It vanished, took time to understand why but it had gone. It had deserted me completely. I felt alone. Everyday i discovered new ways to kill time.  Attempts to bring it back went in vain.  Finally it came to me few months back,  the long lost habit of reading something now and then. I was not a voracious reader who consumes several booksin a month, but i did have the habit of  completing few good books in a year.

All was fine, until i picked up “The Brief History Of Time” by Stephen Hawking. Around 190 pages of pure science written in a way that could be understood by normal people. The book was awesome without doubts. Not sure whether the concepts can be clearly explained in a very simple language any better.  I had studied Physics @ school for 7 long years, with the only intention of scoring marks. That had defeated the purpose of learning altogether.  Remembering all  the details  presented in the book will be difficult but you will understand why and how one should learn Physics. Though the explanation was simple enough, it does require a lot of concentration to grasp the concepts. I had to read through the pages again and again to understand the concepts better. And that was the difficult part. Gradually, my mind came up with ways to stop reading, found alternatives to kill time or better pushed me to sleep once i started reading. Finally completed the book sometime around Feb 2013. I had started reading on March 2012. Sigh!!!!

Then, it was back, the reading spree, the urge to read at-least few pages daily, the urge to sacrifice sleep if necessary. Started with two tamil books suggested and lent by Subramani. Visumbu (விசும்பு) and Avvulagam (அவ்வுலகம்). Visumbu is a collection of short stories, each an  attempt by Jeyamohan at science fiction. Liked a few, but was not enthralling. But Avvulagam (அவ்வுலகம்) was of different genre. It was the story of an old guy, moments before death where he gets to think about what happened in life and answers to the unanswered questions in his life. Each page had something to offer. Rightly named Avvulagam (அவ்வுலகம்), it turned out to be a different world indeed.

At this point, with all books that i had exhausted started the search for something to read at leisure. Heard a lot about “A Song of Ice and Fire” and it was in the queue and ordered “A Game Of Thrones”. Aim was to complete the books and before starting with first episode of the HBO TV series which i heard is also fantastic. Did not take much time to get involved and from then on quite a few sleepless nights have passed by.  Continued with the “A Clash of King” and now in “A Strom of Swords: Steel and Snow”. The plot thickens with every chapter and unanswered questions continue to pile, my own theories of what will happen continue to be built, this is turning out to be a great great read. A fantasy series after a long time and it is turning out to be worth every penny spent.

There was a gap when i had completed “A Game Of Thrones” and was waiting for “A Clash of Kings”. Got “The Motorcycle Diaries” to read during a day time train travel. Removing the hype around Che Guevara, it was a travelogue through unknown places in South America. Their unflinching desire to explore their continent on a 500cc bike did inspire a lot. The book also captures plight of mine workers, the native incan, the sorry state of the hospitals etc etc and how it transforms Che through out the journey. But to me it was more of a travelogue of two relentless travelers which urges you to explore the world.

As of now and for few more months from now, it will be “A Song Of  Ice And Fire”.

Ponniyin Selvan

This is going to be a review of the first ever Tamil novel i read recently and not about a junk tamil movie that got released in 2005. The book turned out to be quite interesting one. I was struck by Kalki’s imagination, it appears as though everything happens right in front of the eyes. His depiction and the way the characters are introduces is awesome. So elaborate in explanation and so poetic in description kalki wins easily in delivering what was intended. The book also gave a great insight into the Tamil Nadu history and about the medeival chozha empire. The book gives a good description about most of the kings, clans and habits that existed during that time period. Kalki makes use of every available opportunity to provide some historical reference. His characters also highlight the practices that was followed during that time. There were places where Kalki changes the history for the sake of the story, but they were acceptable.

The story starts with “Vallavaraiyan Vanthiyathevan” a vanar kulam prince, taking a message from Aditya Karikalan to his sister Kundavai and king. Later the story plunges into the fight for the chozha throne with  unimaginable stories inter wined which keeps you thinking till you complete the end of the story. Believe me even after the story ends, you might be confused about few parts of the book.  He takes you through the city and Kalki explains the history and beauty of the cities through his eyes and thoughts. His job does not end with that and he gets tasks one by one and we are mostly introduced to the characters through him. Just like the cities,  Kalki explains the beauty of the princesses and their nature through Vanthiyathevan eyes. Kalki provides a very very elaborate description about the characters when they are introduced into the story, so that you get a mental picture of the character. That is the strength of the novel. Kalki has the strength to make you like a character or make it detestable. Kalki imagination seems to gone a bit higher whenever the princesses are involved. The comparisons he makes to compare their beauty is unmatchable.  One more interesting character is Azhwarkadiyaan, it is through him Kalki portrays the feud that existed between  shaivaites and vaishnavaites at that time. Vanthiyathevan is the most adorable character in the book  and at times he steals the limelight from the actual “Ponniyin Selvan“. The princesses Kundavai, Vanathi, Poonguzhali and Nandini are lovable. There are many other characters involved in the book who are important in their own aspect, which you will know when you read the book. Once i started reading the first volume, i could not control my curiosity and i kept reading till i completed it. I am planning to read it once again, as i am completely mesmerized by the book. It does deserve a second reading. Also next in line is “Sivakaamiyin Sabatham” and “Parthiban Kanavu” from Kalki.

Suggestion: Better grab a copy instead of searching for online copies. The book is too good to get disappointed and does not cost much also.