Book reviews

Mistborn Trilogy

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I recently finished the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I would recommend these books to everyone! It does not matter if you do not read fantasy or fiction. If you are someone who tries to form relation between,  what you read to what you know, feel and are told, the chances of this series disappointing you are pretty thin.

Reasons:

  1. The first book of the series, focuses on the world building. It focuses on the revolution against the governing system. The difference between the skaa(proletarian) and the nobility. It shows the hard side of revolution, where the revolutionaries are not just like Martin Luther King but also like Malcolm X. It is about how you can not put everyone in one box just because they belong to certain community. It is about how you need to know the other side of the story to get some what distorted picture of the truth(actually this concept is in all three books).
  2. The second book is post revolution. It is about political morality. About the morality of the law. How the best intentions to create an ideal environment can backfire if you don’t face the reality of the circumstances and consider the experience of others. How human nature is a variable that many theories are unable to put right value in. It is about leadership. And coming of age,maturing because of the events in your life than years.
  3. This book really deals with times when we are running out of hope. It is about faith and what is tangible and what is not. It is about coming to terms with your limitations and making most of the given situation. It is actually about finding the balance and how most of the decisions you make as an adult our reflection of what you are and what you inspire to be, so be very thoughtful about them. (the ending was phenomenally great)
  4. If you are fantasy buff this is your trough. (it rhymed, so I had to say it)
  5. If you like science fiction this series definitely will be a good read, if not great.
  6. If you like suspense and mystery, it definitely has all that. It has so much mystery and such great story line progression that I am afraid to even discuss the characters for it easily can be spoiler for someone.
  7. You like to read books with concept of wars and good fighting scenes this happens to have more than enough of that.
  8. One of the best character development trajectories you will read.

Negative:

It can be little slow and long. I mean Sanderson easily writes 700+ pages novels( I am very grateful for that) and all three of these books are that long. But considering it is a mystery and there so many questions you are desperately seeking answers off, he does take, his sweet time getting there and if you are like me: An impatient reader, this book can cause some serious disruptions in your routine😅. (I actually read the last two pages of the last book, so I don’t burst with curiosity.Excuse: I had some serious university work to do and had no time to read for few days)

 

We should have a Sanderson fan club in bookay it is about time. He is one of those writers who really discusses a lot of political theories and religious propaganda in his books.

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The Coffee House of Lahore: A memoir 1942-1957

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I found this book in library last year, did not read it then but now I have.  I would recommend it to everyone. Here are few stories I have picked to share, I hope they motivate you enough to read this book.

K.K Aziz says about Coffee house. “I learnt how to behave with my age group, how to respect my seniors, how to make friends and keep relationship in good repair. The frequent discussion which I participated taught me the virtues of tolerance. They also taught me how to debate a point without losing temper, to sharpen my arguments rather raise my voice, to understand to understand other person’s point of view and give him right to express it and gain clarity in speech and lucidity in thinking.….There could not have be no better training in human dealings because human beings with whom I was interfacing were among themselves so different of outlooks…. I learnt to become flexible in what I said and what I listened to. Also I had to be patient with suffering fools, because in every society and group there are bores and people with stunted minds. I don’t know to which degree I learnt these virtues and I can’t be a judge of it. But I tried hard and I think I became fit for human company”

In its physical location the house was ideally placed. Within five minutes’ walk from it lay the University, the Mayo School of Arts (NCA later), the Punjab Public Library, the Lahore Museum, YMCA Hall, Law Collage, Oriental Collage and the Government Collage. Islamia Collage, Dyal Singh Collage and MAO Collage were within a 10-minute cycle ride. The House had been put right at the heart of the intellect of Lahore. The language of Coffee house was Punjabi and English purely, Punglish. Though written language was Urdu. It mostly was made up of Leftists but does not mean other were not present. What the Coffee house did have was tolerance.

This was the time period where population of Lahore was around 300,000 not more than 10 million.   

Now this book revolves around 100s of people, who all had one thing in common they loved to read and talk about what they read and drank coffee. The writer K.K. Aziz name which was given to him by Jamiluddin Hasan, who said “You know your first names are too long to encourage intimacy. It takes sustained breath to pronounce “Khursheed Kamal”. So right now, under the authority granted to me by our friendship, I hereby bestow upon you in a perpetuity the much smaller and melodious name of K.K to which I am sure you will get used you soon.”  

K.K entered Coffee house in age of 15 or 16 in 1942. But this book is more about a time period. A different time period a quieter time period. This book is littered with scenes and people most of us have not heard about. Some names are famous others not so much. There few scenes in this book that strike me as they are form another world “My friends and I had bought our tickets and were in a large crowd waiting on foyer for the matinee show to come to an end. When the show ended the audience began to come down the stairs to go home. At the corner of stairs appeared Champa in her white Sari. The chattering crowd in the foyer fell silent. There was a hush until she reached the end of the staircase, turned right and walked out of our sight. The elite was paying tribute to beauty. There was not a single wink, ogle, leer, even an audible breath. Those were civilized days.

Abdus salam a smart man not of science but also was interested in other contemporary subjects. K.K recalls his one meeting “We recalled our government Collage days; Salam Talked about what he had to endure at the hands of Sirajuddin and the officials of the education department. I asked him if all this was due to him being an Ahmadi. He doubted it and pointed out Qazi Aslam too was an Ahmadi and later become Principal of Collage.” A well-known scientist after the death of Abdus Salam commented whom K.K told him his sad tale of disappointed when nobody would sanction a scholarship in name of Salam. “You say the Ahmadis have not done anything to salute Salam. Yes, they haven’t. But aren’t they Pakistani’s too?”  So we are people who are jealous of other people who are better and brighter than us, this jealousy goes deeper, than any religious or cultural bonds what a tragedy.

I found this book in library last year, did not read it then but now I have.  I would recommend it to everyone. Here are few stories I have picked to share, I hope they motivate you enough to read this book.

K.K Aziz says about Coffee house. “I learnt how to behave with my age group, how to respect my seniors, how to make friends and keep relationship in good repair. The frequent discussion which I participated taught me the virtues of tolerance. They also taught me how to debate a point without losing temper, to sharpen my arguments rather raise my voice, to understand to understand other person’s point of view and give him right to express it and gain clarity in speech and lucidity in thinking.….There could not have be no better training in human dealings because human beings with whom I was interfacing were among themselves so different of outlooks…. I learnt to become flexible in what I said and what I listened to. Also I had to be patient with suffering fools, because in every society and group there are bores and people with stunted minds. I don’t know to which degree I learnt these virtues and I can’t be a judge of it. But I tried hard and I think I became fit for human company”

In its physical location the house was ideally placed. Within five minutes’ walk from it lay the University, the Mayo School of Arts (NCA later), the Punjab Public Library, the Lahore Museum, YMCA Hall, Law Collage, Oriental Collage and the Government Collage. Islamia Collage, Dyal Singh Collage and MAO Collage were within a 10-minute cycle ride. The House had been put right at the heart of the intellect of Lahore.

This was the time period where population of Lahore was around 300,000 not more than 10 million.   

Now this book revolves around 100s of people, who all had one thing in common they loved to read and talk about what they read and drank coffee. The writer K.K. Aziz name which was given to him by Jamiluddin Hasan, who said “You know your first names are too long to encourage intimacy. It takes sustained breath to pronounce “Khursheed Kamal”. So right now, under the authority granted to me by our friendship, I hereby bestow upon you in a perpetuity the much smaller and melodious name of K.K to which I am sure you will get used you soon.”  

K.K entered Coffee house in age of 15 or 16 in 1942. But this book is more about a time period. A different time period a quieter time period. This book is littered with scenes and people most of us have not heard about. Some names are famous others not so much. There few scenes in this book that strike me as they are form another world “My friends and I had bought our tickets and were in a large crowd waiting on foyer for the matinee show to come to an end. When the show ended the audience began to come down the stairs to go home. At the corner of stairs appeared Champa in her white Sari. The chattering crowd in the foyer fell silent. There was a hush until she reached the end of the staircase, turned right and walked out of our sight. The elite was paying tribute to beauty. There was not a single wink, ogle, leer, even an audible breath. Those were civilized days.

Abdus salam a smart man not of science but also was interested in other contemporary subjects. K.K recalls his one meeting “We recalled our government Collage days; Salam Talked about what he had to endure at the hands of Sirajuddin and the officials of the education department. I asked him if all this was due to him being an Ahmadi. He doubted it and pointed out Qazi Aslam too was an Ahmadi and later become Principal of Collage.” A well-known scientist after the death of Abdus Salam commented whom K.K told him his sad tale of disappointed when nobody would sanction a scholarship in name of Salam. “You say the Ahmadis have not done anything to salute Salam. Yes, they haven’t. But aren’t they Pakistani’s too?”  So we are people who are jealous of other people who are better and brighter than us, this jealousy goes deeper, than any religious or cultural bonds what a tragedy.

This book is filled with old Lahore and lives of writers, poets, artists, photographers, lawyers. People who with exception of few were poor but rich in culture. I would completely recommend this book. It is a very personal account of lives, might be one-sided in many cases. But this book is highly underrated and unknown. I mean a book about book lover 100s of them who got together on daily basis to have meaningful conversations. Is not that every book readers dream?

This book is filled with old Lahore and lives of writers, poets, artists, photographers, lawyers. People who with exception of few were poor but rich in culture. I would completely recommend this book. It is a very personal account of lives, might be one-sided in many cases. But this book is highly underrated and unknown. I mean a book about book lover 100s of them who got together on daily basis to have meaningful conversations. Is not that every book readers dream?

84 Charing cross raod

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You know those awesome things you think only exist in fiction and those relations that are only trait of fictional people. Well they are not. A friendship across Atlantic based solely on books. For the love of words, for the love of antiquity. Its short, its funny, its a journey. a dose of nostalgia. someone else’s reality and for readers to cozy up and let the imagination roam with reins off..84 charing cross raod

How it happened this is the funniest book ever :)

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Do you have grandmother? a brother? a sister? a father and mother? a sister in law? a brother in law? are you a Pakistani teenager? do you have relatives? do you belong to a Pakistani Muslim family? are you a girl? do you have a village where your ancestors came from ? a caste? are you syed? are you shia? are not thin? are you really good looking? are you not good looking? have you studied arts or science?
If you do have half of the given traits in you or a quarter. then you can relate to this and laugh at this cunningly crafted satire of our good, weird and sometimes quiet senseless culture. Which manages to revolve around matrimony a bit too much.
even if you don’t support any of those traits laughs are granted.
You can find a way to make this about you and even if you don’t you might know few people in it.
Shazaf haider writes this book in easily crafted English which i term as desi-english which all the subcontinent readers or people who once belonged to this region can easily understand and enjoy. Sit back and be ready to be entertained by this 300 some pages of really bold writing ….

Shahabnama By Qudrutullah Shuhab (my Review)

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I am going to give a short review of this book, because well its nearly 1300 pages and no way i can justify this masterpiece(bear with me, he is one of those people i wish i can get 20mins with) so here it goes.
The reasons this one of the best written book:
<b>1.</b>If you read this book you know what kind of man the writer is, his writing really reflects him no hold backs no cover ups you really know who you reading, that is; a person who is intelligent, a little proud, is honest, and really sees for the world it is, and is not afraid to talk his mind. And does not feel the need to justify himself. And of the time  he is right.
<b>2.</b>there are many excellent urdu writers way better then the Shahab. Shahab, who in sense of saying has not written much but he has something that makes him really unique it is his excellent sense of sarcasm. He has the sense of sarcasm, that well, to be honest not a lot of Urdu writers have. Best Urdu sarcasm ever.
<b>3.</b> then comes the details of historical events and opinions. There are a lot of unbiasedness and accuracy in those. He does not care that he might be hurting what are Pakistan studies books love to shove at us as “nationality”. he tells things for what they are which for most part in our History  are really screwed up.
<b>4.</b>its the account of Ayub khan tenure with whom he spend a lot of time he gives real picture of how royally army screwed us over and who innocently they were convinced they were doing us a favor. Ayub Khan was not a bad man he was just not cut to be leader. then there is the matter of war of 1964. i think there are very few other people other then Shahab who don’t treat that war as a strategic success. People fought that war our Jawaans and pilots and civilians, they were the braves who saved face, they bled valiantly. Our generals lost it.
<b>5.</b> Then comes the part of painful and highly controversial topic of separation of East Pakistan aka Bangladesh. Always have been told that it was Bhutto’s fault or Mujib ur Rehman or India’s or totally west Pakistan’s. It was all those things but it was lot more then that. It was fault of the Pakistani politicians (east and west alike) and the our prejudiced British-complex bureaucrats faults and it took 24 years and a lot of dirt money make it happen and propaganda. It wont be wrong to put that also in Ayub Khan’s list of incompetency’s as a leader.(my opinion)
<b>6.</b> Also there in these chapters which give quiet good review of Pakistan foreign polices but more so all the other world leaders of the period of 60s who were kind of game changers in their own sense.
<b>7.</b> The first 200 pages of this book are fun and happy because they were the youthful days of his life. His life in Kashmir, first crush, first achievement, days in Lahore, first love and its loss. The most painful part of this book was the chapter about famine in pre-partition Bengal. that made me squirm in repulsion and disgust at humanity. Shahab’s ability to get graphic is quiet commendable. He uses his this talent in another book (Ya Khauda) whose review i will give under that book .
<b>8.</b> Its obvious that he comes from practicing Muslmaan household or at least trying to be well practicing household. His religious opinions get a lot more visible as he matures and there is that issue of spiritualism which many people like to dub as fairytale which is odd. But quiet understandable. i am one of those people who can accept that reason has limits and believing simultaneously in science and spiritual world is quiet easy for me.
All and all this is one long book, its a journey of a life of a good man. A man who had his faults but he tried to be better. Who could not make much difference but he ended up making a lot of it by writing this book. I will read it again because i don’t think i have done justice to it yet.

Last Term at Malory Towers / last book in the series / end of another relationship :(

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End of an Era for me. I seriously doubt i would be reading anymore of Enid Blyton any more. But i have read quiet a number of books by her and so far have not been disappointed.
Enid does not just write but she tries to teach the best she could. To respect ones parents, to care, to compromise, to listen, to share, to be humble, to be courageous, to learn, to grow.

Malory Towers was a beautiful series, a handful of teenage girls who live together, learn together and become better people together.

They are about to graduate and they are taking away number of valuable lessons which they have learned in last six years of schooling and leaving behind number of memories and their juniors to whom they have taught and learned from many small things.
there is this thing writer states through two different narratives
“From what you have told me you’ve made the nice father of yours miserable. You’ve got what you want at the expanse of someone else’s peace of mind”…
“I have to stand on my own feet haven’t i?”… “Not if you stamp on someones else’s toes to do it.”
Something we all need to remember before making unreasonable demands of our parents and peers.

Many character flaws we see in our society are mistakes and miscalculations of our parents. People really need to get their priorities straight.
How important parents are!….Really, I think somebody should start a School for Parents too!

I am kind off crying inside. The horrible feeling of an end 😦

A Storied life of A.J Fikry / I loved this book

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The things we respond to at twenty are not necessarily the same things we will respond to at forty and vice versa. This is true in books and also in life
This book was a recommendation. By far the best I ever had!!
I still have the fluttery feeling and slightly dry throat which in my case are indicators that i loved something and i definitely loved this book.

It is short book which is refreshing. It is a smart book. It has many smart if not life changing but very relate-able and quotable things in it.

The characters are all very real and natural. They are not pretty people or Einsteins or world class heroes. They are everyday people, good folks. People who do not particularly stand out. That is one first thing i love fiction writers ability to make short men and women with no remarkable features and fashion sense standout. When being forty is not ancient and being fourteen is not less sexy or less attractive then sixteen.

Its how writer explains the worries of widower middle aged man adopting a toddler, as “She’s is worse than a puppy. And a man like me shouldn’t even have a puppy. She is not potty trained, and i have no idea how to do that kind of thing or any of the related matters either. Plus I’ve never really liked babies. I like Maya, but .. Conversation with her lacks to say the least. We talk about Elmo, and can’t stand him, by the way, but other than that, it is mainly about her. She’s totally self-centered.”
How can when anyone not love this kind off dialogue? And then how writer explains the same man finds growing ray of fatherly love He wants to laugh out loud or punch a wall. He feels or at least carbonated. Insane, he thinks this is happiness but then he determines it’s love. Fucking love, he thinks. What a bother. It’s completely gotten in the way of his plan to drink himself to death , to drive his business to ruin.The most annoying thing about it is that once a person gives a shit about one thing, he finds he has to start giving shit about everything.

What i really enjoyed was the relationships. How a woman stays is an unhappy marriage and how her unfaithful-husbands dies when in car with her and she does not beats herself about it, though she lived and the accident was more or less her mistake. Because that is how people are, not everyone dwells in guilt for those who have never give damn about them. They even see it is as karma.
How you can fall in love with people after four years of knowing them and barely have any emotional attachment. And how writer accepts that all marriages are half compromise. And there is simple explanation for that and it is He knows she isn’t perfect. She knows he definitely isn’t perfect. They know there’s no such thing as perfect.

I will go no further though even when i have barely started to touch base with awesomeness on the book. but one thing i am obliged to add here is this little unmistakable fact about Mark Twain the writer states in narrative In reading Twain, i often suspect he is having more fun than i am

It is a good simple extremely well written story. It is a must read and great for those who are in reading block. For now on this is the my suggestion for those who are in reader’s block. I read this as an e-book but will definitely buy it because i just have to have it. Need to own physical embodiment of this book.
And end note
We are not quiet novels… We are not quiet short stories…In the end, we are collected works