Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Quiver Full Of Arrows

Author: Jeffrey Archer;
Genre: Fiction;
Pages: 270;
Rating: 4.5/5;
Challenges: Orbis Terrarum 2009; Country: UK/London

I usually dont read mainstream fiction and this is probably the second book of Jeffrey Archer I've read so far. As the name aptly suggests, the book is a collection of 12 impressive short stories (arrows) put together in a book (quiver). Each one of them is quite unique and leaves an impact on the reader. I feel it's always difficult to convey the right meaning and invoke the right kind of emotions through a short story as compared to a full blown novel 'coz there is no luxury to build up the plot and the characters in detail...but Archer seems to have a great talent for creating characters! The stories are intriguing & entertaining...though they somewhat seem to have a similar setting and flow they are unique with the unexpected endings and a few of them do captivate your heart....

I especially loved the "One night stand" and "The Luncheon". They are hilarious and bring out the different aspects of human nature and above all, they end with a pun which makes you laugh out loud!

Keeping it short, I'd say that it's a great collection of short stories and definitely worth your time!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Two States

Author: Chetan Bhagat;
Pages: 270;
Genre: Indian Fiction;
Rating: 3.5/5; (only for the drama & entertainment)

I remember when I read Five Point Someone years back I had enjoyed it a lot and I was eagerly waiting to read Chetan Bhagat's second book; but unfortunately One Night at the Call Center was a huge disappointment. I had decided never to read his book again and I didn't pick up 3 mistakes of my life. To me, his writing looks very commercial and soap-opera-like. Every book of his is being made into a Bollywood movie (which is again commercialized) and it seems like the books are written more like a script for Bollywood than a work of literature. I am not a writer to critique but having read books by a lot of authors across the world I feel his language & writing skills are very ordinary and something which I cannot appreciate. Well, for we all know he himself has never claimed to be literary. I have read much better Indian "writers" and I'm quite surprised to see New York Times calling him "..the best selling English-Novelist in Indian history..." Anyway, the books are priced so low (Rs.95) that no one would probably even think twice before buying the book, so am sure by the sales figures, his books are definitely the best-selling ones...

Not wanting to sound too critical, I did enjoy reading his latest book Two States a lot. Mainly because it's the story of his own marriage and it's very close to reality (he says the readers should still consider it as a work of fiction). It's always nice to read a true story...though it was full of drama and very filmy & spiced up, it was still entertaining and quite engrossing and managed to hold my interest till the last page. But I still stick to my point that the writing style was extremely ordinary and definitely not for literary fans.

The plot is quite predictable. The story is about a couple at IIMA, Krish (a Punjabi boy) and Ananya (a Tam Bram) who fall in love and struggle to get married. The catch is that they dont want to elope and want both the family's approval for the wedding. So they take turns to win each other's families and it doesn't end there 'coz in Indian you dont just marry the guy/girl, you marry the family! So they try hard to get the 2 families to like each other, which in reality, is a HUGE thing to accomplish!

What I liked is that the book draws your attention to the huge cultural differences and racism that still exist in India across various states. People still face the dilemma to marry someone outside their clan. Couples themselves wonder if it is worth it to marry by making the entire family unhappy?

Irrespective of the cliches, the book is worth a read once, to know what couples from different communities (esp north/south india) go through because of the society and family norms...

If you are looking for something to make you laugh or to lighten your mood between serious books, then this is a perfect choice!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

To Sir With Love

Author: E.R. Braithwaite;
Pages: 185;
Genre: Autobiography;
Rating: 4.5/5;
Challenges: Orbis Terrarum 2009; Country -South America (British Guiana)

I am back to reading again, after a long break! Work and vacation didn't leave me any time for reading and I really missed it. I have a lot to finish before the year ends, especially for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge...hope to get it done!

This book by E.R.Braithwaite had been lying in my shelf for many months and I am glad I picked it up this time. To Sir With Love is a true story of a dedicated teacher Rick Braithwaite, a Negro who is often subjected to racial discrimination and prejudice, in the post-war cosmopolitan London city. He begins his first teaching job in a tough school where he faces similar discrimination and reactions. Slowly and painfully he wrestles to break the barriers down and turns hate into love, rebelliousness into self-respect and contempt into consideration.

The book is very inspiring and extremely heart warming. The language is very neat and simple and the characters are very detailed and well etched. I liked the way in which the explosive topic of racism is handled with finesse. Towards the end of the book, Braithwaite realizes that it was not his skin color which was holding him back but his attitude. The book presents a very fresh perspective on equal rights, co-existence and mutual respect....and I absolutely loved reading it!

The book was also made into a movie with the same title, a pretty old one, in the year 1967. Something that am going to watch pretty soon!

A book that I would definitely recommend to all...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Reads..

I finally get the time to make a post...My reading has drastically come down in the last 2 months and I just don't feel good about has been the main culprit, in addition to a busy personal & social life! But I hope to finish the 5 books I have on my list before the end of this year.. hmm..that's quite an ambitious target!

Books read in the last 2 weeks

1. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt - one of the best non-fiction books I've read this year...

2. But then again I could be wrong by Jim Rising - my first book in the humour/comedy genre..a very light read... can be a good break between 2 intense books

Currently reading:

1. To Sir With Love by E.R Braithwaite - this is part of the Orbis Terrarum Challenge'09

2. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami - I badly want to finish this. It's been 3 months since I started this one! :(

In the pipeline:
1. Life after 187 by Wade Halverson

2. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda

Head over to J.Kaye's blog to see what other bloggers are reading this week...

Friday, November 6, 2009


Author: Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 210
Rating: 5/5
Synopsis: Freakonomics is a collection of economic articles by Levitt & co-author Dubner wherein they unravel the mysteries behind the events and issues we encounter in our everyday life, based on their 'unconventional' economic theories. The authors state that there is no unifying theme in the book, though the aim is to explore the 'hidden side of things'

I've been wanting to read this book for ages now and am glad I did it finally. It's one of the best non-fiction books I've read this year. One word that comes to my mind when I think of this book is - Unconventional. The book is not based on the typical economic theories and numbers. It gives a completely different view of the world. Some of the conclusions drawn by Levitt are just unbelievable and close to earth-shattering!

Levitt has a great knack of staying away from convention. He unravels the assumptions & myths layer by layer to present the 'real causes' behind the trends. The book is pretty much like a set of case studies where Levitt takes a few significant historical events (a mundane set of open-ended questions) and analyzes the trends to finally arrive at that one particular moment which actually caused the event.

The book encourages us to think laterally, out of the box, to keep our eyes open and minds alert and break out of the conventional ways of thinking and see through the trends with a fresh eye. In short, it makes economics seem like fun!

Highly recommeded ....A must read!!

But then again I could be wrong

Author: Jim Rising
Genre: Humour/Comedy
Pages: 228
Publisher: Tribute Books
My Rating: 3.0/5

I received this book last month as a review copy from Tribute Books ( ). Thanks to Nicole for sending across this copy to me!

Jim Rising, the author, is the program director of 102.3 The Mountain WDMT and hosts a weekly show called "Rising at Ten". This book is a collection of some of these shows from the past few years.

As the title suggests, this book is nothing but full of rants. It's not really stand-up comedy, so don't expect to have a hearty laugh. But it's quite funny and a good source of entertainment. It's a collection of Jim's personal experiences and mundane activities and other random life situations which are presented in a humorous way..The nice part of the book is that Jim talks about those small things in life which we usually think about...He has a very unique take on life and it makes you wonder if he is reading into your thoughts!

Each of the rants is just about 2 pages long and that makes it an easy read. Some of them are extremely hilarious while a few others have some inspiring & thoughtful messages. However, I did find a few of them quite boring and bland which I just skipped through. Jim's style is quite different, so it takes a bit of getting used to, in order to understand his sense of humor. 10-20 snippets down the line, I got a hang of it and enjoyed reading it...

I feel that an audio version of this book would be a better choice, something that you can listen to while driving or doing some mindless tasks ...for those times when you don't want to stretch your mind a lot...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Author: Paulo Coelho;
Genre: Modern Fiction;
Publisher: Harper Collins;
Pages: 266;
My Rating: 4/5;

Challenges: Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009; Country: Brazil

This is the 7th book for my Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009...and I have 3 more to go to complete the challenge, yet again!

I picked up this book only because the brief synopsis that I read for a few minutes caught my attention, in addition to the cover page (sometimes an interesting cover is the only reason why I buy certain books!). Reading Brida was a totally different experience. It was almost like reading a fantasy novel. The book is all about witchcraft, magic, tarot, rebirth, incarnations, spiritualism , philosophy, etc. So if you are not interested in *any* of these, then this novel is definitely not for you. I love exploring these subjects, so I found the book to be quite interesting!

Brida is the story of a young Irish girl who embarks on a spiritual journey and her quest for knowledge. Here search leads her to a magician who dwells in a forest, who teaches her to overcome her fears and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world, along with the Tradition of the Moon. As Brida continues through her journey, she slowly learns to tap into her hidden gifts...struggling to balance her relationships and her desire to become a witch, find her soulmate and transform herself.

I have never been a big fan of Paulo Coelho. The only book I've read so far is The Alchemist and that too, many years back! So I hardly remember anything from it. In terms of writing, Brida didn't captivate me much but I was truly amazed by the author's philosophical brilliance and spiritual ideas! I liked the way he has portrayed Brida's search of her soulmate with a lot of metaphors and references. Though there is quite a bit of vivid descriptions and nudity involved, it doesn't seem out of place or sleazy. The story is fast paced yet the characters are etched perfectly well to fit into the flow; you never feel that you are missing out on any details...

Typical to Paulo Coelho's works, even this book has a lot of interesting quotes scattered all over -

“Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”

“I learned that the search for God is a Dark Night, that Faith is a Dark Night. And that’s hardly a surprise really, because for us each day is a dark night. None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, and yet still we go forwards. Because we trust. Because we have Faith. That every moment in life is an act of faith.”

“The path of the life is and always will be path of Mystery. Learning something means coming into contact with a world of which you know nothing. In order to learn, you must be humble.”

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Would you lie?

This week's BTT question:

Two-thirds of Brits have lied about reading books they haven't.

Have you? Why? What books?

No! Never! I dont understand why would anyone want to lie about reading something which they havent actually read. I have my own taste for books and I proudly stick to it. I have no issues in accepting the fact that I hardly read any books in many categories like sci-fi, historical fiction or classics. That doesn't make me less smart or my reading insignificant...

There are quite a few books which I have just stopped reading in the middle or just after a few chapters and I would definitely have my opinions about the book to share when someone asks. But I always base my opinion only on the part of the book which I have read...which I feel is fair enough.

But I still wonder why someone would lie about reading a book! Is it peer pressure? Is it just to "fit in" to a discussion, or just to show off their interests or intelligence? Any thoughts?

Head over to MizB's blog to check out what other blogger's feel about this topic...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Monk who sold his Ferrari

Author: Robin Sharma
Pages: 200
Genre: Self-Help/Inspiration
Rating: 2.5 stars (on a scale of 5)

Challenges: Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009 ; Country - Canada (Author's Origin)

I've been wanting to read this book for more than 3 years. I remember it had generated so much hype when it was released and I was quite intrigued by the title as well. As per the statistics, more than a million copies of it are sold; wanted to figure out why?!

Even when I picked up the book I had absolutely no idea that it was a self-help!! I thought it was more philosophical. Anyways, since I am open to reading all kind of genres, I started this with an open mind...

As you can see my rating, I've given it only 2.5 stars. To me that means it's quite an average read and I wouldn't probably recommend it to anyone. The book actually starts off quite well. I was quite inspired reading the first few chapters! I was hoping that it would continue throughout, but half way through, it proved to be quite pedantic. Though the author has a valid point to make, he drags on and on about the same concept which is a real put off. Rather than emphasizing the importance of those principles, it actually bored me to death. I agree, emphasizing the facts repeatedly with various instances and examples is a good way to create a lasting impression on the reader's mind but it shouldn't look artificial or forced. Though Robin Sharma has used a dialogue approach between Julian (the Monk) and John to explain the 7 key concepts, it just fails to look natural. Every question that John asks seems like a rehearsed script in a reality show!! It just doesn't fit in....Probably a different style of writing would have helped here, is my opinion!

Even the 7 concepts discussed seem to be very cliched and I have read many books explaining the same concepts in a better way, holding the reader's interest. The book really disappointed me. I would not recommend this unless you are in desperate need of self-help.

However, I still liked a few quotes in the book which I made a note of, while reading.

"Every event has a purpose and every setback its lesson.I have realized that failure whether of the personal, professional or even spiritual kind is essential to personal expansion. It brings inner growth and whole host of psychic rewards.Never regret your past. Rather, embrace it as the teacher that it is".

"Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you"

"It's only when you have mastered the art of loving yourself that you can truly love others. It's only when you have opened your own heart that you can touch the heart of others. When you feel centered and alive, you are in a much better position to be a better person"

"By controlling the thoughts that you think and the way you respond to the events of you life, you begin to control your destiny"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

"Every event has a purpose and every setback its lesson. I have realized that failure whether of the personal, professional or even spiritual kind is essential to personal expansion. It brings inner growth and a whole host of psychic rewards. Never regret your past. Rather, embrace it as the teacher that it is"

- Page 16, The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma

"There is no one strategy that will magically transform your life, John, let me be the first to say this. Lasting and profound change comes through the continued application of a number of the methods I have shared with you. But yoga is an extremely effective way to unlock your reserves of vitality. I do my yoga every morning and it is one of the best things that I do for myself. It not only rejuvenates my body, it completely focuses my mind. It has even unblocked my creativity. it is a terrific discipline"
- Page 111, The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!(make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dancing With Ana : Giveaway Winners

The 3 lucky winners (randomly picked by my computer) of the book 'Dancing With Ana' by Nicole Barker are :

Veens who blogs @ Giving Reading a Chance
Dina who blogs @ Just Another New Blog
Sarbear who blogs @ My Life is an Effing Fairytale

Congrats to all the winners!! Drop me an email with your complete postal address (if you are in US, P.O Boxes are accepted too) and I shall email the author with the details.

**You are eligible for claiming the book only if you are a follower of this blog (if you are not, you can follow by clicking on the button on the right sidebar)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009 Update

It's 6 months since the challenge started and I am done reading 5/10 books. I think that's a decent progress :) I am enjoying this more than I did last year! I have a tendency of getting stuck reading specific genres, so am glad that becoz of this OT challenge I consciously expand my reading to books from various countries...

1. FLIGHT OF PIGEONS by Ruskin Bond (India)
3. SIDDHARTHA by Herman Hesse (Germany) - book is based in India
4. THE REMAINS OF THE DAY by Kazuo Ishiguro (Japan)
5. BUDDHA MIND, BUDDHA BODY by Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnam)

Currently Reading: THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI by Robin Sharma (Canada)

I am yet to decide on the next 4 books that I need to pick up! So suggestions are welcome :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's Monday.. What are you reading?

Mondays are full of blues...but books always make me smile :) So time for the weekly meme hosted by J.Kaye on her blog

Books read last week:

1. DANCING WITH ANA by Nicole Barker - A very warm Young Adult romance novel which just cannot be put down till you read the last page!

2. 24x7 MARRIAGE by Vijay Nagaswami - A very short and crisp book written by a well known psychotherapist about smart strategies for good beginnings in a marriage, in an Indian context. I picked up this book just to explore new domains and categories in my reading and it was quite good!

3. SYMBOLS OF THE SOUL by Gina Lake - My very first experiment with a book on astro science which is about understanding your life purpose and karma! It was an amazing experience reading this book... god knows how much of it is true, but it was definitely hair raising and scintillating!! I'm definitely going to read more in this genre soon...

Books for next week:

1. KAFKA ON THE SHORE by Haruki Murakami (This reading is getting interrupted since a month!)
2. THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI by Robin Sharma (For the Orbist Terrarum Challenge 2009)

Read any of the books above? What have you thought about them? Share your comments! I would love to hear your views...

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Nicole Barker will be giving away 3 signed copies of her novel "Dancing with Ana" which is a light hearted Young Adult Fiction. I have an extra copy with me, so even if you are not a US/Canada resident, you can still participate in this giveaway and I'll ship the book to the winner.

Synopsis: (from the book cover)

Beth is a lucky girl. She comes from a loving family. She has 3 best friends. She loves to surf and lives 5 minutes from the beach. She also recently discovered that the boy she has grown up with has the most amazing green eyes.. Beth has every reason to smile. Every reason to be happy. Every reason to feel blessed. Then why is she sticking her fingers down her throat?

This being my first YA novel, I've given it 4 stars!! It's a very heart warming book, fun and light to read and definitely not to be missed if you are a YA fan! Click here to read my review of the book

1. This giveaway is open till September 10th 2009 and 3 winners will be drawn on 11th September.

2.The winners will be notified by email, so don't forget to leave your email ID in the comment section. I will email the winners to get their postal address.

3. You can enter by leaving a comment in the comment section of this post. Only one comment.

4. US/Canada residents - PO Boxes are accepted. International residents, I'll ship you a copy after getting your postal address through email.

How to get Multiple Entries for this Giveaway

1. If you are a follower of this blog then you get 2 entries (If you are not a follower, you can become a follower by clicking on the "Follow" button in the right panel)

2. If you are a subscriber to this blog through any RSS readers then mention the same for 1 additional entry. (If you are not a subscriber, you can do so by using the Subscribe option in the top right panel)

3. Get an additional 3 entries for posting about this giveaway on your blog.

4. Get 1 entry for posting the link to author's website on Twitter, Facebook or your own website/blog (Make sure to mention the URL where you have posted)

5. Get an additional 2 entries for signing up on the message boards on the author's website

6. Get an additional 1 entry for posting about this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, Orkut, Ning (book blog community) or any other community.

You just cannot miss reading this book! So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and leave your entries below!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dancing with Ana

Thanks to Nicole Barker for shipping me this free review copy all the way across the world at such a short notice!

Book Info:
Author: Nicole Barker,
Pages: 170,
Genre: Young Adult fiction,
Publisher: The Golden Road Press,
My Rating: 4.0/5

Official Website :

I had never experimented with YA genre so far coz I felt it's just not my type and wouldn't hold my interest for long enough to finish reading the entire book. But when Nicole Barker mailed me asking if I would be interested in reviewing this one, I just jumped at it and agreed! The short synopsis and the cover page were enough to draw my attention to this one and I was surprised that I absolutely loved the book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

The book is about 16 year old Beth, who is a smart girl and lucky enough to have a pretty much 'perfect life'. She has 3 great friends Rachel, Melanie and Jenny and her childhood buddy Jeremy. At the surface it seems like she leads a perfectly normal life with surfing, running, hanging out with friends, partying, school etc. But her inside world is completely in contrast with this about which hardly anyone knows. She is quite unhappy within and is in a constant struggle to come to terms with her parents' divorce which is probably why she is striving to behave different assuming that would help her accept this change and deal with it..

I absolutely loved the way each character is carved so well in the story, especially Beth and Jeremy. The innocent love that develops between Beth and Jeremey was extremely heart warming. It was very well developed and realistic, something each one of us can identify with and wish we could have someone offer such pure, selfless, unconditional love...It really touched me and I loved reading this part. I am way past that age but I could still relate to the strong feelings and emtions which Beth went through..

The book has a very fast pace which worked well for me. I would probably have lost interest if it was too long drawn. Though short, the story was well detailed and does create a depth of emotions in the reader. The short and sweet part of it kept me hooked on and when I finished, it left me craving for a bit more! If you are a regular YA reader, you might not be too happy with the timespan and how fast the things progress.....

I was quite curious to know about the title "Dancing with Ana" becoz Ana was not one of the characters in the book. I did a lot of google search and found in one of the reviews which had an explanation to this and it really intrigued me! "Ana is the short name of Anorexia Nervosa, the very disorder that Beth falls prey to. As of the dancing, there is both a figurative side to it (the way Beth 'toyed' with her unhealthy diet taking 2 steps forward and very rarely, one step back), but there is also a literal dance - in the way she danced her heart out at the end of the book. Dancing away her pain, sadness, anger, frustration and disappointement. The way she released her demons to the sky"

Recommended to teenage girls or people who still want to relive their teen years :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Finds

What great books did you hear about/ discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS! :)

My Finds this week-

  1. "Dancing with Ana" by Nicole Barker
  2. "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramhansa Yogananda
  3. "My Friend Sancho" by Amit Verma
  4. "24x7 marriage" by Vijay Nagaswami
  5. "Act like a Lady, Think like a Man" by Steve Harvey

If you want to check out what other bloggers have found this week, head over to Should be Reading by MizB!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Everybody Wins

Author: Gary Chapman
Pages:128 (Hardcover)
Genre: Non-fiction/Self-Help
Rating: 4.5/5

I had read a lot about Gary Chapman off late and his book 'The Five Love Languages' has been on the NewYork Times Bestsellers list for quite a while. Since I like expermenting with different genres in my reading, I was quite keen on picking up one his books and that's how I ended up reading this.

"Conflicts are inevitable. Arguing is a Choice" is the message conveyed by the author in his book 'Everybody Wins'. A simple yet very useful guide to resolving conflicts in relationships. Dr.Chapman (director of Marriage and FamilyLife Consultants) provides a blueprint to help couples to achieve a win-win solution to their everyday conflicts and disagreements. He explains what's so bad about arguing and why it is very essential to resolve conflicts, however small they are, rather than build resentments and end up in a failed marriage/relationship.

Drawing examples from his own personal interactions with various couples as a counsellor, Chapman presents a set of stories which anyone can relate to and incorporate the learnings in their own life, to resolve the issues. Each chapter ends with a set of "Principles to Practice" which you can reflect on. Overall, the book is very simple and brief yet extremely useful and can serve as a quick reference guide.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Aug 3, 2009)

A good way to beat the monday blues is to read a nice book :)'s time for the weekly event hosted by J.Kaye on her blog. Here goes my list -

Books I completed this week are:

1. EAT PRAY LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert - One of the best books I've read so far. Downright Amazing!! This is one book I really want to treasure in my library.

2. EVERYBODY WINS by Gary Chapman - A very simple yet extremely useful guide to resolving conflicts in relationships. It has some tips that can really change the dynamics of your relationships, for the better. Try it!

On the shelf for the week:

1. ONLY IN NEW YORK, DARLING! by Virginie Sommet

2. KAFKA ON THE SHORE by Haruki Murakami (For Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009)

So....... what's on your list?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Eat Pray Love

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Pages: 350
Genre: Memoir/Non-fiction
Rating: 5/5 (Highly Recommended!)

Have you ever found your "perfect" book? It's an amazing feeling to read the perfect book at the perfect time in your life! This one was mine :-)

It's been ages since I read a book for which I could easily give a 5 star rating without much contemplation! Undoubtedly, this is one of the best books I have read this year. I had read rave reviews about this on a few blogs and had immediately added it to my wishlist. I bought it a couple of days back and since the time I picked it up, I was just unable to put it down till I finished reading the last page. I am glad I bought it because this is one of those books I would love to treasure in my library and read it over and over again! It's truly an amazing book and I highly recommend it, especially if you are looking out for some inspiration in life!

"Eat Pray Love" - the title sounded so intriguing and different and so did the cover page, the design of which I just adored. When you read the book, you'll know the reason behind the title and realize how apt it is.

The book is a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, which details the author's journey from US (her home country) to Italy, India and Indonesia after she goes through a painful divorce followed by an immediate rebound relationship which also fails. It's definitely not just a travelogue detailing her experiences in various cultures. What makes it different from other travelouges is the intensity with which you get engaged into her life and her emotional journey. The journey is more of her quest to find her true self, a new path to peace and enlightenment leaving her ready to love all over again.

The book is extremely heart warming, captivating, inspiring, heart-breaking and hilarious!! I could feel myself empathize with Elizabeth at many situations and see myself in her shoes at other times. Most of the times I would say - 'Hey! I've been through this, it's happened to me!' and that's what I loved the most in the book. I could relate to it completely!

It's the type of book which contains so many anecdotes that I felt like taking a pencil and underlining those tiny pieces of wisdom so that I would always remember them. Here are some of them. I am sure that just by reading these lines you'll feel like picking up the book right away!


“Some time after I’d left my husband, I was at a party and a guy I barely knew said to me, ‘You know you seem like a completely different person, now that you’re with this new boyfriend. You used to look like your husband, but now you look like David [her new boyfriend]. You even dress like him and talk like him. You know how some people look like their dogs? I think maybe you always look like your men.’”


“[My guru] says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you are fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it…”


“The former Catholic nun who oughtta know about guilt, after all wouldn’t hear of it. ‘Guilt’s just your ego’s way of tricking you into thinking that you’re making moral progress.’


"You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be."


"You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you're gonna wear every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control. Drop everything else but that. Because if you cant learn to master your thinking, you're in deep trouble forever"


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Booking Through Thursday (BTT)

This week's question on the weekly BTT event hosted by Miz B (on Should be Reading) -

What's the funniest book you've read recently?

Hmmm...I guess I have 2 books to mention here. It is "Almost Single" by Advaita Kala and "Keep off the Grass" by Karan Bajaj. Both the books were debut books by each of these authors. Though they cant be classified as "well written", they are pretty good as light reads and extremely funny! Almost Single is a chick-lit novel and it had me literally roll on the floor at some points. Keep off the grass was equally funny too, with the experiences from the B-school campus life...

So, what's been your funniest book lately?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme/event hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following -
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser:-

Richard from Texas brought it to my attention recently, when I was complaining about my inability to stop brooding. He said, "You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you're gonna wear every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control. Drop everything else but that. Because if you cant learn to master your thinking, you're in deep trouble forever"

-Page 187, "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert

Have a wonderful Tuesday! :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Book Info:
Author: Jean Sasson
Pages: 302
Genre: Non-Fiction (based on a true story)
Rating: 4.5/5

I've always had this curiosity to learn more about the culture and life in Middle East and also about Islam as a religion. This book which is based on a true story was a perfect way to gain a deep insight into both these aspects.

Princess is a true story which reveals the hidden life of 'Sultana', the Saudi Princess, as told by her to Jean Sasson the author. Sasson travelled to Saudi Arabia in 1978 to work in the King Faisal Hospital & Research Center in Riyadh and then married and lived in Saudi till 1991. It was during this time that she met Sultana and got to know her life story which was then published as a book - the first of the middle eastern women genre and quickly became a new york times bestseller!

Some of the names in the book have been changed to protect the identity of the people who might otherwise suffer from the truth being told... Princess tells the story of Sultana who is born in a unbelievably priviliged royal family in the incredibly oil rich country of Saudi Arabia. I had heard of the wealth and richness of Saudi but it was shocking to get to know the vivid details of the amount of wealth that is ACTUALLY available in that country!!!!!

The writing style is very simple and easy to read. You wont even find time or interest to focus on these things coz the atrocities described in the book just shock the hell out of you! Till I read this, I thought Afghanistan was the worst place to be for a woman but Middle East seems to be a step ahead in this aspect!! I guess I feel scared to step into Saudi even as a tourist now. Each time I read a book like this I feel so lucky to have been born in a place like India, seriously!

This book is actually a trilogy with 'Princess' being the first in the series, followed by 2 sequels which gives us a deeper insight into Sultana's life and her daughters too. I am waiting to pick up the next one...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW)

The Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) is a fun event to celebrate the contribution and hard work of all the book bloggers on this internet space..and also helps in growing the book blogger community. Anyone and everyone who blogs about books and reading can participate in this and there are lot of awards and giveaways to be won!

The second BBAW is being hosted by My Friend Amy from September 14-18, 2009 at the new BBAW blog. You can register your blog here if you want to take part and also nominate your favorite blogs for awards in different categories...

For more details visit
Like a blog? Then nominate it here

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bookish Quote of the Week: #3

"It took people 10 years to figure out that while stuck in a morning commute, they could be listening to a book."
-Publishers Weekly - Paul Hilts

I came across this quote while browsing through some articles...It really makes sense! These days we end up spending so much time commuting in this crazy traffic and apart from just listening to music, listening to books is something all of us can do! I've never ever tried an Audio Book... But now I am thinking of giving it a shot. Any idea how I can get hold of one? Any links where I can download something? Let me know!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award!

I am thrilled to receive this very first award of mine! Thanks to Shona (who has an awesome book blog - Shona's Bookshelf) for sending this award my way and making my day :)

To accept this award I am supposed to list my 7 favorite things and also pass it on to my 7 favorite bloggers. So here goes -

My 7 favorite things -

1. Sipping my hot cup of green tea with a book to read..
2. Listening to music..
3. Doing Yoga..
4. Eating Hot Chocolate Fudge :)
5. Blogging...
6. Taking a walk...
7. Spending time with myself, just doing nothing!

I would like to pass on this award to my 7 favorite bloggers..

Saturday, July 4, 2009

June reading roundup

June has been a good month in terms of reading. I managed to read a variety of books in different genres...stepping away a bit from the usual fiction...and I have lots more on my TBR pile :)

Books read:
(Click on the book titles for the reviews)

1. Dont lose your mind, lose your weight - This book by Rujuta Diwekar is easily one of the best books I've read in the Health/Nutrition/Fitness categories!

2. Buddha Mind, Buddha Body - One of the first books I read of Thich Nhat Hanh and I am truly drawn towards Zen/Buddhism and its teachings after reading this one!

3. The Remains of the Day - I finally read a book by Kazuo Ishiguro after reading hundreds of great reviews of this author. I didnt enjoy this particular book much though, will definitely try reading his other book - Never let me go

Currently on the shelf:
1. Princess - By Jean Sasson
2. Kafka on the shore - By Haruki Murakami
3. Energy of Prayer - By Thich Nhat Hanh
4. The Guns of Navar One - By Alistair Maclean
Watch this space for the reviews....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Remains of the Day

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro;
Genre: Fiction (Contemporary British Fiction);
Pages: 245;
Publisher: Vintage International;
My Rating: 4/5;
Challenges: Orbis Terrarum Challenge-2009, Country: Japan (Author's origin)

Since the time I've picked up reading all over again, I've had this thing to read all the Booker Prize Winners! Also wanted to read some of the works by a Japanese author as part of the Orbis Terrarum Challenge this year, hence picked up this book. About a year ago I had tried reading "Never let me go" by the same author but I couldn't progress beyond 10 pages...but this time I was determined to finish this to figure out why the author is appreciated so much...

'Remains of the Day' is supposed to be one of Ishiguro's best books that won him a Booker Prize and was adapted into an award winning movie (with the same title) as well. The novel with its plot based in post world war-II England is about an English butler Mr.Stevens who lives only to do his duty, to serve his master and humanity in the hope of preserving justice thru out the world. He embarks on a journey to Western Europe, on being insisted by his master and this actually becomes a journey of his past where he slowly learns that the world is a lot different than what he viewed it to be. Through Steven's story Ishiguro also explores the true meaning of professionalism & dignity and how much should someone sacrifice to remain true to one's personal ethics..

It's a very quiet novel which is very gentle yet powerful. I loved the plot but this was my first encounter with Ishiguro's writing and it didn't appeal to me at all. I found the pace to be extremely slow and boring at certain parts. It took me almost a month to finish the book; I could never read more than 15 pages at a stretch..I'm guessing that the booker prize was mainly for the story which was thoughtful and touching. But I've read loads of reviews on the web where people have loved every word of his writing, so I realize it's just not to my taste!

I am keen on watching the movie now. Probably it will help me appreciate the book better?! Have you read the book or seen the movie? Would love to know your views!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Buddha Mind, Buddha Body

Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
Pages: 150
Genre: Spiritualism/Philosophy
Publisher: Parallax Press
Rating: 5/5

Challenge: Orbis Terrarum Challenge, Country: Vietnam

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, poet, teacher, author and peace activist. I was just casually browsing through some articles on the web and found a reference to one of his books and his quotes. I was way too inspired by his quote and that's how I ended up buying this book...

I had never read anything about Buddhism or its philosophy and as I read this book I was completely impressed by it. In this book, Thich Nhat Hanh reveals the richness of "mindfulness" art of being totally aware of the present, in anything that you do - be it brushing your teeth, eating food, drinking tea or just sitting down. It's a way of keeping your mind focussed on your breathing, on the 'present' without any thoughts on past or future. Might sound very simple, but for the kind of lives we lead and how busy our mind is occupied with thoughts and worries, this is difficult to achieve without conscious practice. But just a few mins of practicing "mindfulness" helps clear your thoughts and calm your mind to a great extent!

He also has references to walking meditation throughout the book, something very different from the usual meditation techniques that I had read about. All of us take long, casual walks to relax and de-stress ourselves but through this technique he describes how this walking can be done more mindfully, to achieve that calmness and stability of mind. Totally worth trying it out...

There are a lot of other references on how to train our minds to create the best conditions for happiness. I loved these lines the best -

"How can we help our hearts to grow every day, to be able to embrace everything? The Buddha gave a very beautiful example. Suppose you have a bowl of water and someone put a handful of salt in the bowl of water; it would be too salty for you to drink. But suppose someone threw a handful of salt into a clear mountain river. The river is deep and wide enough that you can still drink the water without tasting the salt. When your heart is small, you suffer a lot. But when your heart becomes bigger, very big, then the same thing does not make you suffer anymore. So the secret is how to help your heart to grow. If your heart is small, you can't accept that person, you can't tolerate him or her with his or her shortcomings. But when your heart is big, you have a lot of understanding and compassion, and then there is no problem, you don't suffer, and you embrace him or her because your heart is so big.
"We suffer because our heart is small. And we demand that the other person should change in order to be accepted by us. But when our heart is large, we don't put forth any conditions, we accept them as they are, and they have a chance to transform. The secret is how to grow our hearts. The practice of understanding helps the energy of compassion to arise. When compassion is there, we don't suffer anymore......."

If your interest lies in this genre then I strongly recommend this book to you...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Its Monday! What are you reading?

J.Kaye from J.Kaye's Book Blog hosts this weekly event on her blog every Monday. I am a day late having been caught up with hell lot of deadlines at work but nevertheless wanted to make this post...

Books I completed this week are:
Dont lose your mind, lose your weight - By Rujuta Diwekar
Buddha Mind Buddha Body - By Thich Nhat Hanh

The books for this week are:
Princess - By Jean Sasson
Kafka On the Shore - By Haruki Murakami
The Energy of Prayer - By Thich Nhat Hanh

I am truly impressed with the philosophy of Buddhism and the writings by the Vietnam based Buddisht monk Thich Nhat Hanh...Looking forward to reading more of his books

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dont lose your mind, lose your weight

Author: Rujuta Diwekar
Pages: 280
Genre: Health/Fitness/Nutrition
My Rating: 4.5/5

I am not the kind of person who usually buys books on nutrition/health/fitness. Google has always been my source whenever I needed any information regarding this aspect. But this is one book which I was very curious to read, coz I had heard a lot about the author (Rujuta) and also how she helped Kareena Kapoor achieve the 'size zero' figure had made a big news. Rujuta was also Anil Ambani's personal trainer at one time...

Rujuta doesn't fall into the conventional league of fitness experts/dieticians/nutrionists. Her book is not just about crash diets to lose weight or how to cut down on certain kinds of food to lose those kilos. It's all about eating & eating more (yeah, u heard it right!) but eating right. Kareena Kapoor claims in her interview that after meeting Rujuta, she didnt go on a diet but she was made to eat more than usual!!

Rujuta practically explains how dieting is misunderstood. It's not about giving up food and going on a salad and lauki juice diet. It's not about just cutting down carbs and fat and junk food but a good diet is something that we need to follow through out our life. Like she writes -

There is no such thing as going 'on or 'off' your diet. Eating correctly is a lifelong commitment, and the diet should be a reflection of this."

"Eating right" should become a part of us which in turn will help us maintain the right body weight...So you can still indulge in your favorite food and not worry about your weight/health if you follow her 4 basic principles of eating right...

Her style of writing may be very local, simple & conversational but when you see the depth of knowledge and insights she has to offer, you'll just ignore everything else!! Enough said, pick the book today and find out for'll definitely come back and thank me for recommending it :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What makes a good book review?

Whenever I want to pick up a new book the first thing I do is to search for multiple reviews by different people so that I get an idea about the general opinion, the plot, characters and whether it appealed to most of the people who read it. So I realize that it's important to write an honest and a good review (by good, I dont mean just 'positive') becoz it does influence a lot of potential readers...

According to me, reading is a very personal thing. I've picked up few books which had some really bad reviews but I've enjoyed reading them and there have also been books which had excellent reviews but disappointed me..So it all depends on your personal tastes, a review just helps you in making a choice.

I feel that a book review should be short and sweet, should give a glimpse of the story without giving away too many details, describe a bit of the characterization, author's style, structure and maybe a few quotes/lines from the book to give an idea of the narrative. "Did you like the book - why or why not?" should be the focus of the review...sharing how the book made YOU feel is more important becoz if I my likes are similar to yours then I'd most probably take your recommendation and add the book to my shelf ..

So...what in your opinion makes a good review?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bookish Quote of the Week: #2

Now, I am not a big fan of classics rather I've never read any classics so far (other than Lolita, if it can be classified under that category). I came across this quote on classics and it really intrigued me...

"When you read a classic you do not see in the book more than you did before. You see more in you than there was before."
--Clifton Fadiman

If you are a classics reader, do you think this quote above makes sense? I'd love to hear your views!

I've tried picking up classics like Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations etc but I haven't been able to go beyond 1 or 2 chapters. I really want to experiment reading few books in this genre but I have no idea what is a good one to start with, which can hold my interest and get me hooked to it...

So all you classics fans out there, if you have any suggestions on what is a good book to start off with, please drop in your suggestions!!! I am looking for something simple yet interesting..

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Monthly Reading Roundup - May

My reading has definitely gone down off late, but even with the hectic work schedule that I had am glad I managed to finish 3 books this month...
  1. Keep off the grass, by Karan Bajaj - a light read fiction novel about a guy in wall street who quits his job to join IIM-B for his MBA, in quest of his identity.
  2. Stay Hungry Stay Foolish, by Rashmi Bansal - a nonfiction book which is a collection of 25 successful stories on entrepreneurship
  3. Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Yet to be reviewed) - I picked this up as part of the Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009

Currently Reading

  • Princess, by Jean Sassen

Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Review: Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

Author: Rashmi Bansal
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 325
My Rating: 4.5/5

"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish", as most of us know is a famous quote by Steve Jobs in his speech for the graduating class at Stanford. The words are aptly acquired as a title for this book, authored by Rashmi Bansal who is an IIMA (Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad) alumni and also the co-founder of the popular youth magazine - JAM (

I liked the fact that the book is kept really simple, including the cover pages, print and the writing. It is a collection of 25 stories of successful entrepreneurs, all IIM-A alumni. Some of these ventures are well known to us such as -, educomp, makemytrip etc which we might have used quite a lot but unware of the people behind it..This book can give a kick start for people who are keen on being entrepreneurs. It's a good source of inspiration because the stories are not just hunky-dory but details the path of struggle, multiple failures and losses that people have been through before successfully establishing themselves. One common message in all these stories is "Persistence is the key to success", so never give up!

Each one of these 25 stories are extremely inspiring. But I tried reading the book in one sitting and I found it to be a bit boring. The writing style gets to be quite monotonous. I would have preferred if the author had used varities in writing each of these stories rather than keep it in a standard format. Nevertheless, I wont complain coz its non-fiction and the content is worth more :) I also felt that expanding the stories to entrepreneurs beyond IIMA would have been good. We all know that there are many such success stories from top B-schools but I would have loved to know about people from a non-MBA background who have made it big in life. That would have catered to a wider audience I guess.

Overall I loved this book. I could see myself thinking about starting a venture and coming up with some business ideas, after reading this book.. That was the impact :) So I highly recommend this book. Even if you are not keen on entrepreneurship, it is still a good read.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Keep Off the Grass

Author: Karan Bajaj
Pages: 260
Genre: Indian Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
My Rating: 3.5/5 ( Mainly for the plot and humor than writing)

I picked up this book mainly because a friend of mine, who shares similar reading interests as mine, recommended it to me. Also the fact that the book dealt with life in a B-school interested me more. How can I not read a book about MBA life?! I can relate to every bit of it :)

Let me start off with these set of lines that I loved in the book -

"It is a question of choices. You have made a choice to be friendly - or human as you call it. Maybe I have not. Maybe I define success here as getting the best job and the best grades; and not the best friends. Maybe you define it differently. I have the courage to stand by my choice. Why cant you stand by yours instead of trying to change mine?"

If you want to read the synopsis of the book, then click here. Let me not waste time and space to re-iterate whats on the book cover..

"Keep off the grass" was a different title for a book, I thought. It caught my attention in the first go. The plot is nothing great, it's a very common story probably told and re-told many times but the characters etched are pretty interesting. I had a lot of fun reading and I must say it was hilarious at some points and I used to burst out loud with laughter, much to the amazement of people around me! I could totally relate to every aspect of the student life in B-school, having lived through it myself for 1 whole year. It was almost like I was reliving some of my MBA days while I read parts of this book. But am sure, even if you are not a B-school grad, you can still relate to the student life described here...

One disappointing aspect to me was the style of writing. I wasn't quite pleased with Karan Bajaj's writing style or his skills. Heck, I am not any professional to make this criticism, but having read a lot of books of various authors across genres, I guess I do have some ability to compare and judge the writing skills. Anyways, this is again a personal opinion and there could be people who would probably love his writing.

I found this to be same as Chetan Bhagat's books, his writing and narrating style. I got to know that there's already a movie being made on this book as well. I hope we dont have *another* Chetan Bhagat in India!! (P.S: no offense meant to either of them)

I'll say that it's just about an OK book and depends on what you are looking for. If its just for time pass, light read and some amount of laugther and fun, then pick this up! It wont disappoint you, at least in that aspect.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bookish Quote of the Week: #1

We come across a lot of quotes related to books in the books we read, in websites, newspapers etc etc and some of these leave a mark on you, long after you've read them. These quotes could be just 1 or 2 lines but some have inspired me a LOT to start reading and start appreciating books in a different way! I love reading new quotes and there's something new and inspiring in each one of it! So I thought, why not share the good ones, here on my blog, once a week. Maybe it might inspire one of you, like it happened to me :)

Here's one for today -

"It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish."
- S.I. Hayakawa

Isn't this so true? I've read some books where I've got so involved into the character and felt like I've that life myself, experiencing the emotions, feeling the joy and pain of the character thru out the book! What do you think? Have you had such experiences reading any books?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Angels and Demons

Author: Dan Brown
Pages: 610
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Fiction
Rating: 4.0/5
Challenges: Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009, Country: USA

I am not very keen on reading books in the Mystery/Thriller categories but after reading The DaVinci Code, I was very keen on picking up another book by Dan Brown. A lot of people recommended 'Angels and Demons' and so I picked this up as part of the OT 2009 challenge. The movie based on this book is releasing sometime soon in the month of May, starring Tom Hanks and I am eagerly waiting to watch this one!

I was a bit let down by this book as compared to The Da Vinci Code coz it seemed more like watching a highly dramatic bollywood movie. But hey! it's supposed to be a Thriller, so I can discount this fact and say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book which always kept me on the edge of my seat with its share of surprises and a never expected nail biting finish. I dont mind suspending my disbelief if the story is well written and it can keep me hooked till the last line of the last page!

I truly admire the way Dan Brown creates his plot...there's always something more beyond what the reader is expecting! Mystery is definitely his territory! Not to forget the attention to details and the vast amount of research that goes behind writing his book. The factual details make the story all the more interesting, coz you know you are not reading something completely fictional. The monuments, paintings, places etc described in the book and the history behind it are all hard facts...I was truly fascinated by the secrets of the Vatican and the Illuminati and the parts played by Galileo and Bernini. It takes guts to write a novel that combines the ancient secret brotherhood, a plot against the Vatican, it's deep secrets, the Pope, the papal conclave and the particles of antimatter...Kudos to Dan Brown for doing a great job with the plot!

Plot Summary: (from the web)

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati--dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism--is alive, well, and murderously active. Brilliant physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, his eyes plucked out, and the society's ancient symbol branded upon his chest. His final discovery, antimatter, the most powerful and dangerous energy source known to man, has disappeared--only to be hidden somewhere beneath Vatican City on the eve of the election of a new pope. Langdon and Vittoria, Vetra's daughter and colleague, embark on a frantic hunt through the streets, churches, and catacombs of Rome, following a 400-year-old trail to the lair of the Illuminati, to prevent the incineration of civilization.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Interview with Sheri Kaye Hoff, author of Keys to Living Joyfully

First of all, I'd like to thank Sheri and Dorothy for sending me a copy of this book. I loved reading it!! If you haven't read a review of my book, then head over to this link for my book review

Sheri is on a virtual blog tour with PumpUpYourBookPromotions all of March and April. You can visit her website and her tour stops @

About the Author:
Inspirational author and life coach, Sheri Kaye Hoff resides in Parker, CO with her husband and three children. She teaches college classes as an adjunct faculty member and has earned her Master of Arts in Organizational Management. Her new inspirational book, Keys to Living Joyfully, offers a way of living a meaningful, successful and joy filled life. Ms. Hoff is a personal and executive life coach. She conducts individual life coaching, teleclasses, writes online curriculum, gives in person small and large group coaching, is a keynote speaker, and conducts corporate training. You can find out more online at her website

Sheri is a wonderful person who is always willing to help! I exchanged a few emails with her after I read her book and she was very prompt and sweet in replying to my queries...I am glad she took some time out of her busy schedule for this interview....

[Me]: Hi Sheri, Thanks for taking the time out to answer these questions. Can we start off by knowing what inspired you to write this lovely book – Keys to Living Joyfully? How did this whole thing happen?
When I was 17, my 15-year-old brother died tragically. This altered the path of my life. For years after my brother’s death, I felt numb and thought I did not deserve to be truly happy ever again. Gradually, I healed, but still struggled with on and off depression. I married my husband and gave birth to three beautiful children. I worked in a career that I loved; yet, I did not truly enjoy my success. I read hundreds of books on leadership and motivation. When I went deeper into my spiritual life, I experienced a way to merge my personal leadership skills and my spirituality. My life clicked into place. I became truly happy, and I felt so free. I, then, had a deep desire to share my keys with others. I hoped that people would be inspired to tap their sources of joy. This desire created my book idea.

[Me]:Based on the reviews and feedback that you have received for your book, do you feel you have been able to strike a chord and connect well with the readers? It definitely inspired me!
The reviews have been wonderful and my book seems to be well received. I think every author has some nervousness associated with reviews. The book has connected with readers and one thing I am told, often, is that people feel like I am writing to them on a personal level-like I already know them and their stories. I felt blessed during the writing process and allowed the book to flow into creation, so I did have a peacefulness about the book and that it was meant to reach people.

[Me]:How long did you take to write this book? Your book is mainly based on your personal experience which in itself is a positive indication to all the readers that the methods suggested in your book will yield desired results. Did you still do any additional research while writing this book?
I wrote the book in five and half weeks and published it about five months from the date that I started writing. It happened very quickly and I felt inspired during this time period and not pressured to make things happen. I do have some quotes in my book and some verses from the Bible, so I did have some research related to this information. The way that I live my life is a result of a lifetime of studying leadership, motivational, and spiritual books and living a spiritual life. I know some people study and study, but don’t get it. You have to have an open heart and be willing to change and grow. I maintain this openness so that I will continue to grow. I could have stopped at the point of seeing my own life change, but I felt, deeply that there were others who were searching and wanted more joy and happiness. If I could inspire people to be their best selves, I thought I should share what I have learned along with the very personal way that I apply my techniques.

[Me]:The cover design looks simple and serene. How did you arrive at it?
I knew that I wanted something that would convey wisdom along with the idea of happiness and joy. I brought about six or so book covers that I liked to my graphic designer and then we talked about my book. I sent her an electronic version of my book so she could read through and get the feel of the material. Then she came up with three concepts for me. I picked my favorite, but did not tell anyone and then everyone that I asked for their opinion picked the same concept that I liked. The final cover is very close to one of the first three concepts. We made a few slight changes. I think that my openness with my graphic designer helped convey to her what I was looking for. Though I think that she went beyond anything I could have created if left on my own. She was very good.

[Me]: Why did you choose to add exercises/workspaces with blank lines at the end of each chapter? Did you feel that it would work well with the readers?
I think that people need to work and reflect in order to really incorporate change in their lives. I felt that if people had exercises and work spaces that they would be more inspired to write down thoughts as they occurred. I also felt that having these exercises created almost a dialogue between the readers and me. It provides an opportunity to connect with the material at a deeper level, as well. I, also, like reading books with workspaces and exercises.

[Me]: Have you always considered yourself a writer or was it just something that you felt you needed to do at this point in life? Do you have any advice for aspiring writers like me?
From a young age, I knew that I was a writer, but I did not really aspire to make it a career. I was sure that one day I would write and publish a book, but I also imagined that I would have a career that is separate from my writing and I do. I am a life coach and work with individual clients as well as groups. Publishing my book did spark other types of writing. I started writing poetry and short stories again. My advice to an aspiring writer is to continue to get to know yourself on a very deep level and write about things that are meaningful and important to you. Don’t write about things that you think you should write about. Write where your heart leads you. When I stopped telling myself what I should do, was the moment my book was born.

[Me]: What kind of books/authors have influenced you the most and why?
I like philosophy. Aristotle and Kant are some of my favorite theorists. I look to the Holy Bible for inspiration. I had it open during most of my writing. I like thinkers like Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Hill, and Dale Carnegie. My taste also includes modern books from Stephen Covey, John C. Maxwell, Daniel Goleman, Jack Canfield, Janet Attwood, and Joe Vitale. I think Joel Osteen’s first book was very good. I tend to like books that focus on positive thinking, spirituality, love, character, and leadership. My list could actually go on and on. For lighter reading, I like biographies of presidents and world leaders, and for fun, I like historical fiction and mysteries.

[Me]: Are you working on your next book? Would it be an inspirational one too? What should the readers expect from you?
[Sheri]: My next book is an inspirational book directed specifically towards people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. I think there is a great deal of suffering for these individuals, yet people out of survival needs have to function in the real world. For PTSD individuals, functioning is greatly impaired. I suffered from PTSD and consider myself to be one who has overcome the disorder. Some studies indicate that as many as 50% of sufferers do not fully recover. I am interested in why and how some people do seem to recover. Some of my research for this is part of my doctoral studies.

[Me]: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I am very involved in my children’s activities and in our local church. I do like reading, traveling, social networking, visiting and entertaining friends and family, and I work full time with my life coaching practice. For fun, I teach some college classes on the subjects of ethics and business.

[Me]: Do you see any challenges in writing self - help/inspirational books?
I think one challenge in writing inspirational books is to arrive at something new. And, really, so many of the greatest thoughts are from ancient times-Jesus, Aristotle, Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Plato and others. One thing that makes my book unique is that I weave my personal story into it and show how I have applied the keys to living joyfully to my life. I am honest about struggles and victories, and I think that my readers sense this and develop a connection.
[Me]: Did you face any rejections or issues while publishing or promoting this book?
[Sheri]: I chose to self-publish from the beginning, so I did not face any rejection.

[Me]: After I read the book and mailed you seeking advice, you were very kind enough to reply to my emails very quickly. Considering that your book has reached a larger audience, don’t you feel overwhelmed with such emails? How do you manage time to reply to each of these?
[Sheri]: Hearing from readers seeking advice is one of the greatest joys that I have received since writing the book. One thing I have learned is that we are all more similar than we are different as humans. I enjoy being able to personally respond to emails like this and set it as a high priority. It gives me more energy instead of overwhelming me. I set time aside each day to respond individually to people. Now, I do run into some roadblocks here and there. For instance, sometimes I will have people call me out of the blue (I have my cell phone number on my website) and they will give me their email address and I write down the wrong address (perhaps transposing numbers or letters). I am not able to get back to some of these people and have no way to let them know that I want to respond to their request. Sometimes I try to solve this by letting messages go to voicemail so I have a better record, but there are times when I feel very powerfully that I must answer the call because the person needs me. Usually, I am able to respond quickly.

[Me]: If you had a chance now, would you change anything about this book or do something different?
I feel happy to say that I would not change anything about the book, but now that I have learned more about marketing, I would have done more prebuzz before the published date.

[Me]: What ways have you been promoting your book, online and offline? How important do you think self-promotion is?
Self-promotion is highly important whether you are self-published or with a major publisher. I have been on a virtual book tour with Dorothy Thompson in March and April of 09. The Chicago Sun Times picked one of my interviews up. I do a lot of social networking on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and a few others. I also have an account on I publish my poetry there and have a blog. I love networking with other authors. I have a blog on my website (this also feeds into my Amazon listing for the book). I am a guest speaker for different groups locally, as well.

[Me]: Thanks for your precious time and also for sending me a review copy of this book. I will always treasure it!

Hope you readers enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did interviewing Sheri! :)