25 hours, 50 books! Upto 60% off!

I love The Book Depository for its free shipping and I am a big fan of it’s 25 hours offers. I just wanted to spread the news. Happy book shopping! :D Go crazy!

So what is this thing?

The Countdown promotion will run for 25 hours, starting at 9am BST, Tuesday 12 May 2015. There will be a new book available on our homepage for a great price every 30 minutes. The last one will go up Wednesday 13 May 2015 at 10 am BST.

Can I buy all the books?

You can buy as many of the books as you like; we offer free worldwide delivery, so there is no harm in shopping again & again throughout the day. You are however limited to three copies of each book per person — it’s only fair that as many people as possible get to grab a bargain.

What happens if I’m checking out and the books run out?

The book you’re ordering is only definitely yours when you see the confirmation page — up to that point if someone beats you to it, then sorry you’re out of luck. We hope everyone will get at least one of the titles they’re after.

These offers are really good, are they the same books as normal?

Yes — we’ve done some very special deals with some very special publishers to bring you these great bargains.

Oops. In all the excitement I bought a book I don’t want.

That’s fine, no worries. Just let us know via the form on ourcontact us page and we’ll cancel the order for you.

Is there a way to find out what the next offer is?

No, sorry, the fact it’s a secret is all part of the fun!

I added a book to my basket and it was removed, what happened?

Sorry, the book sold out during the time it took to add it to your basket, better luck next time.

I fell asleep waiting for the next product and missed it — can I still get it at the offer price somehow?

Sorry, no. These offers are known as WIGIGs in the trade (When It’s Gone, It’s Gone); after the offer is over you’ll often be able to buy the book again but at the normal price.

How long are you doing the offer for?

A new title will be added from 9am BST on Tuesday 1 July to 9:30am BST on Wednesday 2 July. Then we’ll all need a bit of a lie down.

Are the products on offer still shipped for free?

Yes, indeed they are. We have free worldwide delivery.

Are there any tricks to get through the checkout quickly?

We recommend that you set up an account (although you don’t need one to shop) and add a credit card ready, save fumbling around when too excited (though you will still need your CVV number). 

Don’t miss out!

Who, Me? by Tina Sharma Tiwari

Date Published: April 2015
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 262
Source: Review Copy provided by Random House India
Format: Paperback

Goodreads SynopsisIs love only about how you look? Will a makeover change Tara’s life? Can it change anybody’s life? When plain Jane Tara is dumped by her fiancé at the altar for a stunning rich heiress, it shakes her confidence. However, she’s not ready to give up. She will do whatever it takes to win her Arun back. Even if it means undergoing a complete makeover!

The school reunion is her big chance. So when Tara turns up there, completely transformed glamorous and sexy-she gets more than her fair share of attention, especially from Arun. It seems her plan is working. But soon the unexpected begins to happen and Tara finds herself in a dangerous situation. She stumbles upon secrets she’d never known. Life shows her how unpredictable it is!

Buy it here – Amazon India | Flipkart | Add on Goodreads

My View: If you read my blog diligently, you know my strange habit of being wary of Indian authors for the most part. I do like some of them like Jhumpa Lahiri and I did like Mohsin Hamid (read previous review). But most of them I don’t get along with in terms of the writing.

Since I had the pleasure of going to the book launch of this one, I decided to give it a go. Also, the fact that the author is a journalist helped me take that brave decision. So was my decision right? Let’s see.

I didn’t like the cover at the first glance, it was only when I held the book in my hand was I able to appreciate that dual dressing bit and realised it was very clever and tastefully done. Well done, Pia Hazarika. I wonder why her name sounds familiar. Will look that up later.

Going past the cover, as is the norm, it took me some time to settle in with the writing. Over time, I didn’t find it difficult to traverse my way through. There were absolutely no typos, no grammatical errors as was expected of a journalist cum writer and I am glad for that.

The book is set in chick lit genre and I believe I knew that when I started reading it. Over my reading though, the book seemed to have transcended its genre from chick lit to thriller. I am not sure how I felt about it though.

The things that I liked about the book includes its being error-free and some very comical situations that had me smiling if not laughing out loud. Well done on that, you author, you!

Things that I would have liked to steer clear of – I understand chick lit does assume some innocence and stupid acts on the part of the protagonists but sometimes it got on my nerves (am I becoming a feminist by the day?). I know one shouldn’t compare books but I am reminded of Janet Evanovich series and how one tends to laugh a lot when reading her books but there are no hard feelings and no way-beyond-stupid acts. I think I had major issues with the book’s plot because I see women as strong and intelligent. Although I did see glimpses of those in another character, I somehow wanted the protagonist to have those too. I wanted to shake some sense into her. But, oh well, if I am feeling strongly for the characters, the author has done her job well, hasn’t she?

Another thing that irked me was the kind of mixing of genres, not that I mind it. But in this book, it seemed more of a forced entry than casual sneakiness. And somehow the reality was lost and the book became a hugely fictional, impossible account of a main character. That was when I realised I didn’t connect with the book any more.

Fantasies are all around us and we want to live in one. But for books termed any other genre than fantasy, I expect realistic situations and thus wasn’t too happy with the way the book advanced. The plot wasn’t for me, personally. The characters, however, were well etched and thought out. And the writing was smooth and flowing.

If you’re into chick-lit and love some thrill mixed with it, you would like this easy, breezy read. I finished reading it in two days, so that’s something.

2/5 stars – It was okay. 2stars

(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)

Huge thanks to Random House India for providing the review copy.

Book Launch: WHO, ME? BY TINA SHARMA TIWARI

Date: April 2, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Monkey Bar, Vasant Kunj

I am unable to go to most book launches because either they are held in Mumbai or at obnoxiously early or late timings but this one was on the right day, at the right time, so I made it.

It wasn’t difficult to trace Monkey Bar at Vasant Kunj. I liked its ambience and the easy, casual mood. The service was good and the snacks delectable. The author, Tine Sharma Tiwari (senior journalist and anchor with Times Now) looked resplendent in a little black dress. She was soon joined by the ravishing Kanika Kapoor (playback singer, Baby Doll and Chittiyan Kalaiyan) and Rishi Raj, stylist.

rishi-raj-tina-sharma-kanika-kapoor_142831234750

And so began the chit chat and the book launch. Rishi Raj on his impression of the book said, “The book has a chick-lit cover and here’s where I would like to say that don’t judge the book by its cover. This story is about going beyond appearances and how important or not a superficial outward appearance is. One tends to assume who the other person is based on how he/she is dressed but that’s merely the tip of the iceberg, there’s more to them than that. It’s like you discover them page by page, as in the book.

The author, Tina Sharma pitched in here to say that the book is about self discovery and about women realizing that the only person they have to love is themselves.

On being asked how she relates to the book, playback singer, Kanika Kapoor said she did it in more ways than one- “I see my life in it, myself in it, every woman in it. It’s about the reality of life and what we go through. We have our inhibitions and fears. As a woman, you can’t be yourself. The day you start loving yourself, it will change your life, like it did for me. I look forward to reading the book.”

The book is about a physical makeover which leads to other discoveries by the protagonist about herself.

Rishi Raj went on to say “How you treat yourself is how the world treats you. I once did a makeover for a 50 year old clinically depressed client and it turned her life around.”

On being asked by Tina, how far will you go to change yourself for the person you love, Kanika replied that she would change herself and do everything for the person she loves. While Rishi Raj smartly quipped, “Let love do it for me instead of me doing it for love. I will do it for me and not because it will make someone else happy.”

Rishi Raj and Tina Sharma Tiwari then read from the book to give the audience a glimpse of what was in store for them.

tina-sharma-tiwari_142831234740

On being asked where she saw herself in the book, Tina replied, “The book is about friendship, the protagonist steps out from home for the first time, lives on her own while doing a job. She is tasting independence for the first time. I had a wonderful four year period where I was in a similar situation and I have written about it.”

On why she chose this title, Tina answered, “There is this point towards the end where comes a revelation for the protagonist and she realises someone she had always kept at length from herself had a crush on her and her reaction is “Who, Me?” and that’s where the title comes from.”

And with that the launch came to an end and I walked out with the book in my hand.


Buy it here- Amazon India | Flipkart | Add on Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

Is love only about how you look? Will a makeover change Tara’s life? Can it change anybody’s life? When plain Jane Tara is dumped by her fiancé at the altar for a stunning rich heiress, it shakes her confidence. However, she’s not ready to give up. She will do whatever it takes to win her Arun back. Even if it means undergoing a complete makeover!

The school reunion is her big chance. So when Tara turns up there, completely transformed glamorous and sexy-she gets more than her fair share of attention, especially from Arun. It seems her plan is working. But soon the unexpected begins to happen and Tara finds herself in a dangerous situation. She stumbles upon secrets she’d never known. Life shows her how unpredictable it is!

Discontent and Its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York, and London by Mohsin Hamid

Date Published: November 27, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 252
Source: Review Copy provided by Random House India
Format: Paperback

Goodreads SynopsisFrom “one of his generation’s most inventive and gifted writers” (The New York Times) , intimate and sharply observed commentary on life, art, politics, and “the war on terror.”

Mohsin Hamid’s brilliant, moving, and extraordinarily clever novels have not only made him an international bestseller, they have earned him a reputation as a “master critic of the modern global condition” (Foreign Policy). His stories are at once timeless and of-the-moment, and his themes are universal: love, language, ambition, power, corruption, religion, family, identity. Here he explores this terrain from a different angle in essays that deftly counterpoise the personal and the political, and are shot through with the same passion, imagination, and breathtaking shifts of perspective that gives his fiction its unmistakable electric charge.

A “water lily” who has called three countries on three continents his home—Pakistan, the birthplace to which he returned as a young father; the United States, where he spent his childhood and young adulthood; and Britain, where he married and became a citizen—Hamid writes about overlapping worlds with fluidity and penetrating insight. Whether he is discussing courtship rituals or pop culture, drones or the rhythms of daily life in an extended family compound, he transports us beyond the scarifying headlines of an anxious West and a volatile East, beyond stereotype and assumption, and helps to bring a dazzling diverse global culture within emotional and intellectual reach.

Buy it here – Amazon India | Flipkart Amazon US | The Book Depository | Add on Goodreads

My View: To tell the truth, the only reason I picked up this book in the first place was because the author was famous for having written The Reluctant Fundamentalist which went on to become a major motion picture. Otherwise, a book with a title like that would have been easily glossed over.

The book has been divided by essays into three parts – Life, Art and Politics. It’s difficult to choose which part I liked the most. But yes, I found the first two parts more easy to read and interesting while the final one was heavy and dry on the palate.

I liked the way the essays have been structured. It starts with giving us a glimpse into the author’s life which makes it easier to appreciate what comes later on. We see the world through his eyes and experiences and it lends itself a different voice than the world might see from their side of the spider’s web.

The author’s journey through his career changes, his personal life and travel within the three countries makes for an interesting narrative. In seeing the world-view through his eyes, one finds oneself wondering at the objectivity and its absence in all things meaningful.

The essays in the Art section also made for a gripping read. With my interest in all things related to books, I could identify where the author was coming from. His essays about rereading books, likeable characters, Murakami, great American novel and the change of reading experience through ebooks found a resonance within me. They made for a page turning read.

Let me now talk about the Politics section. Frankly, I have zero knowledge and/or interest in politics. But every so often, with the help of books like these, I try to keep myself abreast of the goings-on in the world. And that’s precisely where this section stepped in. The essays give a plethora of events to think about, to reflect upon. Looking at the drones and war from an insider’s perspective lends it an air of honesty and raw brutalism that makes one shudder. It’s easy to read about it in the news than to hear someone who has been through it and knows the ins and outs. It would be easier to side with the US on its drones and air strikes when its labelled as a fight with terrorism but when you hear it from the horse’s mouth do you realise it carries within it so much more than just that. The essays give a refreshing albeit heart rending stance to the whole situation. Frankly, it was difficult to go through it. It was unsettling and as is easier, one tends to pass by what is uncomfortable or evokes disturbing emotions. But I needed to know the bird’s eye view of things and not just what the newspapers tell me and hence I read it, every single word of it. It didn’t help settle my perturbed emotions but surely helped me realize that one can never see the panorama from just one side. And now that I have touched on the philosophical, let me give it a rest. And you go read the book.

Highly influential and well-written. Would definitely be trying the author again.

4/5 stars – I liked it. 4 stars

(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)

Huge thanks to Random House India for providing the review copy.

Power Play by Danielle Steel

Date Published: March 13, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 352
Source: Review Copy provided by Random House India
Format: Paperback

Goodreads Synopsis: Fiona Carson has proven herself as CEO of a multibillion-dollar high-tech company – a successful woman in a man’s world. Devoted single mother, world-class strategist, and tough negotiator, Fiona has to keep a delicate balance every day.

Meanwhile, Marshall Weston basks in the fruits of his achievements. At his side is his wife Liz who has gladly sacrificed her own career to raise their three children. Smooth, shrewd and irreproachable, Marshall’s power only enhances his charisma – but he harbors secrets that could destroy his life at any moment.

Both must face their own demons, and the lives they lead come at a high price. But just how high a price are they willing to pay?

POWER PLAY is a compelling, heart-rending portrayal of love, family and career – the perfect read for fans of Penny Vincenzi, Susan Lewis and Lesley Pearce.

Buy it here – Amazon India | FlipkartAmazon US | The Book Depository | Add on Goodreads

My View: It had been quite some time since I read Steel and I had almost forgotten what it was like. So when I saw this opportunity, I jumped at it. Oh, a random fact that I came across, she was born a day before India got her independence. Striking coincidence.

Woah, she sure is a writing machine. She has 200+ distinct works listed on Goodreads and she works on more than one book at a time! I wish I had her brains and writing skills. She is still writing away and she’s almost 70! I hope my brains continue to run by the time I am that age.

Anyway, about the book, I am glad to have come across it at just the right time. I needed an easy read that would read itself while I lay around. It did do that for the most part except when it elicited emotions in me that weren’t so friendly. When the lazy read became an edge of the seat thriller and I was almost afraid to look for fear that something bad will happen. Yeah, it’s one of those books.

Although I was hoping for a more intense connection between the two protagonists since the writer was closely following their lives, it turned out that the reader was merely to look at the gender differences between the power roles. And that one did see. But I wish there was some connection to tie them both together somehow.

The book does seem to end on a happy note if one may call it that. There could have been a myriad set of endings going with that storyline. This was the one Steel had in mind.

I did enjoy the story for it’s being an easy read but I think my other Steel reads have been better and so I was looking for more perhaps.

Nevertheless, this makes for a good, breezy read highlighting the difference between power play among the genders. Not always true but mostly so.

3/5 stars – I liked it. 3 stars

(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)

Huge thanks to Random House India for providing the review copy.

Showcase Sunday #7

The aim of Showcase Sunday by Vicky @ Book, Biscuits and Tea is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.

I haven’t done this in forever but last month, I had such a massive haul, I really wanted to show it to you and decided to do a vlog for a change. What do you think? You like the vlog or the blog post? It’s my second time doing this so I am still learning.

 

Have you read any of these books? Are you looking forward to reading any of them?What was your haul for this week? Put your links in the comments below and I’ll come visit your book haul.

 

Butterfly Season by Natasha Ahmed

Date Published: March 20, 2014
Publisher: Indireads
Pages: 169
Source: Review copy provided by Indireads
Format: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:

On her first holiday in six years, Rumi is expecting to relax and unwind. But when she is set up by her long-time friend, she doesn’t shy away from the possibilities. Ahad, a charming, independent, self-made man, captures her imagination, drawing her away from her disapproving sister, Juveria.

Faced with sizzling chemistry and a meeting of the minds, Ahad and Rumi find themselves deep in a relationship that moves forward with growing intensity. But as her desire for the self-assured Ahad grows, Rumi struggles with a decision that will impact the rest of her life.

Confronted by her scandalized sister, a forbidding uncle and a society that frowns on pre-marital intimacy, Rumi has to decide whether to shed her middle-class sensibilities, turning her back on her family, or return to her secluded existence as an unmarried woman in Pakistan.

We follow Rumi from rainy London to a sweltering Karachi, as she tries to take control of her own destiny.

Buy it here – Amazon US | Add on Goodreads

My View: As is characteristic of me, I jumped into the book without any clue to its plot. What held me on was the easy going language, the interesting plot line and the effortlessness of the story reeling me in. 

The plot isn’t very innovative or original but it stands its own in the context in which it occurs. The cultural relevance of Pakistan is another distinguishing factor. 

The writing is smooth flowing and although a couple of instances had me raising my brow in a ‘really?’, they were addressed later on and made sense. The romance is well done and not too mushy but it would have really helped had the book been given more pages and time for the romance to develop instead of looking insta-love. I hate those.

The characters were real and at times seemed hyper but I guess some people are like that in real life.

Overall, the book made for a quick, interesting read. I look forward to more substantial and lengthy book by the author in the future.

3/5 stars – I liked it.3 stars

(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)

Huge thanks to Indireads for a review copy.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Date Published: April 5, 2014
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 337
Source: Local Library
Format: Hardback

Goodreads Synopsis: Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

Buy it here –Amazon India | FlipkartAmazon US | The Book Depository | Add on Goodreads

My View: The author’s ‘The statistical probability of love at first sight‘ has been on my to-read list since forever. In fact, I think it has been more than 2 years since I bought it but I still need to get to it. But surprisingly when I saw this one sitting on a library shelf, I decided to read this one first. You know how it goes, you borrow books from library and they are the ones actually getting read while the ones on your own shelf sulk away. Oh, well.

As usual, I went in this book blind, no back cover reads, no reviews gone through. Just straight dunk-in. So what did I find? To begin with, I had a feeling this might be getting somewhere but then after another few pages, I thought maybe not. This seems like one of those cliche’d, been there-done that read.

I truly found love for this book in the second half. I can see you nodding your head there. You know me too well, don’t you? Wherever travel comes in a book, I am all for it. And I gobble it up like it’s my very favorite food. Well, actually, it is! Even though I would have wanted some more of that travelling and descriptions but I realized the book wasn’t about that.

As I go through some of the reviews now, I realize a lot of people didn’t like this one for it being cheesy and cliche’d and almost unbelievable. Okay, I would agree it is a bit cheesy and cliche’d and unbelievable. But then isn’t this what books are for? Sometimes life doesn’t give you what a book does. You get to believe and hope and make those dreams come true. That’s not heard of in real life. And that’s what got to me. It’s what made me love this book. The little thoughts, the similar thinking styles of the main characters. That’s not possible, I know! But still I loved it. I gorged on it like anything. It gave me my breath of air, my unfulfilled dream came to fruition. Umm, okay, I know you are thinking I have probably lost it by this time.

Some of the writing in there is truly worth savoring and I read few sentences multiple time just to let all that beauty sink in.

Perhaps it could be the stage of my life from where I’m looking at it that this book makes absolute sense. It makes me see how this book is believable, how it can happen. It makes me want to fall in love and stay there, even at a distance but still in love. Ahh, the feeling.

I think Ms. Smith has given us a fresh concept albeit with the help of some cliche’d story line and instances. I believe this is one of those books that had it come at any other time, I might have given it a pass and commented on it being cheesy but right now, it means the world. It means everything. And someday I would like to send that postcard and ‘wish you were here’.

4/5 stars – I really liked it. 4 stars

(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)

The Mother I Never Knew: Two Novellas by Sudha Murty

Date Published: 2014
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 216
Source: Review copy provided by Random House India
Format: Paperback

Goodreads Synopsis:

What secrets lurk in a family’s past—and how important are they in the here and now?

Sudha Murty’s new book comprises two novellas that explore two quests by two different men—both for mothers they never knew they had.

Venkatesh, a bank manager, stumbles upon his lookalike one fine day. When he probes further, he discovers his father’s hidden past, which includes an abandoned wife and child. Ventakesh is determined to make amends to his impoverished stepmother—but how can he repay his father’s debt?

Mukesh, a young man, is shocked to realize after his father’s death that he was actually adopted. He sets out to find his biological mother, but the deeper he delves, the more confused he is about where his loyalties should lie: with the mother who gave birth to him, or with the mother who brought him up.

The Mother I Never Knew is a poignant, dramatic book that reaches deep into the human heart to reveal what we really feel about those closest to us.

Buy it here – Amazon India | Flipkart  | Add on Goodreads

My View: Once again skeptical of trying a new Indian author but always the one for taking risks, I dived in.

At the beginning, the simple writing did not impress me as such. It is one of the things that puts me off, in fact, because I find it an obstacle as it distracts me from the concept and the story. However, I soon realized that this was not the case with this book. Despite its simple writing, I could focus on the story and the writing aided in adding to the simplicity of the story.

Well, the story isn’t unique but not a mindless repeat as well. It has new facets and is told in a very subjective way. The author has made the story her own.

Although the story could have been just that, a story, instead of a novella. It could have been said in much less words and even less drama but I believe then I wouldn’t have been made privy to all the minor details that bring out the characters and their importance to the story line.

Both the stories have a Bollywood movie feel to it but I preferred the first one over the second. The second one is too dramatic for my taste, dramatic to the extent of being unbelievable. The unnecessary stretch and added drama put me off towards the end and I was just looking forward to it to end. The first story in comparison talks about families and cultures in contrast, describes the different characters in the family and their mindsets. It takes a lot of time to get to the point but that time doesn’t seem like idling away, it adds value to the story. However, the same time seems wasted to me in the second story, with incidents of no value taking place and unnecessary emotional brouhaha that I would rather stay away from.

Having read through other reviews of the book, I realize this is not Ms Murty’s most stellar attempts at writing and I would love to read Wise and Otherwise which has been more widely appreciated. However, having said that, I did not feel like this was an underwhelming performance. Since this is the first of her works I read, I had no set criteria to compare it to and no expectations. I guess that worked in the book’s favor.

Recommended for a one-time light read if you’re okay with some drama.

3.5/5 stars – Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’. images-25

(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)

Huge thanks to Random House India for a review copy.

Shattered Dreams by Shubha Vilas

Series: Ramayana: The Game of Life #2

Date Published: February 4, 2015
Publisher: Jaico
Pages: 404
Source: Review copy provided by Blogadda
Format: Paperback

Goodreads Synopsis:

Shattered Dreams is the sequel to the national bestseller, Rise of the Sun Prince, in the new spiritual and motivational series Ramayana – The Game of Life. Twelve joyful years have passed in Ayodhya since the wedding of Rama and Sita at the end of Book 1.

Now, in Shattered Dreams, Shubha Vilas narrates the riveting drama of Rama’s exile. Through tales of Rama’s unwavering and enigmatic persona, the book teaches us how to handle reversals positively; through Bharata’s actions, it teaches us to handle temptation; and through Sita’s courage, to explore beyond our comfort zone. This complicated family drama provides deep insights on how human relationships work and how they fail.

With Valmiki’s Ramayana as its guiding light, Shattered Dreams deftly entwines poetic beauty from the Kamba Ramayana and Ramacharitramanas, as well as folk philosophy from the Loka Pramana tales, to demonstrate how the ancient epic holds immediate relevance to modern life. Experience the ancient saga of the Ramayana like never before.

Buy it here – Amazon India | Flipkart  | Add on Goodreads

My View: Frankly, I was a bit hesitant before giving this book a nod. I only get along with the writing of very few Indian authors so I am skeptical when trying a new one. A few pages into the book and all my doubts were  put to rest. Shubha’s writing didn’t put me off. He has a rich vocabulary and the writing makes for a smooth, easy read. It was natural and didn’t grab my attention enough to distract me from the concept of the book.

I had not read the first book but being well versed with the general theme of Ramayana, I didn’t think I would feel any disconnect and I was right about that. I believe that will be for most of the readers who have a cursory knowledge of Ramayana.

What I liked about the book was that the instances are well-detailed. Some of those I was not aware of so that added to the dimensions. I especially liked the lessons that one can take from different episodes that are put up in little boxes. It also makes them easier to get back to. The author’s analysis in those instances comes handy. These lessons are applicable from a household situation to even a managerial one.

Also, if one is interested in learning the meaning of certain Hindi or Sanskrit words, they have been taken straight from the epic and then their translation is given. It makes it easier for someone who wants to go back and read the original text someday. You can start building up your dictionary right away.

What I had trouble with was that even though the footnotes had to be there to add perspective, sometimes it was cumbersome to go back and forth and also took the attention away from the smooth flowing story line. Another of my pet peeve are certain typos. And some analogies drawn seemed too general or too abstract to draw my interest. Also, certain expressions like ‘Sita giggling mindlessly’ doesn’t gel well with my conception of Sita so I had trouble imagining and believing it.

Overall, the book makes for an easy, interesting read for people who have or haven’t read Ramayana in the past. The author has worked hard to glean lessons from this epic. The lessons are of benefit to everyone from an average Joe to a marketing consultant. The book flows smoothly and makes you want to go on reading. The author’s in-depth research and analysis makes this an unabridged version. In fact, certain of the historical events or meanings of certain words were new to me and lent the story a refreshing new perspective.

Sorting down this epic into volumes makes it seem less daunting a task to read it all. The way the author has broken it down into parts and further chapters makes the reading effortless and enjoyable. The book is recommended for all those who have an interest in history-based books, epics or those who seek to learn lessons from age-old stories and apply them in the new age world.

3.5/5 stars – Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’. images-25

(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)

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Paper Towns by John Green

Date Published: September 22, 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Pages: 305
Source: Review copy provided by Bloomsbury India
Format: Paperback

Goodreads Synopsis:

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…

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My View: I have a wonderful relationship with John Green. In short, I love him. My first audiobook that I finished listening to was Looking for Alaska. And not only that, I loved it. 5 stars loved it. Then I bought a paperback and then I announced my love to the world until a couple thousand more people bought the book on my recommendation (or so I hope). And then I read The fault in our stars which didn’t do a similar magic for me but was good nevertheless. Up next on my list were Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines, so I was thrilled when I got a chance to review this one.

For the record, I finished it in a weekend, a weekend which was really busy else it would have been less than 24 hours. So does that mean it’s good? Umm, not so sure about that. This one’s unlike John Green. In fact, so unlike him that I almost felt as if someone else had written it. I guess when you read the best work written by an author and then read his/her other books, it hits you bad. Because you storm in expecting a masterpiece but of course, no author can hit the mark with every single one of his/her book(s) and certainly can’t please every reader. So I kept an open mind and read on. The reason I finished this book quickly was because I wanted to get to the good part soon. Did it arrive? We will see.

There are three things Paper Towns makes me want to do – One is to read Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Song of Myself, and the other is to pick up The Bell Jar (a minuscule mention but I don’t know I just want to read it). And the third is to run away, escape and go on a solitary road trip. Hmm, how does that all fit in? I have no clue.

The book didn’t really grasp me either from the beginning or at the middle or even towards the end. It just went on and on and I kept on reading looking out for the silver lining. I wonder sometimes why are John Green’s central female characters eccentric? Is this how he sees women? Is this how women around him have been? Or is this is the way he likes his women? Ahem, well enough about John Green and his preference in women. Alaska, I loved. Margo? Nope. In fact, I might even hate her. Quentin, he’s cute but stupid too. I want to hit him hard on his head and drive him to his senses. I admire his perseverance and hard work but he really needs to face the truth. For the other characters, my perception changes with situations. Radar, I do like though. So John Green again  presents us likable characters for the most part. And that’s some relief.

What I liked the most about the book was the road trip and that lasted very few pages. :( I wish it could have been longer. I also liked the unraveling of the mystery bit. And I liked some of his prose.

What I didn’t like was the abstractness. John green, you do not do abstract. I have not come to expect this from you. It boggled my mind and made me wrack my brains. Your books are a no-brainer, light-hearted comedy. And that’s what I was looking forward to.

But if I try and think how I would have felt had I gone in without the John Green tag, not so bad, I guess. I mean there was a story, some mystery, a few laughs, an adventure and well-developed characters. Not so bad, right?

I also did like the poetry bits in there and feel like solving Whitman’s unending poem like one does with a puzzle.

Overall, this book makes for a good one-time read in a leisurely setting. Don’t go expecting a John Green book and don’t expect it to hurry up and you will do just fine.

3/5 stars – I liked it. 3 stars

(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)

Huge thanks to Bloomsbury India for providing the review copy.

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