haritha, hunting for books among the hundreds of impromptou bookstalls that had sprung up everywhere. After about five hours, we found ourselves richer by forty books, for which we had paid a total of about four hundred rupees.

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Next, Michael Crichton

Just finished reading Crichton’s latest – Next.

At the end of this “novel,” there is an Author’s Note, which explains five conclusions that Crichton arrived at at the end of his research for this book. However, it is hard to believe that these conclusions were made at the end of research for this book, for the whole book seems to be a moral fable that tells tales illustrating and reinforcing each of these conclusions. This renders the book a narrative of denouements – without enough of development on either side. But Crichton, being the brilliant author that he is, manages to make the book gripping enough. For Crichton fans, this is a must read, even if it is a bit preachy. Non-fans may find it a bit condescending, but what do they know! For someone who has never read Crichton before, stay away, and read Eaters of the Dead or Jurassic Park or Disclosure first. read more

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False Impression

Finished reading False Impression at one shot – well, almost one shot. It was such a delight returning to what can safely be called vintage Archer. The book was engrossing, fast-paced, had the usual twists and turns, and in true Jeffrey Archer style, left me feeling good in the end. The blurb on the back of the book is actually quite misleading – and at the risk of playing spolier – seems to hint darkly at things that aren’t there in the book. False Impression is a straight-forward, honest-to-goodness thriller, just like A Matter of Honor, which I did finish at one go about fifteen years ago! read more

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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Finished reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince last night.

While the first five books are essentially school stories, which also stand well on their own as individual books, HBP makes a departure from this. HBP takes a leap from these – it is set in Hogwarts, but it is not a school story. It presupposes that you have read the other five (not that it should be otherwise!), and heavily depends on knowledge from them.

Another major departure from the earlier books is the unabashed importance given to the storyline and advancement of the plot. Detail is given the go-bye, and action is the key. By doing all this, JKR has set up a mega finale to happen in the seventh and final book. Rather like Kill Bill, HBP is the first in the series that has no resolution – only a lead in to the next book – and like the two Kill Bill films, books six and seven are part of a set – a set that is incomplete with just one of them. So begins another long wait till the next one comes along! read more

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Getting Potter

I am not too much of a text messager, much less a fan of really short telegraphic ones. Yet, I sent out a two-word confirmation that I had “Got Potter!” at 9:47 a.m. on Saturday to my Potter-crazy friends!

The day was packed with other non-Potter activities, and by the end of Saturday, I had managed to read only about twenty pages. So Sunday was the day – all else was suspended while I read.

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