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The Last Lecture

Cover of "The Last Lecture"

Cover of The Last Lecture

I have been introduced to many great books after I joined Goodreads. This is one such book. ‘The Last Lecture‘ by Randy Pausch is one book you would never want to miss.

Of course, there are many books that lectures you how you should live, how to achieve your dreams, etc. But this is special. In this book, Randy, did not say ‘How you should live?’, instead he talked about how he lived and from which we can get enough lessons for our lives.

This is a great book because it is not speaking about principles of living, Randy trying to tell how to live a happy life and the lessons he learned throughout his life. For a man who already known about his death date, he himself a great role model. I never imagined a man whose death date was known can speak about better living and how to cherish your life instead of dwelling about his misfortune.

In this book, he talked about ‘Achieving your Childhood Dreams’, ‘Lessons learned from his adventures’, ‘Happiness of Enabling others’ dreams’ and ‘How to live our lives’.  In all these He quoted completely from his own life and that amazes me. Though he is unfortunate to leave the world early, he lived a wonderful life. And he wants everyone to take some positives from his life.

I had just completed the book, so not sure how much this will impact my life. But I am sure this will impact a lot in the way I am looking into the life in the coming days. Some of my favorite quotes from the book.

When you are screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they’ve given up on you.

You can always change the plan, but only if you have one.

Anytime we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.

Don’t obsess over what people think.

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Brick walls are there for a reason and once you get over them it can be helpful to others to tell them how you did it.

Towards the end one of the main things he mentioned was, ‘sometimes we just need to ask’. I remember many times I didn’t get what I wanted just because I didn’t have the courage to ask what I wanted. I am sure this is with many. Like this, there are lot of things in this book that perfectly suits many of us.

My rating for this wonderful book is ★★★★★

This is one such book you would never want to miss. I have embedded the video of ‘The Last Lecture’ below. You can see it first then you can buy the book. I am sure, once you watch the video you would definitely want to buy the book. The book has lot more things that are not mentioned in the lecture, Lot that would affect our way of looking into life.

Eye of the Needle

I chose to read Eye of the needle by Ken Follet  because there were no Pillars of the Earth copy available in the book shops I had searched. Knowing that Ken Follet was a successful thriller writer before Pillars of the Earth published, I was confident enough the book will not disappoint me and I was right. 🙂

Eye of the Needle is the story that was set up in the period of second world war with the German Master Spy ‘Die Nadel’ (or ‘The Needle’), MI5 officers Godliman, Bloggs and a young lady Lucy as leading characters. In the second world war, the spy ‘Needle’ found out the UK’s plan of deception on the France invasion. MI5 agents trying to stop him from convey his result of espionage to the Germans. Have they succeeded or not, read the book to know it.. 🙂

Ken Follet is a different type of story teller for me – the one who accustomed with fast paced one day plots by Dan Brown. He starts slowly with the background of each leading characters and the story slowly picking up the speed, towards the end it’s been really difficult to put the book down.

When I read the book, I felt like watching a movie, the author wrote it too detailed like a screen play so that it is easier to visualize the things he penned down. The story starts some four years back from the main incident with different areas and gradually all the characters brought together to link up to the main story instead of telling about the characters’ background as and when they were introduced. Actually this helps him the keep up the pace towards the end as he doesn’t need to introduce anyone there.

Also the incidents are so realistic that makes you think it could have actually been happened there. Ken Follet is a really good author. I guess I will read more of his in the coming days.

Well, there were some of the things I am not able to write it as it would be spoilers for those who are still yet to read the book.

My rating for this wonderful thriller is ★★★★☆

If you like thrillers, don’t miss it.

The Final Reckoning

The Final reckoning, a Dan Brown Type mystery thriller, that deals with the journey of former UN lawyer Tom Byrne who found the hidden secrets about the Holocaust incidents when trying to close in what looked like a murder by mistaken identity by UN officials.

This thriller of Sam Bourne is the third book, I have read of him. I would say this is the best book in the content-wise. I liked the flashback story about Gershon Matzkin more than the thriller of Tom Byrne’s adventures.

With the historical accounts of few news websites and wiki, I always imagined the Jew murders by Nazis are just like any other religious quarrels or some dispute between the minorities and majorities. But I never knew Hitler tried to make Jews extinct from the world. The complete details about the holocaust incidents and the final author note says nothing fictitious except the characters I couldn’t even imagine how would these people lived through those periods.

But this did not take away any credit from the actual story the thriller of Tom and Rebecca’s, Gershon’s daughter, adventures to find the resistance of ghettos and her fathers secret alliance.

As a thriller, the book offers enough twists and turns. Also the pace is ok. I say ok because it is not some thriller which travels at lightening speed. In between he has to tell us the Holocaust incidents also. So naturally the current story stops for sometime. But since the Gershon’s story also interesting you definitely will not feel bored.

When I read about this Holocaust incidents, I couldn’t help myself in comparing it with the Sri Lankan Tamils’ situation with this. Hitler was damned by all the countries and at least Jews got some type of condolence with the extinct of Nazis. Not sure when Tamils get some redemption.

One major drawback of this novel which made me not giving 5 out of 5 is, some similarities between his previous book ‘The Last Testament‘ and this, like, investigating with the son/daughter of the deceased, the protagonist was a former employee of the organisation who came from resignation to help, etc. But luckily the content is totally different.

My rating for this wonderful historical fiction cum thriller is ★★★★☆

A Study in Scarlet

Cover of the first edition of the book "A...

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I read this novel as part of Sherlock Holmes complete Novels and Short stories. My initial thought was to write a review for that book as a whole. But as I read through this huge collection it will be too difficult to tell about it in a single post. Moreover there are lots of free online copies available for each books, I decided to write reviews for each books as it were released.

Though I had read few of Sherlock Holmes stories way back, I did not remember anything other than he was an extraordinary detective who solves many cases with his simple reasoning when there were no modern equipments. The introduction in the book gives you the details of how much respect this character got during the time it published.

With all those in the mind, I read the first novel ‘A Study in Scarlett’. I should say I felt a bit disappointed to see the much hyped Sherlock Holmes introduced in such a novel where he reminded me of lot of policemen and detectives in various films where they pursue the hero.

Yes, in this novel, though Conan Doyle successfully introduced Holmes and his reasoning skills, when I read it fully, I felt he was the same old detective who tries to catch a good guy declaring ‘a crime is a crime.’

But as a story, this short novel (ran up to 120 pages in my hard copy) passes as a good one. Though there is nothing for you predict anything, this gives you a wonderful story.

But the problem is with these many years passed and the stories are very famous, you can expect many storytellers and film makers borrowed the idea. This is why the novel was full of clichés which we have seen in numerous films and stories.

We cannot blame Doyle for that. We need to blame the modern writers and directors who had stolen his imaginations. I would have given 4 stars had those clichés are not there.

My Rating for this intoroductory novel of Sherlock Holmes is ★★★☆☆