Of books and thrillers : Lost World & Girl on the Train

Last year I was at my slowest reading speed. I managed to finish less than a dozen books through the year – a dismal change from the usual 35 plus. So, it was part of proving myself wrong, and part of utter boredom which led me to reading nearly 10 books in the first three months of this year.

Of the books that I read some stand out more than the others. Two of them were classics, one pop fiction and one newly released bestseller. So I will club two and two together and tell you what I felt.

First up: The pop-fiction book I wanted to read this year was another of Michael Crichton’s. After reading Jurassic Park last year and having nightmares for some days about blood-clot eyes and sharp claws outside my window, I knew it was a genre a liked. Enjoyed is a more precise word. So I borrowed my roomie’s copy of The Lost World (by Crichton again, and not the one by Conan Doyle) and sat down with it in the reading nook, hidden from view.

The Lost World

The book is fast paced and full of information which may or may not be handy to anyone. It is not life changingly beautiful writing, but then sometimes you want to read something just for the thrill of it. Some concepts I had were questioned in this book, with mundane information like how plants start producing poison to not let herbivores graze near them, or how giraffes have longer necks to avoid the thorns of a particular plant found in Africa. You know, all that! The thing is, most of us who grew up in the 90’s had seen the Steven Spielberg movies. And you know what happens. Even if the original story is slightly different, you know the people you are routing for survives. And some of them have to die to let the story take on some amount of seriousness. My favourite part about the book? The scene/ plot where they expect the dinosaurs to have certain humane characteristics and they turn around and attack instead. Fast paced. Yes. Finished in 3 days (and I have very, very average reading speed). Meanwhile, The Lost World is more easily available in stores and portals than the original, Jurassic Park. Which by the way had my heart racing through out!

March seemed to be best suited for thrillers. And therefore the second book I will write about today is Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On The Train. Released in February, it was soon to follow the trend set by Gone Girl and Nobody Is Ever Missing. Unlike Gone Girl this isn’t just about a psychotic or deranged woman. What it does have in common is marital discord and some amount of trust issues. The book ties together three women and their lives through anecdotes and incidents. But most of all what I found fascinating was the fact that Hawkins actually found a plot for a thriller from the intensely personal habit of voyeurism. The main character of the book – she could either be the victim or the perpetrator of the crime – has a habit of looking out of the train everyday as she passes through London. That coupled with her alcoholic nature makes for terrible things that happen to her soon after she gets kicked out her job, meets a stranger on the train and regains consciousness on a dark road with a bleeding head.

The girl on the train

Let’s just say, while it’s not a Gone Girl or Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, it surely will make you read till the end without stopping. However, neither of these books are what I would call repeat reading worthy. But that is absolutely your choice.

That’s it for now. I must get back to my coffee and book. Kurt Vonnegut awaits.

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