Book Review : Kaleidoscope

kal11

 

Few months back, Spring Tide, in association with Parlance Publishers, Buddygifting, Chaisa Cafe and Bluegape, organized an online short story writing contest. Twenty five stories were selected out of hundreds of entries received and compiled into this wonderful book “Kaleidoscope”.  Here’s what I feel about each story:

 

Hunter  by Vivek Banerjee 

This story has won its author the Best Writer award in this contest. I loved the climax of the story. Quite unexpected.

 

The House by Deboshree Bhatacharjee

This story is beautifully penned down. However, I was expecting something more.

 

Tale of the Knitting Yarn by Nabanita Dhar

I have often come across Ms. Dhar’s Indiblogger profile but never read her work, for no apparent reason until this one. Well, this, according to me, is the best story. I simply loved the use of Irony in the story. For me, you’re an uncontested winner.  🙂

 

Voice Male by Renuka Vishwanathan

This is also one of the top five stories of Kaleidoscope. It started off pretty well. The title, however, gave the climax away.

 

The Domino Effect by Deepa Duraisamy

This is a very well-thought plot. The story absolutely does justice to its place in the “Top Five Stories”.

 

The hike to the Temple by Prasanna Rao

This is again a gripping tale with an interesting climax.

 

Food by Vaibhav Mukhim

Well, this was a failed attempt at becoming a Dan Brown thriller in roughly 6 pages.

 

Happy Puppet by Bhavya Kaushik

This one surprised me with its well-researched and kuch hatke concept. I have read Bhavya’s work before and this story didn’t disappoint me either.

 

The White Dress by Garima Nowal

This was a quick and exciting read; a page turner. I am a fan of ‘flukes’. And this story had one.

 

Karma is a bitch by Rafaa Dalvi

The story progressed agreeably to a remarkable end.

 

Redemption by Harihar Adarsh

This story is different because it is not set in a contemporary period and not-so-different because its clichéd storyline.

 

The Last Date by Sarvana Kumar Murugan

A decent read highlighting some really important and grave social issues.

 

I love you too by Khushi Gupta

A love story stretched over a lifetime, penned in a few pages. Good job. The best thing about the story is the one-liners, every now and then. “Sometimes, the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”

 

Alive Inside by Nehali Lalwani

Again, a story that leaves you surprised.

 

Theory of Evolution by Balaganesh Pitchai

Woah! Hats off to this guy for coming up with something like this! Although, I think the concept is too good to be finished in a few pages. This deserves a whole novel.  🙂

 

‘I’ Operated by Smriti Mahale

I read and read and read and read some more. But alas, nothing happened. The story doesn’t do justice to the intriguing title it bears.

 

The Star that Shines on Me… by Parul Tyagi

I think this story should have been one of the top five stories. While reading this story, I felt like I am reading some work of literature. It’s wonderfully written. The climax, however, was a little weak. Overall, bravo.

 

The boy who sold books by Anurag Bhatt

This was again an interesting read. First person narrations are always more absorbing.

 

Chaos by Rahul Biswas

Umm… it was okay.

 

Secret of the murderous wood by Sanhita Baruah

A story involving werewolves and vampires has become too clichéd. This, is one of them.

 

First Contact by Aman Mathur

A sci-fi bringing out a brutal reality. A story with a moral.

 

The Journey of My Life by Shishir Dhingra

Like I said earlier, I love flukes. And I love them more when they happen in a train journey.

( I have my reasons. Something similar happened to me, once. I met a guy. And our story also ended in a marriage. His marriage. With someone else. Now stop laughing and read the next review.)

 

The Unknown Destination by Aniruddh Naik

To be honest, the stuff went over my head.

 

Crazy Scarf by Prabhat Singh

A love story that makes you go “aw”. Yes. Only one ‘W’.

 

When love oozed out blood by Ayush Agarwal

A dramatic tale focusing on homosexuality and coming out of the closet. Again, a story with a moral.

 

Since the review got pretty lengthy, I haven’t mentioned what each story is all about. I would leave up to you all to find that out. I have just expressed my honest opinion about each story.

You can grab a copy of this wonderful book here!

 

Advertisements

Book Review : Smart Phones Dumb People?

9789380619569

 

Author : Parthajeet Sarma
Genre : Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 :  9789380619569
Rating : 2.5 out of 5

When I first heard about “Smart Phones Dumb People?”, I was truly mesmerized by the title itself. So much so, that I didn’t even care to read its excerpt and quickly agreed to review it. I was happy to lay my hands upon it.

 
The book begins with an incident that explicitly suggests the dumbness of some people today which is then compared to the smartness of Phones, and the rest of the book tries to answer the question “Smart Phones, Dumb People?”

“As gizmos take over our lives, and in some cases reduce pressure on our gray matter, have we become less intelligent? Have we become dumber?”

The author of the book, Parthajeet Sarma, is an award winning innovator and successful entrepreneur. A fan of free markets and technology, he likes writing and talking about holistic approaches towards addressing ‘base of the pyramid issues’. This is his first book.

The book gripped me instantly at its Prologue. However, as I read more, my interest level began to fluctuate. I liked the book in parts. The book contains some really interesting facts and mentions some really fascinating people and organizations. The author has expressed many positive views on Innovation, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Priorities and Corruption, and coupled them with suitable facts and figures, and various examples. However, there’s not much “out of the box” content in the book. So, despite the good part, the book lost me at certain places. There were times when I thought to myself “Is this really needed here?” The reason I felt that way, is that I just don’t agree with the title after reading the book. The two, in my view, just don’t go together. Like I said earlier, I was impressed by the title. But the content of the book, I feel, doesn’t not do justice to the title, and vice-versa.

In a nut-shell, when you weigh the good and the bad together, the bad does tend to go down but with a small margin. Overall, it was a decent read. Fun, interspersed with few yawns, here and there.

You can grab a copy of the book from Flipkart.

Book Review : MBA is not about Money, Blazer, Arrogance

17605285

 

Author : Krishna Kranthi

Genre : Fiction

ISBN : 9350675005

Rating : 3/5

 

When I first laid my hands upon this book, I was a little disappointed at the title itself. I thought the book would be some sort of a lecture on what MBA is all about, if not Money, Blazer and Arrogance. But then I started reading it, and as they say, Never judge a book by its cover (or title), I actually began to enjoy it.

This is the first novel by Krishna Kranthi who is a management professional from Hyderabad. He has pursued his studies from CBIT, worked with Infosys, Amazon before pursuing his MBA from SPJIMR, Mumbai.

The book is about Revant’s journey in SPJIMR, Mumbai and his quest to find the true purpose of pursuing a Masters in Business Administration; something which everyone enrolled in the course is uncertain about. Like the title itself suggests, with time, he discovers, that MBA is NOT just about money, blazer or arrogance, but it is more than that. The story bears a simple plot and language which makes it easier for the reader to focus on the bigger picture – ‘Why MBA?’

If you are pursuing an MBA or planning to do so in the future, I am pretty sure you’d be able to relate at least a part of yourself to Revant and his thoughts. At least, I did. The book provides an insight to the inside story of a B-School. Moreover, it gives you a previously tested and quite precise idea about efficiently utilizing the time during your MBA (Improvisations welcomed). So, by the time you’re done reading about Revant’s approach, your mind is already forming ideas of its own. Don’t think much, just go for it. 🙂 🙂

You can grab a copy on Flipkart or Amazon.

 

 

 

Book Review : Beaten by Bhagath!

9789382473039

 

Author : S.V. Divvaakar

Genre : Fiction

ISBN : 9789382473053

Rating : 3.5/5

 

 

If we knew exactly how our lives would turn out to be in the next few decades, we would probably stop living. For BB, life was pretty much about making good money, changing cars every two years, going on yearly overseas holidays etc. until one day, his sexy lady boss turns his life upside down with her remark, “I’m sure you can do a much better job than Bhagath.” And thus began BB’s journey of Wordsmithery. Hell bent on beating his former college room-mate and a successful writer, Ketan Bhagath (that rhymes with Chetan Bhagath! Coincidence?) , BB begins to spend the rest of his days and nights working on his very own novel. With the intention of being more successful than Bhagath and not just being successful, BB puts all he has got, his family, his time, his energy, his money, on stake. Like a Lilliput amongst a million giants, he struggles to make his tiny book thrive, sometimes swimming with the tide and sometimes, standing still and resisting the ‘mainstream’. Will he beat Bhagath?

S.V. Divvaakar, through the journey of the protagonist, BB, unravels the most intriguing and boggling realities of the world of Publishing, Distributing & Retailing in the country. The gripping accounts of BB’s encounters with various such giants are bound to leave the reader awe-struck. In fact, for a person who wants to publish his/her book someday (read: Me) the events narrated in the book came as a warning. And with every disappointment BB went through, I was like, ‘The end better be good!’ And well, the book ended in a way I couldn’t have imagined, which by the way, I really like about books (and movies). And by the time you’re done reading the book, you’ll find your mind over brimming with thoughts, all of them focusing on coming up with a plan, the plan. At least it was so in my case.

The most interesting and impressive part of the book is its title: Beaten by Bhagath! It works on so many levels! I would love to explain ‘why’ and ‘how’ but then it would give away all the fun. So, read the book and you’ll know what I am talking about. (And if you still don’t, I am willing to deliver a free lecture 😀 )

Enjoy Reading! 🙂

Book Review : The Other Side Of The Bed

 

 

 

the

 

Author : Bhavya Kaushik

Genre : Fiction

ISBN : 978-81-924809-3-0

Rating : 4/5

 

The first 20 pages of any book I pick decide if I am going to spend the next few hours watching a movie. When I began reading “The Other Side Of The Bed”, which, by the way, is Bhavya’s debut novel, I was totally captivated by the way he weaves magic with his words. By the time I reached the fifteenth page of the book, I just knew- this book is going to be my companion for the next few days.

The story is about Nakul, a newlywed Assistant Professor, who loses his four-week-old wife and childhood companion, Tamanna, and Devyani, a journalist, who loses her mother, in a series of bomb blasts in the Pink City. Together the “Grief-Mates” embark on a journey through the five stages of grief- Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance, to reach a point where they can truly let go of their sorrow and embrace life as it comes to them. On this journey, they meet and interact with some more people who lost their loved ones in the serial bombing attack and in the process of helping them, heal themselves.

Bhavya Kaushik is one enchanting wordsmith! He has definitely poured his heart out on the book and every page reflects those emotions. The novel contains some hauntingly beautiful lines. One of my favorites, which is, well, just one of the many more bewitching lines in the text, is:

When I was asleep, somebody came and disassembled me into thousand pieces and then hurriedly put me back together in a second, losing some of my pieces on the ground, or placing some of them incorrectly.

Bhavya surely knows how to tell a story and tell it well enough to keep his reader hooked. Although the book contains some grammatical and spelling errors here and there, but that’s just a printing-error and it still doesn’t stop the book from standing out.

You’ll smile and then you’ll be appalled. You’ll weep and after a couple of pages, you’ll be inspired to wipe those tears off. Their stories will make you want to write your own, their agony will make you forget your gloom, their thoughts will leave you thoughtless and simultaneously, provoke your thoughts and their words, their words will break your heart and at the same time, fill those cracks with hope and faith. So, next time you come across a bookstore or are idly surfing some online shopping sites, do get your very own copy of “The Other Side of the Bed”.

 

Book Review : Heirs Of Catriona

hei

 

Author : Anusha Subramanian

Genre : Fiction

Rating : 3/5

 

When I first received this book and learnt about its author, I wondered, ‘what could a girl of seventh grade possibly write to be published?!’ Well, I was judging the book by the author’s age. And as I sat down to read the book, Anusha proved me wrong in no time.

The book revolves around the lives of two teenagers, Sara and Crystal, who have been living as orphans until one day their ordinary lives doesn’t remain ordinary anymore. An old man comes to ‘their world’ and informs them they are the ‘Heirs of Catriona’ and that their mothers, Anastasia and Olivia, are alive and are under the clutches of Merissa, the evil witch. Sara and Crystal, with their pet Jasmine, thus set out for a sojourn full of adventure, thrill, sorcery, magic and danger to rescue their mothers, avenge the death of their fathers and save Catriona.

‘Heirs of Catriona’ is the first book in the Catriona Series. The plot is filled with interesting and quite familiar characters from Norse and other mythologies. Although, there were moments when I felt that the author drew tremendous inspiration from Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. The language is pretty simple and the verbal exchanges, way too simple.

I also found a glitch in one of the chapters. There is a moment when Sara kicks the pot that has been preventing the snake’s venom from falling on Loki’s fore-head. Technically, after the pot has been kicked, the venom should now fall upon Loki’s forehead. But Anusha doesn’t say anything about it.

Nevertheless, Anusha has done a tremendously wonderful job and children can and should certainly add the Catriona Series in their library. Just so you know, Anusha Subramanian is one of the youngest published authors in India. She was only twelve when she wrote this book. She is thus, a budding wordsmith and will definitely turn out to be a virtuoso in her field in the years to come.

 

P.S I would like to thank Mr. Ravi Subramanian, Anusha’s father, for sending me the book.

Book Review : The Bottom Line

Cover Page : The Bottom LineCover Page : The Bottom Line

Author: Sonu V C

Genre: Self Help, Philosophy

Rating: 3.5/5

Stretched over a one hundred and four pages, The Bottom Line is a quick read which, by the time you have finished only half of it, leaves you pondering over a number of questions about your not-so-uncommon attitude towards your life.

I liked the book in parts. There were moments when I felt the book had something insightful to offer; something I always knew but had never thought about before. But then, there were parts where I thought I was left with endless questions without any answers and without a guided thought process. May be that was the aim of the author; to keep the readers engrossed in some introspection in an endeavor to discover the seemingly hard-to-find answers.

The Bottom Line, as the name suggests, talks about “the bottom line” or the ultimate aim of life; distinguishing the aim or the end with the means to achieve the desired end. With a number of practical examples, the author quite successfully convinces the reader that there is something wrong with the way we live. In the process of achieving our goals, we end up focusing more on the means or the medium to achieve them, instead of the goals themselves. He further moves on to drop candid hints about what precisely is/should be the bottom line of every life: Selfless Life. At this point, I’d like to add a little about the author.  Sonu V C, at a very young age of 25, is the founder of Deepika Foundation, an organization which aims at bringing light in the lives of many by working in the areas of education, health and livelihood. You see? He’s a man who practices what he preaches.

It would quite wrong to say that The Bottom Line is a satisfactory read. In fact, it is a book that will bring you one step closer to attaining contentment. Do spare an hour and pick this book. It can be purchased online from any of the links below.

 Flipkart

URead

BookAdda

HomeShop18

P.S This book supports Deepika Foundation. As contribution to the society and humankind at large, 10% of the revenue generated through sales of this book will go as proceed to the foundation.

 

Click to view the Facebook Page and Blog Page of the book.

 

Finally, a special thanks to Mr. Yatin Gupta for sending me this book. 🙂 🙂 ( Twitter Handle : @iYatinGupta )