Archive for the ‘Tag’ Category

15 Authors who have influenced me

Posted: December 14, 2010 in Books, Tag

There is this tag which has been circulating around Facebook on the 15 authors who had the most influence on you and you are not supposed to think too much. Which according to me does not really do justice to them who have really influenced you. So without much ado, here is my list 15

1. Enid Blyton : Writer extraordinaire. The kind of books that wanted you to go on a adventure immediately, eat something or own a dog. Best escape for any kid

2. Franklin W Dixon: Spent the better part of 3 years reading tons and tons of Hardy Boys. Adventure without too much bloodshed and a master of chapter cliff hangers. No violence but action. Clean humor.

3. Aliastair McLean: No one can quite write better war time/ Cold war stories in less than 300 pages than McLean. Terse, racy, the dry British humor all found a place in his stories often involving laconic, cynical, calculating almost superhumanly perfect heroes

4. Agatha Christie: Served as a nice counterpoint to McLean. Intensely cerebral, Christie’s stories are stories with strong pay-offs in the end and more often than not, is a function of meticulous planning

5. Jefferey Archer: No book has made me laugh more than Not a Penny more, Not a Penny less. Enough said

6. JRR Tolkien: For sheer imagination, scale and size of the world he had created. For producing one of my most favorite characters, Aragorn

7. Alexandre Dumas: One really can never get enough of Count of Monte Cristo despite multiple readings. There is something primeval about vengeance and its brought about in all its beauty and brutality by Dumas

8. Grant Morrison: No one straddles the thin line between Genius & Insanity better than Grant Morrison. Insane ideas rooted in insane worlds is just something that Morrison envisages on a daily basis

9. Ramachandra Guha: Brilliant writer, of both cricket & history, jointly & independently.

10. PG Wodehouse: Really, no description needed

11. George RR Martin: No one blurs white and black into gray as effectively or as brutally as Martin. If only, he could finish the damn series

12. Brian K Vaughn: Having a clear sense on how you want your story to end even as it starts and sticking to it is no mean task. BKV stands head and shoulders over other writers in infusing a sense of tragedy as well as belonging to the protagonist in each of his works

13. Geoff Johns: Writing for yourselves is as important as writing for the audience. No one does this as effectively week in week out as Johns. Despite working on high blown concepts, there are always moments for the fan when Johns throws everything including the kitchen sink in his storyline, while at the same time working new quirks or taking a look at characters in a totally new way

14. Shashi Tharoor: Great Indian Novel. Period.

15. Wilbur Smith: Passionate. No one makes Africa look as beautiful or as brutal as Wilbur Smith does. Once you have read his best works, all one wants to do is to pack a bag to Africa and leave to land up in one of those places he so beautifully describes

Book Tag

Posted: October 12, 2010 in Books, Tag
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Tags are normally not my thing. I do end up avoiding most of it except when I am really need some blog material :). But then, books have always been my companion, through happy and dark times and I can always find time for a book tag. Without much ado, here it is

Warning: Long Post 🙂

1.Favorite childhood book? Treasure Hunters by Enid Blyton. So, I had basically been gifted this book by my cousin when we had to shift from Bombay to Madras, back in 1993. This book was the life saver and sole companion for a long time in Madras
2.What are you reading right now? Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen -1) – Steven Erikson, Re-reading A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice & Fire – Book 3) – George RR Martin, Legend – David Gemmell
3.Bad book habit? – Damaging the spine of the book by opening it and leaving it down upside down
4.Do you have an e-reader? – Nopes, use MS reader on laptop to read ebooks. Though thinking of buying a Kindle
5.Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once? I used to be a one book at a time person but nowadays its multiple at a time
6.Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? I have become a far more discerning reader :)…. Nah, no change.
7.Least favorite book you read this year (so far)? Templar Cross. A total WTF book, with inspirations (and storylines) drawn from (the very worst of) Dan Brown, Jack Higgins & Alistair McLean, with an uninspiring lead character and clunky dialog. Total waste of 3 hours.
8.Favorite book you’ve read this year? (i) The Lies of Locke Lamora. Quite a brilliant storyline with a Venice like setting, a charismatic rogue as the lead, a strong supporting cast, Bluffs & counterbluffs, treachery & deceit, Blood, gore & violence, and a perfect introduction to the world of Locke Lamora. Scott Lynch, total respect. (ii) The First Law Trilogy (Joe Abercrombie). What starts off as a fairly run of the mill series evolves into a complex study of human nature. Hardened cynical fighter, Jaded cynical manipulator, Self centered obnoxious swordsman, Tortured Inquisitor, Blood thirsty, feral & wild barbarian yearning for revenge are characters that are thrown in a simmering cauldron of war, destruction, torture, pillage and savage revenge. Brilliant, cynical and cold hearted, the first law trilogy is quite amazing. The real success of Joe Abercrombie is that you love and loathe all characters equally and Superior Glokta has to be one of the most intriguing characters of the lot. The first book does tend to meander a bit but its worth reading
9.How often do you read out of your comfort zone? Authors yes. I basically do pick up random authors and have actually liked most of them BUT not in genres. I do not experiment much with genres.
10.What is your reading comfort zone? Fantasy Fiction, Action, Thrillers, Murder mysteries, Historical fiction/non-fiction, Political thrillers
11.Can you read on the bus? Hell ya, just give me a place that has enough reading light and some place. I will read
12.Favorite place to read? Sprawled on a comfortable bed with 2 extra lumpy soft pillows
13.What is your policy on book lending? Only to people whom I trust to return it back
14.Do you ever dog-ear books? Nopes
15.Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Sacrilege!!!!
16.Not even with text books? On text books, obviously. It would be filled with scrawls, random notes, etc
17.What is your favorite language to read in? English. Cant read competently enough in any other language
18.What makes you love a book? It was simpler earlier, fast paced story, conspiracies, quick pay-offs, loads of action; Nowadays, it’s the above along with stories that have great characterizations, morally gray and deeply flawed characters, and reward for long term readers
19.What will inspire you to recommend a book? Basically, if its unputdownable, I would recommend it to most. Mostly, recommendations are very person specific.
20.Favorite genre? Fantasy Fiction & Historical fiction
21.Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?) – Sci-fi
22.Favorite biography? Don’t read too many. I read one on Imran Khan, years ago. Loved it totally.
23.Have you ever read a self-help book? Never. Too many people to speak to, if I need help
24.Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? I re-read Blue Horizon by Wilbur Smith. Inspirational in the sense, you just wanted to pack your bags and leave to explore Africa
25.Favorite reading snack? Potato Chips
26.Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience – The Dark Tower series (Stephen King). I just was not comfortable at all with the book at all. Its not just this book. I have not been comfortable with any Stephen King at all.
27.How often do you agree with critics about a book? Hardly read critics review for books. I prefer my fellow Shelfari junta’s recommendations
28.How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I am generally a very generous reviewer. I don’t really rate books very bad. At the same time, if I find a book bad, it must be really bad 
29.If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? Not a foreign language, but I would certainly like to read in Tamil. My reading speed in Tamil is so slow that Inzy’s walk back to the pavilion when given out by the umpire, seems like an Usain Bolt 100m dash
30.Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand). I have never struggled through a book as much as I did with that and after that decided, no more intimidating books (and certainly no more Ayn Rand)
31.Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell) – started once and gave up in 10 pages. Foucalt’s Pendulum (Umberto Eco) – again heard loads of good stuff about it but have tried twice and given up within 50 pages.
32.Favorite Poet? WB Yeats
33.Favorite fictional character? Really too many, Aragorn, Batman & Wolverine are, of course, on top of the list. Currently, it is Jimmy the Hand (Riftwar Saga, Raymond Feist) ,Locke Lamora (Gentlemen Bastards sequence, Scott Lynch), Captain Shane Schofield (Scarecrow, Matthew Reilly)
34.Favorite fictional villain? The Jackal (Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsythe), The Joker, The Governor (The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman)
35.Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? Thrillers
36.The longest I’ve gone without reading. – Cant actually remember a time frame where I have gone without reading. Probably must be during the dark days of the 12th standard board exam types
37.Name a book that you could/would not finish.- Loads of them. Refer to 31 for a couple. Most of Rushdie’s works
38.What distracts you easily when you’re reading? Nothing. In fact, I am lost to the world when I read books. But then these days, you kind of multitask most of the times. I just don’t only read. There is something running on the TV or during dinner
39.Favorite film adaptation of a novel? Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park
40.Most disappointing film adaptation? Without doubt, The Lost World. I mean the book was probably one of the best Crichton’s written (even better than Jurassic Park) and the movie was a total damp squib (despite Julianne Moore in it). The only thing retained was the fact that there was another island with dinosaurs. Apart from that, the book and movie diverged wildly away from each other. Ironical really, that the first movie was the best adaptation and the second movie was the worst.
41.The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? Somewhere around 2k. Hush, don’t tell mom now:)
42.How often do you skim a book before reading it? Not really, I pretty much buy it or I have made up my mind on what I am looking for even before entering the book shop
43.What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? If the story drags or is slow.
44.Do you like to keep your books organized? The only thing that I actually keep well organized. My bookshelf is grouped author-wise and then is further split into fiction, non-fiction and comics.
45.Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? Never. Even if the book is crappy, I prefer to keep it. I have a habit of re-reading even crappy books 
46.Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. A fantasy mega series. I read the first book of the series and was not too impressed. But then I have heard so much good things from fellow fantasy fiction aficionados that I feel I should give it a second chance but kind of been avoiding it. World War Z by Max Brooks. Again fantastic reviews, amazing critical acclaim but while I am reading Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, I really do not want to read any other post apocalyptic zombie fare
47.Name a book that made you angry – The Quest (Wilbur Smith) & The Fan Club (Irving Wallace) – Both of them heavily exploitative and pornographic. Not the kind of thing you expect from authors like those.
48.A book you didn’t expect to like but did? I wouldn’t say didn’t expect to like but a book I went with absolutely zero expectation but oh so totally loved it was the Reluctant Swordsman by Dave Duncan. One of the quirkiest books I have ever read. Starts of fairly arbitly but there is an overall sense of purpose and direction towards where the story is proceeding. Book 2, The Coming of Wisdom further drives the story towards the destiny of the lead character including the reason to why he is the chosen one. The 3rd book, The Destiny of the Sword is a fine conclusion though it offers a minor cop-out in the end.
49.A book that you expected to like but didn’t? Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix. After the massively phenomenal Prisoner of Azkaban & Goblet of Fire, it was a massive let down. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series; After hearing so much good stuff about it, it was a total “Bang head on keyboard” experience. Massive Fail. Most Robin Cook novels. They have really well thought out plots, thrills, spills, action but the worst ending possible in all cases.
50.Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading? Alistair McLean, Agatha Christie, David Gemmel’s Waylander (all 3 books), C&H (anyplace, anytime), Jack Higgins & Vince Flynn

Tagged: Getting to know you

Posted: March 17, 2010 in Tag
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N just tagged me on FB and since I have been avoiding FB as a rule, it simply makes sense to transfer the lot to the blog and pain, i mean tag other people too. So here it goes

1) What time did you get up this morning?
Starting from 6.45 am to 7.25 am courtesy the snooze button

2) How do you like your steak?
On someone else’s plate

3) What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
“Green Zone” a combo of Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass yo baby, cant miss that one

4) What is your favorite TV show?
Currently Supernatural. Angels, Demons, Apocalypse, End of the World, Bring it on!!!!

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Schloss Adler, for non Alistair Mclean fans, an Alpine resort

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Chocolate Croissant and Powerade, the power breakfast, that makes you feel even more sleepier than normal

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
Mom’s food and pizza

8. What foods do you dislike?
Oh loads. For instance, everything served in the canteen, anything that has peace, i mean peas in it

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
Krishna Kafe in Bangalore, Saravana Bhavan in Chennai, Aryas in Coimbatore and Athicas at campus

10. Favorite dressing?
Anything remotely washed, ironed and non-smelly

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive?
FZR 2000. Hold a minute, we are talking of NFS here right?

12. What are your favourite clothes?
Same as 10

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
As of now, South Africa (the World Cup). Other than that, almost all of the world, Santorini is very much on top as is Rio and Marakkesh

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
For myself, 1/2 empty. For others, 1/2 full

15. Where would you want to retire?
Right now. Oh wait that was where and not when. Damn.

16. Favorite time of day?
Night. Late night.

17. Where were you born?
Err in a hospital :). In Chennai

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Cricket, even watching the Eng-Bang test match

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?
All, considering that they have read this

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?
No one.

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
Everyone

22. Bird watcher?
Two-legged variety?

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Mid-night person

24. Do you have any pets?
Eessh, no love for the 4 legged kind

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?
Share? No. Somethings are better left unsaid. Like abuses.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
A doctor until I got totally put off during my tonsils operation

27. What is your best childhood memory?
Spending countless days reading and re-reading, discovering the joy of books

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
I hate dogs and am indifferent to cats.

29. Are you married? Children?
No^2

30. Always wear your seat belt?
Never.

31. Been in a car accident?
Is a walking talking calamity on 2 feet itself

32. Any pet peeves?

33. Favourite Pizza Toppings?
Cheese, loads of Cheese

34. Favourite Flower?
Cauliflower

35. Favourite ice cream?
Chocolate Avalanche Sr at Mocha, Pali Hill, Mumbai

36. Favourite fast food restaurant?
Pizza Hut

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?
Never had to take one

38. From whom did you get your last email?
From boss saying wheres my deliverable at 11pm in the night

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
The comic book shop with no name in London

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
Everything. Planning is too much effort

41. Like your job?
Err Its call job/work for a particular reason

42. Broccoli?
Pass

43. What was your favorite vacation?
Andaman trip as well as the NE trip

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
Pass

45. What are you listening to right now?
Jack Bauer saying “Dammit” on 24

46. What is your favourite color?
Red. Shockingly Nice Red

47. How many tattoos do you have?
None, though I would love to get a batman tattoo, just the bat symbol.

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?
Hell, everyone is invited

49. What time did you finish this quiz?
12.30 AM GMT (Show-off!!!)

50. Coffee Drinker?
Ugg. Hates Coffee. With a vengeance

51. What is something most people don’t know about you?
Hell, I dont know myself that well, how could others 🙂

I tag all my blog readers. I certainly would be interested