Thursday 24 August 2017

Book Traveling Thursday #1: A Book Worth the Hype

Book Traveling Thursday is a weekly discussion post where we pick up a book that fits a predetermined theme and explore the various cover editions and chose our favorite and least favorite editions. This week's theme is 

Hype is not always a bad thing. Choose a book that was worth the hype.

The book that I chose for this theme is The Book Thief.  A short gasp escaped from everyone's mouth when they would know that being the crazy reader I am, I still haven't read this masterpiece. Some people would also roll their eyes in order to show their intellectual superiority.I hate these people because they bring a bad name to the community of readers. Hey! We don't judge other readers on the basis of what they read. Seems like I am drifting from the topic. Let's come back!  So, when I went to book fair in January this year, my friend literally shoved this book in my face and told me to read it ASAP. And after reading it, I only regret not reading it sooner. Reading it was like an emotional roller coaster. I remember reading it one sitting ( yes, I am proud of myself) and crying my heart out. Now, I try and get my friends to read this one if they already haven't. 

Book Covers available in India  


Covers I like the Most:

 The first one is the Vietnamese Cover, the middle one is an anniversary edition, and the one at extreme right is Portuguese one. I love all of these covers because they symbolize the story in one way or the another. 

My least Favourite Cover:

I hate the movie-tie in editions of the books because they steal all the focus from the book and give the spotlight to the movie. Books over movies, any day!

See you next Thursday with another book!

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Tell Me Something Tuesday #1: Authors I want to read

Tell me SomethingTuesday is a weekly discussion post where a wide range of topics from books to blogging is discussed. And this week's question is:

Who are some authors you have been meaning to read?

Fernando Pessoa- He is a Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, and editor.  I got to know about this author from a friend who told a very interesting story about him. So apparently, Fernando Pessoa created around 75 alter egos of himself. And he used to mess around with his girlfriend writing her letters using the names of his alter-egos. His girlfriend would also play along but after some time, she left him. This intrigued me very much and I decided that I got to read his work.

Chinua Achebe: He was a Nigerian poet, writer, professor, and critic. I got to know about him through the works of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I have read

two of her books and they were amazing. She says she is inspired by Chinua Achebe. Not only that, I have seen various acclaimed writers praising him too. So, I am really excited to read him soon.


Saadat Hasan Manto: He was an Indo-Pakistani writer, playwright, and author. He is considered among the greatest writers of short stories in South Asian History. He was an iconoclast of his time and it reflects in his writings. He faced court trials several times for obscenity in his writings in both India and Pakistan. 


Sudha Murty: Sudha Murty is an Indian writer and philanthropist. She is a computer engineer by profession. When she was studying, she was the only girl in her class because girls were not encouraged to study engineering. Despite all the odds, she emerged as a gold medalist.She was the first woman to be hired as an engineer in that company. After that, she took to writing books and has been a phenomenal success. I find her very inspiring and that's why I have been meaning to read her for some time.

Sarah J. Mass: She is an American Fantasy author. Her books are a rage everywhere from bookstagram to booktube.She is the New York Times and the USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series. Her latest trilogy A court of Mist and Fury is getting popular among readers. I have had so many people recommending her books to me that I finally decided I should give it a try. 

Other authors include Salman Rushdie, Italino Calvino, Albert Camus. Mulkraj Anand. Tell me in comments which authors you have been meaning to read. 

Monday 21 August 2017

Mailbox Monday #1 : Lolita

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.  I thought that this is a great way to show what books will form my TBR.

So, the book that I got last week in my mailbox is a giveaway prize I won through Instagram. Look at that cover though! I love it. The book is called Lolita and it is authored by Vladimir Nabokov. It gained the stature of a classic quite quickly. The plot of the novel goes something like this: a middle aged professor is sexually attracted to a 12- year old girl and goes to the extent of marrying her mother to be close to the girl. Quite scandalous! This book was published way back in 1955. Interestingly, this book is added to the Time's Magazine List of 100 best English language novels published from 1923 to 2005. I am looking forward to reading this book so much. 

Saturday 19 August 2017

Book Review: At The Teahouse Cafe

At the Teahouse Cafe is a collection of 15 essays by Isham Cook recounting his experiences in China.

I was very excited to read this book since I know almost nothing about China and its culture and I am not disappointed. The author talks about various issues ranging from education to health to customer service in China. I was a little skeptical of essays being of purely academic nature which get a little boring sometimes but the author did not disappoint there too. 

He draws extensively from his own experiences which make essays quite interesting to read. He is funny and sarcastic, which is icing on the cake. The tone is conversational and he lets the readers take a peek into the culture of China. He does not shy away from talking about sex or what is wrong with the education system in China. You will often find comparisons between China and USA, and China and Japan. The essay on differences between Starbucks in China and Japan is my absolute favorite along with the last essay where he talks about racism and yellow fever.

 My rating: 

 PS: I got a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review via BookTasters

Friday 18 August 2017

Book Review: Pearls of Daily Life

My Rating:

Pearls of Daily Life by Antonia Loschner is a collection of short stories and poems which "invite a journey of discovery". The book explores daily lives of people doing ordinary routine things and finding out little things about themselves. It offers exactly what is promises- wisdom in daily life. A journey of self-discovery in small incidents of life. The book takes on seemingly mundane yet interesting themes- a walk in the garden, a train ride, standing up for your co-passengers, children playing in the garden.

The book came as a breath of fresh air. I was afraid it was going to be like those preachy self-help novel espousing hard routines or sermons to discover yourself. But as soon as I read the first poem- Creativity, I knew I was in for something different. You need not trek the Himalayas to discover yourself, you could very well be taking a walk and surprise yourself. You just need to be a little aware.   Another thing that I liked about the book is how often the author talked mental illness. Mental Illness is a grim reality of today and it has affected so many people around us. But it also true it is also one of the most tabooed subjects to talk about. 

In a nutshell, pick up this book if you want to read something light, breezy and inspiring.

PS: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Thursday 17 August 2017

Book Blogger Hop #1: Why Readathons are not my Cup of Tea?

For those who don't know, a readathon is an event where you set a goal to read certain books in a pre determined time limit. The readathon can have a particular theme or it could be open. It is not only a good way to tackle your TBR but also a great medium to meet other bibliophiles from around the world. A themed readathon is generally followed by a discussion which is instrumental in knowing different perspectives. Readathon might also contain photography challenges, which is a great way to flaunt your skills.

But despite the oh-so-greatness of these readathons, I still can't get myself to participate in one and here's why:

Time Constraint
Readathons are generally organized for 12 /24 hours or even over a period of days. Being a person who thinks 1000 thoughts at the same time, it is quite difficult for me to concentrate for long hours or to abandon everything and just read.

Setting Targets
Reading for me is a way of unwinding from long heavy days. I don't view it as an item of a To-do list that needs to be checked off. So setting targets puts an undue pressure on me to finish these reads in order to "successfully" complete the readathon and contribute to the discussion. Also, seeing other people's reading updates makes me more and more anxious. Damn this competitive spirit!

Reading Experience
I want to devour my books. I want to get to know the characters. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Do a little research about the author. Get to know the author better. I like to stop in between and reflect on what is being said. A tight deadline mars the reading experience for me. Even if I  am able to complete the book, I don't feel satisfied. There is always a sense of something missing.

So, quite honestly. readathons don't work for me. Do they work for you? Tell me in comments!

This writing prompt has been taken from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Check out the blog for amazing reviews and prompts.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Book Talk: Riddles in Hinduism

Riddles in Hinduism by B.R Ambedkar is a scathing remark on the well-established tenets of Hinduism. 

The introduction by Kancha Ilaiah sets a good base for the book. He talks about Ambedkar's life, different roles he played and his critique of Hinduism. He also talks about the current context and how ironical it is for the right to appropriate Ambedkar as a Hindu figure despite his hatred for Hinduism.

Ambedkar has delved upon various aspects of Hinduism. The first riddle digs into the question of who is a Hindu? Ambedkar says that there is no definite answer for that owing to the diversity in thoughts and practices among Hindus. He also looks into the characterisation of Rama and Krishna in the popular narrative and questions the sanctity of their actions. He is also critical of Manu's explanation of the Mixed Caste.

The most interesting read for me was the riddle of The Four Varnas: Are the Brahmans Sure of their Origin?. In this riddle, he explains how different scriptures suggest a different origin of the caste system. There is no coherence among Vedas and Shashtras.

Ambedkar's writing is hard hitting. He raises right questions and views them with an objective lens. He has deeply researched all the scriptures and dissected them for us to see their internal contradictions.He makes you question your own deep-rooted prejudices which were fed to you by the popular narrative. No wonder when Maharashtra Government printed this book, Shiv Sena sought a ban. 

In a nutshell, if you have to read one book this year, it ought to be this one.