Jul 25, 2016

Review: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story is about Thomas Sawyer aka Tom Sawyer a mischievous boy and little trouble maker living with his Aunt Polly in St.Petersburg village. His adventures with his friends taking them and enacting as Robin Hood, pirates and robbers in shores of Mississippi are worth mentioning.

Like every children Huck and Tom believed (superstitious belief) that lighting will struck one who lies. Their childhood belief withers away when they watch Injun Joe lying to the people.

I liked the chapters of Tom and Becky getting lost in the cave and how the intelligence of Tom Sawyer helped him to find out the way. Another chapter is about Tom, Joe and Huck trying to run away from home and becoming pirates. The character of Tom show bravery often, he did not give up easily even if the chances are bleak the one I already mentioned is the escape from the cave with Becky.

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Jul 24, 2016

Review: எம்.ஜி.ஆர். எழுதிய உலகம் சுற்றும் வாலிபன்

எம்.ஜி.ஆர். எழுதிய உலகம் சுற்றும் வாலிபன் எம்.ஜி.ஆர். எழுதிய உலகம் சுற்றும் வாலிபன் by Mgr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vijaya Publications have released a paper back edition of MGR's experience in filming "Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban" (World Trotting Youth) as MGR Ezhuthiya Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban Uruvana Kathai. MGR wrote his overseas film shooting experience in Bommai Magazine from July 1971 to September 1972 titled "Thirai Kadalodi Thiraipadam Yeduthom"

I was searching for this article for several years because this is the only literary work completed by MGR. All other works such as his Biography "Naan Yen Piranthen?" (Why Was I Born) "Yen Kathali" (My Lover) etc. were unfinished due to several reasons to name one is, after the Political party formation in 1972.

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This book contains about 14 chapters it starts from getting permission from the Indian Government and how they procrastinated.

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MGR narrates about how many of his fans were waiting near the Airport and the same when the plane takes off that he saw only the crowd beneath. Apart from MGR fans the people who came to wish his success are N.T.Ramarao (who later became Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh like MGR) Director Krishnan Panju, Actors Srikanth and Gemini Ganesan, Director and Producer Banthalu and also the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Karunanidhi.

In the second chapter MGR mentions about the outline of the story, real life characters of his three Heroines Chandrakala, Manjula and Latha. And also he tells us how much responsibility he has in taking care the whole crew.

in this book we will come to know about some hilarious moments of actors Nagesh and Asokan in the airplane. Like how many airplanes they changed to reach Osaka for Expo 70.

The first shot in Expo 70 was taken on 8.9.1970 and the next day is the shooting of the famous duet song "Ulagam Azhagu kalaikalil surangam" further MGR explains how each shot was taken and how many hours the crew spent in taking that particular first stanza of the song. (I like the readers to watch that song in YouTube)

MGR also mentions the part played by Director P.Neelakandan in filming Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban and MGR highlights from shooting a scene from a Tower in Expo 70, the one take of MGR & Chandrakala (Tower), Nagesh, Asokan (a mile away walking with the crowds) and he describes the situation how other actors co operated.

The book ends with Hong Kong shots and how a Indian helped MGR in making the song and scenes in his own house.

The book has several unseen images, deleted scenes from Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban and behind the scenes.

A special mention is about the writing skills of MGR, I have read some of his literary works, in every work his writing skill is like conversing with us and not just a write up. This book is no different. When we read a chapter, in some places a question will pop out, that question will be answered in the next sentence and while MGR explains, some times we ask ourselves "how" and that "how" will be answered in the next line. It will appear to us that we are not reading a book, it is like MGR conversing with us face to face.

All MGR fans should buy this book. The cost o the book is Rs.125/- sold in Major book stalls.

This article is from my blog srimgr.com and you will find many more images from the book. The link is given below.


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Jul 21, 2016

Review: The Golden Room

The Golden Room The Golden Room by Irving Wallace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all I selected this novel which I found in the library rack due to the title "The Golden Room" I have read Steve Berry's Amber Room, and I thought it should be about some historical story related to a Golden Room. But it is not.

The story has five important characters:
1. Mayor Carter Harrison
2. Harold T.Armbuster the meat packer
3. Minna and Aida Lester (Everleigh) the madams of Bordello (Owners of Everleigh club)
4. Dr.Herman H.Holmes (serial killer)
5. Karen Grant (Mayor Harrison Secretary)

The Everleigh club is a famous club in Chicago reputed all over Europe and US. The owners were two widowed sisters Minna and Aida Lester. Mayor Carter Harrison fights for the second term election, he stands on reform platform, his determination is to clean up Chicago and close down the Levee, gambling houses and bagnios and most importantly to shut down the famous Everleigh club. While Armbuster a meat packer is desirous to become the Ambassador of Germany and extend his business empire. He meets Mayor Harrison and contribute a sum of $15,000 for the election campaign through Mayor's alderman John Coughlin and Michael Kenna with assurance that he should be made Ambassador of Germany and host a banquet for Prince of Prussia on his visit to Chicago. Same time Minna Everleigh also contributes $10,000 to defeat Harrison in the election.

The result Mayor Harrison wins with less margin and regains his post second time. Since he was elected through reform platform he immediately takes action and he sends his best guy as Beer company owner and spend an evening in the club. Meanwhile the sisters aware of the situation changes their entertainment. Without knowing the background they hire Dr.Herman H.Holmes as their Doctor to check the 30 club girls.

Harrisons guy shows the fake visiting card and spend the evening with one of the club girl Fanny. Dr.Holmes over hears the conversation between Fanny and the customer, she expresses her desire to leave the club. Dr.Holmes persuades them that Fanny is having a disease and the customer also to be treated immediately. Dr.Holmes takes them to his mansion specifically designed for the purpose of killing. He dismembers Fanny and takes the body of the customer and lays him in the park.

Mayor gets the news that is guy is dead his secretary Karen Grant takes up the job of infiltrate the club and work as a prostitute and get the proof so that the club is shut down once and for all.

She gets the job but she did not get the chance as Minna's nieces Bruce and Cathleen visits their aunt for marriage with Armbuster's son.

One by one girls were murdered by Dr.Holmes, Minna and Aida are in dilemma as they want to show there are socialites to Bruce, Cathleen and Armbuster so the marriage takes place.

What happened to the Everleigh club did Mayor Harrison able to shut down the club, did the serial killer was captured? what happens to Karen Grant? Did the marriage took place between Cathleen and Armbuster? Did Harold T. Armbuster became the Ambassador of Germany? all are answered in the remaining chapters.

It is not an easy task to run a club by two widowed women. And Minna and Aida are portrayed as an intelligent women and they use a detective service to find the missing girls. The Detective Superintendent William Pinkerton informs that Dr.Holmes has to be investigated further. In that context before the climax she consents to send Cathleen and Karen to stay with Dr.Holmes mansion looks dumb. There are some plot holes. But also has some interesting sub plots, I like to mention the winning of American derby by Bruce Lester.

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Jul 19, 2016

Review: Phantom-The Star Of Dangalla

Phantom-The Star Of Dangalla Phantom-The Star Of Dangalla by Lee Falk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A huge gem "Star of Dangalla" was found by an old farmer, a witch doctor and two cronies steal the diamond, when they are about to sell it to Prince Ajiz, our hero The Ghost who walks enters and informs about the stolen gem. The real owner sells the diamond to the prince. Later the prince gets ill and was saved by Dr.Axel. The prince ask how he can repay and the Doctor tells him that the Jungle Hospital needs a children's wing and a home. The prince donates the diamond to Dr.Axel's Jungle Hospital.

To construct the children's wing in the hospital the Doctor plans to sell the diamond in Paris. He hands over the diamond to his son Ben and requests him to be careful. The conversation is over heard by one nurse, her boyfriend Nuri compels her to tell the name of the courier. The trio Nuri, Joe and Zack steals the diamond from Ben and hurts him seriously.

The message reaches the deep woods, Phantom reaches the hospital and finds out that the nurse is hiding something. She reveals her boyfriend name to Phantom.

Meanwhile the diamond thieves who are using the Jungle Hospital Jeep for escape takes hold of pickup truck, Phantom was following the jeep track and founds the owner of the pickup truck. He takes him to County hospital and Phantom on reaching the jungle's edge changes to Mr.Walker. He guesses the thieves should go to underworld dealer to sell the diamond. Phantom goes to The Blue Dragon but the thugs in there mistakes him as a cop incognito. They were thrashed in a minute, Phantom extracts the name of the underworld diamond dealer Fozza the Fence.

Fozza is using the grocery store for the shady business. Before the thieves comes for sale Fozza encounters Phantom. A brief fight ensues and he fells unconscious, then Phantom disguises as Fozza.

On reaching the grocery store the trio starts to argue with themselves, Zack does not believe in Jungle jives, they meets Fozza (Phantom) to sell the diamond. While dealing, the real Fozza wakes up and comes out. Nuri notes the skull mark on Fozza's jaw and instantly recognizes that the disguised man is none other than the Phantom. Like a lightning Phantom along with Devil takes the trios and retrieves the diamond. The Star of Dangalla was returned to the rightful owner Dr.Axel.

The one liners of Phantom, the jungle saying, the costume, the two pistols and the mask without pupils are obsession of my childhood. Since he is not a superhero I even believed that Phantom is living somewhere in Africa.

More book reviews  in www.chromaring.com

Jul 18, 2016

Review: An Alien, a Time Machine, and a Loser

An Alien, a Time Machine, and a Loser An Alien, a Time Machine, and a Loser by Joey Rogers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hello, my name is Skylar Holden. I'm recording this video to explain why I'm probably bullet ridden, radioactive corpse when you watch this video. I was tasked with a mission to save the world from destruction. If I was unsuccessful, you may be able to finish what I started. If I was successful, you can sing songs about how great I was....

I just ate ten kilograms of plutonium - yes, plutonium and that's why my body is radioactive. And my phone the one you are playing this video on is probably radioactive, too..

I'm sure you have some questions. You might be asking why I would eat radioactive material in the first place. Am I crazy? It would be easy for you to think so, but you don't know the details yet. I performed this selfless act to save all of humanity....

You'd better have a seat because the answers are going to be crazy. Did I mention the extra-terrestrial and the time machine?

The above is the first few pages of the novel which made to read this story. Not only that, the word time travel is also a bait for me. The protagonist is Skylar Holden who works as an IT guy in GegoDyne. One day he was abducted by an extra terrestrial who resembles like a Roswell alien and Skylar names him as Alfred.

The alien was Class I Cataloger for the Intergalactic Corp and be has been in our planet for the last 50,000 years. His job is to document the development of humanity. He informs Skylar that he chosen him to save the world as his company GegoDyne will provide Plutonium to terrorist group and he should somehow stop the chain of events.

How a person like Skylar who is intelligent but hates work can save the world remains the novel. The story itself is about a serious issue, but the author had written the novel with dash of humour. Many hilarious dialogs are in the novel I like to quote some:

"You are an interesting individual. I must say, I have never seen anyone work so hard to avoid working" (Skylar who programs a bot which tricks the system that Skylar is working in the premises)

Skylar first meeting with Alfred the alien and when the alien tells him that he is here to document the development of humanity this is what Skylar says:

"Who cares how we developed? Are you all a bunch of alien voyeurs? I asked".

Alfred the alien says why he wants to save humans from destruction.

"How interesting do you think reading a few cave paintings is? They are no graphic novels".

Below two are by Skylar about his education and his dwelling place:

"Went to only school I could afford, Happy Hills Community college a place which was neither happy nor among any hills".

"I lived in a picturesque dump called The Blue Seashore Apartments - which was neither blue nor near the sea".

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Jul 15, 2016

Review: The Treasure Hunters

The Treasure Hunters The Treasure Hunters by Warren Dean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The preamble is a utmost valued treasure which is hidden deep in the South American jungle, for hundred of years the explorers are searching for the elusive city of gold many people had doubt of its existence. The real name of that place is Tenochtitlan.

Patrick is a treasure hunter obsessed with a treasure ship Christina de la Fuego he came to know about the ship from a library. A book with a hand written notes of Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler's private secretary which kindles his desires for the quest. For two years Patrick has searched the coasts of Colombia, Central America, the Cayman Islands, Cuba and Jamaica.

Luckily he comes to know in Caribbean beach a 16th century Demi-Culverin (cannon) perched on the sand dune washed to the shore by a tsunami. With his girl friend Molly, Patrick takes his ship Honey to the seas in search of Christian de la Fuego. After a painstaking search the submersible stumbles on a reef which holds a wrecked ship. He dives and finds out that the ship is the one he is after but the ship and the nearby U-857 boat are turned to stone. He finds the treasure and what is that treasure and how the ships turned to stone remains the rest of the story.

The author has great ability of story telling, it starts with a cannon which is linked to the ship, the protagonist searches the ship and finds another wreck nearby U-857 boat which houses the treasure, he finds the treasure now the story links to how U-857 sunk, then how Christiana ship sunk and then the twist of how the treasure came into this world.

1600s Armando, Delgado, present day Patrick, Molly and 1940s Gunther Keller, Becker are the main characters of the story which added the needed pace for the novel. I enjoyed reading and I am eager to read the second instalment.

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Jul 12, 2016

Review: Twisted Spaces: 1 / Destination Mars

Twisted Spaces: 1 / Destination Mars Twisted Spaces: 1 / Destination Mars by E.N. Abel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The one line of the novel which grabbed my attention to choose to read is this "The first personal computer was not built in a multi-billion dollar research centre of a Fortune 500 company, but in a garage in California. The world's first fusion reactor will not run in a high-tech corporate laboratory, but in an American backyard. And the first interstellar vessel …".

Michael MacMillan one of the Special Ops and his team Twisted Spaces designs a Spaceship with light drive system within five years, their long term plan is to travel interstellar and make a colony in Mars. The fuel for a such spaceship needs Tritium which can be provided by only one in the whole world is CERN.

Mike sends a message along with small sized grav generator to Dr.Ralf Kaiser the head of CERN he was astonished by the exhibit. Subsequently Mike uses the Chinese satellite to video call Dr.Kaiser. Their talk which was encrypted was decoded by an intelligent girl Chan under the command of Lian Xao the Head of Chinese Intelligence.

A mutual agreement between the Twisted spaces and CERN blooms. On one side Americans try to take control of the Twisted space base, with sacrifice of Mike's girlfriend they escape to space. But the Chinese who knows about the future of this gravity based transportation send their best spy to steal the grav generator but the plan foils.

As they cannot steal the machine they plan to kill all the members of the Twisted spaces in space by firing ICBM's which was easily evaded by the crew. And they retaliate with their sophisticated weapon as a warning.

Did Mike's vision of travel to Mars happened? What did Chinese do after their failure? What happens when the world comes to know the making of grav generator based transportation? How did Mike and his team gets hold of this unique achievement? Who helped him, is it the aliens? all these are answered in the remaining chapters of the novel.

A little knowledge about the work of Burkhard Heims quantum field theory will enhances our reading, the author has tried to give it as simple as possible. The leadership qualities of Michael MacMillan was extra ordinary. His shrewdness comes to light when facing the adversaries are breathtaking. Some of his quotes in the novel are like uttered by a World Leader.

"Only way we all can survive death is ... Through our children".

"survival of the many always supersedes survival of the one".

I thorough enjoyed the novel, the author has cleverly paced the chapters when most of their action takes place in a sphere with only dialogs but added little bit of espionage and sentiments to overcome the drag. I received this kindle edition as free.

Waiting to read the second installment of this story.

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Jul 5, 2016

Review: The Hindu Book of Astrology

The Hindu Book of Astrology The Hindu Book of Astrology by Bhakti Seva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is 100 years old edition, I had read many books on this subject (mostly in Tamil) and have little practice. I picked up this book as the author in the cover has mentioned "Yogic knowledge of stars and planets and how to control them to our advantage" and I was disappointed as the author had only written very few lines and further he stated that the subject is very much enormous and out of scope for this book!

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Jul 3, 2016

Review: The Man Who Would Be King

The Man Who Would Be King The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had one lesson a short story of Kipling in my school days. Since I liked that story I downloaded this free E book for Kindle (Illustrated edition). I found some difficulty in following the writing. While reading I vaguely remember I had watched it as a movie, not sure until I searched in IMDB. This short was filmed with Connery and Caine, should be very old before I should have known about this actors. Surely it should be before I got to know Connery played Bond. Coming back to this short story, two British soldiers Daniel Dravot, Peachey Carnehan with ammunition comes to Kafiristan, the people thought them they were gods and allow them to rule. But fate had other plans.

What I construe is the author with the two characters references about how British took up one country.

As I pointed out earlier, it is published in 1888, the narration is some what difficult for present readers to follow.

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Jul 1, 2016

Review: The Orlando File

The Orlando File The Orlando File by Ian C.P. Irvine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kerrin Graham is an investigative journalist with the Washington Post, he receives a call from his sister that her husband has died mysteriously and he is the last of the six leading genetist to die in a week. Kerrin and well as we does not know what it is all about. A glimpse of the mystery is revealed in the last couple of pages of the book.

The antagonist are very much clever and far more superior than Kerrin. I liked how they were able to tail Kerrin in every investigation is worth mentioning.

As this book is the part one of the story we have to read the second part for the conclusion.

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