Books

Dear John: Book Review

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Dear John

Book Review:

An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life–until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. “Dear John,” the letter read…and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.

Review:

The interesting thing about this book was that it is from a male perspective. We do not see many romantic love stories from this perspective. It was such a refreshing take.

More than “just a romantic” story, this book does a great job to show John’s growth as a person, how he deals with life to how he deals with his father’s illness.

Just like any other Nicholas Sparks book, this is a story that is extremely believable. The things that happen are so normal, and we hear about them happening around us so often.

I especially liked the ending, I know too many people have given this book lower rating because of the ending, but for me, it was the ending that gave it that extra edge of reality.

Check out the movie trailer for this book here.

 

Inspirational People, TED Talks

Tedx Talk: Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

We all live in a world where “WE” are the best people of Earth, and “THEM”..well..they are not as good as us. Strangely enough, this set of belief is for every class/race/country/religion on earth.

All we want is to prove why we are the best, and more importantly why others are not as good as us. In order to do this, we stereotype others.

Them? Oh.. they are too stingy with money.

Them.No ways..I hear they are very unhygienic

Most definitely not them!! They are too full of themselves.

And the list goes on..

In this talk, Chimamanda Adichie tells us why it is important to know the people, and not base our views on what we hear about them in general. In this day of internet, almost everyone is exposed to virtually the same thing. Why then this idiotic race to prove that we are the best? Also, who are we proving it too?

MY PAWFECT LIFE

Things You Understand When You Live with A Dog..aka HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOOBY!!!!!

So Scooby, who is also known as the most wonderful dog in the world in the world..and who has currently placed his head on my lap and is “singing” along with Brian Adams, turns THREE!!

When I look back to the person that I was three years back, and who I am now..there is a HUGE difference…so here’s what three years of living with a dog has taught me:

Responsibility:

I have become a much more responsible person. Now, I think of how my actions or my decisions will effect another soul. Earlier, since I had no one who depended solely on me, I was quite selfish in my decisions. And by way of thinking about my actions in terms of how it would affect Scooby, I have started thinking of my actions..and how it would affect the people I care about..And that has made all the difference!

Love:

My very core idea of the word love has changed. I know now that love is never taking the other person for granted. Making them feel happy, when they are down. Making time for them in your busy schedule. Love is not costly gifts and show off. Love is being there. That’s all.

Happiness:

In these three years, I have never had an “extremely bad day”. How can I? When I felt like crying, all my tears were liked and a ball was offered…When I came home exhausted from work…I was welcomed with a joyful bark and the highest jumps and the mad dance..just because I came home! How could I not appreciate all that I have, when this guy here danced like there is no tomorrow simply because he saw me come home!

Possessions:

My things do not really matter much to me know…not as much as before. Scooby is a Lab, after all. Anyone knows that new things and lab pups.. don’t really match 😉

Now he does not really tear or crash around,,but then, as all labs, he is clumsy…a big clumsy clown…and plus..what’s that one flower vase compared to the shine in his eyes?

Health:

The only time I would have ran was on the time of apocalypse. Waking me early, meant world war three.

But now, he’s made me not only run…but actually enjoy running, playing, walking and exercising!

So, here’s to all the Dogs in the world! May we all know them, and may we bring as much happiness to their lives, as they bring to ours!

Feminism

You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story: Book Review

Author: Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn

You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story

Book Blurb:

In this hilarious and ultimately moving memoir, comedians and real-life married couple Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn prove that in marriage, all you need is love—and a healthy dose of complaining, codependence, and pinot noir.

After thirteen years of being married, Annabelle and Jeff have found “We’re just not that into us.” Instead of giving up, they’ve held their relationship together by ignoring conventional wisdom and fostering a lack of intimacy, by using parenting as a competitive sport, and by dropping out of couples therapy. The he-said/she-said chronicle of their intense but loving marriage includes an unsentimental account of the medical odyssey that their family embarked upon after their infant son was diagnosed with VACTERL, a very rare series of birth defects. Annabelle and Jeff’s unforgivingly raw, uproariously funny story is sure to strike both laughter and terror in the hearts of all couples (not to mention every single man or woman who is contemplating the connubial state).

Serving up equal parts sincerity and cynicism, You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up is a laugh-out-loud must-read for everyone who has come to realize that being “in love” can only get you so far.
 
On Cohabitation
He says: “Within days of Annabelle’s arrival, I became very aware that she demanded solitude and had the housekeeping habits of a feral animal.”

She says:
“The guy had some sort of nudity radar. When I would take my clothes off for even a second, Jeff would be in front of me cheering as if he’d scored box seats at Fenway Park.”
 
On Sex
He says: “I want to have sex every day, but Annabelle only wants to do it once a week. So we compromise: we have sex once a week.”

She says:
“Jeff says talking about money before you have sex is a turnoff, but it’s only a turnoff if you’re talking about not having money. Talking about money before you have sex when you have money is actually a turn-on.”

On Pregnancy
He says: “For God’s sake, all I wanted to do was have sex without a condom for a little while; now we were moments from bringing a new life into the world!”

She says:
“My ass was expanding so fast it was like a Starbucks franchise. On every corner of my ass there was a new branch of ass opening up.”

Review:

The blurb calls this a “hilarious” love story, but except a few good sentences, this book was pretty dull.

I honestly picked it up because of the originality of the title. I was quite intrigued by it, expectations rose and then crashed.

The first chapter is interesting, but the rest is just blah..Both the authors are apparently well known in Hollywood, and so they kept on naming one “famous” personality after other. I must confess I had never heard of any of these people that they mentioned.

Personally, I did not enjoy this book.

Feminism

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Book Review

Author: Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Book Review:

Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sidelines forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Review:

I loved this book!

The diary format that it has been written, made me feel that Charlie was telling me the story of his life. This was an interesting way to form an instant connection. I generally tend to like the books that have this kind of format, like Daddy long legs or The Diary of Anne Frank.

Charlie is an introvert. He over thinks. There are a million things going on in his head, and one comes out of his mouth. I could relate to his personality for most part. Although this book was written long back, it is still relevant. Especially for those who have lived away from home in their high school/ under grad college years. The sudden shift in the people is a change that takes a lot of people by surprise. It is like a completely different world. In the protected environment of the home, one is quite unaware of the harsh realities of the “real life”.

I know how shocked I was to see people around me smoking and drinking when I first joined the undergraduate course. I could not believe my eyes when I saw my classmates smoking quite openly, in school only the “bad” students did “all that stuff” and that too taking many precautions so as to not get caught. This book took me back to that time.

Much like Charlie, I also realised that not all people who I believe are “too much” or who live a different life style than me are “bad”. The only difference was I just went to these parties, and didn’t participate.

Another thing that stuck me particularly was how beautifully the effect of music has been portrayed in this book. Some music brings back memories of the events or people.

This book has one of my all time favourite quotes:

We accept the Love we think we deserve.

SO. DARN. TRUTH.

The ending was quite shocking, and totally unexpected. It was like I am reading this thing, and all of a sudden this book is about something totally different.

I believe this book would have been even better had I read it when I was a teen. But, better late than never!

I was gifted this book by a friend on my birthday from http://www.bestoninternet.com/, the site where you would get my lists for many different genres of books!

A movie was made based on this book, it was one of the better book to movie adaptations. The movie was quite faithful to the book.

Also, EMMA WATSON!!! ❤

 

Here is the movie trailer for this movie adaptation:

Feminism

30 DAY BOOK CHALLENGE: DAY 14: Book Turned Into Movie And Completely Decerated

For this I would go for Hunger Games movie.

Click here for this book’s review

While the movie trailer was something like this:

My major problem about this movie was that it completely ignored the social, political and the psychological aspects that are shown quite wonderfully in the book. Instead they made it into a love triangle with a little bit of a story sprinkled around it.

– They did not even bother to introduce the concept of Avox, which means that the mockingjay movie had to waste moments making people understand what they mean by the term Avox.

– They did not bring out the “hunger” part of the games. All the characters looked preety hale and hearty throughout the game.

– The mocking jay pin and Madge’s character is ignored. Katniss finds the pin in a sale, which means the entire story line of the significance of the pin as well as the relation of Madge to the central characters goes down the drain.

– Peeta’s family is almost non existent in the movie

– Compared to book, the movie is very tame.

30day

Inspirational People, TED Talks

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

Brene Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

Some of the major points that came out of this talk, were:

“When you ask people about love, they tell you about heartbreak’

It’s true isn’t it? Love, trust…whatever the word, we always remember the worst.

When we numb the bad emotions, we numb all the good ones too

You cannot ignore the bad stuff that goes on and then expect it to dissapear.

In order to appreciate the good stuff, we have to go through the bad. Countless times, people take others and things that they love for granted, and when the other people have had enough and they finally walk out, one is left with regret. And then in order to forget this regret, one would resort to alcohol and blame.

Another important point that struck me in this talk was how researchers define blame. Blame is the process of pushing the pain towards other person.

When I think back, it is kind of true. The times I have blamed people, are the times I was deeply hurt and in pain, and by blaming them, in a way, I wanted (or wished) for a part of that pain to go away. It didn’t. But, yea..

A great talk, I will look for the book that she has written. Maybe will search online for it. I figure it would be an interesting read.

Books

Too Much Reading Makes You Lazy

Recently while researching on education, I came upon a quote from Albert Einstein which said:

At first I was appaled! Reading too much is not good? Such humbug..

But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me. Einstein is not necessarily against people reading too many books, but he is against people reading books and not forming their own opinion on these books.

I have come across many people, who by their own admission are “voracious readers”. These are the people who read books like we were asked to read textbooks. They would memorise the quotes and then repeat them verbatim, every instance they get.

The problem with reading like this is that while to some you might seem smart, but since you do not have your own opinion on the said subject, you might just have goggled “quotations on xyz” and had the same impact. What is the use of reading a book if you do not have your own thoughts about the said subject?

The next words in the above quotation that struck me was the use of “lazy habit of thinking”. Thinking is good, right? Then how is it lazy?

Well, there are people who think and think and then think some more. There is no action that backs it up. Unless you are a consultant, this would be quite a lazy thing to do indeed.

If you want to write a book, it is all too well to think about the kind of book you want to write, the scope of story that you want to tell, the characters that would appear in your story, but, if you do not stop thinking and sit down to write it, what is the use of all that thinking?

So, in order to read book, you need to think about it, and then inculcate that thought into your daily life, then there is some use of all that reading, else you might want to glance at the quotation page of Goodreads, it might save a ton of time.

Books

A Storm of Swords, Part One: Steel and Snow: Book Review

Author: George R. R. Martin

A Storm of Swords, Part One: Steel and Snow

Book Blurb:

Winter approaches Westeros like an angry beast.

The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud. Beyond the Wall, a horde of hungry, savage people steeped in the dark magic of the wilderness is poised to invade the Kingdom of the North. Throughout Westeros, the war for the Iron Throne rages more fiercely than ever, but if the Wall is breached, no king—or queen—will live to claim it.

A Storm of Swords, Part One: Steel and Snow, the first half of Book Three of A Song of Ice and Fire, continues the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age

Review:

This is the third book in the song of Ice and Fire Series, the first book was the Game of Thrones (click here for the book review) and the second was the clash of kings (click here for the book review)

If you want to know how to develop a weak character, this is the series to go through. Absolutely amazing character development. Especially that of Sansa, who would have thought that the silly girl that we met in the Game of thrones, who just wanted to get married and be happy, would evolve like this?

Also, Queen of Thorns…how rad is she? I do not know why, but she remindes me of Maggie Smith. She is my new favourite (or should I say one of my favourite) characters. I just love her practical, sassy, sarcastic attitude towards life.

This book is essentially the build up that leads up to the next book. Rob stark is winning all the battles on the battle field, but is loosing the war due to his honour. It is interesting, is not it? How one action could be deemed honourable as well as dishonourable? When Rob broke his word to the Freys to marry for love, it could be deemed as an honourable thing to do, as he could have taken the easy way out by marrying the Frey girl, but still seeing Jeyne. This would not have been fair to Jeyne but, he choose to the the hard thing, and go with his heart. This same action can also be seen from the Frey view point as being grossly unfair. It was his word that they were counting on and they gave him support for his war, but in the end, he backed out.

Also, I am quite eager to know who Jon Snow really is. I really do not think he is Ned Stark’s Son. Because if you study the characters of each of Ned’s Children, almost all their decisions and actions are bordering on the Ned’s “honour” in some way or other, but not Jon Snow. John’s decisions somehow do not portray Ned. The R + L = J  theory seems quite plausible at this point of time.

Danny’s storyline, although started out with a bang, is becoming a little too tedious. In this book, I just loved the Jamie and Brienne story development. I hope they have some sense and get together.

I have already completed reading the blood and gold book, will be posting the review of it soon.

 

Books

Tall Man, Small Shadow: Book Review

Author: Vipin Behari Goyal

Tall Man Small Shadow

Book Blurb:

It is my debut English novel based on existentialism. Salil loves a shadow which transforms into many characters to reveal the secrets of life. Aalya, his neighbor, is doing research in English literature. Her guide Seema is a childless lesbian. Paul, husband of Seema, is a drama director. I am the protagonist, who coins philosophies for day to day events and my wife Sulekha is the second protagonist who makes coincidences happen with her artful manipulations.

Book Review:

Reading this book was a very different experience for me. For one, I had to look up the meaning of the term : existentialism. For people like me, here is the definition that I found on internet:

Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe.

Interesting….very, very Interesting.

The author has done a wonderful job of weaving complex human relationships in this story. The LGBT angle was very maturely handled. Even the character’s reactions to this relationship, the confusion faced…commendable.

This is a very short book, so one can finish it in one sitting.

The characterization is very strong. One could almost visualize these characters living near you. Also, it was nice to read a story where female and male character ratio is believable, and every character is treated as human.

This is a book for romance lovers as well as philosophy lovers.

There were a few syntax errors, for example, the point of view changed from first to third person in a paragraph.

Although the concept of the cover page was interesting, I felt it lacked in execution. It was not that eye catching. If I had gone out to a book store, and had not heard how good this book was, this cover would not have encouraged me to buy the book.

Recommended Age Group: Adult