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Showing posts from April, 2018

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee was published in 1960 and it became an instant hit because it was based on Southern life, the racism that persisted there, and moreover the novel was staged against Great Depression of America, 1930. The time it covers is around of 1930s, the story has been narrated for over three years’ duration. Two children and their father are persistent throughout the novel – at times it seems that they are concerning the voice of many sufferers who are having difficulty in awakening to evil and bad going around them. Atticus is a widowed father of two children Scout Finch and Jem Finch. The narrator is a five year old girl, Scout, most of the story has been told through her. They live in Maycomb, Alabama. The community where they live is down with racism, between black and white. Where most of the people are farmers, Atticus is a lawyer. During summer, Atticus’ two children and one more child from the neighborhood play around a tree. T

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

Mark Mansion is a famous blogger who writes about life related topics on his blog: This book is a summarized version of his long-running blog. The self-help book is all about life and some of its allied personal development: how and where and when. It is given right under the title: ‘A counterintuitive approach to living a good life’. The book has been a great hit in many countries, thanks to its raving reviews, and people are picking it up because of the reviews. You may start reading it with lot of expectations. It will fulfill in the first few pages, or say up to some chapters. For instance, the pages where the author talks about Charles Bukowski, about his wayward life, and then an unexpected positive diversion in his life. It may give you some hope in getting to know that a publisher is interested in his writing at the age of fifty-two. The aspects that may attract readers are the inscriptions on German-American poet, Charles Bukowski’s tombstone ‘D

Book Review: Everyone Has a Story by Savi Sharma

At times some books become hit and bestseller that even you don’t realize their true worth. What’s the history behind this book? ‘Everyone Has A Story’ by Savi Sharma is one such book that recently became a hit book, probably because of its marketing. First it was published by Amazon, self-published, but it shot into fame, then Westland published it. It is available everywhere in India, must say that the writer is lucky that at first attempt she got such success that too for writing a banal, every house story. The story features four characters, two female, two male. One is a writer, another one is a bank, the next one is a café owner, and there is one more: she is just a customer of the café shop. Two out of four are extremely busy struggling in their lives for some or other thing. And the rest two are just page fillers, they have been sidelined for no specific reasons. Their stories are ordinary but the things that they are looking from their life are little bit extraordi

Author Highlight: Parveen Discusses her Book ‘Ankahi’ and Stories from her Life

It’s time for another author interview. Today, with us we have Parveen Matharu, she lives in Udaipur (Rajasthan), India. Kindly tell us a bit about you. Nearly 2.5 years ago I moved back to India after completing my studies in the UK. I did my undergrad in Accounting & Financial Management from Loughborough University and then pursued MSc in Marketing from the University of Bath and currently I am working with my father in his business. Since childhood, I was inclined towards the creative industry. In fact, there was a time when I wanted to become a film director. But my family always encouraged me to complete my education first before jumping into the glamour world. It was during my time at the university that I discovered that I am a decent writer and hence I decided to polish this talent of mine. I love to travel and my aim is to highlight at least of my favourite places with each piece of my writing be it my blog or my novels. How do you handle the success of

Book Review: We Rode All the Way to Delhi by Ruskin Bond

It is a very short story through which Ruskin Bond brings back memories of his bicycling days when he was quite young. He along with two more friends, Somi and Azhar, rode to Delhi on bicycles. Probably they did for it fun and some adventure. That time cycling to such long distance was possible because roads were lined with trees and traffic was negligible. So, they could ride freely and rest wherever they wished to. It took them three days to reach Delhi. They took shelter in Dhabas - ate and rested there. They would bicycle all day and rest at night. It was more like a caravan. The author’s regret is that they didn’t receive any medal or being welcomed by crowd. Cycling to such long distance is itself an achievement. By the time they reached Delhi, they were dusty and out of order of cleanliness. They crossed the old bridge, rode around the city, and camped on the Ridge. Next day they rose late, their bodies ached because of the tiredness they gathered. Thus, instead of c

Author Highlight: Vani Discusses her Book ‘The Recession Groom’ and Stories from her Life

It’s time for another author interview. Today with us we have Vani, she is an Indian journalist, novelist, columnist and an art curator based in Chandigarh. She took a plunge into the world of fiction writing after trying her hand in business journalism, working for leading newspapers, The Times of India and The Financial Express. Her debut rom com, The Recession Groom, was released in 2015 to widespread acclaim with top class reviews in all the newspapers of the country. She has been widely interviewed by the Indian media, both print and electronic. Her dream is to have a big library of her own, something of the sort old Bilbo Baggins had in his hobbit hole. First editions of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘The Lord of The Rings’ are on her wish list, as are selfies with all her favourite authors. How do you handle the success of your first novel ‘The Recession Groom’? I am grateful for the response my first novel received. It makes me want to work harder on my next book.

Book Review: Ankahi (Some Things Should Never Remain Unsaid) by Parveen Matharu

Ankahi by Parveen Matharu is a contemporary romance novella, mostly set in England. Zara Khanna is an undergraduate student in Loughborough University. When she takes up the flight for London from Delhi for her second year course, little did she know that her life will not be same as it was up till now? She is beautiful, tall, and an excellent dancer. At the outset of autumn, cultural events commence in the college. Zara is the cultural head of the society for overseeing all sorts of performances, and she is to perform in a dance show as a female lead. She is a wonderful dancer, pro in Indian classical. Well, the problem is that she isn’t finding any suitable male lead. At the behest of someone, she approaches Ayaan, a senior student and an excellent dancer, for the male lead dancer. But he refused, being a final year engineering student, he is occupied with projects and studies. Despite this, he mentors the new dancers on weekends. On the day of performance, the chosen male

Book Review: The Last Tonga Ride by Ruskin Bond

The Last Tonga Ride by Ruskin Bond is a short story about his childhood days that he spent with his grandmother in Dehradun of colonial India. The narrator is Bond himself, living with his granny in a big bungalow that has all kinds of trees. His father is posted in Delhi, serving Royal Air Force. He sends Bond gifts and other books since he cannot come to meet him. Granny often goes to bank and bazaar on a Tonga. She has a fixed Tonga of Bansi. On the other hand, Bansi values her as a special customer and also drives Tonga slowly, unlike other days. One day granny and Bond go to bank on his Tonga. When granny goes inside, they both go to a tea shop and drink lemonade. The bill is paid by Bond, as insisted by Bansi. Bansi is a typical local man. He sings Hindi films’ songs and eats paan regularly and smiles regularly. He promises ride to Bond whenever he crosses his bungalow. He will jingle the bells at the gate and Bond needs to come out. Despite the differences in culture and co

Book Review: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho

This is very simple story of the pilgrimage that Paulo took in 1986. It is his own story, but it sounds like a fictional tale because of the way he wrote it. Paulo is a spiritual person. He follows some tradition in his religion and faith. With his master, when he tried to obtain a sword (it's something to do with spirituality), during the ordination he failed. So, he cannot be a master according to RAM (presumably his religious faith). Only the people who have procured the sword can be masters. Why did he fail? Because he didn’t know what to do with that sword, his focus was on the reward, not on its usage. Thus, his master says him to take the pilgrimage, where he is required to travel 700 kilometer through The Pyrenees Mountains. The journey starts from a small city in France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Other than Rome and Jerusalem, this is the third and famous place for pilgrims. He starts journey with a mysterious guide named Petrus. The purpose of the journ

Book Review: When Al Capone was Ambushed by Jack Bilbo

When Al Capone Was Ambushed by Jack Bilbo is a short story, it is neither a murder mystery nor thriller. The story involves bloodshed and some tight action that persist in the lives of gangsters. It has been told through a bodyguard’s point of view. The narrator probably is Jack himself, as it was given initially that he was robbed by a gangster on a Broadway, and then the same gangster offered him a job in his giant company. His job is to work as a bodyguard for eight hours every day. If someone comes near the boss (Capone) in a sphere of five paces, he is to shoot that person first and ask questions later. Conny, his senior, tells him everything about the job and its peculiarities. So, the narrator is working for a gangster called Capone. Eighteen bodyguards a week for him, they hover around him day in day out. One day Capone comes to the boys lividly with a newspaper which reads that the new police commissioner has tried to gain shabby popularity by traducing his name. T

Book Review: The Perfect Murder by Ruskin Bond

Is the perfect murder ever possible? That is a question that every writer of murder mysteries has asked to themselves? Each time the great authors of these stories have started one of their complicated, intricately plotted novels or short stories, we guess this is what they have tried to achieve. People have always been a great admirer of such stories. From Conan Doyle to Agatha Christie, almost every type of murder weapon and motive has been explored in their novels. Christie, in particular, was a great one for the locked room mystery. The victim retires to his room, the door is locked from within, nothing has been forced open and yet the person has been shot or stabbed or clubbed to death. How did this happen? The question has been answered in various ingenious ways, usually involving a brilliant detective who can pick out clues the way normal people can never pick up. And then there are mysteries where the motive becomes more important. You know Mr. X is the murderer

Book Review: The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe is a short murder mystery, staged against the backdrop of Italy. Told in the first narration, the story is about the motive behind the murder, and where and how it took place. Basically, it remains between two people. The narrator has been hurt and insulted by a wine connoisseur called Fortunato. And he vows to take revenge. One day Fortunato, dressed in smart clothes, is going to attend a carnival. In the way, the narrator meets and lures him about Amontillado, a famous wine found rarely. Fortunato is more than happy and excited to examine that wine. He takes Fortunato to an old graveyard of his ancestors, where he stores the wine. The graveyard is in the catacombs and is damp. The narrator insists Fortunato not to come as he is having cold, but Fortunato shrugs off all excuses. On the way, the narrator makes him to drink wine regularly. They both enter the catacomb through a big hole. Fortunato gropes there as already in drunken

Book Review: The Perfect Murder by Stacy Aumonier

The Perfect Murder by Stacy Aumonier is a short murder mystery. Two brothers Paul and Henry are seated at a café discussing the topic murder. On the table, before them, lie newspapers with news of a murder happened previous day. Paul has good physique and unmarried, while Henry is married with three children to look after. Paul says that it is easy to murder a person with whom you lived. Henri makes a note of this statement. Though both brothers have love and help each other in the case of need. Well, overall both are not so better off, they rather struggle for money all the time. They have an uncle called Robert Taillander, he is well off with no children. Both brothers visit him occasionally. Robert is so miser that in his life he never gave a single franc to any of the brothers. When Robert dies, both brothers feel a tinge of hope that there would be something left for them. Well, when the will was read, they got nothing. Everything now belongs to their aunt Mme Tailland

Book Review: Like It Happened Yesterday by Ravinder Singh

Ravinder Singh shot into fame with his first book, ‘I Too Had a Love Story’ – it was a nice romantic story with a tragic end. Then, came his second book, ‘Can Love Happen Twice?’ – it was overly dramatic. But his third book ‘Like It Happened Yesterday’ was completely nonsensical. This book made no sense at all, no story, no plot, only words to fill pages. From the romance genre, the writer all of sudden slipped into a memoir book, that too of his own childhood, and surprisingly it got published by Penguin India. The book talks about his (Ravi’s) childhood days, about first day in school, Black and White TV days, train watching and everything that you can think of that happened to you as a child in the era of 1980s and 1990s when Internet and gadgets of pass-time activities were off. Outdoor activities then were sole sources of engagement. So, in a nutshell, he tried to imitate Ruskin Bond. But he failed miserably, the book is not even readable, narration is dead flat. The o

Book Review: All Rights Reserved for You by Sudeep Nagarkar

Ever heard of pen friends, keeping the friendship alive through letters and postcards? Well, that was a thing of past when internet was off from our lives. Today, people chat on WhatsApp, FB, Snapchat, etc. etc…but how many of us fall in love and convert that into marriage. Only flirting, no serious relationship. Sudeep Nagarkar’s newly released book, ‘All Rights Reserved for You’ is loosely based on the similar themes. It is a story of Aditya and Jasmine. They live thousands of miles away, Aditya in Mumbai, and jasmine in Delhi. The girl is Punjabi, the boy is Marathi. Yet they fall in love and make it to the next step called marriage. So, basically they remain away physically but continue to maintain their relationship. They are on through social media. How they got into touch, they did they proceed, how did he propose to Jasmine- all these questions can only be answered when you pick up this light romantic book. Rumours are that the story is semi-autobiographical because

Book Review: The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis (I & II) is a non-fiction comical book based on the author’s life spent in Iran and in some European countries. According to the time spells, the book has been segmented into two parts. First part is called ‘The Story of Childhood’, and the second one’ The Story of a Return’. Both the segments are interlinked, and to understand the second one, you should have gone through the first part – that is imperative. The time period of the book starts from 1970s to 2000. Most of the events are from Iran. Marjane Satrapi is a Persian living a better off life with family in Iran. Well, in 1980s things begin to change as the country gets into the grip of Islamic Revolution. It means thing will be done or decided within the conformity of religion. Shah regime is brutal. Once a free Iran now imposes cultural and traditions to mainly save the country from the Western influence. Earlier people there were free to listen to music, drink wine and beer, and could party, but sinc

Book Review: The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid

The wire in the blood is another addition to the Tony Hill-Carol Jordan series by the terrific Scottish author Val McDermid. The story starts off with the killer identifying his next victim and charming her so expertly that she agrees to meet him alone without telling any living soul. The only problem is that the readers know who the killer is. The author herself reveals the perpetrator in the first few pages and the novel turns out to be a thriller instead of a whodunit. Dr Tony Hill is heading a newly formed department within the police which goes by the name of National Profiling Task Force. Dr Tony Hill is still reeling from the after effects of a previous case in which he almost died. New interns are hired to work under Tony Hill and the task force must prove itself to the higher authorities so that the force is taken seriously. The task force is not given any high-profile cases to begin with and so they are forced to work with cold cases to impart training to the new

Book Review: A Century is Not Enough by Sourav Ganguly

A century is Not Enough: My Rollercoaster Ride to Success is narrated by Sourav Ganguly and written by Gautam Bhattacharya. As you can make out from the title that in the world of cricket performance is everything, that’s why Ganguly emphasizes that one century is not enough. As a player, one has to keep rolling. Consistency matters most. As expected that this book will cover each and every moment of Dada, well it is just 254 pages, and covers only the main cricketing issues of his life. Also the book is famous for motivational stuff. Dada asserts that, “Choose the most challenging path to emerge out as a winner in life.” There is no glory for mediocre players in this game, as a matter of fact in any sports. Here Ganguly talked about his first game at the Lords (he scored a century there) and the nervousness that surrounded him then, also people labeled him as an East Zone Quota player. He also talked about his stint as a captain and what he did to groom new players, how he

Book Review: The Body Nirvana by Garima Gupta

The Body Nirvana by Garima Gupta is a self-help book that delves into the subject of weight loss, health, positive thinking, stress management and many more aspects that can overall affect one’s health and life. The book comprises ten useful chapters, each one linking to another meaningfully, and a slew of topics have been covered expertly, like from the basic health concept to imagination to feast and many more. Each chapter has been put forward in a systematic way, discussing the fun facts, activities, real stories, and in the end notes & tricks for revision. The crux point of the book is to break the jinx associated with weight loss. People do a plethora of things to get rid of extra weight in order to look smart, fit, and presentable. However, they do not know what the actual process is for losing weight and gaining a happy state of mind with their body. Instead, they go on rigorous dieting (which partially means ‘die’), abstain themselves from their favourite food,

Book Review: Here Comes Mr. Oliver by Ruskin Bond

Here Comes Mr. Oliver by Ruskin Bond is a short story. The narrator is a schoolboy called Bond (probably Ruskin himself). Mr. Oliver is a scoutmaster and maths teacher of Bond’s class. Bond is quite bad at maths. Mr. Oliver always gives grace marks to Bond to get his exams passed. Mr. Oliver is a man of wisdom but he always wears a scornful look. There is something that haunts him and probably that his past life’s failure such as on the day of wedding when he was waiting at the church his woman run away with a sailor. He is forty and a little bit stoop. He looks alone and keeps his professional life unmixed from the personal life. Students thank him for grace marks but he shows no difference to them. Internally, he does well to people, but he does not receive their acknowledgement. To his company, Mr. Oliver has a pup. That pup that revolves around him is not friendly to anyone except Mr. Oliver. The dog bites at students and sniffs at their ankles. For this reason, boys ca