Friday, 31 July 2015

Snow - Orhan Pamuk

Title: Snow
Author: Orhan Pamuk
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Price: Rs. 405/-
Language: English

Perhaps, me saying that Snow is one of the most wonderful books I have had the good fortune of reading doesn't hold as much value as I would like it to. It's because I'm not the only one saying it.

The story traces the protagonist, Turkish poet and journalist, Ka's journey from the lonliness of the city of Frankfurt, Germany to his divine intervention on the streets of Kars in Istanbul. An atheist, he arrives in Kars to cover the reality behind the suicides of girls across Kars, only to be moved by spirituality of this Turkish city. The truth behind the Republicans, their desire to eradicate the Muslim headscarf and the 'revolution' that arrives hence changes the lives of everyone, especially Ka, forever.
'A novel of profound relevance to the present moment.'  -The Times
Pamuk's Snow can move even the most solid of heart and take them to a city where they have never been surrounded by flakes of snow, and whiteness and bloodbath. He paints a picture of Istanbul that creates within the reader, atleast it did for me, the feeling of fernweh - wanderlust.

The love of Ka for Ipek, a Turkish woman he had known since childhood, is almost most too sensuous to bear. The author's talent for the written word makes Ka's lonliness, longing and his brush with the spiritual more intense and surreal. Snow is like a poem; fluid, captivating and exquisite. It is like snow; pure, magical and dark. For me, Snow is a must-read piece of literature that will stay relevant till the end of time.
'Profound and frequently brilliant...Illuminate[s] the confrontation between secular and extremist Islamic worlds better than any work of non-fiction I can think of.'                       -New Statesman
Other Books by this author: The Silent House, The White Castle, The Black Book, The New Life, My Name is Red and The Museum of Innocence etc.

Rating: 5/5

Friday, 17 July 2015

10 Reasons It's OK To Stay In A Relationship (Even If You Know It's Going To End)

So remember that Thought Catalog article I read?

There was another topic that seriously caught my eye and this time I intend to be completely serious about it (unlike last time) because people don't say it enough:-

1. You like him/her - Just because a relationship is going to end doesn't mean you like him/her any less than you would like someone in a lasting relationship. At this point in life, s/he's the one and so let them be.

2. You're better with him/her than without - I am currently in a relationship which is 99.9999..% going to end but, I'd still rather be with him than without. Trust me, I've tried. This means that I am happy in the relationship and why should I deny either of us the right to be happy.

3. You'll learn more about the kind of people you like (or don't like) - How do you know you don't like sushi till you try it?

4. You'll learn more about yourself - I've learnt that I'm mature and passionate and I've grown so much as a person. Would it have been possible without him? Not entirely.

5. Most relationships are going to end - Every relationship you get into before your final one (and sometimes even then) is going to end. Just because you know this one will end does not make it any less real.

6. You could be wrong - You are human. Maybe you think you are not going to work together but turn out to be perfect for each other. You won't know till you take the risk.

7. You both need support - Sometimes, in life,  you need support and your boyfriend can be that one person to listen to you rant, to take care of you when you are sick and travel with you to foreign lands.

8. To be able to show off - Hey, you are in a relationship! That's a big deal!

9. Meet new people - I've made so many new friends through my boyfriend and my exes. Especially when they have an entirely separate group of friends. Who knows, maybe someone you meet through him/her turns out to be a constant in your life.

10. To discourage the creep - This is a fun one. Remember that one creepy guy who you can't seem to shake off? Your boyfriend can deal with him.

Have a good time and enjoy the feeling of being with them!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Love among the Bookshelves - Ruskin Bond

Title: Love among the Bookshelves
Author: Ruskin Bond      
Publisher: Penguin
Imprint: Viking
Price: Rs, 210  Rs. 195/-
ISBN-13 9780670087341
ISBN-10 0670087343
Language: English
No. Of pages: 200 pgs
Also available as: eBook - (Rs.179)

Anybody who's ever read a book has read Ruskin Bond. Perhaps I am wrong to assume and I should rephrase that: anyone who has ever willingly read a book, should've have read Ruskin Bond. The engrossing Rusty Run Away and the captivating Room on the Roof are essential for children and even for adults who wish to revive the child within them.

For ages Ruskin Bond, not only through his characters like the famous protagonist Rusty, a reflection of the author's younger self, but also through his words, has taken his readers across to the hills of Dehradun and Mussorie; across schools; and lives. Love among the Bookshelves is glimpse into who in turn inspired Ruskin Bond into writing, creating and inspiring millions across the world.

He pulls us back into his younger days when he discovered the greats such as P.G Woodehouse, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad and Agathe Christie to name a few. This part memoir, part anthology is a wonderful read if one is ever siting free on a rainy day. The compelling story of the author from the beginning when he was introduced to books intertwined with excerpts from his favourite books make for a relaxing read.

The cover and the name of the book are especially cute. For a reader such as myself, it sent my heart racing.

Where to buy it: Order on Flipkart!
Other Books by this author: The Blue Umbrella, Rusty Runs Away, Room On The Roof etc.

Love among the Bookshelves
Reviewed by Sanya Mathur on Jul 26 2014
Rating: 4.8

7 Ways To Stop Your Boyfriend From Losing Weight Faster Than You

So I was on Thought Catalog (who isn't?) and I saw this:-

And then I saw this:-


7 Ways To Stop Your Boyfriend From Losing Weight Faster Than You

I picked this listicle because I am legitimately facing this problem right now. Also, because it seems more fun that the other thing that I am supposed to be doing. The problem with boys  men is that they tend to be obsessed with sports and gymming no matter what age and only women know how hard it is to be a woman and do physical exercise. Between hormones, boobs and periods, exercise is hell. The point is not to be skinny, just to be skinnier than your boyfriend. Because I intend to be as unhelpful as possible, I am going to give you 7 instead of 10 easy steps to achieve this goal.

1. If you're a live-in, you're in a advantage because you can negate his exercise by feeding him excessive calories -  Add extra mayo to his sandwich and hide all the veggies. Stock the fridge with sweet goodies - cakes, cupcakes, and croissants. You know the drill.

2. If you're not in a live-in then take calorie-laden food with you whenever you see him. He'll think, you're pampering him and you'll get away with a few less hours of exercise.

3. Eat out ALOT and make sure he doesn't pick the healthy meals. Pick his meals for him!

4. Encourage binge drinking with buddies because you know the alcohol packs on the calories. Or provide endless rounds of beer in case on date or staying-in.

5. Try to get him pregnant - encourage to forego protection this one time (or more till desired outcome is achieved.)

6. Encourage boyfriend to let go and love his body as it is - with belly and all.

7. All of the Above

BONUS - Actually follow a healthy diet and a proper workout regime...NAH!

[Sorryyy guys!]

Sunday, 5 July 2015

There's Something About You - Yashodhara Lal

Title: There's Something About You
Author: Yashodhara Lal
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Tentative Release date: July 15th 2015 (Preorder @ Flipkart - Get 25% off)
Language: English
No. Of Pages: 268 pages

Lal's 'There's Something About You'  is the story of 28 year old - overweight, underachieving and unattached - Trish who's life comes crashing down when she is fired one day. As they say, there's no way but up, the chicklit follows Trish as she is forced to "get off [her] butt and do something about [her] problem[s]."
"After all, it was a fake-it-till-you-make-it kind of world. Especially if you were a single twenty-eight-year-old woman with two dependent parents and no job in the unforgiving city of Mumbai."
Trish's problems in varying levels of priority:
  • Unemployment (hence, impending money problems)
  • an unwell father (+medical bills), 
  • a sharp tongued mother,
  • a psycho psychic love interest,
  • an over-dramatic neighbour/best friend (+kid who needs to be babysat),
  • temperamental maid,
  • and a bitchy new boss,
  • minor problems incl. weight (Etc.)
While the story is intended to be a love story, evident from the cover and blurb, the main plotline revolves more around Trish's day-to-day issues rather than her love interest. Sahil, a potential match, makes fleeting appearances now and then and his relationship with the protagonist progresses dramatically between each arrival. Their relationship is endearing but, largely unexplored. Instead, you can expect to read more about the transformation of Trish's life from ordinary to extraordinary.

Trish's father is the most engaging character, providing relief from Trish's unending whining and her mother's constant complaining. As much as the author has tried to make Trish relatable, the protagonist remains disconnected from the reader as she often comes across as rude, impetuous and selfish.

"Dear DD,
There comes a time in every woman's life when she has to decide to grow up."

'There's Something About You' is not an unfamiliar plotline but, it is weaved in a way that is refreshing. It is a transformative tale that touches upon a variety of feelings that women go through in their life; it is a story of a modern woman making her own way. An absolute one-time read, I will recommend this book for hardcore chicklit lovers.

Post Script: Also recommended because Flipkart is offering an absolute deal on the book and you might just win a Micromax phone on preorder. (Click here to view Deal)

Other books by this author: 'Just Married, Please Excuse' and Sorting Out Sid

Friday, 3 July 2015

The Treasure Of Kafur - Aroon Raman

Title: The Treasure Of Kafur
Author: Aroon Raman          
Publisher: Pan Macmillan     
ISBN-13: 9789382616122  
ISBN-10: 9382616128
Language: English
No. Of pages: 400 pages

In 1312 A.D when Alauddin Khilji ruled the Delhi sultanate, his general Malik Kafur led the invasion of several Southern principalities. During these campaigns, it is said, he collected and hid 241 tonnes of gold, 20,000 horses and 612 elephants laden with looted treasure. He hid this treasure so that no one except him and his king knew its location.

The novel, written by Aroon Raman is set in 1580 A.D, fast-forwarding to when Akbar was the ruler of Hindustan. The story is about a boy, Dattatreya and his grandmother, Ambu, who have psychic powers. They live about 400 kos away from Agra in the village of Sillod and they know the secret location of Kafur's treasure.

Asaf Baig, the tyrannical King of Khandesh, discovers that they are privy to this secret and tries to force Ambu to reveal the location of the treasure. To save his grandmother, to change their kingdom's fate and to protect Hindustan from potential rule of cruel Baig, Datta is forced to make the journey from Sillod to Agra to deliver the truth to Akbar, while avoiding being captured by Baig's men.

My copy of 'The Treasure of Kafur' arrived on Thursday morning and by 8pm that day I was done, even though I had to go to work. I truly enjoyed the book. The story begins with a flashback and this combined with premonitions and artistically interesting ambiguity sprinkled throughout the book compelled me to go on. I needed to know! Having said that at certain points, I didn't understand things because too much information had been withheld from me by the author. Nonetheless, these points in the story were few and far apart. 

The book is mostly fiction with a bit of fantasy and it honest truth, a couple of the 'fantasy' elements didn't appeal to me as much I hoped they would. Datta, did not impress me I had, had expected him to: him being the protagonist. His successes were more lucky than anything and I didn't care much about him as the 'hero'. 

Despite, all this the book was surprisingly engaging and perhaps the best things about the book are that: one, the author does not treat this like a history lesson and two, that you don't even need to be interested in history to enjoy the book. On the other hand, it is sure to delight certain history lovers. The vocabulary used by Raman makes it easy to read for anyone who wishes to pick up this book. 

Although jerky in the beginning, the story line flows fluently as it progresses. There are a lot of characters but they are never left in the background, helping us connect with them. The Treasure of Kafur is like a breath of fresh air in the increasing array of campus love stories. It is matures with the protagonist and the story telling is fast paced - written for the reader of today. There is love, angst, action, romance, friendship, loyalty, intrigue, adventure and fantasy. It includes everything one could want in a good book. I definitely recommend Aroon Raman's 'The Treasure of Kafur'.  

Where to buy it: Order on Flipkart!
Other Books by this author: The Shadow Throne

The Treasure of KafurReviewed by Sanya Mathur on Mar 11 2014 Rating: 4.3