Friday, June 28, 2013

Sachin Born to Bat by Khalid A-H Ansari/Clayton Murzello (Book Review)!!!

   Whenever it comes to Sachin Tendulkar, we are ready to read whatever is been written about him. If its appreciation, we get flowed into it but if it turns out to be criticism, we resolute that we are not going to touch the respective newspaper ever in life as its too negative to handle. Some people define him God while some call him a selfish player. Some says that his centuries has made India win matches while others say that his centuries have cost India matches. Different people have different perspective. There are more than 100 books written on Sachin Tendulkar. I wished to own at least 5 of them. I have 2 of them with me currently. One has been read today- "SACHIN BORN TO BAT" which also has the tagline "The Journey of Cricket's Ultimate Centurion". It's written by Khalid A-H Ansari and edited by Clayton Murzello. Both of these man does not need any introduction but as my job is to review books with my best abilities, here it is -->>

About the Authors

Until his recent retirement, Padma Shri Khalid A-H Ansari was the guiding force of MiD DAY Infomedia Ltd which publishes the newspaper (in two languages from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune), the Inquilab Daily and other publications.

He was publisher of the magazine Sportsweek, which he started in 1968 to champion the cause of Indian sport and sportsmen until 1989, when he took up an assignment abroad. The author of three earlier books, he covered the Kargil war in 1999, the NAM conference in Harare and the CHOGM summit in the Bahamas. He was also a member of the Indian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 and published the Earth Times, the official paper for the 1994 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He has the distinction of having covered nine Olympic Games going back to Munich '72 and is a recipient of several honours and awards.

Clayton Murzello is MiD DAY's Group Sports Editor and has been a journalist since 1988. He is a recipient of two Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI) awards for excellence in journalism. He has co-authored a book on cricket anecdotes with former Test cricketer Sandeep Patil.

About the Book
Sachin: Born to Bat by veteran journalist Khalid A-H Ansari and edited by Clayton Murzello is a unique ode to contemporary cricket’s finest batsman.

In the words of the author: “This is an attempt to impartially probe the crucial mental, physical and emotional ingredients of a cricketing ‘god’. I have tried to turn the laser on the maestro’s persona - innumerable blemishes and all - to prevent the book from degenerating into a shabaash, wah-wah hagiography. For all his splendiferous achievements, Sachin has also shown that he is a mere mortal with feet of clay - witness his run-ins with authority, cricketing and civil”.

Despatches to MiD DAY, one of Asia’s leading newspapers, from some of the world’s most famous names in cricket writing - Ayaz Memon, Harsha Bhogle, Ian Chappell, Mike Coward, Peter Roebuck and other luminaries - grace the pages of this book.

Tributes from cricket’s most famous personalities including Tendulkar’s Team India teammates and coaches make this publication invaluable in helping cricket enthusiasts understand what makes Sachin the peerless champion he is.

The book also captures critical moments of Tendulkar’s wondrous cricketing career from photographers who have followed him throughout his distinguished career.


          Coming to the book, I would say that what attracted me most about the book was the marketing stunt "The Introduction written by no one other than Sachin Tendulkar himself". I always wanted to read his biography but only the one which he launched himself or wrote in it. A friend of mine informed me last night that he is writing one with a prominent personality. But till then, this book is what I would cherish as a very good experience. All the articles that are included in this book are ordered according to the years when they were written and thus, it gives us what Sachin Tendulkar was being considered by media/journalist at that point of time. The mentions of some of his great centuries in the articles and how they were scored made me realize how much I missed being a non-Cricket fan till 2008. :-( 

            I would like to mention some of my favorite articles out of all that are being included in the book- Sachincredible is the best start that could have been given to this masterpiece. "Marvelous at Manchester" by Harsha Bhogle is another good account of his 1st Test 100. Clayton Murzello's interview and take on Sachin's captaincy is straightforward. The article written by Sourav Ganguly congratulating him for his 100th Test match is wonderful and he says this is 2002 itself,"I will really be surprised if he does not score 100 International Hundreds". Anjali Tendulkar's interview in 2003 is again a sweet contribution in this book. Sachin's interview in 2005 about his injuries is another inspiration piece. Ian Chappell's chapter on Gavaskar and Tendulkar's comparison and similarity is another interesting read. Ian's another article after 2007 WC boiled my blood even today. Idiot. Huh!

            "Act of Will" in Sydnet by Peter Roebuck, I think, is the best among all. Mike Coward's piece is an emotional one but it made me laugh when I saw its date because he was speculating Sachin's retirement from Test Cricket in 2008. Haha! "It's Chennai Yet Again" by Clayton Murzello is an amazing contemporary write-up. My 20 Greatest moments mentioned by Sachin Tendulkar is so lively. Also the interview with Clayton Murzello after 200* is lovely enough to fall in love with it. :-) The way book started getting lighter in the end is a good idea. The Epilogue by Khalid A-H Ansari could have been better. The cover page, I think, should have been better. There are other books on Sachin with better cover page. But the pictures of Sachin within the book is something that you won't find in every book. For that, paying Rs. 450 to get this book is a good investment. In all, I would say 4/5 and a very good book. Do get it if you love Sachin Tendulkar. :-) 


Thursday, June 27, 2013

"The term Bhagath has been used as a metaphor"- S. V. Divvaakar!!!

The article that was being published in Hindustan Time's HT City sometimes in March where S. V. Divvaakar himself tells about his 2nd book- Beaten by Bhagath!


ForGetting the Unforgettable by Abhishek Agrawal (Book Review)!!!


I remember when a long time ago, I read "Sorry for loving you" by Abhishek Agrawal. That was his debut novel. It was quite lengthy and after reading the whole book with lots of concentration and dedication, I felt as if I read a book written by some kid. I gave it 1/5. Whenever I rate a debutante book, I hesitate when the review is bad. But I do because I want the debutante to decide whether he wants to continue writing books or leave it for his own good. After reading this 200-pages book "Forgetting the Unforgettable" by Abhishek Agrawal, his 2nd book, I am seriously very happy to see the improvement in his writing. Though his first book did well and was the first to get the National Bestseller tag for its Publisher but I wasn't satisfied as I found it poor. After reading this, I can understand the amount of improvement the author has worked upon. He seems to be a totally new person. 

This is a heart rending story of the two passionate lovers who sacrificed everything just to lead the life in each others arms forever but their normal life got trapped into topsyturvy leaving the protagonist into an indefinite waiting for his lost love.

Always in your arms I will reside, always with you I want to precis

The story unfolds with a letter which is the only left out treasure of the memory of his beloved who is lost somewhere unknown to him and ends up with the same situation where it begins from.

A Letter which was full of emotions.....
A Letter which was as deep as ocean....
A Letter that strengthen his belief...
A Letter that gave him a reason to live...
A Letter which he used to read daily when he had nothing to share....
A Letter that was his companion when she was not there

Their love and their dream of staying together brought them to Mumbai on the deliberate pretex of their higher studies, but the cruel hands of the fate did not spare even these two innocent souls.

The fate engineers the conspiracy in such a way as she suddenly disappears leaving none to know her whereabouts and he keeps on waiting throughout the life for the day when the death would embrace him or he would embrace his long awaited love either.

Can anyone love someone so madly that he lives his entire life with just A Letter?

About the Author
Abhishek Agrawal started writing from 2010 and his debut Novel Sorry...For Loving You, was Published in 2011 which became the National Bestseller in its maiden year.

As being in the age of his 20 years he was honoured by the Jewel of Agrawal Samaj, for giving his extraordinary performance in the field of writing. He always dreams enormous & has the zeal of concurring the entire era with his words. He wants to share some more stories through his upcoming novels. His aim is to give a message to the society through his Novels. 

         Coming to the review once again, this book is about how one falls in pure love and respects it with his/her pure heart. When love is a two-sided affair, how beautiful it is, is clearly described in each and every sentence written by the author. The italic paragraphs are something for which I would recommend this book for all of you. Though this love story is as simple as other love stories that are being written by Indian authors these days but still this book is quite different because of the treatment that author has done with the word "Love". There's not a single love making scene or a moment describing a sensuous kiss. It's all about the feelings both the protagonists have for each other.

          I liked the way Mumbai is described in the first few pages and later on, when the couple shifts to Mumbai for their Master's, the description and the way they enjoy the city is the best part of this book. A tragic part with the male protagonist is another beautiful piece that made me cry. Though I felt that the relationship of protagonist with that family member should have been described before bringing a whole twist in the book because of that particular incident in the story. Whenever the conversation part came, I felt that author faced difficulty in structuring the sentences. There are many grammatical mistakes which irritates the reader. Another example of mistake is- Spelling of "quiet" is repeatedly spelled as "quite" throughout the book. Such mistakes are general. Rest I would say, prologue and epilogue are also wonderfully written. The cover page of the book is beautiful. Synopsis on the back cover is exciting. In all, I would give this book 3/5. If you believe in love, this book is for you.



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Romi & Gang by Tushar Raheja (Book Review)!!!

  I remember those days of my come back into reading when I purchased 15 books by Srishti Publication and ended up reading many IITians-turned-authors. Many of them wrote their journey of Engineering in IIT, the best university in India while others wrote love stories, that were unique and quite contemporary. All happened because of Chetan Bhagat's establishment in to the industry. Out of many books, some were really terrific and one of them which I liked a lot was "Anything for you, ma'am". I made many of my friends purchase it too. And all of them thanked me for it. I wanted to read more from the author but I got to know that he changed his genre and wrote something called "Run Romi Run". I was surprised.. No not only because he changed his genre but because no one came to know about his 2nd book in spite of him being a Bestseller with his debut novel itself.

            Finally, I am done reading Tushar Raheja's 3rd book "Romi and Gang". Actually, I am not sure but I, being in this field, have an idea that this isn't his 3rd book but actually, this is his 2nd book itself which is re-released with a new name because the old name and the old marketing thing didn't make the book look a success. A new publication called "Pirates" have re-released his 2nd book "Run Romi Run" with a new name "Romi and Gang". Its a book that's basically would be favorite of children between the age of 8 to 15 as the book is based on Cricket and a passionate boy for it who is himself 13 years old. Though I am reviewing it being a 23 years old boy because only a reviewer can review a book and not a child who's just started reading story books. Agreed? :-) Hence I will be reviewing it considering that the target audience of this book is the age group that I mentioned above. 


Unruly and reckless, thirteen-year-old Romi is the hero of his universe. His great affinity for adventure and the unknown is shared by his gang - the rascal Sukhi, the deadpan Sunny, the naïve Golu and his blood brother, Kim.
When legendary Kim disappears from Mauji, it is left to the four to conquer the maidan with cricket and the world with their wits. Of course, they must prepare for responsibility in between and, one day, go after Kim.
'A piquant tale of chasing your dreams and a reminder that there is some innocence left is everyone. It is a must read for all!' - The Hindu

About the author:-
Tushar's first book was the popular comedy, Anything for you, Ma'am. At the moment, he is a doctoral
candidate at IIT Delhi in the field of Applied Probability.

     Coming to the review, Tushar Raheja has touched a very different genre when compared to what he wrote in his first book. With a new genre, a story that is basically children-based, he has done a pure justice with it. He has kept the purity, innocence and playfulness alive. He has not dragged a childhood love story in that sense being a writer who has written a good love tale in his first book. I still remember the date scene that he wrote, its one of my all-time favorites. :-) But in this book, he has kept Cricket, an unofficial national sport, as the base. That's what we as a teenage kid do most often, right? The Romi and his friend, or better call it "gang", are normal and not someone who go over the board to entertain their readers. Romi is shown as a wonderful cricketer who plays skillful shots as his father was once an aspiring Cricketer. And author has maintained the balance by not narrating the matches where he scores the fastest century or a last-ball-six-and-a-win kind of segments. He has kept all quite realistic.

          Any teenager reading this book will understand how parents guide their children for good, how wonderful teachers are sometimes just with their one-liners, how innocent and caring our grandparents are and how supportive and a well companion our siblings are. Every time a Cricket match is narrated, we want Rumi to play like his idol- Sachin Tendulkar and what he does is, leaves the ground even when umpire signals him Not out because he feels that's what Tendulkar would have done being at his place. Incredible. Enough for children to understand the lesson of faithfulness and truthfulness. This book can be said as a kind of tribute to Sachin Tendulkar because the way he has been talked of is quite devotional. The suspense of Kim throughout keeps the book little out-of-track. The climax could have been done more better. In all, I would say its 3 out of 5. You can gift it to a teenager who loves playing Cricket with his friends. :-) Tushar Raheja, please come up with a new book for a guy of 23 years old too. :-)




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho (Book Review)!!!

  Everyone knows about the name that Paulo Coelho has in the genre in which he writes. I picked up his first book some 3 years ago- The Alchemist, his most famous book which is been read by 27 million readers worldwide. After reading the book, I was extremely disappointed and I decided not to read him ever again. But his recent book release- Manuscript in Accra made me think about one book- Eleven Minutes written by him that I have in my shelf since 1 year. I thought lets try him once again after 3 years and  remove all the hatred I have for his book. The first half of the book is amazing. I started becoming fan of Paulo Coelho. But right from the 200th page till the last, the book started boring me. And by the end, my plan of purchasing the whole set of Paulo Coelho once again got cancelled. Now, I serious feel that Paulo Coelho is an over-rated author. 

            Initially, the way Maria's story begins, it gives a good treatment to a girl's character, her background, her parents etc. Later on, the way she realizes her puberty and finds the change in herself, even that is mentioned properly. Then the way she migrates to a different city and what happens there initially is also very beautifully written. Few experiences of her does make us realize how tough a life of prostitute is. Even a normal girl who goes through such phases is something that made me think a lot. The philosophical quotes that Paulo Coelho keeps using every now and then is something for which I think I'll have to read his other books too. Otherwise, in terms of story, I would say, its too simple, though feelings are emoted well. The Maria's diary part is also an eye-opener and are very well written. But in all, the book is quite boring in its last 1/3rd part. I would give it 3/5. An average book. 

 About the Book:- 
Eleven Minutes follows Maria, a young prostitute from Brazil, on her journey of sexual awakening and discovery of true love.
Eleven Minutes is the story of Maria, a young girl from a small village in Brazil. She is disillusioned by her failures in love. She moves to Geneva, Switzerland, aspiring to live the life of her dreams - a life filled with fame and fortune. Her dreams are shattered when she is introduced to the harsh realities of life.

One day, a chance encounter with an Arab man earns her a thousand francs for one night. Lured by the prospect of easy money, she ends up becoming a prostitute in a brothel in Geneva’s red-light district. Once there, she quickly learns the ropes and becomes quite successful, not to mention the envy of her colleagues. She shuts the door on love and only has time for the demands made by her body.

Her life is thrown into disarray when she meets a young Swiss painter named Ralf. She falls in love with Ralf, who is completely different from her. Her carnal feelings for Ralf and her true love for him vie for supremacy. She finally decides to move away from Geneva because she sees no future for them. But just before she leaves, she discovers the beautiful blend of sex and true love with Ralf.

Maria’s journey begins with disillusionment. It brings about her sexual awakening and eventually, almost brings her to the point of self-destruction. She sinks to the depths of despair before her phoenix-like rise to self-discovery and the heights of love.

Maria’s story explores the concepts of sex, prostitution, sadomasochism, and true love.

Eleven Minutes was published in 2003. It was originally written in Portuguese, and has been translated into several languages since then.

About The Author

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian novelist and lyricist.

His books include The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Greatest Gift, Brida, The Witch Of Portobello, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, Veronica Decides To Die, The Fifth Mountain, Love Letters From A Prophet, Aleph, and The Winner Stands Alone.

His writing draws heavily from the experiences of his life. His books have sold over a 100 million copies across 150 countries and have been translated into 71 languages. Several of them have been adapted for other media. He encourages readers to share his books over peer-to-peer file sharing networks. He is also the bestselling Portuguese author of all time.

Coelho was born in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was committed to a mental institution for refusing to follow a traditional path. He enrolled in law school at the behest of his parents only to drop out a year later and become a hippie. He has worked as a songwriter, journalist, actor, and director. He was once arrested as his lyrics were viewed as dangerous and left-wing by the military government in power. In 1986, a journey of over 500 miles on foot along the Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain turned his life around. He eventually gave up his songwriting career to start writing full-time. He was named a Messenger of Peace to the UN in 2007. Coelho has established an organization that helps children and elderly people with financial difficulties. He is married to Cristina Oiticica. The couple spends their time either in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or in Europe.



Sunday, June 23, 2013

Beaten by Bhagath! by S. V. Divvaakar (Cover Page)!!!

I m sure you can do a much better job than Bhagath! When BB hears these inspiring words from his sexy lady boss, his staid life as a successful analyst in an MNC goes into a tailspin. Bitten by the ego bug and smitten by her, BB sets off on his quest to write a book thats better than Indias greatest writer Dr. Bhagaths blockbusters. Nothing unusual about this for BB, who likes a good fight. Except that he and Bhagath had been classmates and friends at college. 

What follows is a roller-coaster voyage of the debutant author and his book, with all its twists and cul-de-sacs. Brushes with publishers, celebrities, retailers, book chains, and competition with the alliances among giants, mark the challengers journey, upping the stakes at every stage. Will BB catch up with his famous friend?What will their encounter be like?Written from inside the ring, Beaten by Bhagath is a gripping tale the first-ever about the unseen side of the wonderland of Indian fiction.

About the Author
S. V. Divvaakar an alumnus of the IIT Delhi, is an international Monitoring and Evaluation specialist and serves on the boards of a few international companies. He is now in the process of a gradual transition, re-balancing his professional work and his creative interests: writing and music. He composes music, sings and plays the key board. His music addresses matters of public interest, such as: Corruption, Delhis traffic, and Commonwealth Games. He writes a blog Life Purpose and Happiness and has now ventured into writing, picking up the genre of realistic fiction. This is his second novel. Divvaakar lives with his wife and son in New Delhi.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Johnny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj!!!

   Within two days, I am also done reading Karan Bajaj's 2nd and the last book- Johnny Gone Down. After reading the Keep of the Grass, i was so excited that I just wanted to complete this one. Though I didn't start this immediately. Normally, reading the same author again and again frustrates after a time being hence I read some other novel and then directly headed towards this one. And this break paid off well. I, again, enjoyed Karan Bajaj's writing style and creativity. Undoubtedly, he is the best author whom Indian readers would love to read. The international style that he has adopted does well with the Harper Collins as a publisher. Nice combination! This book released in 2010 after his first novel in 2008 and its 3 years since then, Karan Bajaj has still not come up with the 3rd novel. As he said in an interview, he didn't want to hurry because he'll end up writing the same ideas again and again. Hence I am okay with waiting because I know whenever he'll come, it would be a new stuff. :-)

            Karan Bajaj is the author of Keep Off the Grass, which has been on bestseller lists in India since its release in 2008. The book was a semifinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Indiaplaza Golden Quill Award, among other honours. Johnny Gone Down is his second novel. Born in 1979 into an Army family, Karan studied in various schools in New Delhi, Shimla, Lucknow, Jabalpur, Assam, Ranchi and Bangalore and regards his interest in backpacking and travel as key writing inspirations. Besides writing, he pursues his Brand Management career with Kraft Foods, New York on the side and was named a ‘Top 40 under 40 US Marketer’ by Advertising Age in 2007.

About the Book :

Nikhil Arya has fallen.

Once, he was an Ivy League scholar with a promising future at NASA; now, at forty, he is broke, homeless,and minutes away from blowing his brains out in a diabolical modern-day joust.

It wasn’t meant to be this way.An innocent vacation turned into an epic intercontinental journey that saw Nikhil become first a genocide survivor, then a Buddhist monk, a drug lord, a homeless accountant, a software mogul and a deadly game fighter. Now, twenty years later, Nikhil aka Johnny is tired of running. With the Colombian mafia on his trail
and his abandoned wife and son ten thousand miles away, he prepares for his final act, aware that he will have lost even if he wins.

Or will he? Is there any greater victory than living a life that knows no limits, a world that has seen no boundaries?

From the bestselling author of Keep Off the Grass comes the once-in-a-lifetime story of an ordinary man fighting an extraordinary destiny. Can he pick up the pieces one last time or will Nikhil, now Johnny, go down for good?
      Coming to the review:- Yes, as I have said, Karan Bajaj has an international touch in his writing style which gives the whole new dimension to his stories. This story is again a very different tale than what I have been reading by Indian writers from a long time. Its kind of a story of a hippie which makes us know about the different segment of life that he has touched. The incarnation of the same person as a genocide survivor, then a Buddhist Monk, 
a drug lord, a homeless accountant, a software mogul and a deadly game fighter is as nourishing as reading many stories in a book. Though I felt that story was kept short to give space to all this segment of the life of the protagonist but its fine as extending this book would not have done justice with the work. 

            The only problem that I felt was of the difficult names of the location that author has used. But still there are many incidents in the book which will take you to some another world and its good how author has ended the story in the climax. It teacher us about life. And yes, I did feel that author used the same ideas as he has in his first book and hence I am happy that he is taking time for writing the third one. :-) In all I would give this book 3.9/5. This book has to be read. Please don't miss it.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Keep off the grass by Karan Bajaj (Book Review)!!!

  I am done reading "Keep off the grass" by Karan Bajaj. I purchased this book when I was very new to this Online sites where we can get books on heavy discounts. Since 3 years, this book has been on my shelf and finally, I picked this 250 pages of a wonderful odyssey and took 2 whole days to complete it. I could have finished this in 3-5 hours straight but the book is so amazing that I preferred taking breaks, digesting the wonderful story and then continuing ahead. And this has really paid off. I will always remember this book somewhere in the background of my mind whenever a dilemma would come in life regarding the selection of my happiness or the race to build lots of money, position in some firm and other materialistic satisfaction. This book is by Harper Collins, the publisher whom I think I have never tried before. I think I should give them more chance because only then I will get to read more wonderful stories like this one. :-)

           Born in 1979, Karan Bajaj is an Indian American author whose debut novel Keep Off The Grass (2008) became a bestseller. His travel adventures have greatly motivated him to write. Following the success of his debut novel, his second novel titled Johnny Gone Down came out in the year 2010. Both his books have together sold over two lakh copies in India itself. After completing his engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi, in 2000, Bajaj went on to graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore in 2002. He has worked as a Brand Manager for Procter & Gamble, and as a Management Consultant for Boston Consulting Group. He is presently a Brand Manager with Kraft Foods, New York and continues to write as well. He has been given awards for his professional endeavours too.

Summary Of The Book

Keep Off The Grass is about a brilliant 25 year old Non Resident Indian (NRI), who is stuck with an identity crisis. A Yale graduate who makes half a million every year as an investment banker at Wall Street, Samrat Ratan chooses to return to India to discover his roots,happiness, and everything else that seems elusive.

His quest in his homeland starts with one of the most popular business schools in India, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Bangalore. Contrary to the person he was before he enrolled himself into IIM-Bangalore, his grades and self-esteem fall as he gets high on marijuana frequently. His life becomes nothing less than a roller-coaster ride thereon.

Samrat remains perpetually stoned and experiences bizarre adventures, including sharing a smoke with and being almost consumed by flesh-eating Aghori saints on the banks of the river Ganges in Benares, meditating on the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, and indulging in a one-night stand with a Danish hippie in Dharamshala.

This hilarious and introspective debut novel by Karan Bajaj traces Samrat’s journey and keeps the readers intrigued till the very end.

Keep Off The Grass was a semi-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and was also nominated for the Indiaplaza Golden Quill Award.The film rights of the book have been sold to Mosaic Media Group, and Ben Rekhi has been signed up as the director for it.

   Coming to the author, the above paragraph itself tells how class a story-teller he is. Recently, I saw his pictures on Internet where he captioned how he went to travel to Himalayas with his foreigner girlfriend and got married there. He, his girlfriend were the only two people present in this certain-kms-above-sea-level marriage. :-) After seeing this, I got excited to read this book as soon as possible which got released in 2008. In the initial paragraphs itself, you get an idea that you are going to read something that shall remain with you for a long time in life. I was definite, then itself, that this book is going to give a peaceful and meaningful climax and yes, that's what I got in the end. 

           Author has not over-done anything. He has kept all the incidents short and up-to-the-mark. He has made it sure that every time a page is turned, a reader does not continue with the same thing that was going on the previous page and he gets something new to read. Story is itself quite unique, that you would have read above in the summary of the book that's being taken from Flipkart. The confusion and decision initially to leave for India from Manhattan gives a fast paced start to the book. Once, he comes to India, people's question to him regarding how can he leave his job from Manhattan and come to do MBA in India makes us laugh every time imagining him giving a confused explanation. 

          His initial friendship with 2 boys isn't the same typical friendship shown in every another book in India. In his story, the chase towards excellence can be easily seen in the IIM environment which pressurizes a youngster too much. The trip to Himalaya is short but its the turning point in the book. The internship in Benaras and his learning there, is also written awesomely. In the end, the way protagonist takes his final decision throws many said/unsaid messages on reader. :-) Every chapter's title is the same as the last sentence of the previous chapter. An amazing style, Karan Bajaj. :-) In all, I would give the book 4/5. Definitely, try this one. 


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Beaten by Bhagath! by S. V. Divvaakar (Book Review)!!!

   Aah!!! As I said in my last post too, seems as if Frog/Leadstart publication has become one of my pet publication whom I am reading quite often these days. Right now I am just done with 191-pages novel "Beaten by Bhagath!" which also has the tagline "A Tale of Two Writers". This novel is being written by S. V. Divvaakar. Though its not his debut work but seems to be- as his first novel didn't do quite well. With some authors, the scenario is that they believe in writing what they feel than going in the same flow in what every commercial writer are con-temporarily writing. This is what, sometimes, turns out to be lucky but sometimes hard on luck. The same happened with S. V. Divvaakar with his debut novel and this book "Beaten by Bhagath!" is also based on the same topic. Let's introduce the author first before talking about how good and bad the book is. :-)

           S. V. Divvaakar an alumnus of the IIT Delhi, is an international Monitoring and Evaluation specialist and serves on the boards of a few international companies. He is now in the process of a gradual transition, re-balancing his professional work and his creative interests: writing and music. He composes music, sings and plays the key board. His music addresses matters of public interest, such as: Corruption, Delhi's traffic, and Commonwealth Games. He writes a blog Life Purpose and Happiness and has now ventured into writing, picking up the genre of realistic fiction. This is his second novel. Divvaakar lives with his wife and son in New Delhi.

            The synopsis of the book says:-
I m sure you can do a much better job than Bhagath! 
When BB hears these inspiring words from his sexy lady boss, his staid life as a successful analyst in an MNC goes into a tailspin. 
Bitten by the ego bug and smitten by her, BB sets off on his quest to write a book thats better than Indias greatest writer Dr. Bhagaths blockbusters. Nothing unusual about this for BB, who likes a good fight. Except that he and Bhagath had been classmates and friends at college. 
What follows is a roller-coaster voyage of the debutant author and his book, with all its twists and cul-de-sacs. Brushes with publishers, celebrities, retailers, book chains, and competition with the alliances among giants, mark the challengers journey, upping the stakes at every stage. 
Will BB catch up with his famous friend?
What will their encounter be like?
Written from inside the ring, Beaten by Bhagath is a gripping tale the first-ever about the unseen side of the wonderland of Indian fiction.

   Coming to the author, as I have said above, S. V. Divvaakar has definitely tried something which not many writer will dare to. I have known many authors, who after getting a new publisher, wanted to write a satirical on their previous publisher or its CEO. But none have been able to do this. For this attempt, I would like to salute S. V. Divvaakar. If he continues this face-off with the reality, he will be an awaited-author for the reader-base that loves reading such books. And there's something amazing about this book, though its noted down under the Fiction category but while reading, I found that its as much a non-fiction as much it's a fiction. This is something that I find very rarely in books. 

           Coming to the story, yes, its about how BB's boss motivates him to write a book and tells him that he can beat Ketan Bhagath, the bestseller author of India. As BB turns out to be the classmate and college-time friend of the author, he feels that if he can be an author, why can't he beat him. With this ego and competitive attitude, he completes writing his book. And with this, he discusses what problems he faced while writing the book and how after the book gets completed, he has to face rejections and how even after he gets published, he does not enjoy the status of the author as he has imagined. There's a tale at every step of the story. To know the complete story, get the book. :-)

             As its obvious that it was no one other than Chetan Bhagat whom author has continuously talked about in the book, it was fun to imagine his tryst with him during the college time. Then the poem that is being written about how one friend reach heights while other is still struggling is also beautifully written. Then the unsocial life of the writer and the problem he faces because of cutting-off from his family and relatives is rightly described. Later on, the Ghanta Singh part made me laugh like hell. There are some moments in the book which are too funny to stop laughing as you start comparing them with real-life examples which are exactly as same as they are described. The middle part of the story is the best according to me. Then, in the pre-climax, the revolutionary idea that a party brings towards the writer is something I didn't expect the way the story takes turn lately. It's a surprise.

          Now talking about the drawbacks- Initially as the story starts, it seems as if its going to be a childish tale of how a writer will face rejections. Though after few pages, I realized that its a mature tale which tells about the reality of the publishing industry in India. Then I didn't like the part where writer tells about how the protagonist tears his book out of frustration. Also, I felt that the climax was too dramatic after a time. The book could have been written in a much better way but still whatever the author has pointed out, I will recommend everyone who's thinking of entering the industry with their manuscript ready or are about to write a book to read this book before thinking of being a Successful and Bestseller writer in India. Even the cover page does not synchronizes correctly with the story. In all, I would give this book 3.75/5. Just a bit of better execution could have fetched 4 stars but for now, its 3.75 which means you can definitely try this book for once.


The Teen by Gyandeep Kaushal (Book Review)!!!

    As I have been picking up books of Srishti and Mahaveer from a long time, God has played a mischief and suddenly I find myself around Frog/Leadstart publication books these days. Recently, I have read many novels from them and right now, I have completed reading the one which was of 591 pages. This is the most thickest novel I have read till date. Finally breathing a sigh of relief. Seems as an achievement after completing this book in just 1.5 days (sleeping included). As the books from this publication has mixed reviews from me, I was scared as to what would my comment be after devoting so much time to this novel but fortunately, all worked well and I loved reading it. Not for a moment did I feel that I should skip a page or two. I loved reading each and every sentence. The name of the book is "The Teen" and it's written by debutante Gyandeep Kaushal. 

      Gyandeep Kaushal is a 17-year-old student of class 12th from Hazaribag, Jharkhand. Just like any other boy of his age, he is usually deep inside books with extra tuitions to take care of. His love for books is so much that he enjoys sleeping with his head into their pages almost every time he opens them. As a result, he has been a top-notch academic achiever in his class 10th examinations with a CGPA of 10 out of 10 of which he has no clue how he achieved that. Despite the high marks, he is not the nerd of the class. He enjoys taking regular breaks (rather long ones) from studies with his friends and hardly misses a new movie! When he is not with his books or friends, he would usually be disturbing neighbours with either his guitar or drums for he also plays those musical instruments. Well, the bad part for his neighbours is that he sings too.

            The synopsis of the book says- Love can make you do anything, absolutely anything. It can make you run out of your house in the middle of the night to save the girl you love, it can make you not fear anything, not even death when you feel you have been forgotten by someone you can never forget, it can make you choose to live in isolation for a complete year just so that you don't risk her peace; it can make you choose to wait for her forever, and it can make you choose to be awfully selfish so that you can see your whole life being ruined, at the cost of seeing her alive and breathing.

    Coming to the author, I would say that I never ever assumed that a 17 year old boy can write a novel of 591 pages. Secondly, the kind of maturity that is being reflected from the writing of Gyandeep, it can be easily said that we can get an epic story by him in the years to come. Normally, when a < 20 years old authors write, they normally write something that's too cliche or sentimental but there are very rare authors who really touch heart. Some of them for me are Durjoy Datta, Sanchit Goel, Prateek Verma etc. I can literally say that Gyandeep Kaushal is Durjoy Datta in making. The kind of words that he has chosen, the way he has taken his story forward, the incidents that he has included- all are being done perfectly. Even when the book is too thick to handle, as I have said above, I didn't get bored much. I liked his work very much and I am just looking forward to read more from him.

            Coming to the story, I would say that the way book has been started is perfect. I got intrigued into it as soon as I was done with first 10 pages. I learnt that this is going to be a phenomenal journey. The character of Ravi is given a good shape. Even I felt that I make the same mistake as him and I will have to improve it soon. :) What I liked the best is that author hasn't given the physical description of any character. Even when this is a hardcore love story, the physical outlook of the lead girl- Nikki is not discussed. It is left on us, the readers to imagine how the characters look. And again, as this is a love story, I was expecting lots of unwanted love-making and sex scenes but there isn't a single one. Author has done good justice to the title of the book- The Teen. He has maintained a dignity that when in this age, it should be pure love and no physical involvement. Awesome!!! 

           The plight of both the brothers seeing their parents' continuous fighting is something that made me be grateful of having parents who never raise a voice against each other. The maturity with which author has handled this part of story made him the winner for me. The love between Ravi and Varun, both the brothers is another beautiful part of the story. In Indian books, teachers are being given funny names by the lead characters and that particular names are being used throughout. Author, once again, showed how the teachers are meant to be respected in any case, even when they promise us something and goes against it. The twists and turns that author keeps introducing incessantly is another USP of the book that keeps us interested in turning the pages. The first half is exceptionally commendable.

           Now its time for some drawbacks- As I have continuously said in the review that 591 pages weren't much for me as this story had the power of keeping the reader intact with it but still, I would say that the story could have been summed up in 400 pages or something. But still it's fine but I request author to not write his 2nd novel this lengthy as people don't really like picking up a 600 pages novel when a love story is beautifully said by some other authors in 200-300 pages. Or else, plan a sequel if your story is really very long. Then, I was expecting some melodrama with which Ravi would have brought his parents together but it didn't happen till end. One scene in which the protagonist humiliates a girl in a get-together party after exam, according to me, was overdone and unfortunately, cliche too. And yes, I wanted climax to be the opposite of what it is. Happy endings is preferable, at least, when 600 pages are being read. Haha! And yes, it's very rare that I say 1st half of the book was better than the 2nd and here, I say this. I also felt that 2nd half was dragged too much. In all, I would give this attempt of author 4/5. It would have been 4.5/5 if the book would have been summed up in 300-400 pages. And yes, Gyandeep, I want you to write something else now. Not a love story again. Please.



Friday, June 14, 2013

The Hope Factory by Lavanya Sankaran (Book Review)!!!

  I am done reading this 350-pages novel "The Hope Factory" by the authoress- Lavanya Sankaran. The book is being published by Tinder Press and has a very beautiful cover page. The greenish effect and a poor child splashing water over himself speaks a lot about what the story would be. It already reflects that it's a tale about India and its poverty in its main segment of people. 

          Lavanya Sankaran is the author of The Red Carpet, the bestselling, critically acclaimed debut collection selected for Poets and Writers magazine's Best First Fiction Award, Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers, and Borders Original Voices. The tile story was first published in the Atlantic Monthly. Her work has also been features in the Wall Street Journal, the Times of India and Outlook among other publications in America, India, Italy and France, as well as in numerous television appearances in a social and political commentator. Lavanya studied at Bryn Mawr College and lives in Bangalore with her husband and daughter.

           The synopsis of the book says:-
An international event: a remarkable first novel of modern India, weaving together a rich tapestry of social manners and mores, ambition, greed, and love, which will establish Lavanya Sankaran as one of the most gifted and original writers of fiction today.

Bangalore: where innocence, deceit and love collide

Anand is a Bangalore success story: successful, well-married, rich. At least, that's how he appears. But if his little factory is to grow, he needs land and money and, in the New India, neither of these is easy to find.

Kamala, Anand's family's maid, lives perilously close to the edge of disaster. She and her clever teenage son have almost nothing, and their small hopes for self-betterment depend on the contentment of Anand's wife: a woman to whom whims come easily.

But Kamala's son keeps bad company. Anand's marriage is in trouble. And the murky world where crime and land and politics meet is a dangerous place for a good man, particularly one on whom the wellbeing of so many depends.

   Lavanya Sankaran has a very good command over the language. After a long time I got to read a book by an Indian author written in a way that it seems as if its by an English author. He has given full justice to the story she has picked up. She has tried to express her views on the problems that a class of people in India suffers with. She has not tried to show an industrialist, entrepreneur or a working class person based in abroad and returning India to see how problems cover him from all the 4 sides. In fact, the story is kept quite realistic. 

             I loved the way both the stories goes simultaneously. Its about two families and I love how a same scenario is being showcased from both the point of views. It is quite visible that not only a servant is dealing with poverty and crisis but the situation of the boss is no less than that. I loved how every character is being built that we get attached with them. We know the characteristics of each of them. The dialogues are so deeply written that some of them made me remember some days of my struggle and pain. The second half of the book is amazingly written and every thing that this book should be complimented for is in its second half. 

             Coming to the drawbacks of the book, first is the slow pace and no suddenness in the plot initially. Secondly, I would say that according to an Indian audience, the cost of book- Rs. 550 is too highly kept. The similar names of the character becomes confusing at times- Anand and Anantmurthy. Also as there are many characters in the book, it's better to write them on a piece of paper and then read. In all, I would give this book 3.5/5. 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Taken Already by Yaagneshwaran Ganesh (Book Review)!!!

  I am done reading "Taken Already" written by a 2nd time writer- Yaagneshwaran G. Yaagneshwaran is a product marketing Specialist at a reputed IT organization based out of Chennai, India. he is also an avid business blogger and conducts seminars for B-school students especially in the area of marketing. He is known for his earlier novel "The Group of Fools". Apart from books, the author has a keen interest in entrepreneurship and spirituality. This 130-pages novel has been published by Notionpress which is a self-publishing firm. I am sad to see that this book isn't available on all the e-commerce portals. An author should at least be given this privilege because most of the books are being sold on Internet these days. 


 Let's come to the synopsis of the book- 
When Arjun, who had fallen head over heels for his colleague Anita, realizes that she is engaged to his close friend, who knew her by a different name at a different place, all hell broke loose. 

As Sam Chacko investigates, he ends up uncovering a baffling mystery. He tries hard not to panic and soon understands that when hormones take over the intellect, it can ruin your life.

  Coming to the author, its his 2nd book while his first was also being released by a self-publishing firm. Author believes in writing a novel of less than 150 pages as he knows that there is no need of dragging a story which already has its plot very short and direct. I liked this approach. The first half isn't that good as its an average attempt to tell how a boy falls in love with a girl amidst friendship being a part of life simultaneously. But the second half is truly surprising and a total page turner because of the suspense that the author adds to make the book spicy and sensible. At least, its a good version than many such type of books which starts with a love story, shows some break up points and ends up either giving the couple a happy or sad ending. 
         I loved the sentences in italics that author has used many a times in the first half of the book. Some of them made me smile for a long time while some talked expressions of the protagonist which was again helpful in making this book a level up than usual fiction love stories by Indian authors. The character of Sam Chacko is the most interesting while the climax is been ended with a hope that there can be a sequel to this book. It's nice. 

        Talking about the drawbacks of the book, I would say that the language isn't that crisp as it should be. Even the plot of the story was quite different, author failed at many a times in bringing the kind of expressions that could have come up if written in a better way. The narration is also very simple. When a book has a story, one should not keep the language this easy, it should have some complexity because it adds to the quality of the story. I just want to suggest author to go through some of the books in the genre that he writes and improve his narrating style. Else, I would give the book- 2.75/5. 


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