Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Act like a Lady, Think like a Man

Author: Steve Harvey
Pages: 232
Genre: Non-Fiction
My Rating: 2/5

Steve Harvey is a well known comedian who also is a host of the popular show in the West - 'Steve Harvey Morning Show'. This book authored by him lets women into the mindset of a man and sheds light on various concepts and questions. Well, to cut it short, it is just like another 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' kinda book. The book is completely tailored to the Western culture and I simply couldn't relate to it nor enjoy it. Some segments were quite hilarious, funny and direct but overall the book was a bore and I had to skip a few pages in between to reach the end... I would surely not recommend reading this book!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: Oct 8-11

I came across this weekly event hosted on which is a great way to find new book blogs every week, exchange ideas and make new friends!

Book Blogger Hop

Here's what the event is about -

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

And this week's question -

What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging, if any? Is it tea, coffee, water, a glass of wine, or something else?

My Answer: -- I love sipping green tea with lemon and honey, anytime! Whether I am reading a book or browsing through the blogs, that is always my favorite beverage :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Girls of Riyadh (Banat al-Riyadh)

Author: Rajaa Alsanea
Pages: 304
Genre: Memoir/Contemporary/Novel based on a true story
Publisher: Penguin Press
My Rating: 4/5 (Worth a read; gives a good insight into the Saudi culture)

Raaja Alsanea boldy chose to expose the hidden world of Saudi women through her book Banat al Riyadh (in Arabic) which is actually a collection of emails. The book caused a sensation in Saudi Arabia and it was immediately banned there but the English translations of the same book was made available from Jan 2008...

Girls of Riyadh is a story about 4 young women who are the best of friends and are from upper-class Saudi families. They study in universities and medical schools in Riyadh/San Fransisco/Chicago but eventually return back to Riyadh. Even though they are exposed to the modern outlook, they still cannot escape the deep-rooted oppresive traditions of the religiously-dominated-and-conservative Saudi society. Yet they fall in love, have affairs, lost opportunities and broken hearts just like any other girl in other parts of the world..

The book is very fast paced, engaging and quite similar to the 'Sex and the City' type drama, So I won't get into the details of the plot; am sure you already have got an idea of it :) Some of the reviews say that the life of the Saudi girls represented in the book is way too far from the reality. Nevertheless, it does give a big picture of the life out there and it is un-imaginable! Every time I read a book about middle east, I always thank my stars that I was born here in India and I am so glad that I live my life on my own terms and I have my freedom of speech, thought and expression!

Though the novel cannot be regarded as a good literary piece, the small peek into the fascinating culture of the Arab world is definitely worth a read!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Message In a Bottle

Author: Nicholas Sparks
Genre: Romance
My Rating: 4.5/5

I am usually very skeptical about trying new authors. I dont pick up a book by a new author without reading a lot of reviews initially. But when I found this book in the library and I ready the summary I immediately grabbed it. There was something that made me feel I would like it and I wasn't wrong.....I absolutely loved it!! Infact it had been ages since a book had got me in tears (I think the last was Kite Runner) and I cried reading this one....

'Message in a Bottle' is a very sweet, sentimental and a heart-wrenching story. It is about Theresa Osborne, a columnist by profession and a divorcee, who accidentally finds a bottle with a letter inside while jogging at the beach. That love letter written by Garret to Catherine touches her so deeply that she gets very keen on finding out who Garret is. A play of destiny and her constant curiosity leads her to Willmington where she finally meets Garret and falls in love with him....

The story climax is quite tragic & unexpected and it leaves you wanting for more. The book keeps your attention all the while and the story sucks you in. I doubt if anyone would finish the book and not cry :) It wont fail to have an impact on you, especially if you enjoy reading romantic fiction! There is also a movie based on this book starring Kevin Costner and I am waiting to get my hands on it...

The book is very well written and the plot is very well built. I would definitely recommend this to everyone who likes romance and especially the fans of Nicholas Sparks!

Have you read this one?? I am curious to know your views!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Devil Wears Prada

I am back after a long hibernation! Tons of things kept me busy with absolutely no time to read. Hope to keep this space updated more often now :)

While I was extremely busy in the last 3 months, I did manage to read this one book. I laid my hands on it by chance while travelling, due to lack of options. It had never been on my TBR list at all. However I did enjoy reading it a lot!

If you have read the book am sure you will agree with me that it is very cliched. It was no different than Bridget Jones' Diary and the like. Yet these chick-lit novels are quite entertaining and light. They are good to read when you don't want to work your brain much and want to have a relaxed time.....

About the book:
Set against the backdrop of the fashion world in New York city, Andrea Sachs a just out of college graduate, lands into a job with Runway magazine, which seems like a dream job to her. However, the editor of the magazine, Miranda Priestly who is also a major fashion icon, is a living hell to work with. As much as she hates Miranda, Andrea still continues to do her job continuing to hope that it will one day land her an entry into The New York Times...

Andrea as a character is quite interesting as you see her struggling to fit into a world which is completely strange to her as well as maintain her sanity while working with a highly demanding and eccentric boss. However, the plot gets very stale early on as you see that there is nothing new happening in every page that you read. Everyday of Andrea is quite the same as her previous one...the only thing that might hold you on is your interest to know what she might do at the end of it all...

One thing which was strikingly annoying in the book was the fact that Miranda Priestly's character was portrayed in a very uni-dimensional way. As an overbearing boss, she was shown to be absurd to the extreme which didn't seem real. And of course, not to forget the gossip part of the fashion world which seems to get a little overboard.

Waiting to watch the movie now!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nine on Nine

Author: Nandita C Puri;
Genre: Indian Fiction (Short Stories);
Pages: 212;
My Rating: 4/5;

I wanted to give Indian Fiction a break, but I had to redeem the loyalty points on my Citibank Account and this was the only book I could order! When I read the reviews online it seemed quite ok and also it was a short story collection, so I thought - why not?! The fact that the author is the wife of Om Puri (the famous bollywood actor) and not an established writer, had made me more skeptical....I mean books written by these not so famous spouses of famous actors you know..

It's a small book, a collection of 9 short stories and a fast paced one...something that I finished in just one sitting in a few hours. All stories are women centric and most of them set in the backdrops of Bengal (reminds me of Jhumpa Lahiri, I had an overdose of it in her stories!). But thankfully these characters here are not extraordinarily rich & educated women from high society families, like in Lahiri's stories. But I could find a similarity in the writing style of these 2 authors. Puri, like Lahiri, has a style of ending her stories without a definite, happy or a logical climax. That brings the stories few steps closer to reality. Usually all the endings leave you with a lot of thoughts and questions and it is left to the reader's imagination. I love that aspect! Also they all have a dash of suspense in them to deliver the punch of the story, which keeps you engrossed till the end.

The first story "Arranged Marriage", which is set in a Marathi household is the best of the nine. Amazing plot and very well written, with a lot of vernacular lines which bring in realism. I also liked "At Jenny's" and "Flashback" which had very unique & intricately woven plots and a complicated ending... Other stories are enjoyable too, but these 3 stood out for me.

Overall, it's a good read!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Bridges of Madison County

Author: Robert James Waller;
Pages: 170;
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Literature;
Rating: 4.5/5;

Ah! I am back here after a long break of 3 months...It's never been so long since I went without reading a book.. So that itself explains how busy and occupied I was! Hope to read a lot more and finish the pile of books lying in my shelf..

The Bridges of Madison County is a film made in 1995, which is based on this book and recommended by a friend. I had heard a lot of good things about it and as usual I wanted to read the book first before watching the picked this up

This isn't a kind of book I would normally read. It's a sad love story and a very short one but packed with full of emotions & extremely touching...I absolutely loved reading it. It is supposed to be a true love story between Francesca and Robert Kincaid, set in the state of Iowa. Robert is a small town photographer who visits Madison county to photograph the covered bridges. He meets Francesca, a farm wife there whose husband/children are away from the town. They instantaneously fall in love and the story unfolds based on the brief affair between them during those 4 days. Though the love between Francesca and Robert seems very idealistic and flowery, it still is very compelling and doesnt fail to impress you. It may not be the best written book - but it is quite a good read! I am waiting to get my hands on the movie...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Friend Sancho

Author: Amit Varma;
Genre: Indian Fiction;
Pages: 220;
Publisher: Hachette India
Rating: 4.5/5;

I've been long following Amit Varma's widely read popular blog - India Uncut and I absolutely love his writings. A journalist turned novelist and blogger, Amit Varma published his debut novel 'My Friend Sancho' in May 2009. There was no way I was going to miss reading this one. Sancho which was long listed for the Man Booker Asian Prize, was definitely an engaging read..

I find Amit Varma's writing style to be extremely bold, candid, breezy, unique and entertaining. The book doesnt aspire to be a work of serious literature, but it's significantly above the ones like "One Night at the Call Center" (Chetan Bhagat) or "Keep off the Grass"(Karan Bajaj). In fact I wouldn't put these 3 books in the same category, though they are intended to be mass market fiction. The best part about Sancho is that it's not made of the usual cliches, stale humor or predictable silliness. It's different...It's unique...I have probably never come across any book which has so many swear words and dark sarcasm and yet didn't seem to be out of place. However, there are a few instances in the book where Abir (the protoganist inthe book) refers to Amit's blog (India Uncut) which did come across as narcissism and as if those references were deliberately included there to market his blog. Other than that, I didn't find any flaws...

Synopsis: The book deals with a lot of sensitive topics like the ethics of journalism, cross-religious relationships, communalism, corruption and police encounters. Abir Ganguly (the protagonist in the book) is a crime reporter who is called by the police one night to cover an arrest. The last thing he expects is a shootout and a dead man. Did the cops screw up? He has no idea. Abir's boss wants him to write a story of the victim, for which Abir meets the victim's daughther Muneeza to gather more facts and details. Over the next few days, an unlikely friendship develops between the two and an interesting story unfolds...

The book is no Rushdie or Amitav Ghosh but its definitely worth a read! It's interesting, offers good insights & the humor makes you roll on the floor with laughter....Above all, it resonates with you and makes you keep turning the pages till the end!

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 - The year that was..

When I made a list today of all the books I managed to read last year, I was damn thrilled! I started 2009 with a resolution to read at least 2 books a month and am glad to see that I've managed much more than that! I love reading and my passion has grown much stronger over the last 2 years and I hope to continue and read a lot more this year...

Thanks to all the publishers/authors for sending across a lot of review copies/ARC's all the way across the world and all my wonderful book blog community friends for leaving comments and suggesting great books to read :) Because of time constraints I couldn't post the reviews for the books I committed for December...will ensure they are up in the next 1 week..

Here's the complete list-
(Click on the titles to go to the book reviews)

1. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
2. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
3. Black Friday: The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts by Hussain.S.Zaidi
4. Almost Single by Advaita Kala
5. Keys to Living Joyfully by Sheri Kaye Hoff
6. A Flight of Pigeons by Ruskin Bond
7. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
8. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
9. Keep off the Grass by Karan Bajaj
10. Stay Hungry Stay Foolish by Rashmi Bansal
11. Dont Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight by Rujuta Diwekar
12. Buddha Mind, Buddha Body by Thich Nhat Hanh
13. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
14. Princess by Jean Sasson
15. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
16. Everybody Wins by Gary Chapman
17. Dancing With Ana by Nicole Barker
18. The Monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma
19. Brida by Paulo Coehlo
20. But then again I could be wrong by Jim Rising
21. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
22. To Sir with Love by E.R.Braithwaite
23. Two States by Chetan Bhagat
24. A Quiver Full of Arrows by Jeffery Archer
25. The Energy of Prayer by Thich Nhat Hanh (not reviewed)
26. 24x7 Marriage by Vijay Nagaswami (not reviewed)
27. Symbols of the Soul by Gina Lake (not reviewed)
28. 34 Bubblegums and Candies by Preeti Shenoy (not reviewed)