Thursday, August 28, 2014

Just For You by Rahul Saini (Book Review-3.25*/5)!!!

      Rahul Saini's new book "Just For You" is out by Penguin Publishers. As the promotion is in full swing, even I got myself attracted towards the book and I am happy that I picked up a very interesting book that discusses what an aspiring author goes through. The specialty of the book is that it not only discusses this but also about what established authors and even the developing ones are going through in the literary industry. Reading this book will change your outlook towards the book-publishing industry. A fictitious version of real scams, you can say. Haha! Kudos to authors for attempting something as gutsy as this.
          The book tells how writers play foul against each other. How innocents become victims while the corrupted ones end up winning the race of Bestseller's List. As I have also closely watched the industry from 3-4 years, I could understand exactly what Rahul Saini wanted to speak through this book. This book could have become talk of the town for writers if Rahul would have added "Inspired from true events" on the cover page. Haha! Because I have myself observed a publisher who's quite gay in approach, an author who always writes love stories and a team that organizes award show themselves and feature all their friends and everyone walks away with a trophy. :-)

         Coming to the writing style, Rahul Saini has provided an insight into his own industry very cleverly with usage of right words and phrases. You can sense how big and real things are spoken gently so that it doesn't offend someone directly and even the truth is spoken. Many characters could have jumbled the tale but the way author have set graph for each of them states their version of story perfectly. Writing as a first person for several characters in a book is very challenging but author has done a phenomenal job. Although characters are based in same working environment, the power of characterization and uniqueness gives distinctness and face value to each one of the characters and thus, all seems to be protagonist after a point of time. The bit of love story plays its part well. Several emotions displayed are also realistic and touchy. In all, the nature that the author has created with this book towards world, relations, dreams, emotions and competitions is applaudable. 

 The first half of the book isn't very fast and hence you find it very unconvincing to read but as soon as Nisha leaves Rohit, story accelerates and many events that takes place between authors excites you to know what happened and how did your favorite character manage to survive. Karun's character is wonderfully portrayed. I also liked the way climax is handled because it could not have been easy considering the way narration progressed with display of each character's proceedings. I also liked a particular scene of a book fest because I have found many a times that authors try to pull down their competitor by counter-attacking them and getting personal. (I call it the famous Number Page 177.)This book is certainly a fine attempt by Rahul Saini. Overall the book is readable and light in words and length which makes it easy to read. I give it 3.25*/5. 



Monday, August 25, 2014

Kingdom Come by Aarti V Raman (Book Review: 3.75*/5)!!!

    "Kingdom Come"- Isn't it an unusual title for a book? When I heard it first, I was sure that this book can be skipped but the good reviews made me go for it and thus, I picked up Aarti V Raman's Kingdom Come which is published by Harlequin publication. The book is 310+ pages and thus, you enjoy a ride that takes quite long to end. It's smooth but gets bumpy at times. The best part about the authoress is her command over the language and the way she explains the philosophies of the contemporary scenario between the characters at every specific points. Also her narration is good and the characterization is done very well which ensures that you get attached with almost everyone- Right from Krivi, Ziya, Noor, Sam to Woodpecker and Tom. That's the magnificence of each character.

            Cover page and synopsis promises some great action and thriller in the story which authoress delivers every now and then. Book even starts with a scene where Krivi Iyer is diffusing a bomb. Another commendable part is Aarti's research behind the lives of the people in army, terrorist groups and the way bombs, arms and ammunition are dealt with. The jargon that she has used many times regarding gadgets, machinery, bombs etc shows the kind of knowledge she ensured in herself before scripting this manuscript. 

     Well, out of everything, the best part has been The Woodpecker. I have read many books where a villain is introduced in a latter half and not given the kind of importance he/she deserves to make the hero of the book more macho. Author has definitely won brownie points here. She has discussed Woodpecker as stronger and better than Krivi and his whole team many a times. Even in the pre-climax, it is narrated as if The Woodpecker is a step ahead of Krivi and company. If for one point, I would ask you pick this book up, it would be to read about the villain here. I also feel that the title of this book should have been "The Woodpecker". Yes!

           Coming to the drawbacks:- I found it hard in getting into the story initially as author tries to introduce us with too many things and hence we don't get attached with any character except Noor's. It's only after some time that the book becomes alive and active. Also, I found too many love-making sequences every now and then once Krivi and Ziya patches up. It slows down the story and also adds up to your irritation. Book could have been 50 pages thinner easily. Too much time has been given in discussing of how Krivi and Ziya are confused with each other because of the same problem again and again. Also, few scenes where the narration could have been more exciting and thrilling, author has kept it flat as if just another scene. Else, I must say a good book indeed. Definitely, one-time read. I give it 3.75*/5. 



Monday, August 18, 2014

Cafe Latte by Amit Shankar (Book Review:3.75*/5)!!!

     I haven't read the 1st book of Amit Shankar but I was surprised to find another author with a big potential after reading Chapter 11 and Love is Vodka. Chapter 11 was a hilarious book which made me laugh and entertained throughout. Love is Vodka was quite sensuous but it was a fine attempt considering the genre in which it was written. Amit Shankar has just come out with his 4th book that's an anthology named "Cafe Latte". The 190-pages anthology is out by his home publisher- Vitasta and the cover page of the book promises "eighteen unusual short stories". These days, many small publishers are coming out with their respective anthologies back-to-back and hence, when I came to know that Amit Shankar has done the same, I was quite doubtful because reading short love stories aren't something new for Bloggers like me. But as the book promises, I really got to read some unusual tales and happily, there wasn't a single love story. Yes. Do you get it, new and small publishers? This is what an anthology is. Not the shit you are publishing these days.

          Every story begins as if it's just another tale but as soon as the half of it ends, you realize that the end is not going to be predictable. By the time you reach the end, you find your mouth open in surprise and shock. This anthology is been attempted seriously without any casual approach. Every story is written in a way that might want you to read more such stories which can leave you with lots of questions, thoughts and interpretations. The kind of messages and outlook these story provides, it assures that you aren't having the same opinion about the discussed topic anymore. It gives you an insight that you could have never known if not read these stories or faced those situations yourself which is quite unlikely to happen.

          Temple of the King, the 1st story itself makes you sad knowing what happened to one of the protagonists. Even the last story with which the book is ended is upon an unusual happenings between a publisher and writer. The book consists story of emotions of a boy who's father owns a lingerie shop, a girl who confesses to a Father before committing suicide, a child beggar who sells a rose daily to a schoolboy of the same age, a jazz player who feels he has no existence etc. All the protagonists are such about whom we don't think much as they aren't given much damn because of their own sad lives or presence. But Amit Shankar, though his stories, gives those characters a presence that makes you think time and again how problematic life can be and how wonderful our lives are.

        Coming to the author, I would say that Amit Shankar has once again impressed me with his writing and the kind of stories he selected for this anthology which is surely one of the bests I have read. But I would suggest him to continue with the full-fledged novels that he writes because I didn't feel the same excitement in this book when compared to my happiness and reviews after I finished reading 2 of his novels. It would be fine publishing one Cafe Latte kind of a book after every 3 full-fledged novel but continuing with anthologies and short stories won't be a good idea for a wonderful talent like him. He has an amazing story-telling skill that he shouldn't limit with anthologies. I give this attempt 3.75*/5 considering it to be a bizarre sort of anthology. :-)



Sunday, August 17, 2014

I too had a dream by Verghese Kurien (Book Review-4.75*/5)!!!

       In 2012, when Verghese Kurien expired, I came to know that he's the one who made Amul a success story and Operation Flood possible. I wanted to read more about him as the newspapers didn't provide every information I was dying to know. I checked it on Flipkart and found that he has an autobiography by the name "I too had a dream". It's been scribbled by Gouri Salvi as Verghese Kurien was too old to indulge himself in writing a book. However, I didn't get chance to pick this book from last 2 years and finally, as I am done reading it, I am regretting my decision of delaying it till now. The 250-pages book is published by Roli Books, a publisher I respect immensely. The kind of books they publish tells their intention. They are wanting to change the minds of people by spreading great stories, usually non-fictions.

           I was sure that Verghese Kurien would have discussed how he sacrificed friendships, slumber, movies and worked single-handed-ly to make Amul a success story. But I was surprised when I found that he didn't discuss his personal life as such and only focused the book towards milk industry and how he contributed into it. The book teaches us a very different orientation towards leadership, management and power. Verghere Kurien was surely a man of his principles and therefore he never got scared by anyone and even in his autobiography, he has taken names without any fear which makes it more interesting to read. 

             The kind of motivation, confidence and learning this book has provided, I remember only one book that can be added in the same league- A.P.J Abdul Kalam's Wings of Fire. The amount of work Verghese Kurien has done for farmers, animals, milk production and our country is worth commendable. He discusses even the controversies and criticisms(on him) by ministers/competitors openly which shows that he has no intentions of hiding even his shortcomings. He also discusses at one point of time that he was a bit of autocratic too. Last few pages of the books are very emotional as Verghese Kurien starts giving his final takes on few things and you realize that he's leaving us in few pages. He clearly expresses the amount of respect he has for his seniors and the people who allowed him to work his way. Reading the moments of Tribhuvandas Patel's death in the end made me weep. A very motivational book and only one of its kind. I give it 4.75*/5.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Private India by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson (Book Review: 4.5*/5)!!!

         A reader feels immense pride in reading novel of the country's best authors or his favorite ones. Talking about my country, there are four authors who stand out tall against others- Chetan Bhagat-Amish Tripathi-Ravi Subramanian-Ashwin Sanghi. The 2nd half of this year is exciting as 3 of the 4 authors mentioned above are releasing their latest book. Ashwin Sanghi has recently come up with "Private India", Ravi Subramanian is coming next month with "God is a Gamer" and Chetan Bhagat is coming in October with the most awaited book this year "Half Girlfriend". Truly an orgasmic height from a point of view of reader for me. Haha! I am just done reading Private India which is written by Ashwin Sanghi in association with James Patterson. This is his thickest book till date- 470 PAGES. 

          Ashwin Sanghi assures that with his book you will be gifted with an amazing thriller which will not let you think about anything else than the story. His last book- The Krishna Key has been my only experience as a reader where I witnessed his craft and it kept me glued to it for one whole day. Private India has just overtaken the power and brilliance The Krishna Key possesses. This shows that as an author and storyteller, Ashwin Sanghi has improved tremendously. Private India is written in small chapters which makes it easy for you to understand the story and not run in the flow of it. Every small scenario is written in a way that it gets its due and does not end up being unnoticed. 

           Ashwin Sanghi hasn't used big words to impress literati hence it becomes easy to go with the story without referring dictionary and skipping pages. Big fonts assures too many pages and with too many pages comes an impatient feeling of turning yet another page to find what happened next. The way suspense has been held throughout the book is commendable and it's hard for you to guess who is the serial killer. The characters are very well-built that even after more than dozens of people mentioned, you don't get confused with the names and profession. Santosh and Rupesh are best as protagonists and are expressed very well. Also, Nisha and Hari are interesting characters along with Mubeen.

          The story line isn't much confusing. The plot is simple but the twists, turns, suspense, thriller and excitement attached with it plays its part. Even when the book is 470 pages, I don't find a single page which is unwanted. Every word had an effect on the story and that's what Ashwin Sanghi along with James Patterson does with us. Doesn't allow us to sleep. I completed this book in just 2 evening and it has been a wonderful experience as a reader. If you are thriller fan, this one is surely for you and if you are Sanghi's fan, just go for it- You will be mind blown and won't stop applauding the author for unlocking the new level of excitement. I give this book an amazing 4.5*/5.



Friday, August 8, 2014

Meditation by Eknath Easwaran (Book Review-3.5*/5)!!!

            It's long since I was searching for a book that could teach me how to start with meditation and what benefits will I experience after indulging myself in meditation. Every time I searched for a book, I always felt that Eknath Easwaran's Meditation published by Jaico is a better choice. And as I am done reading now, I can say that my intuition and choice has been wonderful. It has been amazing getting to know Meditation and it's advantages in the easy words of Eknath Easwaran. Book also comes with a tag line "Bringing the deep wisdom of the heart into your daily life". The 218-pages book is a wonderful experience. While reading itself, I was feeling as if I am in meditation. That's how the book has been written.

           I liked the way author has tried to make things easy for readers. He hasn't used words that are new for us. He has used simple words that we are familiar with to make us understand how powerful meditation is and how it can transform our whole personality. He has also not over-hyped meditation to make it look obvious and boring but he talks about it as casually as we discuss it. How to chose mantram and how to continue with it whenever we get free time is wonderfully explained. Similarly, which passage to chose for meditation and how to read it is also an amazing explanation by Eknath Easwaran. Similarly, he discusses everything- reading habits, eating habits, living habits etc.

            He has talked about meditation as spirituality and not as passion. Authors generally talk about meditation as if its the only thing left for us to do in life rather than earning, living and celebrating. Author has not tried to influence us in any manner. He assures that we find it interesting whenever we read any chapter and don't find it scary as if someone is saying no-meditation-no-survival or we are asked to meditate on gunpoint. This liberty that's been given to us as a reader is what makes this book one of the recommended if you want to know about meditation.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Chetan Bhagat's 6th Fiction Book- "Half Girlfriend"! This October!

Chetan Bhagat needs no introduction. Out of his first 5 fiction books, first 4 has already been adapted into movies while the 5th one is in process. His only one non-fiction book "What Young India Wants" remained at No.1 in Bestseller's list for almost an year. Now it's time to talk about his 6th fiction book that will be released in mid-October 2014. 

        Chetan Bhagat have revealed the name of the book- "HALF GIRLFRIEND". The plot says that a Bihari boy named Madhav falls in love with a girl. Madhav can't speak English properly while the girl is good at it. Madhav wants relationship but the girl doesn't. Girl wants to be just a friend with him but Madhav doesn't. At last, the girl compromises and agrees to be his half girlfriend. 

        By the plot, it's evident that story isn't something unique that we were expecting as Chetan is releasing a book after 3 years. But he can make it terrific with his funny one-liners and amazing observations about girls and boys. That's what his USP is. His last book Revolution 2020 wasn't liked much hence the hope with this one is too high. But still, on the first day itself, Revolution 2020 sold 5 lakh copies and by the 100th day of the release, it sold 1 million copies. FLipkart had to hire 700 boys to deliver the pre-order copies. Now that's the challenge Chetan will have to face. This is a big record to break and industry has changed a lot since then. People aren't much interested in such kind of books and even Chetan Bhagat has gained many haters. Let's see what happens.

While other authors catch bloggers like me to promote and market their books through reviews or advertisements, Chetan Bhagat releases the cover page of his new book by advertising on the first full page of The Times of India. Also, the pre-ordering of the book starts on Flipkart at Rs. 149 which is higher than prices of all his previous books. The ad also says that even after the book will officially release, it shall be available only on Flipkart for next 1 month. A big blow to bookstores. Chetan Bhagat is known for revolutionizing promotion and marketing of books through bookstores in every corner of India with his Five Point Someone. But after 10 years, it seems as if physical bookstores does not interests the author anymore. 

           Well, there is still 2.5 months left for the release of the book. Let's see what more tactics The Author plays to make this book a popular interest among youths and readers. He got along Vidya Balan for the launch of 2 States and Sonam Kapoor for Revolution 2020. Let's see which Bollywood actress he brings this time. My guess- Alia Bhatt or Jacqueline Fernandez it would be. :-) Let's wait and watch!

Pre-order the book here -->>



Monday, August 4, 2014

Engglishhh by Altaf Tyrewala (Book Review-3*/5)!!!

       When HarperCollins releases a 211-pages hardcover book costing Rs 450 with a title such as "Engglishhh", you presume that the book would be surely a modern classic or something so epic that it would be remembered for a long time. After reading the book now, I can say that I enjoyed the short stories based on characters based in different class, cities, situations, circumstances etc. The tagline of the book says :Fictional Dispatches from a Hyperreal Nation". Author of the book is Altaf Tyrewala who's critically acclaimed and respected for his previous works. 

          Altaf has a very good writing skill that hooks you to a story even when it's of just 10 pages. The way he explains and introduces his characters are enough to impress you. I did find problem in getting used to his style in the first two stories- New and Second-hand and Engglishhh. But after I completed reading the whole book, I read them again and got the essence of it. For me, the real fun of the book started from "Nice Water"- a story that tells an autobiographical description of a maid. Few portions surely makes you emotional and some scenes are too hard to digest but that's the fact with which Altaf is trying to make us aware of. 

   On the same lines, all the stories are written depicting some or the other crisis in someone's life. The Watchman is a funny story where a watchman on the basis of few past experiences predicts that someone is going to die in the society and the laughter moments are created throughout the story. Thirteenth Floor is again another story with which I related. The greatest surprise came when MmYum's began. It's the longest story covering almost 40% of the book divided into sub-plots. That can be said as one of the best works of Altaf Tyrewala. And the book ends with a wonderful chapter that makes you giggle. It makes fun of Literature fests and authors. Something only an author who have experienced it himself could have written. 

         I just feel that the book does not deserve to be priced at Rs. 450. Rs. 250 could have been fine because very few people would like to read an anthology by spending such a huge amount. Also a Paperback version should be released. That's all.



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