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.



Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Girl In Room 105 by Chetan Bhagat (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

I had started reading fiction novels after getting my hands upon Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone as I had heard a lot about it from my friends who had read the same. I remember it was also one of the initial days in college and while an introduction session whosoever described their hobby as reading, on being asked which book they have read, everyone named “Five Point Someone”. Out of curiosity, I picked up the book and liked the fun in the story telling of Chetan Bhagat and read all his four books that had released by that time. And since then I have read around 500 books out of which 90% are by Indian authors. It is just a default setting in my reading habit that I compare all the fiction books with Chetan Bhagat’s initial books which were great combination and balance of storytelling and humour.

I am just done reading Chetan Bhagat’s latest release “The Girl In Room 105” which has released just today itself and along with office, I have managed to read 300+ pages in whatever free time I got. Such is the craze for reading Chetan Bhagat even today despite worrying about what people would say about my reading choice as most people pretend to hate CB as he has goofed up with the English language quite often. But that’s okay. He anyway does not portray or claim to be a literary expert and accepts that he is just a story teller and not an English teacher.

CB has gone the thriller way this time with his latest release and I must say, it was a fine narration throughout the book as it ensures that you are curious about knowing who murdered the protagonist, Keshav’s girlfriend. The book starts in CB’s trademark style where in the Prologue, a character meets and tells him his whole story which CB pretends to be writing as dictated to him. The book has lot of characters and author has again ensured the chemistry between each one of them is nicely described to make the background of the story clear. The bond between Keshav and Saurabh is very nicely portrayed. The tuning between Keshav and policeman, Rana, is also very intelligently portrayed. CB has again taken care that in order to sound too intellectual, the book does not lose the simplicity and hence, keeps the timeline and narrative simple.

The locality of Delhi and Kashmir are nicely described in the book and author has ensured that it is used in the story quite significantly to give the locale descriptions. The first half of the book is interesting as you get introduced to new characters and want to understand who the possible murderer of the girl could be. But it’s in the second half where the book becomes quite slow and does not give any kind of twists and turns which can astonish the reader. Talking about the climax, the way the revelation of the murder scene is introduced and described is very childish and as expected from a thriller, there is no moment where the reader would drop the book or jump out of his bed in shock.

In the sake of maintaining his trademark style of writing simple stories, CB could not do complete justice to this thriller which could have been written 5 times better. Though this book is recommended for the new readers who haven’t read great thrillers and are still stuck in the genre of college romances. But for the thriller lovers, this book is a sure-shot disappointment. The terrorist thing is brought into the picture but left just like that without going deeper into it. Similarly, the girl is shown as a Muslim whereas boy belongs from the family that supports RSS but this angle has not been used even once in the book whereas a lot could have been done with this plot. Similarly, the way police leaves Keshav and his friend in spite of finding them at murder spot is disappointing in the initial phase of the story itself. CB has also promoted many brands upfront in this book which is quite evident and sounds foolish and obvious. This could have also been handled little more intelligently. Overall, this is a light read rather than a suspense thriller as been described in the synopsis and trailer of the book. I rate this one an average 3 stars out of 5.



Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Life Know-How by Viswanatha Reddy Thalakola (Book Review- 3.25*/5) !!!

The genre that is my most favorite is self-help after auto-biographies. And whenever I get a chance to read any such book, I ensure that I get my hands upon them. But the latest one that I have read was in the format of e-book; the name of the book is “Life Know-How”. The book also has the tagline which says, “A Quick Guide with Straight to the Point Advice to Deal with Life Issues and Live an Empowered Life”. The book is just of 89 pages written by the author, Viswanatha Reddy Thalakola, and can be finished in just one sitting. I managed to complete in during my office traveling in Mumbai locals within 1.5 hours. This book is a perfect companion if you are traveling or sitting alone in your office without any work.

The author has written this book very intellectually with nicely editing the contents and being specific to the points that he wants to share with the readers to deal with certain issues that he has chosen to talk about in his debut work. The book consists of 34 chapters where each of them speaks about one unique issue divided into different categorizations such as “solving your problems”, “managing interpersonal relations”, “dealing with work”, “coping with negative things”, fulfilling your aspirations” and “handling other important matters”. I liked the various topics on which the author has spoken in this book. Under each chapter, there are many bulleted points which tells about the kind of research the author has gone through to have such refined solutions for each problem that we face in our day to day life.

This book is written as quick guide as referred in the tagline too but talking about the drawbacks, I missed the detailed solution for few points where author could have given real life examples or case studies too. Except this, there is nothing that I felt as missing in this book considering it as a quick guide that can be referred at any time. I rate this book 3.25* out of 5 and wish to see author writing a detailed self-help book too.



Monday, October 8, 2018

Inkredia - Luwan of Brida by Sarang Mahajan (Book Review- 4*/5) !!!

The book related to fantasy world does not excite me much as I have not been a very good person with imaginations hence I fail to understand lot of things that are being described in such books. Till date, even after reading 500+ books, I have yet not picked up Harry Potter series just for the sole reason that the book belongs to the fantasy genre. But still there are few books belonging to the fantasy genre which have been rated quite high from my side just because they made it possible for me to feel that I am part of their world. Similarly, another book that has kept me busy this weekend in its world is “Inkredia -  Luwan of Brida” which also has the tagline that says “Danger looms tall. Mystery runs deep.” The book is written by the author, Sarang Mahajan.

Before proceeding with the review, let me clarify few words related to the title of the book that you have read above which might have confused you as none of the words are understandable. Inkredia here is the name of a very vast region. Brida is a small area in the region. Luwan is the name of the protagonist around whom the whole story revolves. The world created in this book is truly fantasizing. The way author has described things in details and makes sure that the reader feels himself intrigued in the world is commendable. Right from the first page, the narration is made in such a way that you cannot keep the book aside but read it in one go. The book is around 400 pages which took me two days to complete it with naturally multiple breaks due to weekend but whenever I was not reading the book, I was thinking about the protagonist and his elder sister about what would have happened to them. Such is the roller-coaster experience of reading this book.

Unfortunately, this book still does not have a definite ending as it has more 3 parts to come. The description of assassins as a group of enemy is done very vividly. The characterization even in a book like this is done so emotionally and genuinely that you can feel for the characters and sympathize with them. The twists and turns come at the right time to always keep you thrilled throughout the journey of the story.

Talking about the drawbacks, the only thing that comes to my mind is that the book could have been shorter by 50-60 pages as few segments are over-described which also makes the reader irritated and wants to skip lines in between. Otherwise, this book is a journey that you will keep fantasizing for a long time. I give this book 4 star out of 5.



Call Me Saaya by Zoe M (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

I am not a fan of books which are published only as e-books and do not have paperback version of them because you always must experience them digitally and can never hold them or get your hands upon them while cleaning your shelves and flashing back into the memories you had about the book. But whenever a book has a great content, despite it being an e-book, it ends up staying in my memory more than many paperbacks that I have read in last one decade. The recent book that I have just finished while getting back from office in local train on my big screen mobile is debutante, Zoe M’s “Call Me Saaya”.

When I had first read the name of this book, I had taken it up as some horror stuff because the word “Saaya” is most prominently used in such references only. But this book is more based upon romance genre and family drama. While reading the book, I regularly felt as if I am reading some script of a Bollywood movie which has every masala in it which ensures that the couple are falling in love with each other and then getting away and again coming together again to fall apart. And then in climax multiple dramas happening and, in the end, something happens which makes you clap, whistle alongwith feeling emotional about the turmoil the characters have gone to experience and be with each other. Call Me Saaya is exactly this stuff.

The book is based in Rajasthan and authoress ensures that she keeps the touch of the same. Basically, in the first half of the book when the couple are going places together, the way localities is described is wonderful. The characterization is so wonderfully done in the story that you can relate with each of the characters and understand their mindset. Even the characters like Rana Singh who enters in the last quarter of the book leaves their mark. Shamsher and Saaya are very nicely portrayed as two different personalities completely. The twist and turns that come in the end of the first half of the book is a magical moment for the readers which changes the complete pace of the book. And after that, the book becomes more interesting as you want to know what happens with the characters and will they forgive each other.

Talking about the drawbacks, the USP of this book is the dramatical representation of scenes which sounds like a scene directly out from Bollywood movie. But there are few scenes which are too overdone and starts becoming irritating after a point of time. The book becomes quite predictable in the 2nd half and it needed little twists and turns even there. Even the other relationship portrayal of Shamsher that has been included in the 2nd half could have been kept as suspense even for the readers because revealing the secret to the readers does not make it any exciting thereafter.

Overall, the book took me some 4.5 hours to finish and is a great rollercoaster ride. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.



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