"Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it. ~ Novelist Jeanette Winterson

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 2016 - Book Haul

I love writing this post!! The new books that adorn my shelves are something I look forward to each month...

I got the books on 3 installments this month.Let's take a look.

These books cost 501.My spending limit on books is 1000 bucks so I had to really wait and order since these arrived on the first week of Jan. The waiting period was truly cruel!

I had pre ordered this book on an online store but that site couldn't dispatch the book .So when I saw it on another site, that too on a discount, I ordered it without a second thought.

 But then my budget just shot to the stars when there was an online mega sales. I just wished someone would hide away my laptop so that I won't look at the books on sale. And the best worst part was there were hourly deals with new books being offered at a discount of 6o to 85 %.OMG! What a cruel[in a good way,of course] time!!!!

And this is the book that came in for review...

Total books - 16

Total amount spent this month  -1944/- And with it goes my budget for Feb as well.So probably you won't see a Feb Book haul post :(

But there is one consolation this month. Yesterday I picked up a box full of books from mom's attic. It has some interesting books and opening those books made me so nostalgic..More about it tomorrow...

Happy Browsing....

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chai for Beginners - Book Review

Yesterday we had the monthly power shut down.So with it went anything that had to do with electricity including washing and grinding and mainly blogging and browsing.

Lil Dude and I are down with a bad cough and we decided to day the day easy. I kept the lil one at home and he slept in late to take advantage of the leave.

After packing off Lil Angel to school , the both of us were in no mood for the regular activities. Lil Dude watched TV for a while[it ran on UPS] and I , though in no mood to do so, finished up the chores.

We still had more than a couple of hours to kill before Lil Angel got back from school.I wondered aloud if Lil Dude would sleep but he made it clear that he was content playing with his box-full of cars.

So while he was busy racing cars and making them fly, I sat down with a book and read my dose for the reading challenges.

Apart from the reading challenges that I have signed up for,I have also committed myself to read 100 books this year and this book marks the 5th one .You can take a look at the 5 books that I have read so far in the goodreads 2016 reading challenge widget on the side bar.

I did a small calculation and it looks like I have to read around  8.5 books a month to get to my 100 book commitment. OK, let me round it up to an 8.That means 2 books per week! Now, I wonder how I will be able to do it!! Maybe I can.We all have to wait till the end of the year to see if I finished off what I started..

Now, coming back to the book I read yesterday....

Jane Ainslie is the author of this 194 paged book. It was published in 2011 and costs INR 150/-

The story starts with Sita Sinclair ,aged 27,a resident of Sydney, getting ready to join a new firm. She is scared of the new place and job and how it will treat her,but more than that she is still depressed and recovering from her break up,or rather, been dumped by her boyfriend- Mark.

She likes her new office and more so Gerome who also works there. His personality are and attitude is one of the reasons. He takes her out to the staffs favorite weekend joint for drinks and introduces his partner Lawrence.

They suggest she rent their friends place as he looking for a tenant for 18 months and while he is away he needs someone reliable to look after his house.

Sita checks out the place and  Paul suggests a very low rent and Sita immediately vacates her apartment eager to leave behind all the stuffs that reminds her of her ex.

As soon as she moves, a neighbor,an elderly Indian Mrs. Sharma invites her over for tea. Out of courtesy,Sita goes over .Mrs. Sharma offers tea and they get talking.Mrs. Sharma explains the meaning of her name and all about Sita and why Goddess Sita is her favorite Deity.

In spite of Sita knowing that her mom named her thus was to infuriate her Christian mother,Sita Sinclair listens awestruck to the mythological story. Slowly the two become friends with the tow having tea and dinner at each others place quite often.

Meanwhile at work, a new art director walks in namely Callum and he is smitten by Sita. But Sita is still not sure if she wants to get into a relationship especially since she fells she has not recovered from the heartbreak.

One day out of the blue, Mrs. Sharma invites her to travel with her to India to see the places where she was born and married off to.Sita is not sure if she liked the idea but slowly realizes it would be a good thing to do to clear her mind from the breakup.Plans are made only to be interrupted by Mrs. Sharma's children, Ramesh and Meena who argue that it would not be proper for their mother to travel to India with a foreigner and it also be a waste of money.

Mrs. Sharma is heart broken but Sita consoles her telling that Mrs. Sharma need not beg her kids for money.They have no right to deny her of her wishes as they have since left her to live alone in the apartment years ago.

So Mrs. Sharma gives her dowry jewels to Sita to sell so that she can use it for the travel.But a heated argument with her daughter gives her an actual heart attack.At the hospital, Mrs. Sharma makes Sita promise that she would take her ashes and dissolve it in the Ganges. Sita agrees and after a few hours Mrs. Sharma passes away!!

Her children refuse to abide by their mother's wishes but after Sita reasons out why their mother chose her to do it, they agree.

She sets off to India for 2 weeks and fulfills Mrs. Sharma's wishes. She also visits the other places where they had earlier planned to go.

All through her journey in India, Sita is on the lookout for any sign that might lift her spirits up and give her a sign to move on.

Now, does she find one? Does Sita want to get back to Callum? She she over her ex?To find out,all you have to do is read the book...

This is a very light read, ideal for a weekend or when you have a couple of hours to kill...

Chai for Beginners is for the 2016 Alphabet soup reading challenge

Happy Browsing....

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bhendi Bazaar - Book Review

I got this book only because it was on a promotional sale! But now I am glad I got it!!

Of late, my trend in buying books is sort of buy books when they are on a sale. Though I have a wishlist of books, I buy those that are not on the list if I get them for a  discounted price.This was in the category of  50-70% discount!And that is exactly how I ended buying this book. 

Then I posted my monthly book haul on Instagram and a few of my friends said it was a great crime novel.That’s when I got interested in reading it.

This books also happens to fit in for theFull House Challenge, where I can strike off  the box with – story that is set in a place starting with B, because this story revolves around Bhendi Bazaar and also to 2016 Alphabet soup reading challenge.

Take a look at the reading challenges I have signed up this year and here are the books that I have read and reviewed so far.

This 365 paged book is authored by Vish Dhamija.

The book starts with three Russian girls –Magdalena,Dunya and Varnika coming to India to take part in the 1982 Asian games. What the others in their troupe are not aware is that these girls are planning never to return to Russia but settle down in India.

Magdalena is sort of the team leader and she arranges for fake passports for the three and also makes contacts in India for their travel to Mumbai

The story fast forwards to 2007,where DCP Rita Ferriera is woken up in the early hours of the day. There has been a murder of Adit Lele.Vikram and Jatin her aides try solving the case.

Soon they realize there is a serial killer on the loose. More men are killed in the same pattern as the first one and there are hardly any evidences left behind and no leads at all. But the whiff of perfume, a lipstick and a lady’s inner garment that are found at the crime scenes don’t provide any help and the team soon realizes that a man is trying to throw off the scent by making the police assume that the killer is a lady.

The story goes back and forth between the murders and the three girls.The girls who assume that life will be a bed of roses after they escape from Russia do not realize that life would become a living hell when they are tricked into prostitution and live a life of pain and sorrow.

In between these there is Anita Raizada,a journalist who comes into the team when the killer sends her publisher evidence of the first murder. Jatin sort of falls for her .

There is the womanizer, Narang who is a political big-wig and also runs the newspaper that Anita works in.

Then there is Dr. Ashwin Mittal aka Ash Mattel who is a criminal profiler and also gives a lot of tips and hints about the the way a criminal would think and act.He is actually Rita’s college mate and the two meet when Rita’s boss suggest they take a consult with Ash because he is a famous criminal profiler in  UK

Until the last couple of chapters, I assumed that one of the three girls grow up and took revenge on the men but then two of them die .So I was clueless.

The killer contacts her and even leaves a small gift wrapped parcel inside her vehicle!All this stumps Rita.

Finally,Rita manages to find the killer and I was as shocked as she was on the discovery! 

I am sure you are dying to know if the killer was a male or female and I am sure you will be even more eager when I tell you that the killer was in touch with Rita all through without Rita ever realizing it!! 

The story shows the dark shades of Mumbai where innocent girls and women are forced into prostitution, their lives and the hurdles they face in their trade. It is indeed heart wrenching!
The ending has a huge twist which I am not going to give away!!

This is one of those books which you will find hard to put down . The narration is set in a such a pace that one minute you guess something and the next minute you are proved wrong!!

It is worth a buy and I am sure you will enjoy reading this book.

So here is where I stand in the full house challenge..

Happy Browsing....

Monday, January 25, 2016

Half Girlfriend - Book Review

This book is for the 2016 Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge  @ My Soul Called Life. There are 6 keywords to choose from each month which should be in the title of the book.

For January, the key words were - Crowd, Girl, The, Bad, Soul, Soft

The chose 'Girl' and read Chetan Bhagat's Half Girlfriend.

For the past couple of days, I have been down with a bad cough and sniffles. I took advantage of this time to relax and read a book for the challenges I signed up.

It was a very quick read and I finished it within a few hours...

The back of the book says-

Once upon a time there was a Bihari Boy called Madhav.He fell in love with a girl called Riya from Delhi.Madhav didn't speak English well. Riya did.Madhav wanted a relationship.Riya didn't.Riya just wanted friendship.Madhav didn't.Riya suggested is a compromise.She agreed to be half girlfriend.

These lines were what prompted me to buy this book!

It starts with a typical boy meets girl and it was love at first sight for the boy. Being a little shy Madhav tries to be content with the friendship but his residence mates on campus urge him to have a relationship. Riya refuses and cuts off the friendship,well,almost.

She quits college and agrees to marry the son of their family friend. Madhav finishes college, refuses a job at HDFC and returns to his hometown to work with his mother in their family school.

A few years later he meets Riya in Patna and learns that she is now a divorcee and since she is still his half girlfriend, he wants to renew the friendship.

What happens in the end is where the real twist lies!!

The story starts with Madhav meeting the author Chetan Bhagat and asking him to read his girlfriends journal .He says the memories are too painful as his half girl frind is dead. The author refuses at first but is intrigued so he starts reading. The pages are old, yellow and crumpling.He asks Madhav to narrate their love story or why Riya was his half girlfriend.

So Madhav starts narrating the story which is Act 1 which takes place in Delhi.MAdhav and Riya joining the college on sports quota,the college fun, the duo practicing basketball ,his inability to mingle due to the lack of spoken English.Falling in love with the most beautiful girl on earth aka Riya and then the breakup ,the lonely years Madhav spent in college after Riya left the college to get married and travel.

Act 2 takes place in Bihar where Madhav works @ his family school after finishing his dies and takes care of the administrative side as well as helps with the classes.It is in this part that he meets Riya again in Patna and also takes her to his hometown, Bill Gates visiting his school and Madhav preparing a speech with Riya's help and getting a huge grant money for the school.Once the function is over a student hands over a letter from Riya which states that dying from lung cancer and she does not want him to see her suffer.

After Madhav's narration ends,Chetan Bhagat hands him her journal.Madhav is asked to read a few legible paragraphs from Riya's journal that Chetan Bhagat has marked .He is surprised to read that Riya is still alive and has left him since his mother did not approve their friendship and she did not want her son to get hurt again.

Act 3 is in New York. Madhav recollects her passion to perform at a New York music bar and goes there searching across 1000's of music bars.

Does he find her? Well, that is for you to read and find out!!!

This 260 paged book published in 2014 costs INR 176.

Happy Browsing....

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ramayana- The Game of Life - Stolen Hope - Book review

I am posting this here for the Full House Challenge as I will be crossing out the theme - Book published in 2016.

 I have already posted the review for Part 1 - Rise Of  The Sun Prince and Part 2 - Shattered Dreams.The first part talks about the time before Lord Rama was born to the time of His wedding to Sita. The second part describes the preparation for crowning Lord Rama as the King, Kaikeyi's plot  , the trio - Rama , Lakshmana and Sita leaving the country to live in the forest.

Unlike many other series of books, you can start reading this book straight away  without the feel that you are missing something from the first two parts. The author rightly says - When you bite into a cake,it hardly matters where you begin.

In this book, there is a Story So Far section where you can read the synopsis of the first two books in this series.

The story starts with King Danda violating the modesty of Araja the beautiful daughter of Sage Sukracharya.Enraged by this deed, the sage curses that his kingdom would into the place that houses animal-like humans and become home to the fiercest jungle humans ever known.Within minutes the glorious kingdom turned into a great jungle called Dandakaranya,

The book ends with Lord Rama meeting Sabari and she handing over a map to the brothers to get to the wonder monkeys in the Kishkinda forest who would be the instruments in helping Rama rescue Sita.

In between this,the trio - Rama , Lakshmana and Sita encounter a whole lot of hardships and demons and monsters of various sizes and shapes. The brothers find their way through the forest and also meet a lot of Sages, many of whom have been eagerly waiting for the brothers to arrive and free them of the various hardships that the demons have been putting them through.With each encounter with the demons, Rama makes sure that Sita does not see the gore of the war .

13 years in the forest moves seemingly smooth when catastrophe strikes .One of the main characters in this series is Surpanaka who is the trigger for the big war and the destruction of Ravana .

Read the full review here..

Happy Browsing....

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Animal Farm by George Orwell

I'm kick starting the reading Challenges for 2016 with this book...

Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell

Publication Date:Aug 1945
Publisher: Fingerprint Classics

Format : Paperback

Pages: 143
Genre:Dystopia / Political Satire

I finished reading this in less than 3 hours...

Though I have seen this book plenty of times while shopping online, it never occurred to me to add it to my collection since it looked more like a kid's book to me.Then one fine day,when it was on promotional sale,I pick it up.It then stayed on the shelf till I saw this Dystopia  Reading Challenge announcement and then went over to check out list of the  books that fall into this category.My eyes fell on this book and that kindled my interest to read this book.

This book written by George Orwell is said to be based on the events that happened around the Russian Revolution.

On the outside, the book looks more like the story that happens in a farm among animals.It is more like a 'Fairy tale' theme. On digging deeper, you realize it is indeed a political satire.

It is the story set in the Mr.Jones' Manor farm.The animals are sick and tired of being taken for granted to do the farm work. One night ,a pig named ,Old Major, speaks to the assembled animals about his dream where the animals are all free from the tyranny of the humans.

After Old Major's death,two pigs named Snowball and Napoleon,plan to take over the farm. Being considered intelligent, they head the rebellion and succeed.The name of the farm is changed to 'Animal Farm'

At first everything is sunny .On the gate outside,7 commandments are written and followed by all .Later the pigs gain upper hand and soon the 'doctrines that were first emphasized crumbles . Corruption surfaces and all the animals begin to see the differences.

Snowball is accused of  treachery after her disappearnace and Napoleon is full in command. The laws of the farm are changed as per the pigs requirements.Life becomes harsh for all the animals except for the pigs. The animals are made to work longer and harder with very little food but the pigs live in comfort and luxury with good food and alcohol!

Years pass by and Napoleon goes into contract with the owners of the nearby farm.Eventually,the pigs start walking on hind legs and take on many qualities of the humans.

The previously written 7 commandments are reduced to one - All animals are equal;But some animals are more equal than the others.The name of the farm is also changed back to 'Manor Farm'.

One night the other animals watch from outside as the pigs and humans from the nearby farm drink and play cards. In a while these animals find it difficult to distinguish between the pigs and humans!

Though this was written in 1945, it still finds relevance to the present day political scenario.The corruption and the craze for power that arises subsequently is unmistakable in this novel.

It is truly a timeless classic that divulges the human nature even though the story is set in a farm!

Coming to the cover, I specifically chose this one over the others as it looked kinda rustic and more like a worn-out sign board.

This is my first George Orwell novel and after reading this,I have ordered a few more of his books and you are sure to read the reviews here.

This book is a part of 2016 Alphabet soup reading challenge , Dystopia Reading Challenge,
Full House Challenge  and this book crosses out the theme - Way out of comfort zone as this genre is very new to me and this is my first read in this genre.