T: Tintin #AToZChallenge


Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts are my favorite comics. I hadn't read adventure comics before. The adventures of Tintin was only something that I had heard of, but never read. My husband turned out to be a huge fan of Tintin and got home some movies one day. Once I watched 'Cigars Of The Pharoah', I was hooked. Next began our book collection. At 500 bucks a piece, these comics are expensive and since they are illustrated beautifully, we wanted new copies for the color and the freshness. Slowly, we started buying three to four books a month, as and when Amazon had an offer on them. As they came in, I devoured it in glee.

S: Sidney Sheldon #AToZChallenge


When I was in the sixth standard, a teacher asked our entire class what our hobbies were. When my turn came, I told her that my hobby was to read novels. She then asked me what novels have I read. I said, Secret Seven and Famous Five. She just smiled and told me that they were not novels. They were just adventure stories. I asked her what novels were then. She told us that novels were long stories woven across a concept or a theme with a set of characters. The next day, my sister got home 'Tell Me Your Dreams' from the library. This was the first time that I had heard of Sidney Sheldon. Since my sister wanted to read the book the next day, I sat the entire night to read it. The next day, I told my teacher that I had read a novel by Sidney Sheldon. She then goes on to say that I was too young to read such novels. Well, I just ignored her.

R: Rebecca - Book Review #AToZChallenge


Title: Rebecca
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (30 January 2003)
Genre: Classic Fiction
Price: Rs. 399 on Amazon
Pages: 448

After a blogger friend rated this book a five star and spoke in praise of it, I was intrigued. I hadn't even heard about this book until then. Suddenly there were a lot of friends on my Facebook timeline who were reading this book and giving it glowing reviews. Not one to fall for hearsay, I did my own research. Turned out, Rebecca was a best-seller and had sold 2,829,313 copies between its publication in 1938 and 1965, and the book had never gone out of print. But then again, almost every book is deemed a best-seller these days. But when I read the blurb, I knew that I had to read the book.

Q: Quick Reads #AToZChallenge


I don't know what the actual definition of quick reads is, but for me it is a book that I can finish under four hours or lesser. I choose quick read books mainly when I'm travelling or want to pass time for a small period. When I was working in Chennai, I used to come to Bangalore every weekend. Quick reads are what kept me company during the six hour train journey. I love to buy comics and other books off a railway platform. Tinkle being my favorite book to read during a train journey. I love comics and nothing like these breezy reads to get you through a train journey. Tinkle brings back so many childhood memories every time I read it. From writing to Uncle Pai to saving money to buy the new edition, everything is such a strong memory. Earlier, the stories used to be so meaningful and creative. By earlier I mean like nine years ago, when I had just started work. These days, the stories are really silly. While some do make sense, most of them are shoddily executed.

P: P. G. Wodehouse #AToZChallenge


The only regret that I have when it comes to reading is that I had not discovered P.G Wodehouse until recently. The books belonged to my husband and were lying on my bookshelf and I did not even take a look at them. I had heard about his books and the beautiful use of the English language and his humor, earlier. Humor was a genre that I did not like in particular, as a lot of trash is sold in the name of humor. One fine day, wanting a light read I picked up 'Much Obliged, Jeeves'. I was laughing my heart out with every page. Not only was the writing impeccable, the humor was top notch! Bertie Wooster and Jeeves entertained me so much that it was the best distraction from real life that I'd got.

O: Overrated Books #AToZChallenge


No list of books is complete without the list of overrated books. Not that I have read all the books in the world, but there are some books that I wish I hadn't read. Some books create so much of hype around it that I feel like an outsider for not having read it. Then I go ahead and read it and then I wonder what was so good about the book? This has happened way too many times that I now have a long list. Almost all Indian authors fall into this list by default, led by Mr. Bhagat of course. Apart from these, a lot of other books have left a bad taste in my mouth. Since I cannot talk about all, I have just picked a few pretty famous ones here.

N: The Night Circus - Book Review #AToZChallenge


Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Vintage (24 May 2012)
Genre: Fantasy
Price: Rs. 319 on Amazon
Pages: 512

The one letter I have been waiting for throughout this A to Z challenge is N. I have been dying to talk about this book. I read this in February/March and have been saving it up for this day. Before, I hadn't heard about this book at all. One day while searching for something else on Goodreads, I accidentally ended up on this page. It has a four plus rating and almost all the reviews were talking about how magical it was. Not one for fantasy and magic, I decided to ignore that. But one thing that remained on my mind is the cover of the book. Look, how beautiful it is! One fine day, on an impulse I ordered the book. Yeah, just because I liked its cover. I bought the vintage edition and oh my God the cover was so damn gorgeous. There were times when I used to take the book, sit down with a cup of tea and just look at its cover. I can be cuckoo sometimes.

M: Mrs Funnybones #AToZChallenge


I have always been a fan of Twinkle Khanna. Yes, even before she became a writer. No, I did not think she was a good actress, I just thought that she was very beautiful and had a very good sense of fashion. And I loved her hair. Oh, her hair! Okay, I can get vain at times. Then she went on to get married to Akshay Kumar, a man I immensely respect for being so humble. Then they became like the dream couple in my mind. Anyway, when she started writing columns, I thought it was just one of those things that star wives do. And then, I started reading her work. I was blown away! If there is something that this woman had, it was wit. And balls!

L: Lolita - Why You Must Read It #AToZChallenge


Lolita was a book that really tested my patience. I bought it because of the controversial theme. No, I'm not a pervert, I just wanted to see how it was executed. Also because Lolita is included on TIME magazine's list of the 100 best English language novels to have been published from 1923 to 2005. I have tried reading this book umpteen number of times before I actually read it. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of this classic, the story is about Humbert Humbert (HH) who has a sexual fascination for girls aged from 9 to 14, whom he calls nymphets. He meets Dolores Haze, 12, and is deeply infatuated by her. He then christens her Lolita. To top it, he becomes her stepfather and still nurses sexual feelings for her and later gets sexually involved with her. Their journey is what forms the book. The subject is clearly taboo, but I loved the book. In spite of it testing my patience and hurting my eyes with the never ending paragraphs. I have reviewed the book here. Now, I shall tell you why you must read the book.

K: Khaled Hosseini #AToZChallenge


When I was working in Chennai for a brief four months, I used to stay in a hostel. Worst time of my life, trust me. Anyway, when a Bangalorean moves to Chennai and has bare minimum friends, any free day is a dud. Chennai is not a place that you can explore on foot. At least for me it wasn't easy. My weekends were usually restricted to visiting a book seller near my hostel. This was not a store, books were sold on the footpath here. While most of them were pirated copies, at times you did find very old originals. My eyes always found them. That's how I discovered Jhumpa Lahiri and her book 'Unaccustomed Earth'. I used to pick up a lot of books from here. A weekend meant exhausting two books and I needed new ones soon. During one such tryst to the book seller is when I picked up a book called 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', only because I loved the title. Who the author was, what was the book about, did not matter then.

J: Jeffrey Archer #AToZChallenge


While I had a lot of other options in mind for A to I, J couldn't be anything else. When I moved from Sidney Sheldon to more "grown up" books, 'Kane And Abel' was one the books that I picked up. When one of the libraries near home was to be shut down, they put out all their books on sale. I got two bag fulls of books from there. Most of them were from John Grisham, Danielle Steel and Jeffery Archer. I had never read Jeffery Archer before, I just picked them up on an impulse. Since I was getting the original copies of the books for 50-70 bucks each, I picked up as many as I could. For some strange reason, I decided to start with the thickest book and that was 'Kane And Abel'. The story went on and on and on and took me with it. I sat for two days at a stretch and finished that book. Once done, I was so exhausted but immensely pleased. It was one of the best books that I've ever read and the story was flawless.

I: Indian Authors #AToZChallenge


I must confess, the first Indian author I ever read was Chetan Bhagat. With a start this awesome, you can imagine how the rest of the journey would be. To be honest, I liked his first book 'Five Point Someone'. Maybe it was to do with the fact that I was doing my engineering at that point of time. The book was decent enough and I sincerely feel that '3 Idiots' was totally inspired by this book no matter what the production house chose to say. After reading mysteries and thrillers, a slice of life book felt good at that point of time. 'One Night At A Call Center' was such a disaster that I did not know if I should laugh or cry for choosing to read this book. 'Three Mistakes Of My Life' turned out to be a huge mistake in my life, but I did enjoy 'Kai Po Che'. The movie was a million times better than the book here. I read '2 States' because I was dating a guy from the North back then and I did like the book. It did not work out for me in real life, but atleast the book had a happy ending. The movie was pretty decent too, irrespective of having Arjun Kapoor in it.

H: Harry Potter #AToZChallenge


I never thought that I'll be the one to read fantasy books. Especially after being forced to read Twilight. That book was wrong on so many levels that I cannot start pointing it out. When Harry Potter released while we were in school, I was busy with the Shakespearean classics and had just discovered Sidney Sheldon. I was so in to the mystery and thrill genre that Harry Potter felt way too childish for me. Especially with all the kids standing in line to buy those books. Some of my close friends were really crazy about these books and used to wait desperately for a year for the next book to come out. Even if I wanted to read the books, I would not have had the patience to wait for the next book to be out. So I let it be. Once out of the blue, for reasons I don't remember, I asked a friend of mine if I could borrow the books one by one. She clearly did not want to share them and made up a story about her sister being "possessive" about the books and all that blah. So, I let it be again.

G: Genres I Like To Read #AToZChallenge


'Give me a book and I'll forget the world' - Is a very nice thing to say but the first thing I'd ask would be, "Which book"? Yes, I'm a bibliophile and all that but I prefer to only read certain genres. To start with, I can only read fiction. Non fiction is something that has never appealed to me. While I was good at understanding and sometimes mugging up from school/college books, non-fiction books are really difficult for me to comprehend. I need a book to have a proper beginning, middle and ending. Else, the whole structure seems wrong to me. Fiction makes sense in every way to the reader in me. Stories are something that I flow with. I need characters to imagine in my head and I also like to get into the head of the author to know what he/she was thinking while writing this particular story.

F: Films Vs Books #AToZChallenge


Over the years, a lot of films have been made based on books. While deciding to write on this topic, I just did a google search and the results I got was plenty and overwhelming. That's when I decided to just talk about the books I've read and the films I've watched. Obviously like everyone else, I'm a sucker for books and I scrutinize the movie frame by frame to find faults in it, if any. See, when you have loved a book so much it is hard to accept the fact that someone else was making a movie out of it. You never know what they will do to the original story. Also, when you read characters you form a perception of how they look in your mind. When it is made into a movie you never know who gets to play those characters. Sometimes just the casting is enough to ruin the memory of a book for you. I also hate it when books are printed with their movie covers as the front page. I never buy such books and always go hunting for the original. I'm sorry, but I always like my books in the original format and that way the characters are always better in my mind.

E: Enid Blyton #AToZChallenge


When I was seven, I was helping my aunt clean the house. We were going through a large cupboard filled with old magazines and newspapers. As I helped her arrange the newspapers into stacks and the magazines according to the length (yes, I've been an OCD freak from a long time), I found a tiny book among it. Something about it made me not want to give it away. I asked my aunt if I could have it and she said yes. I kept the book aside and helped her finish the chore. Later that night, when I came back home from play, I sat down to read the book. It was a fairly small book but I sat through half the night to finish it. The mystery enveloped me like fire and soon I was burnt with the desire to read more of such books and be a part of the detective squad. 'Secret Seven Fireworks' was that book. And I had only just discovered the beauty of Enid Blyton's writing.

There was no looking back after that. Right from my school library to the library near home, I borrowed as many books as possible and soon I was done with all the 'Secret Seven' books. Soon, within my group of friends we were using a password to reveal secrets and every dog looked like Scamper to me. I was in love with all the kids, Peter and Jack in particular. There were so many mysteries that these seven solved and each one was unique in its own way. I picked up the 'Famous Five' soon after and then fell in love all over again. Julian and Timmy became my best friends and I dreamt of solving mysteries with them.

D: Danielle Steel #AToZChallenge


I do not call myself a great fiction writer, I am below average on that scale, but the reason I ever thought of trying a hand at fiction was this woman - Danielle Steel. I was very young when my librarian near home suggested I try reading her. Having read only mysteries and thrillers until, I asked what genre she writes. The librarian lady smiled and said that she writes life stories. Thinking of it to be a non-fiction biography kind, I politely declined. She then said that it is fiction, drama, love and everything else put together. Looking at the size of the book in her hand, I declined again. She just smiled and placed the book in my hand and said, "Keep this with you, you don't have to return it. If ever you read it, let me know how you liked it. I'm giving you this because I know you will like it". It was a book called 'The Ranch'.

C: Chocolat - Book Review #AToZChallenge


Title: Chocolat
Author: Joanne Harris
Publisher: RHUK (4 March 1999)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Price: Rs. 322 on Amazon
Pages: 320

I had only heard about this book thanks to the movie. No, I haven't watched the movie as yet, but I know that Johnny Depp looks like a dream in it. After having read only thrillers for a while, I grabbed the opportunity when a friend suggested that I read this book. An order was placed and soon I received the book. The cover looked delicious and tempting. But I had to wait for a while before starting to read this one as I was caught up with some personal emergencies. But then one fine day, I opened it.

B: Bookworm & Blossoms #AToZChallenge


There is no way that you could have lived in Bangalore and not heard of Bookworm or Blossoms. For a bibliophile like me, bookstores are like candy land, and these two stores form the cake and the cherry on top! As a child while I was just discovering reading, most of my books were from the school library or the library near home that I had taken a membership at a measly sum of Rs. 50 for a year. Buying books were never on my mind as I did not have enough money and I was getting to read more than enough anyway. Once I left school and had exhausted most of the books in the library next door, I began saving up money to buy books. I had finished reading all the Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew books by then and was just discovering Sidney Sheldon. Unfortunately for me, the library did not stock much of these, so if I wanted to read more of him I had to buy them.

A: Agatha Christie #AToZChallenge


The first book that I ever read, apart from a comic, was a book titled 'The Secret Of The Silver Dolphin'. It was a book about two girls who embark on an adventure that soon turns into a mystery as they try to find the lost inheritance of their friend. I finished the book in a single sitting from dawn to dusk. Back then, while I was young, it would take time to finish any book. Because, like I said, this was the first proper book that I ever read. It has been decades since that day, but I remember the story with pristine clarity. The main protagonists even though were teenage girls, were brilliant! The story flowed with such an ease and the thrill was something else altogether for a first timer like me back then. Just when I thought that Carolyn Keene was the best author in the world and her books were the best thing to happen to me, I discovered another author called Agatha Christie.