THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London – Book Review

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The Call of the Wild written by Jack London is a book published in 1903 that garnered great respect in literary, social, and psychological and many artistic fields for depiction of allegorical experience. Among so many novels of similar kind like My Dogs of Northland and Orianda Animals, The Call of the Wild stands out to be a remarkable literary work of fiction by itself.

The book is about a dog named Buck, which is kidnapped from a comfortable house where it lived as pet and is mistreated by numerous people who own it later. Averting one such mistreatment, John Thornton, takes the physically and mentally feeble Buck under his wing and nourishes it with all the love he could give which Buck does not fail to return.

In the end, when a few Indians, primitive as they are, cause the death of Thornton and his other dogs, Buck, who survives by roaming around in the woods at the time of killing, takes revenge by fatally wounding the Indians. It then involuntarily recollects the days it spent in the forest in a primordial manner, fighting and killing other dogs, etc. It answers this call by joining a pack of wolves in the woods and returns in solitude to mourn over Thornton’s death every year.

The story is emotionally surreal and its beauty lies in its thematic haziness. The theme of the story or the message the story tries to deliver are so hazy that anyone would be able to find his own special interest in it. It is a short book of only 103 pages and is recommended for every one of all age groups. Though the language is half cooked and may not be as splendid as everything else in and about the book, The Call of the Wild certainly stands unmatched by any other in its allegory and its construction of the story.

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OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck – Book Review

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Of Mice And Men. An apt title for a novel apt to be called the best ever written. It is about two drifters who travel to different places for employment and work and move out for a different place when work in one place is done. Two such drifters, George and Lennie always travel together. Lennie is mentally unsound and keeps getting into trouble and George, incessantly keeps standing by his side and rescuing his friend who never does anything with meanness but just childish innocence stemming from mental instability.

The novella of just a little more than hundred pages paints the characters live to the reader and the same it does to the friendship, companionship and to an extent, apprenticeship sort of relationship that exists between the both. Lennie gets into trouble in a work place and that leads to both of them fleeing to a different place for work and successfully get employed in a barn field. Lennie again falls into a trap there and then starts trouble. The reader is then stupefied with what happens. All the beautifully constructed emotions and feelings between them collapses into void: void of greater meaning.

It is a must read for all those who love American literature. John Steinbeck, Nobel prize winning author, like in all his other books, does some real magic with his words in this one. A true genius.

TRAIN TO PAKISTAN by Kushwant Singh – Book Review

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In the year 1947, while millions of Indians celebrated the arrival of the long awaited independence, thousands others were reduced to corpses in the process of partition of India: formation of Pakistan. Statistical and political accounts show the reasons and figures of the dead. And books like Train To Pakistan show the pain, the grief, the feelings, the hardships that have gone through between the people who were directly affected.

India’s one of the most celebrated author, Kushwant Singh through this novel of his, published in the year 1956, narrated through some peculiarly lively characters that reside in an imaginary village Mano Majra, near the border between India and Pakistan, brings out the real, true and direct suffering of the rural people due to the partition that is remembered today and a bloody period and blot in the Indian independence history. Inter alia, he also gets the reader into how manipulative and unaccountable the government systems such as the police force, the judges and other law enforcement bodies that acted during the period were.

Besides all this, the characters in the book also put forward different concepts that prevailed at the time and still do prevail though not at that degree, like religious superstitions, stupidity, people’s kowtow towards it, and the hot and vengeful clefts it had spawned between other religions. Through characters such as Hukum Chand, a magistrate, ideas of moral conscience, unreasonably unaccountable power and the miss use of the same are expounded. And through other characters such as Iqbal, Juggat Singh, etc., idea about educated people that the rural rustic had and what they really meant in the real picture is explained.

On the whole, it is a book that is a must read to understand partition of India into India and Pakistan and what it meant to people who had to lose their loved ones, those who had to travel hundreds of mile, flee to unknown and disowned places for the life that they held dear and other vagaries that persisted. Kushwant Singh at the age of 41, created this gem of a book called Train To Pakistan.

DELHI IS NOT FAR by Ruskin Bond – Book Review

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The world we live in is the only world we know – the cities. We perceive its beauty as the only beauty possible. You, reading this, probably thinking the place you live in, the urban surroundings, is the most beautiful. But, even in the rustic and idyllic surroundings of villages, lurks beauty – beauty that is not ostentatious like the urban but one, which can only be felt through experience.

Ruskin Bond, in this novella of his, takes us into an imaginary village Pipalnagar, he had conjured through experiencing life in various villages of North India, and into the lives of people who think and act simple, who find love and beauty in the simplest ways and things of poor lives, modest yet fervent dreams. The novella is written in first person format and the first person is a young and poor author of short crime and mystery stories living in the village who’s life is affected in the sweetest ways by the daily perfunctory activities of his, the people’s and the village’s.

The story is narrated in a very terse way giving it a poetic sense. Various characters who appear in the story are poor and humble people who are connected to the village. Inter alia, Bond narrates the nature in a way that makes all the life the nature holds come out freshening the reader. The hills he talks about, the nights, the trees and their each unique meanings, all leave the reader wanting more of the book.

It is a simple story of people who live simple lives but a story that identifies the sweetness and the love that rests calm in those lives. Various daily events and activities are described of these villagers, which the reader definitely has experienced once which don’t fail to make him nostalgic. On the whole, Delhi Is Not Far is an epitome of beauty and love and nature. A book that every person susceptible to beauty will cherish for his lifetime.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS by CharlesDickens – Book Review

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A classic is a book that had not stopped saying what is wants to, it is said. And Great Expectations is a book that describes what a classic is like no other book. Charles Dickens like ever doesn’t fail in doing that literary magic of his in this thirteenth novel of his. Great Expectations is one of those rare books I read that left me wanting more of them after I am done reading. After reading this book, more than the literary sense, beauty of language, human emotions and the poetic plot, what I got that is going to stay with me for a while is the friendship I made with a boy called Pip. I couldn’t ever understand any person in my life like I did this fictional being, the protagonist in the novel.

This book is a story of a seven year old boy called Pip from suburbs of London and his life till his youth encountering his meetings with many people, departure from a few old, the revival of old relations, emotions, crime, comedy (very little though), wealth and life. Dickens conjures a beautiful story of Pip’s life that the reader will surely connect. This book of his is a treasure trove of wisdom and literature in its truest sense and the more you search, the more you excavate. The story is said in a very surreal way which gives novelty and a recess to the reader from stories from other classics that are explained in a scientific way calculating the emotions mathematically.

Pip is a seven year old orphan raised by his abusive sister who is married to Mr. Joe Gargery, who is a very passionate man and is the closest to young Pip. Dickens takes the reader through various happenings that take place in Pip’s life in an utterly consuming way. Then, a lawyer from London appraises Pip and his sister and Uncle about wealth bestowed upon Pip by a man he couldn’t reveal. This changes Pip’s life entirely and he goes off to London with the lawyer as his guardian. Then a series of stunning things unravel themselves that take the reader to the old world of Pip and back to London and so forth often. His love for a girl Estella he meets in his childhood that fails, his money that gets his into problems ultimately teaching him his mistakes of inadvertent ignorance towards his people of his past, human emotions of love, hate, passion all play their part very effectively in this classic rendering a sterling and splendid hold on the reader throughout.

This is the second novel of Charles Dickens after David Copperfield where he speaks in the first person and not third and he does an indescribably stellar job in going about the thoughts and feelings of young Pip and how they evolve over time as he ages into a young lad and into youth. When looked at this book from distance, we also understand how chaotic life can be and how surprising and shocking the vagaries of our actions and inactions can be. And as to the language of Dickens’, there exists no point in talking about. The following example says it all. “I turned my head aside, for, with a rush and a sweep, like the old marsh winds coming up from the sea, a feeling like that which had subdued me on the morning when I left the forge, when the mists were solemnly rising, and when I laid my hand upon the village finger-post, smote upon my heart again.” Finally, I would end by saying this is a novel that reflects what the beauty of literature in its most actual sense is; literature in its purest and most pristine form. An obvious must read it is.

THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI by Robin Sharma – Book Rewiew

THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI

Robin Sharma

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The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is yet another spiritual book I’ve read after The Ultimate Gift and am sharing with you the pros and cons of it. Firstly, I am not able to resist myself from revealing this book had disappointed me.  With its magnificent sales and the talk among the people, I expected a lot more from it. And maybe this books’ greatness is shadowed by the colossal magnanimity of The Ultimate Gift, I’ve read before it. It surely did give me a few very good spiritual tidbits and exercises but on the whole, it is a dejected work when looked at from literary point of view where the story, the spiritual knowledge and the thesis and essence are not synchronous with each other and we can clearly see that the author is not clear as to the order, the story had to be phrased.

The book begins with a lawyer named John introducing to us another lawyer Julian Mantel who is fully consumed by the success and glory legal practice provides and eventually turns his life into a cheerless workaholic dread, so much so that even sleeping for two hours a day made him feel guilty. And all these ceaseless worries and work conjure up to a heart attack he has once while in court. Julian then sells all his riches and goes to India in quest for solace. Incredibly, on the hills of Himalayas, he finds the Sivana sages whom people never found in ages and they provide him their ancient knowledge. He then comes back spiritually rejuvenated and healthy and goes on to pass the knowledge to John as promised to a sage when in India while John explains all this to the reader.

The anecdotes and examples Robin Sharma gives are pretty inspirational but seem foreign to the story and more to it, all along, he takes the readers to tautology about wasting life working and then suddenly gives inspiration to work hard. And his story telling is very naive. Half cooked dialogues and unreasonable perceptions are most flagrant. On the whole, though it didn’t satisfy me at all, I feel it would do good to all those who don’t care about the language and the way it is written and only the spiritual exercises and the knowledge (very unclear though). A very hard read for me.

THE ULTIMATE GIFT by Jim Stovall – Book Review

The Ultimate Gift

By Jim Stovall

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When I bought this book, I was shocked to find it’s size to be inversely proportional to the acclaim it possessed. To be frank, I’ve never even heard about Jim Stovall. And hence, the book came to be a surprise to me. Nonetheless, I am sure I will never be able to praise the book enough for any amount of it seems ever too low.

Many spiritual books have been written to influence readers and illuminate a path to tread a gleeful life like ‘A Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma, ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne, ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho, etc. but neither has done even a jot of what ‘The Ultimate Gift’ did nor did they get even nearer to where it got. This book is one of its kind and is a must read for anyone. This is a book, I’m sure will accompany me in all my future endeavors as a supporting spiritual hand comforting my shoulder.

The story is narrated by an 80 aged lawyer named Hamilton who’s closest friend Red Stevens of same age dies, bequeathing his property to his family excepting his nephew James Stevens. And to James, he gives a peculiar gift that is far more valuable than all his property put together. That gift is a collection of CDs of Red Stevens addressing James teaching him the lessons of life that Red had learnt which made him achieve what he desired. These CDs have 12 lessons of life that James is intended to learn in a period of one year. These lessons range from work to love and money to friendship. They covers all aspects of life and mesmerize the reader by making his life simpler, zestful and zealous. I say this because it really transformed me and also those who read it on my suggestion and courteous enough to get back to me on it!

Unlike other books, where the lessons are pedantic and verbose and are told by a monk or a boy on pilgrimage to Egypt (yes, I am referring to The Alchemist), this story’s lessons are given by a rich, successful businessman Red Stevens (who wouldn’t want to be rich and successful?). More to it, the narration is very terse and the story, fast paced that would keep the reader interested throughout spellbound. Finally, ‘The Ultimate Gift’ is a key to anyone’s success, a path provider to live a full life and is a beautiful book to read. I bow in respect to this book and its author Jim Stovall.