Posts Tagged ‘Review’

Book : Iliad ( Penguin Classic Deluxe Edition) by Homer  ( Translation by Robert Fagles and Bernard Knox)

Category : Classics

Protagonist: Too many to list 🙂

Summary of the book :from the publisher’s website ( Don’t even ask me to summarize. It took me days to read this one .If not for this beautiful translation I would have been lost. Seriously )

The Iliad is the first and the greatest literary achievement of Greek civilization – an epic poem without rival in the literature of the world, and the cornerstone of Western culture.

The story of the Iliad centres on the critical events in the last year of the Trojan War, which lead to Achilleus’ killing of Hektor and determine the fate of Troy. But Homer’s theme is not simply war or heroism. With compassion and humanity, he presents a universal and tragic view of the world, of human life lived under the shadow of suffering and death, set against a vast and largely unpitying divine background. The Iliad is the first of the great tragedies.

Things I liked about this book:I had boldly signed up for  the Centuries Challenge where I had listed this book as one of my selections. I went to the library and asked for it. The librarian (she knows me well enough ) , gave me this look , the look  that was somewhere between surprise and sympathy. Surprise because I pick up YA , mysteries , chick lit from the library and sympathy because she could tell that I didn’t know what I was getting into.

I took me 30 minutes with the book to realise what I had done. I had got  the library’s oldest translation of Iliad. No offence to Iliad fans but I was lost . Then I had the sense of calling a friend who’s a major in literature and asking if there was an easily readable translation of  this great book. On her suggestion I got Penguin Classic  with translations by Robert Fagles and Bernard Knox.After that I sailed through. Took me a month to finish it though . Most important thing was I finished it.

The story of Final days of battle of Troy has been  told in a very beautiful manner. I had the 911 on Greek mythology after reading Percy Jackson and watching some movies like Helen Of Troy and Troy , so I was on safe grounds..

But now coming to the story , did I like it ? Tricky question.My answer , Yes and No

I was taken by the style  but this whole  Battle Of Troy scenario  has never impressed me . You might ask why. I ‘ll give you some of my reasons.

Achilles, Hector, Menelaus,Odysseus, Aias, were not just warriors they were men of valour and courage who fought a battle so long and so unnecessary(Trust me it was avoidable , but they had to keep the oath and all, so they fought) .Interference of Gods  was something I totally disliked . Could have let them fight their own battles for once( Gods being Gods had to meddle in this) .Good thing was ,these men  were immortalised by Homer  through this epic. This  blood bathed battle took  away so many years out of these mens lives , just think ..Is there anything to be happy about this story.

Even though I absolutely loved the writing  ,  I don’t always find that this story is  justified. This is  solely my opinion.And I know I will be criticised for criticising this immortal classic but it’s my opinion.

I am staying away from Greek Mythology for a few days. A month-long Iliad reading was all I could handle but that doesn’t stop me from recommending  this book, which I feel is a must read for anyone who loves literature.

Things I disliked about the book : Too many sub plots , too many characters . Too many things going wrong for everybody (exception – Gods )

Loved the writing style but  couldn’t disagree more with the plot .

On my rating scale : This is an excellent piece of literature for which I am not qualified enough to rate.

Challenges for which the book is listed : Centuries Challenge 2009

Classics Challenge 2009

Source : Borrowed from a friend (that reminds me , I need to thank her 🙂

just listen

Book: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Category : Young Adult

Protagonists : Annabel

Summary of the book from Goodreads

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything; at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf ‘s Department Store. This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Things I liked about this book:

Like other Sarah Dessen’s books , Just Listen deals with many sensitive and important issues . Anorexia and it’s effects not just on the person but also on the family  has been portrayed in a touching manner. It’s not just Annabel’s sister Whitney who is going through a bad patch of life but her parents and sisters too have to suffer seeing her go about refusing food , resisting therapy and throwing tantrums. More  painful was that they  failed to see the signs of the condition popping up .Something they could have stopped if they had intervened earlier.

“Everything’s all right,” she said. “Don’t worry.”
Looking back, I don’t doubt my mom believed this at the time. I learned later how Whitney had
completely reassured her, saying she was just overworked and overtired, and while she had been
working out more and eating less because she had found she was a little bigger than the girls she was going up against for jobs, it was by no means to extreme levels. If Kirsten thought she wasn’t eating, she maintained, it was because they kept totally different hours, as Kirsten worked nights and Whitney worked days. Personally, she’d said, she felt that there was more to this than just concern. Since arriving in New York, Whitney had clearly been working more than Kirsten ever had, and perhaps that wasn’t sitting well. Maybe she was just jealous.
“I am not jealous!” I heard Kirsten say, her voice angry, a few minutes after my mother went downstairs.
“Don’t you see, she’s tricked you. Open your eyes !”

Not having been confident enough to tell  her part of the story concerning the day Sophie stopped being her best friend, Annabel  loses many things .Most importantly , she loses the life she used to have.  But that doesn’t make her look bad. She is just trying to protect her dear ones from getting hurt. initially though I could not judge her character or form an opinion ,I can tell you she was one of the those who starts growing on you as you read on.

Another highlight of the book was Annabel’s friendship with Owen. Their conversations were the ones I enjoyed the most in the book.

Things I disliked about the book : Nothing in particular

On my rating scale : 4  out of 5

Challenges for which the book is listed : Sarah Dessen Mini Challenge 2009

With this I complete my Sarah Dessen Mini Challenge 2009 🙂

Source : Personal Copy

life+as+we+knew+it

Book: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Category : Science Fiction , Young Adult

Protagonists : Miranda

Summary of the book : When a meteor collision on the surface of the moon puts it in an orbit closer to earth, life on earth is never the same again. The shift in the moon’s orbit leads to catastrophic calamities on earth. Miranda,our narrator through her journal entries gives a peek into her life during that period starting from a time when everything was normal .A carefree  teenager  gets transformed into a struggler for survival against nature’s fury. Everyday brings forth new problems ,those of food shortage , health issues and depression. A story of how a single event can turn our life upside down , the unpreparedness and how will people cope with it forms the crux of this wonderfully written book.

Things I liked about this book:

The style of writing in form journal entries. Reading it in a different form would have just been like an account of what calamities occurred and who died and description of all that, thus making it a more difficult read. But this style  gives us a look in to this teenager’s mind .A mind full of doubts and questions. Doubt as to whether they will have a tomorrow or is this the last daylight . A mind that should have been preoccupied with high school gossip, boys, dresses .A mind which is now  forced to think of saving food so that they have enough for the days to come.Miranda’s transformation is seen as you reach her final entries.She is more mature , she more determined and most importantly she is more hopeful .Hopeful of a life in these difficult times.
Things I disliked about the book :

I can’t say I disliked anything  in it but it did scare me a little . I have always been scared of watching  movies like Deep Impact and Armageddon . Good thing about this book was that , it was  more about Miranda’s  survival rather than the meteor strike or the calamities. The collision was used as an instrument to tell us their story.

On my rating scale : 4.5 out of 5

I must thank Tricia for bringing this book to my notice by her wonderful review.

Challenges for which the book is listed : None

Source : Library

Nefertitiuksmall

Book: Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Category : Historical Fiction

Protagonists : Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet (Mutny)

Summary of the book : from Good Reads

The sweeping story of a powerful Egyptian family, Nefertiti: A Novel tells the tale of two sisters, the first of whom is destined to rule as one of history’s most fascinating queens.

Beautiful Nefertiti and her sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised far from the court of their aunt, the Queen of Egypt. But when the Pharaoh of Egypt dies, their father’s power play makes Nefertiti wife to the new and impetuous king. It is hoped she will temper King Amunhotep’s desire to overturn Egypt’s religion, but the ambitious Nefertiti encourages Amunhotep’s outrageous plans instead, winning the adoration of the people while making powerful enemies at court. Younger yet more prudent, Mutnodjmet is her sister’s sole confidant, and only she knows to what lengths Nefertiti will go for a child to replace the son of Amunhotep’s first wife.

As King Amunhotep’s commands become more extravagant, he and Nefertiti ostracize the army, clergy, and Egypt’s most powerful allies. Then, when Mutnodjmet begins a dangerous affair with a general, she sees how tenuous her situation is at her own sister’s court. An epic story that resurrects ancient Egypt in vivid detail, Nefertiti: A Novel:

Things I liked about this book:

Michelle Moran’s imaginative narrative is the best  part of the book. It is also good that she choses Mutny and not Nefertiti herself to tell the tale. As a silent onlooker of the troubled times of Egypt she is  very believable character and a vivid describer of events that unfold.

Secondly , the sisters characters are very well written. The sharp contrast among them is the highlight of the book. One wants immortal fame , power , supremacy while all the younger one needs  is a quite life and someone to love.  The Other Boleyn Girl do I hearing you saying that? 🙂  If you liked that one you will love Nefertiti.

Thirdly , in a book with such strong female presence Moran hasn’t forgotten to give us an insight into the mind of the Pharoah Amunhotep. We see a monarch with complex mental make up in matters of state as well as his family.

Things I disliked about the book : None

On my rating scale : 5 out of 5

I have read selected books in Historical Fiction genre and I know if there one author whom I would like to read again ,it would be Michelle Moran. I have her other book The Heretic Queen on hold in the library.

Challenges for which the book is listed : None

Source : Personal Copy

The Year Of The Intern

Posted: November 3, 2009 in Reviews
Tags: , ,

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Book: The Year Of The Intern
Author: Robin Cook
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 1973/09/01
Publisher: Penguin Group
Number of Pages: 320
Source : Personal Copy
Category : Medical Fiction

My Rating : 4 out of 5

Medical fiction for me has always been one author Robin Cook. Ok, some of his books are way beyond medicine these days , reaching as far as outer space , ancient civilization and also aliens (ahem ) but he still holds the shining torch in this genre . Over the years I have read many of his medical mystery books but one book that is still close to my heart is his first book , The Year Of The Intern.

This book takes us through the one year Dr Peters spends interning. He faces the anxiety every new intern faces. The fear of going wrong when handling a patient. Fear of doing some silly mistakes in front of the nursing staff and more importantly in front of his patient thus proving his inadequacy , fear of being not good enough. This is the period the intern learns not just to come on his own but also to cover up for the mistakes done by his seniors. It’s a part of the job .Adding to that is the  near to nervous breakdown timings and the exhaustion. How can they expect people who don’t sleep for 48 hours be sane enough to talk , let alone save  some body’s life.  When this question is posed to the seniors the only answer got is ” We did it ,when we were your age , then why should you not be able to do it ?’ Quite an explanation isn’t it 🙂

It’s always said people who survive medical school prove that they are worthy of this profession but I have always maintained that a person who can survive his/ her internship and comes out of it with a sane mind and intact conscience can call himself worthy. Year of the intern is when the intern finds out that politics isn’t just left to politicians ; highly glorified care takers and healers too have their own game and if u don’t play by their rules , you cannot survive..

Robin Cook has given a very vivid description of that set up though at places he has become a bit philosophical but it is quite a good read..

Recommended to readers who love medical fiction