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Added by Happy Vader on 17 Nov 2011 11:47
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Books I've read + Reviews!

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... And this is where the Harry Potter legacy starts. J.K. Rowling's rich world, a near unlimited number of characters and complex plots / sub-plots are all portrayed as just the tip of the iceberg here, stunning, and even fascinating, the reader for long minutes after when they've turned the last page. I just cannot wait to get my hands on the follow-ups.

True, the immediate follow-up, and a few others, are indeed better written (and better overall), but it was here where the actual magic started. The first 30-40 pages reminded me of Roald Dahl, and if she hadn't changed her tone after the 50th page, I could swear I were reading Dahl and not Rowling. It is brilliantly well-written and brilliantly humoured, but I could picture her hesitating for few minutes on some lines, but that feeling quickly wears off after a few more pages!

In all, this is a must-read (of course) and my 4th favourite novel from the series!
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0

Honestly speaking, I'm not a big fan of Steve Martin but boy, oh boy, did I enjoy his rich-filled trip down memory lane.

He writes in such a frank, zany and hilarious manner that one thinks he made up a fictional character for himself and made him go through all levels of emotion. Right from the first page itself, Martin tickles your ribs and entertains throughout by his experiences, breakdowns, successes and failures. Every page has that one line or paragraph that you can go back to. He has also punctuated his words with photos, some never before seen. After when all is said and done, he changes track and brings a tear to your eye by his nostalgic verses and tragedies. Like I said before, almost every page is warm filled.

In conclusion, Born Standing Up is one of the better biographies I've read and one I soon shall be revisiting.
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Q & A - Vikas Swarup

Vikas Swarup has, I think, achieved the impossible. I've never read such a unique, rich-filled story ever in my life. Sort of like a Forrest Gump set in the slums, but only more plausible and entertaining. Ram Mohammed Thomas, a slumdog with a heart of gold and innocence, finds himself from India's lowliest slums to the houses of the rich and utterly famous and finally to a quiz show where he buys back his freedom and dignity and makes history.

The non-linear, vast story-writing is bound to grab your heart and make you believe that magic is indeed possible. Protagonists in novels have never been as life-driven and pain-driven as Ram Mohammad Thomas here. A book which I strongly recommend and the last 15 pages, I kid you not, are some of the best pages I've ever read! Excellent job!
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 0

Wow, what a delicious treat Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen was. Lola Cep is such a witty, remarkable and lovable protagonist. It was amazing to see her go through popularity, and decline, and still keeping her cool, although she does fall into depression and anger but Lola remains Lola. The main strength, however, are the supporting characters, Ella Gerard and Carla Santini. The latter is probably the true personification of a high-school bitchy. Dyan Sheldon uniquely fleshed-out Carla and made her feel as realistic as possible.

Anyway, the book is a fun read, especially if you want to read something very light, but something you can relate to, especially the main character and her fun, witty view on life and everything that comes with it. You know what? I couldn't help but agree with her on many things!
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 9 IMDB Rating 0

Film Cuts: Classic Movie Writing is a 100% entertaining read. Two things: 1) You get to know your favourite writers / directors / producers a little better and 2) you also get to know about the life of Hollywood and how exactly these people interact with each other!

It offers excerpts from the personal diaries and/or biographies from 10 of Hollywood's elites. I totally loved it and how they explain everything from their personal feelings to how they came *this* close to snapping up and why Woody Allen wasn't satisfied with his film, Manhattan and why Francis Ford Coppola thinks that cooking is much easier than directing!

I would recommend this to all movie-buffs out there and my 3 favourite are:

The Emerald Forest Diary
from Money into Light by John Boorman

River Phoenix Meets Gus Van Sant
from Projections I

Film is a Collaborative Business
from Some Freaks by David Mamet
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 1042 Average listal rating (1008 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 0

By the time this novel came out, 5 of her previous novels had been adapted to the silver-screen. And I'm saying this because Deathly Hallows looked as if it was written specifically for the silver-screen. I'm not saying it was a bad thing, it just seemed rather distracting, that's all.

Anyway, the final chapter in the Harry Potter series and it could not have been more better. It opens in such a grimy, dark manner. Lord Voldemort becomes more than just a psychopath in the opening chapter, with his details perfectly shown. Since it started with such a haunting note, I think it was good that J.K. Rowling softened the feeling with the next chapter, the confrontation between Harry & the Dursley's. Then it leads way to my favourite chapter in the book: The Seven Potters. It was written in such great manner, that I can only assume she must've taken her time on this one but it seemed too cinematic, the whole chapter. Since I'm speaking of chapters, I didn't like the way they were named. They gave too much about what was gonna follow. But that's a rather trivial thing compared to the awesomeness behind the story.

This is my most read from the series and it deserves to go back to. A definitive read.
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 49 Average listal rating (21 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

Reading this classic again was like re-discovering a long lost memory or pictures of a long lost pet. Filled with lovable and unforgettable characters, there's no wonder why this book hasn't failed to put a smile on the readers faces. I mean, I've never heard of a perfect novel, and you also, but if should there be one, then this is a possible candidate.

Any book-lover will agree that this is a very fun, energetic and entertaining story that will take you by the hand and, in calm, slow manner, will explain the world created by the author. Read this if you got time and the mood!
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown_II

The Lost Symbol is yet another highly complex novel by Dan Brown, widely best known as the author of Da Vinci Code. Apart from Deception Point, which I will be reading next, I've read all of Dan Brown's novels to date and boy, have they impressed me a-lot. The Robert Langdon character is a genius creation and he is summoned once again to participate in uncovering mysteries thought lost centuries ago and must go through a win-it or lose-all phase once more to ensure it doesn't fall in the wrong hands.

Dan Brown once again shows off his ingenuity and his unexpected twists. This novel refers a-lot to his previous two novels, Angels & Demons and Da Vinci Code, both containing Robert Langdon and also Digital Fortress, a novel not containing Langdon, but another character. The Lost Symbol carries all the elements from the previous novels: Mysterious phone-calls, enclosed places reflecting Langdon's phobia, 24-hour time period, conspiracy theories, pop-culture references, witty remarks, helicopter rides, wordplay, fight scenes and escaping from the law or higher power!

Now, unlike Angels... and ...Code, this one relied more on brilliant wordplay, cliffhangers and the same old cliche technique but, ironically enough, in a cliche-less sort of a-way. The action is fast-paced, the dialogues are very smart and Katherine Solomon, Langdon's aide, is by far the best sidekick Langdon ever had. The character of Mal'akh is just about the best villain Brown has put to paper and probably the most intimidating and brutal opponent Langdon and company ever faced. I never knew much about Freemasons and such but this novel had me intrigued but, I will argue, it is not better than Angels & Demons or any of his other novels. Also, I read somewhere that The New York Times likened a character to Jar Jar Binks and I can only assume they must be talking about either Trish Dunne, Inoue Sato or Warren Bellamy and my thoughts are on the second one!

The only two downfalls were:

1. Too much use of italics in places and

2. The confrontation scene between Mal'akh and Katherine in Pod 5. It was very predictable. Katherine exiting with a broken arm or something would've been OKAY but it somehow seemed like a scene from a typical Hollywood movie!

Overall, a novel you can't put down and each chapter ends on such a haunting note that, instead of folding the top corner of the page and calling it quits, it will make you wanna read 2-3 more chapters...
Happy Vader's rating:

Chinese Cinderella is one of those beautiful reads a reader manages to hit here and there. It's a biography of the author till age 14 and it's so greatly written that one may get the impression they are reading a screenplay for a movie.

Also, this makes you wanna think about your life and how the very littlest of things may affect our life and how no-one really pays attention to it. While reading this, you may wanna consider yourself lucky that you're not in the shoes of the author. It made me see things a little differently and it will do the same to you too. If you aren't left speechless or choked by the end of the book, then all I can say is that you've wasted your time reading this and probably should've played a shooting game!
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 0
The Hellbound Heart - Clive Barker

Stephen King once called Clive Barker as "the future of horror" and he's damn right about that. Reading a Clive Barker novel is akin to watching an exploitation movie. You're repulsed but at the same time entertained or, at least want to know more what happens at the end.

As a big fan of Clive Barker, I downloaded the PDF version of this novella as I couldn't find it anywhere. I kinda hated reading it through the computer, but I couldn't help it. Guess, E-Reading is not for me. Anyways, the character of Frank is like Hugh Hefner's dream model. A hedonist, nihilist and all those nasty words in-between who gets what he deserves. Mr. Barker's way of creating monsters, human or otherwise, has always been a part of his novels and in this case it's Frank (after all, they call him Frank the Monster for nothing) and the Cenobites, who engage in extreme sadomasochism. It's best fit for non-squeamish people and/or who can try to maintain the fine line between reality and fantasy. Otherwise, you can pick another book to read!

It also bought us one of the best horror heroines: Kristy Cotton which would go on to become Ashley Laurence's breakthrough role and an immortal horror icon: Pinhead! I suggest you download the PDF and give it a try!

In case you're wondering why the above mentioned names sound familiar is because this was the basis of the Hellraiser series
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 40 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 0

A rather disturbing but well written specfic about a HAL-type supercomputer named AM who has bought about the extinction of the human race and has saved 5 human beings for eternal torture and humiliation.

Post-apocalyptic doesn't come any better than this. This is work of art. A work of a genius. A true thinker. It breaks all boundaries and presents everything in such disgusting terror that it makes one wonder about is it really worse than Hell or Doomsday or not? If this still hasn't become a classic, then it should be and it should also be in your list of "must read" and believe me, not a single waste of time. The ending is rather touchy there but I think it was necessary. It showed that there was humanity still left!

Also, it has also been made into a successful video-game which you can view it on YouTube and I do hope they convert it into a movie. Please don't go like Doom! I wanna see a good silver-screen adaptation!
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 38 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 0
Psycho - Robert Bloch

Psycho is closely related to Alfred Hitchcock and as one of the quintessential horror movie, featuring some of the most iconic scenes and dialogues in history!

Ah, but many people forget that it's actually Robert Bloch who deserves all attention for creating the characters and bringing one of the most complex, most greatest villain ever: Norman Bates. His way of describing an event and mixing two personalities in one is unique. Many people explain one side of the fence brilliantly while they get all lousy on the other but that's not the case here. With every page you turn, the suspense and the story just makes it impossible to put it down!

I read the novel before watching the film and Alfred Hitchcock did a great job. One of my most favourite character from the novel is Lila Crane, the sister of Mary Crane and is somewhat of a tritagonist. The paper-Lila quickly became one of my favourite novel characters because of her simplicity and ability to accept the situation in the end. When she realizes Norman Bates' situation, she kinda sympathizes with him and understands the pain he has to go through. Now that's a quality that I don't see much, on-paper or real world. Anyway, Vera Miles did a wonderful job portraying her onscreen. Really liked her performance. Right from the novel.

All in all, the best factor is the way everything is carefully detailed in this book which was somewhat lacking in the movie! A superb read!
Happy Vader's rating:
People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 10 IMDB Rating 0
The Damnation Game - Barker Clive

The Damnation Game is the first novel published by horror maestro, Clive Barker. It also happens to be the first adult novel I've read. Just like Mean Streets, this novel set the tone and standards for future Clive Barker novels and short stories.

An expertly told violent tale of terror, incest, cannibalism and murders. I like the whole setup and the chosen words to describe an event. A new hero is born in Marty Strauss and a literature horror icon in Mamoulian, The Last European. The characters are well defined and the dialogues are well suited to the theme and offers no more than it promises to give you!

I recommend reading with the lights on and a torch just in case...
Happy Vader's rating:
Jack the Ripper: Summing Up & Verdict

In collaboration with Wilson Odell

Many people have fascination with real-life serial killers. It's not uncommon. I got fascinated with Jack the Ripper after when I read about him somewhere in an old article and I went out and picked the first book I saw which happened to be this one!

There are many books dedicated to Jack the Ripper and his brutal murders which has earned him an almost cult-like household name. This book has plenty to offer: His murders and how he planned them, his victims, the descriptions of the victims before, during and after, the notable suspects, the hide-outs, the police etc... Everything is written in such gory detail that one might think he is reading a horror novel. Also, this book is also interactive and often asks you "what do you think?" or "it's up to you to decide" and such.

A very entertaining read on the most feared serial killer in history and encourages you to come up with your own questions and theories!
Happy Vader's rating:

Adolf Hitler, considered by many as the most hated person of the 20th Century had the Devil's own luck. How did he escape all those times?

Every chapter in Killing Hitler is like an episode to some grand TV show. Perfectly written with no unnecessary subplots or information and most intersect each other in some way, giving you that "epic" feeling. The book's main purpose is not to show how Hitler cheated death but rather how the assassin carefully plotted his decision and how he carried out his mission and how he placed his traps, only to have the Devil intervene at the 11th hour. An amazing heck of a read which may or may not make you slap your forehead while exclaiming dammit or verdammt, depending on your point of view on him!

I suggest you buy this book as it also has pictures and that makes it more interesting!
Happy Vader's rating:

Even as a kid, R.L. Stine's books never scared me or gave me the titular feeling but somehow he made every story intriguing and fresh and How I Learned To Fly is one of the best. The story may seem simple: A boy mysteriously learns how to fly and quickly learns the horror that comes with it. It explores on the themes of how everyone has this big dream of becoming like a free bird and just take off anywhere, anytime! It also explores on paranoia, humiliation and keeping secrets. I always had this fantasy of flying like Superman but this novel made me rethink my fantasies and now I'm all outgrown it.

If you want to start off with a Goosebumps title, then start with this one, as this is a great one!
Happy Vader's rating:

This was one of the earliest Goosebumps novel I had read and the very first around I was very impressed. It was like as if if you mix the steampunk culture with some surrealism. I would probably rank it in the Top 5.

The ending is very Fight Club-type and it really grabs you by the throat. But, unlike his other books, this one is only better the first time around. Second time onwards, it just gets longer and you may even stop halfway and start off on another book. On further note, I think a new memorable villain is formed in Dr. Shreek. If his name hasn't become well-known among book-readers, especially young kids, then it should. One of the fresh, most bizarre literature villain ever to be written!

Well, piano lessons may be murder but, since being a guitar player, my lessons are excruciating... Take up drums!
Happy Vader's rating:

Books, novels, short-stories, biographies, series etc... all included!

This is not complete and won't be... This is one of those lists which will just keep on going!

I will keep adding the books I read as I go along!


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