Monday, October 20, 2014


Title : Italian Shoes
Author : Henning Mankell

This book is basically about a guy who messed up.

He hated his family because he had bad memories of a dysfunctional family, and the resentment from it I guess brought him to the path he led after.

He left his girlfriend just because he felt like it.

He amputated the wrong arm of a patient eventhough he knew he had to check beforehand for any problems.

He left his job and became a hermit on an island he inherited from his grandparents. Everything was fine until one day his girlfriend came back after 44 years, with news that shattered him.

He had to deal with her illness and impending death. He had to accept his daughter that he never knew he had. he had to face the woman who life was ruined due to his malpractice,

He learnt a lot about life that he had until that fateful day, ignored.

With the help of a gift of Italian shoes that his newfound daughter presented.

Plot was okay-ish but I felt depressed, just as I feel depressed reading other depression novels. But yet the depression level wasn't too bad,

Snow can delight, but also destroy, eh?

Rating : 7/10

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Title : The Professor
Author : Charlotte Bronte

How exactly different this particular sister of Bronte can be from her contemporaries, if I can call them so?

Forget the drama of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and even Pride and Prejudice. This classic brings reality right to your doorstep and knocks sense in you, letting readers see what life actually has been for people in that age.

So it is about William Crimsworth, an orphan who was schooled in Eton because his rich uncles can afford it, but received the help grudgingly as he knows that he will be indebted to them. As he ages into maturity, he formed plans to seek his long lost brother, a rich trader in hope for a fresh start in life. That went bad, however, as he was treated far worse than anybody else working at the mill. With the help of his new acquaintance, Mr. Hunsden, William ran away to Brussels for a new life.

He became a teacher, or professor, as the Flemish calls it, and circumstances brought him to meet Frances Evans Henri, who he then falls in love. Sufficient to say that Charlotte Bronte brought us full circle, ending the book not at the climax, but followed through to calm peaceful times where the ending gives us a sigh of relief.

Brush up your French, though. My rudimentary skills were put to a test.

To those realists (like me!) you'll love this extraordinary ordinary book.

Rating : 10/10

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Short blurb.

I found an easy platform to access free online courses on a multitude of topics at, an initiative by Harvard but now joined by a lot of renowned universities. (Alma mater, when is your turn?)

Currently enrolled in a course on Dante and also a course on Capitalism. Those interested in learning should at least check it out. You can actively participate in the timespan they give, or do it in an audit mode where you don't have to submit any homework/do exams etc etc for grading.

Have fun!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Title : The Paris Vendetta
Author : Steve Berry

Short blurb ; was wandering in Kinokuniya stacks in KLCC last week, saw Berry's new book on Lincoln. Held it and a second later, some stranger kind enough recommended it. So thank you, stranger, I will buy it as soon as the price gets affordable. Ha.

So the book I'm reviewing, the Paris Vendetta, deals with the Napoleon treasure lost by time. Remember the Amber Room (review here :  where the Antiquarians were looking for it? So one of them, Sir Ashby, joins another group called the Paris Club (originally envisioned by Napoleon himself) that aims to reap in profits from speculation of the world's stability. The vision was to keep terror and war at a level enough to incite fear and order from the masses, and speculate in it to profit from the business branching off from the security needed by nations.

Using Napoleon as a central figure, they try to gang up and start a venture that controls all the banks and governments of the world, with the objective of using Napoleon's lost treasure as a startup to the business. In this book, personal vendettas are also revenged on. Most importantly, Henrik Thorvaldsen, the Danish who has become Cotton Malone's best friend, has an agenda of his own.

Cotton Malone had to balance this journey, siding on the government (yes, working with no other than ex-boss Stephanie Nell), and protecting Henrik from using his vendetta to destroy himself. Apparently, Sir Ashby was the one who ordered the elimination of Cai, Henrik's son.

The book has a lot to deal with the Merovingians, Napoleon himself and also his quests around the world. It also talks about the derivatives market, which resonates oh-so-much with me right now. Capitalism is evident throughout the Paris Club's intentions.

They found the treasure, yes. Vendettas were revenged. And Henrik...oh well. Cotton has to try move on.

Rating : 6/10. Berry becoming redundant. Back to classics!

Friday, October 3, 2014


Title : Slaughter House-Five (also called the Children's Crusade)
Author : Kurt Vonnegut

Hello, we meet again sci-fi.

Here we are with a top rated book, and I hated its guts.

It weaves a story of Billy Pilgrim who tells us about his war experience and also...his love of Trafalmadore. And his time travel episodes.

So Billy Pilgrim shares his journey being a soldier in WW2, experiencing the horrors first hand and coming back to become and optometrist as expected of the family. During a brief stay in a hospital while wounded, he was introduced to Kilgore Trout. Pilgrim became obsessed with the ideas that Trout presented through him (well one can say his time travel is so like our flashbacks that we have everyday) and these ideas created a safe haven where Pilgrim could retreat and be in control of himself again. His stay in Trafalmadore was, I think, a fantasy where he ran away from the confines of reality and even break from normalcy when his wildest dreams come true. Lets see..well, he was some sort of an alpha-male specimen on that planet, and that outrageous notion of having a family with Montana Wildhack clearly explains why.

While it gives a lot of lessons on WW2, bombing of Dresden and the conditions of the war "participants" (basically everyone he met on his war journey), it ticks me off so much by the way Vonnegut writes. His sentence structure and most annoyingly, the repetition of the sentence "So it goes". What?

This books jumps crazily all over the time periods and jumbles up stuff, so much so that its absurdity is comical. Intentional, obviously, but how painful it seems when a topic so serious is discussed this way. 

Anyway...while in war, soaps were made out of Jews' fat. Horrifying idea, which after some google-ing was proven untrue. (

Enlighten my skepticism, learned ones. But no.

more on the book :

Rating : 2/10