Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Flight of Pigeons

Author: Ruskin Bond
Pages: 135
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Books
Rating: 2.5/5
Challenge: Orbis Terrarum 2009: Country - India

I decided to kick off my Orbis Terrarum Challenge with this book. I dont know why I bought this book, but for some reason it was in my book shelf and I just decided to give it a shot. The book is by Ruskin Bond, an Indian author of British origin. So I decided to tag this with "India" for the challenge.

A brief summary of the book:

Based on true events, A Flight of Pigeons is set in Shahjahanpur, a small town 250 miles east of Delhi in India, during the revolt of 1857 (Sepoy Mutiny) against the British. The story is narrated by Ruth Labadoor, a young British girl, whose father gets killed as the revolt spreads to Shahjahanpur. She and her mother Mariam with a few other surviving members of her family get forcibly abducted by Javed Khan, a fiery pathan who brings them to his house where he expresses his desire to marry Ruth. Mariam manages to persuade Javed Khan to wait for the outcome of the revolt to be decided before marrying Ruth. What happens to Ruth, is what follows.

Ruskin Bond is a very well known author with a lot of books to his credit. This is the first book which I read of his and if you see my rating at the top (2.5 stars) you'll realize that I was pretty disappointed with this book. It just did not appeal to me. I never got involved in the book, it was more like reading a short story in the newspaper and keeping note of all the facts and events. It neither created any emotions in me nor could I empathize with the characters. The length of the book also played a factor. It was just 140 pages and even before I could get into the story, it was almost over! Ruskin Bond's style of storing telling is very plain and simple...sometimes it good to be that way but then it is very important to have the characters etched out well and enagage the readers into the story.

Ruskin Bond might be a very well acclaimed author, I dont deny that at all and I cant judge based on just one book that I read, but this book just failed to strike a chord with me and I'd probably not recommend it highly.

This book is supposed to have been made into a Hindi movie(Junoon) which was quite good, starring Shashi Kapoor, Nafisa Ali and a few others. Probably in this case, the movie would help me appreciate the book?! Need to watch it sometime...

If you have read this and you have a totally different view, drop in a line. I'd love to discuss and know what I missed out here!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Keys to Living Joyfully

Author: Sheri Kaye Hoff
Pages: 160
Genre: Self-Help/Inspiration
Rating: 4.5/5

It had been ages since I read a book in this genre of self help. So it was a refreshing change and it came to me at a time when certain things in life looked very gloomy and I so wanted to see and appreciate the bright side of life. Sometimes a book like this is all you'll need to pep you up and put you back on track! Thanks to Dorothy from PumpUpYourBookPromotions for sending a review copy to me!! I would always preserve a copy of this book in my shelf...

Who wouldn't want to live a life filled with joy? Who wouldn't want to experience that inner happiness and a carefree, cheerful, chirpy feeling deep within ? Am sure all of us want to be in this state, no matter what the situation is, but very few people can actually do it. More often than not, we succumb to life's pressures and circumstances. We blame the external world - friends, family, spouses, colleagues and other situations in life for our unhappiness. We fail to realize that our happiness is completely in our control. It's within US. That's exactly what the author Sheri talks about in her book - how you can claim that joy, passion, zest and energy in your life.
She says -
"Whatever you think about and internalize in your heart, is what you become"...
"If you truly wrap your arms around this idea of how we shape our lives based on our thoughts, you hold the key to unlocking amazing transformative power in your life"

I have always heard about the power of positive thinking and how it can influence our life to a great extent. But some of the books I have read so far have had very high level theories which I could not relate to. Sheri, in her book talks about how each of us can use positive affirmations effectively to overcome difficulties and even change our personality traits. It's all about training your mind to think in a certain way. Just by repeating a statement a few times can change your outlook in life. It's that simple! That's why they say - You are what you think you are. We just have to be aware of how to program our mind and what thoughts to feed in...

Sheri writes through her experiences on how she has used simple positive affirmation statements in her daily life to overcome tragedies and embrace that true inner joy. As soon I as read a few chapters , I mailed Sheri about my thoughts and she was very sweet and promptly replied to me on how to go about using this technique effectively. I could relate to her ideas to a great extent and that's why I found this book to be very healing. The best part is that the book does not give you any complicated theories but very simple things that you can implement in your day to day life and see the changes in your personality and the quality of life!

I just strongly believe in Sheri's approach and her ideas and thats why I loved the book. But I also realize that thought its simple, it's not been very easy to make these changes and I can see that it takes genuine effort!

If you are feeling low, looking to change some aspects in your life and want to know how to tap into that inner joy or if you are just looking to read something very inspirational, I highly recommend it..