Friday, August 21, 2020

The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple), by Agatha Christie

The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple), by Agatha Christie

Bored, a group of people are thinking of ways to entertain themselves and they somehow manage to land on the intriguing topic of murder. They find the topic of murder fascinating in a morbid sort of way. They come up with a kind of game. Each person is to take turns and tell the others a mystery, and not just any mystery but a murder mystery. It has to be true and only they knew the identity of the murderer. At the end, the others have to guess who the murderer is. That is literally the plot of the entire book, except for a murder that is committed at the end. It wouldn’t be an Agatha Christie novel without a murder. The game is played on two separate occasions with different groups of people, but the concept is the same. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

4.50 From Paddington, by Agatha Christie

4.50 From Paddington: Miss Marple Series Book 8, by Agatha Christie

Two trains running parallel to each other. A one-in-a-million glance out of a window. And… a murder. 

This was all it took to turn the lives of the Crackenthorpe family upside down. Elspeth McGillicuddy was the one who started the chain of events that changed the lives of the Crackenthorpe family forever. It all started one day when she was travelling in a train to meet her relatives. It would have been quite a normal train ride and nothing out of the ordinary had she not looked out of the window. You see, it was one of those rare moments that two trains going in opposite directions slowed down at the same time. This momentary slowing of the trains meant that if the occupants of either train were to glance out of their windows, they would have been able to see into the compartments of the other train. 

This was exactly what happened to Elspeth McGillicuddy. She had innocently glanced out of the window but what she saw, made her blood run cold. In the compartment of the other train, was a man slowly strangling a woman. In a daze, she continued to watch until both trains moved away. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Six Spellmakers Of Dorabji Street

The Six Spellmakers Of Dorabji Street, by Shabnam Minwalla

Okay, I know that I say a lot of books are my favourites and they are the best books I’ve read but the list keeps on changing with time. This book however is one of the few that always remains in my top 10 ten favourite books. 

The story goes something like this…. Nivi, and her family move into Cosy Castle, one of the many buildings on the quiet Dorabji Street. They quickly make friends with the children in the building and they have many fun filled days. Little do the children know about the terrible storm brewing silently in the form of their neighbours. Old Mrs.Kotadia and vindictive Mrs.Braganza hate the daily cricket matches of the boys and the giggling girls in the garden. They are determined to stop the fun and games in any way that they can. 

The children are horrified when they find out that their precious bimbli trees are going to be cut down. They know that they have to act fast before their beloved trees are gone forever. Well, the only way to do this was magic….. Find out how Saritha, Nivi, Vijay, Rehaan, Nikhil and Vijay fight and try to defeat their evil neighbours. Well, you might think what’s so great about this that it’s one of my favourite books. 

The story sounds interesting enough but nothing spectacular so why do I love it so much. The answer is that the author has written it so well that you are entertained throughout the book. Some people my age might find the story uninteresting or boring but to me it’s amazing. I’ve been reading this book since 4th grade and I still love it. The jokes and humour in the book remain fresh and never fail to make me laugh. I also like how the main plot of the story is something that could happen to any kid. I am amazed at how well the author created an amazing story out of a simple idea. 

© 2020, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Da Vinci Code: (Robert Langdon Book 2), by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code: (Robert Langdon Book 2), by Dan Brown

That was it. I had nothing else to say after I read this book. No words can do this book justice.
Despite saying that I’m still going to try, note the key word here is ‘try’ to describe my experience.

Here goes my try.

The prologue literally yells for your attention. It’s like a Venus flytrap that coaxes you in with its pretty appearance and smell but the moment you’re close it traps you. After reading the prologue you cannot, I repeat CANNOT, leave the book because the prologue is about a murder. And as we know murders in books don’t reveal anything - not even the tiniest clue, but they let you in enough to make you curious.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

A month ago I was basically at a stage where I was reading books all the time and did that for about two weeks until I realised that I didn’t have any new books to read. I found this in my bookshelf while searching for something to read.

My sister had actually told me about it but I hadn’t paid much attention to it until then.

Ready Player One is a science-fiction book. It’s set mostly in a virtual world called the OASIS. In a world crumbling and a destroyed economy, the OASIS is the escape of millions. With a pair of gloves and a headset, even the poorest could use the OASIS. To get a better idea, imagine a world, perfect in every aspect and you have the OASIS. With millions of planets and thousands of quests to prove your worth, the OASIS can make even the poorest feel rich, albeit virtually. Well, perhaps that isn’t completely true. There is a chance, one chance to become the richest person alive. The Hunt.

Encyclopedia Brown, by Donald J Sobol

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detectiveby Donald J. Sobol

OK fine, I know this series is kind of kiddish for my age. But while I’m stuck at home, I’ve been dying for books to read. And this series was something I hadn’t re-read in a long time so I decided to read it.

There are quite a few books in this series and I have three of them. The Encyclopedia Brown series is about a ten year old boy named Leroy Brown aka Encyclopedia due to his knowledge about the smallest trivia and his knack of noticing things most people would ignore.

Each book has around 10 stories about the various mysteries and cases he solves along with the help of his partner Sally Kimball.

Sounds quite simple and not that complicated. Well, that’s exactly what I love about this series. I mean most of the books I read have complex plots, at least three subplots and a million other complicated mysteries to solve along with a race against time to save the world or something. Don’t get me wrong I love all of those books and they are thrilling to read. But amidst all of these complex and complicated books its kind of refreshing to have a book that’s just so simple and has mysteries about missing cookies. This simplicity is what makes me want to read this book when I’m not in the mood for a long thrilling mystery.

And most of the mysteries are pretty easy to solve if you just pay attention to the details. Most of the answers are just staring at you in the face but you don’t notice it until Encyclopedia points it out and solves the mystery. It might seem kiddish but amidst the races against time and mysterious death threats, this series is quite different.

© 2020, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories, by R.J. Palacio

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories, by R.J. Palacio

This is another book in the Wonder series. The first book called Wonder, is about a young boy named Auggie, whose face is, well, not exactly normal. Having being home schooled all his life, Auggie is in for a rude shock when he finds out that he has to start attending normal school. The rest of the book talks about Auggie’s journey through school and the troubles he faces and the things he discovers. Throughout the book there are parts told from other characters points of view and how they feel about Auggie.

Friday, March 20, 2020

My Rubik’s Cube Experience

Solving the Rubik's Cube

I am writing about one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Well, you can probably guess from the title, I’m talking about my experience with a Rubik’s Cube. Let’s start at the beginning…….

(5th grade summer holidays)

I’d had a Rubik’s cube at home for as long as I could remember. I used to fiddle and play with it even though it was not one of the smoothest cubes. After some time, I began to ask my father how to solve it. He knew only how to solve one face and tried to teach me. I soon figured it out and could solve one face on my own. I was now one step closer to my goal. After practicing how to solve one face, I wanted to be able to solve the whole cube. I looked online but didn’t understand anything. I slowly forgot about the cube until….

(7th grade)

It was a new year and a few weeks had gone by. This was when I became interested in the Rubik’s cube again. It was a time when everyone in school was obsessed with Rubik’s Cubes. I saw many people in my school roaming around with cubes in my hands. At that time even my friends were interested, even obsessed with their cubes and I used to feel left out. I thought if they can solve cubes why can’t I.

It was a long process since I had to learn layer by layer. For those who don’t know, while solving a Rubik’s Cube we must first solve one layer, or one tier.

To get a clear picture, imagine that you are looking at a cube and are holding it in such a way that white is facing the top and yellow is facing the bottom (you can find out which face corresponds to what color by looking at the centerpieces. The red center corresponds to the red color, blue to the blue color, etc.). If a person solves a cube starting with white, you will know the first layer is solved when the entire white face is solved and each of the sides (except yellow) will have a strip of the same color (the green side has a strip of green, orange side has a strip of orange, etc..). A picture is given below.

When the second layer is solved it looks as if two tiers have been solved and so on. There are millions of methods to solve a cube but the one I used needed only 3 algorithms and they were pretty easy. It does help if you know how to solve one face as it is then easier to get the cross at the start. It was quite frustrating when I first started to learn, and I could even see it on my friend’s face when she was teaching me. I didn’t know what to turn, how to get a piece in place despite being taught a million times, and how to remember the steps for each layer. However, it was worth it, since very few things could have given me the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment I felt when I finally slid all 3 layers in place and saw the solved cube. It was one of the best and most irritating weeks of my life.

I personally felt that the second layer was the hardest when I was learning how to solve a cube, though I even used to get stuck on the third layer. After learning I just practiced and practiced till, I could solve it comfortably. Then came the best part. I was asked by my parents to teach my sister. It was amazing as finally, it was I who got to yell and scold her and not the other way around. The joy I felt because it was I, the younger one teaching the elder one. Ahhhh…….

After learning how to solve a normal 3-by-3 I learnt how to solve a ‘mirror cube’ which is basically like a normal cube with 6 faces, but it doesn’t have any color and all the pieces are of different sizes, so it is slightly tougher to solve. It helps if you learn how to solve a 3-by-3 before attempting a mirror cube as you use the same algorithms in both. After the mirror cube, I learnt how to solve a 2-by-2 which is pretty easy and very similar to a 3-by-3. I am currently learning how to solve a pyramid cube.

Well, you have read about my experience so why don’t you try it out on your own and learn how to solve a cube, as I can guarantee that it will be amazing and you will never forget the feeling when you finally solve a cube on your own and slide the layers into pace.

© 2020, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Wings of Fire books 1-5 by Tui T. Sutherland

Wings of Fire: Books 1-5, by Tui T. Sutherland


Wings of Fire #01: The Dragonet ProphecyWings of Fire #02: The Lost HeirWings of Fire #03: The Hidden KingdomWings of Fire #04: The Dark SecretWings of Fire #05: The Brightest Night

A fight for succession to the throne. A war that has dragged almost all the tribes into it. A war that has destroyed the peace and calm of the land. Blood and killing everywhere and only five dragonets who can stop it.

Set in the dragon land of Pyrrhia, the first five books revolve around a mysterious prophecy and the fight for the throne of the SandWings. The three SandWing sisters, Blister, Burn and Blaze have dragged all the tribes into their war and are still fighting even after twenty years.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie - Review

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

From the title you can kind of guess what this book’s going to be about. I mean ‘And then there were none’ makes it sound like there were some at the start and then something happened to them and then it became none. When I say it like this, it doesn’t sound remarkable or memorable, but Agatha Christie takes this simple phrase and spins it into an unforgettable story.

Ten people are invited to the out of the way Soldier Island situated in Devon. All of them invited by a certain Mr. and Mrs. Owen. None of them have any idea that the others are coming. An odd collection they are. A judge, a governess, a doctor, two caretakers, a retired army general… well you get the idea. Upon reaching they are escorted to their rooms and are informed their mysterious host and hostess aren’t there. Unsure about what’s happening they decide to dine but what they don’t realize is that after that dinner nothing would be the same.