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Friday, May 6, 2016

The Trials Of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle

Title: The Trials Of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle

Author: Rick Riordan

After the previous five-book-series of The Heroes Of Olympus, Rick Riordan is back again to give his readers a story from Greek myth - The Hidden Oracle- the first book in the next saga The Trials Of Apollo.

Since the book has been released only this week, I am not detailing the story. No spoilers!

The story revolves around the Greek God of Sun, Music, Archery and a “bunch of other stuff”, the Lord Apollo, who falls to the Earth after being punished by his father Lord Zeus to undergo several trials and prove his worth before getting restored in his godly form in Olympus again.

The book starts with the heroic landing of the sun God in a pile of garbage in an alley in West Manhattan as a dorky sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester Papadopoulos. The mortal, powerless Lester is forced to serve Meg(Margaret), an untrained demigod in of the Manhattan streets. Their bonding, and their adventures before they reach Camp Half Blood, and an unofficial quest to find the hidden oracle of Dodona is the crux of the story.

This book brings us back many of the characters whom we adore like Percy, Chiron, Will, Nico and even Mrs O’Leary. And towards the end of the book, there is an amazing entry of Leo Valdez with his pet metal dragon Festus. But somehow, when I read the book, I did not feel the same charm that Percy or Leo used to bring, back in the old series. I felt Percy was less cool. He was not the Percy I knew six months earlier(time period according to the book), and I didn’t know Percy can become such an all-time-worried chap from the happy go lucky guy that he was within such a short time. Leo, too, had changed too much. And in all parts that they appeared, I was telling myself: There is something wrong with them. What is it? Probably nothing is. But I don’t know.

The new characters are charming as ever. I especially loved Meg and her pet karpoi named Peaches. Apollo in the form of Lester is also super cool. One other character whom I loved was Harley, son of Hephaestus.

I liked the parts when Apollo was not able to accept and come to terms with the fact that he wasn't a God anymore but a mere mortal. The parts in which Apollo forgets that he is in mortal form without any powers, but talks like a God in his mortal voice, is very funny, and for poor Apollo- it is pathetic!

The book was totally cool. The plot was amazing and there was a very unexpected twist in the end. It was an awesome read!

Thanks, Riordan!

Now, the wait for the next book- The Hammer Of Thor in the Magnus Chase series- begins!

Monday, March 28, 2016

To Kill A Mockingbird

Title: To Kill A Mockingbird

Author: Harper Lee

Six-year-old Jean Louise Finch, fondly known as Scout, and her elder brother Jeremy Finch, or Jem for short, live with their father Atticus Finch, a lawyer, in the tired old racist town of Maycomb, Alabama. One summer, they get introduced to a boy named Charles Harris Baker, who shortly called himself Dill. Dill, Scout and Jem start playing and spending a lot of time together. They are terrified, but also amazed, at their neighbour Arthur “Boo” Radley whom they have never seen and who hasn’t come out of his home for many years. Once, Dill dares Jem to touch the wall of the Radley mansion just to prove he wasn’t afraid. They do many things and work out many plans to make Boo Radley come out of his house. After the summer, Dill goes back to his family and, Scout and Jem are left to themselves.

While walking back home from school, Jem and Scout discover small  gifts like bubblegum and wrappers in a tree-hole in the Radley’s place. Deciding that those who discover things are the owners until somebody else’s ownership is proven, they start taking the gifts. They get a packet of bubble gums, a small figurine of themselves, a wristwatch and many other assorted gifts. Jem writes a letter to the person thanking him for the gifts. The next day, they see Mr. Radley, Boo Radley’s father sealing the tree hole with cement. They are disappointed that they can’t get any more gifts, but in time forget about it.

Meanwhile, Atticus is posted to defend innocent Tom Robinson, a black man, accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell.  Atticus fights his best and proves why Tom Robinson hadn’t done it. But, Maycomb, steeped in racism, had never delivered a case in favour of the coloured and is also not prepared to do so. Tom Robinson is unfairly convicted. Atticus and Jem completely lose faith in the law of the country. But Atticus destroys Ewell’s last thread of public pride. Due to this, Ewell swears to kill Atticus. Jem, Scout and Atticus fear the attack but it does not happen for many days. Also, the town of Maycomb starts abusing Atticus as a "nigger-lover", and blames him for letting his children mix even with the coloured. They blame him for setting a bad example.

On Halloween night, sly Mr. Ewell attacks Jem and Scout in the dark while they return from a party. Jem gets badly hurt and Scout does not understand what is happening. At that point, a mysterious man saves Jem and Scout and take them home. After going home, Atticus calls the doctor to check on Jem’s broken hand. They go back to the place of attack and find Ewell dead. Meanwhile, Scout finds out that it was Boo Radley who had saved Jem and her. She immediately stops fearing Boo Radley, goes up to him and thanks him. She gets to know that it was Boo who left them all their small gifts.

Atticus is under the assumption that Jem killed Ewell, while Atticus’s friend Mr. Tate believes Boo did it. But finally, they conclude that Ewell fell on his own knife and killed himself: like what happens to those who kill a mockingbird!

Scout goes to drop Boo Radley in his place. Boo Radley goes inside his home, and that is the last time they see him. The story ends by Scout feeling bad to have not given Boo anything even after he has given them so much.

I like Dill and Scout the best. They are really charming and insane with their ideas. I love them. The best part in the book was when Scout met Boo Radley in the end. I like Boo Radley very much too. 

The book is all about respecting people because they are people and not on the basis of colour. It talks about overcoming the stereotypes and fighting the right battle. The book was really nice. I loved it.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Lazy Girl's Guide To Being Fit

Title: The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Being Fit

Author: Namrata Purohit

Do you pick the fattest book from the library so that you can just sit and read all day? Do you feel lazy to pick up a glass of water for yourself even when you are a little thirsty? Do you look at the mirror and know that you are going a little extra in some places but just ignore them, convincing yourself that you will slim down once you start working out? And do you always resolve that you will start working out regularly from the next day onward? Well, Namrata Purohit’s ‘The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Being Fit’ basically asks you to stop thinking too much about it and rather start moving. That would show better results, really, and then you can still read your fat book!

So, what should we be doing? The first thing, the book says, is start! Dance, jump, run, kick, play, walk, squat, stretch- just do something! You won’t and can’t lose all your extra fat in a month. But you surely will- gradually. Namrata, in the book, asks us to have SMART goals: simple, measurable, achievable, reasonable and time-bound.

The book discusses various exercise routines, and also talks about a healthy balanced diet and the benefits of exercising. It talks about motivating yourself. Start, and you won’t stop, the book says. It gives tips as to how to continue some workout routine even on long holidays.  

At the end of the read our motivation is renewed. And, we decide to start our exercise regimen from the next day onward…

Oh gods, no! Let’s start today. Let’s start now!