Saturday, March 30, 2013

You know you're a bookworm when...

1. You feel lost when you don't have a book securely sitting snug with you in your bag.

2. You constantly make book references, even to people who wouldn't even understand what you mean.

3. You wish book characters were your friends in reality. Like, real reality.

4. You mentally compare the humans you come across in your life to random book characters. And yes, you do keep a lookout for someone who precariously resembles a character you have a crush on.

5. You arrange your books in whatever order you find best: by series, by author, by color, alphabetical, by size, etc. You re-arrange the same books in your spare time.

6. You collect bookish stuff, mostly bookmarks. But anything that makes you think anything bookish can also be found in your bookshelf. Or your bag. Or maybe both.

7. You might have been apprehensive about e-books and e-readers, but you'd still have experienced them both. Everything bookish has to be experienced. No exceptions.

8. You squirm at the thought of books made into movies, with changes, but you'll still be one in the line at the theater, on the first day. Even more so if you've read the book.

9. Before starting reading, you spend a little while admiring the book from all angles, the cover, the blurb, the comments. If you're like me, you'll also read the publishing details.

10. You don't fully open a fresh paperback, even when you're reading because you don't feel like denting the spine. While lending out books (if you lend out, that is), this is what you ask your friends to do too.

11. You really wish every single person would be allowed to breathe only if they're interested in books and reading.

12. You constantly feel like having friends who'd talk bookish to you.

13. You want your friends to read the book(s) you adore, but the thought of lending your books makes you squirm with unease.

14. You cannot tolerate dog-earing the pages, using pen over the pages, or any other activity that makes the book any different from how it was before.

15. You, of course like the smell aroma of pages. Someone like me could also have favorites. 

Yes, this too!
16. You might have this annoying habit of automatically making impressions of people based on the books they read. Someone reads similarly to you? *Respect*

17. You mark book-releases like they're festivals.

18. You would prefer books over any party, any time! 

19. You can't go into a bookstore and come out empty handed. If you do, you'd still have marked a book to be purchased later on!

Finally, you got excited seeing the title and read this whole thing through, mostly nodding your head because you know it's true. There's so much more I can think of, but I don't want to make this too long. Probably you could suggest a few more? ;) What is it that makes you a bookworm, then? :D

PS- You can now follow Journal of a Bookworm at Bloglovin' too! Click here to follow with Bloglovin'. :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Also at Bloglovin'!

Hello fellow book lovers!

You can now follow Journal of a Bookworm at Bloglovin' too! Click here to follow with Bloglovin'.

Yeah, yeah. Call it hopping on the bandwagon. My "freedom" break is as it is going to end soon, so I figured I should set some things in order beforehand. :) If you're now at Bloglovin' too, drop by your link! I'll follow!

Reading update- I've started reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer, so that I can watch the movie soon. Anyone read the book or watched the movie yet?  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

In the Sea There are Crocodiles

Fabio Geda
Book Title: In The Sea There Are Crocodiles: The Story of Enaiatollah Akbari
Author: Fabio Geda
Published: 2011 by Harvill Secker (Random House)
Pages: 211
My Rating: 5/5!

You know those kinds of books which you look at, think already it's going to be great, and keep them aside to be read when you're free, so that you don't just have to take any breaks in between. This is one of those books, except that I couldn't really stop myself and ended up starting it even when I wasn't having any holiday. But that doesn't matter in the least! Breaks in between or not, this book is absolutely fantastic. Please read this. If you're one of those readers who'd read the book carefully and slowly, you'll find yourself pondering over each line and most importantly, it might even affect your outlook on life.

Goodreads Blurb!
One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah's mother tells him three things: don't use drugs, don't use weapons, don't steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn't there. They have fled their village in Ghazni to seek safety outside Afghanistan but his mother has decided to return home to her younger children. Ten-year-old Enaiatollah is left alone in Pakistan to fend for himself. 

In a book based on a true story, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah's remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally managed to claim political asylum. His ordeal took him through Iran, Turkey and Greece, working on building sites in order to pay people-traffickers, and enduring the physical misery of border crossings squeezed into the false bottoms of lorries or trekking across inhospitable mountains. A series of almost implausible strokes of fortune enabled him to get to Turin, where he found help from an Italian family and met Fabio Geda.

The result of their friendship is this unique book in which Enaiatollah's engaging, moving voice is brilliantly captured by Geda's subtle storytelling. In Geda's hands, Enaiatollah's journey becomes a universal story of stoicism in the face of fear, and the search for a place where life is liveable.

<sounds interesting, right? :D >
My Thoughts!
As much as the cover is intriguing, as much as you feel curious about the title, the book's even more interesting. First, this is actually not fiction, but the story of a boy called 'Enaiatollah Akbari', who lived in Nava, Afghanistan when he's ten. In the end when he meets the book's author, Fabio Geda, he's in Italy and finished telling his story when he's about twenty one. It's been categorized as Fiction because in some parts, little fictional details  have been added (to fill in the missing pieces). But it's actually a true, wrench-your-heart-out kind of a story. The kind you wouldn't ever want to forget. 

So, at the age of ten, Enaiat is traveling outside Nava, his home with his mother, leaving his brother and sister for a while. His mother takes him to Quetta in Pakistan and makes him promise three things one night. The next day she's not there. The book then goes on to describe, in a soft narrative tone, how Enaiat managed to live in Quetta, the people he met, how he felt those first few days when he was left to fend for himself. The narrative is soft, not too descriptive, as Enaiat focuses on talking about only those things that matter in the story, nothing else. But that doesn't make the book any less engrossing. It's addictive. Even when I wasn't reading (thanks to the end-of-semester hectic schedule in my pathetic college), I found myself thinking about the story. About how, when I was getting sad over someone not talking to me just like we used to, there was Enaiat, a small boy traveling with traffickers, working on construction sites, trying to find people who'd help him. I mean, when you've seen a glimpse of another's life (and Enaiat is actually two years older to me in reality), a life that's in stark contrast to your own, you can't find much to complain about.

I mean really, when I think about it all, I see how different lives can be. While I was probably learning two-wheel bicycling, Enaiat was running around in a factory in Qom, Iran, trying to collect enough wages to travel further, while I was complaining about not having electricity in summer nights as an eleven year old, Enaiat was probably walking lost in Iran, trying to find cardboard boxes to settle into. How then, do you still feel like complaining? It was also sort of a reality check, as I absolutely had no idea how bad things are. Still are. Have I really been so ignorant, not knowing how people are living in some neighbouring countries? We read about how Enaiat goes all the way to Turin, Italy, over the course of five years, where finally, he meets good and kind people who help him, where he finally feels at home. It's euphoric at the end, but it's tragic too. The ending (which was really, the new beginning of Enaiat's life) made me cry. It would make anyone cry, not just because of how such an ordeal it was for him (and also for many others who travel as illegals), but also because we're always worrying over and crying over such dumb things.

Fabio Geda with Enaiatollah Akbari (Pic from the Sunday
Guardian website)
We have to know that most of the things we worry about don't matter. That there are people fighting for just survival. I'd recommend everyone to read this book. See how this boy at age ten, travels from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Iran to Turkey to Greece and finally, to Italy by age 15. See how brave he is, see how he looks at the world, it'll change your perspective. This is a book to be kept with you, and I'm not saying this because I'm trying to commercialize the story or anything, but because I feel everyone must be given such an example of bravery, courage, innocence and trust. I loved it. :)

Some lines from the book I saved! 

"You must always have a wish in front of your eyes and it's in trying to satisfy our wishes that we find the strength to pick ourselves up, and if you hold a wish up high, any wish, just in front of your forehead, then life will always be worth living."

"Before coming to terms with other people you have to come to terms with yourself. How can you give love if you don't love your own life?"

"... It was just strange seeing all those relaxed, calm, confident people around you when you're the only one to feel lost."

PS- A friend once recommended that I don't sit down to write a review immediately after reading the book, as it tends to get more on the emotional side. I guess this one became like that too, but I couldn't help myself. I had to write about it's awesomeness right away!

Thank you Random House publishers for this book! :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: Let's Talk Money

Author Akhil Khanna
Title: Let's Talk Money; Roads to Riches Made Easy
Author: Akhil Khanna
Genre: Non-Fiction
Published: 2012 by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
Find it at: Flipkart / Amazon
Pages: 174
My Rating: 4/5!

From the book’s cover!
Warren Buffet has two rules. Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No. 1. Let me add a Rule No. 3: Know how to apply Rule No. 1. For, neither our upbringing nor our education gives money any significant place. Money is the least discussed topic within a family. Formal education about it is absent.
The aim of this book is to help people from non-financial background to become aware of the world of money. In a simple, jargon-free language, it tries to acquaint us with this world – the various options one has of investing and the things one should bear in mind while choosing an option. We come to know of the complexities of the global investment climate we live in today and the dangers to our investments.

Remember: It is not important what one earns; true wealth is what one manages to keep.

My thoughts!
I’ve never been one to talk about money. Somehow, the thought of money takes my mind to ‘materialism’, which is something I’m not much a fan of. How can I be? You’ve seen how people go crazy pursuing materialistic things and forget all that matters, and you get bored of it. I wasn’t very keen on reading this book earlier, considering the money talks, but the content-index of the book was appealing. Also, I wondered if it's really as simple a book as it sounds, I might just get a hang of the finance related stuff that has always scared me somehow. I think I can make some amazing decisions sometimes, and the decision to go ahead and read this book is definitely one of them. 

The book is divided into ten chapters that are structured in such a manner that you learn the very basics first and then gradually read about things built up on what you've read so far. Beginning with the concepts of money demand and supply, economic and investing environment, inflation and deflation, the book then goes on to explain the different options you would want to know from an investor's viewpoint. That's the essence of the book. How do you make your money grow, that too in an environment (like India) where so many things have changed the economy recently. You would read about 'Property', 'Business and Commodities', 'Fixed Deposits and Bonds' and how you might think about investing in them. And it's not only about investing. I actually understood so many things I couldn't understand before and I know why. I was always reading about them in the papers (on the rare occasions I did that) or in some context while reading for class. 

This book, however, has been written in an elucidated and very simple language that it's not really hard to 'get' those economics and finance concepts. I am from a commerce background and since high school have been surrounded by these terms and honestly, they've baffled me many a times. That's one reason I'm going to keep this book handy because it explains almost everything you need to know about investing and the concepts, so that whenever I would have to look up a term, I could read again from the book. There's almost everything you would need to know, in little dosage, of course (174 pages!), but you easily understand and there's no need to pull out your hair out of frustration because you'd get it in the first reading. I, who's always been terrified of the name "stock market", actually considered learning more about stocks and investing in them. See? Effective. Well played Mr. Khanna, well played. 

Apart from these, the book talks about the effects of globalization and outsourcing on the world economy, gives an insight into investments from the point of view of speculators (who, by the way, seem scary to me.), explains different kinds of insurance and how "happiness" is the best investment. Finally, the last chapter, which is my favorite, is on the Global Financial Crisis 2008. God, whenever there was any reference to this crisis, I used to shrivel up, considering how, even after many classes in college, I always had trouble understanding the whole thing. From this book, however, I understood almost all of it in one go! Perhaps it was easy because I had read a bit before, even if all was not clear, but even then, I was able to read and apply it easily and I'm sure I could explain it to anyone now. :D 

It's been written very clearly, so that people from non-finance backgrounds can understand it. That's the USP of the book, I suppose. Not many people understand the cruel world of investments and money and they have to depend on specialists for safeguarding their money. If you're one of those, I would highly recommend this book to you! Also, if you're a student like me, you should still read it for clarity of concepts. It's really handy. I like it. :)

The only thing I wished could have been better was the cover. And I'm not just saying because I'm a book cover freak. I really think if I saw the book in a bookshop, maybe I wouldn't have looked twice at it. The cover has to be gorgeous. Okay, not gorgeous, but not so plain. If the publishers are planning on making more editions, I would suggest a more 'attractive' cover. Just a little bit more.

PS- The E-Book of "Lets Talk Money - Road to Riches Made Easy" was launched on Saturday, 9th February, 2013 at the World Book Fair, 2013. Here is a picture from the launch! :)


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