Sunday, December 29, 2013

Aisle Be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya (Book Review- 2.5*/5)!!!

      I have just kept "Aisle Be Damned" aside after reading it for straight 3 hours. If you say what actually made me read this book, I can easily say its the cover page. It's quite sexy I would say. :-) The way the publisher of the book, Jaico, has promoted it every well shows the hype that they created around this book. Many have read it and said that it's a book that will make you ROFL throughout- from the first page to the last. But if you ask me, I would say not more than 7-8 incidents have made me laugh. And that too- not something you call ROFL, just Haha! Well, I am not judging those who laughed out loud while reading the book but I am just saying "book could have been FAR better". It's Rishi Piparaiya's first book and hence there should be little strictness been swayed away while criticizing a book. Debut authors don't really know what would be accepted and what not. They write their best while experimenting something new but some times it does not work or it turns into 5 Point Someone. 
As soon as I begun reading this book, I got a feel that I am reading a book that I have never before read. Author has surely experimented a new kind of a book- a satire on everyone related to traveling by aeroplane. He has taken dig at almost everyone- starting from captain to air-hostess to passenger to celebrity to industrialists. He has mentioned almost everything that happens while flying in the air but may be I didn't find it that funny because I have never been on flight. I am sure that if I'll travel even once in a flight, I'll rate this book more than what I would be rating it today. Because what I have drawn from other reviews on Goodreads and Flipkart, almost all the people who enjoyed this book has traveled by airlines; as they have mentioned it. I have been a victim of being middle-class. Well, some day I can say that this book would become funny even to me but for now I am quite taken aback as I have great trust on Jaico Publication and I didn't expect to feel underwhelmed after reading any of their book.

        Author has divided the incidents appropriately which makes it easy to understand them. He has even depicted few of the gigs through pictorial representations that's interesting. He has made several references of live events that we have heard in news which makes it little interactive. Author tells how one has to deal with air-hostess, celebrities- if by chance they sit besides you, normal passengers, how couples see each other if they are to sit in different rows etc. It covers almost every aspect of air traveling which I loved reading. He has even discussed the confusion that one meets at airport while searching for their luggage and baggage etc. In all, I would say it's a fine attempt and hence I will give it 2.5/5. I will just ask everyone to read this book only after you have traveled by flight once else you may not enjoy it in the same air in which author has written it. 

 About the Book:

This book provides invaluable perspectives on some of the most common situations encountered by fliers.

Awesome icebreakers to start conversations with attractive co-passengers
Getting seamlessly upgraded to Business Class
Sure shot strategies for winning the affections of flight attendants
How a water bottle dramatically improves flight safety
How smart executives deal with the “Walk of Shame” to the economy section
Action plans to counter the airline’s “technical snag” routine
The hows and whys of micro-managing the pilots
Breezing through immigration, customs and always making your flight connections
And a whole lot more…
Rest assured, your flying experience will never be the same again. A must read as you prepare for, or take your next flight!
About the Author:

RISHI PIPARAIYA is an over-worked and overtravelled corporate executive based in the skies, 38,000 feet over India.



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Faster Than Lightning: My Autobiography by Usain Bolt (Book Review-4.75*/5)!!!

     "Believe me, my time isn't up just yet"- That's how one of the epic autobiographies has just ended. Usain Bolt's autobiography named "Faster than Lightning" is another biography by a sportsman that I loved after Brett Lee's. While Brett Lee's was published by Random House, this one is published by none other than HarperCollins's print- Harper Sports. They have some amazing names in their autobiography section and I am happy that I picked up this book initially to start with. According to my memory, this is the 3rd book from HarperCollins that I have read and I have liked almost all of them till now. Surely, a publisher I will look forward every time I am ordering books online. More than authors, its time we start looking up at which publisher has published a specific book. Because authors can lose their form in one or two but publisher always maintain their quality. Even the publishing quality of HarperCollins is wonderful; their book can stay intact for years.

About the Book:-

       Whether you know athletics or not and even whether you know sport or not, chances are you know Usain Bolt. The fastest man on the planet, not just now but ever, Usain has won the hearts of people everywhere with his mind-blowing performances and his infectious charisma uniting supporters around the world. 

In this, his full autobiography, Usain tells his story in his own words: from humble beginnings in Jamaica, to international stardom at Beijing and on to the new heights of superstardom he has reached since lighting up London 2012. Full of the charm and charisma that has made him the most popular sporting figure of our time and a universal celebrity, this is a book that Usain's millions of fans will love.

About the Author:-

           Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter widely regarded as the fastest person ever. He is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since 1977. Along with his team-mates, he also set the world record in the 4 x 100 metres relay. He is the reigning Olympic champion in these three events, the first man to win 6 Olympic gold medals in sprinting and a five time World champion. He was the first to achieve a 'double double' by winning 100m and 200m titles at consecutive Olympics (2008 and 2012) and topped this through the first "double triple" (including 4x100m relays). His 2009 record breaking margin for 100 m, from 9.69 (his own previous world record) to 9.58, is the highest since records began.

     Coming to the review, I must say that this has been one of the best autobiographies of all time. The best thing is that Usain didn't try to show that he is someone who sees his records as another number or time but he acknowledges each and every success that he has achieved. The way he has described each and every victory of his shows how much he is enjoying the grand success that he has achieved. He even clears in the 2nd half of the book that he doesn't know even the history of athletics down 1980s or even 90s. This honesty has worked out quite well with this novel. He even calls himself "Living Legend" and "Legend" most of the times which pissed me off because we know it buddy and that is why we are purchasing your book to know how you became a phenomenon in this sports and in Olympics but that's what shows the honesty he has shown while scripting his life. 

             The best part has been that Usain Bolt shows he's a normal arrogant guy and no born legend. He also keeps stating that he won his initial matches just on the raw talent and speed he had. It was only after his coach started pissing him off by asking to train regularly that he became physically and technically strong regarding the game. It has been fun reading about his initial successes. I also loved the way Bolt's father disciplined him and made him a down-to-earth man. After he loses one of the races, I loved the way he knocked his coach's door late night and asked him what was happening wrong with him. His narration and story-telling skill of breaking record and running 100 meters in just 9.72 seconds made me jump. His rivaly with 2-3 competitors at different levels is also wonderfully talked off. His high regards for Blake, the fellow Jamaican and later on, hating him for a moment is another beautiful part of this book. His love for his coach is also clearly visible in this book. He even stated that he initially raced for money it was later that he started doing it for himself and others.

            Well, I should stop here or else I'll end up reviewing each and every sentence of the book because it's totally fun. I would give this book rating of 4.75 out of 5. 


Friday, December 27, 2013

Headley and I by S. Hussain Zaidi with Rahul Bhatt (Book Review-RECOMMENDED)!!!

    The pleasure that non-fiction books give me is indescribable. Though fiction books have another amazing charm to it but the extreme power that a non-fiction carry is unmatched. And if you ask me to be more specific, I would say Autobiographies and Biographies are the best thing to read if ever you want to read and improve yourself, personality and character. The amount of message that such books give can change your life completely. I always credit these books for whatever little bit of kindness, goodness, leadership and loving spirit for life I have. Even if you are reading autobiography/biography of a man who's a villain to our society, even it teach you what not to do in life. I am speaking so much about this genre of writing because I'm just done with reading S. Hussain Zaidi's "Headley and I" that's written along with Rahul Bhatt, the main protagonist of this book. 

 About the Book :

       For most of his childhood, Rahul Bhatt did not know a fathers unconditional love a vacuum that the advent of David Coleman Headley filled for a while. David Headley: the dashing, intriguing Pakistani with one brown eye and a green one, a man who could pass himself off as American quite easily, a charmer of men and women alike.

       Headley inveigled his way into Rahuls simple world and, in no time, swept him off his feet. It is only when ten men made a mockery of Mumbai in a well-planned act of terrorism, that Rahul realized how close he had come to being a part of the careful plotting and the innumerable recces that Headley carried out.

       This is a complex tale of human relationships and the deceit therein. It is the story of Rahul Bhatt, an aspiring Bollywood actor, and his encounter with David Coleman Headley, the man who was responsible for a ruthlessly executed carnage, in which 166 people were killed and over 300 injured in the fifty-nine hours that brought Mumbai to heel and shook India. 

        A pulse-racing narrative, told in the voices of Bhatt and Headley, Headley and I traces the months leading up to the horrors of 26/11 and the long months of interrogation that followed.

About the Author :
   S. Hussain Zaidi is a veteran of investigative, crime and terror reporting in the Mumbai media. He has worked for The Asian Age, Mumbai Mirror, Mid-Day and Indian Express. His previous books include bestsellers like Black Friday, Mafia Queens of Mumbai and the more recent Dongri to Dubai Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia. Zaidi is also associate producer for the HBO movie, Terror in Mumbai, based on the 26/11 terror strikes. He lives with his family in Mumbai.

           Coming to the review, I must say that the only author whom I trust to love if I pick up his book is S Hussain Zaidi when it comes to this genre. The confidence that he has developed among readers whenever it's concerned with his books is par excellence. He's a genius and knows how to write complicated tales of real world in easy language and narration for his readers. He does not use words that leads a reader to open dictionary and refer. He never tries to show how much he knows about the insight of underworld, gangsters and criminals. Even in his writing style, you will find a humbleness that he carries in his personality too. Extremely unique style of writing and narration. I am proud to have such a writer in my country, India. 

           Coming to the book- It would have been a big injustice if this story would not have come open in public for Indians through this book. This book was indeed necessary for people of India and society. I am happy that author took courage to write it because this book is a reflection of amount of uncountable meetings with various personalities and officials with whom S Hussain Zaidi would have had to sit with and discuss the timeline of events. The way he has written Headley's revelation tells how good the author is. Rahul Bhatt's part tells us about how bad Mr. Mahesh Bhatt has been to him. Rahul Bhatt's hatred towards his father throughout his childhood is quite visible in the words that he has chosen to display it. 

            Another surprise is that Mahesh Bhatt has chosen to write foreword in the book even when it's basically based on his son's hatred towards him for all the wrongs he did with him and his mother. Amazing! Kudos to Mr. Bhatt for this! The anger towards India that got developed in Headley's mind since 1971 war between India and Pakistan, the way Pakistan is involved in collecting funds to attack India openly in public, the way Islam is wrongly constructed by some fake mullah, the way hatred speeches are been given in the masjids over there etc is something that clearly shows the reality of Pakistan to us. The way Headley has used Rahul Bhatt and his friend Vilas, a Shivsainik, shows the intelligence the people involved in terrorist attack does. Even the question whether Headley worked for US in the climax of the book is the best way this book could have ended. 

             The reason of being a fitness buff of both- Rahul Bhatt and Headley generated curiosity in me to read more about them. The America connection and mother's tale of Headley is another intriguing part of the book. The way Headley commented over Mumbai's security and worst security system tells us how insecure and unsafe our country is. The corrupt passport of Headley which could have been easily identified by the Indian officials in the first attempt itself but neglected because of our official's lazy attitude tells how we, ourselves, let 26/11 happen to us. Even Headley had said "Indians are Chutiyas" while telling everything about his journey. The next plan to attack Copenhagen and the idea of killing people, beheading them and throwing their heads down on road from the building tells us how in the name of Islam, certain Muslims are preaching terrorism and hatred. In all, I must say that go and get this book today itself to know what exactly leads into attacks like 26/11. From my side, perfect marks to this book.

 Thanks a lot.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho (Book Review- DON'T MISS IT)!!!

 I hope all of you remember my review of The Alchemist written by Paulo Coelho. I read it thinking that the man is known for changing life of people through his books so it might happen that I'll love him more than Robin Sharma after seeing myself drastically changed or improved than yesterday. But that book was a big blow to me. A huge disappointment. Still I picked Eleven Minutes, his another famous book after The Alchemist. First half was excellent but in the 2nd half, I felt that the story was pointless and had no meaning. I even said in review that I won't read Paulo Coelho anymore in life. But these geniuses are the people whom you can't ignore because they are sent by God to be of some help to the people living on the Earth and ignoring small diamonds because of big coals in life. I finally picked up his latest book,"Manuscript Found in Accra" and I'm mind blown. What an appropriate book this is! Perfect!

Summary of The book:-

 Manuscript Found In Accra is centered on a seven hundred year old document and whether it can still hold some message of relevance for humanity.

The main subject of The Manuscript Found In Accra is an ancient (fictitious) manuscript containing words of wisdom from an unnamed Copt.

The narrator of the book is a the son of an English archaeologist, who is translating an ancient document. The document he says, was found in a cave in Cairo. It seems to be a recording of the words of a wise man, which had been recorded faithfully by one of his audience.

The Manuscript Found In Accra has an interesting setup. The incident takes place on the eve of the invasion of Jerusalem by European crusaders. Threatened by these alien invaders, in peril of life and livelihood, the citizens of Jerusalem are gathered together around a Copt. He is standing in their midst, patiently answering their questions. In a few hours time, the city would be overrun by the invaders from Europe.

The Copt has summoned the people to this place. He asks them to forget about the looming peril for the time being and ponder their minds on everyday concerns rather than the coming destruction. So, he urges them to ask him questions about issues that bother them in their normal, everyday life, doubts and concerns that are in their minds now and will be in their minds after the invaders have gone.

There is a bit of quiet in the atmosphere upon hearing such a declaration. The people of the city, including Coptic Christians, Jews, and Muslims, all eagerly gather before this quiet man, who seems unmoved by any fears of the future. The impending catastrophe is just a setting. The Manuscript Found In Accra is not a novel, it contains only a set of questions and answers. The citizens put various questions before the wise man, and he answers them all, and a scribe records everything.

The people ask him questions on numerous topics, including life, love, fear, loss, courage, anxieties, miracles, loyalty, beauty, solitude, success, and so on. The Copt answers them, and the people forget their immediate fears for the future as they listen to the profound wisdom of the man.

About Paulo Coelho:-

           Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian writer.

       Some other books by Coelho are Theater For Education, Hell Archives, The Pilgrimage, The Greatest Gift, The Fifth Mountain, and The Alchemist. His books are in the spiritual and self-development genre. Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1947. His refusal to conform to tradition and to what was expected of him upset his parents so much that they had him put in a mental institution for psychiatric treatment. Though Coelho enrolled in law school to comply with his parent’s wishes, he did not complete his studies.

            Coelho traveled the world for a while as a hippie and on his return, he began to write lyrics for Brazilian singers. He was very successful at this. Then, Coelho took part in the Road of Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage, which changed his life and his views. He quit the music industry and began to concentrate on his first passion, writing.

             Coming to the review, I must say that if you are looking up for a philosophical self-help book then there can be nothing better than picking up this book. There are number of reasons to that. First, it's Paulo Coelho, one of the most read author in the world. Second, the amount of wisdom this book provides in just 190 pages. Third, at the cost in which this book is available, it's like getting Kohinoor in the cost of a Tata Namak. Ok Sorry. This book is full of tips that can help you to heal all your scars and pains of past. Coelho is known for his quotes and this book has lots of bunch of them. Every 3rd sentence is a wonderful quote by him that's enough for you to realize your life. Not even a single chapter disappoints you. Every page has enough knowledge that can beat many self-help books in a go. 

            The way the protagonist answers to every question is a very unique material I have found after reading so many books on the same topic. It shows why Coelho is different from other authors in the same genre. "Change" is explained with the examples of trees and mountains. That's where the book got perfect marks from my side. Nature is again nicely discussed. It's reference made the point clear. The chapter in which Love is discussed is the best chapter, I would say. It's quite a literature-material but it's also philosophical. The way "Success" is discussed in a chapter is the first time when I have read this definition of it. Coelho has his own way of explaining things which makes it special for us to read his books. Now I am excited to read his other fiction tales too because I want to find the hidden emotions and messages in his books. I will give this book perfect marks for it's excellence and generosity. DON'T MISS IT!!!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

end of story? by Arjun Shekhar (Book Review- 3.75*/5)!!!

    After reading light books in Jaico Cricketwallah Series, I wanted to read something heavy before going to read other books of my interest. Hence I chose to read a thriller. I picked "end of story?" written by Arjun Shekhar. Well, this is his 2nd novel. Book is published by Hachette Publication- one which I have tried for the first time in life. I liked the quality of publishing and I am happy with the way editing and font formatting has been done. I am little disappointed with the cover page of the book. It's quite boring and will restrict readers from picking up this particular book. I would have loved if they would have designed a better cover page because the story is quite interesting which could have given them enough options for a wonderful attractive cover page. Well, a book is about the creativity of an author and not about the production of a publisher. So on this part, the book has almost succeeded. 


Is someone out there tinkering with our minds? 
Shukrat Ali, a news anchor at Khulasa, the sensationalist tabloid current affairs channel, is out of a job. 
TV channels across the country have closed down as a consequence of a Supreme Court ban on electronic advertising. An enquiry is on regarding the emergence of a sinister new form of ads the media has dubbed propagandads, which uses compelling subliminal messages to subtly rewire peoples minds and influence their actions. 
Even as Shukrat grapples with the question: How does an anchor move on? he receives a summons from a criminal court to testify in the trial concerning the killing of his ex-boss, Satya Saachi Sengupta, the mysterious and towering figure in his life, whose connections with this insidious mind manipulation scheme can no longer be denied.
 Being a key witness present at the scene of the crime, Shukrat must prepare to bare all before the court and tread carefully lest his testimony boomerangs on him. Gripping and darkly humourous, End of Story? is an intriguing and intelligent thriller about the dystopian possibilities of everyday advertising.

About the Author:-

          For his second novel, Arjun Shekhar has drawn heavily from his experiences in both the not for profit sector and the corporate world. He is a Co-founder and Chief Volunteer of Pravah, an NGO that builds leadership and social responsibility among youth by connecting their individual identity search to the society around them. He is also a partner in an Organizational Development firm called Vyaktitva that unfolds the true character of organizations and people. His wife, who co-founded Pravah with him, and twelve year old daughter too have been major inspirations for his writing.
  Coming to the author, I must say that he has brilliant command on the language and a perfect vocabulary to write a thriller. His imagination and narration is wonderful. The way he has crafted each and every character shows his strength in creating a plot and sub plot within it. I liked the way he has started the story. He wrote the initial pages as if he's talking to his readers and justifying each sentence that he's writing. It's the first time when I have read something of this kind. Kudos for this to writer. But I have one complain. He has used too many words that's unfamiliar to a layman which can irritate a reader as he'll have to pick up dictionary every now and then. Thanks to my Tablet and Wordweb Dictionary which makes it little easy for me to check meanings of many words that I do not know while reading a book.

         Coming to the story, I would say that the thriller is actually a thriller. Hahaha! I had to say this because Indian authors write shit on the name of thrillers sometimes. I have even seen people writing love stories on the name of thriller. All the suspense that got opened in pre-climax and climax is the best part of the book, undoubtedly. All the moment when the equation of husband and wife are discussed have been my favorite. The discussion of their daughter and her feelings is the gem in this book. The death of boss- the way it is discussed shows the maturity of author every now and then. The book has kept excitement right from the first page to the 300th. And the way book turns whenever a twist is introduced, takes you off your feet. In all, I would give this book 3.75 out of 5 stars. For all the thriller lovers, I would say that you can try it. Well, I won't say that the author is next Ravi Subramanian but he can be one to look forward to if he improves even a bit from here.



Yuvraj Singh: Powerful Elegance by C Rajshekar Rao/Ayaz Memon (Book Review)!!!

   So finally I ended up with Jaico Cricketwallah Series that's been originated by none other than Ayaz Memon- the man who has been Sports columnist with the same name- Cricketwallah. All the four books has been written with a similar theme and that's the specialty of this series. I always wanted something of this kind to come out so that people would come to know about these Cricketers in short. It's essential for school kids as their general knowledge would increase. The people who get bored reading 300-400 pages biography/autobiography of such personalities can easily opt for this series and enjoy reading about your favorite Cricketers in just 70-90 pages. 

           Lastly, I am done reading the one written on Yuvraj Singh with a tagline of "Powerful Elegance". More than his successes his failures are been talked of. Unfortunately, that's how Yuvraj Singh's career has been. he has never been a consistent performance and that what the story of his life through this book depicts. His cancer is discussed properly. His injuries are spoken in detail. His equation with his father is also cleared nicely. The only thing that's missing is his relation with his mother that's the best part about his life. I liked the way whole journey of Yuvraj Singh is been discussed. I loved that his failure in test is specifically spoken as that's where Yuvraj Singh has continuously failed. As I have read two books on Yuvi- one written by he himself and other written by Makarand Waingankar, I found this one the worst out of all three. I will better go to read his autobiography again than reading this book for one hour. 


At the Under 19 level, Yuvraj Singh was touted as the most gifted Indian cricketer since Sachin Tendulkar. Yuvraj had flair, power and a dazzling range of strokes that had critics and fans heaping encomiums on him. While he may not have quite lived up to early expectations, especially in Test cricket, Yuvraj has been brilliantly devastating in limited overs cricket, winning countless matches on his own. There is more to the Yuvraj story than just his exploits on the pitch. There has been no more stirring saga in modern Indian sport than his comeback to international cricket after a year-long fight with cancer that had threatened to finish his career prematurely. His six sixes in one over, off Stuart Broad in the 2007 T20 World Championship, is testimony to Yuvrajs innate batting prowess, though this comes with a vexing poser just why could he not replicate such form in Tests too? Perhaps, considering his new vigour, that time is now.

About the Author:-

Ayaz Memon, one of Indias most prolific journalists, brings with him 33 years of experience in sports writing. He started his career covering sports and went on to edit newspapers like Mid Day, Bombay Times and DNA as well as magazines like Sportsweek. Ayaz was also sports editor for the Times of India and the Independent at various stages.



Friday, December 20, 2013

M S Dhoni: Captain Cool by Indranil Rai/Ayaz Memon (Book Review)!!!

   I am done with 3rd book in the Jaico Cricketwallah Series originated by Ayaz Memon. The book is "M S Dhoni" with the tag line of "Captain Cool". The book is written by Indranil Rai. He has written 2 books in this series, most by any author. The book is of 76 pages and you can say that it's the shortest book. When you are writing about M S Dhoni, you have to make it sure that you use cool words just like his personality. Author has definitely kept the trait in his writing skills. Again, like all the previous books, this one also focuses on the player's origin point than their successes. But the problem is that- when it comes to the best Captain of India, we want to know how he nourished his Captaincy skill than his batting career. Dhoni is not just a batsman or wicket keeper but more than that. He is a leader who does not need any introduction and even certification from anyone. 

            In the case of this book, it's quite evident that not much research is been done before writing about Dhoni as I didn't enjoy anything that's been written once he starts his International Career. Only his starting journey is been discussed as if there has been no Dhoni since 2008. Even his efforts in making various Cups and Series possible for India isn't discussed the way it should have been. In all, I must say that this book didn't stand the way the first two books in the series did.


The story of a young man who has reaffirmed our faith in Indian cricket. On the football field of a beautiful small town in the Chhota Nagpur region, young schoolboy Mahendra Singh Dhoni was a goalkeeper. From here on, the story of Dhoni has been nothing short of magical. Not only did he become captain of a successful Indian cricket team, he moulded that captaincy to his own image, with his strength, conviction and daring strategies. Everything about MS Dhoni, from his early years to his trajectory towards stardom, from his fearless and indomitable batting skills to his courageous captaincy is here in this biography of one of Indias most recognizable cricketing icons. Not for nothing is he known as Captain Cool, for Dhoni brought home crickets most coveted trophies to India, from the World Cup to the inaugural T20 Championship. In the words of Ian Chappell, after Indias World Cup victory, Mahendra Singh Dhonis polished performance as skipper, where he pushed, prodded and cajoled his side into peaking at the right time, has shown hes not only the best leader in the game, but also one of the finest of the last 30 years.

About the Author

Ayaz Memon, one of Indias most prolific journalists, brings with him 33 years of experience in sports writing. He started his career covering sports and went on to edit newspapers like Mid Day, Bombay Times and DNA as well as magazines like Sportsweek. Ayaz was also sports editor for the Times of India and the Independent at various stages.



Sachin Tendulkar: Master Blaster by Indranil Rai/Ayaz Memon (Book Review)!!!

       As I have already discussed in my last book review about "Jaico Cricketwallah Series with Ayaz Memon", I will start with the review of the second book that I read in the series. "Sachin Tendulkar- Master Blaster" by Indranil Rai. It's good to have different writers writing about different players which gives a uniqueness to each book in this series. Before this, I read the book on Virat Kohli which was quite differently written than this one still the feel of series exist. Whenever series of books are published under one Brand, a publisher keeps in mind that he retains all the characteristics of the last book in the series and hence, I would like to say that Jaico Publication succeeded in this test. 


          From his appearance on the firmament as a 16 year old, Tendulkar has been a beacon for the new India. When India won the Cricket World Cup in 2011, an abiding image from the celebrations was of the Indian cricket team carrying Sachin Tendulkar on their shoulders around Wankhede stadium. Tendulkar was not the captain of the team and the victory had been a team effort But for the players, the victory was a gift to a man, arguably Indias greatest cricketer and inarguably one of the very greatest in the world. Sachin Tendulkars story may have been told many times but it never stops delighting the cricket fan. In the 25 years that Tendulkar has played cricket, there is almost no existing batting record that he has not broken or no impossible record that he has not set. He has even changed the way money and endorsements entered the game. At the same time, his incredible batting skills have kept him rooted in the fine traditions of cricket. Some say that one runs out of words when describing Sachin Tendulkars prowess and achievements. Others may more emphatically claim that there simply arent enough words to talk about this incredible cricketer.

About the Author:-

Ayaz Memon, one of Indias most prolific journalists, brings with him 33 years of experience in sports writing. He started his career covering sports and went on to edit newspapers like Mid Day, Bombay Times and DNA as well as magazines like Sportsweek. Ayaz was also sports editor for the Times of India and the Independent at various stages.

          Coming to the review, I must say that reading about Sachin Tendulkar is always interesting and hence this book is another good book about him. Covering such a phenomenal and unforgettable career in just 73 pages is talent in itself and I must compliment author for almost discussing every fact of his life in these pages. You can say that the special programme which our Hindi media shows on Sachin for half an hour is nothing against these pages that can be read almost in same amount of time. This is a wonderful gift to present to your younger brother if he loves to play Cricket. May be he will start seeing Cricket as passion and turns out to be next Sachin Tendulkar for us. :-) The last pages is some wonderful work by author. The wat match fixing is discussed, it's evident that author knows how to talk his opinion and leave the topic without creating any controversy. Haha! In short, a good short book on Sachin Tendulkar.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Virat Kohli- Reliable Rebel by C Rajshekar Rao (Book Review)!!!

     It has been a long time since I have been away from books but finally, as my vacations have started, I am back to reading. I didn't want to start with a 300+ pages novel hence I begun reading one of the four books in a recently released series by Jaico Publication which is named- "Jaico Cricketwallah Series" after the column that Ayaz Memon writes. He is also the editor of every book in this series. In the first slot, the Jaico Cricketwallah Series has books on the life of Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, M S Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. They are going to release more after seeing the response to these 4 books. Jaico is the only one publication house that comes up with such series. Each book is not even 100 pages which makes it easy to read about the life of these Cricketers in short. It's like reading a page of newspaper consisting on how they finally became Cricketer and an important part of the Indian Cricket Team. I am done reading Virat Kohli's life right now. He is been tagged as "Reliable Rebel" on the cover page of the book.

         In many ways, Kohli epitomizes the New Age Indian aggressive, sometimes brash but also a go getter with great clarity about what he wants. After making his mark at the junior level, when he led the Under 19 team to victory in the World Cup, Virat Kohli graduated into the senior ranks quite seamlessly and is now considered a pivotal player in the Indian team. He played a significant role in the 2011 World Cup triumph and has since matured into a consistent match winner in limited overs cricket and a highly reliable batsman in the longer version of the game. His brilliant fielding enhances manifold his value to the team. Rated among the best young players in the world today, Kohli's filmstar looks and dashing approach on the field make him hugely popular with both fans and brands. Not quite 25, he is sound on tactics, strong on fellow-player management and is already seen as the future captain of India.

About the Author

Ayaz Memon, one of Indias most prolific journalists, brings with him 33 years of experience in sports writing. He started his career covering sports and went on to edit newspapers like Mid Day, Bombay Times and DNA as well as magazines like Sportsweek. Ayaz was also sports editor for the Times of India and the Independent at various stages.

          Coming to the series, I am content with the way the first book has been written. It's good for the readers who do not like investing their time in reading 300-400 pages biography/autobiography of famous personalities. The book summarizes a Cricketer's whole life in just 96 pages which makes it easy to know the uprising of a Cricketer's career. Virat Kohli's career has been of just 5-8 years hence it has been easy to write about him in short. The way his Adelaide century is discussed shows how writer has focused on only essential landmarks which has changed a Cricketer's life. His moments when his father expired and he had to take decision to stay at home or play is beautifully narrated. Another USP of the book. The photo of Virat Kohli on cover page is very expressive. And also the synopsis is attractively written. Excited to read more books from this series.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

‘Crossword Book Award 2013’ winners announced: 12 years of rewarding the best in Indian writing!!!

Crossword Book Award 2013’ winners announced: 
12 years of rewarding the best in Indian writing.

“Em and The Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto (Aleph)”  & “Boats on Land by Janice Pariat (Random House)” have jointly won  in the Indian Fiction category

“Righteous Republic by Ananya Vajpeyi (Harvard Business Press)” & “From the Ruins of Empire by Pankaj Mishra (Penguin)” have jointly won the award for Indian Non-Fiction

“Wisha Wozzariter by Payal Kapadia (Penguin)” & “Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami (Scholastic)” have jointly won the award for Children’s writing category

“A Life in Words by Ismat chughtai, Translated by Dr M Asaduddin (Penguin)” has won it in the Indian language Translation category

“The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian (Rupa Publications)” has won the Popular Award.

Ananya Vajpeyi winning Non-fiction award
  The finest of Indian Literature took center stage at “CROSSWORD BOOK AWARDS 2013’ as the country’s finest writers and their books were honoured at a glittering award function in Mehboob studios, Mumbai.  It was hosted by Suchitra Pillai and the evening included a memorable performance by percussionist Taufiq Qureshi.

       Notably, the popular award winner Ravi Subramanian, described by Wall Street Journal as the 'John Grisham of Banking" is on a hatrick. He had also bagged the popular award for his book, "The Incredible Banker" at the last awards, and now has again won it for "Bankster". He thanked Crossword for providing a supportive platform for authors.

           Jerry Pinto also pledged his prize money to an NGO "Meljol" for children. The 12th
Dr M. Asaduddin
edition saw an outstanding response, from the various distinguished writers, publishers, critics and book-lovers who enjoyed the biggest celebration of Indian literature. 

          Shortlisted authors Rahul Pandita,  Rashmi Bansal, Ravi Subramanian, Arunava Sinha, Jerry Pinto,  Janice Pariat, Anand Neelkantan, Anuja Chauhan, Ananya Vajpeyi, Himanjali Sankar, Payal Kapadia, Ranjit Lal, Dr M Asaduddin, Anchita Ghatak, Rabisankar Bal were present at this well-attended event.
The august jury, comprising several well known names in Indian literature such as Dilip Kumar, Antara Datta, Rita Kothari, Deepak Dalal etc was also present.

          R Sriram, Founder Crossword said, "With 552 entries, it is the highest number of entries ever received in the history of the Book Award. The entire judging process took more than 6 rigorous months which included shortlisting the books to announcing the final winner."

Janice Pariat and Jerry Pinto
      This year The Crossword Book Award 2013 followed the financial year module and considered entries published in India from 1st January 2012 to 31st March 2013. (15 months for  the entry process). For the next year, entries from April 2013 to March 2014 will be considered eligible.

About Crossword: 

         Crossword, with Eighty Four stores, across Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Durgapur, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kota, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Nasik, Pune, Siliguri, Udaipur, Vapi, Vadodara and Vijayawada is India’s fastest growing chain of bookstores & has pioneered the lifestyle bookstore concept in India. Crossword was ranked the 6th most admired retailer in India by Business world for the year 2006; it was the only book retailer in the top 10. Crossword won the Reid & Taylor Award for Best Retailer of the year – Leisure & Specialty at the India Retail Summit 2005 & 2007& 2009. It also won the Star Retailer Award for the Best Lifestyle Retailer in Books & Music in 2011. Crossword won the Retailer of the Year Award - Leisure (Books, Music and Gifts Category) at the Images Retail Awards 2005 & 2007& 2009. Crossword received the Federation of Indian Publishers Award for excellence in Publishing for the year 2004 on 18th June 2005 at the hands of Shri Arjun Singh, Minister of Human Resource Development.

Payal Kapadia
 Crossword won the Debutant E tailer of the year - books - at India eRetail Awards 2012. In 2013 Crossword won the ET Retail Award for Excellence in Marketing award for The Popular Award.Crossword Bookstores Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary Company of Shopper’s Stop Ltd – India’s leading department store chain. The Holding Company inter-alia also acts as a Master Franchisee of the Company.

            The awards this year was Presented by ARROW and are in association with Principal Retirement Advisors and conducted at the Times Literary Carnival.

Ravi Subramanian
Taufiq Qureshi


Saturday, November 30, 2013

An Interview with Terin Miller, author of Kashi!!!

An Interview with the Award-winning and respected author- Terin Miller who has recently published "Kashi" released by Author's Empire.

1. Hello Mr. Terin, what is your feeling after being an author now? What’s your perspective about life now after achieving a rare flagship in your life?

I am thrilled to finally be published by someone else, who enjoyed my writing and believes others will as well. But my life for the most part hasn’t changed that much. As a good friend of mine, the writer Loren D. Estleman, told me years ago when he was having some sudden success: “I still have to stand in line at the Post Office.”

My perspective about life has grown, too, I think. I now firmly believe people should follow their dreams, no matter how unlikely the outcome may seem.  Not long before being discovered by my publisher Mr. Kunal Marathe, CEO of Author’s Empire,  a friend had sort of scoffed at my still-unfulfilled dream of being published, and suggested “if it hasn’t happened yet…” I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve already had one relatively successful career. But writing novels and short stories and occasional essays is what I really have wanted to do since I graduated high school. 

2. When you saw your first novel for sale on E-commerce websites and placed at a bookstore for the first time, what kind of thoughts dominated your mind?

Well, being a journalist for more than 30 years, I have seen my name in print often enough without being charged to now be more concerned what I wrote is not too drastically changed, and to hope besides me and my relatives (who are no longer around), someone somewhere will read what I wrote and if not be moved by it, at least enjoy reading it and recommend it to others. My greatest joy will be if ever I see someone reading a novel of mine and see their face change with the emotions that I hope to convey. That, to me, would be a major achievement as a writer.

3. Before we head towards discussing your book, we would like to know in spite of being an author, what do you exactly do? And do you wish to continue with the job or come into full-time writing?

As I mentioned, I am a journalist. I’ve been everything from a police reporter to a foreign correspondent (in two countries). Currently, and for most of the past decade, I’ve been an editor of other reporters’ work. While I enjoy it for the most part, the former reporter in me is often wishing to have been the one to cover or write the story.  But I once told a friend the great thing about being a writer or a reporter is that you never, really, ever have to retire unless you want to.  I still feel young enough to have something to contribute to both journalism and writing. In other words, I probably will need more time for my ego to deflate—or my books to become popular enough to support me and my family--before you find me working on motorcycles or fishing and camping any time other than on weekends…

4. What is your latest book- Kashi all about? And from where did this idea occur to you?

Kashi is about what happens when a group of young people encounter and emulate, to a certain extent, another group of young people. It is about the consequences of entering relationships from your own perspective without having the sensitivity or awareness of the perspective and beliefs of the other person.  And, ultimately, it is about the potential consequences of rebelling against a more seemingly repressive moral or religious code, without fully understanding the risks rebellion entails, or the risks and consequences to unintended victims or prior relationships.

The idea came to me first when I was a young Hindi student at Benares Hindu University. I was living with a group of people essentially my age, non-Indians, who were also language students . Some at the time tried hard to blend in, without actually investigating the society’s rules. And I witnessed some young Indians wanting to emulate us, particularly the freedoms of behavior we seemed to take for granted.

5. How much long did it take to write this book from the moment you started developing the story to start writing it till completing it finally with editing and all?

Well, as I noted, I first started thinking about it in India as a young language student.  I’d say I pretty much thought I had it done, after digging the idea out of a stack of others that I started years ago, when I first self-published it, about two years before Mr. Kunal Marathe discovered it. And I am grateful to his editing and helpful suggestions, as I believe the Author’s Empire published version far superior to my self-published version.

6. Indian Publishing is too hard to deal with, was it easy for you to get a Publisher or did u wait for a long time to get your work published?

I certainly have not experienced Indian Publishing being “hard to deal with.” For that, I credit Author’s Empire. I have experienced publishing in the United States, and found it extremely difficult. Mr. Kunal Marathe contacted me. In the U.S., to get a publisher to even look at your idea, you first in most cases need a literary agent. I’ve had two—the first, actually, is the person who convinced me to try and write a novel when I had just graduated high school. He spoiled me, in the sense that he always preferred to see and read a completed novel more than just consider an idea or a premise. These days, it seems, even literary agents want your “concept” summed up in one line, or the equivalent of the much-written-about “30-second elevator pitch” of movie writers, now called a “query,” before they’ll even consider representing you.  I guess the thought is if your “concept” is too complicated, readers won’t be interested and therefore no one wants to waste time on it. Imagine, as I do, Ernest Hemingway or William Faulkner having to “pitch” to a literary agent: “But what’s it about?” “It’s about an old man who hasn’t caught a fish for 80 days.” Or “It’s about a bear hunt.” Or, for the modern method, “It’s Titanic meets Moby Dick!” or “It’s Grizzly Man meets Kujo!”

7. What are the Promotional strategies that you and your publisher have applied to promote/market your book?

I really don’t know. I am delighted that Author’s Empire has taken promoting and marketing my book into its own hands. In the United States, more and more, it seems most publishers do not want to have to promote a writer’s work. And that leaves it to the writer, which is very little different from publishing the thing yourself. I am available for interviews, such as this, and even willing to Skype with book clubs, or to happily go to book signings and panels. 

8. What exactly is your target from your Books- 1. Getting most copies sold out, 2. Getting the love of readers or 3. You just wrote it because you wanted to write a book once in your life, hence you have no targets?

My target for my books is to have people read them, and hopefully for someone to get something out of it, to remember it, to maybe recommend it to their friends. If that means getting the love of readers first, and then getting most copies sold out, so be it. If all you want to do is write a book once in your life, I say do it. And don’t worry about how or if it ever gets read. 

9. By when are you coming up with your next novel? And if possible, do give us an idea about what it would be.

Well, Author’s Empire I believe has plans for my next novel. When I wrote Kashi, I already was working on an idea for a sequel using the same character as narrator—John Colson. I won’t give you the title right now, in case it changes, but rest assured, another is coming. It is a “thriller,” though, a little later in John Colson’s personal history. And its subject is really the manipulation of relatively good hearted people who find themselves unwittingly part of a political game played by nations. And it takes place in India. Oh, and Colson has become the narrator in a third book, making Kashi really the start of a trilogy. The third book is sort of filling in some of the missing pieces of Colson’s background in India—why the country is so significant to him--and brings his character pretty much up-to-date.

10. In the end, tell us in 5-7 lines, what speech will you give if you win a Major Award for the Best Indian Author for your books?

Well, first of all, I’d thank whoever gave me such an award but note I don’t believe I’m qualified for it. I am not an Indian Author. I am an American author who happens to have written about India. I am an American author who still stands upon hearing “Janaganamana,” though I need a kick in the head to recall all the words. I am an American author who spent many of his “formative” years in India, and who always has and always will love India—seeing it for the first time when I was 3 ½ years old. But I also believe, as the great Rabindranath Tagore did, that literature—human stories—should know and recognize no borders. I look forward to the day when authors receive awards for being authors, regardless of their country of origin, or current residence, and when readers come to recognize that, while certain cultural aspects are inherent in writing, as they are in experience, some stories—that try in some way to describe the human condition—are universal. 

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