Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hold Still Please (Book Review)

Hold Still PleaseHold Still Please by Tina Huerta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a compilation of poems written by Tina Huerta over time and the aesthetic and subliminal use of pictures make the poems more endearing and sensuous. But considering the Indian sensibilities and set-up, I wonder how many would be comfortable enough to turn over the pages in public.

But it does make for a good read. However, I would have appreciated it more if the layout in some poems had been a bit more easy on the eyes. For example, Soul Twin and Ethereal Rein could have done with a better font setting. But nevertheless, the poems makes up for their placements!

The poems do touch a romantic chord somewhere. Certain emotions expressed through certain words may not be comprehended as per the author's wish but isn't that the beauty of a poem, after all? To be left to be interpreted as per the reader's understanding, rather than pressing to find out what 'exactly' the poet meant when she wrote that particular line?

That said, I will gladly preserve the autographed copy of Hold Still Please that I received from Tina, thanks to Goodreads.

- Divya Nambiar
Author: Tina Huerta
Other book by the Author: Forgotten Race Saving Grace by Tina Huerta

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tuesdays with Morrie (Book Review)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Morrie became my coach as well, long after he passed away and found peace. I laughed, cried and ‘thought’ with him, thanks to one of my colleagues at office, Mr. Sumeet Naik, who introduced me to Morrie and Mitch.

Imagine sitting on a chair in your room and looking out of the window. You see patterns in the distant sky and try making shapes or look at the hibiscus plant that has been witnessing changes in days and seasons, along with you, for quite some time now. Then there is an occasional sound of a truck pulling by, on the opposite street. Life seems blissful, isn’t it; to admire the beauty of the subtle movements in the big thing called life?

Now here comes the “minor” glitch. While you do see people roaming around in the park through your window, to your left, you have to make peace with the fact that you can only be a mute spectator of it.

Never again in your life would you be able to do it-  to walk in the green, lively park filled with the happy chatter of children and laughter of those accompanying them. Maybe soon even the luxury of sitting like that on your chair would become a chore. Even though you might think, “When you’re in bed, you’re dead”, eventually that is where you would spend the final days of your life. How much time before that, you ask? The doctor has said few months or even two years. Who knows? The little monster is claiming you bit by bit. From the tips of your toe, it has slowly ascended till your knees. It is on its slow yet constant journey upwards. You have a feeling that once it reaches your lungs, you would be gone. The monster is ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) that gnaws at your neurons.

Now imagine having no fear of death in spite of knowing that it is looking you in the eye; just the precise moment when it will claim you is what you are unaware of. You talk not of regrets or fear, nor even of the sad approaching end of your life. What you talk about are lessons for those who are still out there, in the mad race, unaware or rather ignorant about the fact that before death catches up with them, they need to learn how to catch up with their lives!

Tuesdays with Morrie is a compilation of those very lessons taught by Morrie to Mitch, his “ex-student” who remained his student till his teacher’s end. And the teacher- he remains that even now- every time a person picks up this book and reads it.

Guess that is the magnanimity of few souls who stay with us- long after they are physically gone from the face of the earth. Fun, painful, humorous, informative and brutally honest, this book is another important perspective from a dying man.

Of course there would be people who would beg to differ from Morrie’s point of view with respect to topics that have been discussed in this book within different chapters, namely- the world, feeling sorry for yourself, regrets, death, family, emotions, fear of aging, money, how love goes on, marriage, our culture, forgiveness and the perfect day. That we are different in our opinions about such issues is only fair and natural. But in spite of this, Morrie leaves behind something for everyone who reads it, thanks to Mitch! What it ultimately remains is a powerful narrative and a fresh perspective of life.

Morrie… yes, I know you are smiling when you realize that your life has “touched” another one as you lie at the place that overlooks the pond. Truly there is no better serene place than that.

-Divya Nambiar

Author: Mitch Albom
Other books by the Author: For One More Day, The Five People You Meet in Heaven  A Fable (Unabridged) by Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, For One More Day by Mitch Albom, The Fab Five  Basketball Trash Talk the American Dream by Mitch Albom, (HAVE A LITTLE FAITH BY Albom, Mitch(Author))Have a Little Faith  A True Story Hardcover Hyperion Books by Mitch Albom and more.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Scion of Ikshvaku (Book Review)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tripathi has done it once again- restructured ancient mythology to suit modern preferences- making history so much more colourful and sensible!
The first in the Ram Chandra series, it perceptibly has Amish’s magical storytelling. Indians undeniably grow up listening to stories from ancient epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Some read the original version while others read it year after year.  In fact, there are times when Hindus dedicate an entire month to read the Ramayana (that concluded on August 16, this year, according to Malayalam calendar). Being a Malayali, I keenly observed my grandmother reading it bit by bit every single day and finally flipping through the last 5-8 pages today. It is said that reciting Ramayana during this month leads to blessings being showered upon the next seven generations by the almighty.
Keeping the myths aside, I did think of it from a new angle. It is probably said so because of the wisdom shared in it that echoes with present situations as well.
But not all have the patience to muster up the courage to read mythology. Some find it boring and too unrealistic, thanks to the televised programmes on TV that most Indians grew up watching. But the less genuine looking bows and arrows in those programmes apart, there is so much that Amish shows the reader. He humanizes the so-called “Gods” and then lets the reader decide why they were placed on such pedestals in the first place.
Amish breathes life into Ram, Sita, Lakshman and the other characters and the kingdom of Ayodhya, Mithila and Lanka. Readers would be captured by the sheer brilliance of architecture and intelligence that took place while planning cities of olden-days.
The way Amish merges the past and present together is indeed a craft. Critics may say that he has distorted history by way of bringing instances of Mahabharata in Ramayana in the part where he wrote about Sita Swayamvar. But it must be kept in mind that he never claimed it to be the real version.
It remains an essential read for the dose of philosophy tinged with humour, suspense and a warm feeling that leaves the reader wanting for more. This surely seems to be another feather in Amish’s hat with the previous ones sitting proudly, added thanks to his Shiva Trilogy.
What caught this reviewer off guard was his art of merging current issues into his story as well as providing very clear-headed solutions to them, providing food for thought to a person who would not in his living hours have got a moment off to think about “dharma” or “karma”. But that is what he always does- he makes one think, deeply. Glimpses of the Nirbhaya gangrape case flashes into the mind of the reader during an instance in the story. His weaving of the modern into the ancient is worth appreciation. Coming to that, he makes the ancient look not so ancient anymore.
His writing seems to be his way of standing up against inequality and gender bias. Cheers to Amish for presenting a mythological epic with copious doses of present issues sprinkled, often challenging, faced by the society in the 21st century.

This is the first in the Ram Chandra Series and the disappointment when reading "To be continued..." is regretted.

To be continued... ;)

Author: Amish Tripathi
Other books by the author: The Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy, #1) by Amish Tripathi, The Secret of the Nagas (Shiva Trilogy #2) by Amish Tripathi, The Oath of the Vayuputras (Shiva Trilogy, #3) by Amish Tripathi

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Amy Snow (Book Review)

This blog was started as an assignment during the course of MA in Communication and Journalism. Many books were reviewed and many more relationships established with different worlds thanks to the varied journeys they took me upon.

I got to know authors, their journeys, their views about the print media and their take upon the profession of story-writing.

While I believe that the journey has just begun and that I have miles and miles to go before I sleep (yes, Robert Frost), here's a review that found a place in Mumbai's Free Press Journal, one of the oldest dailies.

Amy SnowAmy Snow by Tracey Rees
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The review -

-Divya Nambiar

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