I am Pilgrim

Nope, it ain’t me. It is just the title of the book that I recently completed. It took me more than 2 weeks to complete this massive 900-page paperback. I got it for 3£ on a second-hand sale. Since the half-term break was coming up, I decided to finish it just before then. Thankfully I gave myself two weeks time to read this. And it took just a couple of days more than that and some extra reading time to complete it before we went on our short half-term holiday break.

I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes is a book I never thought I would enjoy. I have read this book’s blurb so many times and have passed it because of the sheer size and magnitude of the story. But this time I decided it was time and since it was on second-hand sale I didn’t want to miss it. Terry Hayes is a screenwriter and it is very evident in this book. It goes back and forth with memories, with people, with pov’s etc. It needs getting used to such randomness, but the imagery it creates is very captivating. It is a very heroic story (heard that Brad Pitt was being considered for the movie?!!?) akin to the Mission Impossible ones. Very patriotic, very dramatic, very gruesome… I thoroughly enjoyed it.  My only gripe was that I couldn’t read the book lying down. It is too heavy and my wrists started to hurt after a couple of minutes. And towards the end, I spared no time (small breaks between classes, while having my food, any spare time I got I used it) to complete the book and just in time for my half-term break and my journey to Swansea.

Mission Accomplished!

I gave it 4 stars out of 5 (I am not a very generous person with respect to marks…my students would vouch for that 😉 )

 

A Rising Man – * * * *

A Rising Man – Sam Wyndham Series by Abhir Mukherjee. Mr M read this some time ago and recently before our trip to India, he found out that the second book’s paperback edition was out so we went book hunting and he was lucky the second time. Foyles usually is our go-to bookstore. At least it is his. When he had finished almost 3/4th of the book, he turned to me and said that this series was TV series material and it would be good to see it in a TV series. I haven’t heard that from him for other books (maybe because most of them are non-fiction) so I told him that I will give it a try after we come back from our vacation to India.

I started the first book, A Rising Man on a Saturday and completed it by Tuesday. It was a detective series but set in a very different background. A background I have had the opportunity to read at length but from a different perspective and a different angle. The story is set in Kolkotta (earlier known as Calcutta) during the British regime. That in itself is a tricky thing because you don’t have a choice but to add the history that took place during that time and it involved a lot especially in a place like Kolkatta which was the hotspot at that time. The story ends when the Jalianwala Bagh incident happened in Amritsar. The turning point of Indian Independence history, as we have read about it.

A murder takes place and the victim is a British officer. The newly transferred Sam Wyndham is appointed to investigate. Surrender-not (actual name: Surendranath, but simplified for easy pronunciation) is the Watson to Sam’s Sherlock. To be honest, I kind of guessed who it might have been halfway through, but I couldn’t figure out the why or the how. It was just pure guesswork and I got lucky. Mr M was trying to put me off the scent but I knew it in my heart that I was kind of right in my guess (and maybe the small bits of information that weren’t there also helped)

There is no Sherlock-ism in here. Lot of legwork, travelling around gathering information battling against the humidity of the country and the city, not less the antagonism against the British empire. It is very interesting to read and brings forth a lot of the cultural elements of the City (and the Country). It was a good choice by Mr M to recommend it to me (and I wonder how he got to know of this in the first place). Thank you, Sir and I will definitely get on the second book shortly.

I would definitely give it 4 stars (as I did in my Goodreads) and it will be very very interesting to see if it was made into a TV Series. It is historical and so it would need a lot of work in the Arts department to recreate the atmosphere. Good luck, if anyone wants to try.

Found this summary interesting.

“According to Paradise Lost, Satan started out as one of the most important angels in Heaven. Turns out, Satan had beef with God. That beef was jealousy at the fact God is the boss of the universe. He started bitching about God and rounding up a bunch of other angels who felt the same way. Satan started a war in Heaven, angels against angels, which he ultimately lost. As punishment for being such an almighty pain in the arse, God consigned him to Hell, hence Satan’s famous ‘fuck you’ quote, ‘better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.’ ”” (from “Heavenfield: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 3)” by LJ Ross)

Crosswhite & Naturalist

Time for some books. I finished one series (4 books in the series, to be precise) before the break and one new book this week.

Tracy Crosswhite Series:

As part of Kindle Unlimited, I started off with the 2nd book in the series, so I haven’t gone back to the first one because I know how it ends and what actually happened in that (to most extent). It was very interesting and very gripping. It made me go ahead and finish all the other books in the series until book 6, which is yet to be released. As it happens with any mystery, thriller, detective series, I end up forsaking my sleep (totally annoying Mr M in the process) to finish these books. It was a good series actually, building up slowly and steadily. As it usually happens in these series, over a few books you tend to get the pattern and you might even start to guess who the culprit is. But then something else gets thrown in the loop and your theory goes awry. It was fun. Kept me on my toes, or rather the fingertips (kindle!)

The Naturalist:

I love patterns, in everything. I try and see patterns in all things possible to make sense of it. That is one of my quirks or an unconscious habit, one of those. When I read the premise of this story on Kindle Unlimited list I was very intrigued. A Computational Biologist who loves the patterns and such…what is not to like. When I started the story, I didn’t expect it to complete it in a day and a half (yes, including my sleep time). It became a little dramatic towards the end, but then this fellow is no superhero or trained to fight like the cops. All he has are his data, his patterns, and his belief in them. It was very gripping and very intriguing. There is definitely some drama in it, which is OK for me. I was wondering if they would make a TV series from such books. It will be interesting. Or maybe they already do and I haven’t bothered to check. The ending was a little blunt when compared to the other series I read. Not that I am complaining. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Book updates

Our school started last week and the chaos has begun 🙂 Apart from computer science, I teach a little bit of maths this year but only for a small group. Have to see how that goes. I broke two brollies (umbrellas) yesterday. How did that happen? I have no clue. Mine was a souvenir from Singapore, so I removed the cloth and have saved it. I was trying to fold Mr M’s and ended up breaking that one too. I shouldn’t have tried that before I have had my coffee, you see. I should have followed the rules of procaffeination.

I realized that I haven’t told you about some of the books I read over the break (am yet to read one non-fiction, which was my goal for this year). So here they are.

a) Animal Farm – George Orwell – Mr M bought this book some time ago and kept it on my to-read list once he finished it. It took me more than 3-4 months to pick it up. I finished reading it in 2 days during my trip to Carmarthen. It is surprising how that story can be applied to any timeframe of humankind. Mind blowing isn’t it? Is there any point to even talk about it when everyone knows how great that story is? 5/5

b) The Woman on the Orient Express – Lindsay Jayne Ashford – A very interesting premise. A fictional story (with some true events woven in) about the woman who wrote the famous “The Murder on the Orient Express”, Agatha Christie. How her life adventures led her to write those amazing stories with Mr Poirot. A very interesting take and done well. The author also gives us the list of true events which she picked up from Agatha Christies biography. I enjoyed it a lot. 4/5

c) The Good Widow – Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke – A Kindle Unlimited book which starts all nice and sad about two people who are grieving for their spouses who were found dead in Maui whilst having an affair there. Slowly and steadily they retrace their steps to try to find out what made them cheat and why. I was totally into it until the very end. That final surprise came out of nowhere and kept me awake during the school night last week to complete the book. 4/5

d) Strike (TV Series) – I had read all the Strike series books but have forgotten the stories over time. We weren’t sure of how this was going to be and given that it is only a three series adaptation. Of course, the whole story is condensed and even though Tom Burke didn’t match the Strike of my imagination, he was OK. It was short and was done OK. Felt a bit rushed though. The personal touch to the involved characters was missing for some reason. Would give a 3/5 for sure.