Tag Archives: book review

Murder in Paharganj by Kulpreet Yadav – a book review

Murder in Paharganj

Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury India; First edition (10 October 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9386826615
ISBN-13: 978-9386826619

First things first, this is the first time I am reading Kulpreet Yadav and happy that we have a series with someone called Vicks Menon, it definitely is a nice idea to get a Journalist don a detective’s hat.

The story opens with a murder in a hotel in Paharganj, of a foreign lady, and the hotel staff invariably a friend of Vicks Menon informs him before he actually calls the police and that’s where it all starts.

The man in the story Vicks is a journalist albeit this time he is jobless and wants to show his boss that he has made a mistake and that’s one reason why he decides to take this on his own instead being a help to the police. Also in the story is his live in partner and lover combined  Tonya who is a psychiatrist and helps the police unravel motives for crimes.

The story travels across half the continent atleast from Israel to Iran to Afghanistan to India to Bangkok. Though most of the happenings is at Paharganj and Udaipur for a bit, its shadow casts across the other places mentioned earlier.

There is also the farther daughter story which comes to light with an introduction of an Israeli spy in Ariel.

The contours of the killer who is Jalauddin in real and with a name of Jamie and how he is an agent for Iran is well crafted but the scenes that unfold are quite cinematic in the way it takes shape towards the end.

The unravelling of the plot could have been more intense. The trace that the police are after looks pretty amateurish. It could have been much more scientific and today there are enough things in digital that is happening. I would expect much more from a spy thriller.

Easy and a fast paced read but could have been more gripping, because it was left to someone to finish of the killer, somehow doesn’t seem true to the plot. I think the character of the psychiatrist should have been chiselled in a way that could have a bearing on the case.

There are too many characters to contend with and we have to sympathise with them too. And their roles get limited when the author tries to give each a bit of the focus on them. A good read overall.

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book review. Thanks FLipkart for the copy and you may pick up yours here!

Senthilkumar

Anywhere But Home by Anu Vaidyanathan – a book review

anywhere-but-home-adventures-in-endurance-original

 

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • ISBN: 9789351775249, 9351775240
  • Edition: 2016

This is one book for anyone who is into running the Marathon as a hobby and then there is some serious stuff if you ask me beyond that. The basic premise about the Marathon and the attitude and the practice that makes it perfect is all there with wit and a narrative that will be so light on you as you read the book.

As for me the book is a narrative in inspiration of can do and must do and how you overcome the odds that present itself when you want to do it. It’s an inspirational first person account of how you should go about things in your pursuit of your goal, not necessarily the one – the marathon or the Ultra Marathon that the author does it as the first Asian woman to finish the race.

When you do things you love, everything gets relegated and especially your weaknesses and then there you are running and fighting it out. The result will make you wonder how did you do it and that’s the best part of the whole training and marching all the way to the goal.

Anu Vaidyanathan is the first Asian woman to complete Ultraman Canada: a punishing 10-kilometre swim, a 420-kilometre bike ride and an 84.4-kilometre run. She placed sixth. Which is breath-taking. But what is your typical good Indian girl, super-nerd doing at the Ultraman?

This book is also a go to guide for the best Marathon that you may want to run the world over. There are experiences from Canada to New Zealand to US of A. Infact there are stories that will teach you to be a good negotiator, be spend thrift and also gives you ample access to what you can expect at these marathon races.

This first person account will help you get off your seat and try some real active life and can work wonders that way. May be its not the Ultraman but yes go kick yourself to be a part of the Marathon or a Half Marathon happening across the country. Make it a habit and I am sure it can be addictive as the author says.

Pick your copies here at Flipkart / Amazon 

Jeera Packer by Prashant Yadav #bookreview

jeerapacker

 

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing; First edition (26 December 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8175994185
  • ISBN-13: 978-8175994188
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm

I am glad that I accepted this invitation to review this book, its a breeze of a thriller and cuts like a knife through the butter. Every page adding to the excitement of who would be the villain of all.

The author has a grip of the plot till the very end. Taking the story with a rush of twist and plots it has the essential element of surprise and politics intertwined in a manner which obviously helps move the book at a pace that I loved.

The first person narration is also at its best and has a very unique charm as it moves between characters and places. The one best part is traversing the characters role in more ways than one.

Its got a filmy shade to it with the politician nexus and  the twist which happen at the most unexpected moment. I would also add that its is very relatable to the state of UP and suddenly it felt like living in the present especially during the last election.

The way the story progressed to its logical end or rather not so logical depends on who you want to support, its a nice wonderful script that make for a nice Bollywood movie.

The characters of the story make you live their life in front of your eyes. The Jeera packer has a history so too the other characters who are inter twined with the fate that could unravel their very existence but then there has to be a story that will also work to what they want.

There are some nice anecdotes you will love if your a Bullet fan well the Enfield kind if you know. The author has a way with words for such niceties that every rider will understand about the bike.

Well written and fast paced, this is a cracker of a political thriller and we don’t have much of these books in this genre and happy to have read this book and hopefully Prashant Yadav will come back with more only thing the title would be intriguing, will wait for the next work.

Go here to pick up this book at Amazon

Thanks to the author for the review copy and wishing him all the very best!

Senthil

Small Towns, Big Stories by Ruskin Bond a Book Review

small-towns-big-stories-original

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Aleph Book Company
  • ISBN: 9789382277545, 9382277544
  • Edition: 1, 2017
  • Pages: 200

How do you write a review of one of the most enigmatic literary figure this country has ever produced.

Words fail in its sincerity to appreciate the thought process and the innate innocence that the type writer of those days churned out. All I can see is the relationship between childhood and innocence is laid thread bare for you to enjoy. It’s sheer magic of the storytelling that keeps you turning pages wishing that the story shouldn’t end. The pages goes on, sometimes to an end which is a mesmerising, an aspect of story telling by this Bond, Ruskin Bond!

The first story Big Race was a charming one and would take you to your childhood, ofcourse we may not relate it in the city here, but the story evinced such innocence in Koki the character and the way she wins is pretty about the character and the beetle too.

I don’t know if I should miss some stories in appreciation, but for want of space I am sure we can be suggestive enough.

Up the spiral stair case is the story which is quite reminiscent of how innocence and old are twinned wonderfully in a narrative.  The Story of Bina,  in A long Walk for Bina takes u through the hardships but ever loving character whose trek to school is well documented. The best part being that the scare of leopard and wild animals hanging over their head and they live the life to the fullest.

The Night train at Deoli, is another train story that will make you go back to the old charm of the author.

Another old one – Time stops at Shamli is also imagination par excellence. This story will continue to be remembered all through our lives. The characters are enigmatic and they are etched with the background of quite a rural Indian saga. I did love the notes on this by the author in his foreword.

I loved the Ghosts stories and the Murder stories apart from the other classics. I could sense a new way of looking at things when the author says Small towns are sure playground for big stories. It’s so true in all his creative works. The magic and charm that he weaves with the prose so sublime, you will start loving the place and the character. The repartees are good and you should actually be a witness to those.

The new stories also exemplify the way the author recreates magic with his words and those are going to be celebrated as much as the old ones are. I feel a sense of deja vu actually writing this review simply because, you don’t stand a chance to review but submit this as an endeavour in my trying to write rather than review the book.

Thankful for the copy from the publishers Aleph, made me go through the string of pearls. I am sure this will keep inspiring the readers and many new authors for days to come.  Be sure to check out the copies on Amazon here!

The Story of Hanuman – Mala Dayal #kids #bookreview

the-story-of-hanuman-original

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • ISBN: 9788129137173, 8129137178
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 76

Hanuman is an endearing character for all of us. Much to the delight of the kids his avatar has been retold with the kid like Hanuman or the Hanuman who is kiddish overflowing with innocence.

The story which we all know is vastly enhanced in presentation by the illustrations that are beautifully rendered by Taposhi Ghoshal.

The illustrations add the charm to the character that is already a lovable one, I must confess this pictures actually make Hanuman an adorable cute little God.

This book is a art manifestation of the story and the texts compliments the illustrations at times so well that you keep to the page. The kids also love the way the baby Hanuman starts flying into the sun to everything that’s been pictured so beautifully.

You can read this to the kids and also attest the same with the pictures.

For little grown up kids there is a test of what they have got to know of the story in the pages in between. I know its tough to put the whole story into such a small session but the author has been successful in bringing out the Hanuman that we all cherish from the kid to the one who helps Lord Ram rescue Sita from Ravana’s Lanka.

You will be happy having this copy and for sure this will be an entertaining retelling of one of the most loving stories ever heard for us. Being a parent now has made this book a must have / wonderful collection.

You can pick a copy of the book here at Flipkart / Amazon. Am sure you will thank me for this reco.

4 ½ stars out of 5 :)

Senthilkumar Rajappan

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

  • Language: English / Translated
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House India
  • Genre: Biographies & Autobiographies
  • ISBN: 9780670088744, 0670088749
  • Edition: 1, 2016
  • Pages: 336

I know Taslima Nasreen from what I have read in the newspapers and especially the incident at Hyderabad where she was attacked and had to be rescued. And ofcourse from the twitter world where she keeps talking as an independent voice unfettered by trolls whichever religion they may belong to.

I now know the reason why she is fiercely independent or rather she has her reasons and she perhaps lives to exemplify those statements that she makes unlike the so called liberals who she has called out in this book who take refuge of the situations and then give enough excuses on why they cant take a stand or show having a spine.

Reading the preface in the book gives us enough of how this book has come to life. It perhaps is the way with all her other books too. Thanks to the translator, I am sure this must have been a challenge in a way as much for the author.

The title should have been hard one for Taslima since you cant be in exile in your country and worse in the place that you wanted to be back ‘home’ and how that can be shattered by politics and fundamentalism.

The book spares no one in this narration of events that lead to her exile and how she was lost in time if I can put it that way. If there is a place called nowhere probably thats where the people wanted her to go.

I am for the first time taking a political stand on a book and a review probably I am at odds with what the left liberals have done to the fabric of the country and no one needs to read anything else than this book to show their hypocrisy. A stark reality of how even the media is hand in glove with liberals when they cant take criticism or feel like offended is glaringly revealed with the way they held themselves outsing Taslima from Calcutta the now Kolkatta.

Fundamentalism doesnt have a religion its got only a reason to be what it is.

The book is got different styles and it takes time to get into the groove, simply because the events described there are so much of disturbance and those we didn’t know first hand. Some places the narrative changes to poetry and then to instances given as it is in a dialogue format a part of diary which the author had.

I would recommend this book for its retelling of our times from a perspective of a free woman and will help understand the psyche of the world when it comes to fighting truth and the uglyness it creates in the society on its own.

My admiration for translated version have gone up considerably after reading this book and kudos to the translator for having done a fabulous job here.

Buy your copy here : Flipkart

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Review Program and thanks Flipkart for the copy.

Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kane a book review

lanka-s-princess-original

 

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • ISBN: 9788129144515, 8129144514
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 280

Lanka’s Princess is a tale of Meenakshi, the Surpanakha as we know her. The name sticking to her because of her nails or claws that she had on her fingers. The story is an exhaustive one which tells you about the troubled childhood. I could easily see the Kaliyuga version being played in teleserials and I am sure these guys can’t match to the cunningness and thinking that Meenakshi had.

This is a fantastic effort by the author, I am reading her for the first time. Mindblown by the intricacies and exhaustiveness of the narration, she dwells so deep into the psyche of the character called Meenakshi aka Surpanakha.

The scenes with her mother and her doting the father are real emotive ones that sets it in a contemporary age and it might look like the story of our neighbourhood. I am sure the Saas Bhau serials cant even come anywhere near in terms of cunningness that sets the tale across ending with Ravan.

What an intricate family relationship that Ravan and his family had across the spectrum including Vishnu as much as his Adhi Sesha being a part of Ravan’s clan. Its also a story that feeds on ambition and self praise and towering on the self and ego of one person Ravan and abetted by his sister Meenakshi who feels neglected since childhood.

Revenge is a kind word here to be used since we see how the flare up from small incidents take shape of a ill feeling that can destroy the person and all those around her. Its about the poison tree that people water forgetting things and eating its fruits later.

The characterisation of all the people in this tale is such an astonishing feature, be it Ram, Ravan, Lakshman or the heroine of this saga, Meenakshi. The story is a rivetting one and the language is very addictive in a sense that its easy to read and turn pages.

I loved the research behind this book and a new Ramayana played out in front of me, much to the discomfort that Sita wasn’t the primary reason for Ravan to wage a war. Quite often we do take the face value of the stories thats been given to us. The magic of the mythology that we have inherited is beyond compare especially because the characters of Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Bhagvatham have some common time travelling and relationships beyond their ages when they happened.

We see some of the best of Ravan, and the worst of Ravan and many many worsts of Surpanakha.

Some nice narrative on Kumbha who we hardly give the space he deserves. All we know was his six month sleeping / eating.

Absolutely a nice work in total, threw open some new perspective and changed the way you look at what happens when a woman thinks of revenge!

Thanks Rupa Publications for your copy and thanks to the Kavita Kane for this wonderful work and hope to read many more stories that needs to be told.

PS: The author Kavita Kane specialises in telling the stories of some of the important women in the epics thorough their first person account or through their eyes.

The Tantric Curse by Anupama Garg – a Book review

Book Review The Tantric Curse Anupama Garg

The Indian spiritual tradition is always a mystery and that is kept so because people have heard of them only by hear say and never ever tried to find the real body of knowledge.

Quite often it gets twisted simply because the people who want to know it don’t have the patience or would not like to go through the rigour of knowledge seeking.

In this book the author who is a spiritual seeker herself makes a nice attempt to impart those basic understanding of spiritual and the tantric sciences with this novel.

The characters of Krishnam, Rhea make the story and the life and times of Rhea is central to the narration that we have here. The author takes extra care in getting us understand the real meaning of some of the things that are just not true and gives an insight into the lives of sadhaks, gurus and tantra tradition.

The portrayal of Rhea as a common girl and then later getting transformed is one that will leave you  thinking. It’s a rare attempt and a brave one, simply because the author has shown the female as the lead in the story and that helps remove much of the stigma that comes attached to say a Shakthi Dham or a religious place.

The descriptions and definitions at the right places gives us an insight into the real spiritual pursuits rather than those which are highlighted in the normal world and media gets it.

A nice read and a fast paced one could have been a little crisper at places but makes you turn the pages as you go.

Pick this book to know about the real vidya of tantra and how it is practiced and you could remove a lot of misconceptions about the religious and spiritual aspect of tantra.

On a sidenote I really liked the cover page and its got so many things covered.

Buy this book here at Flipkart: http://www.flipkart.com/tantric-curse-english/p/itmecb8fnhc49myu?pid=9788129137524

Amazon link here: http://www.amazon.in/Tantric-Curse-Anupama-Garg/dp/8129137526

Beauty is a wound by Eka Kurniawan #bookreview

beauty-is-a-wound-400x400-imaegfghsek9hcpc

BOOK DETAILS
Publisher Speaking Tiger
ISBN-10 9385755684
Edition 1
Number of Pages 480 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385755682
Binding Paperback

Beauty is a wound is a fantastic novel which revolves around a character who we would not even take it our stride for her profession. But the way the author has woven a satire of life and history of nation as much as you can think about it. There is an eerie sense of humour that best describes the way the characters are presented by the author.

There is a way to describe things of the nation if you think about a narration of the history from the characters. The story is also about how you can mix the history and fiction in a classic way to get you the best of storytelling.

There is a rawness in the language and that translates to making it more authentic in a way and the author turns no stones to get you smell the land and get you close to the environment.

There is a momentum with the characters and also the story and it has all the ingredients to make you laugh within. Sometimes there are big sarcastic statements blurted out as if nothing has happened. The weight of the argument is to be seen within the context, there are social messages some modern take on the long customs and then radicalism presented with a simplicity that exudes charm.

I am also in awe of the translator who I am sure has held the story in its entirety and we can see the way the words being explicitly used or abused (you can choose them). A book of this calibre is enhanced when it reaches out to the world population and the stories gets told in multiple languages.

This is the second time in recent days getting to read a translated work with a charm that you can easily identify with the original language and how impactful it would be.

I could see a Salman Rushidique narrative with the history as a backdrop and the characters being woven around the events that shaped the country. Quite possible a history – story best woven with a dose of fiction added to it.

I am sure you will be left with the stories of Dewi Ayu for quite a while after you keep the book down.

Go here to buy the book: http://www.flipkart.com/beauty-wound-english/p/itmegfg5xwburhwy?pid=9789385755682

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book Review Program.

Senthilkumar

The Best Seller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian #bookreview

the-bestseller-she-wrote-400x400-imaecb2ffvusfhmg

BOOK DETAILS
Publisher Westland
ISBN-10 9385152386
Imprint Westland
Number of Pages 392 Pages
Publication Year 2015 October
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385152382
Binding Paperback

The best seller she wrote by Ravi Subramanian makes you sit through till you have turned the last pages. Gripping drama spiced with love interest, sex, vaulting professional ambition and betrayal in equal measure.

The settings are simply awesome and the earnestness and ambitiousness of the young generation and how they take the means to the end and sometimes the way they take the road never travelled to make it happen are all highlights of this novel. I did find it a bit philosophical in a way that your family is bound to be the last place you can be yourself and there is nothing like your family to go back to.

Aditya’s character is a wonderfully woven one with a sub text how fame and money can make you lose your composure and how a bit of waywardness is going to cost as much as everything in life, is a character who will remain in your memory long after you have turned the last page.

A friend’s characterisation in Sanjay and the machinations are a revealing aspect of human emotion of jealousy and envy that pervades today under the guise of friendship, and other relationship.

The pace set by the author is brilliant and the way things happen and connecting the dots is something only Ravi Subramanian can pull it off. The techie in him and the Apple cloud is a delight to read. I remember a line where they said things were different when apple and blackberry were real fruits, you know what I mean.

The ‘I want in now’ generation and its remorse less way to famedom and ethereal affinity to money is characterized in an engrossing way.

A fast paced read and will make you realise the futility at times on what we are doing 24/7 in the name of work and everything else we call it work. Knowing it is going to be a Bollywood reproduction its got ample dose of explicit scenes for the reader. It was a little extra if you ask me.

All in all a great read for a novel in this genre, keeps your attention solid till it gets out. Probably doesn’t have those Ravi Subramanian’s signature of the Financial world stuff, nevertheless he holds your attention.

I took 2 sessions to finish this book. I loved the way the author chose to thank Bloggers and some of his little circle of creative people through this novel.

The marketing aspect of a publication is a lesson that every author would need and if you read this book then possible that you would end up with some insights on what goes behind the marketing of the book and definitely you would understand that writing is not the toughest part.

A page turner by any other name will be called the Best Seller She Wrote.

Here’s one trailer of the book :)

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wroteby Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Senthilkumar Rajappan