All Things Adulterous.

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Being a borderline obsessed fan of Paulo Coelho’s, let me warn you from the start that this review may be biased.

It was on a lonesome night that I suddenly realised that I forgot the essence of his latest to my collection, Adultery. I found this a bit strange, as all of you who are familiar with Coelho, be it one because of one read or more, know that his books leave you with a lasting emotion. The emotion varies: you have some who claim they will never touch a Coelho again, and then there’s Me. Who truly believes that Paulo Coelho is one of the few writers whose words I will always go back to on a stormy night or when I need some guidance.

That being said, as I began re-reading Adultery: I was intrigued. Nothing about it seemed familiar. Not the tone of the book, not his interpretations of love, loss, confusion or any of the themes that he has approached here.

Linda, has a life that many dream of. She lives in Geneva, married with two wonderful kids, is a successful journalist and has a lot of friends. But she is depressed. She has sleepless nights and one day, in an interview with an old fling, now a rising politician, she gets down on her knees and unzips his pants.

You’d imagine the plot has reached it’s peak. We have all the essentials required for an exciting story, with the Master of Words and Feelings writing it himself.

Adultery. Love. Family. Success. Sex. Depression.

Alas, while all topics are touched upon, the depth that Coelho goes with his characters seems to be lacking here. And this is borderline upsetting. There are hints made about how her life unravels, an interview with a Shaman, a heart-to-heart with a friend and of course, a confrontation with her husband and the politician boyfriend. But none leave you satisfied. And somewhere, towards the end, as Linda takes a leap (while paragliding) her sense of relief as she touches the ground and symbolically, reality, it feels too rushed. As if the pages of the book had to come to an end.

Coelho has approached taboo topics before, so this has come as an unpleasant surprise to me. But that being said, I am always a fan of his work and there are some sentences within that made me sit up and my heart start racing.

“Today I am a woman torn between the terror that everything might change and the equal terror that everything might carry on exactly the same for the rest of my days.”
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I would recommend you read this book, however, if this was to be your first Coelho, then maybe you can reach out for Zahir, The Alchemist, Like A Flowing River or The Devil and Miss Prym – these are excellent books that will ease you into the magic of Coelho.

“heavy boots”

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Oskar Schell, he’s 9 years old, lives in New York and has just received news of his father’s untimely death in the devastating 9/11 attack. Jonathan Sarfan Foer’s second title, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a read that captivates you from the very first line and lingers with you much after you put down the book.
Oskar Schell is unlike any child that you will encounter. His mind always keen with new inventions that can help the world in a way no one else has thought of. He has a variety of interests including, jewellery making, butterfly collecting and quoting Shakespeare. Unfortunately, he is also the only person to hear his father’s last message recorded on the answering machine before the collapse of the towers.
And he is grief-stricken.
Haunted by these messages, Oskar takes the reader on a quest to solve the mystery of a key found in his dad’s vase in an envelope marked Black. He believes that all answers lie within the keyhole that this key is bound to open.
The story is bold.
Foer uses the imagination of a 9 year old to help us cope with the sadness and grief (what he constantly refers to as “heavy boots”) and more importantly, the journey that many who are still mourning the loss of loved ones, have to take.
Encountering entertaining characters, like his bell-boy, the grandmother, the upstairs neighbour (who has taken hoarding to another level) and many more: with each door that Oskar knocks on, a new side to his journey is presented to the reader in the most realistic, yet serene manner.
Throughout the story, one is almost curious as to why and how no one finds it strange that a 9 year old boy, so struck by grief, is walking along the boroughs of New York, knocking on doors and questioning people about their relationship with his father. While this is a nagging thought, Foer manages to keep you distracted long enough, till the very end where your tears will find a way to you, along with a beautiful explanation.
I would definitely recommend adding this book to your shelf: it is a journey that one must experience in their life. And it is a journey that Foer has masterfully addressed.

The Reckless Protégé

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“… A book is not a product when an author is writing it. At that moment it is a dream. It is the purpose of existence for the author. But the moment you put a price tag on it and place it on a shelf in a bookstore, it becomes a product.”

He looked at the others in the audience and after an intentional pause, added, “Otherwise why even bother to sell it? Give it away for free.”

The Bestseller She Wrote, Ravi Subramanian

Aditya Kapoor, best-selling author with an equally spectacular career, neatly bowed up with a beautiful wife and a loving little boy. His life, from his eyes, and the secret Google searches he would indulge in from time to time, was perfect.

Nothing was amiss, all until a heated argument with a student full of life, nerve and a power that no one could quite understand, the gorgeous, Shreya Kaushik.

Their journey takes several unexpected turns and twists, leaving all those in it’s wake, troubled and confused.

What immediately caught my attention in this book is storyteller, Ravi Subramanian’s ability to take his readers from one plot twist to another so effortlessly, that as an ambitious writer myself, I have to say it leaves one utterly jealous.

There are parts in this book where, with the right imagination, it almost feels as though one is watching the scenes play out.

From Aditya’s self-confidence, Shreya’s sultry mannerisms, Maya (Aditya’s wife)’s unwavering support to her family, every role is defined, is played out, is crystal. There are so many questions that the reader has from the very beginning of the book, “Can Aditya, a master novelist himself, be a true mentor?”, “Is Shreya smart or selfish?”, “What would you do, if one day, you had the chance of encountering your role-model, and soon after he becomes your number one fan?”

All this and more, in this gripping novel by Ravi Subramanian, The Bestseller She Wrote. Add this to your list of Indian contemporary authors, and you will not be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.amazon.com where you can purchase a copy – Do note that Amazon does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.

 

The Resilient Heart.

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She is anything but subtle and gentle when it comes to her works, her writing if anything always hints to a dystopian society, the failures of mankind and what’s worse than all of this? Margaret Atwood’s writing can’t entirely and truly be categorised as works of fiction. The Heart Goes Last is the latest addition to her collection of spine chilling reads.

Protagonists, Stan and Charmaine are left with nothing – sleeping in their car, collecting scraps from dustbins late at night with danger or worse, death always around the corner are in a society that has just crumbled. With almost no hope left, Charmaine catches an ad on TV, of a community that offers homes, jobs, an abundance of food and fresh towels. With bursting optimism, she convinces Stan to visit this facility, Consilience, despite warnings from Stan’s brother. It’s not all fluffy pillows and warm baths here, citizens have to spend one month outdoors and one, as inmates in Positron.

While at first, it would even make you wonder why such a situation would be far from an ideal one but as the story progresses, Atwood begins to reveal a side to humanity that isn’t too far from reality. As Stan and Charmaine begin to accept this life, they begin to face challenges, like the raw and often unexplored sides of humanity, that often mislead even the strongest.

With some shocking plot twists, Atwood takes the very core of relationships and shines light on parts that some of us choose to ignore in our daily lives. Everything and everyone is tested and this is why The Heart Goes Last is definitely on my favourite reads of 2016!

 

“The past is so much safer, because whatever’s in it has already happened. It can’t be changed; so in a way, there’s nothing to dread.” – The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.amazon.com where you can purchase a copy – Do note that Amazon does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.

The Other Face Of War.

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Growing up in India there are a few tales that will always be passed from generation to generation, the Mahabharata being one of the stories used to teach children important lessons and values for life.

Picking up The Palace of Illusions was probably one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I was able to relive an experience, not in its entirety, but in a manner I will never be able to forget. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has taken this legendary tale and transformed it to follow Draupadi (Panchaali) to narrate this epic saga.

You got it right; this book is in fact, written with a feminist perspective. The novel begins with Panchaali’s life, her magical birth to King Drupad. It then goes on to revealing a beautiful princess’ thoughts and her inner most desires. Her adventures truly begin when she becomes the infamous Pandavas wife and seeks out a quest to reclaim their right into their own father’s kingdom. While there is only one epic battle, the Kurukshetra, in this story, the events leading up to this battle are explained, debated and even encouraged through Panchaali’s reasoning. Whether it’s her romantic relationship with the Pandavas, her playful relationship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret fascination with Karna who is also her husbands worst enemy, this tale unfolds beautifully as a feminine touch is added to this male-dominated tale.

Though the base of the story comes directly from the legend, Divakaruni lets her imagination roam free as she goes into the depths of Panchaali’s character. She’s in constant dialogue with herself, giving the reader a chance to almost forget about the war and look at the situation from only her point of view. One can almost sympathize, and at times relate with the character that Divakaruni presents to us with the mastery of her words.

Despite knowing all the events that lead up to the main battle, and even the outcome, this book is a page turner! It becomes absolutely necessary for the reader to see the outcome through Panchaali’s eyes and to hear, feel, know her as she goes through love, pain, torture and finally, peace. I would personally recommend this to anyone who has an interest in understanding war through the eyes of a woman.

Some women are lost in the fire, some women, are born from fire.

 

A Raw Woman.

… to write love is to confront the muck of language, that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little, excessive.

– A Handbook For My Lover, Rosalyn D’ Mello.

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It’s Raw.

Pure, unadulterated feelings.

Rosalyn D’Mello’s A Handbook For My Lover is a book, well, I wouldn’t really call it a book, it’s a journey. A journey of a variety of emotions that one’s mind, body and soul succumb to when they encounter this funny thing called, Love.

Her writing is crisp, yet it has a conversationalist feel to it – one that at times almost makes you feel like an eavesdropper.

Her lover, a man almost 20 years older than her, is a renowned photographer and has some pictures that can stop the very beatings of your heart.

And this is what, through the words of D’Mello, you find out page by page, how he took over the beatings of her heart.

There are several reasons why I believe that someone should read, and yet, shouldn’t read this book. Like I stated earlier, going through the pages of this book, it becomes clear to the reader that D’Mello, she’s smitten. There have been many love stories, one could almost pass this off as a story like any other… But it’s not.

It’s her raw writing that makes you blush, makes you sigh at times, and at times makes you even want to push the book away.

Is there a story, or a train of thought that to her memoir? I would have to say no. For those looking for a narrative that follows the typical path, as per the norm, you’d have to look elsewhere. But if you’re read to expose yourself, and yes, I choose my words carefully, if and when you’re ready to expose yourself to her words, then this will be the read of the year for you.

If anything, I believe that D’Mello’s writing, as a passionate lover, care-taker and friend of a man years older than her, is purely inspiring. It’s not a fairy tale, because those come with happy endings… This, is a tale that’s not even close to an ending.

All I know, is that from the moment I laid my hands on this book, it became clear to me, what I wanted from a relationship.

Raw, Pure and Unadulterated.  

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.amazon.com where you can purchase a copy – Do note that Amazon does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.

 

The War Between Worlds.

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Frankly, to be honest, I was rather apprehensive about reading a Salman Rushdie novel. For no other reason, but I was forced to read Midnight’s Children in my first year of Political Science at college, and I was left in awe.

No one can accuse Salman Rushdie for a lack of creativity and imagination – Rushdie, with the several layers of depths to his characters, with his works that more often than not seem to displease crowds, with his thought-provoking interviews and quotes that one would love to go to sleep with… Rushdie, has never left the limelight, and I believe it’s safe to say, that there can be no other like Salman Rushdie.

When I first picked up Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Days I was more than just nervous, with his works, it’s always best to expect the unexpected. And even then, Rushdie finds a way to leave his readers spell-bound. In this tale that borders more towards science fiction, we are introduced to a world that exists only just above our own, Peristan. A re-imagination of The Arabian Nights, Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Days is a book bursting at the seams, a book that is yearning to tell you tales of love, lust, power, a war, a fairy, 1001 nights, … oh and did I mention love? Existing in Peristan, are jinns, beings that are created from smoke and fire; beings with powers that no man can comprehend.

Until one day, Dunia, falls in love with a philosopher, Averros, from the human world – and it is with this match, that a brilliant combination of half-human-half-jinn lineage with unexplainable powers. With dark jinns and overpowering philosophers, the barrier between the two worlds is disrupted.

Rushdie has penned another fantastic tale that has all the elements of a great story. This book has a rhythm that won’t disrupt you, but it also contains within itself the workings of a great tale, one that will definitely leave you mystified and confused at various stages in your read.

The war between the two worlds is commencing, where will you be?

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.flipkart.com – Do note that Flipkart does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.

A Fairy Tale For Adults.

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“The real dragons never die, but you still have the right in your life, to live out an adult fairy tale.” – Adultery, Paulo Coehlo.

There are a lot of book out there that are written and created to help others with a journey that the author has himself set out to seek. Some would put these under self-help, others would push them away for fear of being judged and then there are some, that only when you reach the last page, the last sentence, you realise that it helped you more than you imagined it would.

Paulo Coehlo’s Adultery is one such book, it’s a book that while I wouldn’t be entirely convinced of it being my one of my favourite Coelho’s, it definitely did stir up something unusual within me. I have to confess, I haven’t met a lot of readers who take too kindly to his writing. In fact, there have been many who have even tried to convince me otherwise – but there is something in Coelho’s words that touched my soul from the first time I set my eyes on his words.

If you’re a new addition to the Coelho Club, I would strongly suggest that you start with The Alchemist, it was one of my favourites and always will be a book that I hold closest to my heart. But that is a review that deserves a lot of time, to construct every word and thought of mine carefully so as to try and give the book the justice that it deserves.

For now, its time to look at a woman. She’s a fantastic woman – she is living the perfect life, with a loving husband, darling children and has a respectable job that she is passionate about. So where’s the problem?

“Sometimes you have to lose yourself to discover who you are.”

And that’s when it begins. It’s not self-doubt mind you, it’s monotony. She is unaware of how and why the goals that she had set out for herself years ago, now after having them all achieved neatly under her belt are weighing her down. It is true that sometimes, life may not go as we have planned, and it is also true that sometimes there are several factors that are the reason for this – but what happens, when life goes exactly as planned, every tiny detail that you dreamed out, you see it in reality, around you.

When exactly does chaos hit you – does it come slowly, like a rising tide? Or does it come all at once, sucking you in before you even realise where you are, and why you’re surrounded by darkness.

This is a story of self-destruction, a story of forgiveness, a story of love, passion, lust and most importantly, a story of self-realisation. While you would wonder why I am recommending this book, it’s not because of any bias to the author, it’s because of the way in which this story moved me.

It’s the way this story at first made me want to put the book away, and then taught me a very important lesson of life, life and more importantly, of following your dreams. Eventually, when the words were reaching an end, the last page of the book, I was wishing it would never end. But as it did, I have to be honest and say, it started something within me.

Dreams have a way of turning into reality, if you focus enough. And anyone who is a fan of the theory, “the Universe always conspires to give you what you want,” then you may already be a witness to the way some of your wishes have a way of turning into reality. Some dreams, however, are better left un-lived. Some dreams, they are better left behind in the early morning thoughts on your pillow. This story will ask you about your dreams, and ask yourself to question your dreams, and wonder why, why are you so keen, on seeing this dream turn into a reality?

So pick up Adultery, and let yourself dream, ask yourself questions, and if you’re strong enough, listen to those answers.

“Sometimes you have to lose yourself to discover who you are.”

Indeed.

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.flipkart.com – Do note that Flipkart does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.

A Tale of Death, By Death

And when Death tells you a story, you really have to listen.” – The Book Thief, Markus Zusak.

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It’s a book that has recently caught every reader’s attention.

It’s a book that really, not much can be written, shared or spoken about it.

It’s a book that you can’t just read.

It’s a book that you won’t be able to put down, even if your tired eyes beg you to.

It’s a book that demands your attention from the title itself.

It’s a book, about a Book Thief.

It’s a book that begins with honesty,

Here is a small fact. You are going to die.” – Death and Chocolate, The Book Theif; Markus Zusak.

I wasn’t suggested this book, nor did anyone ask me to read it. There was a lot of hype surrounding it, and the film, but somehow, somewhere, I couldn’t get myself to read it. Then, a passing Tweet caught my attention,

“This book will destroy you, and then create you.” – It went a little something like that.

And I knew that I must read it. Since my last read, The Fault In Our Stars, I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to pick up something that was written by Death, but aren’t we all created to revel in another’s misery. Besides, I thought to myself, how bad could this be?

Don’t ever ask yourself that question.

Because a great author will take it upon himself, or herself to answer it for you.

And you’ll be left, alone in bed, emotionally and physically broken. You’ll be gripping on to the pages of this book, wishing it would end soon, but too frightened to actually reach it.

Liesel Meminger born to a world of misery, surrounded by misfortune and haunted by the presence of Death himself, is the Book Thief. (Don’t worry, no spoilers are ever included in my reviews.) It’s a simple story, of a not-so-simple time, when Hitler’s presence was shaking the very foundations of humanity. She finds happiness in corners one would not expect a small girl, whose left behind an entire family, to find. In her father’s music, her mother’s interesting choice of words, her best friend, Rudy who always demanded a kiss, and a special friend who despite a quiet entrance into their home, leaves a lasting impression on her heart and how can I forget, in between the pages of books.

It’s within the comfort of words that she changes not only her life, but of those around her. And it’s this that has caught the attention of Death. Don’t worry, he doesn’t catch up, and forget not, “That even death has a heart.

To be honest, I’ve not reached the end of this book.

There’s a part of me that wishes that this book has more then 10 parts, has more to Liesel’s story, more to her life… But alas, everything has to come to an end. So why don’t you pick up, The Book Thief, and share this journey with me. Because believe you me, as you let every word pass you by, your eyes will hunger for more.

It’s not just a story, it’s Death’s story.

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Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.flipkart.com – Do note that Flipkart does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner. 

Re-Defining Infinity.

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I finally decided to watch The Fault In Our Stars this night. I’m not entirely sure why tonight, given the state of my mind these past couple of days.

I’m going to try something new for this post  Don’t be confused, it’s still a blog for literary reviews and my thoughts on how with the mere turning of a page, one can embark on an unexpected adventure. A beautiful one, mind you.

So let me tell you about my unexpected journey with one of the most beautiful books I’ve picked up in a while.

I was at the airport, waiting for my flight to Seattle; it was delayed for over four hours. I don’t know who it was, but someone gave me, or suggested, The Fault In Our Stars. Told me I should pick it up for the long flight to my sister.

With nothing but time on my hands,memories I wanted to leave behind, and no more shops at the airport for me to visit, I took the book out of my bag and turned to the first page.

“It’s Okay.” 

 “It’s Okay.” 

All those pages later, tears streaming down my face. My flight almost landing in Seattle, I had no words. Thinking back, I still have no words.

When you look at the central plot that the story takes, it’s not one that we’ve not heard about before. Cancer – it’s a theme that many numerous authors have experimented with before.

It’s one of the world’s craziest and deadliest family members; and I say family members because sadly, it exists in every house. Every story is unique, dreadful, heartwarming, but heartbreaking at the same time. Some of these stories they have happy endings, while some of them, unfortunately not.

There are however some stories, much like the story of our protagonists, Hazel Grace and Augustus. There is a certain chemistry between the two of them, a connection so great that for a moment, as you turn the pages, the haunting aura of cancer is almost forgotten.

Hazel and Augustus, they can’t be described, they can only just be read, experienced – felt in almost every way possible.

I’ve been avoiding this film for the longest time, I kept thinking to myself; how can I watch a film, re-live a story that broke my core from the first page. And boy was I wrong. This is coming from someone who respects books and has a strong opinion on books being turned into films.

The Fault In Our Stars – this is something that everyone should experience. It’s a story of love, pain – emotional, physical, and something that till date, no writer can ever manage to put down in words. No artists can ever recreate on a canvas… an emotion so strong that you’d have to witness to first hand to know what it would mean to have everything taken away from you.

The Fault In Our Stars is a story that will make you question yourself; the single most important question, “Have you lived enough, enough for it to count as your ‘Grand Story’?

Everyone always blames their stars when something goes wrong, or thanks their stars when things go right – It’s a good life, and Hazel and Gus, their parents, their friend Issac, all the characters in this book, from the very beginning are teaching you lessons. So go ahead, pick up this book, let Hazel, her journey with Gus, their love story, take you through life, and remind you, that there will always be something that you have, or that you don’t have, but none of this should stop you from living your Great Story.

Go buy, The Fault In Our Stars. Now. And remember, “It’s Okay….” It always will be.

Oh, and please, keep a box of tissues handy. (Sincere advice) 

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.flipkart.com – Do note that Flipkart does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.