Sunday, December 30, 2018

Best 10 Books I read in 2018

As every year, I feel that I should mention the top rated books by me. The list does not have any thing to do with the year in which the book has been published. It's just that I got my hands upon them in 2018. Out of 58 novels that I read this year, few books which I am recommending are below. It has nothing to do in the order in which they are listed. You can start any of them to read in the New Year if READING is one of your resolutions:-

1. The Mastery Manual by Robin Sharma (Read the Review here)

2. The Kaafir’s Love by Abhisar Sharma (Read the Review here)

3. F?@k Knows: Dead or Alive by Shailendra Singh (Read the Review here)

4. Freedom from the I by Shashank Kasliwal (Read the Review here)

5. Happiness Is All We Want by Ashutosh Mishra (Read the Review here)

6. Ashwatthama's Redemption: The Rise of Dandak by Gunjan Porwal (Read the Review here)

7. Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians by Boria Majumdar (Read the Review here)

8. In a Cult of Their Own: Bollywood Beyond Box Office by Amborish Roychoudhury (Read the Review here)

9. The Essence of Bhagwad Gita by Atul Sehgal (Read the Review here)

10. Unmet Needs of Entrepreneurship by S. Parthasarathy (Read the Review here)



Saturday, December 29, 2018

This Time by Reshma Joly (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

What a co-incident it has been reading two books from the erotica genre back to back where I don’t even remember when I read a book from this genre in last few years! The last book that I read was more from boy’s perspective and how nasty boys are when it comes to having sex with girls. The book that I have completed now is written by a girl from girl’s voice which makes this a totally different reading experience. This is what reading gives you- multiple experiences, approach, thought processes being just that one simple person that you are. The 58th book that I have completed reading this year is “This Time” written by Reshma Joly which is also her 2nd book. This is probably the last book I have read this year. Now it’s time to get out of the pages and enjoy the last few days of 2018 enjoying and celebrating.

The book is written in such a poetic sound that never ever did I feel that I am reading a book which has conversations, scenes, story involved. What a wonderful way of putting one’s story of relationship with another person which has intense romance and union of bodies involved. The best part of the book is the way authoress has kept the chapters short still being able to describe whatever she wanted and making you feel the same emotions and feelings that she needed to convey. Amazing!

Another incredible part of this book is that it involves only two characters and there is not even a mention of any third person. Can you believe this? I can still not believe it. These 123 pages are an experience to read which shall take you in the world of intimacy and love which shall take you in a different world altogether where you would want to meet your partner or if you have broken up, get back to your partner, or if you are still not committed ever, will make you die to get into a relationship. This is how beautiful the love making scenes and conversations between the characters are narrated.

Authoress is quite nervous in the beginning of the book where in her note she says that the book is a huge risk as she is writing about sex. And I had assumed this book to be raunchy involving dirty talks and sex scenes but surprisingly, I ended up reading a book which was not about sex but the way two people get together with doubts if it’s love or infatuation and then get into physical intimacy and how they level up their physical intensity with days is what this book discusses and makes you think a lot about yourself, your choices and your love relationship. I am scared to say that I found the reading experience of this book quite meditative and felt that it got over quite sooner in just 123 pages and should have continued for same number of pages more. Kudos to the authoress for revealing her heart so beautifully without getting vulgar and indecent and portraying sex so generously. I give this book 4.25* out of 5.

To buy the book, CLICK HERE



Thursday, December 27, 2018

I also slept with Rashmi Verma by Sexthon (Book Review: 2.5*/5) !!!

I have read books from almost all the genres though most of them have been by Indian authors only. Well, to be frank, 99% of them as it has been my personal choice to promote Indian authors as very few Indian readers pick up a book by Indian and I wanted readers to give the same respect to the authors of our country too. The one genre that I believe I haven’t read is erotica but it has also begun finally with the latest book I have read by an author whose pen name is “Sexthon” and the name of the book is “I also slept with Rashmi Verma”. Yes, the title itself says it all.

This book is written in a very entertaining way which ensures that you do not feel that you are reading a pornography content nor do you feel the book going nowhere. The book is divided into chapters and each chapter deals with a different situation in the life of the protagonist though few chapters are interlinked with each other for sure. The narrative of the book is designed such that you would want to know what happens with the protagonist, his crush- Rashmi Verma and his other friends who are either mad about sex or completely sexually deprived. The way author describes and discusses funny tales of protagonist’s friends is highly entertaining and the dialogues used between them is something makes reading the chapters hilarious.

The book starts with how the protagonist is also dreaming to get laid with Rashmi Verma who has slept with almost everyone he knows but only he has been neglected for years and later in the chapters, the desperation and disappointment of the character is discussed. The book also discusses about different genders, different sexual orientation and different approach towards Sex by people in a humorous manner. The brave thing that I could easily decipher while reading the book is author’s guts to discuss Mahabharata’s stories and inter-relating it with these sexually charged characters.

Now talking about the drawbacks of the book, 113 pages are too short for fulfilling the readers’ expectation when the book consists of so many characters. Author just could not talk much about them because he had already set a limit on pages that he wants to complete this book in. Secondly, the conversations written in Hindi are not in the correct accent which makes it difficult to read them and hence you read the English translation provided for them which does not have the same fun that the Hindi dialogues have. It would have been more interesting if author could have added the female perspective too but he focused more on the desperate males. In the 2nd half, few chapters are boring and does not have quite a meaning to them which makes this book weak. Overall, this book is a light fun content to which I am rating 2.5* out of 5.


Abhilash Ruhela!!! 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Of Aakash and Aarti by Govind Sharma (Book Review: 3.25*/5) !!!

The last book that I had read of Mr. Govind Sharma is “State vs Amrit Kumar” and I had liked it a lot considering it was of only 150 pages and covered a wonderful story where the cop fought against corruption getting against his own seniors and officials. I was very much impressed by the author that he could narrate a wonderful story in such limited words. I picked up his latest book last week named “Of Aakash and Aarti” which is again been limited under 194 pages and author has again impressed me as a reader the way he narrates this story in as less pages as possible which includes multiple characters with different emotional sets.

The backdrop of the story is very well described and narrated which makes it easier for the readers to understand the characters of the lead- Aakash and Aarti. Both the characters are so distinctly different from each other yet gets along well is what becomes a wonderful read initially. And then the ambition of a poor girl is so beautifully portrayed that you fall even for the wrong things that she gets into. It takes guts to confuse readers with what is right and wrong with a character despite knowing that everything done is nothing but completely criminal and immoral. On the other hand, the way Aakash’s association with drugs is shown tells the readers about the ill-effects of getting addicted and what it does to a very good person.

The way the importance of being away from drugs is narrated tells the good intention with which the author has put this novel out for his readers. I just felt as a drawback after a point of time not making his character leave drugs made the story rotate around the same cycle of sub-plot again and again thus making it monotonous and boring after a point of time. The characters of Basant and Rajeshwari Devi is again an interesting set-up. I liked how the author has worked upon the background which makes his characters sound real and happening. Talking about another drawback, I felt that author could not maintain the relationship of Aakash and Aarti regularly in the book. He would either discuss Aarti’s life or Aakash’s but could not take their story forward simultaneously. That could have made the book more evolving. Rest, I feel only the title of this book would prevent readers from buying it as it sounds like a cheese love story though it’s not. Rest, it’s a fine story to which I give 3.25 stars out of 5.



Blogging for Gold: A to Z of Blogging by Anuj Tikku (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

The way of communicating with an audience is changing gradually since years and there have been new players in each of the mode that becomes prevalent according to the contemporary time. Earlier, people had only radios to communicate then came television. Post television became prominent, new terms of communicators started getting invented such as VJs, hosts, anchors who started influencing people with their shows. And finally, Internet entered and the whole dynamics of communicating changed. Earlier it started with digital magazines owned by an institution which got its own revolution where a person started speaking by himself through his own website which gave a new term to the mankind- Blogger. And the latest book that I have just completed reading is about how a person can enrich his blog and increment his performance as a blogger written by Mr. Anuj Tikka named “Blogging For Gold”. The book also has the tagline that says “A to Z of Blogging”.

The book is divided into 60 chapters which sounds like 60 tutorial classes being given every day on how a person should approach Internet as a blogger should and ensure that his efforts does not go into vain but he is able to earn something out of it- both monetarily and personally. I am glad that people like Anuj Tikka exists who rather than keeping their findings on how to make the craft successful with themselves spread it with their contemporaries ensuring that everyone grows together in a field that can provide lot of opportunities to both- the creators and the audiences. Anuj has written a really no-nonsense book keeping all the chapters and advices crisp with no diversions or non-clarity in thoughts. You can only bless him after reading this book as I, myself, being a blogger since last 10 years learnt a lot from this e-book which is written by someone who has explored the field for just 3 years.

The author has not only given tips on how to increase the readers, subscribers and views on the website but also given solutions on how to write better contents and how a blogger can go beyond just blogging. Not only has he spoken about the benefits one can get by just being a Blogger but taught how a person can earn through integrating their portal with other social media platforms, similar blog sites, affiliate programming e-commerce websites etc. The book opens a great dimension for a person looking out for being a Blogger letting him know the various options he has to explore and convert his hobby into a full-time stuff. Not only talking about just Blogging platform, author has also discussed about being a Youtuber, content creator, self-published author, story-teller, social media influencer, collaborator and what not.

The book is very impressive with its well research and self-experienced content. Though I would like to point out few drawbacks over here- The author has in some places just given references of what to be done but does not give a descriptive solution of how it needs to be done. Secondly, the chapters are not divided into sections which has scattered the chapters belonging to the same subject across the book which confuses the reader if he has completed knowing everything about this one topic or he might get a chapter afterwards on the same stuff. Third and the last, I believe author ended up repeating the same thing quite often to ensure that the reader remembers the same but it becomes monotonous after a point of time. It could have been wonderful if author could have given a summary of all the information in the end as Important Tips that the reader could keep it with himself to refer in future. 

Overall, this is a great book for people wanting to create some stuff online and share with people or get popular. I give this wonderful effort 4 star out of 5. A must read.



Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Chapter Black: Scandalous Secret of the Scars by Bushra Rahmani (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

 Not the experience of reading every book is delightful and entertaining, some are boring whereas some are thought-provoking whereas some keep hitting you for being negligence towards people who need your attention and concern. The book I have just finished belonged to the latter category written by Ms. Bushra Rahmani namely “The Chapter Black: Scandalous Secret of the Scars”. The book is currently available only in its Kindle edition and I wish it released in paperback version too as it is something you would want to gift few people who have no sympathy with the victims of the society who are dying to make you hear their pain. The cover page of the book is itself very dark portraying a girl sitting with her head bent down speaking about the plight she has been suffering for some while and the story is written in the same tone itself.

I had believed the book would have two different shades of happiness and then the sadness but since the first page of the book, the author has maintained a serious and sincere effort of keeping the victim’s story as much focused as possible so that readers could feel the pain a person who has suffered molestation, rape, kidnapping and acid attack goes through. And the good part is that even when the book is not written in the first person’s voice, it is able to make you feel what is in the mind of the fearful and helpless character who is scarred of every moment of her life. The protagonist’s character is so well built up that even after hours of completing the book, you would keep thinking about her sufferings and pain.

The book is written in a very good English language and as a debutante, I am very much impressed in the way the language has been used in a narration so strong and powerful. The story does not have much happenings, twists and turns but is still able to make you excited to know what happens with the character in the end is commendable. The research the authoress has gone through to understand the circumstances and feelings of an acid attack survivor is evident in every sentence which is applaudable. The way the book ends giving hope to any such survivor reading this book is how the climax of this book should have been rather than keeping everything dark till end.

Talking about the drawbacks of the book, I must say that the book is quite stretched in some parts where the authoress has gone into the same kind of detailing for the same condition of the character rather than trimming down few sentences from those segments where it kept getting repetitive. Secondly, except protagonist, her sister and Zafar, all the other characters are not given due importance. They keep disappearing from the story time and again which does not let the reader connect with the story at times. Overall, the book is a great effort and I rate it 4 out of 5. This is recommended for the people who can bear reading tough violent descriptions suffered by a female character.



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Vyom And The Royal Weapon by Tripty Bhardwaj (Book Review: 3.5/5*) !!!

Reading book of any debutante is a different experience altogether considering that they pour in everything that they have as an author in their first book and does not hold back any idea or potential that they have. This exposes the author in his/her first book itself which is why the first book is very important for anyone in his literary journey. The book that I have completed reading last week is written by another debutante, Tripty Bhardwaj, with the name- “VYOM AND THE ROYAL WEAPON”. As I have already read many books from the same genre, I did not have much expectation from the authoress to write anything different from those books but I must say, the story of the book is unique in its own way.

The 1st book generally have references from many classics as it’s obvious that authors have their own favorite authors whom they have kept reading until they themselves start writing but I found that Tripty’s story isn’t influenced as there are ups and downs in the storyline which tells how strong and yet vulnerable the authoress is. The command over English is great which ensures that authoress is successful in communicating her imaginative story to the readers as most of the scenes in the book are created in highly fantasy-based world. Not generalizing but mostly the contents related to science fiction is interesting for boys than girls but it is surprising to see Tripty writing such a story covering elements that make the book genuine and thrilling. The only problem that I have felt in Tripty’s writing is the way she narrates the story. It is quite boring. It could have been interesting if the book had little less seriousness in its approach of story-telling and less description of segments which did not actually required detailing.

Talking about the characterizations, this book has many characters in it and almost all of them are widely discussed which doesn’t let the reader feel that he is not aware of the character’s background or mindset. As this book is based on an organization which has some values and morals, authoress had to ensure it is reflected in the conversations between characters which is done with pitch-perfectness. The two different groups of people are nicely portrayed to make you differentiate between them just in the first few chapters itself. It could have been great if authoress could have made some table describing the characters as their group so that readers could refer it when they are reading this book with lot of breaks the way I did.

The way the whole fantasy world is described does justice with this book. The blend author has ensured in the book with sci-fi content, kind of a mythological aspect, and also being philosophical in few parts of it through the characters is wonderful. The book is divided into many chapters which makes it easy to remember the many sub-plots happening in the story one after another. I just felt that the book could have been edited well as 250 pages are too much for the limited number of instances shared in the book. As already stated above, over-description kills the soul of the chapter sometimes. Overall, as a debut authoress, Tripty has made a respectable entry. Vyom and the Royal Weapon gets 3.5 stars out of 5.



Monday, November 12, 2018

Swami in a Strange Land by Joshua M. Greene (Book Review:- 2.5*/5) !!!

It is quite evident to all of you who have been following my book reviews and personal blog that I am quite attracted towards spiritual concepts and the first thing that attracted me towards mythology and spirituality was when I picked up a copy of Bhagavad Gita: As It Is being sold by Iskcon volunteers on a Mumbai local railway station. This version of Gita is written by Iskcon founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. And who would not want to read about the personality which introduced you towards a new concept in life. Jaico Publication published the biography of Swami Prabhupada written by Joshua M. Greene recently which has become the 52nd book I read this year thus completing my annual target of 2018.

The book covers the spiritual life of Prabhupada on his devotion towards his Guru and how he ends up reaching overseas just to fulfil his Guru’s wish of spreading the Krishna consciousness all over the world. The book is divided in three parts- Prabhupada’s life in India, America and the World. The most interesting one that I personally liked is the one in America which discusses his struggle in gaining the followers and popularizing the Krishna consciousness and the Hare Rama Hare Krishna chant. The impact of these two sentences is nicely discussed throughout the book. The biographer’s research on the life of Swami Prabhupada is commendable and covers many such personal events which is nearly impossible to bring out in public or say, even know about it. Kudos to author for the same.

Talking about the drawbacks of the book, I must say that author should have divided the book in small chapters rather than three vast sections. This made the reading experience quite hectic where author just kept speaking continuously which becomes boring after a point of time and remains just a drag. Also, regarding the spiritual concept and belief or the meditation techniques that Prabhupada himself followed is nowhere discussed which is a very big setback for a spiritual reader who went through these 300+ pages to know new ways of meditation and spirituality. Even regarding the struggles in opening the first few centres is hardly discussed. The book just keeps on speaking the same thing for most of the middle section of the book which took me 10 days to complete this book. One of the struggling reads ever. I give this attempt 2.5 stars out of 5.



Beyond What Meets The Eye by Sameera Kotta (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

As you guys are aware that I do not often fall for e-books considering the strain it causes to my eyes but still I keep trying some of them because for books, I can give away my eyes too. Haha! Well, sorry for the bad joke. Today, the e-book which we are about to talk is Sameera Kotta’s “Beyond what meets the eye”. Considering that the authoress is a debutante, this 165-pages book is very well edited and kept up to the mark without dragging it to the boring level which many debutante end up doing in the passion of writing as much as possible in their first book itself. The two things which attracted me towards this book were the cover page and the title of the book. It is very necessary for the debutante to come up with a little different perspective when they write their first book and I am impressed that Sameera has been able to qualify in this aspect as her story is not the regular stuff which people are writing these days.

Sameera’s writing style is simple which makes it easy for new readers who are just starting with books to complete the book within a sitting or two. Sameera has kept her book so well-edited as I have already mentioned above that it doesn’t make you want to skip any sentence or paragraph. Every word in the book takes the story ahead. The best part about Sameera’s writing is her characterization. Right from the protagonist, Majnu’s character to Varsha’s character including Soumya’s cameo, all of which is covered so nicely that you are able to connect with each one of them. The struggle of people living without parents, the students studying tough subjects like medicals etc, the pain they go through because of the tough past they have been subscribed to, the revenge that they want to take going out of their way etc. is very well handled through characters.

Talking about the drawbacks of the story, I would say that author could have worked little more on developing the twists and turns in the book. Though the book is written in a manner where certain suspense’s are held up and revealed at some certain point trying to maintain the thrilling aspect of the story, but still, they are unable to make the reader jump off their seat or stagnancy of mind. If the book is supposed to be a thriller involving murders, death, goof-ups etc, it should be chilling and frightening. Overall, I would rate this book 3 star out of 5. Having good expectations from the authoress in the future.



Friday, October 26, 2018

VOYAGES Volume I : A Collection of Poetry by Debjeet Mukherjee (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

I had never thought that my 50th book of the year would be an e-book or a collection of poetries. And surprisingly, it was the combination of both written by Debjeet Mukherjee named “Voyages: Volume 1” with a tagline “A Collection of Poetry”. The cover page justifies the title of the book and looks excellent which makes you pick this book from your digital shelf out of all the books. This collection of poetry is of 91 pages with different poems which can be completed in a single sitting of 1 to 1.5 hours.

This book comprises of poet’s work from the year 2011 when he was just 14 years old to 2018 when he reached into his 21 years of age. The good thing is that author has started book from the poems he had written recently and ended up with what he wrote at the age of 14 and yet in my opinion, the quality of poems only kept getting better. The author talks about his emotions very vividly and beautifully in these small poems and ensure that you are able to live with them while reading the same. In such a small age, the way poet has been able to scribble such deep and emotional words is commendable.

The poet has touched the topics such as friendship, nature, experiences, drama of life, desires, lonely thoughts etc. One of the very different implementation by the poet is that after every poem, he has mentioned a quote which is in relation with the poem but in some cases, I liked the quote more than the respective poem. Overall, reading this book is like going on a voyage just like its title. I give this collection of poetry 3 stars out of 5.



Thursday, October 25, 2018

Fluid by Ashish Jaiswal (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

When I read about the book “Fluid” which has released in the Mid-October recently, I was very sceptic about what it is all about. The book has testimonials on its cover page from none other than personalities like Amish Tripathi and Sam Pitroda. The book is written by the author, Ashish Jaiswal, and now that I have completed reading the book, I can say that this is a very well researched and worked upon stuff. Author had certain perception in his mind about how people are blocked in thinking and doing stuffs related to their field and specialization only and they can perform brilliantly in other sectors too. Author has kept his agenda clear throughout the book to make his readers understand that despite what people tell you about what you are good in, you can always try in different areas and still excel in both the departments.

The book is very well-written in a simple English language whereas I had assumed that I will need dictionary in every paragraph judging the book from its cover page and title. This is the reason we are asked not to judge a book by its cover. The tag line of the book says, “Be more than what you are taught to be” and it clearly denotes this point in every chapter that it speaks with its audience. The book is divided in different sections such as Anti-fluid, the dangers of entering machine age with an Anti-fluid Mind. Specialization and the last section being, the bigger fluid questions. The title of the book was initially not clear to me about what it is about, but author has explained it well letting us know that it is kept so considering that our approach towards life should be fluid and we should not be adamant about sticking to one field and not exploring the other areas of this universe.

Author’s research and hard work behind this book is visible from the examples and case studies described under each section with perfect orientation of each of them. The examples based on the famous personalities are seriously a surprise for readers as we never knew about the other side of these legends and knowing about their extensive commitment and achievements even in those areas is an experience. Talking about the drawback of the book, there are various typos in the book. I observed that in whichever word, wherever “eh” and “ek” words came together, it got replaced with blank space. Also, I felt that the book is written in a very formal manner. It could have been little more interactive and fun. It also ends up explaining one concept for quite some time which becomes obvious and understandable in the mid-way and post that, it is just a drag to read and nothing else.

Otherwise, this is a book which speaks of this unique topic with great examples. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.



Sunday, October 21, 2018

F?@K Knows: Dead or Alive by Shailendra Singh (Book Review:- 4.75*/5) !!!

There are few books where the author chose to go the non-fiction way as they have many random things to talk about but they are unsure about how they are going to put all of them in the confinement of a book. Such books are like a personal diary stuff or a blog where the person talks about any random topic in each post but all of them contribute enough to make you know the person very well and also look at your life and think if whatever you have been doing till date is okay or do you need to make some steps to change yourself. It is very hard to make a reader think like this through a book which is written in such a manner that author is trying time and again that he is not a perfect person and should not be taken seriously. I have just ended up reading one of the best books I have ever read by Shailendra Singh named “F?@k Knows: Dead or Alive”.

This is the second book in the F?@k Knows series. Unfortunately, I haven’t read the first one but after reading this one, I am definitely going to have it soon to read it when I would be depressed sometime in future. After completing the book, I was confused as in which genre the book is in and I was confused between humor and self-help but betted on humor first but when I checked on the back-cover of the book, surprisingly, it is listed under self-help which I believe is correct. Because more than the laughs, giggles and smiles this book gives to the reader, it ensures that it gives lessons of life more than that to keep up the balance which ensures in the end that the reader has definitely received something very impacting which can change life along with light moments of laughter.

Author has opened his heart regarding many topics which are related to his personal life and the concepts that he believes in. The way he talks about his family; specifically, brother and mother are what many authors cannot dare to do in a book. The way he talks about his friends and how they faced ups and downs in their life which impacted even the author’s life tells about how transparent this person who is writing this post is. Similarly, the spiritual and concepts related to God, the way author has experienced himself is shared with us and I can tell you all those chapters are so apt that you will want to read them daily in the morning before starting your day.

Then author has talked on several topics on which he had his own opinion and made sure that he keeps it in front of all of us, either it is about demonetization, politics, country, sex, gender, social media, privacy, drugs, success, failure and what not. But rather than getting preachy about any of the topics, author choses to write it in a funny way which keeps on making you laugh and giggle and know about his perspectives too. None of the topic is just lightly handled but author has ensured that he gives some conclusive moral about each of them. His clarity in thoughts is evident in every sentence. And let me tell you, this is one of the most humorous books I have ever read. The funny chapters are all and out comedy and it can fail many popular stand-up comedians of India. And the way author ends the book with the chapters and basically the last chapter is how a book of this type should be ended. This book is an example on how the non-fiction books should be written. I give this book 4.75* out of 5. Recommended like f?@k as the book is f?@king hilarious.



Life's Amazing Secrets by Gaur Gopal Das (Book Review: 2*/5) !!!

There is so much about spirituality going on in timelines and feeds on our social media that almost everyone is aware of the concept even if they practice it or not. For a person like me who is regularly following and reading about the stuff, keeps knowing new things every day and also getting refreshed with all the previously learnt concepts. Every time, I pick up a spiritual book or a book by a spiritual personality, it is my basic expectation to learn and know something new which can surprise, shock, astonish and mind-boggle me. If nothing of that sort happens, the book is a failure for me which is written not to introduce new concepts to human beings but just for sake of writing a book to accomplish one of the personal goals and yearly resolutions.

Same has been the case after reading “Life’s Amazing Secrets” written by none other than one of the most popular spiritual personality on Youtube- Gaur Gopal Das. I have been following two personalities on Youtube when it comes to spiritual knowledge- No one can beat my following for Sadhguru and 2nd, this gentleman- Gaur Gopal Das. He has such a polite and well-speaking oratory skills that you can hear him for hours. Also, his concepts, examples and logics that he gives in his videos are so up to the mark that it teaches you something new each time you watch one of his new videos. Though I do not like the way ISKCON endorses spiritualism by circulating the knowledge only from the one dimension that they believe in but still, this man speaks individually by not bonding himself under the premise of the institution’s agenda. Unfortunately, everything that I have spoken about his powerful knowledge sharing capacity in his videos cannot be said for his debut book.

The book gives me a very basic knowledge of how to lead life which you have yourself kept hearing since childhood from your parents and colony’s uncles and aunts. Not a single chapter in the book is as impactful as such self-help and spiritual book are expected of. As Das has himself said in the start of the book that writing the book was not his original thought, but the publisher asked him to, this book also displays the same that author just completed it for the sake of at least start with writing books. Author has gone the Robin Sharma way where he has written the book in the conversational format still dividing it into different chapters but couldn’t deliver the same simple keys that can help us in changing our lifestyle and approach towards living.

The author has spoken about the four basic wheels of life in the book:- Balancing personal life, maintaining relationships, regulating work life and managing social contributions. The only section that I found little different than what I have regularly read is the one talking about managing work life. Except that, there is a section in which the author has described how should one sit in an asana and release the stress off which also sounded solution-proof. Otherwise, at the end of each chapter, author has summarized the whole chapter, and I am sorry to say, but if you only read those 4-5 bulleted points in the summary, you are done with the book as it has nothing more than that. This is a very confused book where author has also ended up giving examples or real-life scenarios which are not even completely relevant to the stuff he is talking about. Overall, I would say a very disappointing debut and I give this book only 2 stars out of 5.



Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ashwatthama's Redemption: The Rise of Dandak by Gunjan Porwal (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

It has been a long time since I have read a mythological fiction and I miss those days when I used to receive the books in the same genre just after Amish’s Shiva trilogy garnered indefinite success. Now people have moved to other topics again and whichever book comes out under this genre tastes like a half-baked cake. I picked up a book whose cover page attracted me towards it on this Sunday and finished the book by today within a day. The book is “Ashwatthama’s Redemption: The Rise Of Dandak” written by the debutante author, Gunjan Porwal. I must say that I haven’t read more captivating and emotionally-submerging book this year.

Let’s start with the subject on which the book has been written. It is more about what happened after the epic war of Mahabharata and it discusses the character of Ashwatthama briefly and tells every detail about his past and involvement in the mentioned war. He is already living in guilt of doing some bad karma during the war time but now there is a new challenge thrown upon him where he must fight the super-devils with extra power. He comes to know about a bow which if he gets, he would be able to defeat these super-powers and there starts the whole foundation and basis of this book.

The first half is very superb where the characters and their background is introduced. Each and every character is so nicely described that you can relate with them immediately. All the kings discussed in the book, majorly, Rana and Vikram, are very nicely handled throughout the book keeping their dignity in dialogues and conversation intact. Their chemistry with our protagonist is also very beautifully handled. The love angle between Urmila and Rana is also respectfully portrayed. The second half is more about the actions involved and has many such sections where you must play with your imaginations and relive every moment discussed in the story. The anti-climax and climax are beautifully closed out which also gives hope of the sequel and I must say which I very rarely feel, that I am wanting to read the 2nd part as soon as possible.

The mythological and fictional mixture is very perfectly handled by the author which does not insult one of our epic books, Mahabharata. Author has discussed Mahabharata in various parts as a conversation and through it, also tried to explain many spiritual and human concepts like karma, life, death, guilt, ego, mind games etc. Every instance of Lord Krishna is worth reading and re-reading in this book. Even the mention of Ramayana comes in between which is also interesting to read and how the karma of people in both the stories are connected due to being Avataras of the same God is an intriguing read altogether. Best part for which I would remember this book is whenever the Mahabharata is dictated in a conversation to any of the characters.

Talking about the drawbacks, I just felt that there was certain characteristics of each character being discussed initially but author could not do justice to everything that he mentioned about them. Except this, I believe this book is a must read for sure. I give it 4.5* out of 5. Recommended like anything.



Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Heartfulness Way by Kamlesh D. Patel/Joshua Pollock (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

Reading spiritual books has been my passion since last two years since I started understanding it conceptually and intellectually. It was just that I had never experienced it experientially but six months back, after I had a course by Isha Yoga Foundation, I have also started feeling the bliss that meditation and spiritual path brings with it. And post that, I do not find every spiritual book that effective as I have at least an average knowledge about the subject. But the last book that I read surely impressed me:- “The Heartfulness Way” written in a conversational format by Kamlesh D. Patel and Joshua Pollock.

Frankly speaking, I had never heard about Kamlesh D. Patel as he is popularly known as daaji so I had no expectation or perception about the person while reading the book but as the chapters kept going on, my trust in his logics and knowledge regarding spirituality kept getting better and by the end of the book, I could do nothing but endorse his idea of meditation and spiritual that he asks to do in the heartfulness way. The book is written in a conversational way which keeps on clearing one doubt after another that is being spoken by the daaji and I would like to applaud the author for asking such questions to him which made it easier for the reader to understand each and every sentence quoted by daaji.

Book is divided in three different sections: Why Heartfulness, practising heartfulness and the guru. I personally could connect with the last section so much that I felt as if I have myself written that chapter.  Book is written in a way that beginners in spiritual path will find it easy to understand it conceptually. Talking about the drawbacks, though few asanas are discussed in the book but I wished if the authors had included more such asanas and yogic kriyas, it could have helped the spiritual followers like me who have surpassed the beginning stage and are looking something which can moot them to the next level of spiritual experience. Overall, this book is basically for spiritual beginners and I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.



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