Books

That Stupid Bug Called Love And Other Stories: Book Review

Author: Avishek Gupta

https://i1.wp.com/thetalespensieve.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/513ezhG7m4L._SY346_.jpg

Book Blurb:

The book is a collection of heart warming short stories that are sure to touch a cord across all generations of readers. Some of the stories will make you fall in love, while some will thrill you with excitement. Some of the stories take you to the darkest hours of the city and surroundings around you, while some remind you of the little joys of life.
Get introduced to Megs and Ron, a cute couple as they experience their first love, get introduced to the likes of Arjun, Jai and Meghana, fearless journalists who expose a heinous crime and get introduced to VINASHAK, the most ambitious cyber project of the Indian government.
That Stupid Bug Called Love and other stories is an attempt to take you on a whirlwind journey which will make you smile, shed a tear, get enthralled and excited. A must read!

My Review:

This book is a very fast read, just fifty pages long so you would be able to read it in a sitting.

The book contains nine different stories with different premises and each revolve around people’s emotions. The language used is quite simple and the author manages to convey all that he wants to convey easily. While the construction of the plot was good, the stories failed to evoke any feelings in the reader. Which is an important part of reading stories, especially in this genre.

Another thing that hindered the reading was the text formatting was all haywire. In the middle of stories certain parts had different font sizes for no apparent reason. Which made reading it a bit difficult.

Of all the stories I liked ‘The Burning Torch of Truth’ the most, especially because of the element of mystery in it.

The author should focus on developing a connect wit the readers as well as ensure perfect formatting in his next works.

 

 

Books

Men And Dreams in the Dhauladhar: Book Review

Author: Kochery C. Shibu

Men-and-Dreams.jpg

Book Blurb:

A hydel power project in the remote Himalayas.
Three people brought together by fate. Nanda, an engineer from Kerala at the dam construction site hiding from his past, from the law, torn between the love of his dear ones and the traditional kalari code of revenge.
Khusru, a boy displaced from his native village in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot threatening to blow up the dam, working as a labourer at the site.
Rekha, a Kathak dancer in heart, a doctor by profession, arrives at the campsite as the consort of Khusru.
A village that accepts the dictates of modernity with a heavy heart, its population steeped in superstitions and religious beliefs.
All throng the camp site like moths to a flame. Some escape untouched,successful; some miss a step and perish.
Each has a story to tell and a dream to realise. The fury of nature and hardship of project life has no mercy for the weak and time for the dead.
Like an eternal spectator the Dhauladhar wathes as men risk their limb and life in their quest to full fill their dreams.

My Review:

This is definitely one of the best books that have been published by new authors of Indian origins.

The story line is quite complex and the writing style, although poetic, might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for me, the different writing style and the way the whole story was presented added to the allure of the book.

The best part of the book was its characters. I loved how the author gave out information and history of the characters between the story. Not only did it provide an interesting break from the main story line, it also helped build a rapport with the characters. Some stories in itself were so interesting that I would have been interested in reading the whole book on those characters..as they say..you can never have enough of a good story.. I especially loved the second chapter where the author provides Indumati’s story..I was so invested in that chapter, I actually felt sad when it ended..but not for long..as the next chapter was quite quick in grasping my attention. You know the author’s characterizations are excellent when you notice and admire even the passing characters.

Additionally, the author is not too judgemental of his characters and gives them room to grow and explore themselves. So, each character has their own experiences which shapes their mentality and actions. This is a rare talent that the author posses. This is especially true for his female characters. A very mature and realistic portrayal of all characters.

The author weaves different characters and stories and it is around the middle of the book that the main plot of the book begins to make sense. The story line is character driven.

One thing that stood out for me was the diversity of the characters. The author actually adds vernacular language of that character in that character’s speech which brought out authenticity of the writing and made it more believable. Also this is one of the rare books where there is diversity in a very Indian context. Which I personal have hardly come across. Yes, you do come across diversity when there are books that are based on International shores, but we hardly see the diversity that is in India represented in books, at least the ones I have read till now.

Coming to the writing style, I found it quite poetic. The descriptions of the different places were so realistic that you find yourself longing to visit those places.

The only flip-side was there were extremely few grammatical errors in the book that could be looked into before publishing the next edition and it would totally make this a perfect book.

Definitely a recommended read!

BUY THIS BOOK.

Books

8 Days A Week: Book Review

Author: Niraj Satnalika

8-days-a-week

Book Blurb:

One man named Rohan Nanda decides to try his luck in Sales when he chooses to study at IMT Ghaziabad. His life determined right there and the journey begins.

That’s the skeleton.

The story is a fun narration mixed with movie style twists and turns that show the reader that all is not sunny in the arena of sales.

Such a tedious journey is usually written as a horror story. However, this story takes a different route making the situations very hilarious and highlights the small but significant perks of a job as a salesman.

My Review:

The book deals with the struggles of the protagonist, Rohan, who is trying to make it big in the big bad world of sales. I liked the way the initial days of his internship is portrayed. The initial sales calls and the lessons learned were quite realistic and fun to read.

The start of the book could have been better. It was the same old college going, average marks getting protagonist whom we have all read about countless times before. Add that to the inclusion of the ‘romance’ angle with a ‘cute, sweet, good figured’ girl, Anu, and you have the perfect “I have read this too many times already” part of the plot.

The book and the narration gets better as you read further. Even the romance interest in second part, Kirti, was a bit more enjoyable to read than the first part.   The protagonist’s narration felt a bit more sarcastic and there was a hint of dry humor .

The writing style was a little too simplistic. While the pace of the book was quite fast, at times there were such mundane details of the protagonist life that could have been avoided. Also, in some parts of the book, sms language and hindi words were used in narration which could have been avoided.

All in all, this would have been a way better book if the author had focused more on the main story line that is the difficulties of living the life of a sales guy.

 

 

 

Books

19th Akshauhini: Algorithm of the Gita : A Book Review

Author: Haribakth, Vaishnavi

19th Akshauhini: Algorithm of the Gita

Book Blurb:

19th Akshauhini answers all the questions about the Gita that are plaguing minds. The illustrative list of questions answered in this book are:
How can Krishna who himself ran away from battle & earned the sobriquet “RANCHOR”(meaning one who ran away from battle) advise Arjuna to fight his enemies?
How can a forty minute discourse of the Gita be complete knowledge?
How can a 5300-year-old dialog be relevant to modern times?
If the Gita is unchanging, isn’t it too rigid and unsuitable for modern times?
How can one discourse cater to the needs of diverse types of people?
Does the Gita encourage violence?
Isn’t the Gita sectarian and meant for Hindus?
Read on to get a new perspective on the Gita and its teachings.”

You can view my video review here

My Review:

While there are many books that are based on GITA, this book offers a whole new perspective on this epic. While the book has been written for a specific audience (those who believe in Gita) it offers answers to a lot of questions that one might have. The authors have used research methodology in order to gather information and lay it down for it’s readers in a very simplistic manner.

The first part of the book reads just like an in depth research report would look, with the premise which is followed by data, analysis and finally the conclusion. The next part is the pictorial representation of the data and its results, so we have various sketches of what Gita says vs. what we understood, dialogues between father- daughter and much more. Including the pictorial representations was a stroke of genius as it helps break the monotony and explain all the complex details quite simply, the person who said a picture is worth a thousand words could not have uttered truer words.

The best part was when author explains Gita in today’s terms, how we can follow the principles mentioned in Gita in our real life, as well as the chapter on equality. There are various cases and scenarios that are described in the book wherein there are various interpretations of the text.

What I liked the best in this book is the use of techniques like SWOT analysis, If analysis, etc in order to explain a certain topics. The intense hard work and the in depth research is clearly visible as soon as the book touches your hand.

Also, the quality of publishing is excellent, I was quite surprised by the excellent quality and presentation.

In conclusion, if you believe in Gita, and want to know more about what it stands for, do pick this book up.

BUY THIS BOOK

Books

The Three Wise Monkeys: Book Review

Author: Jeet Gian

Book Blurb:

The trio—Amar, Akbar, and Anthony—had no clue whatsoever about their goddammit indecisive-careers-and-indefinite-struggles.

And that was because they were born with the Peter Pan Syndrome and were simple enough to be tricked by anyone, including their mystifying girlfriends—Meghna, Farah, and Sarah. And as is the fate of all morons, they were drawn into
trouble—deep trouble—of hiding crores of rupees of black money in secret offshore companies.

Will their mistake of turning a blind eye to the philosophy of ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ cost them their careers and put them in prison?
Or
Will Lady Luck change their fortunes forever?

My Review:

A book that deals with complex situations, quite simply.

On the plus side, the title of the book is bang on! Especially when we come to know the reason for this. Since this is a book that was about Charted Accountants, and growing up in a household full of them, I could quite relate to a lot of situations.

The pace of the story was not consistent. Sometimes author went on about some situations that could have been narrated in a slightly condensed manner. There were quite a few editing errors as well.

The female characters were all too same for me. There was an overwhelming usage of words like “All women are like this..” ” We women do this..”..to a point that it got exhausting. The funny thing is if a man has a quirk..than the author points this fact in relation to the man in question…if he wants to point a quality of a female character…it would be “All women have this quality”. Even with the size of the book, and that it deals with business….the women are all associated to the men in question. They are either secretaries to men, their wives, their girlfriends or their love interest!

Initially the story is interesting, but then at the end it just fizzles out. The end is too Bollywood-y and it felt like the author was trying a bit too hard.

Overall rating: 2.5/5

 

Books

Interview With Rashmi Trivedi, Author of Woman, Everything Will Be Fine

Rashmi Trivedi has recently penned a book, “Woman, Everything Will Be Fine”, read the book review here. Read on to know more about the author and her work!

Image result for woman, everything will be fine

Q1 )Woman, Everything will be fine is based on the life of a working woman, what made you write this book?

I am in a transferable job. My husband has a business in Delhi and  he is  not  in a position to relocate . Hence , any transfer would have meant my going alone. So I dreaded the word “transfer” since the day I joined and managed to stay in the same city, obviously at the cost of my career growth. In 2013  I was finally transferred to another city after having stayed in Delhi for many years.Three years at Bhopal was a learning experience for me. I met someone I had never really bothered meeting previously, ME! There were facets to my own personality that I did not know existed. I started writing poems, articles and my own blog. At the same time , I travelled weekly between the two cities  and managed both my family and my career.I realised that with some support, a working woman can manage the different hats she wears and she need not compromise her career growth. My husband suggested I write about my experiences so that other women who are in the same boat can benefit from my learnings. This is how the book happened.

In a humourous way, through my own story, I have tried to talk about the  issue and challenges faced by working women. We all want women to have equal partnership in the progress of the country, but for this we all have to play our roles, as a family, as a society, as employers and  last but not the least,the woman herself has a major role to play.

Q2) In the preface of the book, you have mentioned that this is based on a true story. Is this your story?

Yes, it my story. Every  incident mentioned in the book is true.The challenge was , how to write it in a way that it does not get boring or preachy for the readers.

Q3) Your book deals with dilemmas and issues that many working working women face, from transfers to dealing with guilt, if there was some advice that you wanted to give to women grappling with this issue, what would it be?

Sometimes we ourselves put the shackles on our feet. The shackles of our limiting belief. We ourselves shy away from higher responsibilities thinking that it would interfere with our family life. Then we tell ourselves, it doesn’t matter, we sacrificed our career growth for our family, “chalta hai”. We have to come out of this limiting belief, this “chalta hai” attitude and we can do wonders. We have to shed our baggage of guilt and fear and we can excel in both our home front and our careers.

As the last line in my book says,”So Woman, stop feeling guilty and start feeling gutsy. There is nothing you can’t do, there is nothing you can’t achieve. No Mountain is high enough for you to climb, no stream wide enough for you to cross.So follow every rainbow till you find your dream.”

 

Q4) If you had to tell one fun fact about your book, what would it be?

The book was written during my third year of stay at Bhopal. Some friends and colleagues knew that I was writing a book.They used to request me to mention them in my book.

This book was written sitting  at airports, stations , and my room. Mostly on laptop but sometimes on my mobile too. People looking at me would wonder what I was doing as I kept sliding my fingers on the phone.

 

Q5) It is usually thought that men do not like reading books that are written about women. Do you think this is true, and how could this situation be rectified?

 

I don’t think it is true. I think men today are becoming aware that we are partners in progress and to move forward we have to sync our steps. Men too have their wives/mothers/sisters as working women and they would also like to understand things from our perspective. Many men have read my book and have complimented me. A man wrote to me saying that after reading my book, he encouraged his wife to take up a challenging role in her work area and promised her that he would always  support her.

 

Q6) Are you  a reader yourself? Can you name some of your favorite books?

 

My love affair with books began when I was in school. Through all stages of my life , as a student , a wife, a career woman, a young mother and mother of teenage children , this relationship with books continued. I am never without a book..

It is difficult to name some of my favourite books. There are so many.

 “Fountain Head “by Ayn Rand. ‘Thornbirds” by Colleen McCollough. Alex Haley’s “Roots”, Pearl S buck’s “The Good Earth”, Paulo Coelhos’s “Eleven Minutes” , Brian Weiss’s “Only love is real”…The list is too big.I have not even covered my favorite authors , forget about the favourite books. But I hope you get an idea.

 

Q7)Are you working on your next project?

 

Yes, I have started my next book and it will be a fiction. It will talk about living life to the fullest. Every moment is precious and what we have “today” is more valuable than what we might have tomorrow. So neither our “yesterdays” , nor our “tomorrows” should mar our “today”. This is the theme and I promise, it will not at all be preachy but would be a  “funsipirational”  book. A fun read and inspirational at the same time.

 

Q8) How can readers discover more about you and your work?

 

I write a blog , called ‘Straight from the heart of an Indian woman” and I have Facebook pages for the book and myself as well. I write poems, articles and my musings in my blog and these pages. Readers can also log on to www.rashmitivedi.com to know more about me .

 

 

Books

Book Review: Woman, everything will be fine!

Author: Rashmi Trivedi

Woman, everything will be fine!

Book Blurb:

A true story of a working woman who like any other working woman is an expert juggler, juggling between different roles with élan. One fine day, the safe haven she had built for herself was threatened. She was transferred to another city. This is the story of her coming to terms with the change, accepting the challenge, going to the new city alone and doing her best in her job, at the same time managing her family with a remote control and frequent visits. In all this process, she has learnt many of life’s lessons. She has grown and evolved. She has realized that there is a world outside her own family. She has found herself. This book will give the readers an insight into her psyche, her struggles, her trauma and her guilt. It will make you smile at her small victories and will break your heart when she is down. The book would also make you want to hug her and tell her, “Woman, everything will be fine”

My Review:

“Woman, Everything will be fine” is one of a kind book. It revolves around the life of a working woman and the challenges that she faces. We often see that that the issues that are faced by a woman who chooses to work post marriage, are quite different from issues faced by any other group.

The book beautifully brings out challenges from the guilt of leaving kids to making a decision between family and work. Since the whole concept is present in a way of a story, it was the best thing the author could have done, as instead of overly focusing on one problem, we also get an idea as to how the protagonist manages the issue.

Basically, this book revolves around a woman who gets transferred to another city and then has to make a decision of moving and living alone. Of the entire story, I liked the last few chapters the best. The chapter wherein the author describes the effect of the decision that she makes and how it changes herself as well as her family just took my heart away. The writing style was such that sometimes you find yourself laughing out loud.

The only minor issue that I found in the book was it used a few generalized statements like women like shopping, or women readers would understand what I am talking about…which could have been avoided.

All in all, a book that is unique and more importantly a story that should have been told a long time ago.

Overall Rating:

Cover : 4/5
Title : 5/5
Blurb : 5/5

Creativity in Story line: 5/5
Character Complexity: 5/5
Overall : 4.5/5

BUY THIS BOOK

Books

Book Review : Savoir Faire

Do the WRITE thing

Poet: Ashwini Dodani

Publisher: Inkhorn Publishing India Private Limited

Savoir-Faire: Do the WRITE thing

Blurb:

Savoir-Faire is a collection of 40 poems on Life, Love, Abstract, Nature, Songs etc. It’s a package of emotions and experiences we go through on a day to day basis.

My Review:

Reading anthology of poems is always a delight as poems, especially if written in a certain way tend to make one feel things. As soon as this book fell in my hands, I wanted to know what the title meant. A simple google search told me that it meant ‘ a French noun phrase that means being adaptable and adroit’ . Such an appropriate name of a  book that dealt with poetry on a diverse range of topics.

Each poem deals with a topic or an emotion that is very different than the rest. This is not a book that you would want to read in a hurry. This is a kind of book that you would want to sit with a cup of coffee on a free day and reflect upon what has been written.

The poems that made me go “Dude..that’s exactly how I feel, you just put those emotions into words!” were: Let’s Skydive..I thought it was such a poignant poem, we do tend to overly guard ourselves and truly, utterly giving in to someone..is so much like Skydiving! Another one that was truly outstanding was ‘ Conversation’..or ‘An Ode To Poetry’.

The range of thoughts is so diverse that you are bound to find yourself in some of these pages.

So, if you enjoy poetry, and want to read some really thought provoking words, do pick this one up!

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

 

Books

Game of Anarchy: Book Review

Author: Kenneth Jones

Game of Anarchy

Book Blurb:

Rita, a reputed investigative journalist. Her life revolves around exposing corrupt politicians and their schemes.
Raghav, a young business tycoon has all he wants in life. He pulls strings in the corridors of power.
Samar, a highly decorated officer of the Indian Army is disenchanted with the system.

The three highly motivated friends since college want one thing – India’s name to be etched in glory.

But their ideologies are poles apart. When their paths cross amidst chaos and anarchy which has gripped the entire nation, it is a concoction too powerful to contain.

Random killings take place when Rita stumbles upon a terrible plan. There is even an attempt on her life. Someone wants her dead… badly. Eventually a Maoist Leader, Head of RAW and ISI Director get entangled in the mess. In the backdrop of misgovernance and scams, extremism, lawlessness and government ineptitude, their actions will decide the fate of the entire subcontinent outside the borders.

Is there something more sinister lurking behind the façade that Rita discovers? What role does Raghav and Samar play in bigger scheme of things and how does it go on to redefine geo-political situation in the entire subcontinent?

Book Review:

An absolutely riveting book right from the first page. As soon as I started reading this book, I was totally engrossed in it.

The best part of the book was that the author has weaved a complex story line in the most interesting manner. It was quite exciting to read about various military branches of India and how they work. Some great research has gone into this book.

I loved the character of Rita. She truly was a well sketched out character and the story line related to her was such that I had to stop myself from skipping some of the pages in order to get an idea of what would happen to her next.

While the characters are complex and interesting, the story is plot driven. Which is why even when you get the hang of them, you still do not now how this story would pan out as the characters have no hold on what would happen next. This made the read all the more alluring.

The writing is such that it feels extremely realistic. The political and the military scenarios that were described were all too believable. The pace of the story is fast and so the reader just cannot stop reading, and if we do, the story keeps going on in our heads. The author has played well by placing interesting hangers in the middle of the story and then going on to the other part, thus making this an extremely interesting read.

I did find a few grammatical errors, but in no way did they take the reader’s attention away from the plot.

All in all, this is definitely one the most awesome political thrillers I have read.

BUY THIS BOOK

Books

New Author Tips: Stereotyping Your Characters

One of the mistakes  that many new authors in fiction make is that they stereotype their characters, especially the supporting characters. This could reduce the quality of your work. Even for the main characters and their love interests, we have physical stereotypes. The problem with this is that just as you are familiar with these characters, so are the readers. How are you making an impression in the minds of the reader?

Many romance novels have a pretty damsel or the “oh so handsome” boy as the love interest of an “average” character. While the initial first few times a reader reads this, they would be hooked to the thrill of the average person getting someone out of reach. BUT, after say ten or twenty such books, the interest dwindles. Besides, ten years down the line the reader would hardly be able to distinguish your character from the characters of others.

So, in order to write a great book, one thing you should ensure that ALL your characters (not just the main ones) have a personality of their own. Just look around you, the world is a classroom. No two human beings are the same…just see which people attract you…what are their qualities, their quirks, what is it that makes them different from others? Give those traits to your characters..and see the difference it makes to your overall work! Stephen Chbosky has done a phenomenal job of giving this distinct touch to each of his characters in “The Perks of Being A Wallflower”.

These are the internal characters, coming to the external….break away from the conventional. Give your characters their own looks. If you make your characters look run of the mill…they will be run of the mill. Human beings look different..that is what makes them stand out. If all your characters are thin, good looking, perfectly chiselled jaw, beautiful body etc..you are preparing for mediocrity. Simply because I could close my eyes, go to romance section, pick up random book and find that exact character in most of those books. In order to be different, dare to make your characters different. Take for example, characters from Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park. The very reason her book is so successful is because she has etched her characters who are so different that the reader feels them like they are a breath of fresh air!

Make sure all your characters are three dimensional, well scripted and interesting.

Some of the most used stereotypes are:

  • The handsome man
  • The average looking guy
  • The perfect girl (pretty, innocent, sweet)
  • The Tomboy
  • The nerdy person with spectacles and who bores people around with their knowledge

I am not saying you cannot have a handsome guy or a beautiful girl in your story. BUT, that should not be the extent of their existence. There are countless books where the character is just that..nothing else. Everytime the character is mentioned, their looks are mentioned..you never know what they are really like. For example…your hero’s love interest is this cute and sweet girl. OK. But then what? Her whole personality cannot be cute and sweet right? Add depth to your characters to add depth to your story.

One thing that you should AVOID AT ALL COSTS is using generalized statements to explain your individual character traits.

Instead of statements like:

She giggled. I looked at her and thought, “Gosh! Why do women giggle so much…I hate when they do that!”

You should use:

She giggled. I looked at her and thought, “Again with the giggle…why does she have to giggle so much..I hate that!”

By doing this, you are targeting two birds with one stone.

  • You are avoiding stereotyping people (women giggle too much)
  • You are giving a personality trait to your character ( She is a kind of person who giggles to much)

In the past, I wrote a blog post on How Hunger Games challenged Gender Stereotypes, you can check it out here.

Some other books that you could check out for reference are: