Showing posts with label Book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book review. Show all posts

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Book Review : Bubble Wrap by Kalyani Rao

“A daring attempt to depict an overwhelmingly evil, male chauvinistic society”

The “Bubble Wrap” is more than anything, the author’s way of coping up with a society that refuses to see women as a living-breathing equivalent of its male counterpart. The praise for the book lies for a daring attempt to depict an overwhelmingly evil, male chauvinistic society. This is the story of Krishna and Gudiya as they try to escape a life that the malevolent society imposed on them. She succeeds in reminding us of the dilapidated society that we unfortunately live in.

As Krishna and Gudiya go through one life-changing event after the other, they come to terms with the misnomer that they thought to be the world around them. The whole of their dreams and mental depiction of reality pop with the ease of a bubble wrap as the truth slowly perforates into them. They realize that all that they have is themselves in this world and realize that most people around them have intentions that are seldom benign. As the plot thickens, the noose around them tightens and they decide to sacrifice everything that they have and own in a desperate attempt to escape the world that is coming down on them fast. They risk it all on this one final plight of theirs.

The daring in Miss Kalyani Rao’s intent is but sadly missed in her narration, which for reasons unknown is unfairly biased against the men in this world. Her depiction of men in her universe caters to the hysteria of a world of unruly evil hearted goons. She forgets to feed the reader with reasons for her characters actions and never hints at the provocations for their malevolence, in this unfortunate world of hers the status quo is that all men are by nature sex-adicts, pedophiles or evil pimps. She forgets to support her characters with stories that reinforce their actions.

The huge gap in narration left by Kalyani makes the world of character that she has created act out of character, many times without rationale. Added to this is the obvious grammatical mistakes left out by her editor. Not to mention the fact that some of the major characters in her story makes but only what can be called a passing cameo, for instance the husband of Krishna who makes himself present for hardly a few lines in a few pages. Afterwards he vanishes forever, never to be spoken off again. So happens to be the case with many characters, they are lost or forgotten in the course of narration.

The most bewildering part of this book was the snapshots of Krishna’s diary sprinkled around the book. I for some reason could gain nothing, nor device the reason for its existence in the book. They neither add to nor deduct form the story, they are just there for the sake of them being there. They have made me wonder why they exist many times, they still do long after I have finished the book.

But that being said the book is not half as bad as my last few paragraphs portrays it to be. The narration is good enough to keep you rooted to the story and keep the page turning without much effort. The twists that the story contains were a pleasant surprise most of the time and the ending was the biggest surprise of all. This book is a good companion for one of the many short journeys of yours. You will be fine as long as you shy away from asking questions.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Rise of the Sun Prince - Shubha Vilas

The Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas is essentially the part one (Bala Kanda) of the indian scripture Ramayana as written by the sage Valmiki, mixed with a few anecdotes and embellishments from the Kamba Ramayana (another version of the sacred text). I am not here to write a commentary on the scripture, it has been returned way too many times. As far as my review of Ramayana goes I will just for a line from this book. "Ramayana is not a book, it is a way of life".

Unlike the numerous renditions of the epic out there, what makes this one stand out is a set of essential yet simple qualities. The book is simple yet elaborate, the story is decomposed just enough for the casual reader to understand and yet it is sophisticated enough to prevent itself from being turned into yet another soulless recital. Vilas has added more than enough description and commentary to the age old tale that at times it's just annoying to see the sheer volume of his commentary wrestling out the epic out of it's own pages.

The story is retold with much detail and sans boring rhetoric. This is not a book for serious and concerned study of Ramayana, but it is all you would want if the aim is to reread the fables or just to tell your kids the famous bedtime story of India. This is the book that you could want your children to read if you want them to be part of that wonderful world of kings, queens and the many many adventures that you were once part of.

This book comes with a rather colorful front- page and spills on to about 250 pages. Jaico does a good job with the packaging and delivers the content for a sum of 250 Indian rupees (that's hardly 4 dollars and odd cents). yep books in India are rather cheap. My verdict is that it's a good book to have for your kids to read and for you to casually brush up the story.

Disclaimer : The above review of The Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas has been written in association with Jaico Publishing House. 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Navigate by Norman Vincent Peale

"The best thing to do id to get healed of negatives in life, become filled with faith" hence goes the words by Dr Peale as it appears n the introduction of the book and that exactly is the purpose and vision of the book. He seeks to replace the negativities in life with a positive outlook through the medium of prayer and faith. Dr Peale was a minister by occupation and this has aided him in bearing witness to the many sufferings there is and as he himself states that the sheer volume if published as a book could be consider as the account of all human suffering. This very aspect of his occupation has also helped him witness many miracles and has shown him what the human spirit can achieve ones it is determined to so so. This book is a guide to help realize that potential.

That being said one of the greatest back-draws that I experienced when reading the book was also culminating from the fact Dr Peale was a minister and that his proximity to his religion and its intricacies. The book is full of references to Bible, anecdotes, events and stories from the Bible and the christian religious world view. Now I don't mean to say that the book is a christian doctrine, but any person totally unaware or illiterate of the christian world view would find it hard to comprehend and fully appreciate the wisdom of Dr Peale. 

Peale at length talks about the importance of faith and the power and potential of the human spirits and all the chapters in the book is directed towards discovering that potential and that faith. He asks for unflinching faith and he preaches of the enormous life altering strength that is dormant in every one of us. he seeks to liberate that strength by means of prayer and faith. He believes and with the aid of several examples from his life and the ones he touched emphasizes on to the reader this belief of his.

The whole essence of the book can be found in the phrase "Be filled with love and faith" and he prophesies that all your vows will be gone once that is achieved. The book is an excellent guide to any one who finds himself in a doldrum and seeks to escape that impasse. Once you are willing to look deep into the elements of christianity in this book and seek out its meaning and why he choses to use it, this becomes and excellent guide but even without that all you have to do look beyond them and the book will serve its purpose, and will help navigate you through your life.

In association with Jaico Publishing House

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Aisle be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya

Rishi Piparaiya has truly outdone himself and has shown himself to be a master of satire. He has shown great care and acute observational skills in picking the most annoying and embarrassing of things that happen in one's day to day exchange with the airport and it's queer inhabitants and projected them in a hilarious and thoroughly entertaining way. He has given an whole new outlook to the things that happen in and out of an airplane. Seriously who would have thought that my missing jacket was actually stolen by the Italian mafia. 

Rishi uses a delicate and simple style of writing to convey his story and that too with an even flavor of humour and satire. There is a chance that his sense of humour, predominant his style of humour would come across as slapstick to some but it is undeniable that he got a suave way of making his readers laugh. Anyone who has ever been on a flight and anyone who has seen the way the various quirks of the aluminium tube that flies will find it interesting and can relate to it seamlessly. It is just an understatement to say that Rishi has outdone himself.

They book though randomly satirical, is not random at all in organization. The book is neatly edited and organized as in the order of which the events would occur in an actual flight, from take off to landing and this differentiate 'Aisle be damned' from a regular book of jokes and into a humorous page turner. I will though advice the ones who have not flown to keep away, you don't need to add to your aviatophobia do we and secondly most jokes would appear to be tasteless and blown up to a person who is unaccustomed with such an environment as an airport. 

But for everyone else this is hilarious and light hearted, and would make your stomach hurt from laughing. I personally found the beginning and end to be rather bland and tasteless in nature as compared to the rest of it. I give the book a 'good' status and recommend it exclusively for all fliers, frequent and otherwise. The swaying hips awaits... *chuckle*

In Association with Jaico Publishing House.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Real You by Radhanath Swami

A crispy square book, with crispy pages and intriguing cartoons in it, a fabulous cover with a heart shaped tree and a lot of orange tint in it is what meets the eye when you behold this little book for the first time. The book emanates an aura, an aura of knowledge and wisdom and that is exactly what it contains. The truth is that the simple yet reverberating cover of this book is what attracted me to the book in the first place but once the pages started getting turned the impression was only reinforced. 

The takes flight into an altogether alien world of knowledge and wisdom right from the very first page  and with these beautiful lines about love. "The nature of love is to give.". The book is not one long story about the search for truth or anything magnanimous. Like so many of its successors that strive to preach the same values and wisdom, this book is a collection of nuggets of knowledge all presented in simple and suggestive tone yet having in it a take it or leave it manner.

The book is discontinuous and not knitted together from page to page and chapter to chapter. They are separate and utterly isolated, at times they are even worlds apart. That being said this book is not one raucous and discordant debacle, but on the contrary the book is well organized in a way. All theses little nuggets of wisdom are classified broadly into several chapters and each nuggets is kept trim and concise. The whole book is one succinct attempt to teach life's lessons, concise and straight to the point. This is a book that appears in the way it should appear, truth needn't have to give explanations, they serve only to diminish the purpose of truth and pollute its sanctity.

A striking feature of this book is the numerous cartoons that appear in the book, They sometimes support and at other times intrigues sometimes even serving both these purposes. They give a sense of innocence and simplicity to the hard and tough nuts of wisdom that appears along side these beautiful sketches. Mr Suresh Sawant does a brilliant job in giving a sense of approach-ability to this book, that may only be surpassed by the cover and its design simplicity. Radhanath Owes much of the books success to Mr Suresh in this sense.

"This book is a collection of pearls of wisdom, in the necklace of life, for the beauty of soul" This is how that book is described as in the introduction and I find this statement perfectly true and apt for the book. This is not a story or a myth but a collection of wise words and wisdom. This books aims not to teach you life but to show some of life's vital points and The book does not preach how to learn but gives you points to start planing how to live on your own. This is book is not a one stop place for spiritual awakening but a fun, tiny guide book to life.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Book Review : The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

How relevant is the humane-ness of the detective in a mystery thriller. Be it Sir Doyle's Mr Sherlock Holmes or Miss Christie's Miss Marple or Mister Poirot, They all seem rather the fictional and idolized images of the divinity of justice than the human detective. They are never explored for their emotions but they are celebrated for their cognitive reasoning. 

I wonder, had miss Rowling not put the truth about her being Robert Galbraith and not trust a hefty and unfair comparison upon mister Strike from Master Potter, Mister Galbraith would have gone to be celebrated as one of the finest detectives of this era and worthy to be placed in comparison with any of his fellow detectives. Unlike them he has a character, he has a humanity about him that the others lack. He sounds one among us rather than one among the angels of justice.

What seems now be seen is whether there will come another installment in the life of Mr Strike and whether he will rise to become a series or shall the competition from the fantastical Potter and his band of wizard become too much and Would Mr Strike suffer a terrible death or even worse a demise of character. I shudder to think whether this publicity stunt would have unwittingly spelled the end of what would have been a fine detective series and a success by its own credit.

The one thing that I again and again say that I find unique to Rowling's writing is the sense of character she has bothered to give Mr Strike without compromising on the mystery though tried and tested as it has always been in the genre.

I would happily recommend the book as one of the finest mysteries I have ever read and when not viewed in the glitz and glamour of Potter, Mr Strike is a superior detective and a fine example of Miss Rowling Literary and Creative skills. Though slow to catch on the book itself is interesting, captivating and addictive.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Romi and Gang by Tushar Raheja

“The quintessential Indian story of a quintessential small town Indian teen.”

In India where cricket is a many a times much more than just a sport, it becomes a religion. Though this is a cliché so seldom used the truth is not far from it. Romi is a small town Indian boy, in love with cricket and religious in worship of his god ‘Sachin Tendulkar’, living in a room filled with the legends of the game and a ball hanging from the ceiling. His obsession with cricket is among the many things that makes him not so unique in the nation. He and his gang of similar minded friends who ballet over the coveted pitches in the large maidans are what can be claimed a familiar sighting almost everywhere in India.

The many mischiefs and the petty rivalries, the apprehension with girls and the secret infatuations are something every Indian boy would know all too well.  The technicalities of this story and the various aspects of cricket, though it gives the story authenticity is not what makes it a great story but the simple things that every one of us can relate to is what makes it possible for us.

The author, Mr. Raheja has attempted to recreate the life of a quintessential kid and his life, his emotions, the complexities and challenges of life faced by them with substantial success. The narrative is fluid as it travels from one encounter to another. The way the friendships are build and fostered and the many lessons of life that we learn as we walk alongside Romi and his gang of friends as they chase down their dreams on and off the pitch is mesmerizing.

With such a seemingly simple story the author attempts to drive home many great virtues that we now find only in the sleepy town and fosters the idea that winning is not everything. He shows us through Romi and his life that there are something more important that winning and that there is always a factor of luck involved in it. He makes one realize that certain failures in life are not really failures and that they most certainly does not mean that we are not good enough but on the contrary that we are good enough

Romi is what every one of us has been, or is still is. The various images that the author draws up are things we ourselves have lived through in our childhood days. Either we are Romi or one among his gang or we know Romi or one among his gang.  Part of Tushar Raheja’s success lays in the fact that the story is so close to most us on a personal basis and that one can easily relate to the many characters in the story. He has done away with needless descriptions and literary opulence in exchange for simple to read story that one can take with him. This after all is a quintessential Indian story of a quintessential small town Indian teen.

Amazon India

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Different and Flawless : Tantra by Adi

Tantra the action packed story of a stunningly ravishing and vampire hunting New York city girl named Anu Agarwal, who moves into the sprawling city of Delhi in search of some answers and a couple of blood suckers to kill is both unique and predictable. The narrative is flawless and as Adi takes every reader on a nail biting journey through the alley ways and rooftops of a historic city with some old and set habits. The city offers her an entirely different challenge from what she was used to back in New York. She finds her enemies to be her allies and innocent children to be the price their unholy alliance. She finds powerful enemies, greater weapons and more importantly some answers and more questions to find answers to.

The story is a good and unique one and the narration is insidious, one tends to lose track of time as the story unwinds slowly and painfully. Though the twists are not expertly executed they are not dull or predictable for that matter.The lack of a strong prologue haunts the story as readers are often at a loss when it comes to the why part of most things in the story, Adi was not clearly in a mood to  explore the past of both Anu and the vampires in the city of New Delhi.The book has enough in it to keep you interested till the very end if you have a thing for adventure and don't mind some more than ugly vampires.

The fall side of the story is that its very predictable when you are done with less than half the chapters and it has not one such twist that could keep the readers guessing. Once the villain is revealed it is only a matter of some chapter before its the end.There are no surprises  no drama or not even some real action in it after that point. The story-line is plain and straight forward and taken for granted. One other thing is that for some unknown reasons the author has rushed through the climax way too fast and the whole things ends in a unceremonious ruckus. Thirdly the book lets a lot of questions unanswered even the basic ones that seem to be the very core of the story, in fact the story is not that keen on answering questions as it is on asking them. 

The final word is that if you are looking for a one time read that would take your mind of many a mundane stuff in life, then Tantra by Adi is a very good choice. Its hearty, light and full of adventure and lets you easily be lost in the underworld of Delhi among vampires, magic and some super cool 'Tantric' stuff. But if you are that person who would prefer substantial quality to the books they read and is not at all into a the less classic ones then do keep your distance and find another book to read. This is strictly for a reader who is at leisure and is not much obsessed with everything literary about it. 

Some Specs as given in FLIPKART
PublisherApeejay Stya Publishing
Publication Year2013
Number of Pages344 Pages

This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Simple and Sensible : Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai - Rishi Vohra

The candid caricature of a bereft man, a man in the cusp of manhood, his dreams, ambitions and his frustrations. When through purely accidental circumstances he turns out to be the super hero that the metro was craving, it means an opportunity for him to express himself for the first time in front of a society that has for so long ignored his existence. Rishi Vohra's Once upon the tracks of Mumbai is an inquiry into the mental dilemmas of such a man.

It is only true that occasionally we discover ourselves and rediscover ourselves in this master work of his. The truth being that Railman is just as identifiable to me as I am to me. Every teen who has had his heart long for justice in these troubled times has a Railman inside him who goes around kicking the ass of those villains. But when Babloo finds himself becoming Railman, he experiences an acceptance the society was unwilling to give his true self, making him believe that being Railman was the reason for his being. The fall of his ideal being causes much confusion that poor Babloo finds baffling.

The story of how Babloo deals with all the problems of his life, from love to social acceptance and the moment of clarity that he experiences teaches us more about us than about Babloo. In a way Once upon the tracks of Mumbai is more about self than anything else. A good book, simple and sensible is a book worth reading and has a small feel good factor about it. Hence Rishi Vohra's Once upon the tracks of Mumbai is an official Rupertt wind recommendation.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Book Review : The Bankster - Ravi Subramanian

An insidious sequence of events, twists and turns set beautifully to trap and engage the reader from the start to the very end. Ravi has managed to make sure that the element of surprise and anxiety never settles in the readers mind till the very last and ensured that predictability is abolished entirely. The Bankster is a true mystery in all its completeness and essence that can be set apart from the rest as a resonating example of what a mystery must and should be. 

Synopsis :

Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threaten to destroy the reputation that the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) has built over the years. Who is behind these killings, and what is their motive? When Karan Panjabi, press reporter and ex-banker, digs deeper, he realizes that he has stumbled upon a global conspiracy with far reaching ramifications a secret that could not only destroy the bank but also cast a shadow on the entire nation. With only thirty-six hours at his disposal, he must fight the clock and trust no one if he is to stay alive and uncover the truth.

The story ensues from the diamond mines of Angola driven by a covert CIA agent and it passes hands to Vikram Bahl and comes Home to Mumbai where most of it is set. It later wanders off to the Europe pursuing a series of unfortunate yet seemingly unrelated events. The story set amongst the employees in the upper echelons of the Greater Boston Global Bank passes on suspicion as if in a relay race, making it almost impossible for the reader to arrive at a preconceived guess of the mystery man. Something that most mystery writes miss now a days is where Ravi Subramanian scores tons.

The story though extremely realistic has some minor flaws never the less, The story does lack a true protagonist  Karan Panjabi, the Banker turned reporter who is supposedly the hero of the tale come way after the middle of the story and almost to the end. His entrance is so feeble and uncared for that no one knows he is the protagonist till he solves the mystery. No character sketch, no intensity of feeling, no nothing of our protagonist is given anywhere. All on a sudden he drops in with a girl and takes charge of the story leaving the readers feeling lost and somewhat deprived. He could have done much good by introducing Karan in the start and channeling the story through him than from various unambiguous sources.

This particular defect extends to all of the characters and is the single most disastrous the writer made with the book. Almost all of his characters are uncharted and lacks depth. The only person whose character has been examined would be Vikram bahl that to as a consequence of certain events and not as part of a dedicated interpretation of the character by the author. 

Setting that apart the story is magnificently chartered and beautifully distributed across, Mumbai, Vienna and the Middle-East and a handful of well-placed characters. The highest point for the story is its unpredictability which is well supplemented and supported by Ravi's characters. The Bankster is a recommended read by me and is much more than just a financial thriller, the mystery and action adds flavour to the whole story.

I give The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian a rating of : 3 out of 5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at . Participate now to get free books! 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi : A Review

The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi is a rather refreshing break away from Indian contempory writing, a fast paced adventure with twists turns and amazing u-turns is what the indian litreature needs. We could do well with a couple of magnanimous hot cakes of our own other than the usual mystic stalwarts. Sanghi's The Krishna Keyis a slow adventure that unfolds in the mystic realms of India and its fully loaded.

The story evolves from the discovery of four Indus valley seals and the world of unprecidented knowledge that they are meant to unlock. Pepped with some gruesome murders, malevolent conspiracy theories and an uncanny resemblance to several dan brown novels, The Krishna Key by  Ashwin Sanghi is a true thriller. The story moves through simultaneously through both ancient and modern India along with its protagonist Mr Saini, who as in all archaeological thrillers is a history professors. He is a true 'European hero' in a very Indian novel who makes sure that he gets a taste of everything that's there to taste in this story, literally everything. 

The story is creative and refreshing yet the narration is far from being perfect. The greatest short coming of the story would be its beginning which is dangerously slow that it takes perseverance to reach the good part. Although it  gives the reader the feeling of a chewed Dan Brown novel at the initial phase, the story quickly picks up and metamorphosizes into a true thriller and by mid way it is gripping. The story takes you through the breadth and width of India following various clues and leaving behind a rather bloody tail and a lot of confusion. 

The next big disappointment occurs at the end where the author leaves the readers feeling 'ditched'. The ending is lackluster and does not do any justice what so ever to hype and expectation that the author has created through out the story. The problem is that its too surreal when the reader craves for something solid and substantial.

Then there are a couple of glitches in the story which involves a drastic change in the character of the characters and a rather poorly executed love story entwined into the main plot. One minute they are just acquaintances and the next they are in the bed making love. Nobody saw the love happening, what must otherwise have added some sugar to the feisty tale leaves behind a rather sour taste in the readers mind, after all no one expects a 50 something Indian college history professor to turn into a stud over the span of 4 pages. The love story was unwanted and unnecessary. 

Setting aside these two disappointments the novel is really good and can be easily ranked as one of the few very good Indian authored book that I have read in the last couple of years. I would suggest that the any one who can get your hands one just grab it. Aside from a few glitches I pointed out, the story is fabulous, gripping and very well researched. 
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Just Married, Please Excuse

Just Married, Please Excuse, Yashodhara Lal

Yashodhara Lal has did a stunning job when it came to writing her debut novel, Its simple, its sensitive and its sensible. The plot of the story can not be disclosed as I will be called a 'spoiler' but the essence of the story is this, the life of an average couple in the midst of the modern Indian urban cacophony.

The novel brings out the the collisions between tradition and modernism, the urge to be secure and independent and above all a desire to fit in. The story duly highlights the various emotional upheavals and the various tantrums of a modern marriage and the conscious effort that was needed to make it work every time it threatened to fall apart. As with most couples 'falling apart' seems to be central theme that the story revolves around. Incipiently the protagonist gives away the impression that the marriage in question is destined for the abyss and  chapter after chapter seems to be strengthening this conception. 

The story can never be called a classic or even for that matter an exceptional piece of literature, but I doubt that was ever the authors intention was either. The truthfulness and the simplicity of the story as it moves from city to city and from people to more people remains largely the same. The story though some what predictive is nevertheless very engaging and is a looking glass into the life and times of the modern Indian household. The story is engaging, indulgent and stunningly simple, there are now wild goose chases, no extravagant stunts and certainly not flamboyant turning of odds. Everything is laid down neatly by Mrs Lal in a simple and straight forward narrative. 

Just Married, Please Excuse is no Shakespeare or Dickens but that being said it is not a Mills and boons either. It is a sensitive and simple story that has been narrated with utmost honesty and love. The areas where it will score in a readers heart can be easily enumerated as its simplicity and its innate ability to be related to the lives of people that you and I know in abundance. In short it is a story about any metro-sexual modern couple out there in India's several metropolises.