Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday # 1 : Favorite Book Covers!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish. I've been seeing this feature around on many blogs ever since I started my own, but never got to actual participation. Now you know how it is. You see something that makes you go 'Oh-yes! I know about that!' and this week's topic was just like that for me. I've always said I just love pretty/intriguing covers. And yes, okay. I've been known to pick up books just because I was drawn to their covers. o.O

So here goes! Top Ten Favorite Covers of Books I've Read! (Not in any particular order!)

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. The mockingjay on the cover somehow intrigues me and I like the red- white color combination! 

2. The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy: Scary cat, I know. But have you ever seen a cover like that? The book is awesome, to top it all. 

3. The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern: Purple, I like. The twisted front cover, I love! A book about a book, I adore! 

4. Underworld by Meg Cabot: The pretty Pierce on the cover, on the rim of The Underworld, wrists held by a hot-guy's hand, dark enough to make it spooky. What else do you need on a cover?

5. Jump by Elisa Carbone: Picked up this book based on the cover too! I like mountains, I fantasize about mountain-climbing and hence, this cute book! 

6. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows: *Sigh* Just a fantastic cover! Asunder's cover is even better.  

7. Divergent by Veronica Roth: I like the mysteriousness of the whole look. The birds and Tris. It's one of those books whose cover makes sense when you read the story!

8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I'm not being biased, okay? I like this cover just because I like it. Nice color combination, the way I don't understand the whole of it :P and well, I just like it.

9. The Selection by Kiera Cass: I read this book because of the cover. It's that simple! Look at it, so pretty! ^_^

10. Looking for Alaska by John Green: I usually don't like black covers, but this is so simple. I adore the white flowers on the cover, especially as they have a meaning in the book! :D

PS- All these books have been reviewed on this blog. Check them out through the 'Books List' tab! :)

PPS- Which book covers fascinate you?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: The Secrets of the Dark...

Arka Chakrabarti

Title: The Secrets of the Dark
Author: Arka Chakrabarti
Published: 2013 by Srishti Publishers
Pages: 342
Price: Rs. 195
Genre: Fantasy/Fiction
Source: Received from publisher
My Rating: 3/5

From the Book’s cover!
Is one born with his destiny or does he forge it?

In the mystical land of Gaya, two prophecies bind the fate of men and empires alike. The Destroyer born from the royal seed on the Land of the Setting Sun shall bring the empires down, or so has been foretold.

In between the Destroyer and the world stand the Seven Guardians of Gaya, guarding the realm of man. A king, a father, defies the Seven and fate itself to save the last drop of his blood and prince Agni grows in the Land of the Rising Sun, exiled from his own people, unaware of his past.

Losing the woman he loved most to the shadows in the dark, Agni is thrown into a whirlpool of events that he neither knows, nor understands. His quest for vengeance brings him to the doorstep of a secret that will shatter the very foundation of beliefs of a world.

Can Agni avert his destiny? Can he uncover the truth about the Seven and the prophecies, now hidden behind a veil of ignorance?

The secrets of the dark are sometimes so terrible that they are better left unsaid.

My Thoughts!

Secrets of the Dark’ was, in many ways, the kind of a book I hadn’t read before. I don’t mean myths and fantasy, God knows I grew up with those! But Indian. The mythical (and mystical) land of Gaya comprises two large continents: The Land of the Setting Sun and the Land of the Rising Sun. The rest you can get from the blurb, but maybe you won’t. I understood the whole thing exactly after reading the book. It’s basically a story based on a prophecy, good guys saving the prophecy and those associated with it, the bad guys after the third unknown prophecy (two were known), secrets, mysterious people, a little bit of magic, lots of royalty (which I love. A lot), skilled fighting, murders (more like genocide), wars, betrayal, and the like. *Catches her breath*

As evident, the story has a lot of aspects associated with it. If you see it metaphorically and a bit literally, it actually shows the real complexities in life. Usually books are centred around a part of the whole range of possible stories, but this book seems to touch upon every aspect, which works both in favour of it as well as against it. First, the characters: well-described and well-created! I could create images of each person in the book (and it’s weird when I think that some weren’t even completely described, but maybe it’s just me) and that hugely helped in connecting the characters to the story. I mean, my favourite character could easily be Princess Lysandra (Land of the Setting Sun), primarily because I was too happy to have a female-hero! I loved how she easily fitted into what was typically always shown as a man’s role, leader of the war-troop! Yay! :D From the Land of the Setting Sun, Agni is my favourite. What a man! *Positively drooling* Like, really.

Second, the descriptions were okay. At least I could imagine all the scenes and events as and how they took place. Maybe because of the story being that way, or because of the darkness-inducing cover and mediocre font-setting, most of the imagined part was dark, except for some parts describing Nisagra, it was all about darkness and fights. Not so good for the soul. Third, the story: remarkable. It’s a great imagination. If you look at it overall, it seems fantastic. However, the problem is that you understand everything only after you finish the book, because everything seems to be stuffed towards the end. I wished it could have been interspersed in between, giving out information in parts, in intervals. That’s because, I admit, the book became quite boring in between. There was just action, talking about two parallels side by side (Land of the Setting Sun and The Rising Sun) and there’s no way to know how it’s connected.

I didn’t understand why we’re talking about King Crixus and then suddenly about King Adhirath. Not till the end of the book, did I make a connection. Yes, the surprises were breathtaking, and that was just awesome, the story has a lot of potential. The problem was the writing style. I am very much sure it could have been a lot better. The descriptive aspect is okay, but the narration is not. The writing looks immature at some places. I mean, it’s still good, still keeps you wanting to read more, but I got miffed with it in between because it wasn’t good quality writing. Another problem was the visual appeal of the text. The text was tightly closed, huge paragraphs without breaks, grammatical errors, it gives off a negative vibe. If this book would be revised once more, I’m sure it can get better. Like I said, the story is amazing, the characters are amazing and so is the mystery. I developed a love-hate relationship for some characters towards the end, when I understood the reasons for their actions and I liked the scope of reality it has.

Oh I just wish it was better written. The readers are left clueless in between, not being able to make any connection between the parallel stories and especially since it’s a long book, that’s risky because the reader can leave the book in between. Overall, it’s a fair read, worth going through the confusion to read the breathtaking end (which is not exactly the end, because there would be two more books). ‘End’ reminds me, what about Yani? You cannot just end a book without telling us what happened to one of the main characters! This is not a cliff-hanger, it’s total mood-murder.

Recommended for: Fantasy lovers, experimental readers, and if you’re looking for a different kind of mythical book.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Other Side of the Table by Madhumita Mukherjee...

Madhumita Mukherjee

Title: The Other Side of the Table
Author: Madhumita Mukherjee
Published: 2012 by Finger Print!
Pages: 239
Price: Rs. 195
My Rating: 5/5!

I’m just a few books into Indian authors. I think I began at the wrong note, once while in school (hint hint: CB!) and that’s why it took me years to get over the initial disappointment and interested enough to pick up an Indian book. I’m still not very much into it, but there was Nilanjana Roy first with her amazing debut novel, The Wildings, that challenged my prejudice and she won! The second author to have done that is Madhumita Mukherjee with The Other Side of the Table. A friend had passed on his copy as he had liked it quite a bit and just 50 pages into the book, I knew I had to have my own! I don’t know what exactly made me love this book so much. The characters? The way it was written? The language? Circumstances and situations? I just don’t know. It’s like they say, ‘Not all things have reasons behind them. It’s simple’. That’s why I don’t even know what to write about for a review. It’ll be more like gushing about its awesomeness, okay? ;)

Goodreads blurb!
Circa 1990.

A world drawn and woven with words. 

A bond punctuated by absence and distance...

Two continents. Two cities. Two people.
And letters. Hundreds of them.
Over years. Across oceans. Between hearts.

Between Abhi, who is training to be a neurosurgeon in London, and Uma, who is just stepping into the world of medicine in Kolkata. 

As they ink their emotions onto paper, their lives get chronicled in this subtly nuanced conversation through letters ... letters about dreams, desires, heartbreaks, and longings... about a proverbial good life falling apart, about a failed marriage, a visceral loss, and about a dream that threatens social expectations...

Letters that talk. And don't. Letters about this and that. Letters about everything...
Letters with a story you would never expect.

Why is the book so lovable?
The Other Side of the Table is a very simple book, a directory of letters exchanged between two friends living in different countries (I've learned they call such books as 'epistolary novels'). The letters in the book start from the year 1990 when Uma is just about to begin her medical college in Calcutta. Abhi is ten years older, living in London and already working in the field of surgery. They’re friends and they talk via letters (hello. That was the time when internet wasn’t born) and this book has nothing else but letters. They exchange life stories, all that has happened, all that is happening, what will happen, their feelings and emotions and thoughts on just about everything. Uma talks about her college, her friends, her family, the guy she dates, her marriage, the fallout, her career, while Abhi spends his time talking about his work, travels, friends and guiding, advising, lovingly reprimanding Uma. It’s a sweet relationship they share, and unique and totally enviable!

Going just by this, the story is pretty simple. Two lives in different places, very ordinary. No one is a super(wo)man, they have their own share of happy times and troubles, they fail sometimes, they make mistakes. I suppose that is what makes it so wonderful, because everyone can relate to it. You don’t have characters who seem perfect and people like you’d want to become, rather the book tells you the everyday stories of people just like you. This kind of simplicity actually did something to me. I can’t help feel a little breathless every time I look at the book. Maybe this might not have been the case if the writing style was plain simple words, too. The best part I think, was the way Uma and Abhi converse through their letters: frank, open, using a good language, from intelligent conversations to very simple ones. Initially, we don’t even know how these two had become friends, we have no introduction or anything about their backgrounds, but the book keeps you hooked and gradually you create their images in your mind on your own, from whatever tidbits you get from the letters. The writing style is the best feature here! *Standing ovation* for that! :D

You might think if the characters are in the medical field and not your age (like in my case), you wouldn’t be able to relate to their talks, but that is so not the case! Everything they talked about was very much a reflection of what we can relate to. More than that I think my reason was that I do have such a story-sharing relation with a couple of friends and it was very much like we talk too! It felt amazing. I sometimes felt a little off when the letters didn’t discuss in detail every single thing the other person wrote, just a few to acknowledge what they wrote and advice, if any, otherwise it was about their life (except for the few times when the things were deadly serious). I realized that the way I talk, is a more extended version, having a little to say on everything the person talked about, while Uma and Abhi show how it’s not necessary. The other would know you’ve read it and most probably understood too, and that’s good enough.

This is one book I’d like to have with me all times, it’s totally the kind where you can open up any page and start reading. There might be some negatives too, but I don’t even want to look for them to just have a point. It’s among the best books I’ve read. Like always, I started making a note of the wonderful lines, but gave up soon. The whole book is worth remembering. Still, here are some lines from the book for you to read, so that you know what I’m talking about and you get your own copy soon! ;) If you hadn’t guessed yet, I recommend the book to every single person! (There’s a bit of adult talk too, but just a little).

I think good relationships are delicate. They are fragile. They need to be handled with care and respect. They need nurturing, they need maintenance. But do we do any of that? Are we all not guilty of not taking care of these 'good relationships'?

Sometimes, some people just sneak into your heart and catch you unawares.

Don’t you find taking stock of things, a real eye-opener? It is always a shock to realize that you didn’t love someone as much as you thought you did. Or that you are made of sterner stuff and are not going to crumble into sawdust anytime soon, even if a person you believe was part of your life or loved you or whom you loved, walked away.

Don’t you think it is easier to love someone separated by several miles, or someone we have not seen for many years, compared to someone right in front of us? The person at a distance benefits from the projection of our hopes and dreams and becomes as wonderful as we can imagine.

I found another one!

The thing about making a decision is that you can take people along with you up to a certain point, but the final few steps, you walk alone.

After all these years of caring so much for other people’s opinions, I simply can’t be bothered anymore. Sometimes the urge to take a leap is so strong, you feel you must jump in, without caring whether you will sink or swim.

Okay, the last! This one’s good too!

Hope, the fuel of life, keeps us going. And love heals, like nothing else.

About the Author: Madhumita Mukherjee grew up in Delhi and did her medical education from Calcutta National Medical College. She has been living and working in England since 2001 as a Paediatrician. She has a special affinity for epistolary novels as well as novels written as journals and diaries. The Other Side of the Table is her debut novel.

Note to the author: Where are you??? I couldn't find your bio in the usual places (Facebook included). If you ever read this, please reply! I'm a fan of your book! :D 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Recent Book Grabs # 4!

It's been so long since I last posted about the books adding on to my shelf! Talking just about the recent ones, I think I've grabbed some gems! What do you think? Nicey nicey? ;)

Today was particularly spectacular! I was supposed to meet a couple of friends at a mall and I reached 5 minutes early. So to pass those five minutes, what better than a bookstore? Landmark bookstore here was huge, covering half of the whole top floor. I was absolutely dying to get a copy of Madhumita Mukherjee's The Other Side of the Table, which I finished reading last night. I had Usama's borrowed copy and I wanted my own. It's just so wonderful. :') Now, there was this "buy 3 for 2" offer and looking at all those bright and shiny and adorable books, I couldn't contain my drool or the impulse, and so ended up getting three more! :P Here's a detailed list of all of the recent books that made their way to my shelf! 

Click on the book's name to get directed to their goodreads page!

1. The Other Side of The Table by Madhumita Mukherjee: Detailed review to come up soon. It came as a surprise, because I usually do not read Indian, but my perception is being changed gradually! Another reason why I'm reading more Indian these days :D First Nilanjana Roy challenged it with her awesome book, The Wildings, and now Madhumita Mukherjee! :D

2. One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern: Totally because of the cover. I mean, the book doesn't even have a blurb! I have no clue what it is about, but how can one possibly resist such beautiful covers? I have to have them on my shelf, no? 

3. The Secret Wish List by Preeti Shenoy: I had been procrastinating on this author for too long. About time! 

4. 4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie: Looked good enough to be a freebie under the '3 for 2' scheme :P

5. Tantra by Adi: Received for review. Read review here.

6. More of A Calmer You by Sonal Kalra: The super sweet editor at HT City, with a weekly column called 'A Calmer You', my idol! I got this book signed at the book signing too! :D 

7. The Secrets of the Dark by Arka Chakrabarti: Received from publisher for review. Started reading today!

8. The Redeemers by Suresh Taneja: Received for review by the author. Next in the to-be-read list!

9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: I've been dying and dying and dying to read this for so long! Got it almost a month (or more?) ago and haven't been able to touch it yet. It's supposed to be awesome! :D

Towards the extreme right, there's a book-like thing with a pencil sketch/painting on top. It's more like, an art catalog that a wonderful friend got from an art fair and gifted it to me. It's quite something! Looks awesome in my book collection. :D

So these are some of the recent books! What do you think? Read any of these? 

PS- It'd be awesome if you'd take out time for filling up a short, objective survey I'm doing as an Intern at National Book Trust, India, on the New Delhi World Book Fair. If you know anything about it, and if you've attended it ever, please do fill it out! Each response is super-important! :D 

Click here to fill it. It's also available on the right-most tab I created up there! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...