Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Book review: The Conspiracy Kid by E.P. Rose

About the book:


A cast of charmingly eccentric characters is brought together through their accidental membership of The Conspiracy Kid Fan Club, resulting in a glorious series of adventures involving hamburgers, poetry, blues, mental breakdowns, art, death and golf, as it propels the reader from Hendon to Biloxi, and from Piccadilly to Pring.

The friendship between Edwin Mars, a shambolic and underfunded poet, and Joe Claude, a plodding and bereaved billionaire, lies at the heart of the book – a friendship kindled by Edwin’s sonnet, “The Conspiracy Kid Fan Club”.

But what is the Fan Club? Who is the Conspiracy Kid? And what effect does reading the sonnet have on all those who come into contact with it?

This is the story of the earliest unwitting Conspiracy Kid Fan Club members: Edwin Mars (poet), Joe Claude (billionaire), Walter Cornelius (‘werewolf’), Muriel Cohen (chef) – to name but a few. It tells of their loves and losses, their tragedies and triumphs, all tied together in a tangle of conspiracy, coincidence and string.

E. P. Rose’s stylish and humorous prose, combined with an intricately woven plot, draws the reader into a heady vortex of colliding worlds, resulting in unexpected and often hilarious consequences.
 
Or, as Edwin Mars, being a poet, puts it:

This is the story of Joe Claude and me,
And of my son and the sisters he loved,
And of their father, how he came to be
In a graveyard - naked and uni-gloved;
Hamburgers, hurricanes, murder and string,
Werewolves and waiters and barmen
and cooks,
From Maine to Biloxi, Mayfair to Pring,
Furniture, ketamine, golfing and books;
Marriages made and broken and mended
Under the shadow of loved ones who died.
See how the grieving billionaire ended
Up in that prison where laughter’s proscribed.
Will he be rescued then? Read and find out
What The Conspiracy Kid’s all about.


E.P.ROSE is the nom de plume of a previous restaurateur,who has retreated from restaurants in order to concentrate on writing remarkable fiction.

Table Thirteen Books is committed to assisting him in this endeavour.

As he himself says: “I need all the help I can get. I seem to be so easily distracted

- See more at: http://www.tablethirteenbooks.com/authors/e-p-rose/#sthash.zvYAn2XX.dpuf

E.P.ROSE is the nom de plume of a previous restaurateur,who has retreated from restaurants in order to concentrate on writing remarkable fiction.

Table Thirteen Books is committed to assisting him in this endeavour.

As he himself says: “I need all the help I can get. I seem to be so easily distracted

- See more at: http://www.tablethirteenbooks.com/authors/e-p-rose/#sthash.zvYAn2XX.dpuf
E.P.ROSE is the nom de plume of a previous restaurateur,who has retreated from restaurants in order to concentrate on writing remarkable fiction. - See more at: http://www.tablethirteenbooks.com/authors/e-p-rose/#sthash.zvYAn2XX.dpuf


About the Author:




E.P.ROSE is the nom de plume of a previous restaurateur,who has retreated from restaurants in order to concentrate on writing remarkable fiction.
Table Thirteen Books is committed to assisting him in this endeavour.
As he himself says: “I need all the help I can get. I seem to be so easily distracted"

My Review


You don't have to be kiddish, but it helps.
When I ventured initially into the book, I had little idea of what to expect from it, since classifying it under a particular genre seems a daunting task, just like reading through the events that ensue.
It is almost ludicrous that something apparently as innocuous as a sonnet can be the crux of this all, and thankfully it isn't, the name is just figurative.
You are enrolled into the conspiracy kid fan club as soon as you read the sonnet. It is irreversible and metaphorical. There’s little relevance of the fan club apart from it being a bunch of people around whom the story revolves. so to say, the characters are both the positive and the negative aspect of the novel. Positive, in their presentation and stories, and negative in their multitude and execution. The dialogues seem interesting but then the whole plot is bogged down by unnecessary attention to interest factual details which have little consequence for the plot. As a result reading through the entire novel becomes a daunting task.
the ending however has been done quite subtly, however that does not make up for the  lack of coherence in the plot especially in the latter half if second part till the first half of third part. The plot has potential, but the timing and manner of certain revelations is what pulls the ratings down.the best part has to be the sonnets composed by Edwin. They are truly something to look forward to, reread and savor.  The first part is the best which eases the reader’s transition into the world of the conspiracy kid fan club. And the humor is all-pervasive throughout the novel.

The most endearing characters are Iris, Muriel, Joe Claude.

Judgement:

Reading becomes delightful if you can avoid the unnecessary information and concentrate on two things: one the restaurant and the people behind it second Joe Claude and his family. How Cynthia reviews the restaurant is really thrilling, though.

Best lines: 

I don’t think it’s really an area of competition, do you? Grief ? Grief is grief. I don’t think there’s any point in measuring it, yours against mine, mine against anybody’s.

E.P.ROSE is the nom de plume of a previous restaurateur,who has retreated from restaurants in order to concentrate on writing remarkable fiction.

Table Thirteen Books is committed to assisting him in this endeavour.

As he himself says: “I need all the help I can get. I seem to be so easily distracted.”

- See more at: http://www.tablethirteenbooks.com/authors/e-p-rose/#sthash.zvYAn2XX.dpuf

E.P.ROSE is the nom de plume of a previous restaurateur,who has retreated from restaurants in order to concentrate on writing remarkable fiction.

Table Thirteen Books is committed to assisting him in this endeavour.

As he himself says: “I need all the help I can get. I seem to be so easily distracted.”

- See more at: http://www.tablethirteenbooks.com/authors/e-p-rose/#sthash.zvYAn2XX.dpuf

E.P.ROSE is the nom de plume of a previous restaurateur,who has retreated from restaurants in order to concentrate on writing remarkable fiction.

Table Thirteen Books is committed to assisting him in this endeavour.

As he himself says: “I need all the help I can get. I seem to be so easily distracted.”

- See more at: http://www.tablethirteenbooks.com/authors/e-p-rose/#sthash.zvYAn2XX.dpu

E.P.ROSE is the nom de plume of a previous restaurateur,who has retreated from restaurants in order to concentrate on writing remarkable fiction.

Table Thirteen Books is committed to assisting him in this endeavour.

As he himself says: “I need all the help I can get. I seem to be so easily distracted.”

- See more at: http://www.tablethirteenbooks.com/authors/e-p-rose/#sthash.zvYAn2XX.dpuf

E.P.ROSE is the nom de plume of a previous restaurateur,who has retreated from restaurants in order to concentrate on writing remarkable fiction.

Table Thirteen Books is committed to assisting him in this endeavour.

As he himself says: “I need all the help I can get. I seem to be so easily distracted.”

- See more at: http://www.tablethirteenbooks.com/authors/e-p-rose/#sthash.zvYAn2XX.dpu

Book Review: English Bites by Manish Gupta

About the book:


English Bites! My Fullproof English Learning Formula is the story of a man who goes from being tongue-tied in school to becoming a smooth talking banker. Through a series of hilarious personal adventures and misadventures, Manish Gupta provides easy solutions to problems faced by language learners. So, whether you're a vernacular speaker, a GRE/ GMAT/CAT/XAT aspirant or just a language nut, English Bites! will expand your vocabulary and improve your verbal ability. It may even help you love the English language a little more!

• Add over 1000 new words to your vocabulary and figure out easy and effective ways to expand your word bank.
• Combine etymology, mnemonics, jokes and anecdotes to better your understanding of the English language.
• Differentiate between similar sounding words and learn to use them right.
• Improve your general knowledge with trivia that spans brand names, automobiles, fine dining, love, money, banks, science and B-school jargon.



About the author:

Manish Gupta is a banking professional. When not crunching numbers he is busy engaging with and examining the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of the English language. He also likes trivia, travelling, adventure sports, delving into human psychology, and giving professorial discourses to colleagues, family and friends, and practically anyone who can give him a patient hearing. An engineering graduate from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh and an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur, he lives in Mumbai with his wife Deepali, a medical professional, and daughters Tamanna and Prakriti.

 My Review:


When the book claims to make the reader love the English language a little more, it is certainly proclaiming an incontrovertible truth.
The book is just as interesting as it's title suggests. It is profusely brimming with trivia, vocabulary words, mnemonics, anecdotes, all of which are designed to make the reader fall in love with English.

The authors brings all the nuances, idiosyncrasies and vagaries of the English language to the fore. And he brings them to such a vantage that commands an impeccable view of the struggle one might have in his attempt to get a command over this highly coveted language.


So, this is basically what the book is about: the author's journey from a time when he used to envy convent educated boys for their fluency, to a time when he himself is a proficient orator of the English language. Tracing his journey from a time when he felt handicapped while conversing in English, he narrates his thrills and travails with so much vigor.
what is even more mesmerizing is that the book also throws light on the other aspects of a student's life, for instance, the escapades called interviews. This is what makes it an ideal companion for every student!
The best part has to be the etymology of words: learning about the derivation and hoistory of words has never been more fun, followed by mnemonics which are devised by the narrator as a part of his english-learning strategy!

The icing on the already delicious cake is the revelations to the confounding secrets and idiosyncrasies of the language. As if that could not satiate our appetite enough, the book treats us with a smorgasbord of phrases and witty remarks that come in handy in various social gatherings and other such life-and-death situations. And in an interestingly amusing way, not just listing them out but embellishing them with bone-tickling anecdotes.
The author certainly has read the minds of the reader, by virtue of having been at this position once himself and he enumerates words which leave us nonplussed in conversations, and explains trivia which usually may leave us flummoxed.
No exaggeration intended, he has crafted a masterpiece, a gem for all students of English language out there.
The detriment, if any suffered by the book, is that it might get exhausting to go through exhaustive trivia all at once, especially for someone who is not a very avid reader or voracious language nut. Also, it can become a challenging task for one to read through extensive factual information about other disciplines than her, but then the narrator has something for everyone!
No doubt, this is indeed, a chef d'oeuvre in the language world which surprisingly comes from an Indian author.
Having read the book thoroughly once, the reader is apprised of the treasure and life-savior that it is. In a market monopolized by Wren and Martin Workbooks which make it look even more academic and uninteresting to learn English, This book is surely to make a mark, following in the steps of the success of Word Power made easy. What concocts to make this book extremely readable and a must-have for anyone who is even an iota bit concerned with good communication skills, is the general knowledge and vocabulary that it contains, and the effortlessness with which these have been included.

Judgement:

The book not only furnishes vocabulary or communication skills or verbal ability or command over the language, it also helps hone one's personality, sometimes by the depiction of a real incident and at others, through hilarious anecdotes.

Best lines:

The carefree abandon of youth, dreams of numerous romantic conquests, and brilliant ideas to become millionaires overnight did not, sadly, leave any time to pursue knowledge enhancement, especially if it meant expansion beyond the boundaries of curriculum and job description.
  
I thank the author for providing me with a copy for review! 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

You Know you are a book-lover when...(Part 1)

We have all read books at some point of time or another. Here's a checklist to know whether you have qualified fully to be called a bibliophile (or bookaholic, or book-lover, or book-addict). And even if you have done these or felt these just once, we the bibliophiles are more than happy to accord the warmest welcome to you!
  • You love books: Or should I say, you are in love with your books. It might seem like stating the obvious, however a bibliophile's love is a true one, it knows no boundaries, it sees no limits. They love books for not just the printed word, but also for the smell, the feel, the touch. Or, if it is an e-book, they sit glued to their e-device for hours. And they take care of their books like their babies, selfless love, you see!
  • You sniff books: Yes, You heard it right, book-lovers love the smell of their books. Many of them are also into the practice of recognizing the publishing house by the smell and/or texture of the paper or the format of their electronic counterpart.
  • You make excuses : From not going out on get-togethers, to delaying/cancelling hangouts with friends, you have done it, at least once so as to be able to read and finish the book by your favourite authors. And yes, without any compunction, you devise pretexts to do this, because you feel that it is a sacred ritual that needs to be attended before anything else.



 
  • You prefer the company of books to people :The company of people entertains you, but that of books enthralls you beyond measure. And then you are judged: people call you anti-social, introvert. You see, that is the reason you love books. They don't judge you, nor they demand explanation.
  • You sneak at work/while studying: It seems like a forbidden sin, and yet when you are in the middle of a good book, you cannot help but read snippets from the book every now and then. Troubled by the inconvenience, at last you give in to the temptation and abandon everything to read the book till the very last.
  • You love books as gifts: You love it when people give you books as gifts, or even better,gift cards. There's a litmus test: you always gift books to people according to their tastes, but your friends have a tough time deciding which book to gift you. 
  • You sleep with books: Ah! This one is the best. You retire to bed for the day. And inevitably there's the book in your hand, reading which you travel to another world, and without realizing slip into slumber while cuddling with the book. :-) This feeling's like no other.
  • You are a book hunter: Yes, wherever you go, You are on the lookout for books. You check out the shelves of your host, you forage and ransack all places for libraries, bookstores or other nooks harbouring books.
  • Your visits to bookstores disturb your budget: Each time you resist, first the urge to visit a bookshop and then the itch to buy books. No matter how hard you try,you end up spending a large fortune of your budget on books. In the aftermath of a book-splurge, you barely make your ends meet throughout the month.
  • You fall in love with the fictional character: Not just fangirls, even booklovers find the man (or woman) of their dreams in a chapter.
  • You cry when a good book ends: By their syntactical function, books with a poignant end make you cry. You are choked when your favorite character dies, you don't feel like talking to anyone for hours and can mourn for days. Yet, no one understands and life goes on, much to your grief.

  • You experience book hangover: After having completed the book, It takes you time to make sense of reality. And then, you are incapable of starting another book because you cannot keep your thoughts from the previous one. The journey back into reality is tough. And if you haven't felt such as yet, try reading The Fault In our Stars, without crying for days following that.
  • You find it difficult to part with your book: Yes, that practice of lending books. Accustomed to keeping your books like your babies, you cannot afford to get them hurt. 
  • You love to get photographed with your books: Oh! yes, you love to get photographed with a book in your hand, by your side, or on the adjacent table, you flaunt your love of books, becuase.....they are the ultimate fashion accessory that never go out of trend. Isn't?
  • Your to-do list never seems to diminish: So many books, so little time. But then there is nothing like so many books.
  • You are always confused which book to pick next: As much as it is a moment of excitement, it is a moment of confusion.
  • Your library card is always issued to the last: Despite telling yourself to keep at least one slot empty for moment of crisis, you end up getting as many books as the limit allows. 
  • You despise Bookbreakers: That sadistic clan which attempts to tear pages from the books. Oh Lord! Punish them.There is no greater torment than an unfinished book because some blockhead wanted the page to complete the assignment on the last date of returning the book to library.
  • You grab every possible opportunity to give book recommendations: You feel it is your sacred duty to give the best recommendations to budding bibliophiles and welcome them to the party.And you are on a mission to turn the world into a panorama of bibliophiles.
  • You always want more bookshelves: The ones at your home never seem to suffice, especially not after a visit to the book fair or bookstore.


I can go on and on to enumerate the traits of a bibliophile. Watch out for the second part with a plethora of other characteristics of bibliophiles. I would love to know what other traits you think you possess. Just leave them in the comments section below, and I will include them in the next part of the series.
Happy Reading!


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