Quest for Paradise

quest-for-paradise

Status: Read from Nov 5 to Nov 7, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 107
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Shuchi

Synopsis:

Ishana, an aspiring tatto artist, has to cope with all the people around her to gain what she truly desires. From the mysterious Vaishakh wanting to tattoo a dot on him, to the discovery of skeletons from the closet of her past, Quest for Paradise is a story about love and struggling to vanquish everything in its way, whether it’s people, social stigmas, or an unprecedented catastrophe.

Review:

This is a story of a girl Ishana, who aspires to be a successful tattoo artist, living with her family in Mumbai. She comes from an average family with typical Indian mentality, where neither girls are valued nor supported to take up a job. Forget about a job like being a tattoo artist. She struggles daily to find her paradise. Then one day, a customer Vaishakh enters her tattoo studio. His entry to her life comes with new hope. But what plans do fate has for Ishana? And what path Ishana chooses to find her paradise?

This is a very short book, easy to read. The characters are described well. The protagonist is a very independent and strong woman who will steer your emotions. The plot feels very realistic with gripping narration and climax. The author is done a good job to keep the plot engaging in just over a 100-page book.

All and all a good book but not something to stay with me for long. For me, this is only a one time read book.

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About the Author:

Shuchi is a literature student as well as an engineering graduate. She currently works as a business systems analyst at Cisco Systems in Bangalore. She hopes to one day embrace the pinnacle of self-evolution in the literary realm. When Shuchi isn’t writing or working her day job, she edits literary pieces.

Every Day

Everyday

Status: Read from Oct 10 to Oct 27, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 371
My rating:  5star/5
Author: David Levithan

Synopsis:

Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally, A found someone he wants to be with – every day…

Review:

Imagine waking up every day in a different body. Pretending to be them for a day, without being noticed. Just being a restless soul, traveling from one body to another body every single day.

This is a little weird concept. But this is what happens in this story. The story starts with day 5994 of A’s life. A everyday wakes up in a new body. And this is happening since the day he came to this earth. This is something he cannot control. He doesn’t know who are his parents, he has never known a family or friend. No one knows that he exists and there are no memories he will leave for others to remember. He is leading his life with simple rules: Never to get attached with anyone, never to interfere in anyone’s life, never to get noticed. He might be in someone else’s body, but he always tried his best to act like them, so that no one will ever get suspicious about him.

Everything goes fine, until one fine day, he meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon, inhabiting Justin’s body. He falls in love with her and strangely for the first time ever he longs for a normal life like others. He keeps trying to meet Rhiannon, explains hers and tries to make her understand the ways they can lead a normal life. The whole book is of 40 days duration. The ending of the book was unexpected, but I think that was the only way.

Overall the book was a good read, bit boring at places with the daily activities of the person’s life, whose life A acquired for the day. I felt that Justin was showed more on a negative light in the book. The other thing I didn’t like in the book was, A fell for Rhiannon by her looks. It’s also described that how he knew from the first instance the Rhiannon is a kind person, just by looking at her. Where it is already mentioned in the book, that A can access the memory and find out about a person only after he acquires the body.

The best part of the book was A’s meeting with Nathan and trying to explain all about him. The next what came was unexpected and this brought a complete twist and change in the flow of the story.

After a while, you have to be at peace with the fact that you simply are. There is no way to know why. You can have theories, but there will never be proof.

We all contain mysteries, especially when seen from the inside.

We all want everything to be okay. We don’t even wish so much for fantastic or marvelous or outstanding. We will happily settle for okay, because most of the time, okay is enough. 

Kindness is much more a sign of a character than mere niceness. Kindness connect to who you are, while niceness connects to how you want to be seen.

Answerless questions can destroy you. Move on.

There will always be more questions. Every answer leads to  more questions. The only way to survive is to let some of them go.

The past and future are what’s complicated. It’s the present that’s simple.

If you stare at the centre of the universe, there is a coldness there. A blankness. Ultimately, the universe doesn’t care about us. Time doesn’t care about us. That’s why we have to care about each other.

About the author:

David Levithan

David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children’s book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

 

Laburnum For My Head

laburnum for my head

Status: Read from May 07, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 107
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Temsula Ao

Synopsis:

Every May something extraordinary happens in the new cemetery of the sleepy little town – a laburnum tree, with buttery yellow blossoms, flowers over the spot where Lentina is buried.

A brave hunter, Imchanok, totters when the ghost of his prey haunts him, till he offers it a tuft of his hair as prayer for forgiveness.

Pokenmong, the servant boy, by dint of his wit, sells an airfield to unsuspecting villagers. A letter found on a dead insurgent blurs the boundaries between him and an innocent villager, both struggling to make ends meet. A woman’s terrible secret comes full circle, changing her daughter’s and granddaughter’s lives as well as her own. An illiterate village woman’s simple question rattles an army officer and forces him to set her husband free. A young girl loses her lover in his fight for the motherland, leaving her a frightful legacy. And a caterpillar finds wings.

From the mythical to the modern, Laburnum for My Head is a collection of short stories that embrace a gamut of emotions. Heart-rending, witty and riddled with irony, the stories depict a deep understanding of the human condition.

Review:

Temsula Ao is a strong voice from North-east. Her book Laburnum For My Head is a slim book with a collection of eight short stories. These stories are crafted beautifully with rich language and can be read in one sitting.

I loved the stories Laburnum for My Head, Death of a Hunter, Three Women, Flight, The Boy Who Sold an Airfield, first two being the best. The first one is the story of a woman who desires to plant Laburnum trees in her garden but all her efforts fail. She finally decides to plant these trees on her grave. The second story deals with the inner conscious, dilemmas and confusions of a brave hunter who was forced by Govt. to hunt what they wanted him to for them. ‘Three Women’ shows the interwoven lives of three women affected by one woman’s secret. Also, there are few stories on Naga’s predicament crushed between Indian army and the underground fighters.

The Naxal movement is the dominant theme of the stories. ‘The Letter’ shows the helplessness of the people caught in the crossfire of violence caused by the Indian government and the underground government. ‘Sonny’ shows the disillusionment with the Naxal movement. ‘A Simple Question’ shows the exasperation of the Naga people with the government. The stories depict how adversely the insurgency has affected the women and children of the region. Women trying to save their men from people in power. Children urging parents to pay their exam fees. A hunter can’t get an animal he killed out of his mind. There is a sense of loss and melancholy that runs through the stories.

All the stories are simple and pleasant read. The author was awarded Sahitya Akademi Award for this book.

About the Author:

temsula-ao

Temsula Ao was born in October 1945 at Jorhat, Assam. She received her B.A with Distinction from Fazl Ali College, Mokokchung, Nagaland. She received her M.A in English from Gauhati University, Assam. From Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (presently English and Foreign Languages University,) Hyderabad she received her Post Graduate Diploma in the Teaching of English and Ph.D from NEHU. From 1992-97 she served as Director, North East Zone Cultural Centre, Dimapur on Deputation from NEHU, and was Fulbright Fellow to University of Minnesota 1985-86. She is a retired Professor of English in North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), where she has taught since 1975.

She received the honorary Padma Shri Award in 2007. She is the recipient of the Governor’s Gold Medal 2009 from the government of Meghalaya. In 2013, she received the Sahitya Akademi Award for her short story collection, Laburnum For My Head, given by the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Literature. Ao is widely respected as one of the major literary voices in English to emerge from Northeast India along with Mitra Phukan and Mamang Dai.

I See You

I See You

Status: Read from May 28 to May 30, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 372
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Clare Mackintosh

Synopsis:

You do the same thing every day. You know exactly where you’re going. You’re not alone…

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make…

Review:

This is a mind-blowing psychological thriller.

We all are creature of habits.

Even you.

You reach for the same coat each day; leave home at the same time every morning. You have a favourite seat on the bus or the train; you know precisely which escalator moves the fastest, which ticket barrier to user, which kiosk has the shortest queue.

You know these things: and I know them, too.

I know you buy the same paper from the same shop; your milk at the same time each week. I know the way you walk the children to school; the shortcut you take on your way home from Zumba class. I know the street where you part ways with our friends, after a Friday night in the pub; and I know the 5 km circuit you run on a Sunday morning, and the precise place you stop to stretch.

I know all these things, because it’s never occurred to you that anyone is watching you.

Routine is comforting to you. It’s familiar, reassuring.

Routine makes you feel safe.

Routine will kill you.

I guess after reading the passage above you will not like to maintain a routine now. Nobody thinks seriously about their daily commute to and from, busy with mobile, or reading books or newspaper on their way. What if someone is watching you, observing and making note of your daily movements, which comes out to be your daily routine, in intention or fantasies to hurt you or ….kill you?

This story is build on such plot. Zoe Walker, a daily commuter, sees her photo in the classified section of London Gazette. Worst even, it’s about the ‘escort’ chat lines and dating agencies. Below the photograph, there is the site URL findtheone.com with a phone number. She wants to find out why her photo is there and who put it there. The next day she finds yet another women’s photo in the same section. In the following days very disturbing events take place in the city, the confirms her that her photo in London Gazette is no coincidence but someone’s well planned deliberate action. She knows someone is watching her.

The book is well written with snippets from the killer, that makes you feel creepy. The second part is more chilling, gripping and tense. All the characters have a good part to play in the story. Every character is equally important as the main character in the book. At one instance all characters look innocent of any crimes, but as the story progress, it becomes difficult to trust anyone. The twist in the plot was a stunner. The most exciting part of the book was the epilogue.

I loved the lady cop Kelly. I really liked her detective and deciphering skills. Her past history kept the story connected. I have a soft corner for Matt. And Luncinda was the most cheerful character.

The plot, characters, writing everything was amazing. Except that the plot didn’t feel real. Why would anyone pay such a high price to become a member for findtheone.com to download the routes of women to stalk, rape or kill them. Such sadists and psychopaths can do the same without been registered to any site.

A very good psychological crime thriller read after a long time.

About the Author:

clare makinstosh

Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant now writes full time. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

Clare’s debut novel, I Let You Go, is a Sunday Times bestseller and was the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It was selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club, and was the winning title of the readers’ vote for the summer 2015 selection, and ITV’s Loose Women’s Loose Books. Her second novel, I See You, is a number 1 Sunday Times bestseller, and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Clare’s books are translated into more than 30 languages.

Clare is the patron of the Silver Star Society, an Oxford-based charity which supports the work carried out in the John Radcliffe Hospital’s Silver Star unit, providing special care for mothers with medical complications during pregnancy.

Tribal Tales through Art

The Gonds, are the largest Adivasi Community in Central India and are Dravidian’s whose origin can be traced to the pre-Aryan era. They are mainly found in Madhya Pradesh, Andra Pradesh, Maharastra, Chattisgarh, Odisha. The word Gond comes from Kond, which means green mountains in the Dravidian idiom. The Gond’s speak Gondi language. They also speak Indo-Aryan languages including Hindi. The Gond’s originally painted on mud walls of their houses using fingers and twigs to fill in the designs. They paint vibrant depictions of local flora, fauna, and Gods. Gond paintings depict various celebrations, rituals and man’s relationship with nature.

Last Saturday I went to attend a workshop on tribal Gond painting at Phonix Arena, Hyderabad. I got to meet the celebrated artist Sambhav Singh Shyam. He not only helped us in creating our own first Gond painting but also gave us a background on these paintings and shared about his journey till now as a Gond artist.

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Sambhav’s grandfather Jangarh Singh Shyam was the first Gond artist to use paper and canvas for his art. Sambhav was 12 when he began painting. One of his painting with a forest surrounded by trees, showing a tree uprooted and an egg falling from the nest was selected by National Geographic Channel. Every Gond artist has a unique style that stands as copyright. Sambhav’s style involves the motif ‘r’ resembling a flying bird. It is also a metaphor to keep the spirit flying high, without feeling low at failures.

He is elated that Bhajju Shyam has received the Padma Shri for Gond art, as it is a big boost to art. He also showed the artwork by various other artists from his community and the various patterns they use, including his mother’s, father’s and sister’s unique motifs.

I enjoyed the venue as well as the workshop. The place looked like somewhere out of the city with lush green trees and rooms designed like mud cottages with warli artworks on the walls. The venue also had a library with nice collections of books from different genre (A book lover’s heaven).

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We all created our own Gond paintings which are worth sharing. By looking the paintings, if you feel it’s an easy art, then let me tell you, each of the paintings shown here has taken 3 hours to complete. You can imagine, how much time it would be taking to complete the detailing in much bigger paintings.

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Looking forward to be part of many more such art events to explore other tribal arts of India.

In The Country of Deceit

In the country of deceit

Status: Read from May 11 to May 15, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 259
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Shashi Deshpande

Synopsis:

Devayani chooses to live alone in the small town of Rajnur after her parents’ death, ignoring the gently voiced disapproval of her family and friends. Teaching English, creating a garden and making friends with Rani, a former actress who settles in town with her husband and three children, Devayani’s life is tranquil, imbued with a hard-won independence. Then she meets Ashok Chinappa, Rajnur’s new District Superintendent of Police, and they fall in love despite the fact that Ashok is much older, married, and – as both painfully acknowledge from the very beginning – it is a relationship without a future.

Deshpande’s unflinching gaze tracks the sufferings, evasions and lies that overtake those caught in the web of subterfuge. There are no hostages taken in the country of deceit; no victors; only scarred lives. This understated yet compassionate examination of the nature of love, loyalty and deception establishes yet again Deshpande’s position as one of India’s most formidable writers of fiction.

Review:

In the Country of Deceit is a story of young lady Devayani, the main protagonist. She lives independently in a small town Rajnur after her parent’s death. But she is well surrounded and supported by few relatives and friends. She is constantly insisted by her close relatives to leave the place and live with them or to get married. Her life in tranquil and content with teaching English and creating her garden.

An ex-film actor, Rani, comes to stay in the same town. Gradually they both become good friends and Rani insists Devayani to help in a script for her come-back movie. Through Rani, Devayani meets Ashok Chinappa, Rajnur’s new District Superintendent of Police. Ashok is much older than Devayani, married and has a daughter. Still he cannot stop himself falling for her. Finally Devayani accepts him and constantly lies and deceits her loved ones to secretly meet this man. She falls in love with this man who is much elder and married, who cannot commit her anything. This love has no boundary, no morals or ethics. Even after knowing what she is doing is not right, she does not have any future with Ashok, she is helpless. The guilt of becoming “the other woman” is someone’s life is eating her up inside but every time she becomes helpless and desperate to meet him.

This novel about adult love makes one think about true nature of love and marriage. In a society, where there are restriction to fall in love, two individuals fall in love despite the social norms. The protagonist constantly urges herself to stop this but there are questions that arises with no answers: How one perceives love? Love is an idea….or is it? And who decides what is right and what is not?

This is a simple story, narrated in first person, written in a sophisticated and powerful way. It mirrors the life of an ordinary person, about her loneliness, emotion, agony, and helplessness. There are some very beautiful passages on love and life.

 “Why did I do it? Why did I enter the country of deceit? What took me into it? I hesitate to use the word love, but what other word is there?” 

About the Author:

sashi deshpande

Novelist and short story writer, Shashi Deshpande began her career with short stories and has by now authored nine short story collections, twelve novels and four books for children. Three of her novels have received awards, including the Sahitya Akademi award for `That Long Silence’. Some of her other novels are `The Dark Holds No Terrors’, `A Matter of Time’, `Small Remedies’, `Moving On’, `In The Country of Deceit’ and `Ships that Pass’. Her latest novel is `Shadow Play’. Many of her short stories and novels have been translated into a number of Indian as well as European languages. She has translated two plays by her father, Adya Rangacharya, (Shriranga), as well as his memoirs, from Kannada into English, and a novel by Gauri Deshpande from Marathi into English.
Apart from fiction, she has written a number of articles on various subjects – literature, language, Indian writing in English, feminism and women’s writing – which have now been put together in a collection `Writing from the Margin.’ She has been invited to participate in various literary conferences and festivals, as well as to lecture in Universities, both in India and abroad.

She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2008.

The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man Book

Status: Read from May 1 to May 6, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 181
My rating:  5star/5
Author: H. G. Wells

Synopsis:

There are good scientist and there are great scientists, but Griffin is out on his own. A dazzling mind and a driving ambition have carried him to the very frontiers of modern science, and beyond into territory never before explored. For Griffin has pioneered a new field, the science of invisibility, and dedicated his life to the achievement of a single goal – that of becoming invisible himself.

With such a prize at stake, what sacrifice could be too great? What personal tie would not seem trivial; what ethical scruple not pale into insignificance? Through long, lonely days and nights Griffin has pursued his fantasy of invisibility, yet even as he attains his dreams, his nightmare begins…

With such a prize of power comes an unimagined prize out of the ordinary, out of society, out of life – can an invisible man be a man at all?

Review:

Whenever I wished for a superpower, I wished either for being able to fly or becoming invisible. But never thought about the drawbacks of such superpowers. But after reading this book I think I should re-consider my these wishes.

This is the story about Griffin. This guy has an extraordinary mind and was very much fascinated by light. This was the reason he opted for physics over medicine. His ambitions and the idea of the advantages he would have if he becomes invisible made him dedicate all his time and efforts to make a new invention in the field of science of invisibility. He becomes successful in making himself invisible. He was so ecstatic about the success and the benefits of his newly achieved superpower that he forgets about the hurdles he will have due to his this very superpower.

The story being in a place called Iping, where a stranger visits Mrs. Hall’s inn and rents a parlor room. The stranger seems mysterious and his identity is impossible to determine, as his face is covered in bandages, and he maintains a hostile resistance to Mrs. Hall’s enquiries. The description of the stranger gives an impression of a mummy wearing winter attire in chilly London weather. The stranger has a bad temper and there are many occasions where his outbreak of violence is mentioned.

After all the invisible man is a human with human needs. He needs warm clothes to save himself from winter and food to survive. He cannot roam the streets naked always.  Now Griffin desperately wants to complete his research and find a way out to become visible again. But he meets Dr. Kemp. His plan changes. He trusts Kemp and shares his plan to establish a reign of terror.

The story is divided into chapters which are easy to understand, and the narrative is good to keep the flow with rich English.

About the Author:

h-g-wells

In 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working-class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper’s apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an “usher,” or student teacher. Wells earned a government scholarship in 1884, to study biology under Thomas Henry Huxley at the Normal School of Science. Wells earned his bachelor of science and doctor of science degrees at the University of London. After marrying his cousin, Isabel, Wells began to supplement his teaching salary with short stories and freelance articles, then books, including The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).

Wells created a mild scandal when he divorced his cousin to marry one of his best students, Amy Catherine Robbins. Although his second marriage was lasting and produced two sons, Wells was an unabashed advocate of free (as opposed to “indiscriminate”) love. He continued to openly have extra-marital liaisons, most famously with Margaret Sanger, and a ten-year relationship with the author Rebecca West, who had one of his two out-of-wedlock children. A one-time member of the Fabian Society, Wells sought active change. His 100 books included many novels, as well as nonfiction, such as A Modern Utopia (1905), The Outline of History (1920), A Short History of the World (1922), The Shape of Things to Come (1933), and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (1932). One of his booklets was Crux Ansata, An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church. Although Wells toyed briefly with the idea of a “divine will” in his book, God the Invisible King (1917), it was a temporary aberration. Wells used his international fame to promote his favorite causes, including the prevention of war, and was received by government officials around the world. He is best-remembered as an early writer of science fiction and futurism.

He was also an outspoken socialist. Wells and Jules Verne are each sometimes referred to as “The Fathers of Science Fiction”. D. 1946.

Note: The cover image, author image and author bio is taken from goodreads.

How I Became a Farmer’s Wife

how i became a farmers wife

Status: Read from Apr 29 to Apr 30, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 318
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Yashodhara Lal

Synopsis:

Mild-mannered Vijay is the perfect good Indian husband – responsible and predictable. Well, at least he was, until he decided to turn farmer.

Vijay’s unsuspecting wife Yashodhara is caught off-guard when, tired of the rigours of city life, he actually rents land and starts dairy farming! As if she didn’t have enough going on already, what with her high-octane job, three children and multiple careers.

As Vijay dives deeper into his quirky hobby, the family is plucked from their comfortable life in the steel-and chrome high-rises of Gurgaon, and thrown head-first into a startlingly unfamiliar world – complete with cows and crops, multiple dogs and eccentric farmhands, a shrewd landlady and the occasional rogue snake.

Things heat up further when some godmen land up as co-habitants of Vijay’s farm, and strange goings-on ensue. Will these earnest but insulated city dwellers be able to battle the various difficulties that come with living a farmer’s life?

A laugh-out-loud romp that’ll leave you wanting more!

Review:

This is a hilarious, witty and easy read. This can be called as a memoir. The story revolves around the author’s multi facet life, including her three children – peanut, pickle and papad – and husband Vijay. The author is working as a marketing professional, but also takes zumba classes on Saturday, going for guitar and yoga classes, and writing her next book. Her husband always had a dream to own a land and do farming. But Yashodhara never even though in her dreams that her husband will really make his dream a reality. A casual statement of encouragement from Yashodhara makes her husband determined and he sets up his own dairy farms with partnership with is friend Achu by renting few acres of land.

The story gives some insight on farming and caring about animals. It also shows the difficulties and risks involved in following ones dream of becoming a farmer, arranging labour, procurement of seeds, getting animals and machineries for dairy farming.

In the beginning, Vijay and kids are skeptical towards dogs, but as the need arises, they plan to get one dog. But end of getting five, which includes 4 pus. By the end of the story all have fallen love with the animals and its heartbreaking to deal with the death of few of the animals, mostly because of few lazy fellows who are very careless at their job. Things become more troublesome when Vijay and Achu have to share the land with few babas who keeps on either creating trouble or complaining.

The story narrates, how a city dwellers work against all odds to open up his dairy farm and is able to deliver dairy fresh milk to households. The ending is little emotional but hilarious as well with Vijay’s new dream taking shape.

The author’s life itself is very inspiring and how her husband faces and tackles all the troubles head on is commendable. An wonderfully written, enjoyable read to keep the readers engrossed.

About the Author:

yashodhara lal

Yashodhara Lal is an author, mother of three children, marketing professional, and fitness instructor. She lives in Gurgaon with her family, her husband Vijay and three kids – Peanut, Pickle and Papad – who never fail to provide her with material for her blog, www.yashodharalal.com.

Her first book Just Married, Please Excuse, is a hilarious story about the bumpy early years of marriage. Her other books include Sorting Out Sid, There’s Something About You and When Love Finds You.

She has also written a children’s book, Peanut Has a Plan. How I Became A Farmer’s Wife is Yashodhara’s sixth book, and is the sequel to Just Married, Please Excuse.

Note: Book cover and author's picture is taken from google. Author's intro is taken from the book How I Became a Farmer's wife.

Tuesdays With Morrie

tuesdays with morrie

Status: Read from Jan 24 to Jan 30, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Mitch Albom

Synopsis:

Maybe it was a grandparent, a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and impassioned, helped you to see the world as a more profound place, and gave you sound advice to guide your way through it. For Mitch Albom, it was Morrie Schwartz, the college professor who had taught him nearly twenty years before.

Perhaps, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as the years passed, and insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, to ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, and receive wisdom for your busy life the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom got that second chance, rediscovering Morrie in last months of the older man’s life. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live. Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together.

Review:

One of the most beautiful thought provoking books. This is truly a book about teaching life lessons. Tuesdays with Morrie is the final lesson between a college professor, Morrie, and one of his long lost students and the author of the book, Mitch Albom. Morrie Schwartz is a Sociology professor at Brandeis University. The book starts off as a teacher who watches his student, Mitch Albom, go through college and later in life, Mitch meets his same teacher who is struggling with life threatening disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Mitch Albom, in his job, was wrapped up in material things and career concerns until he was reunited with his dying professor. Albom’s time with Morrie Schwartz, before his death, is chronicled in this charming little book. Even though Morrie is dying, there’s a great deal of humor in Morrie’s attitude, lessons, and stories. Morrie helps you look at life from a different angle or with a different lens. Morrie makes you realize how good life really is, despite his condition, and how we should value our time on Earth. He speaks on death not being a bad thing, but a good thing especially if you have lived the life that you wanted to.

He talks about being kind, compassionate, understanding, open-minded. When many of us chose to be selfish, rude, judgmental. The layout of the book is not straight. It keeps jumping from the past memories of Morries lectures to the class to the present dealing with current life lessons on family, marriage, aging, love, death.

I would had given this book a 4-star if i hadn’t read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. This is a good book but The Last Lecture remains my most recommended book.

“As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on – in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here. Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

“People are only mean when they’re threatened, and that’s what our culture does. That’s what our economy does. Even people who have jobs in our economy are threatened, because they worry about losing them. And when you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself. You start making money a god. It is all part of this culture.”

“Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted. A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.”

About the Author:

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Mitch Albom is the author of the international best-sellers The Five People You Meet in Heaven and For One More Day, as well as eight other books. He works as a newspaper columnist and a broadcaster, and serves on numerous charitable boards. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan. To know more about the author visit here.

Note: Book cover and author picture is taken from google.

 

The Help

The Help

Status: Read from Oct 2 to Oct 5, 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 444
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Kathryn Stockett

Synopsis:

Enter a vanished world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where Black Maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver…

There’s Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son’s tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from college, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they’d be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell…

Review:

“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, “Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”

Amazing read. This book kept me up too late. This book is different. It not only describes the life of housemaids, in 20th century, in Jackson, Mississippi, but also shows the difference in thoughts of white and black person. Also shows, how in 20th century skin color was the discriminating factor.

Aibileen is a black maid in her 50’s who works for the Leefolt family and cares deeply for their daughter, Mae Mobley. She is still grieving for her young son, who died in a workplace accident. Minny is Aibileen’s closest friend and a wonderful cook, but her mouth keeps getting her into trouble and no one wants to hire her, until Aibileen helps secure her a position with Celia Foote, a young woman who is new in town and unaware of Minny’s reputation.

Skeeter has returned home after graduating college to find that Constantain, her family’s maid, who raised her, has mysteriously disappeared. Skeeter’s mother wants her to find a nice man and get married. Her mother does not appreciate her writing skills. Skeeter is more interested in writing a book, to anonymously compile a candid collection of stories about the maids’ jobs and the people they work for will risk her social standing in town, her friendships, and the lives of the maids who tell their stories. She is not sure how to begin with. Skeeter is not loud and no one expected that she wants to use her writing skills to bring in a change.

These three women strike a secret friendship, not only unbelievable but also not tolerable, during 20th century between whites and black. The story jumps back and forth between these three characters, each character narrating their version of life, dinner parties, the fund-raising events, the social and racial boundaries, family relationships, friendships, working relationships, poverty, hardship, violence, and fear.

I wonder why author did not connect Celie Foote and Skeeter. I feel they both would have become good friends. I instantly fell in love with Aibileen. I love the way she cares of the child Mae Mobley and tries to teach her everything good.

“You is kind. you is smart, you is important.”

This story is painful reminder of past cruelty and injustice. It is not only horrifying but also savagely funny, engaging read. Highly recommended.

“All I’m saying is, kindness don’t have no boundaries.”    

About the Author:

Kathryn Stockett

Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and creative writing, she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing for nine years. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter.

Note: The book cover and Author's picture is taken from google and author's bio from goodreads.