Monday, July 30, 2018

Hungry Gods by Richa Lakhera (Book Review: 3.25*/5) !!!

By reading the title of the book and seeing the dangerous cover page, I had never expected that I would pick the book - “Hungry Gods” up to read it and that too on a weekend on a lighter note. The authoress, Richa Lakhera, has written this book in a thriller genre based on the following elements which are also the part of book’s tagline- Drugs, Sex Cults, A horrific crime and an unthinkable revenge. The book is based on the same concept of revenge of a rape but the way it has been handled with the authoress is what makes the book different than all the books written on the cliche topic.

The language used by the authoress is quite like Western writers which might make it difficult for Indian authors’ fans to read and comprehend the sentences. The book is written in first voice and third voice periodically which makes the narration of the book interesting for the readers. The characters are very well drafted and the way each one of them is dark in their very own way gives the story a very great premise. Right from the cops to the actor to the people involved with the drug company to the people associated with the actor, everyone’s character is very well written and the way story takes their character forward is another magical X-factor of this book.

I just felt that the timeline of the story becomes very confusing due to each chapter talking from point of view of a certain character most of the times. The pre-climax and the climax of the book is nicely closed which gives the book a perfect ending. Overall, this book is an average thriller written in a very good language and in a very different manner irrespective of having a very regular plot. I give this book 3.25* out of 5.



Winning Like Sourav: Think & Succeed Like Ganguly by Abhirup Bhattacharya (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

The one thing I like about any publishing company is its commitment towards innovating a concept and then holding it for a long time. It needs a strong temperament to keep a concept alive and transform it into a phenomena. Rupa Publication is doing the same with the short books it keep releasing almost every month based on a Sports Superstar and help us understand their traits and qualities on adopting which we can also excel in our respective fields. The latest that I read in this collection is the book based on none other than Sourav Ganguly named “Winning Like Sourav: Think & Succeed Like Ganguly” written by Abhirup Bhattacharya who also wrote the book on Virat Kohli in the same series.

Sourav Ganguly has been one of the most appreciated Cricketers in India and across the world irrespective of the numerous controversies he has been involved in. His determination and never-give-up attitude has made him reach the zenith that he is at. He still does not sit quietly irrespective of retiring a long while ago and is completely engrossed in commentary, one of the Cricket Boards, hosts two reality shows in Bengali language etc. Sourav Ganguly is known for his captaincy tactics which transformed the Team India such that it started winning overseas matches where they couldn’t stand still in the past. Abhirup Bhattacharya has very simply explained how he has been able to contribute not only as a batsman or Captain of Team India, but as an individual from whom one can take management and life lessons.

The book consists of different chapters which are basically the qualities that Ganguly possesses such as Making of Brand Sourav, leadership, mental strength, quick learning, risk taking abilities, grooming future leaders, power of his aggression etc. The best part is how author has described about his sacrificial attitude where he always gave away his power just to make sure that another youngster in the team gets opportunity. The way his leadership skills are discussed gives beautiful insight. All the things that Ganguly did even with aggression is conveyed with a sight that you and me had never acknowledged and always saw it with negative attitude. Overall, the book is a good motivation. I give it 4* out of 5 for its genre.



Sunday, July 29, 2018

Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians by Boria Majumdar (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

If you talk about Indians, anything that keeps everyone united are Cricket, Politics and Bollywood. And when it comes to Cricket, there is nothing that fascinates us anymore. Being a reader and a fan of Cricket, whenever I get to know that there’s a new book released on Cricket, I cannot stop myself in assuring that I get to read the book somehow. Last weekend I got my hands upon the book named “Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians” written by none other than the Cricket Expert and Scholar, Boria Majumdar, who is also known for assisting Sachin Tendulkar in writing his autobiography.

The tagline of the book says “The On and Off the field story of Cricket in India and Beyond”. Writing a book about the on-field happening is easy if you pick only the performances to discuss but it becomes very difficult and controversial when you decide to speak truth about few controversies that happened on the field. More over that, very few authors have enough knowledge to speak about the off-field events and those who know does not want to disclose the secrets behind the game and board that handled the game. Boria Majumdar has showed enough character in writing a book on such a topic and the way he has executed it is a level above all the other books written in such genre on specifically, Cricket.

The book starts with the most controversial subject on match-fixing and since then it is unstoppable as the author discusses on almost everything that has been a big question to us in all these years of our devotion such as how Indians started performing overseas, the controversy of Greg Chappell-Ganguly, Harbhajan-Symonds, the most recent one- Virat Kohli-Anil Kumble etc. Author then also discusses how Cricket earned initially when the television sets had come in India and how it has transformed itself into a mega-event where 20,000 crores are being shelved out for the five years of IPL rights. The BCCI and its stand on various issues are discussed so openly that I doubt anyone else would have spoken about this board so directly and specifically with directly taking names. The India’s win of both- 1983 and 2011 is also covered descriptively which will make you feel as if you are watching the match live.

The Part Four of the book discusses Ranji trophy specifically and the initial days of Cricket craze in our country. The Part Five is all about Virat Kohli and the current set of Cricketers and what we are looking ahead through them for this sports and the expectations that they have on their shoulders to fulfill. The Women Cricket Team is also discussed in the last chapter making it sure that they are also the future of Cricket in India considering their performance in the last World Cup where they reached Finale and ended up being Runner-Up. Sachin Tendulkar’s career is also discussed along with his last Test match which again makes you shed tears.

Reading this book, I was surprised and shocked to read various truth about the sport and wanted to hug Mr. Majumdar for writing such a strong book and having debateful takes on each important event that has happened in the world of Indian Cricket. He has never been biased towards any party throughout the book and I want to specifically point out the chapter on Kohli-Kumble saga where he has spoken very neutrally and made it clear that it’s not only the current aggressive players like Virat Kohli who are always wrong but it can be legends like Anil Kumble too. No inner person working with Cricket could have written about such detailings about big names so honestly. This book will always be named in one of the top books on Cricket. Kudos to Boria Majumdar. I give this book 4.25* out of 5.



Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fearless In Opposition by P. Chidambaram (Book Review: 2*/5) !!!

As far as I memory works, I have never read a book written by any active politician. And I believe this has been my best decision ever after reading P. Chidambaram’s “Fearless In Opposition”. The book also has the tagline which says “Power and Accountability”. I had a belief that a politician decides to write a book only when he takes a conscious decision of speaking truth irrespective of either it’s in his favor or not. But after reading Chidambaram’s version of how the current NDA government is working and operating the nation, it seems as if our country is only doing worst each and every hour and there’s nothing good or encouraging happening. This is such a one-sided and disappointing book that you will never want to vote such a discouraging party again in power which has nothing good to say about the current government.

Chidambaram has discussed different sectors and topics such as Nation and Nationalism where he talks about caste discrimination, dalit rights, how current government tags people as anti-nationalist as per their criterions; how this government is disconnected from people where he talks again about Dalit righ, fake encounters in the Ishrat Jahan case etc.; he also talks on the topic of Jammu and Kashmir widely in 6 articles; misgovernance, failures of policies, the state of the economy, union budget of 2016-17, foreign policy and finally in the last section about demonetisation.

This book is a collection of all the columns and articles written by Chidambaram in the date range around 2016. Chidambaram has given statistics and graphs wherever he managed to show that his party did well against the current party but wherever there was a scope of the current government doing well than them, he just passed generic statements again showing the current government in the bad light. And this is continuously being done throughout the book and in each column. Whenever there is growth in percentage in any performance against his own government, he has not shied away from terming the growth as “only” or “just”. Trust me, after completing this book, you will feel as if you are living in the worst country possible. He has not even appreciated the government for terrorist attack control if not for anything but mentioned loopholes even there. If you are anti-BJP government and familiar with economic terminologies, go for it. I give this book only 2 stars out of 5.



Winning Like Saina by Jatin Gupta (Book Review: 4.25*/5)

Cricket has always charmed the Indian sports' fans which has irked the ardent sports lover who believed that with the support of Indian fans, the Indian players playing other sports than Cricket can also perform equally or better than our Cricket team. But Cricket never allowed the Indians to concentrate on any other sports. Such has been the unawareness that multiple biopics are being made on previous and even current generation's players to help people know about the contribution made by Indian athletes. One such player who performed very well in a sport other than Cricket is Saina Nehwal. Badminton has got famous in India only after the feats she started achieving on International level. It is because of her that many Indian supporters switch on their television sets and post on Social media whenever there is a match of P V Sindhu or Srikanth Kidambi. 

I am just done reading the book written by Jatin Gupta on Saina Nehwal's routine and work culture named "Winning Like Saina" which also has the tagline, "Think & Succeed like Nehwal". The author has very well structured this book in as less as 121 pages and ensured that you get enough motivated with the way Saina Nehwal reached from nowhere to World No. 1 in International rankings. Author has divided the chapters as per each of her traits which can be followed by the professionals, management students and generally, by everyone. It is not easy to write a book on a sportsperson without following the timeline yet managing to cover all the major aspects of his/her career. Jatin has been able to do the same with this book.

The good part about the book is that rather than talking and discussing only about Saina Nehwal, author has not shied away from giving examples of other prominent and successful personalities. In this series of Rupa publication where a sportsman is picked up and using his/her reference, readers are told about how they can also win like them, Saina Nehwal is treated as a very great example in her book as there are encouraging quotes from her family members, coaches, her relationship is explained very vastly with her coaches who have been a great part in her success etc. Overall, this is a power-packed book for inspiration. I give this one 4.25* out of 5. 



Thursday, July 5, 2018

In a Cult of Their Own: Bollywood Beyond Box Office by Amborish Roychoudhury (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

There are few movies that are always talked of even if they have been one of the biggest duds of their time and then there are movies which are actually good in terms of cinema and scripts but could not become successful because of either being ahead of times or releasing with no promotion or inappropriate timing. Such movies are known as “cult” and being discussed among movie buffs. Similarly, there are few books which are of the same kind but definitely this book named “In a cult of their own: Bollywood beyond box office” written by Amborish Roychoudhury is not in the same category but is actually one of the most unique books I have ever read. There are many books based on Bollywood which speaks about certain movies, songs or factors in Bollywood chapterwise but they bore the readers like hell making them leave it in between. But this book is definitely one of the best written books on Bollywood.

Amborish has picked up few movies of his choice from all the time range and discussed why there are being considered cult and what prominence or uselessness each of these movies possessed. Haha! Amborish’s style of describing the worst and illogical scenes of the movies is what makes this book interesting, humorous, laughable, funny and your favorite. The research work gone in knowing the whole background under which the movie was planned to how the casting was done and what challenges did the directors and makers face is completely visible in all the chapters. Author has ensured that the readers should know the mindset of the makers while they were filming these movies so that it becomes easier to understand how and why these movies got made the way they are.

The interviews taken by the author with few prominent personalities being involved in the movies discussed in the book are nicely presented in quotes between the chapters which gives you great insight about movie-making and the challenges that these creative people face in terms of schedule, star cast, making, deadlines, dates etc. My personal favorite chapters are on the following movies: - Mera Naam Joker, Silsila, Andaz Apna Apna, Gunda, RGV ki Aag and Deshdrohi. If you want to enjoy light humor and know the secrets behind these cults, read this book immediately. I give this one 4.25* out of 5.



Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Touch The Sky by Rashmi Bansal (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

Rashmi Bansal is one author whom I have followed devotedly in the last decade. She knows exactly what it needs to motivate people through words and she has been doing this continuously. The best part about the authoress is that she does not repeat herself with the same kind of stories in each book but tries to share different dimensions of human spirit every time she comes with a new book. This time I have read one of her latest books named “Touch The Sky” which is about different women in India who did not get demotivated and depressed with what people said to and about them but did something which became an example for all the other ladies around them to follow and become a leader.

In a country like India where women have been dominated since thousand of years, it’s very necessary to uplift them with such motivating stories where common and next-door women and girls have done something which is termed as impossible for the girls in our country. Rashmi Bansal ensures that she shares such unique stories and present them in her own way with a wonderful way of narration which makes even the non-fictional attempt sound like fiction. The stories has been divided into the three segments: Ziddi, Besharam and Bindaas. The Ziddi section discusses how the women/girls are adamant about getting things done what they have perceived in their mind. The Besharam section discusses about the girls doing things which are considered as taboo in the society and did not shy away with what society thought of them. And the last section, Bindaas discusses about simple real stories where the women did things freely without thinking about what is right or wrong, they just did what they thought of doing.

Rashmi Bansal has given quite Indian touch to all the stories to make it sound like something happening just around you. Talking about the drawbacks of the book I felt that Rashmi did not elaborate the whole process of transformation of these stories in her trademark style but kept it very short and simple. The stories seem like newspaper articles as they are finished as soon as they start. There is too much usage of local languages too with no translation in English. Except that this book is very inspiring and motivational which should be read by girls who are low in confidence and belief. I give this book 3.75* out of 5. This is a light read which can be finished in a single sitting or while traveling.



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Shunya: A Novel by Sri M (Book Review: 2.5*/5) !!!

I am just done reading another book based on spirituality but this time in form of a fictional attempt by renowned guru, Sri M named “Shunya”. This is the first novel written by the author even when he claims to have written many before this one but never got guts to send it to publishers. Shunya is a very intense book which talks about the power of being in a zone which is full of nothingness and is almost like the origin of your creation. Shunya is the name of a character in the book who is also the protagonist of the story. It sounds very weird initially how Shunya practices different theories of his but later on by the 2nd half of the book, you understand his character and style of treating and spreading positivism around.

The writing style of the author is intriguing and keeps the readers hooked with the story. The premises are very unnatural and thus it takes time to get comfortable with the main character as some of his behaviour is actually objectional but yet it brings silence and peace in the life of the stressed human being. The characters are very well handled by the author either Sadasivan, Thambi, Diana or Bhavani. Each one of them have their distinct background and present.

The base of the protagonist being described in a Toddy shop and the way he drinks and does crazy things is a great read. Also, t he way 2nd half of the story is handled makes you think a lot of things about the conditions of different characters. The pre-climax and climax are also okay. Talking about the drawbacks:- The spiritual stuff is kept very simple and does not take you deep into the philosophy. Also, a book of this nature should leave a very big message and impact behind but there is nothing that you will take away with this book except the weirdness of the protagonist character. I will give this book just 2.5* out of 5 for being an average story with no impact at all on the readers.



Sunday, July 1, 2018

My Feathered Friends & the Book of Poems-Part 1 by Sunil Bhatia (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

 I remember reading a book written by the author, Ratnadip Acharya, which had deer as its protagonist. I was very sceptical about the book as it had no mention of human being throughout the movie and was based only on deer. But the kind of message and energy that the book shared through its story is incredible and those messages are still with me which shows me the path whenever I get stuck somewhere in life. On the similar lines, I read another book today written by the author, Sunil Bhatia, named “My Feathered Friends & The Book of Poems – Part 1”. The book has human being as protagonist but his friends are in form of different bird species who help him in different juncture of his life.

In today’s time, there are several self-help and motivation book releasing as almost every second person considers himself as a motivational speaker. Most of these self-help books are just replica of many bestselling books in the same genre and hence reading such books doesn’t interest anymore. But the path taken by Sunil Bhatia is the unique one and which is needed to differentiate the book from all the other books in the shelf. The different species of birds are introduced in each chapter and the way they help the protagonist on the issues that are also relevant to us and everyone in our daily basis gives quite an insight. It is good that author has not spoon-fed everything and left many things for readers to imagine and relate with their lives.

Talking about the 2nd part of the book which consists of several poems, I must say that showing both sides of him- an insightful author and a deep poet, it’s great to know both the versions of the author. The poems are also deep in their context and explore the topic in which they are written nicely. The poems are also divided in different topics such as mystical, love, fantasy, dark, spiritual, inspirational, futuristic etc. The poems are also not tried to be written in a rhythmic flow but says whatever it wants to say in small stanzas kind of format. Overall, this book tries to answer or touch that nerve in your body with which you always converse to get as much answers as possible about your life and situations. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5 for being unique.



The Last Attractor Of Chaos by Abhinav Singh (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

There are rarely any good thriller genre authors in India who can surprise you with their books. Even if there are few, they keep on writing stories based on the same background which makes their book and topics predictive after some time. But every time I read a good thrilling novel, I want to go, hold the author’s hand and make him write more and more. I have completed reading another great thriller by the debutante, Abhinav Singh, named “The Last Attractor of Chaos”. And let me frankly give you a statement which will sum up the whole review and make you decide whether to read this book or not: This book definitely does not look as If written by a complete debutante. Yes! It is that good and almost perfect.

Abhinav Singh’s writing style is exactly how a thriller author should write. Once you start reading the book, you will keep on wanting to turn the page and read what happens next and will not stop until the whole story is not completed. The only problem here is that in the end you realize another part of this book will actually conclude the story and this is still not the end. This is what I believe is cheating on the part of publishers that they never write on the cover page itself that the book is Part 1 of the series indicating that this is not a complete book itself. Anyway, the way author has blended several different physical and technical elements in this thriller to make it more exciting is commendable as trying anything as such is very risky considering if Indian readers will like it or not but the way he has handled the whole mixture of theories is incredible and outstanding work.

The author’s knowledge and research work are totally evident from the way he has gone into depth in justifying the theories through his story. There are several moments in the book which will give you goosebumps for sure. The characterization is very powerful and the way author keeps on switching between past and present is another great deal to crack for anyone writing such a complex story with different timelines. Still, I have a complaint that author should have tried switching timelines more frequently which could have made the story and narration more powerful rather than moving into a timeline and then staying there for an extremely long time. The pre-climax and climax of the book is also handled quite brilliantly which never lets you leave you seat and keep on reading till the last page. Abhinav Singh is surely here to stay for long and I wish his 2nd book is better than this one as I am sure he will himself have to face lot of challenge in beating his own standard. I give this book 4.25 star out of 5.



The Essence of Bhagwad Gita by Atul Sehgal (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

I have been an ardent follower of Bhagawad Gita since a long time after knowing that it contains answer of all the questions that a human mind can think of. I had read Gita for the first time when I was just 22 years old and could not understand a single word because I was not enough mature to comprehend the logic of division among body, mind, soul and energy. But after that, I started going through the simplified versions of Gita to understand the basis of human existence and I must tell you, it added a lot of value in my life which led me towards my spiritual journey. The latest book that I have read in the same genre is “The Essence of Bhagwad Gita” written by Atul Sehgal. The best part about this book is that author has picked up only 70 verses from original Gita which are enough for a human being to understand the basis of the Holy book and perform his duties morally.

Each verse is explained in a new chapter dedicatedly which makes it easy for the reader to go through chapters as per his interest and read the book in bits on daily basis. The book has helped me to understand many perspective and read in between lines to understand the verses in depth. Each chapter first mentions the verse it is about to discuss and also provides its direct translation in English. The best part about the book is that it not only explains the concept but also helps with example about how it can be applied too. The explanations are provided in very simple language which can be read and grasped even by teenagers and college going students. Rather than discussing the tales of Mahabharata, author has only talked about the conceptual theories and its respective applications in human life rather than going through the whole detailed version of the verse. This also helps in keeping the book short with only 235 pages.

Talking about the drawbacks of the book, I believe that some concepts are not very well explained and left with utilization of few Sanskrit words etc. assuming that the reader must be knowing at least this much part of the theory. Except this one drawback, there is nothing that this book does not have to not be there in your favorite rack of the bookshelf. I give this book 4.25* out of 5. Please do read it if you want to begin knowing about the concept Bhagwad Gita introduces.



Dream with your eyes open by Ronnie Screwvala (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

There is nothing special than reading an autobiography by one of the many successful Indian men who did it without any complaints or excuses. We generally get excited knowing about the successes of the individuals in western part of the world but forget to appreciate the people doing well against all odds living and breathing around us. One such man is Ronnie Screwvala who is a wonderful example of how to be an entrepreneur and a success story. He has written his own tale of success and failures In the book named “Dream with your eyes open” having him on the cover page lying on the carpet with a cup of tea placed besides him. The book is tagged as “An Entrepreneurial Journey”. So the author very directly and clearly states here that he is not going to tell what person he is or what his background has been but will only focus on his entrepreneurship life and lessons.

The book is very crisply written without extending the stories with useless detailing. Ronnie exactly knows the value of time hence he assures that he speaks most in as less words as possible. This is what makes the book a special read as you will not have to read much to gain insights on his entrepreneurship role but only 166 pages. The book is divided in 13 different chapters where each one of them focuses on a learning or a stage of Ronnie’s life. The book is written in a very simple language for every student to a new corporate slave or an entrepreneur to understand the same without having to read between lines. The best part about Ronnie’s book is that he rather than talking only about what actions he undertook also discusses in detailing what his team underwent to make something a success. He also talks about his failures with the same enthusiasm which tells how literally he is proud of each second that he has worked upon his life to be a successful entrepreneur.

It is only after reading the book you will realize the number of different things that Ronnie has been involved with. You will be surprised to notice the different scales of business he overtook and started right from Zero and ended up being either the topmost performer or at least in the merit list for sure. Ronnie has ensured that he even discusses the amount and costs involved in the projects without shying away from disclosing the same. Ronnie has taken names of other popular celebrities and talked good or bad experiences he had with them without any fear which makes it an interesting read to know the tie-ups and communication between these personalities.

Talking about the drawbacks of the book, Ronnie doesn’t talk much about his personal lifestyle which makes him a performer he is. To learn about a successful man, you need to know both- his professional insights and his personal lifestyle because until and unless, you do not know both, you will never be able to replicate his success by following his footsteps. Also, there are many advises that he has just quoted to be followed rather than giving heavy explanations on the same. The book also does not find any kind of timeline which doesn’t allow the reader to understand the real struggle of the man in multi-tasking or taking one decision after another. Except these drawbacks, this book is surely readable to understand how one needs to take risks in life to lead a successful entrepreneurial life. I give this book 3.5 star out of 5.



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