Thursday, 15 September 2016

03:02 by Mainak Dhar: a review

Woah! That is my first reaction after reading the book. Not that I don’t have any other expression to give but because of the fact that this is the best reaction that would express what I am feeling. Usually, I let any book I read sink in before I write a review because that gives me time to clear my head around my first reaction and how I read the whole book but for this book, I couldn’t let that happen for that would ruin what the book did to me. So as soon as I finished the book (which, by the way, I finished in 5 hours and that too including 1 hour of lunch in between because I am a slow eater!) I sat to write the review. Mainak Dhar’s 03:02 is a wonderful book much beyond what it promises to deliver.

According to the blurb- At 03:02 on a Sunday morning, the world as we knew it came to an end. Mumbai suddenly went black- no electricity, no phones, no internet and no working cars. It was as if someone had turned off the master switch of our civilization, turning us back hundreds of years overnight. We learned that it was not just Mumbai, but much of the world that had been impacted. We also learned that it was no accident. A deadly enemy was behind it. An enemy that was now in our midst, seeking to conquer us and destroy our way of life. This is how our war for freedom began. A war that was to be wagged not on the borders or by the Army, but in our homes and streets, with us as the soldiers. This is our story.

 I am grinning as I admit this but it is you who I can admit this to, right? The thing is, I have fallen in love with the cover. The first and the foremost reason of getting this book was the cover. I have a soft spot for black and this cover had me at first glance. The second reason has to be the fact that it is a thriller and the blurb of the book. The whole idea of what is happening or what might happen made me pick this book up. When I held the book in my hands, the different elements of the cover made me more intrigued.

For me, as an extensive reader, now a day, it is tough to find a movie or story that does not seem predictable to me and so this story was a fresh change. Somewhere in the back of the mind even if you have something about the plot, the writing engrosses you so much that you tend to forget that and get absorbed by what the author wants to describe. Another confession coming up! While reading this book, I was so absorbed that my surroundings got hazed out. So when I finally got up, I could almost feel the things happening in the book happening around me.

While having my lunch, I thought about the people in the book. What would happen if such a blackout ever happens to us? As I type this, I still feel spooky. Such is the effect of the book on me. To those who think I am exaggerating, read the book to know. I would wait for your take on it. Now, coming to the characters of the story. I usually have the habit for falling in love with a character by the end of the book but this time I didn’t fall in love with any. No! Before you think that the characters were bad, let me break your thoughts here. I loved the characters and all of them. I rooted for them, urged them on, and cried for them throughout the book. As I have already mentioned, I felt that I was myself there in the scene.

This also gives an idea of how well the author has narrated the book. The twists, turns, emotions are there in every page of the book. As a reader I can say this much that if you are reading this book at a stretch and you take a break, you would be itching to get back to the book. If I have to speak about my favourites of the book it has to be of course Aditya from whose point of view the book has been written. The General, Akif and even Nitesh. The book has its high points and they make you stick to the book. Low points? I don’t think there were many. Oh wait, there weren’t any.

Speaking of the cons of the book, grammar wise and narration wise there weren’t any. But I would like to speak of one complain I have with the book. Even though I totally understand that a love story makes any book all the more relatable but this book had so much going on that was a love story really important? I also understand that the author wanted to concentrate more on the story rather than their love story but since the love story was introduced, couldn’t be there something stronger there? I felt (and that is completely my opinion) that the woman in consideration here lost a solid character after the love story blossomed.

Apart from that, the book kept me at the edge of my seat and is undoubtedly one of the best I have read this year. I never thought I will cry through a thriller book but I did. Through the story, the author has tried to bring in a wonderful moral and message to the readers and I am sure he has successfully put that thought across. The spark lies within each one of us, after all. The real danger mentioned in the book? I am not giving spoilers! For me, this book is a 4.75 out of 5 and I look forward to read more and more from the author. Oh! By the way, even though this doesn’t make much sense or is nowhere related to the book but I am listening to the title track of the film Mirzya on repeat mode as I write this review down (which I have been hooked onto for some unknown reasons) and I have no clue why I can even imagine Aadi as Mirzya.

PS- I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as a part of the Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

You Will Love Again by Dr. Shyam Bhat: a review

We all have suffered from heartbreaks once in our lives. It was that point of time when we did not know what to do or how to behave. We were clueless and at a moment we felt like we should give up our lives. The fighters in us made us deal with the pain and we mature. At times the maturity is only on the outside and we tend to become a different person altogether. Dr. Shyam Bhat, a psychiatrist, in his debut book “You will love again” shows us how to heal from heartbreak. As Dr. Bhat writes in the book, what more can it say than what you have been already told about? You need to read this book to know.

According to the blurb- A power packed book on love and heartbreak. Psychiatrist Dr. Shyam Bhat has seen heartbreak in countless people and he wondered: What is the strange nature of this experience that even the most rational mind cannot seem to change? This power packed book is a result of many years of research on love and heartbreak. It first looks at what happens to your body and your mind when you suffer from this trauma. Why does it hurt so much? How do you heal? How do you find love again? Heartbreak is an opportunity for you to learn to look within, and to discover your own greatness, strength, peace and happiness.

To begin with, I am a major fan of the quality of books Juggernaut brings forth to their readers. The books are not only good to hold but they are also good on their quality. The first non-fiction I am reading coming from them, I couldn’t help but be eager to see what the book had to offer. The cover is very attractive and for the people who do not know that it is a non-fiction self help book, they would surely mistake it for a chic-lit. I would say that this is a compliment because usually non-fiction books or self help books have covers that aren’t attractive but this one stands out of the crowd.

A very compact book, you might be having two thoughts about it but it is guaranteed that the introduction given by the author would bring you to buy the book at any cost. A very compact book but packed with much information- this is a must read for people who have suffered from heartbreaks and even for people who are single. Through this book you get to see the journey from how the butterflies of the stomach are real and so is the breaking of the heart (literally!). The fact that it is written in a very interesting way and is not boring, makes it all the more read-worthy.

I would come to how it is written. Precise chapters that explain the flow from what’s happening to your body and mind, why does it hurt so much, the five steps to healing and finally, feeling love again along with real life examples bring to you a wonderful book that would help you see heartbreaks and loneliness in a different way. This book tells you how the pain that you feel is real and how you might have all the symptoms but are unable to recognize them all.

At different parts of the book, you get to see the quizzes where the author has given marks which you can take to analyse where you stand at the meter and this would help you know yourself better. The author says that it is possible for you to not have any symptom yet feel the same. It is for us and our betterment that we understand and act upon it. Giving up is not an option. The five steps of healing and finally the feeling of love again. This book is not like any other self help book but is a very important guide book for everybody. You would get to know about pranayamas and even the type of diet that you should follow. Follow the book minutely and you would see that you would feel calmer.

Coming to the cons of the book, I personally couldn’t find any apart from the fact that the book is too crisp a read. For me, whenever I read a good book, I always feel like reading more of it and am a bit disappointed when I don’t get more. A must read book for every person who is suffering from a heartbreak or one who tends to be depressed and lonely. Also for people who are strong because this would help you to advice your other friends. I ended this book with a smile on my face and loads of lessons learnt. As Deepika Padukone has said for the book “I hope this book makes you live, love and laugh again!” I would like to give this book 4.25 out of 5.

You can buy the book from Amazon

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Girl Who Chose by Devdutt Pattanaik: a review

We all have grown up listening to the story of Ramayana and even today when we are given the story of Indian mythology, we end up going back to our childhood and listening to all of them with as much eagerness as we did back then. What I feel glad about is in today’s time we have authors like Devdutt Pattanaik who strive to present a more interesting take on the mythology for people of all ages. His latest offering “The Girl Who Chose” is an illustrative version of the Ramayana. How could I just not read it?

According to the blurb- ‘You are bound by rules, but not I. I am free to choose.’ Two thousand years ago, the poet-sage Valmiki wrote the Ramayana. It is the tale of Ram, the sun-prince of Ayodhya, who is obliged to follow family rules and makes no choices. And of Ravana, king of Lanka, who does not respect anybody’s rules or other people’s choices. Over the centuries, hundreds have retold the tale, in different languages, adding new twists and turns. But few have noticed that the tale always depends on the five choices made by Sita. What were Sita’s five choices? India’s favourite mythologist brings to you this charmingly illustrated retelling of the Ramayana that is sure to empower and entertain a new generation of readers.

The moment I received the book (and I am not exaggerating!) I had a smile on my face. It wasn’t just a smile, it was a huge grin. The illustration of “Sita” and the fonts used for the title of the book is something that made me go back to my childhood. Since the author has himself made the illustrations, I couldn’t have been happier. Kudos to the author for doing so! As I always do with every book I receive, I flipped through the pages and immediately got drawn to the illustrations that are made there. This book is written in such a way that you are easily able to relive the epic story through the illustrations that are done in the book.

I would be true here, currently I am having a lot of pressure at work and everything is going as per schedule but when I was flipping through the pages, I ended up reading the whole book at one go. A very quick read, I finished it in almost 1 hour and here I am, writing what I felt about the book. The favourite mythologist of today’s time retells the epic Ramayana in such a way that you feel like this is the best way through which you would be able to tell your children or younger siblings who are new to Indian mythology, about the story.

We had grandparents who used to tell us tell-tale stories about these epics and we would always want our children to know those stories so why not find a good way for them to read it? The illustrations of the book actually made me feel like bringing up my crayons and then colouring them. Just imagine that if I felt to do it then what would the children feel when they are given the book? Oh by the way, now that I have finished reading it, my mother is reading it too!

Now, coming to the way the story has been written. When we speak about the retelling of the Ramayana, we somehow do not think about it being told from Sita’s perspective but to think of it, why not? The author has answered that very question and has narrated the epic through the perspective of the girl who chose. It is not many of us who notice that the story was basically woven around the five choices made by Sita. If those choices weren’t what they were, probably we wouldn’t have had the story the way it has been told.

Along with the five choices made by Sita, the author also enlightens us about the minute details of the Ramayana which we usually tend to overlook. A smooth read, the book comes with a very strong message. The choices that we make, the fact that we all have a Sita within us make or break us. We always have a choice and we should be aware of the fact that every choice of ours has consequences which we should accept with grace. For the cons of the book, there weren’t any or rather, I couldn’t find any. The conclusive moral of the book made me forget about everything else and I could only get lost in the book. Surely a must read and a much recommended book for people who love to read mythology. I will surely be looking forward to reading more books from the author in the future. For me, the book was 5 out of 5. I would end it with the dedication and opening lines of the book-

For those who choose.

“Within infinite myths lies an eternal truth
Who knows it all?
Varuna has but a thousand eyes
Indra, a hundred
You and I, only two.”

PS- This book has been sent to Vanya’s Notebook from the Flipkart Blogger Book Review Program.