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Showing posts from April, 2017

Z: Zoe From 'The Ranch' #AToZChallenge

You all know that I'm a big fan of Danielle Steel and all her books. The reason I love her books is because of the women in them. Her protagonists are normal woman who go through day to day life and the problems that come with it. While some are strong from the start, some slowly find their strength and themselves through the story. There is nothing more awesome than reading about a woman regaining her own strength and believing in herself and then sorting out her life. No matter what challenge comes her way, she gets past it with aplomb and a set of lessons. They in turn teach the reader so much about life and how you can make it. Life's stories are what Danielle Steel specializes in and that's the main reason I love her books so much.

Y: Yes, My Accent Is Real - Book Review #AToZChallenge

Title: Yes, My Accent Is Real: And Some Other Things I Haven't Told You Author: Kunal Nayyar Publisher: Simon & Schuster (18 September 2015) Genre: Biographies, Diaries & True Accounts Price: Rs. 219 on Amazon Pages: 272 I am a huge fan of ' The Big Bang Theory ' and everything about this show amazes me. The concept is brilliant and the cast is perfect. While Sheldon will remain my favorite, my next favorite would be the astrophysicist, Rajesh Koothrappali. The character of Raj is so adorable and Kunal Nayyar pulls it off perfectly. Right from that hairstyle to the sweaters to his body language and accent. When I heard about him writing a book, I had already made up my mind to buy it. Yes, I did want to know how he landed this role and how he is in real life, but most importantly I wanted to know how this geeky lad got a Miss India Universe to marry him. If you didn't know this earlier, he's married to Neha Kapur .

X: X From 'The Devotion Of Suspect X' #AToZChallenge

How far would you go for love? While ' The Devotion Of Suspect X ' is a brilliant murder mystery, you cannot ignore the brilliant character of Tetsuya Ishigami who later turns out to be the suspect X. There is something about this character that makes the user sit up and notice and then ask questions. A brilliantly written character, suspect X is much ahead of the police and the detectives in every way. He plans the cover up of the murder with precision, putting his life in danger without the blink of an eye. He's not the murderer, well, he didn't kill the victim at least. Those who have read the book will know that Yasuko Hanaoka, his neighbor is the actual killer and the victim happens to be her ex-husband. Ishigami somehow makes sense of the murder and helps her cover it up. But why?

W: A Walk To Remember #AToZChallenge

I know I said that I am not a fan of love stories, but this one is my all time favorite love story. While the story is simple and the journey is heart wrenching, I love this book for more than these reasons. Knowing that I'm a bibliophile, this is the first book that my then boyfriend now husband gifted to me. While I was travelling for a month. This books holds so many memories for me. The smile on his face when he gave it to me. The pain in our eyes while we had to depart, albeit for a short time. The smile I had as I held the book in my hand all through the airport. For some reason, I refused to put this in my bag. I held on to it until I boarded. Within the next one hour I had finished reading the book and I had a wide smile on my face. And why not? The book was about eternal love after all.

V: Very Very Good Books #AToZChallenge

I'm gonna do the impossible today and come up with a list of my favorite books. I know that it is very difficult to come up with a list like this. It is asking a mother to name her favorite child. Or so they say. I have been an avid reader for more than twenty two years now and I do have my favorites. These are really good books and I wish that everyone should read them at least once. While the concept is brilliant in some, the execution is better in others. While the characters are perfect in some, the narration is better in others. Most of them I've listed below have everything going right in them. So here we go.

U: Unread Books On My Shelf #AToZChallenge

I've been in a meeting since 3 PM today. When I'm not expected to speak or when something not related to my area of work is being spoken about, I browse my phone. I don't check social media, I'm on Amazon looking for books. It's like a subconscious thing. Whenever I'm in a meeting random book names cross my mind and I end up looking for them on Amazon and then buying it. I have more than thirty books lying at home that are unread, and yet I'm constantly buying books. I know its adding on to my collection, but at times when I clean my shelf I realize that I have way too many unread books. And that hurts. Still, I end up buying books as and when I see something online or when I'm passing by a bookstore. Many times I've made up my mind that I'll only buy books when I have nothing else to read, but I fail miserably. Today, while in the meeting, I bought two more books.

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

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

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

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.

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 li

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

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 .