Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meme: Get to know me better!

Saw this meme on Ramya's blog where in a fellow blogger asks you a few questions about yourself and you answer them on your blog... Sounded really fun and Ramya was very quick in sending me these questions :) Am sure she put in a lot of thought to come up with these nice ones! So here goes...

1.What is your most vivid memory from your childhood? One incident that stands out?
I can hardly remember things till I was about 5. The most vivid memory is when I travelled on a flight for the first time with my mom to visit my dad in Assam :) I was just about 5 or 6years old then and it was an eventful flight!

2. If you could meet one author in your life (dead/alive) who would it be? Where would you meet him/her?
Would like to meet Vladimir Nabakov and ask him why did he write Lolita, and what was he thinking?!!! That's one book which has made be feel disgusted to the core and driven me nuts...

3. What is one of your favorite non-bookish activity?
Music. I love music...listening as well as singing and all kinds of genres. It gives a joy of its own kind!

4. The year is 2015 and a book is published. The author - Pratima Jayaram. What is the book about?
Hmmm...I dont want to let the cat out of the bag right now! You gotta wait and watch ;-)

Well, on a serious note, I gave it a lot of thought and am really not sure what it's going to be, even if I decide to become an author some day. I know for sure that I wont be writing fiction, coz thats not my cup of tea! It could probably be something on health/fitness/yoga/running or even entrepreneurship (if I become an entrepreneur by then! :) )

5. If you had to pick ONE book from all the books that you have read, which ONE would you pick as the best?
This is a tough one! I feel it's really unfair to pick one book as the best 'coz each book is so unique and a different experience in itself. Am sure even Ramya agrees with me on this! :) But still I'll try to choose one among the entire set that I have read so far. It would probably be 'The Kite Runner' in Fiction and "The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch) in non-fiction.

Thanks for the questions Ramya! :)

If you want to play along, leave a comment here saying “interview me.” Please be sure to include your email address in your profile or in your response. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions.) You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions..

Monday, February 23, 2009

Almost Single

Author: Advaita Kala
Pages: 284
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5

After reading a heavy and depressing book like Black Friday, I wanted something really light and funny to read and this chick-lit novel served the purpose.

'Almost Single' a debut novel of Advaita Kala, is a book about single women nearing thirtees. I found it to be very similar to Bridget Jones's Diary. I would say this one is an Indian Avatar of the former. I am definitely not going to do a comparison between the two because that's going to be unfair to either of them! It's obvious that emotions, feelings, friendships, relationships remain the same irrespective of different cultural contexts! So they are good in their own ways.

I completely enjoyed reading the book. It's a very light read and you can just snuggle up in bed and finish it up in one sitting. The story is about Aisha Bhatia, a 29yr old single woman working in the hospitality industry. It seems like lady luck is never on her side and more often than not, ends up in a 'foot in the mouth' situation. She has 2 close friends, one of whom is single and the other is divorced and you get to know a lot about their lives too and how they form an integral part of Aisha's life. There are definitely a lot of cliches, no doubt, but it's a chick-lit and that's how it is going to be! :)

The characters are very identifiable and you feel like a dear friend of yours is actually narrating a story of her life to you. Also, her description of smaller details adds to the quality of the book and it appealed to me. At some places the book becomes very predictable and I kinda rushed through a few pages. But overall it has a good feel and the ending surprised me as well..

So if you are looking for something light and fun to read, then I recommed you pick this up! You'll definitely laugh out loud and it will cheer you up...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Book Meme

Someone had tagged me on this book meme really long back, just when I had started blogging and I had saved the questions in my archives. Now I cant remember who it was! :( Anyway I felt like blogging about it today and so here goes -

1. Total number of books owned - I love buying books and hardly borrow it from a library. But I've never really counted them so far. If I count only the novels it's probably around 50-100 and if I count ALL the books I have at home it will be anywhere >500 !!

2. Last book bought - The last one I bought recently is "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt, winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. Waiting to start reading it!

3. Last book read - "Black Friday" by Hussain Zaidi. You can find the review in my previous post. I absolutely loved it!

4. Five books that mean a lot to you -
Now, this is a tough one! I had to really think a LOT for this...

1) The Road Less Travelled, by Scott Peck - This book is very special to me becoz it was given by my best friend around 12yrs back and at a time when it made a lot of sense to me.. I've read it multiple times and I still have great memories of it!

2)The complete Calvin and Hobbes collection - This is one set of books I read over n over again and every time it makes me laugh as hard as ever! Its an instant way to put me in good mood. I love those tiny pieces of wisdom which are hidden behind the humor! You can read one of my old posts on CnH here

3) The Namesake - I got hooked into Indian Fiction and started loving it only after reading this book by Jhumpa Lahiri! So it's kinda special to me :)

4) The Kite Runner - first book which got tears in my eyes! I have cried watching movies but never shed tears reading a book until I read this..

5) My Experiements with Truth (Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi) - the first book that I bought with my own pocket money in school! I really loved reading it at that time and I wish to read it again...

5. Tag 5 people to continue this meme -

If you are a reader of this blog, you can feel free to pick this up and dont forget to link back to this post :) But I'd like to end it by tagging Ramya and Bethany coz I am really curious to know what they have to say !

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Black Friday - The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts

Author: Hussain.S. Zaidi
Pages: 290
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Challenges: Orbis Terrarum Challenge; Country - Pakistan (Author's Origin)
(Adding this to the OT challenge, though I read it a month earlier)

The whole world had witnessed the most brutal serial bomb blasts that shook Bombay (now Mumbai) on 12th March 1993. There have been probably many more such unfortunate events in the city and the rest of the country but this one is supposed to be one such incident, which even today, after more than a decade, can shake the readers as much as it shook the entire nation then.

This book was a revelation to me! I was just around 11yrs old when the blasts happened, quite unaffected, living hundreds of Kms away from Bombay and I hardly remembered any details. I’ve always wanted to know more and delve deeper to understand the cause and effects of this incident. So I was very happy to find this book which details the true story.

The book starts and ends with the scene on the day of the blasts, near the affected sites, with a detailed account of the state of innocent victims – like the Chaat or Samosa vendor near BSE, or someone who was just walking out to grab lunch or get a photocopy and was unfortunate enough to succumb to the blast. The details are extremely painful; it pricks your heart and churns your stomach just by reading. This is one such book which has actually made my head spin and almost throw up! I can’t imagine, even in the wildest of my dreams, what the people witnessing this would have gone through. Makes you question, what rights do people have to take away other human lives and cause so much pain and destruction?!

There is a detailed description of the planning that went behind these blasts and the people involved – the underworld, bollywood, politicians, custom officials and the police force. The author was a crime reporter and all the facts presented in the book are through trusted sources, police files & investigation reports. The event that triggered the blasts was the communal riots between the Hindus and Muslims that followed the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Lots of Muslims were massacred and they struck back with vengeance causing further damage to innocent lives. I felt shivers down my spine when I learnt that more than 2000kgs of RDX was smuggled into the city without any hassles! The masterminds behind this meticulous planning were people who were beyond the reach of Indian Government. They used unsuspecting people like puppets to perform this ruthless act and managed to get away even after committing such a hideous crime. So is there a bigger problem out there and are we living in denial because we don’t see a solution to it?

The book leaves you in a very emotional and pensive state, raising a lot of questions. Whatever happened after the blasts, we need to ask ourselves if we are well equipped and adequately prepared to prevent another such disaster? The harsh reality is, NO!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Da Vinci Code

Author: Dan Brown
Pages: 490
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/ Fiction
Rating: 5/5

You must be wondering why I'm reviewing this book ages after it was released and has been read by almost every book lover ! Well, yes, I was one of those unfortunate souls who never read this book when the excitement was on. I was not too much into reading fiction those days so I just let it pass. I did watch the movie, but now I realize I can hardly remember a scene from it; more than that I hadn't comprehended most of the things... I guess thats the reason you should always read a book before watching the movie :)

I picked this book a couple of weeks back and having read just a few pages, I started cursing myself for not having read it much earlier. Now I have a strong urge to read more books in the mystery genre. I won't get into describing the plot coz most of you would have either read the book or seen the movie. So I more keen on writing my opinion and experience reading thru it.

I absolutely loved this book! Never have I read something that has been so gripping right from the first line till the last. The story goes at a breakneck pace and plot is so intricately woven that nothing seems obvious till mystery reveals itself. The author keeps you on your toes with every puzzle, every detail and character that he introduces. Also the fact that a lot of his research is based on certain facts made me feel like it is a true story and not a fiction! The story is extremely convincing and no doubt controversial. I loved Dan Brown's writing style. Some of the reviews online criticize that the characters are not very well developed and the chapters are too small. But I completely disagree. The main characters were introduced and etched very intelligently - especially Leigh Teabing's. The short chapters grabbed my attention, made the book very fast paced, easy to read and interesting.

It is very obvious that Dan Brown has done an exhaustive research for his explanations and depictions of history to be as accurate as possible. It is also obvious that if you introduce arguments and evidences that shake the whole faith on which Christianity is based, there are bound to be skeptics, criticisms & controversies. A lot of resources and events that he has described align with history. You cant possibly prove it is true, but you can't prove it is all false either!! So it all depends on your 'faith' and how you explore the roots of your faith.