You all know I turned out fairly ‘nice’ on Santa’s meter this festive season. But I realized there are quite a number of books that I have accumulated under the ‘to-be-reviewed’ shelf and I finally decided that it is high time I caught up with them.
And since it seems like a Herculean task, I have come up with a way around – bite-size reviews. In this month’s review shots, I have three books that I read sometime in the mid of 2016. Don’t judge me, I was in a blogging slump then.
Book Name: Fast Cars & Fidgety Feet
Author: Rishad Saam Mehta
Genre: Non-Fiction – Travel
Everybody has a dream job. Yes, sadly Netflixing and eating potato chips on the couch is not a job. But what if on a random day, an ad for your dream job lands on your lap, figuratively, what would you do? Would you drop everything and apply it? Or chicken out. That was just a rhetorical question, do not answer.
That’s what exactly happened to the author when he found an advertisement in a newspaper for a job in the automobile magazine. He now lives his dream by keeping up with his interest in driving cars and feet that wanted to travel all around the world. Fast Cars & Fidgety Feet is a nonfiction written by Rishad telling us tales of his misadventures while traveling around the world. There are a few funny anecdotes that you might enjoy.
Final thought: Perfect for a Sunday afternoon read.
Recommended to: Travel book aficionados
Book Name: Dvarca
Author: Madhav Mathur
Genre: Fiction – Dystopian, thriller
As it says on its back over, this book can be the perfect mix of ‘1984 and Meluha series’. Dvarca is a dystopian fiction set in the 22nd century where the Indian nation is governed by a single religion called Navmarg. The State watches every move of the citizens, controlling their schedules including their sleep and food habits. It chooses their life partner, when and how to procreate as well. And anyone who didn’t fall in line was considered outcasts and stranded without benefits. Reminds you a bit of the Handmaid’s tale eh?
Oh, everything is not so gloomy, erm.. as long as you are not outcasts, most things work perfectly in the nation though. Each person is given a task according to their ability, the children are trained at what was required for their chosen lives. The nation represents what could be achieved with a great leader with a vision. Dvarca might be a little difficult to get into initially but it gets gripping as it can be. Be warned of the cliffhanger though.
Final thought: A dystopian nightmare.
Recommended to: Indian mythology lovers
Book Name: The Geek’s Guide to Dating
Author: Eric Smith
Genre: Non Fiction
The Geek’s Guide to Dating is targeted at a particular audience which unfortunately is not me and that brought the fun a notch down for me. Now that we got out of the way, this book is quite a hoot to read. Okay, let me break it up to you – dating is no rocket science and you might have heard all these advice earlier elsewhere. Even if some of the geek jokes went over your head, as it did for me, it was still funny.
Also, you should be ready to overlook the fact that the book addressed only geeky guys seeking girls, geeky or otherwise. See why I am never gonna be the correct audience?
Final thought: A quirky entertainer.
Recommended to: Geeky men; people who need a laugh.
Let us chat
Have you read any of these books? Should I continue doing shots, I mean these review shots, or should stick to the lengthier formats? Let me know in the comments section.
I am known to be avoiding the fantasy genre for a while, these days. The number of blood sucking vampires and werewolves and dragons have gone too many on my ARCs shelves that I even have lost count of them. So when I was approached for the review of Harappa – Curse of the Blood River, I took a moment to think over. While I would love to read historical fiction, the blurb explained that the story would be borderline the fantasy, hence the hesitation. But curiosity won over me. Read on to know how it turned out.
Book Name: Harappa – Curse of the Blood River
Author: Vineet Bajpai
Genre: Fiction – Historical, drama
Characters: Vidyut, Damini, Vivasvan Shashtri, Naina, Bala
Disclaimer: This Book Review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Book Promotions. To know more log on to The Readers Cosmos.
Meet Vidyut, a young and powerful businessman who is a jack of all trades, who lives with the love of his life Damini. His perfect life is disturbed by a call from his great grandfather from Varanasi, who seems to be in his death bed. Vidyut leaves to a place which holds several secrets not only concerning his life but the entire human race. Unbeknownst to him, several events that were set off all over the world once he starts to his journey from Delhi.
We are told of the happenings in the Harappan civilization of the ancient past -the past that sees the effects of treachery and blood thirst. What is the relationship between modern day Vidyut and the fallen civilization? Only one man tell it all, his great grandfather who is running out of time and the strong and treacherous enemies are at bay. Read Harappa – Curse of the Blood River to find out more.
First of the premise is intriguing making us wonder if our school history text books were in fact, nothing but an elaborate ruse? Following the pattern laid by the likes of Dan Brown, Ashwin Sanghi and the new comer Luke Gracias, the story alternates between the past and present and the author does that with quite the flair.
I had known the book was the first of the series of four books, but I had not realized until I came to it, that it ends in a cliffhanger and it doesn’t answer many of the questions. This might be disconcerting to some of the readers, including me. There were few scenes in the middle that were clichéd and could have been very well done without.
The rich history and the strong story line related to Harappan civilization is well executed. The author makes us ponder where does the line between mythology and history lie. The dialogues were kinda off-putting especially the modern day’s, where no one uses that many slangs (yaa, yaar etc) in real life. And the writing gets kinda repetitive after a while. Yet, none of these reduce the pace set by the author until the very last.
The introduction kinda gave away the entire plot, at least the plot of the first book. And then there is a prologue which piqued the interest but again once we have read the introduction there is very little suspense to keep up. There are a few misgivings like how long does it take for a person to narrate a simple tale. But if we do overlook such logical reasoning, I would not be surprised if the Harappa – Curse of the Blood River ends up to be a best seller.
Sometimes you take too long to complete a book and then you don’t want to attempt to capture your feelings about it – because you are sure you are not going to do a justice to it. What makes it harder is that you are not quite familiar with the genre. Yes that is what ‘Songs of the Mist’ did to me – rather has been doing to me – yet am giving an attempt.
Book Name: Songs of the Mist: Volume 1 (The Monk Key Series)
Genre: Fiction – Spiritual
Characters: Ashutosh, Ayan, Vasudha, Calliope, Kyaka, the Monk
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author free of cost in return for an honest review.
Five persons from different walks of life and world take a journey of their lifetime to meet a Monk at the Himalayan range. They almost have nothing in common except their thirst to try to seek and learn what they know not about life. No, this has not much to about their pain and suffering (there is), as their paths and destiny towards the Himalaya in search of the elusive Monk.
I was comparing our TBR piles with a friend of mine and he mentioned about the book that he had recently and how much he enjoyed it, adding that it would not be my cup of tea at all yet that I should give it a chance some day “when I grow up” (yup that is what he said). That irked me as well as perked up my curiosity, and ended up listening to him going gaga over ‘Songs Of the Mist’, and this happened to be, just a day or two after I received the book for review. Needless to say, the subject handled is not at all my forte or even something that I might wonder into during one of my lost trail of thoughts. Yet here I am doing the same thing that ‘the’ friend did to me – going gaga about it to people who may not even venture out to these kinda books.
Remember, when you read or I made you read “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” before it became the ‘cool’ book? People who said me this was similar to it, you are wrong, this book is lot more than that. I should warn you, this is not an easy read. This is not the book you can read on a dentist waiting room (I tried doing that) nor a book that you would want to breeze through to increase your reading count. But you have to read it – if you had questions that were too cool to ask your parents or those answers you smirk at when they give you. It is a really hard book to get hooked to at least in the first few pages and then out of nowhere you seemed to be nodding without realizing you are.
I am pushing off writing what I really liked about the book. Shashi’s writing style and clarity of thoughts. His language held my attention in a book which has such a serious subject, too many descriptive sentences for my liking and a not so fast moving story. Just when you were about to skip a line or so, (only because novels these days requires not more than a speed reading, am not sorry to say that) he just grabs the attention with something so off your balance that you are nodding your head to glory, once again.
Here those few lines that I had to share because they resonated with my line of thoughts.
Never worry about the path. Just take care of the steps you take.
Don’t grieve for desires that are not fulfilled. Sometimes the things that don’t happen keep disasters from happening too.
Passion focuses your mind to one thing that you are doing and leaves no space for something else to enter
This book would be an interesting read if you want to read about not so mundane questions that you can’t ask others, like ‘why we draw a circle of water around the plate before we eat?(pariseshanam – I think)’ or ‘why would anyone want to live at such harsh living conditions near Himalayas?. It would be a sure read if you were among the ones that discuss and think about self realization or worry what we do here – go read his book and go have a chat with the author, right then. If you don’t fall in either of the categories, and you are anything like me – just go read for his language, nuances and attention to minutest detail, and for once – the crisp edit, even if the genre is not your cuppa tea.
P.S I hadn’t known until I almost finished my review that the brilliant editing was from our very own CBC’s Mahesh and Nandhitha. Kudos to you, guys – super proud.