Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg (Book Review-4.25/5)!!!

   Well, you can't help complimenting the week in which you get to read too many novels and actually when you get to read two heart-thrilling novels within two days of time without any disturbance and interruptions. It's a rare occasion in my life that I read a book that's almost 500 pages but when the book is about something that you always wanted to know or of the genre that you always wanted to read, it takes no time for you to go through all the pages in the least time possible. Yesterday I read Bankerupt by Ravi Subramanian that totally surprised me with its perfectness and today I am done with "The Twelfth Imam" by none other than the International Bestseller- "Joel C. Rosenberg". Well, the cover says "The New York Times Bestseller". It is said that a novel shouldn't be judged by its cover page but I think my view about this novel right from when I got my hands on it has not been wrong. :-) The novel is as intense as its cover page. 

What if the Islamic Messiah Comes to Earth? What if The World Waits too long... and Iran Develops Nuclear Weapons? Tensions are rising in the Middle East. Irans president vows to annihilate the United States and Israel. Israels prime minister says someone must hit Irans nuclear sites before its too late. The American president warns against a preemptive strike on Irans nuclear facilities and says negotiations are the key to finding peace. And amid it all, rumors are swirling throughout the region of a mysterious religious cleric claiming to be the Islamic messiah known as the Mahdi or the Twelfth Imam. Word of his miracles, healings, signs and wonders is spreading like wildfire. CIA operative David Shirazi was born for this moment. He is recruited and sent into Tehran with one objective: use all means necessary to disrupt Irans nuclear weapons program, without leaving American fingerprints and without triggering an apocalyptic new war. But time is running out.The Twelfth Imam is the first novel in a new political thriller series by Joel C. Rosenberg, the New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Last Jihad series. Rosenberg takes you inside a world few will ever enter, hold on to your seat - the twists and turns never stop coming.

About the Author:- 
Joel C. Rosenberg (born 1967) is an American communications strategist, author of the Last Jihad series, and founder of The Joshua Fund.[3] An Evangelical Christian, he has written five novels about terrorism and how he says it relates to Bible Prophecy, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner The Ezekiel Option,[4] along with two nonfiction books, Epicenter and Inside the Revolution, on the alleged resemblance of biblical prophecies and current events. He and his wife, Lynn, have four sons and reside near Washington, D.C.
     The book gives you enough goosebumps to understand why it has been written with such deep research and articulating it with current conditions of the countries it has talked about. Though the book is fictitious but somewhere its the truth in which we are living today. I am quite guilty when I say that I can't review all the things that I have read in 500 pages but I shall give you an overview of my feelings after reading this book. There are very less book that are written on terrorism which really enthralls you and fortunately, this is one of them. Actually, this is more than that. It is a book which can be like an autobiography for many living in the countries that are always at radar of the super-power countries. The communal mentality that has rotten everyone's soul is discussed terrifically in this book. Some incidents can make girls vomit because of the high violence that it describes. :-) Powerful hearts like me will enjoy such incidents as these are the souls of this book.

           Right from the first page, the tension between the parties, communities and segments were discussed which keeps the book focused on the topic at which it is purposely written. The book is divided into parts which makes it little easy to consume otherwise it could have been little hard to understand things. Well, I appreciate the writer's initiative to mention all the characters before starting the book which makes it easy for us to refer them if we are reading the book after taking certain gaps. I must say that pick this book only if you can digest it otherwise if you are possessive about your religion, better skip it. Well, still read it because the book is lot above that. I would give this book 4.25/5.


Bankerupt by Ravi Subramanian (Book Review-Perfect Page-turner)!!!

  If ever I will remember the day 30th October, 2013, I would say that it has been a complete day for me. Because generally what happens is- I spend all my day only in reading a novel if its 320 pages+ because I feel that I am wasting time if I am doing some other chores. But today, I did all my routine yet completed this book which is of 320 pages. The book is so interesting that even when I read it for only 5-6 hours, I managed to complete it because I was reading as speedily as possible because of the book being a perfect page-turner. It's none other than the latest book of Mr. Ravi Subramanian- "Bankerupt" which released a month ago on 20th September, 2013. The book's tagline screams three topics "Desire. Greed. Murder". And I am happy that unlike Chetan Bhagat's Revolution 2020 where all the three subjects that has been mentioned on the cover page is been left incomplete, this novel of Mr. Subramanian takes these topics seriously in his story and gives a finishing end to all of them. Well, I would also like to bring into notice of all that the author has moved from Rupa publications to the India's biggest, Penguin with this book. 

About the Book:-
 A university is an institution for higher education and research. It can also be a place where academic brilliance leads to overinflated egos, bitter politics and finally, murder. Cirisha Narayanan, a professor at MIT Boston, who has risen meteorically, stumbles upon a cryptic message. Aditya Raisinghania, her banker husband, sets up a highly innovative financial hoax. Her profiteering father harvests Australia's largest bird, the emu in India. The US elections are on and the debate on gun control has reached a fever pitch. Set in Mumbai, Coimbatore and Boston, Ravi Subramanian creates an impeccably researched world where everyone has a motive to kill. Nothing is as it seems in this cunningly vicious thriller where the plot turns on a dime.

About the Author:-
Ravi Subramanian an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, has spent two decades working his way up the ladder of power in the amazingly exciting and adrenaline-pumping world of global banks in India. It is but natural that his stories are set against the backdrop of the financial services industry. He lives in Mumbai with his wife Dharini and daughter Anusha. In 2008, he won the Golden Quill Readers Choice award for his debut novel, If God was a Banker. 
 Coming to the author, I would like to tell that I have only read his second last release before this i.e. Bankster. It was of 364 pages and I loved that tale too. It had many characters while this book manages to treat character better than Bankster. Even though few characters keep on coming unexpectedly in between but still you manage to remember who they were as the plot isn't much confusing. But the narration and writing style of the author is something that makes it easy for us to read the book in one go even when its quite long. The kind of name the author has, he can use difficult words from his great vocabulary and show how excellent he is in the language but still he keeps his language easy-going which makes it possible to keep us interested in it. For the whole period of time, I wanted the book to finish and the moment it finished, I wanted to read from the author on the same story itself. Haha!

           While reading the book, at many places I wanted the video of the story to be with me so that I can fast-forward the CD and see what's going to happen after 5 minutes from the scene because I lost my patience at many places to know as to what exactly happened after this particular incident. :-) There are many scenarios which can give you goosebumps, heart-attack, panic-attack and I don't know what-what. This has been my first such experience where I found a book so interesting even when its written on an off-topic. Amazing! The great thing about the book is that even after the death of many characters one after another, story still keeps them alive and it seems as if they are not dead in the book still as they play the equivalent part in the story. As the whole story is written in chain with all the chapters connected to the previous ones, I can't share my favorite parts as it might act as spoilers. But I must say that a movie can't handle the kind of long and perfect story this is, a series like "24" should be made on this book and it should continue for a quarter of year. Wow! 

             You can not believe while reading that how a parallel scam of Aditya gets into the way of his wife who is into a different country all together. The Dharawi of Mumbai is connected to the Boston which is connected to gun laws which is again associated with Coimbatore. I was like "How can Mr. Ravi Subramanian create such a plot and that too in such a short period of time while other authors take 2-3 years to come up with something like this!" The research work of the author is completely visible and also his knowledge in miscellaneous fields is evidently pellucid. The certain investigation that keeps on taking place and the kind of facts that keeps on coming out thrills out almost every astonishment you have in you as a reader. The very first WOW moment for me in the book was when Cirisha sees the tag of Snuggles in Dharawi. And since then, the book has over-served me. :-) If someone from Wall Street Journal can call him "The John Grisham of banking", I, as a small portal can undoubtedly call Mr. Ravi Subramanian, "The Abbas-Mustan of Banking Thrillers". Please don't miss it if you have been excited for reading books that keeps on giving you surprises on every alternate page. :-) Looking forward to reading all the previous works of The Ravi Subramanian because missing them is as foolish as choosing Pizza over Chchole-batoore. :-)



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chapter Eleven by Amit Shankar (Book Review- 4 out of 5)!!!

 The second last book that I read and reviewed recently was Amit Shankar's Love is Vodka. I quite liked it and I knew that he is one of the writers who can never disappoint me with the plot of his story. I also liked his writing style. Just after posting his reviews, I got to know a comment that he made for Book Reviewers where he said after the 4 lines of jingle, "Can't write to save your life? Become a Book Reviewer." This shows the disrespect and its evident that the author sees Book reviewer as an inferior class against his position of being an author. Well this is a harsh truth for some of the book reviewers but being an author, he should respect Book Reviewers because the 60% of visibility and popularity that such not-so-popular authors get is because of the book reviewers. My only request to him is that now he's an Author and he should think 100 times before saying or posting something in public. He has to be responsible, no matter what!

          Well, now coming to his 2nd work that I have read out of three that he has written, "Chapter 11" which also has the tagline "Kissa Corporate Bankruptcy Ka". The 353-pages story is published by his home publisher- Vitasta. As I showed my doubt regarding the publisher last time if it's good or not, after reading these 2 books of Amit Shankar, I am sure that they are one of the capable publishers in our literary world. The cover page of this novel is yet made exactly according to how story is. The whole process of how Amit Shankar takes the story ahead is what I like about him. There's a certain confidence that can be made out through the narration skill he has. He knows that every sentence that he is writing is required in the story and he makes it sure that he isn't over-exaggerating anything. A wonderful writer to be followed in future. :-) 

Feeling suffocated within the confines of Udaipur, his past and inconsequential job, Virendra Vikram Singh aspires to be a part ofan MNC. However, with dreams having a nasty habit of going haywire, the day he joins his dream company, it files for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy. First of its kind, Chapter Eleven is a bold and honest portrayal of corporate sleaze, dejection, love and self-discovery.

His debut novel Flight of the Hilsa was received exceptionally well by the readers and critics alike. No wonder, in no time it went on to become a national best-seller. Amit Shankar, an advertising professional, has worked with some of the biggest advertising agencies, spearheading the communication for global brands. As a Copywriter and Creative Director, he has bagged some of the biggest advertising awards.

             As I have already said that there's a certain confidence in author that makes him write a story that he himself has faith on and makes readers feel that they are reading something that comes once in a time. I am fan of his narration now. I also loved a new thing that I found about him- the great sense of humor that plays a big part in this book. If you take away the humor from this funny book, there's nothing much left to be read. And that's the USP of Chapter Eleven. Whenever a book is based on Corporate life, there comes a feeling that it might bore us but there are very few books that stands out differently, this is one among them. The protagonist VVS is someone whom I would love to see again in the sequel to this novel or in some other work. His background, his current scenario and his dreams, all are managed so properly that you can actually imagine VVS accurately. :-)

            The starting of the book is itself interesting as it shows how VVS gets his dream job and after joining the office, his wide expressions after seeing all the corporate arrangements is a wonderful thing to read. Then the moment he enters the company, company gets into a situation where they start throwing employees out of the organization, his fear from then onward is what the whole book is all about. His equation with his wife is depicted nicely. His religion- Rajput is shown in a good light with humorous touch- this is something for which I should accolade the author. Then the relation of VVS with Ambica is also narrated beautifully because I thought that it would be too sensuous to handle but author kept it very light and real. Though something related to Ambica became quite obvious at a point of time hence the story became predictable for me since then. It is only then that I got disappointed. Else, the book is a wonderful book in this section of Popular Fiction and I would recommend it to all. I give it 4 out of 5.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Love is Vodka by Amit Shankar (Book Review- 3.5/5)!!!

    Touched a fiction book after a long time and I was skeptic if I would finish it in 3-4 hours as I used to do it earlier but fortunately, I am done. Somewhere, even God wants me to keep talking about books on my Blogs and various portals. :-) Though I have never read Vitasta Publication ever but this time, I tried somehow with my mind prepared to curse it later on but again, fortunately, I am surprised after completing this book. I just enjoyed my first experience of them. I am done reading "Love is Vodka" which also has the tagline "A shot ain't enough". The 203-pages novel is been written by Amit Shankar. 

About the Author :
With his earlier two titles, Flight of the Hilsa and Chapter 11, he has already captured a million minds and hearts. His writing questions the norms, seeks and explores some discomforting answers. If not a writer, he would have been a musician. He loves his space and coffee. 

His passion includes music, cooking and biking and list of Gods; Clapton, Slash, Blackmore, Santana, Satriani, Vie and Stevie Ray Vaughan.


If love is all about freedom and honest expression then how can one associate it with loyalty?
Being a love child; Moon, the protagonist is anything but a conventional teen. With a leading TV news anchor as her mother, an aspiring entrepreneur as her boy friend, the word LOVE baffles her. The whole idea of having one partner and love being eternal is beyond her comprehension. 
Life turns upside down when she falls for the CEO, who happens to be her mother's boyfriend too. Destiny further complicates things by blessing her with a big time modelling assignment and she becomes famous and popular overnight.
A war starts waging between her head & heart on a lot of issues exposing her to various forms of love online & offline. 

Will she decipher the true meaning of love? Embark on an exhilarating rendezvous with Moon and discover love like never before.

           Coming to the author, I would say that reading the story, throughout, I was assured that I am reading Durjoy Datta. :-) Yes! The feel is exactly the same. The kind of plot it is, the kind of female protagonist that the story has, the way boyfriends and relationships are discussed, it is a real treat for everyone who wait for Durjoy Datta's novels. I loved the narration. I loved the way story is been created to make it look more realistic. At some points, I felt as if it was spoken on so and so journalist that I know but taking anyone's name is not right here. :-) The cover page of the book is well done and after reading the story I understand as to what it depicts. :-) Well done with the concept. The story isn't stretched out and wrapped in just 203 pages which I would applaud. 

             The initial description of protagonist is wonderfully done and it was the moment that I felt it's Durjoy Datta's material. :-) Several boyfriends and their characterizations does not bore you because it's handled well by the author. In the party where she gets to know about Aditya is a wonderful scene and I loved reading that shocking element in the girl's life. When she gets her first success in the modeling and the way it has been showcased is done perfectly and also the tragedy that strikes just after it is a nice twist to the story. Also the description of Devil makes me feel to be like him. :-) Sensuous scenes are well handled otherwise a little here and there could make it look like a vulgar or silly thing. The question that the protagonist asks her friend after seeing a large crowd coming out for corruption is something that made me laugh. And the part where the chapter ends with Riya turning rebel against her mother when she tries to stop her for something is another favorite part of mine.

             Talking about the drawbacks, the book seemed to be predictable at times. The kind of characters that author chose could have been utilized much powerfully than the way they are been done. The climax could have been more interesting than the predictable end. Some scenes could have been extended more as they played a prominent part in the story but they were kept short. The character of Nikhil has no serious inputs. Also the friend circle of the protagonist could have been used later in the story. Such few mistakes makes this book little farther than being perfect. But still I would give this book 3.5/5.




Computer Graphics & Animations by Trivedi (Book Review- 3.5/5)!!!

   I have a subject in my MCA Semester 3 named Computer Graphics of which I understand nothing. Our teacher tries hard to make us understand but fails because of not being a great teacher. :-) A tutor tries but still half of the topics go above head. I referred many books but all were technically strong and thus I failed in understanding them as I wanted a book that can teach me at least the basics of what I am trying to learn. I remember when I got less marks in Mathematics last semester, my father bought a book in Hindi in which almost all the topics of the subject were included and asked me if I am comfortable if he reads the book in Hindi and then explains me in the easiest language possible. That is how a student has to be taught the subject that's really hard and something that requires time to understand. I issued several books from my library but didn't get the solution. Finally, I breathe a sigh of relief when I got my hands on "Computer Graphics & Animation". 

Computer Graphics & Animation provides an introduction to the subject with detailed coverage of all topics, from basic principles to practical applications, and is suitable for a one-semester course. The book will also be suitable for a project-based introductory course on Computer Graphics.

Key Features
— Provides detailed discussion of 2-D and 3-D concepts and techniques.
— Separate chapters on Multimedia and Animation have been included.
— A separate chapter has been added on Virtual Reality and Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). 
— Summary and review questions have been included at the end of each chapter for better understanding of the concepts. 

            "Computer Graphics & Animation" is written by four teachers collectively-
Munesh Chandra Trivedi is presently Assistant Professor in the 
Department of Computer Science, Institute of Management Studies, 
Ghaziabad. Earlier he was a faculty member of Krishna Institute of 
Engineering & Technology, Ghaziabad and IEC College of Engineering 
& Technology, Greater Noida, U.P. He is a merit holder (MCA) from 
U.P. Technical University, Lucknow. He is an active member of 
International Association of Engineers and International Association of 
Information Technology Trainers. He has written many books and has 
published a number of papers in national and international journals.
            N. N. Jani is Professor & Director, Kadi Sarva University, Gandhi Nagar. He is member of Board of Studies. Kamaljit Lakhtaria is Lecturer in Atmiya Institute of Technology & Sciences, Rajkot. Gopal Dave is Lecturer in T.N. Rao College of I.T., Rajkot. All of the three have written many books and published a number of papers in national and international journals. 

             Book starts with an overview of Computer Graphics which can give even a non-technical person an idea of what the subject is actually about. I liked the tables along many pages in the 2nd chapter which gives the functions through which we can handle many graphical schemes. What I found as another benefit of going through this book were the diagrams given before every algorithm. Even the algorithm is stated in a very easy language and after that, its implementation in C++ language fulfilled all my requirements as its the same language in which I have to do practicals in my college for the subject. The summary after every chapter is a nice concept as this book is made according to the one semester course and also the review questions after that. This assures that if I answer all the review questions and even if I am unable to, and if I'll go through the chapter once again and get the answer, I'll actually pass this subject without fail. The last part of the book does not have numericals and programs which irked me. Also the initial chapters doesn't have. Also a little technicalities was needed which could have helped in developing the subject more. In all, I would rate this attempt a 3.5 out of 5.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sai Baba of Shirdi by M.V. Kamath and V.B. Kher (Book Review)!!!

         Some books are not meant to be finished in a go or in a day. They are meant to be experienced, to be consumed gradually. Like an ayurvedic medicine works slowly hence they are consumed little every day for a long period of time, same applies to some books that are meant to stay in our life, memory and soul for a long period of time. And hence this book that I am reviewing today took me 4 months to complete. Yes, I know many of you would be astonished to know this if you are acquainted with my reading speed. But this is truth. I have always been an admirer and staunch follower of Sai Baba and hence I always wanted to read about him. Fortunately, S.P. Ruhela, a prominent writer on Sri Sathya Sai Baba is my grandfather's brother. But as I am not a follower of Sathya Sai Baba but Sai Baba, I wanted to read a book that is written with utmost care and responsibility without giving any false information of Sai Baba.

            I ended up picking "Sai Baba of Shirdi" written by M.V. Kamath and V.B. Kher. The book also has the tagline: A Unique Saint. The 320 pages book is as serious as a devotee like me. It does not guarantee entertainment because the life of Baba wasn't entertaining but inspiring and devotional. I am also happy with the way book has unfolded because writers didn't discuss fictitious facts of Baba that our news channels keep on flashing just to gain TRPs. Book is written as if its about a leader who had a life that was scrutinized by everyone. And that's the specialty of this book. As we know that there has been no full details regarding Sai Baba, writers have made it possible with the help of their extreme research and analysis to let people know almost 80% of Baba's life. 

           With Sai Baba, you also come to know about different saints that left their mark on this land of India because as I said, this book is written in a historical manner, authors have discussed everything about India in that contemporary period. Authors have specifically spoken about how India was pre-independence and arrival of Sai Baba bought what changes among people and their mentality. After almost 80-100 pages, writers start talking only about Sai Baba which starts interesting us. And then starts some unbelievable facts about Baba's doing and lifestyle. The book costs 295 but its totally worth it. Even if it would have been of 500 bucks, I would have recommended it to you. I am not asking everyone to read it to turn into Baba's follower but just to know about this saint who changed mindset of many and went without asking for anything. Right from the cover page of the book to everything, this book touches the soul of reader. I am in awe of this book and thus I recommend to all. At least, Baba's devotees should have this in their shelf. :-)


An Interview with Partha Saha, author of "244 Days- A Life"!!!

An Interview with Debutant author- Partha Saha whose an author of "244 Days- a Life"!!!

Hello Mr. Partha, what is your feeling after being an author now? What’s your perspective about life now after achieving a rare flagship in your life?
Honestly , I feel, I get some honour and respect when someone calls me Author Partha. I have got another noble identity and feeling is indescribable  I always introduce myself as an Author rather than an MBA. When you passion turns into a success a huge bag of happiness pour upon you.
I consider this as a flagship partially because I dint have any intention of getting success and fame. I focused only one thing , that is my soul and eventually I satisfied it. Enhancing my writing passion is my further objective now.

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?
 I felt rather pride because I did what I thought to do. The only thing which can dominate me is my emotion, I smile when someone criticize me because I can mark the disputes but on the flip side my emotions get violent to make myself perfect. And I live with least expectation so there is no chance of getting disappointment if my books do not sale much because I just aimed to make someone smile but becoming best seller.

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?
3) Well I did graduation from Sikkim central University (B.Pharm) and later joined IIPM,New Delhi to pursue MBA. To be truthful I am passionate  about writing but I dont want to turn my passion into a profession because I believe Passion seems beautiful when you do without thinking about benefits.

4. What is your latest book all about? And from where did this idea occur to you? 
My novel '244 days - a life' is quite related to my life and In this book I highlighted a love story of 244 days. Mainly I wanted to redress all the mistakes we often do in a relationship and our relation comes into a controversy and within few days it gets split up. I wanted to share some tips and practical experiences about a relation and by following through you can maintain a healthy relationship. Briefly this book says; A boy who was an immature about true love and the girl was also not different. They fell in love and tried all the way to be expert maintaining their relation. They always tried to make each other happy. They ne'er got down to compromise, they tried to control their jealousy, envy. All the usual mistakes they avoided. One day that boy got a challenge from 'a patient of love' to retain their true relation forever. The Boy accepted that challenge and after full dedication also he got failed to keep forever. Now reading this novel we will come to know who was that ' patient of love'?and why did he challenge? Did he want to do any loyalty test? And why that boy got failed after full dedication and perseverance.

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?
 This novel is quite(50%) related to my own life as I said before and remaining 50% is well manipulated. So as the time took to write manipulated 50% as that much time dint take to write another half. Howbeit all was developed in my mind so in 90 days i completed the full book and Anmol Agarwal remains my first reader and editor of this novel , she took near about 2 months to edit this.

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 always believed on my deed so I dint wait for longer , hardly I waited 50 days to get my publisher and Mahaveer publisher from Dariyaganj, New Delhi called me to sign a contract with them. Still I give profuse thanks to MP for believing me.

7. What are the Promotional strategies that you and your publisher have applied to promote/market your book?
 Well simply I applied my strategies though blogging, web sites, social sites, news channels in Assam, Newspapers, flexes in many cities , posters in some colleges. Bookmarks to let the readers know about my novel. Online magazines and gateway event.

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 has been fulfilled because only person was my target and that person has come to know despite I ne'er write for money , I write to make others inspired, to get love from readers and the foremost thing is to make myself happy.

9. By when are you coming up with your next novel? And if possible, do give us an idea about what it would be.
 My next novel will come sooner . Probably in 2014. A story of four friends, and why they always detested love. Emotions how played with their mind. All of them were drunkards and druggies in college life then have to know how did they get succeeded with their colossal aim. Sudden love in their life moldered or prospered their life?
TITLE - BUDDIES WITH BOOZE : Lets keep a hope.

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?
Firstly I would like to thank all of one around me for their support , believe, and intense love.
 Secondly I congratulate everyone because I see the eagerness, consistence, willingness and patience to do something great in everyone's eyes.
 I always urged myself to face the difficulties because I ne'er wanted to see myself low. First I make a list of objectives that what I need to do further. Second I make my vision regarding each objective Third I imagine the produces of getting my objectives done. Fourth I just execute the imagined scenario in my practical life containing lots of dedication, toil, perseverance, consistence and patience to make my goal accessible. I Hope everyone has their own system of execution and those who are confused , dont know the perfect way to execute, they can follow mine. Thank you.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Reviews by various Bloggers of English Bites!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

English Bite's author, Manish Gupta's Interview at Book Reviews by DDA!!!

This is an extract of interview of Mr. Manish Gupta, author of English Bites published at

You have shown us that there’s a fun way to learn. Was that your main intention when you started writing ‘English Bites’?
To answer this question, we need to get a little bit into my background. I grew up in Rohtak, a small and sleepy town in Haryana in the 1970s and 80s. The only English I spoke was in school and that too to respond to questions of my teachers in the class. I looked down at English as an alien tongue merely suited to the narrow field of academia and with no particular use once someone got into the real economy.
As a result, I was horrible in all aspects of communication. My active vocabulary was extremely limited, pronunciations & spellings were terrible (as I refused to accept English as a non-phonetic language that it largely is), sentence construction was poor, and my fluency was severely compromised.
The thought of improving my English started in Class XI after facing acute embarrassment in front of my third and final crush (and her family) when I could not speak even one correct sentence of English with a foreigner we met during a family vacation (and she did).
This thought took a serious turn once I landed-up at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh and came face-to-face with far more fluent and erudite specimens from convent schools from metros and towns much bigger than my hometown. I also noticed how I used to get tongue-tied while attempting to make a small conversation in English with or even in front of the convent educated colleagues and that hurt…really hard.
This thought was further strengthened when I realised to my horror that English had long outgrown the narrow confines of academia and become extremely relevant and in fact an absolute necessity in the real economy. So much so, that I would need to face group discussions and interviews where my proficiency in this language will be put to the real test to get into one of the best engineering jobs offered on campus.
Having lived all my school life in disdain for this alien tongue, the grossly neglected subject of English made me realize its importance, its vastness, its complexity, and my far less than self proclaimed ‘photographic memory’ all at once. I needed something quick and in large doses to beat the convent educated types in their own game and seal the best job offered in the campus in my name and after gaining some industry experience, successfully compete with them once again for admission into a top-tier MBA program.  
Let me confess here that I had drifted towards an MBA after realising that no specialist (read post-graduate) medico girl will consent to marry a Bachelor of Engineering in an arranged marriage situation I had found myself in after many crushed crushes.  Marrying a medico was a childhood dream; the flexibility of working hours that profession allows (a must for raising a happy family) is only a later realisation.
Hence, I set aside the word lists, my failed attempts at mugging, and started creating interesting stories and anecdotes to make indelible imprints of this foreign language in my mind. This was the genesis of the book. It took a lot of research and creativity, but it was a matter of survivability. It was the only thing that could have rescued me from definite depression and elevated me to think and speak like an erudite gentleman. 
Once I started revising the book in 2008, I had two dominant thoughts in my mind. The first thought was that this is an opportunity to spread a culture of making teaching (not necessarily limited to language learning) less bookish and pedantic and making LEARNING more FUN. The second and equally, if not more, powerful thought was to put in my bit to make sure that language does not become a handicap for anyone to realize their ambitions and dreams!

How long did it take you to write this book?
You may find it hard to believe but this manuscript was in the making for over 20 years and this has influenced a lot of content in the book. It started as an idea in my second year of engineering way back in 1989-1990 when two of my closet friends and I resolved to publish a book each before we turned 21. This, we agreed, had several advantages.
->    Till Class XII, I stayed in the campus of a girls’ college with our row house facing the girls’ hostel and had left this beautiful environment to join Mechanical Engineering at Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh (a subject no girl dared to join in our year and many years before and after). While this led to a deep appreciation and understanding of how God re-balances our lives, it also made our resolve to attract attention from the few girls from other depts., amid very strong competition, even harder. What better way to attract attention that project our multi-faceted personalities, mastery over the English language (we had declared we were writing books in English medium), and great sense of humour (my book was supposed to be a FUN book).
->    Make us look precocious in the eyes of potential employers after Engineering, interviewers during the MBA admission process, and potential parents and other family members of the post-graduate medico girl I was destined to marry in an arranged marriage situation that I had found myself in after many crushed crushes.
->     Give us an additional source of annuity income plus a decent advance, with which to fund the MBA education. Annuity income stream was reserved for annual vacations in exotic foreign locales. 
I thought I had written a masterpiece by the time our final placements ended (spoiling my grades in the process) and was still a few months shy of turning 21. My other friends, who were writing on ‘quizzing’ and ‘poetry’, had pulled out of this pledge while they were still in their teens.
My manuscript then hibernated for 20 years as I got busy with my first job at Tata Motors, an MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur, my banking career at Citibank, and family life. The manuscript was preserved on a 3.5 inch diskette in Microsoft Word 2000 that refused to open on my old PC, when I thought of reviving my work of art in the year 2008.
Fortunately, the handwritten version (‘manuscript’ in the real sense of the word) had survived well on loose sheets of paper, which I promptly transferred on my PC and started editing and expanding it at the same time. By the time I finished in 4 years (working on weekends), I had landed up re-writing the entire book.   

What has been the most difficult stage in this whole process?
Connecting the random pieces of mnemonics, anecdotes, and jokes into a cohesive story that started on page 1 and ended on page 334. 

How has being a published author affected/changed your life?
Becoming an author has been an extremely surreal and uplifting experience for me. Having started reading books outside the curricula only after I joined engineering, I started with a feeling of awe and admiration for the writers of non-academic books, which only grew stronger with time. Now I feel that I am a part of their tribe though still at the initial steps of a long journey towards excellence in writing. My perspective on life hasn’t had any radical shift after the publication of my book but the added dimension (after academia, profession, family & friends) this publication brings to my narrative makes me feel more creatively fulfilled and complete. I am at peace with myself having fulfilled a long cherished dream of sharing my ideas, research, and experiences on making English learning FUN with all.

What has been the response like? Is it anything like what you had in mind for your book?
As a book in the category of Non-fiction/Self-help and with a novel like storyline, I was expecting the book to be well received. I am sure that with more word-of-mouth publicity, the book will become a bigger success in the times to come. 

There is always at least one person who hates your book - how do you deal with it?
There is only one person who doesn’t like my book and unfortunately he has not read it. The sub-title of the book “My ‘Fullproof’ English Learning Formula” has really pissed him off. He left this comment on and gave the book 1 star.

What’s your opinion of our current educational system? Where is it going wrong?
In India, 4% of children never go to school, 42% drop out before they finish primary school, and 90% drop out before entering college. In government schools, as per one study, 25% of the teachers are absent on any given day. On the days they are present, only 50% are likely to be teaching at any given time. This is distressing and a sad reflection of the state of affairs in the vast majority of schools in our country. Private schools, by and large, provide better quality education, but they are beyond the reach of the masses.
In my view, government needs to get out of school education, handover the existing infrastructure to responsible corporate houses, change laws that allow them to make a small profit, and subsidise their costs so that they become efficient and well-run institutions. The subsidy can be given directly to schools to allow them to provide varying levels of tuition waivers to the children of lower income families. Government can create a robust regulatory and supervisory framework (on the lines of TRAI, IRDA, SEBI, RBI, etc.) for the education sector.
I am sure these measures will also help in improving the teaching methods and in elevating the standard and motivation levels of our teachers.

What kind of books do you personally read?
I stick mostly to non-fiction, and there are far too many favourite books and authors to mention. But if you ask me to pick a few - I have loved the simple and relatable humour in books by Sam Levenson, the life skills taught by Dale Carnegie, and the seminal work on English etymology by Norman Lewis and Wilfred Funk.
In the recent past, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed books on Mind, Passion, and Happiness by Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, Dr. Carol S. Dweck, David Rock, and Ken Robinson. I am currently reading “The Secret Life of Words” by Henry Hitchings, “Entry From Backside Only” by Binoo K. John, and re-reading “Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight” by Rujuta Diwekar. I believe in reading fewer books but revising profound and/or interesting passages from books that I meticulously underline and highlight in the first reading. I am often shocked at the relatively small size of my hippocampus, the seat of memory in the brain, and hence keen that I internalise the lessons though a rigorous revision.

Besides your job and writing, what else interests you?
Till recently, I used to work as a Managing Director and Head of Sales for Treasury and Trade Solutions division of a major multinational bank in India. I have now decided to take a plunge in the field of education, training, consulting, and executive coaching and will shortly start working with an organization that works for the underprivileged children at the school level.
In my personal life, I now live by the principle of learning one new skill every year (pity, I understood and adopted this only a few years ago) and have dabbled in adventure sports (like skiing, paragliding, bungee jumping) and getting off the beaten track while travelling. I plan to hone my moderate skills in singing, gardening, and cooking next. I also like to delve into human psychology and waiting for the day when someone will actually pay me for my wise counsel.

Tell us about that one person who has the biggest influence on your life.
It is hard to pin-point one person and I have had a fairly well rounded support from family, teachers, and friends in the process of growing up. I am not sure if I really miss that one person who could act as my beacon.  

So, what’s brewing?
I guess when you write a book, you give it your all. My stock of ideas is now empty but it doesn’t mean that I will not write another book. Book sales and readers’ feedback and appreciation are extremely strong motivators in rapidly refilling one’s reservoir and giving new ideas and different perspectives to make more meaningful and interesting books. However, I would like to stick to writing in a similar genre (laugh as you learn). Feel strongly about and need to put in my bit to make sure that that language does not become a handicap for anyone to realize their ambitions and dreams!

Is there anything that you would like to say to the people who are yet to pick up your book?
The book is a crazy mix of facts, fiction, and real-life. It is full of amusing incidents, anecdotes, jokes, and a lot of interesting trivia. If any one of you believes that English language is a handicap (big or small) in your career advancement, your social acceptability, and affects your self confidence, you can take a look at English Bites! If you are a language nut, you can take a bite too. There is something in there for you too to chew, relish, and cherish.
The book is the story of my life. It begins when I am in high school and much of the damage to my understanding and grip over the English language has already been done. It ends when, even after spending 20 years as a devoted student of the English language, and having achieved my goals of getting into engineering, securing one of the best jobs engineering has to offer, getting into a top-tier MBA program, a medico wife, kids attending convent school, and a reasonably senior position in a multinational bank, I am stumped by new discoveries every other day. So much so that I find some unfamiliar English words in the nursery rhymes of my kids. My extended student life as far as English language is concerned continues and it’s an exciting journey. Come, join the fun.

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