Have you been to this booklover’s paradise yet?

So I mentioned I would tell you about this super amazing place I visited last month. Same time last month I was in Japan at a place I want to scream about from the rooftop. Although I am a very planned kind of person when it comes to my trips, this time I didn’t get much time to do that. However, thanks to a friend who recognizes my hunger for books, I came to know about this wow place. The thing is she had no idea I was visiting Japan in July but something made her send this my way in May of this year. I would call it sheer good luck and destiny on my part. And that’s how I came to know about Book and Bed, Tokyo.

hostel_photo_1

That looks like a beautiful cozy library, doesn’t it? But it’s so much more than that! Right behind that bookshelf are beds. Yes! Little comfy beds, your own type of a nook inside of a bookshelf. Did you gasp yet? I thought so. I booked one the moment I came to know because I saw them filling up pretty soon. And there I was on 28th July 2016.

I arrived pretty late and it took me quite some time to find it even though it’s in a very prime location in Ikebukuro and hardly 2-3mins walk from the nearest subway. Extremely well located, with lots of places to visit nearby, this is a gem of a place.

It’s on the 7th floor, I was greeted by a receptionist who was from Bangladesh! Yeah, in Japan, you run into people from so many different countries as they work to pay for their education in Japan. She was very friendly and helped me with the formalities. And then I saw my bed. Do you see that girl up there? No, that’s not me but my bed was the one on the left of her, that night. Perfectly located!

hostel_photo_2

Later, I went around the place taking a tour. The shower was compact but comfortable. You need to make sure you open the washroom door slowly else you end up hitting the person walking outside in the narrow passing way. However, they were the least of my worries. The place doesn’t have a kitchen except you can make yourself a cup of tea or coffee for a charge. I browsed through the bookshelves and spied some English books amongst lots of Japanese ones. That was a bit of disappointment. A lot of these were Japan travel books while others were popular and not so popular English ones. I picked up this stack to read through and settled at the far end of that sofa, looking down at the road 7 floors down from that window on the right.

IMG_20160728_231759.jpg

I started off with The Gift of Nothing, the cute children’s book and finished it within minutes. Then I moved onto the Japan Travel guide. Flipped through it for around half hour before moving onto Birthday Stories by Haruki Murakami. I have read two of his books, Kafka on the Shore and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. And before coming to Japan, I tried to locate him down because I had so many questions from Kafka on the Shore that I needed answers to. However, I couldn’t find his address. While reading the preface of this book where Murakami talks about his place in Tokyo and looking out the window, I was looking out the window on my left trying to find his place amongst the high rise buildings of Tokyo. It was such a surreal feeling to read Murakami in his own country where he may be sleeping just a few miles away from me. I read through a few stories before getting into my comfy bed and reading away until 1:30am when my eyes couldn’t keep open and I let myself fall asleep.

Sadly, next morning, I had to vacate by 11. I awoke late, had a shower and left, already missing the place a bit.

If you aren’t short on cash, I would recommend booking a couple of nights here. One night was too less.

Do not miss this when in Japan! Highly recommended!

What have I been reading?

I have been away from the blogging world but certainly not the reading even though it reduced significantly. Here’s a recap of what I have read since 2015. You can expect some of these reviews in the next few posts.

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

 

Have you read/ loved/ disliked any of these? Any reviews that I might read on your blog for one or more of these books? Comment with links and I will come visit.

 

Upcoming Post: Have you visited this booklover’s heaven? Stay tuned for more.

Comeback Announcement!

book-774837__180Ah! I have waited for this moment for so long now that it almost seems surreal. I wrote my last post on May 12, 2015. At that time, I told myself to take a little break while I pen down my PhD thesis. I assured myself I will be back in no time having submitted by thesis in a jiffy. Boy, could I have been more wrong! I really should have realised long back that PhD is a kind of monster that has a life of its own. No matter what your goals, deadlines and plans are, it takes its own sweet time reaching the finish line. And that’s precisely what happened. So here I am now. It’s been a month since I submitted by thesis. Woot woot! Not so much. There’s still the much dreaded viva to await but oh well, I can’t wait anymore. So here I am, announcing my comeback. My reading did suffer a lot this past year but I haven’t totally given up. That can never happen. Never. So I have hoards of books to review and hoards more to read. And I went to a super special place last month that I am dying to tell you about. So that’s going to be my post right after the one where I tell you what I have been reading this past year. You have to, have to, totally watch out for it.

I hope, really, really hope, I still have some readers who are reading my blog because I have so much to share. See ya all very soon!

SOIL: Knowledge Innovation Design Thinking Workshop

Imagine my surprise when I was invited to a ‘Knowledge Innovation Design Thinking’ Workshop to experience a tryst with perspectives to be held at the School of Inspired Leadership. That did sound out of my league. But being a creative and inquisitive person, I am always up for some learning. And so I gave it a go ahead and found myself at the School of Inspired Leadership at 5pm on 14th October 2014.

philo

Let me tell you a bit about the School of Inspired Leadership or SOIL as it’s often called. SOIL is a business school providing holistic education that builds inspired leaders by enabling people to know who they are, recognize their purpose and realize their full potential, to build organizations of consequence.

SOIL has several Indian and International partnerships. And therein comes a partnership with Politecnico Di Milano, School of Management (MIP), Milan, Italy. The celebrated thinker Dr.maxresdefault Claudio Dell’Era, Assistant Professor at the aforementioned school was to hold this workshop at SOIL. Mr. Dell’Era is a world renowned authority on Design thinking and Innovation. In accordance with his world status, he is also the Co-Director MaDe In Lab, Management of Design and Innovation Laboratory, and  a renowned specialist in the field of Innovation & Design ManagementWith a Doctorate in Management Economics and Industrial Engineering, and several publications to his credit, Dr. Dell’Era’s workshop was not to be missed. And so I found myself there.

logo

The workshop was a 5 day affair. I happened to be there on Day II. The major learning for the day had been accomplished and now it was time to engage in some practical learning. The participants were divided by groups and had to work on how certain companies selling the same product differ. For example – a group was given United Colors of Benetton vs. Abercrombie & Fitch. A company that is well settled and one that’s coming up (in some part of the world, at least) selling the same product – clothes. Dr. Dell’Era was seen giving hints to the participants. ‘Start with the banner, what does it represent, the color, the symbol? What population does the brand target? How are the garments arranged? Are they in stacks, lined in neat rows? and so on. Participants worked in groups while Dr. Dell’Era went from one group to another giving hints and a little push to get them thinking. ‘Very innovative’, I remembered thinking to myself. I had never thought in those terms before. But well, what did I know about brand creation and management. This went on for an hour. Then the workshop was packed up for the day with an overview of the next day which included discussion on what they worked on in the practical.

And then came time for some personal interaction with the renowned Dr. Claudio. We started off with some personal details about Dr. Claudio, the association of MIP with SOIL and then went into details of innovation and design. I will admit this, sometimes I was lost and tried to gain perspective of what was going on but I managed well for the most part. We also did go on to ponder on some psychological tools that might come up to test for innovation. It set the thinking wheels rolling in my mind like an ‘aha’ moment. That does sound like something I can work on. After about an hour of this interaction, we headed for a lovely dinner and caught up with informal talk with Dr. Claudio.

Overall, it was a great evening and I came back with more knowledge than I supposed I would. I am not that dumb, I guess. But I would have to say if around 2 hours at SOIL helped me broaden my thinking, what would have been the feedback of participants attending the whole workshop? And what about students at SOIL who get exposure to teachers from all over the world? Now that does sound good, really good. If you’re looking at some leadership lessons, do check out SOIL. By the way, SOIL isn’t all about studying in the classrooms, I spied a retreat in the Himalayas, a family day, festival celebrations and what not. Go explore.

The Story Behind My Disappearance

download

Hi!

Not sure if you guys missed me  but I have been AWOL since more than a month now, the longest I have ever been away from the blog. I really wanted to drop in and post that I’ll be away but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Let me give you a gist of what really happened. If you have been following my blog and my very once-in-a-while personal posts, you would know I was feeling bit let down due to some issues in my personal life but every time I managed to bounce back. But this time things just got worse and the problems extended to my professional life as well as family. Things were really bad to say the least. I was in a reading/blogging slump not to mention I was almost in the throes of depression. Yes, I will come out vulnerable here and say that. I know as a mental health professional, people have certain expectations of us. But at the end of the day, we are human too. I was really down for a long time. And then I decide to spring back but perhaps the means that I decided to do that wasn’t a long term solution. I busied myself with social networking as a means of escape. And did manage to function for a while but of course that couldn’t have lasted long and I fell deeper this time.

I am trying to pick myself yet again. Not to say I’m really back but I decided enough was enough. I might not have control over other areas of my life but this, blogging, I have full control over. I need that kind of control in my life right now. I need to know I have something I can rely on.

Thanks to a Goodreads Group challenge, I have read 6 books in the last 2 days and now I want to continue with the reading and restart with the blogging.

I know I have disappointed authors, publishers and book tour coordinators by missing a lot of posts. I haven’t replied to emails. I hereby send out a huge apology to everyone including you my dear readers. I am sorry to have pulled a vanishing act on you. I have been meaning to write this post since forever now but just couldn’t make myself get up and do it.

Soon, I will be clearing out my inbox which has more than 2000 unread emails. Slowly I will get through them all and reply back. I will be doing all the reviews I missed out on. I am sorry for having disappointed all of you and sincerely hope that this situation never comes again.

Although my life might not be on track in the very near future, I look forward to being here and basking in your love which will speed up my recovery process. Thank you for being there. 🙂

On a happy note, I have made a FB account exclusively for Reviewing Shelf. If you would like to add me there, click here.

I also received an email saying I am top 1% reviewer at Goodreads.

Also, I have received my very first book for betareading! I’m so excited.

And I’m ghost writing a self-help/psychology book for a publishing company. Even though my name would be nowhere on the book, I can use the practice for that one day when I might be writing a book of my own.

Yay, I’m so excited to be back. I missed you guys.

Where have I been?

missingI don’t know if you noticed I have been missing from the blog. I haven’t posted anything in 6 days which is so unlike me who posts atleast once a day if not more.

Well, for one I haven’t been able to read much the past few days. And even though I have some other posts I wanted to put up, I couldn’t get to it. I missed 3 blog tour posts (which I’ll be doing soon).

There has been a lot going on in my academic/ professional life and I have been a lot busier than usual. Apart from that, my sister’s marriage is just a month away, so every spare minute and especially weekends go into that. I hardly get any breathing time.

And even though my commute timing to and fro from work has been scheduled for reading, I haven’t been able to read lately. There are some things on the personal front that have been bugging me and I’m kind of worried, depressed really. Yeah, right, I’m a Psychologist and should know how to cope. That’s exactly what I have been doing the past few months. But somehow when every sphere of your life attacks at once, it’s sometimes difficult to deal with it all. I have been trying but I’m feeling overwhelmed at the moment. I’m not sure if I should be saying all this in here, it’s a book blog and not a personal one. But I feel I know so many of you intimately even though we have never met that I just wanted to share what’s been going on with me.

Thanks for hearing me out. I have a couple of books started, hopefully I will get some of them finished soon and be back to my chirpy, bubbly, insane self. Love you all!

Bloggish Chit-Chat

There are a few things I have been wanting to talk about and show you that are new on the blog. Now that I have a couple of them to share, I will do it.

I changed the blog design a couple of days back. Do you like it? Hate it? As always, I love your feedback.

I haven’t been able to do too many free and cheap hauls post lately. But I regularly update the Amazon Kindle Freebies on the top of the left sidebar.  <———————

On the right side, you will see a button that says ‘Advertise here’. If you are an author or publisher wanting to promote your book, promo tour or any other book related products, you are most welcome to click on the link for more information. ———–>

All the ways to follow the blog are now neatly aligned in the right sidebar. Just click on the icon to follow the blog whichever way you want. ——————>

And now for a very interesting part, I have  a new blog button which was created for free by the lovely Faye from A Daydreamer’s thoughts. Yes, for free! And it looks so amazing. Thank you, Faye. You’re awesome.

reviewingshelfbutton3

She also created a button for a new feature I have been planning on the blog. I read way more than I review. Sometimes I slack when it comes to writing reviews. In order to remediate that situation, I am going to do this feature every Friday where I review books I read in 2012.

readreviewed1

I recently broadened my reviewing horizons and joined as an associate reviewer at one of my favorite blogs, Pages of Forbidden Love. My first review – Leo will be posted on March 27. I would really like it if you could stop over there on March 27 to read my review and check out this lovely blog.

I also recently became a guest reviewer at another one of my favorite blogs, Kindle and Me. I reviewed Wool and have another review coming up in some time.

Also, I am now an online content writer for IndiaBookStore which is an awesome site if you’re looking to buy/gift books from/to India at the lowest prices.

And lastly, I joined Bloglovin’ if you would like to follow the blog there. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

 

Phew! That’s it. Thank you for patiently reading. See you around!

Product Review: Sunsilk Perfect Straight

What if one day you came across a product that promised to take away all your bad hair days and replace them with perfect straight, non-frizzy hair without the need to visit a salon and all in a hair wash? You’ll probably laugh out loud and say ‘yeah, right’. That was what I thought when I decided to give the Sunsilk Perfect Straight Shampoo and Conditioner a try. I had heard of it first time from a colleague who was eager to try it as it sounded so good. Unbelievable, I would say.

So when I received these pretty little bottles to try them out, I said ‘why not?’.

Now before I tell you the outcome, let me tell you about my hair. I have shoulder length black hair which are just a little wavy by nature and silky by texture. So my thoughts before the first wash were – my hair’s really not tough to get straight, so if this shampoo can do that, it would be great.

First wash – I oiled my hair before wash. I looked for instructions on the shampoo bottle. I know shampooing isn’t some high-tech procedure but I just wanted to make sure. Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find any directions. ‘Oh well’, I thought. During the wash, I realized that the shampoo is not good at getting rid of the oil I had put in my hair and I had to use lots of shampoo to get it out. And then a 1 minute conditioner (it has instructions on the pack, yay) and it was done. I took great care to let my hair not bend in any way before they completely dried out naturally. And once that was done, it was a rigorous procedure of inspecting my hair from every other angle to be able to find any effect. So imagine my disappointment when I couldn’t notice any difference at all. But I didn’t lose heart and thought ‘perhaps it takes a couple of washes’.

Second wash – This time I took great care not to oil my hair before the wash because it was very difficult to get it out with this shampoo. And I repeated the entire procedure with the shampoo and conditioner and took a few pictures so that I didn’t have to turn this way and that in front of the mirror to gauge any possible changes. Once again I came out hugely disappointed.

Third wash – I wanted to give the products yet another chance and went for a third consecutive wash. But yet again I experienced the same disappointment.

What did I deduce from it all? I went in thinking it must be really easy to straighten my almost already straight hair which only has a little waves in there but I came out thinking perhaps this is why I couldn’t see any effect. I wondered if really curly hair would have shown more decent effects since there was so much to work on. But these are all speculations.

Another thing I wondered about was that if the shampoo in fact, lessens frizziness, it didn’t get to work on that because my hair is not frizzy at all. And I have heard from a colleague that even though it didn’t straighten her curly hair, it did reduce the frizziness a lot.

And just to throw in something else – the colleague of mine whom I heard from of this product in the first place says she thinks my hair have straightened a bit more inspite of my not able to feel any difference. Is she right or is she being a little pro for the product since she really wants to try it out? Well, that’s a debate starter for sure.

Overall, I’m thinking if you have frizzy hair, you may want to give it a try but if you’re looking for prefect straight out-of-the-salon hair, this may not be the product you’re looking for. Go find out for yourself.

I received the product for review from Sunsilk at Indiblogger.in. However, all opinions expressed are honest and my own. I did not receive any compensation for my review.

And I’m back!

Hi! After a week long hiatus from the virtual world, I’m back. I hope you realized I was gone. You did, right?

If you had read my February 2013 TBR Pile post, you would be knowing where I disappeared to. It was my sister’s engagement on the 15th and 17-20th, I was busy organizing a national conference (along with my colleagues), so 14-21st was a busy and supercrazy week with 17 hour days, too many cups of coffees and not enough sleep. I missed three posts in here, huge apology to the book tour coordinators. I really wanted to put them up, I tried convincing my mind but my body refused to obey. I also missed The Book Depository huge sale yesterday which I was hoping to make good use of. And I haven’t got a day off in 2 weeks. I am looking forward to Sunday but I have too much backlog to be able to rest. My inbox is full of emails and I have too many other things to do.

I’m very happy to be back and raring to start reading and posting. 🙂