Tag Archives: book reviews

River of Flesh and other stories – Book Review

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Publisher Speaking Tiger
ISBN-10 9385755587
Edition 1
Number of Pages 272 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385755583
Binding Paperback

When I got a mail from Vivek Flipkart on two different books for review, it appealed to me in a way that this has got to be different probably, changing the way I would start looking at society.

I replied stating this must be a different perspective given the topic and how they have been seen in the way the society draws a line. So when the Sunny Leone interview happened the same time, it showed how deep those lines run in our mind rather than on the roads where these unprivileged women make the ends meet.

And to put together some of the most acclaimed writers in a collection must have been a task and getting to the topic on hand must have been a great decision by itself. I see this as a big and bold step simply because that was what ultimately got me to read this book. And the editor Ruchira Gupta has done a fabulous job on this front.

And when you read those stories you get to read those innocence writ on their lives and how those innocence has been tarnished and trampled to a state of prostitution.

It took sometime to realise the gravity of the context in each of these stories which come to life with words from some of the classic writers as Kamla Das, Indira Goswami to Mushi Premchand.

Poignant sometimes, rebellious sometimes,  meek and mild and varied the expressions are myriad in more ways than one.

This book also opens up to the regional intricacies and the thoughts that pervade through the countryside. Some the endings are sure to give you goose pumps and some make you sit up and almost have a stuck throat. Quite often the end is a dark twist of fate if you may call that. How would you rationalise the woman going to bed with another man in the darkness to feed a hungry, ailing husband a mouth full of gruel.

The characters will live with you for sometime and sometimes you will feel the bitterness of the words. I am amazed by the fact that some of the works are recreated in the sense translated and I could sense the emotion when I could connect with the original language and the author. (eg. Ponnagaram)

It’s not just the woman’s plight that is portrayed here but the whole of the society which gets the whiplashes from the authors through the characters.

Pick this book and you will be led to a neighborhood you didn’t want to walk through. Gripping stories narrated so intensely and with appeal that makes you think.

Check out and buy the book here

Senthilkumar

Mistress of Honour by Bhavnaa Arora #bookreview

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BOOK DETAILS
Publisher Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN-10 0143425285
Imprint penguin
Number of Pages 224 Pages
Publication Year 2015 June
Language English
ISBN-13 9780143425281
Binding Paperback

A setting in the armed forces is always an interesting phenomenon, simply because I have been close yet so far. I have seen some of them close and yes it rings a bell.

This story Mistress of Honour by Bhaavna Arora has the right mix of those attitude which are pretty reflective of the armed forces. The Story revolves around the life and times of the characters and has a reflective poise to it with the background in Operation Bluestar as a intrinsic part of the story.

Thats when the hero and the lady protagonist meet each other. The story is well paced and the situations around the characters makes for an interesting read.

The characterization of the Potnis and Pansy in their different worlds and the passion towards career and the how they try to bridge their world makes it an page turning affair.

The story goes on a nice trail even when the past is narrated and holds the reader and makes you walk the scene beside the characters. The author has taken due efforts in understanding the background and it shows in the book and the way the story unfolds.

The story goes on with the kids too, a similar plot of the love and courtship. its got all speed and passion and narratives all blended in a style.

All in all a neat fast paced read, and the characters have a depth of their own and the story moves on as you keep turning pages. The author has very minimal characters and makes it a success in a way that the story is told.

My rating 3.5 Stars out of 5

Senthilkumar

Democrazy by Atulya Mahajan #bookreview

 

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Atulya Mahajan takes you on a roller coaster ride with the politics of the day in a satire that you will enjoy till the last page of the book is turned.

Aptly titled Democrazy, it is the story of how the mighty and the powerful take the voting gullible public at large for a ride and continue to play God.

I think the book is a classic representation of the electoral politics that we call ourselves as democracy. Except its actually the crazy with the ‘z’ which makes it true.

For all its goodness and its superlative ability to uphold the citizens right, democracy can be take to task if you are skillful and more importantly know how to play it right.

The book has an array of characters which I am sure you can easily identify with, make a pardon there is a disclaimer boss that its all the authors imagination.

There is the Badi Sarkar who wants the Chote Sarkar to be the PM, dont guess who it is, bit the fact is Chote Sarkar is interested in eating icecreams of different flavours.

The characters of the book come straight out of entertainment industry if you ask me especially the news with a nation anchor BB who wants to know everything under the sun relegating the Saas bahu serials to the back burner for the active and know all citizens who want to know it all.

There is a social media activist on twitter who helps his mother get out of an incedent, and then there is a big capitalist all get together to get the democracy working like crazy.

All of them have a goal and that is power never mind it corrupts absolutely. The people taken for a ride across is not significant because they are made ready to be taken for a ride!

With elections in the background and the cacophony of speeches barbs and counter barbs and also the trp hungry TV shows its a classic mockery of the democratic traits that we harbour as sacred.

This is very well set in Indian background and for once after a long time that the election is over I am wondering if the book is a true story!

Highly recommended for a dutiful citizen so that he will be convinced to take off on the election day as if his voting mattered!

Senthilkumar

The House That BJ Built by Anuja Chauhan – a book review

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Publisher Westland
ISBN-10 9385152181
Book Type Fiction Book
Imprint Westland
Number of Pages 433 Pages
Publication Year 2015 May
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385152184
Binding Paperback

Let me start with a confession that I am reading Anuja Chauhan for the first time.

This book is a journey of the minds and the machinations of every character unfolding in front of us in a way that you can only imagine. All about the characters that occupy the house that BJ built.  The brashness of the language, adds a certain authenticity to the character’s lives is unforgettable. In case you have lived in New Delhi and you would want to get back there for atleast the way the action happens at No. 16 Hailey’s then this is a trip worth taking.

There is an eclectic mix of the bollywood, the family saga and the sisters in tow and ofcourse the big house in the plot. You would be a witness to many a whims and fancies and start thinking through the minds of the characters.

Probably that’s one of the biggest traits that the author has and makes you go with the flow.

The story of Bonu Singh  and whether she would give away her part of the hissa for the sale is the story, with her past especially her mom’s words ringing in her head.

You will enjoy the Punjabi dialect and the whole some family story of the sisters and the two characters in Bonu and Samar. Pick up this book for its sheers story telling ability and keeping you engrossed with the mind reading ability of the author.

The Delhi girls attitude and the Bollywood’s touch in the making of the characters would make you think if you are watching a bolly wood movie. Quite a possibility that this could even be a film in the making, well there is already a film in the making in the story!

Overall a nice read I would rate 3 stars out of 5 for the style of the author where she does the story telling very effortlessly. I had only this if there were too many characters in the book and may be we had too many stories nevertheless.

The book was sent to the blogger for a review by Flipkart. You can buy the book here: http://www.flipkart.com/house-b-j-built-english/p/itme6ahbmkhezb2k

Senthilkumar Rajappan

Ramayana – The Game of Life : Shattered Dreams – a book review

Ramayana – The Game of Life -Shattered Dreams

I think we are a nation built on mythology going by what you see today on twitter and slang matching happening online. But before these internet rage took centerstage, Doordarshan in early days of 80s had the nation in charms with the two worlds greatest epic on screen, the Ramayana and Mahabharath! Those days it meant Sundays were meant for Ramayana and Mahabharath. The charm wore on with the whole generation so much so, some of the character actors made their presence to the parliament.

As regards retelling of the epics, its been happening for long and this century is not an exception.

The book in review is an excellent series if you ask me and what a debut it was by the author Shubha Vilas. Rooted in the treatment of the epic for what it matters most, the interpretation of the same to add values to the life around us is perhaps the significant take away from this book or series.

Continuing from the last epic of the childhood days of the Rama, this one is the retelling of the Dasaratha’s shattered dreams. You might also take a literal working of getting your boon claimed, unlike the words and gift vouchers which come in with a expiry. The boon that was given by Dasaratha in a war time long long years ago is revived by Kaikeyi, aided by his maid to make Bharatha the King just hours before the coronation of the Prince Rama. Not that Rama is not the apple of all the three mothers, but this is the way it got to be.

If you thought there was any way modern day classic writers could come close to the twist in the tale, well sorry this was greatly done right from the Valmiki days and Shubha Vilas captures the moments especially the way anxious Dasaratha is portrayed is unparalleled. The teaching impact of those moments are a treat to read as always.

So if you love to really watch the Ramayana happen in front of you especially going through the minds of the characters and then stop over to think and digest what those tales and moments in the tales means for you in life, then this is the book you need to read. I was transported to Dasaratha’s kingdom with pomp and the cries of the whole kingdom when King makes an announcement and also walk alongside Rama if you want.

The nuggets of side stories make for an excellent read and keeps you gripped to the happenings and is almost like the  mind reading of the characters that you are reading about.

If you thought that your life’s problems are big, imagine a prince who would be king tomorrow morning and then you see a email saying you are fired and then not just that you got to go into exile. How do you maintain your poise that you are known for. Rama is that character who will tell you how to react or sometimes how not to react.

I am sure you will experience the words crafted beautifully and the retelling has the impact of Valmiki and the rendering of Kambar making it a delight to read.

I am waiting for the next in the series and see how the story unfolds especially with some of the nuggets that we don’t know or not exposed to and ofcourse how we should apply these to our everyday lives.

A word of gratitude to both the author – a revered friend now and folks at blogadda.com for the book.

Senthilkumar

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

The Mahabharata Quest – the Alexander Secret by Christopher C Doyle #bookreview

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Publisher Westland
ISBN-10 9384030597
Edition 1st Edition
Book Type Fiction Book
Number of Pages 308 Pages
Publication Year 2014
Language English
ISBN-13 9789384030599
Binding Paperback

I have been lucky to be reading the Mahabharata or its connections in a way or other. Looks like I will take to mythology as much as the debut authors in a sense for revieweing books.

This is a great effort from the author Christopher C Doyle connecting the ancient Mahabharata and the Alexander’s search for immortality and the present day Order. I am sure a lot of things go unnoticed when you read between the lines. The never so obvious language and the interpretation of the Sanskrit Shlokas in the Mahabharata and how they have a bearing in the medical science is a intriguing aspect of this story.

The author churns out a nice moving tale across times zones and also has a nice flash back for the Alexanders’ days to keep the rationale intact. A fast paced and has woven on a lot of research and presented in a very lucid style to keep the reader’s interest till the last page.

The characterizations are very well done and has all the ingredients of making of a movie, I believe this could well be a possible script which can be well executed in a way. Why I am saying this is the visual narration of the scenes is absolutely great and that makes it a great read.

The characters, Vijay, Imran, Radha, Alice, Collin and Shukla apart from the Coopers on the other side make for nice well knit team.

The books makes for a nice reading with Mahabharata and Alexander’s quest and modern day Order in a very complex web of secrets dating back to the Mahabharata’s churning of the milky ocean. The link being well the nectar and immortality associated with it. And do you know Alexander wanted to be God. Read this book as it takes you on a trip to his hey days and how he lost the plot.

In the present day scenario, the best part is the way the both sides try to outwit each other. Though we have to wait and see how it ends up. Six months to know and probably the doctor would also know if the trial is working out.

Well the author has handled it pretty fast paced and you know in the end this is a book with sequel.

Now have to wait to know what happened.

As you wait please check out the trailer…

About the author: Christopher C. Doyle is an author who transports the reader into a fascinating world where ancient secrets buried in legends blend with science and history to create a gripping story. Along the way to publishing his debut novel, The Mahabharata Secret, Christopher pursued a career in the corporate world after graduating from St. Stephens College, Delhi with a degree in Economics and studying business management at IIM Calcutta. Over the course of his corporate career, Christopher has written articles on management and business for Indian and international publications and is also a regular invited speaker for international conventions and conferences. He is a certified Executive Coach and now works with senior executives to help them achieve success and better results in their organizations.

PS: Thanks to folks at Clea Public Relations for sending in a e-book to read and review…

Girl from Fatehpur by Sarita Varma #bookreview

Girl from Fatehpur by Sarita Varma

This is a story of Sanjana fondly called as Sana hailing from Fatehpur a town in Uttar Pradesh, and thats where the title comes from. A very simply and well narrated story in the confines of her world, a bit of it from Mumbai and the days to her trip to her hometown Fatehpur for her cousins wedding, there is a lot of travelling with her in real as the author takes you around the Allahabad Maha Kumb and some drives during the big fat Indian Wedding.

This is a story of Sana, her childhood crush Rajan and her office colleague turned admirer Krish. The plot is a simple one in the sense leading to a love triangle, but the way the author has treated it from the perspective of Sanjana is excellent, the character who develops cold feet with her colleague and suddenly finds herself in a bubbly character after she meets her childhood crush and first time turned down love, Rajan.

There is a wedding that happens which only makes her get close to her heart throb, and the unexpected presence of Krish makes it a twist. She has to now be tight rope walk with two men vying for her attention in myriad ways they seem to suggest.

A forgetful incident later and back to Mumbai and her heart still longing to see her crush and her friend Zoya all make this novel a nice crisp one. So does she end up with her childhood crush or will she get on with her office knight in arms! Read it up to know what happens to Sana.

Loved the narrative and there is a rural charm to the characters and its quite easy on you and you could identify them easily around you. Its a fast read and it takes you on a easy ride, along with Sana, her friend Zoya, Krish and Rajan and hold your attention with their strenght and human weaknesses.

I sometimes think it was very short period in all, though we could have had a better glimpse of Rajan / Sana’s  past and ended too soon.

Sarita has a fine narrating style and takes you on a journey across the Maha Kumb and a portrayal of Sana that makes you sit through the pages in one shot. Its an easy read and concise read too.

My rating: 3.5 stars 

Senthilkumar Rajappan

Fraudster by R V Raman #bookreview

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Publisher Hachette India
ISBN-10 9350098008
Imprint Hachette India
Book Type Fiction Book
Number of Pages 272 Pages
Publication Year 2014 July
Language English
ISBN-13 9789350098004
Binding Paperback

Absolutely a great financial thriller which goes with a a nice plot and gets to a very logical and befitting end. The author’s background in finance and his experience perhaps are key to the plot and he takes the readers on a roller coaster ride with the happenings and a wonderful Police Inspector in Ranade.

The story has all the detailing to make it a last page thriller and a page turner. The incidents are very well thought out and the pace at which it moves makes for a delightful read. There are no bumps and the characters are well etched out. Only feel that so many people have had to die. The technology angle is presented in a very easy way for the readers to understand and relate to. In a way the reader is equipped to see a lot of the happening around him though not in exact circumstances.

The characterization of Varsha stand out. I loved the part that a female character is central to the story. Especially the part that she can defend herself physically being a martial artisit in Karate. The story has the father daughter relationship well intertwined in the plot.

The plot with real estate and the benami cartel companies are a documentation in itself. There is a heady mix of corporate, fraud, political and police in a cocktail. I am sure makes for a nice movie in some time wont be surprised.

The way the perpetrators go about with easy calm demeanor is a highlight and keeps up the suspense till the end.

The author has taken minute details into account in weaving a nice thriller and keep you hooked till the end. Right from the start with the murder of the employee till the knot is untied its a racy story.

Some nice attempts like the sending of message from the mobile by a character are pretty small, but I think the ccharacterizationwas absolutely stunning.

A great work from an author who I believe will continue to churn out more novels and looking forward to many more titles from him. I am sure this would be one of the finest thrillers and would go to become a best seller.

My rating: 4/5 Fast read! 

“This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

Senthilkumar R

Love lasts forever… only if you don’t marry your love by Vikrant Khanna #bookreview

lovelastsforever

 

 

Publisher Srishti Publishers & Distributors
ISBN-10 938266517X
Edition 1st
Book Type Fiction Book
Number of Pages 256 Pages
Publication Year 2014 June
Language English
ISBN-13 9789382665175
Binding Paperback

 

The book Love is forever only if you are not married by Vikrant Khanna is a nice attempt to portray how love life and married life are different for the characters in question. Perhaps all the movies should do a sequel to all the love stories that they show on screen with a ‘they lived happily ever after’, that would give a new twist to the song and dance sequence that we are subjected to.

The story set in a background of the seas and pirates and the story telling of the author and also the story of his boss the captain makes for an interesting read. There are two tracks to it and how an aged mentor would retell the story so that the people get the best advise or learn from his experience.

In a way that you come to think of it the before marriage and after marriage episodes reveal the sorry state of individualistic thinking or that of the man woman up manship in a marriage.

The story in the seas with a narration and flash back could have been a bit faster. The story in a story of the captain interspersed with the pirates wandering the ship which has been captured.

The story has all the cinematic visualisation of the pre marriage courtships and how it s all very happy and the world means to me things happen to the couple be it a simple walk down the beach or having an ice cream.

The concept of having space and getting adjusted to in a matrimonial home and more so after a courtship of seven long years I think they never spoke about the families they were going to deal with or never expected to share space with. It looked a little odd given that it was going to happen. Anyways to each his own and that’s how probably it was meant to be.

You will see how they change ways after knowing what is love and how they should have treated it.

There is a nice twist in the end though the Captain’s story was very sad and probably its nature’s way to punish true lovers.

Watch a video promo of the book here:

Read to know the end how they look at it and change the perspective of true love.

“This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours.  To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

Get your copy here at Flipkart: http://www.flipkart.com/love-lasts-forever-only-if-you-don-t-marry-your-english/p/itmdw2qfemzfkd2r?pid=9789382665175

7 Secrets of the Goddess by Devdutt Pattanaik #bookreview

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Publisher Westland
ISBN-10 9384030589
Edition 1st Edition
Book Type Non Fiction Book
Number of Pages 270 Pages
Publication Year 2014 October
Language English
ISBN-13 9789384030582
Binding Paperback

Once again the master mythologist, comes up with a great story telling with facts and illustrations that support every word that he writes on.

The third in the series of 7 secrets – of Vishnu, Siva and now the Goddess, the author takes us through the historical evidence that suggests how the society had turned itself from matriarchy to patriarchy.

Add to that the influence of islam and Christianity the need to be seen as a patriarchal in the context of subservient women characters and other factors when the invasion happened.

Perhaps it’s the keen eye to detail and the ardous task of seeking our definitive evidences which make Devdutt Pattanaik the man he is as he revels in his unravelling the myths and making meaning out of them.

The structure of the book and the layout should make it easy for the reader to assimilate each idea and also appreciate the way how things have turned around and the interpretations have started happening.

Quite a few times it is the story lost in translation and quite a few times its interpretation that mattered according to the context and the times they were in.

The way how the once fierce and independent womanhood has now given way to a submissive and more enslavend being is very well captured and the best part is all how they got into these submissive overtones simply because its in the nature of human beings to be seen as controlling rather than be the likes of animals which have just their wants and need fulfilled to the extent they are required not a penny more or a penny less in financial terms.

The journey into the grama devi concept is worth remembering since they give a nice understanding of folk way of celebrating womanhood and they are going strong day by day.

I think this was a long overdue in the way that he has put things in perspective the ideal situation of stories being a mirror to the context and how it has to be interpreted and how it has long lost it to chanting tradition and more so people just chanting them even without knowing their meaning.

Apart from that he also has taken on the Western philosophers for their very minimalistic view of the Hinduism that they talk of and never having tried to read the real meaning of the rituals and festivals.

A lot of specifics on the southern traditions being discussed is welcome addition and the Mahabharata character of Draupadi being accorded an Amman Devi status is an interesting one.

A must read for everyone interested to know the significance of Goddesses in the Hindu tradition. The many stories of Brahma not being accorded the temple status is a revealing one. The relationships with the trinity and the devis are a great read.

My only addition if I could suggest would have been the pointers  to look at the picture with a subscript when they are discussed in the opposite pages would have had a nice way to add to the flow, otherwise they pictures are read at my convenience and paragraph breaks.

As in all his works this will be read again and again for the insights that his subject revels on, and a one time reading of a topic is like the tip of an iceberg.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!