Book Review: 7 Secrets of the Goddess

7-secrets-of-the-goddess-400x400-imadz5hkycqgpjgu

Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher: Westland
ISBN13:9789384030582
Genre: Non fiction
Pages: 270
Source: Flipkart

Lakshmi massages Vishnus feet. Is this male domination? Kali stands on Shivas chest. Is this female domination? Shiva is half a woman. Is this gender quality? Why then is Shakti never half a man? Taken literally, stories, symbols and rituals of Hindu mythology have much to say about gender relationships. Taken symbolically, they reveal many more things about humanity and nature. This is the fourth title in the bestselling 7 Secrets series.

The six goddesses in the Indian mythology Kali, Gauri, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Vitthai are discussed in great detail in the book.  Gaia, the Goddess from Greek mythology blends in beautifully in this narrative of the Indian goddesses. The secrets revealed are beautifully woven into the intricate narrative that is Devdutt’s forte’. The book focuses on the  equality of male and female forces in the ancient times and how it tilted towards men as society evolved over time and patriarchy emerged.
In typical Devdutt Pattanaik style the illustrations hold the story together. They take the reading experience to a whole different level.

The author is a Doctor. He worked in the Pharma Industry for 15 years. After that he became an author. With more than 50 books and 500 articles under his belt, Mr. Pattanaik writes about Mythology in the light of today’s times. All his books are illustrated by him too. I am a big fan of the ace mythologist. He effortlessly manages to throw a new light on stories that have been told and retold time and again.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series!

Rating: 4/5

Advertisements

Book Review: The Innovators

the-innovators-400x400-imadyyxydxs6dcyh

 

Author: Walter Issacson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN13: 9781471138799
Genre: Non fiction
Pages: 560
Source: Flipkart

A few decades ago, the very thought of having a world of information at our fingertips was unimaginable. The Internet and computers have changed the world forever, bringing a technological revolution with them to sweep us into the twenty-first century. However, the conception of these magnificent creations was a long process. It took the minds of geniuses whose ideas had the potential to turn heads and garner attention. These men and woman shaped the world into its current form with their ideas and inventions. Walter Isaacson begins with the story of Ada Lovelace, the woman who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He goes on to tell the stories of others like her, giants such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J. C. R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee and Larry Page.

The Innovators is an appropriately modest title, because many of the problems solved seem tiny on their own: a different configuration of electrodes, putting a film on a silicon wafer. Much of this is home cooking, solving everyday puzzles with the tools at hand. The story moves from science to the military to management, and the book is half over before the first lawsuit appears, after which they proliferate. The story also tends to travel from East to West. A subtheme is the overthrow of authoritarian chief executives and their besuited courtiers. The casualizing and revaluing of the business world by Silicon Valley cowboys is a founding myth of the tech industry, even as its CEOs grow ever more powerful.

In The Innovators Isaacson identifies several virtues that were essential to his geeky heroes’ success. The digital pioneers all loathed authority, embraced collaboration and prized art as much as science. Though its lessons may be prosaic, the book is still absorbing and valuable, and Isaacson’s  narrative talents are on full display. Few authors are more adept at translating technical jargon into graceful prose, or at illustrating how hubris and greed can cause geniuses to lose their way.

Walter Isaacson is an American biographer known for his books Kissinger: A Biography, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Einstein: His Life and Universe and Steve Jobs. He graduated from Harvard University and during his stay, he was President of the Signet Society, a member of the Harvard Lampoon and a resident of Lowell House. He later went on to study at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, reading Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). He has also served as the Chairman and CEO of CNN and the Managing Editor of Time.

The Innovators is about how a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks created the digital revolution. Its a must read for anyone and everyone looking to be inspired.

Rating 5/5

Book Review: Under Delhi

under-delhi-400x400-imady4xj6mgdzrha

Author: Sorabh Pant
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN13: 9789350098097
Genre: fiction
Pages: 264
Source: Flipkart

Under Delhi is a story of Tanya Bisht, a girl from Delhi who works as a sales executive with a construction company. Her regular day job doesn’t stop her from having a very exiting night life. That with a twist. She is a vigilante With the help of a faceless person simply known as Soniaji, she gets at the men who have wrongly gotten off from the law. Tanya is our very own desi aversion of cat woman, with out the suit and the whip. The story cruises through the dark alleys of Delhi, revealing more about the protagonist and her tryst with being a woman in the capital city.

The plot in simple and the narrative uncomplicated. Being a master of satire the author expects you not to just read the lines but also between them.  He takes no prisoners with his hilarious flair shooting at wise politicians and holy men who say girls who are raped are merely “asking for it”. He even has the president’s son in his line up, for giving out fashion advice to women so they can avoid getting raped. The best shot is taken at a white bearded man who came up with the fail safe of calling your would-be rapist bhaiya which will lead to him being  filled with brotherly remorse, letting you go.

Sorabh Pant is an Indian stand-up comedian and writer. He is best associated with his comedy specials: Pant on Fire and Traveling Pants as well as for founding The East India Comedy, a company which recruited some of India’s best known stand-up comedians. He has also written a fictitious and comic novel on life after death in his debut: The Wednesday Soul.

The book is a light read. In keeping with Sorabh’s style it hold your attention to the cause with a dash of humour added to taste.

Rating: 3.5/5

P.S. If you haven’t had enough of Sorabh Pant with this book, you can watch him in  “Men are from Bars” on 15th November 2014 at the NCPA Mumbai.

Book Review: Fade into Red

fade-into-red-400x400-imadw4pu3pn2e4ms

Author: Reshma K. Barshikar
Publisher: Random House India
ISBN13: 9788184005547
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 376
Source: Flipkart

Fade into Red is a story of Arya, a smart and intelligent modern day girl, an investment banker who dreams of being an Art Historian. In-spite of being stuck in a job she doesn’t like, she is successfully juggling her family, her career and her long distant boyfriend. On a monsoon day in June, she is suddenly sent packing from Mumbai to Tuscany to buy a vineyard for a star client. The four day trip turns into a two week treasure hunt that finds her in the middle of midnight wine deals, dodgy vintners, rolling Tuscan hills, and a playboy millionaire whose swirling plans don’t just include the wine. A twenty nine year old, Arya jay walks on the road of happiness realising how elusive the end can be.

The author has described every scene the book in beautiful detail. If you let it, your imagination will take you right into the gorgeous vineyards of Tuscany. All characters are almost alive and Arya speaks to you through the authors words. Her dilemma of choosing between things she wants to do and things she has to do is very well portrayed. The loud family and the banter with the boy friend add the air to the book, making it a breezy read.

Reshma K. Barshikar was a former investment banker. She completed her B.A. (Honours) at the Oxford Brooks University, Oxford and started her career as a journalist for The Hindu and Business Line. But she left the job to complete her MBA at the Indian School of Business. Reshma now works as a freelance travel and lifestyle writer. She currently contributes to India Today Travel Plus, Harper’s Bazaar and Grazia among other publications of repute. She is also the co-curator of a prominent e-commerce website.

The book is a definitely worth a read. Pour yourself a glass of red, and take a dreamy walk through Tuscany with Arya while she searches for happiness.

Rating: 3/5

Book Review: Family Life

Image

 

Author: Akhil Sharma
Publisher: Penguin Books India
ISBN13: 9780670087457
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 240
Source: Flipkart

“Family Life” revolves around the Mishra family, who move to the United States from Delhi in the 1970s. The eight year old narrator is in awe of everything around him from elevators to wall-to-wall carpet in their new house. Simple things like the hot water flowing directly from the taps also amazes him. He goes on to talk about the struggles and adjustments his family makes in order to fit in to the new world. Ajay narrates how his Father who works as a clerk in a government agency and mother who left her job as a high-school economics teacher in India and now works as a garment factory worker, are anxious about the acceptance of his elder brother in a reputed school. There is happiness and celebration all around when Birju wins acceptance to the Bronx High School of Science.
The twist in the story comes when the elder son of the family is in a unfortunate diving accident that leaves him severely brain damaged, blind, and mute. Only able to breathe by himself, otherwise incapacitated. The tragedy and the family’s response to it seen through young Ajay’s eyes touches the heart and leaves knots in the stomach.
Each member of the family suffers differently. His father becomes an alcoholic, his mother looks for cures through hoards of miracle workers while Ajay acts out trying to find an outlet for his feelings as well as his place in the world now that it’s been turned upside down.

The author relates the story with a view point of an eight year old, adapting a child’s sharp perception and simple language. The book makes you very sad and then smiles make sudden appearances on the childlike outlook of a grim situation. You sympathise with every character at all times. Its deeply unnerving and tremendously tender all at once.
This is Akhil Sharma’s second novel after the PEN/Hemingway Award-winning “An Obedient Father”. He is an Indian-American writer. A graduate of Princeton University, where he studied Public Policy. Sharma won a Stegner Fellowship to the writing program at Stanford, and won several O. Henry Prizes.

I read “Family Life” with a lot of sighs. Not everyone who reads it can relate to it, a few definitely will. Its one of those reads that shakes your core. This one does it with a large helping of sorrow topped with a kiss of dark humour.

Rating: 3.5/5

Book Review: Love among the Bookshelves

Image

Author: Ruskin Bond
Publisher: Penguin/ Viking
ISBN13: 9780670087341
Genre: non fiction
Pages: 200
Source: Flipkart

“It wasn’t a bookshop, or a library, or a great-aunt’s hoard of romantic novels that made me a reader; it was the week I spent in a forest rest house, in what is now the Rajaji sanctuary, between Haridwar and Dehradun” This is the first line I read and did not stop until I had read it all.
Ruskin Bond’s stories have amazed and inspired generations of readers. In this anthology, he presents the stories he grew up on, and the inspiration that he drew from them. In stories by authors such as P. G. Wodehouse, whose Love Among The Chickens is the inspiration for this book’s title, H. E. Bates, W. Somerset Maugham, Charles Dickens and Richard Jeffries, learn how young Ruskin Bond became the writer we all know and love.
Bond speaks out in this part-memoir. He draws readers into his past and reveals a process hidden in plain sight, yet one every non-writer wishes to understand. He gives out his secret to being the brilliant writer in a word: “reading”

The book is divided into chronological sections. From his childhood and school vacations, school days, the time he spent in Jersey with his aunt and his two years in London. Each section has a memory that has stuck by him, a book that belongs to that time of his life and an excerpt from that book. The best thing about the book is a list of Ruskin Bonds favourite books.

Ruskin Bond is a British-Indian writer. He is known best for his children’s stories. Some of his works are: The Room on the Roof, A Flight of Pigeons, The Sensualist, The Blue Umbrella, Angry River and The Parrot Who Wouldn’t Talk. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contributions towards Indian literature. He now lives in in Landour, near Mussoorie with his adopted family.

Love among the Bookshelves is a classic Bond book. Its written simply yet there is something magical about it. It leaves you wanting more, much more.

Rating: 4/5

Book Review: Sita’s Curse, The Language of Desire

Image

Author: Shreemoyee Piu Kundu
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN13: 9789350097809
Genre: Fiction/ Erotica
Pages: 344
Source: Personal Copy

It is the story of Meera, a middle class housewife, her life and sexual longing. A girl who is burdened by the weight of a dead marriage. Struggling between her own sexual needs and the non existent affections of her husband, she tries to hide her feelings and desires, managing to survive on her memories and fantasies alone for fifteen years. However, she cannot take the pain of her lusty, sensual body going to waste as her husband cannot make love to her. Her constant search for fulfilment leaves her unsatisfied every time. Until one cataclysmic day in Mumbai, when she finally breaks free. Bold, brazen and defiant, Sitas Curse looks at the hypocrisy of Indian society and tells the compelling story of a middle-class Indian housewifes urgent need for love, respect, acceptance and sexual fulfillment.

The plot is explicit and detailed. Erotic from the prologue itself. The authors weaves, lust, desire, sex and sexual frustration neatly around the narrative. she evokes emotions from the reader. You feel the need, want, sorrow and hatred the characters feel in the book. It makes you sad sometimes, but soon brings you back with a hint of hope.

The author takes up some of the things that are considered as taboo, those that are not discussed and that are usually not looked at or given a thought to like the sexual longings of a woman, impotence, and marital rape. She has also incorporated the Mumbai deluge in the plot. The ugly face of the society is brought up front, and in very ironic manner.
The books makes you sit upright and take notice of things around you. It challenges the everything that has been taken for granted. Faith, Love, marriage, sex and desire are all dragged to the questioning.

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is an Indian erotica writer. She has also written under the alias of Aranyani. A former Lifestyle editor and PR head, she has also written: A Pleasant Kind of Heavy and Other Erotic Stories, You’ve Got The Wrong Girl and Cut!. She is currently working on her next book, a political tragedy entitled Rahula.

Its about time that erotica makes its presence felt on the bookshelves in the land of Kama Sutra. Sita’s Curse is erotica with the classic Indian flavour being one of the foremost there. The book needs to be read not only with open eyes but also with an open mind.

Rating: 3/5