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@Elif_Safak Why I have come to love her!

With busy lives, it becomes even more difficult to take out time to read. But read I do, holiday, transit during traveling in metros or during long drives. Since I have considerably reduced the books I review I thought it was only fair to put out some of the reads I picked up but never really got a chance to review them. This post is not just about those books but this is about Elif Safak, how I stumbled on one of her books and then fell deeply in love, not just with her writing but about Turkey. There is something that makes you just fall in love with her characters, they are balanced, relatable with deep back history that make them very rounded.

Image result for The Forty Rules of Love

Forty rules of love: This was my very first book of hers. I stumbled upon her book in full circle bookstore in Khan Market, I’d have to credit the bookstore which is one of the few which prided themselves of storing books from all parts of the world rich in culture and critically acclaimed across the world. Thus I picked the book and kept reading till I could read no more; just like that I finished the book in less than 24 hours on a work week. Because I had read Rumi before in college so I had a good context. It is through Shams of Tabriz and Rumi which got featured in Sweet Blasphemy which was being reviewed by Ella; that we come across the forty rules of love. This has been very layered and was not an easy first read but the book is captivating till the end.

Other books of hers I have come to love, that you must pick up are:

The architects apprentice

The three daughters of eve

The bastards of Istanbul

This book and the others mentioned above are from personal collection. 

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Posted by on April 17, 2018 in books, fiction, Literary Fiction

 

Wonder by @RJPalacio

I Wonder how I picked this book. For one I was at a bookstore and was drawn to it. It did not have much of an excerpt but I read the reviews on the cover, I went around, looked at other books and kept coming back. It was one of those days when I did not want to read something heavy, I was moody and I needed something soothing. All I remember reading “do yourself a favor and read the book” and I did. Two days and several bouts of tears later there I was sad that it was over! Been so utterly moved.

There are a million things running through my mind at the moment, I have just finished watching the movie and I have relived Auggie. Kindness is a virtue long forgotten but it is the very thing that sets us apart. A life far from ordinary is not an easy one, for a preconceived notion is hard to alter but like the author says “Why be ordinary when you were born to be different!” that is Auggie for you. What was typically a children’s book gave me a perspective about life like no other. I wept when Daisy breathed her last, I was hurt when Jack Will was just like those other mean kids, it was hard not to be angry at Miranda or feel Via’s neglect or that nervous trepidation of a mother who wants the best for her child but always worried if her choices were the right one.
Wonder, it shows you how life is, true and sometimes harshly so. But it also shows how kindness, perseverance, love and bravery triumphs it all. It teaches us of value systems that our generation needs in a world of materialism. This is one of those books, I am going to hand this book down to my kid when he /she is of readable age. T

It is a sensitive topic without being too preachy. If you are a parent or parent to be, or a kid going to school, a kid who is an older sibling, or a kid who has a ‘special’ kid at school or if you are just a person who needs a random read which will make you feel good and feel good about life, this is it!

If you are not much of a reader (which would be a shame because the book is really good!) then don’t forget to watch the movie! You can thank me later 🙂
This book is from a personal collection!
 
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Posted by on March 14, 2018 in books

 

The Perils of Being Moderately Famous Book by @sakpataudi

I’ve been seeing book promotions for this one and I really wanted to read this, purely based on curiosity since I saw some news articles where Soha Ali Khan had owned the internet trolls (yes I do shamelessly read the gossip columns too) Just saying but it is actually her command over the language (I read the excerpt on kindle before buying it) that truly made me read this.

_691433c4-c6a8-11e7-a37e-1053cac6ca52What I absolutely loved about the book was the candidness, the flow of language, the little anecdotes that made the book so relatable and  endearing.

There were portions I laughed out loud where Soha came across as someone who wanted to be modest but flaunted her illustrious background trying to be extremely subtle about it. She is entitled we know but the little things like being on a bus for the first time, that two bhk apartment was tiny accordingly to her; may seem pretentious when you compare it to the overall Indian standard of life, you tend to scorn. But the perspective remains that she is an erstwhile princess and after the end of dynastic rule the fortunes changed needs to be remembered in perspective in order to truly enjoy the book.

My favourite parts of the book was the parts about Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, where she narrated his obsession with the landline and how he was frugal in his choice of words as well. As an outsider there was a twinge of pain almost relating to how she still spoke to her dad (dad’s grave) and how despite being from such an illustrous family her parents’ endeavored to give her a normal life. The tiny faux pas, her boy friends, her pregnancy was relatable and in some ways very lovable.

I can’t say this enough, her language is what I just couldn’t get enough. This book is very well written, Soha’s command of the language, the lil nuances and those anecdotes that made the book such a brilliant read. If you didn’t already find her feisty, level headed and knowledgeable this book will totally change your mind.

Pick this book up for a nice, entertaining, quick read.

This book is from my personal collection.

 

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2018 in book review, books

 

#BookReview The Book of Chocolate Saints by @jeetthayil

The book of chocolate saints

This was one of the most difficult books to read and review. Difficult because this is not an idyllic read, I tried reading it on the go, like my other reads, sometimes multitasking while listening to the radio but losing it once in a while, that’s when I realized my mind was wandering and also that this needed a lot more of time.

What I loved about the book is the language. Lucid, easy flowing and just so beautiful that I could actually picturize Bombay back in time. Literary fiction is my favourite genre and it is hard to come by a book which is so well written. Makes me think why an Indian writer of this calibre is not celebrated as much as they should. Jeet Thayil surely has set the standard so high and has become aspirational to all Indian authors. It is really shocking that this is the same author who was almost written off for his earlier outing.

To be honest this has not been an easy read, I had to read and reread portions and found my attention wavering but it is the writing that kept me coming back. I have not read (my shortcoming) about the modern poets of the 70s and 80s and it took some background reading to get the context at first but then it grew on me.

Lengthy commentary, this is a book about modern poets their struggle to be interpreted or seek relevance took commentary to a whole new level where one wonders where the lines between fact and fiction is blurred. For example there are mentions of Moraes, Dhasal and Kolatkar who are mentioned with their real names. On the other hand one keeps wondering if the character Dismas Bambai resembles the author himself. Maybe the author wanted to draw references to real people to ensure that the reader has some reference point.

This is never going to be an easy read. But if you are looking for a good read which challenges you in more ways than one, then surely pick this up. What a delightful read it was! More than anything it lead me to actually read up and gather a background, which opened newer avenues and I ended up knowing about these modern day poets much which I would have otherwise missed out.

Review is for Aleph Book Company but views are personal.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in books

 

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#BookReview: Looking for the Rainbow by @RealRuskinBond

download (1)I am a Ruskin Bond fan, always have been and I recon I always will. It is one of those things I never outgrew from my childhood and so grateful for that. In fact it is only as an adult I managed to read a lot of Ruskin Bond’s writing which earlier I had limited access to. Having personally met him last October, my awe of him has increased manifolds. And that’s me all euphoric and nostalgic about all things regarding Ruskin and that’s the kind of effect his writing has on you.

Looking for a rainbow is a much loved book and much anticipated for more reasons than one. This book came out on his 83rd birthday, it is about one of his most loved part of his childhood and is one of those rare times you get a peak into his personal life. I felt moved to tears purely because I always believed Ruskin Bond’s childhood would have been really fun, free with experiences that could only fuel his imagination that got him to write so beautifully and vividly that it changed so many generations of reading. If Enid Blyton is my favourite children’s author Ruskin Bond is my all time favourite. I can still read him, my travel books always one Ruskin, because his stories are just what you need. idyllic, speaks about a stress free life which brings you closer to nature that you miss out in the humdrum of life.

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Looking for a rainbow was an engaging read, I finished it under an hour and it was the best hour I spent. Ruskin takes us down his memory lane, he revisits his childhood and his time with his father. Like his stories, this part of his childhood is dotted with fun escapades, his exposure to Delhi, how his time with his father was about going to movies, his stamp collection and about being happy.

One of my key takeaways were that someday when I can, this is the childhood I’d love to give to my kids, because there is nothing more precious than the gift of time to loved ones, specially kids, because it is these experiences that shape your life.

Adult or a kid, this is one book you must read.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2017 in books

 

#BookReview : The Struggle by Meher Bani

 

 

What happens when you are in love? Reason flies out of the window, someone the perfect harmony between heart and mind is surprisingly not in sync anymore. Of course there are those happy aspects when you think life has a new meaning, you are glowing. And once the initial euphoria and normalcy kicks in is when the actual humdrum of life truly starts.

This is a typical love story, only that it is analysed from the woman’s point of view. It gives you a perspective and tells you her side of things. Why is that important? Well women are known to be the ‘complicated’ one and this truly gives you an insight into how she perceives of the world! A classic case of the mind and heart being at war.

What I liked about the book was that it was easy to read and had a nice flow to it. For a first time writer that truly is a bonus. This is one of those books that you take on your vacation. Lighthearted, relatable and it makes you smile. We all have been there, had those conversations, faced those challenges; but it is the kind that makes you reminisce. If you are a teen, then it is truly the kind you would need to get past those initial relationships. I for one found this totally relatable.

Go pick up the book, for writers do need a little encouragement.

 

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2017 in books

 

#BookReview Devi, Diva or She-Devil by @sudhamenon2006

Devi-Diva-or-She-Devil-254x405Books become special to you for the way they touch you or your life. I came across Devi, Diva or She-Devil at a very appropriate time in my life. There I was struggling to understand my career and the course it was taking and the way I was precariously managing home and all the while feeling guilty and out of breath. This book if not for the good read that it was, gave me a perspective, which is what it set out in the first place.

Let me tell you a little about Sudha Menon, and I have to add this because I think I am tad bit partial to her (not without reason). I met her (my very first author interview) at a quaint like cafe called the Wishing Chair in Shahpurjat a few years back. What I love best about her work, is her meticulous research, deep understanding and sensitivity of dealing with issues, which she presents most beautifully. Hence my admiration for her is dated and this book is just another book that I hold dear to me.

Like someone who is sitting on a higher branch telling you how things are, to make you understand that sometimes it is okay to be you, even if you are imperfect; Sudha Menon gives you a much needed perspective. It does not really matter if you are just a home maker or a workaholic professional; this book will resonate with you.

Told through detailed accounts by sportsperson Mary Kom, actor Lilette Dubey, Farah Khan, and other prominent successful women from the corporate and business world. This is a book that will resonate with every woman out there trying to battle guilt and do what they truly love and answer their true calling. A comment that struck me long after I was done with the book was  a woman’s choice of a spouse or partner could possibly be the most important factor in deciding the direction in which her career heads”. – Leena Nair, Unilever. You are startled to realize it is true even in today’s day and age.

There were so many moments where I found relatable, for a newly married working professional, this book was literally like a handbook. While it showed you the way life is, it gave you alternatives, it calmed your fears and in the end empowered you to pursue what the heart desired.

Whattey read! This is going to be one book I will keep going back to, for comfort and courage.

A must read.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in books

 

#BookReview The Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told by Arunava Sinha:

I had my eyes on this book for a while now. The hook was obvious, it was about stories from Bengal by illustrious authors of all time and thanks to Aleph Book Company I had the book.

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This book will always be a little special for me, there is a stench of nostalgia that is hard to miss. I reread stories which I had read in 10th standard in Bengali and I was reading it again after so many years. That is why I love all of Arunava Sinha’s translations. Be it Dozakhnama or this, the essense of the language is captured beautifully.

My favourite was Neela’s story in Jhor Brishti Bidyut. This short story is an amazing portrayal of our societal mindset with its biases and prejudices. Neela is iconic in more ways than one. Be it her ability to turn a personal tragedy to a more bearable situation or not hesitating to putting herself out there in a way to contribute to the family’s upbringing.

Of course a book of greatest short stories will have Tagore’s Kabuliwallah. Can’t get over the visuals that came to my mind as I read. These images were that of the protagonist’s father who is trying to put together his daughter’s wedding and then gives up his personal wish to empower another father just so that he could be home to be with his daughter after a long hiatus and much travesty.

What overwhelmed me the most about the book was the fact that I got an opportunity to read those famous short stories which I had only heard about but never had the time to pick it up and read it in Bengali. Be it Bibhutibhushan’s Einstein And Indubala, or  Post-mortem by Sunil Gangopadhyay. In Post mortem, we see how the much loved Kolkata tram is a witness to  a real-life incident that resulted in tragedy —an elderly gentleman boarded a ‘ladies’ special’ tram by mistake, this was when he was mocked and made fun of and he in nervous trepidation jumped off the running tram and was killed.

Pick this book up to own a piece of rich heritage what Kolkata has to offer, the very best of it. Since it is in English and with superb translation by Arunava it is a treat to read for all those who have only heard of the vast Bengali literature but haven’t had the opportunity before. But importantly pick it up because these stories will engage you, so much that it is unputdownable!

Review is forAleph Book Company but views are personal.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2017 in books

 

#BookReview : The Sialkot Saga by @ashwinsanghi

download (1)Nothing like the previous books that Ashwin Sanghi has written Sialkot Saga is a partition story, takes you back in time. The book revolves around two people who are bound together by an ancient secret which is rooted in Pakistan (Sialkot) Having extensively read partition literature in my college years this truly was an engaging read, it lacked the in depth detailing but then this is a very different kind of literature and for a work of fiction coming from one of the most celebrated Indian writers, this truly was a fun read.

The book opens with the partition of India in 1947 where a train enters Amritsar, it carries with it tell tale signs of blood & gore, reeling under the shock of history that was just being made. The track did not show any signs of survivors but the station constable chanced upon a lone survivor: a boy, and hides him to safety.

This is not the first time the land has seen bloodshed of this intensity. In 250 BC, in Pataliputra, King Ashoka’s after having satiated his thirst for power, is disillusioned having witnessed the bloodbath that he had unleashed. He creates a society of nine men who were entrusted to guard a secret, which is to be passed on to the right person when the time comes.

Years on, two young boys, one in Mumbai and one in Kolkata, grow up to share similar course in life: successful, smart and rich and each has secrets that they must guard. Unaware by them, both are a part of the bigger secret that binds their life together, secret that was formulated years back.

This has been one of those easy reads, engaging to say the least. A lil editing would surely have helped but if you overlook that it is one book you will enjoy reading!

Thumbs up from me!

 

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in books

 

#BookReview My Gita by @devduttmyth

 

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Devdutt Pattanaik is a facinating storyteller and that is why each and every release of his is launched amidst great excitement and fanfare. One of the reasons of liking him is because he very lucidly explains these lil notions tucked in the remotest part of history, shrouded by myth, sometimes by mithya without a propaganda.

Once in a while a book comes along which makes you come out of your hibernation, overcoming your writers block and how! My Gita has been a treat to read. I’ve always attempted to read Gita in its original grandeur but felt my interest wavering but with his smooth storytelling, Devdutt has managed to hold the interest and inform and educate us like always.

What works for this book is that it is not a verse by verse of chapter wise translation. Instead it encapsulates the theme in a easily comprehensive manner which is engaging to read. The part where Krishna advises Arjuna has been kept untouched which truly kept with the spirit of the book and the author’s own interpretation makes you rethink portions which otherwise would have been left unanswered.

It is hard to miss how the author visibly stays clear of any controversy knowing how much our country is sentimental about all that it has held close to it, hence ‘ My Gita’ is purely the author’s own reading of the holy book.

Must must pick this up, as this truly has been a great journey from myth to philosophy. One that will surely leave you thinking and craving for more.

Review is for Rupa Publications but views are personal.

 

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in books

 
 
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