The Book of Tomorrow

The Book of TomorrowCecelia Ahern, born on 30 September 1981 is an Irish novelist. In addition to publishing several novels, she has also contributed a number of short stories to various anthologies. She wrote her first novel when she was 21 (P.S. I love you) which was also adapted into a major motion picture. All her other successive novels were number one bestsellers. Her books have collectively sold over ten million copies and counting.

The Book of Tomorrow is narrated by a 16 year old, Tamara Goodwin, who is a rich, spoilt teenager who usually gets what she demands. Tamara, her mother Jennifer and her father live in Killiney, Dublin in a six bedroom contemporary mansion by the city with a swimming pool, a tennis court and a private beach. She has all the comforts a girl wants – a Jacuzzi with a plasma TV, a wardrobe with designer clothes, accessories, a computer, gaming consoles, etc.

One day, her entire world is turned upside down when they find out her father had committed suicide, as he had many unpaid debts from property investments. Due to all this, the mother and daughter have to give up all that they ever owned and move to the countryside to live with Uncle Arthur and Aunt Rosaleen.

Tamara and her mother have to make big changes in their life routines to adjust to the life in the countryside. Instead of going shopping, Tamara is forced to have big breakfasts made by Aunt Rosaleen or take long walks exploring the place.
One such day, she finds the ruins of a castle which has burnt down years ago and a garden. In the garden, she meets Sister Ignatius who eventually became her friend.

After sometime a traveling library comes to their town and Tamara goes to visit in search of some kind of entertainment in her monotonous life.
She finds a leather-bound book with a tight gold clasp and a padlock without any title or name of the author. Curious as she is, she takes Sister Ignatius’ help to open the book and finds that it is blank. She decides to keep the book as her journal.

What happened, blows Tamara’s mind and takes her breath away. Every morning when she wakes up she finds a diary entry in her own handwriting for the following day. Other weird things also begin to occur, such as Aunt Rosaleen keeping an unusually close tab on Tamara.
After many inquiries and investigations, she finds out that the castle ruins belonged to a Lawrence Kilsaney who is Tamara’s real father.

Cecelia has done remarkable job writing from the point of view of a 16 year old and the plot is built up really well.
The one major issue I have with this book is that there was no real explanation for the book of tomorrow. What happens to it in the end? Nobody knows. It felt unsatisfying or incomplete rather, not knowing about that mysterious book. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading and teaches us to make everyday magical and live it like your last.

“I used to think that it was better to have too much than too little, but now I think if the too much was never supposed to be yours, you should just take what is yours and give the rest back.”

Kethelene Antony




Chicken Soup for the Teenage SoulChicken soup for the soul, edited by Amy New Mark is a collection of 101 stories depicting the different aspects of teenage life i.e., the challenges, lessons learned and the ups and downs a teenager might experience.

 These stories are written by teenagers, who wrote about their friends, families, love, challenges, loss and other many lessons one have learned.

The book is divided into chapters, each depicting each and every aspect of teenage life.

The book has stories on true friendship, which calls for being loyal, being reliable, kind hearted and thoughtful.

There are stories on self acceptance and accepting others, which focuses on respecting each ones individuality and accept him/her the way he/she is, as no one is perfect. The individuals’ experiences on strong family ties were really inspiring.

The stories under the topic reaching for the stars were worth reading. The memorable lines from one of the stories reminded me to stay focused ,”If you don’t go after what you want, you will never have it.

If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

If you don’t step forward, you are always in the same place.”

I loved reading this book and did learn a lot from reading it. It is interesting and fun, sharing the stories with friends and siblings.

Being a teenager, one experiences a lot of changes and challenges, reading others experiences motives one and helps one to stay focused.

Siddharth Chauhan


Kane and Abel

Kane and AbelThe author, Jeffrey Archer is a prolific writer in English literature and also a former politician. He was a member of Parliament (1969-74) and deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party (1985-86). He was made a life-peer in 1992. His political career ended with his conviction and subsequent imprisonment. He is also The Lord Archer of Western-super-Mare. His book “Not a Penny more, Not a Penny less” was first published in the autumn of 1976. His best-selling work thus-far has been ‘Kane and Abel’, along with the critical acclaim garnered by ‘The Eleventh Commandment’ and ‘The Gospel according To Judas’.

The book “Kane and Abel” is his second book in his ‘Kane and Abel’ series. The book tells us about two men born worlds apart. One born to a “Boston Brahmin” family (William Lowell Kane) in the United States and the other one being Wladek Koskiewicz (later renamed as Abel Rosnovski) is born in a situation of great poverty and eventually migrates to the United States of America. They have nothing in common other than the same Date of Birth, i.e., 18th April, 1906, and zeal to succeed in life by hook or by crook.

The best review till date of this book has been by Dan Brown who simply summarizes the book as “The Ultimate novel of Sibling Rivalry”.  But this cannot be the case as they only share a birth date and nothing else. This novel is a modernistic approach on the Biblical tale of two brothers- Cain and Abel. Based on the accolades received by this book and its originality of the situation we can conclude that this is Lord Archer’s finest works. He has dug out situations from actual occurrences in history and twisted it to create a dazzling work of fiction.

The author’s emphasis on the history of the actual plot beats the styles of master writers like Shakespeare, R.L. Stevenson, Lord Byron, Sir A. Doyle and other famous figures in literature. He believes in letting the readers know first-hand what led to a situation. He even goes on to name important institutions and people like Harvard University, Columbia University, St.Paul’s school, John F. Kennedy, The Titanic, British Consulate, American army generals and many other references. By highlighting instances where Abel is packed off to a concentration camp in Eastern Siberia, the molestation of Florentyna in broad daylight by German soldiers, the gambling habit of Henry Osborne, the opposition to love marriages, The Great Depression, Corporate loop-holes in America, and the ill-treatment of expatriates in the host country, Archer takes a shot at reducing the amount of respect given to the winning cause.

Though the book may seem pretty long for the average reader, it turns out that once you pick up this book, you don’t want to put it down. The story is so wonderfully put across to the reader that we never can realize that every detail has an effect on the story. Along with his apt descriptions and simple vocabulary, Archer has mesmerized many readers. For many writers on topics like Economic Strategy, a need for familial support, silent killing and overall rivalry, this book has been considered their Bible.

Prathik Krishna


Safe Haven

Safe HavenSafe Haven is a very well written fictional book by Nicholas Sparks. The various emotions that human beings experience throughout their lifetime are brought about beautifully. It touches on love and friendship, trust and relationships, family, fear and more serious topic of domestic abuse.

The book is based on two main characters, Alex and Katie, Alex, whose wife is no more and takes care of his young children single handedly, was part of the CID department of the Army and now runs a shop in the small North Carolina town of South port. While Katie, new to the town and has a secretive background. The story tells us how they slowly get to know each other better and fall in love.

By this Katie’s past is revealed, her real name being Erin. She is a victim of domestic abuse. She is married to Kevin, who is portrayed as a person who attempts to show repentance by almost always quoting from the Bible. She also makes a friend Jo, She starts telling her everything but her past and her feelings for Alex.

When Kevin finds out Erin, his wife has changed her identity to Katie, their neighbors daughter who is no more. He goes to South port to hunt her down. When he finds out where she lives he tries to kill her, but because of drinking too much he passes away. She also is shocked when she finds out who Jo is.

Safe Haven is a very interesting book, with an engrossing story and very elegantly portrays the important parts of our lives- Love, Friendship, Fear and death.

Nithi K H


The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture Randy Pausch was an American, Computer Science Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania. Pausch was an outstanding contributor in the field of computer and graphic designing; His work can also be seen in The Walt Disney studios.  In 2006, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but his therapy sessions turned out to be unsuccessful.  When he found out that his life was coming to an end, he got to this study and started writing his last lecture.

The last lecture puts his whole life in a nut shell and teaches what life should be at the end of the day. The essence of his early life was refreshing since it surprised me in many ways. The details of his endurance during sessions with the doctor, his patience and foresight on his family’s life after his death was put forth brilliantly. While reading the book, I felt a sense of respect and took a liking to his approach on the whole situation. It made me realize that there is always another way of looking at every situation. It is not an easy task to deliver your last lecture knowing what you say was going to say will leave an imprint in society.” Artists would’ve painted, and musicians would’ve created music but I lectured”. The book elicited the sense of reason in me.” “Lucky” is a strange word to use to describe my situation, but a part of me does feel fortunate that I didn’t get hit by the proverbial bus. Cancer has given me the time to have these conversations with Jai (his wife) that wouldn’t be possible if my fate were a heart attack or a car accident.” The Positivity in his book was a reminder on so many things in life that we mistake or just ignore.  To look at the brighter side of life might be easier said than done, but Randy Pausch proved otherwise.

A great and an interesting book to read, and one that has something for everyone to learn.

 Swetha Lad


The Tale of Genji

The Tale of Genji

The Tale of Genji was written and published by MURASAKI SHIKIBU (c. 973 – c. 1014 or 1025), who was a novelist, poet and a lady in writing at the imperial court during the Heian period. Her real name is unknown, but she may have been from the Takako Fujiwara.

The Tale of Genji was published around the year 1011. Consisting of 54 chapters, it is generally considered to be the world’s first true novel, and thereby it occupies a critical role in the world‘s literary canon. It is almost universally acknowledged that this book is the finest flower of all Japanese literature, past or present.

The Tale of Genji offers an unparalleled glimpse into the spirit and grandeur of the Heian era of Japan, which extended from 794 A.D. to 1191, between the Nara and kamakura eras. During this era of peace and economic stability, an aristocracy controlled by the Fujiwara family dominated Japan, and the nation’s capital was at Kyoto. This period was a classic age of literary and art activities. Japan‘s culture was no longer largely taken from China. The Tale of Genji consists of two parts .Genji the hero of part one is the husband of the mother of Kaoru, the hero of part two and also the grandfather of Niou, kauro’s friend and nemesis.

 Each part of the novel is self contained, and each part, in form, is a different short novel. Genji’s story is about the whole arc of one man’s life- his mistakes and his virtues, his experiences and what he learns from them. Kaoru’s story begins when he is a young adult and follows the ramification of a single relationship, covering some seven or eight years. It seems to be unfinished. The conversations between characters are at times very well composed poetry of songs. The Tale of Genji also shows that the social arrangements in 10th century Japanese court are considerably different from ours. It is also about domestic rivalry and intrigue. Whatever might have been happening politically and militarily is entirely absent.

 The Buddhist world of 10th century Japan is at the forefront of the narrative. Monks and nuns are characters. Poetic pleas and responses always refer to the traditional images of the fleeting nature of love and life, which is also common, placed in the conversations of the characters with one another. In the 50 to 60 years covered by the novel, the fleeting and illusory nature of the world is invoked again and again – children are said to be too beautiful for the world, death strikes suddenly, blossoms fall, seasons pass. 1100 pages seem long but yet short.

Srividya Sundram


Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 DaysJules Verne, French author helped in pioneering the science-fiction genre. He is best known for his novels Journey to the Center of the Earth (written in 1864), From the Earth to the Moon [1865], Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea [1869-1870], and Around the World in Eighty Days [1873]. Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater travel before navigable aircraft and practical submarines were invented, and before any means of space travel had been devised. Consequently he is often referred to as the “Father of science fiction”, along with H. G. Wells. Verne is the second most translated author of all times, only behind Agatha Christie.

We are going round the world  in eighty days so we have a moment to lose”. Mr. Phileas Fogg tells his confused servant, Jean Passepartout. In Around the World in 80 Days, Jules Verne tells of travel and exploration, which he hoped would capture the attention of the mid-1800s society, which happened to have a growing interest in science. To do so, Verne uses a variety of literary techniques and elements. Although he does this very well, overall, the bad factors outweigh the good in this book.

Phileas Fogg, a wealthy, punctual perfectionist, makes a bet with some of his rich buddies: 20 thousand pounds that he can make a trip around the world in 80 days. Sounds easy with today’s technology-but in 1972, it was highly improbable, if not impossible! Fogg leaves London promptly, taking only his servant, some money, and a carpetbag with him. Will he make it around the world and back to London in time? Or will he be slowed down along the way, causing him to lose his fortune?

The setting, which is London 1872, is essential in making this story work. If it had not taken place in this time period, the story would be pointless. Say, for example, it were to take place in this day and age. With the technology now available, 80 days is more than enough time to visit tourist attractions in some of the famous cities of the world: New York, London, Paris, Cairo, Beijing, Hong Kong, and even Tokyo. However, in 1872, because transportation was much slower, it would have been very difficult to make this trip in this amount of time.

The characterization in this piece impacts the events, the plot, and of course, the audiences perception of the characters and their actions tremendously. Phileas Fogg has a habit of keeping the same routine, day in and day out, down to the exact minute. His tendency of being so timely allows Fogg to stay right on schedule, and even see where problems may occur in the future so he can allow extra time for such hold-ups. Passepartout, Foggs French servant is very loyal and holds true to this throughout the book. This loyalty ensures that he sticks with Fogg through the entire trip, danger or no danger.

The plot, while very drawn-out and uneventful most of the time, does have occasional moments of action. The book has a rescue scene, as well as a love story. These rare interest-grabbers allow the reader to acquire quick glimpses of the characters, attributes and emotions.

This also  gives one a feeling of having travelled around the world through Phileas Fogg and Passpertout as they travel all over using their balloon air, and other transportation. The book gave me the feel of travelling to all the places that Jules Verne had mentioned in his Around the World in Eighty Days.

Shreyas S  Nair

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