Eat, Pray, Love

Dec 30, 2013 0 comments

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. This book almost made to my all time favorite. Almost! You will know why by the end of this review.Elizabeth Gilbert starts off this memoir of hers with her Divorce and a break-up. Kudos to the author for not making it a blame game or look like a peek into the private lives of a couple in disagreement. Just at the time when I start feeling depressed myself with the author's situation, she moves on to do better things, thankfully, like travelling to Italy. She is so good with the written word that she convinces us that travelling to Italy just to learn Italian, simply out of love for the language, is the next logical step for her to take.

The Redeemers

Oct 10, 2013 1 comments

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Redeemers, the story of youngsters who masterminded a movement against corruption is an easy read. It has a tempting back blurb and a plot that is good enough for a blockbuster movie. I would love to see such books on bestsellers list rather than the ones portraying Modern India as so-called 'cool dudes' whose life revolves around partying, girl friends, pre-marital sex, boozing and the like. That said, this book falls short in many areas to be a best seller. Nevertheless, it is worth reading once.

As I had mentioned earlier, the strength of the book is its plot. Also, to think of children/youth as the target to solve corruption is a good strategy. Simple ideas such as this leaves me fascinated but the idea lacks brilliance when put across in words.

Talking about the flip side, first of all the incidents leading G4(the 4 friends are collectively called so, reminds of me of some summit!) to start a movement of such scale are not very impressive. I could not feel any pinch when G4 and their parents meet with the fabricated accident. May be it could have been more elaborate, a little more taxing for the youngsters and their family. Same is the case with the way the movement takes shape. The details are so shallow that it fails to create an impression. G4 admitting to the fact that they are direction-less but are committed to bring a change doesn't convince the reader, leave alone the people they come across.

Another aspect that troubles the reader is the writing. There is repetition of matter, shallow details and poor characterization. And the book cover could have been better!

To sum up, this book is neither a page-turner nor a 'read-few-pages-and-toss-it' kind. All it lacks is a little bit of drama for the kind of subject it handles.

Follow Every Rainbow

Apr 15, 2013 3 comments

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though I have been wanting to read Rashmi Bansal's books for quite sometime, this book made me take the plunge immediately as its of much relevance to me personally, being an inspirational book on Women Entrepreneurs. 
Am at that crossroad in my life currently, where am forced by circumstances to either slow down a bit and solve the more important life's priorities before its too late or dance like a joker trying to balance work and home. I chose the former. Though I have never regretted my decision till date, building a second career, if possible in a varied field of interest than my first career , is always at the back of my mind. 

I loved everything about the book. Firstly, the book title, which is a phrase from a song in 'Sound of Music' and gives enough motivation to pursue something varied and look out for opportunities.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
'Till you find your dream.
A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life
For as long as you live

Secondly, the grouping of the entrepreneurs as Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswathi -  the `ghar ki lakshmis` who brought wealth and prosperity to the home by co-opting family members into their business; those who had to fight for survival and rose to the challenge, slaying demons within & without and those  armed with a professional education and are carving out an identity through entrepreneurship respectively. Am not getting into the details of those who are featured and my favorites as each one of the story gives you something or the other to be inspired.

Thirdly, even within the sections (Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi) and across the book, there are entrepreneurs from varied fields. Though my favourite section happens to be Saraswathi which is more relevant to me, I enjoyed reading every other story as each one provides you with valuable insights. In addition, each story ends with an Advice to Entrepreneurs from the featured Entrepreneur. Especially, I feel more confident after observing the fact that many of the featured Entrepreneurs have taken the plunge at a later stage in life post their motherhood and that hard work and perseverance is more important than the age that are mere numbers.

Last but not the least, the Helping hands section on various courses and opportunities that's an eye opener for women who have the motivation but lack direction.

The only complaint I have, which is mentioned by the Author herself as a feedback she gets from many, is that there is liberal use of Hindi throughout the book which I feel doesn't add any value. 

Overall, a great read for those who want to pursue something in life to keep them motivated till they make things work and even for those who are already into the bandwagon.
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The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and other stories

Apr 5, 2013 1 comments

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a first time reader of Sci-fi genre, this collection of short stories was a great start for me - particularly as the stories are set in India. In addition, this seemed to be a wise choice after a failed attempt at reading 'The Hitchhiker's guide to Galaxy'(not that I did not enjoy the book but because I held an omnibus edition and found it overwhelmingly big to read :-( ). All stories with the exception of one(Three tales from Sky river - which I did not understand how it fits in this book) left me in awe at the imagination of the author.

Prince of Ayodhya

Mar 20, 2013 0 comments

Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok K. Banker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Though I have grown up hearing stories from Ramayana, I have never attempted to read Ramayana in any form. From that perspective, Ashok K.Banker's retelling is a great start. Although am not sure how much width and depth of the epic AKB's series covers, the narration is captivating, characters are well defined and the writing style is apt for the time period the story is set in. Reading a book with 500+ pages is not an easy task. Not only has the author succeeded in this, but also he has left me looking forward to reading the other volumes as well.

Nevertheless, this book is a good read for anyone wanting to read Ramayana for the first time or otherwise.
A note to self:  Read Ramayana by other author(s) after completing this series and update this review.

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Night Train at Deoli: And Other Stories

Feb 28, 2013 1 comments

Night Train at Deoli: And Other Stories by Ruskin Bond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Collection of 30 Heart warming stories. Crisp narration, vivid descriptions, simple characters - accomplishing all this in a short story tells the reader what a seasoned writer Ruskin Bond is.

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Dollar Bahu

Feb 24, 2013 2 comments
A quick and light read. The book synopsis gives you the story outline and the story flows as expected with no surprises, twists or impressive characterization. The message comes across but it would have been more interesting had there been some depth. With such an ordinary story at hand, the author could have afforded to break the stereotyped characters. I mean why should women, mother in laws in particular, should always be the ones proud about their children being abroad? Why not men, the father in law? How about both of them? Why is the girl brought up against odds(Vinuta) always the 'good' one and the one who is pampered with wealth(Jamuna) or otherwise(Gauramma's daughter) are always 'spoilt'. In short, why are the characters black and white?

And the characters that Gauramma meets in US, everyone has a story that is told in few lines either by themselves or by Chandru. The characters come into the story very quickly one behind the other and leave as quickly as they entered. At the least, am happy that the book did not have a 'they lived happily ever after' end with Vinuta readily accepting her Mother in law. Overall, it makes a good casual read and nothing beyond.
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The Secret of the Nagas, Amish Tripathi

Feb 18, 2013 2 comments
My rating for the Immortals of Meluha, the first in the Shiva trilogy was just 2 stars (It was ok). And I never had serious inclination to read the sequel. But there was only one reason for me to pick the book – the plot. And am glad I picked it up. I still couldn’t go beyond giving 3 stars (I liked it) owing to few shortcomings.

There is only ONE idea in this whole trilogy that appeals to me yet it is big enough to overpower my other opinions. The Plot. The idea of portraying Lord Shiva as ‘a simple man whose karma recast him as our Mahadev, The God of Gods’ and giving a fresh perspective to our mythological stories and characters is just BRILLIANT! I should admit, even before this trilogy happened, this perspective has been the most convincing one for me to have faith in Hindu gods, super powers they possessed, the power of our Vedas, Mantras etc. Of course, my imagination is very limited but the thought that there are things beyond my comprehension was and is enough for me.

Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair

I picked this book reading the synopsis,'The story of a woman's search for strength and independence'. When I started reading it, I could very well tune myself with akhila and her family, as if they lived in the neighbourhood. The characterisation of akhila's father is a perfect depiction of a common man with a family to feed, unhappy job and hand to mouth monthly wages. He is that common man who struggles to keep his moral values at his job only to be paid back with being mocked at and cornered. he is that man who lives through his unhappy job to earn a living and how his wife makes sure his Sundays are special in her own little way. His sudden demise and how akhila has no choice but to replace him as the head of the family are very convincing. But Why the author leaves a hint of akhila 's father choosing his own end and in what way it helps the story is something am yet to find an answer.
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