5 Books That I read in 2015 & hello from Berlin!

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Hello there! 🙂

I have reached Europe for the second part of my course, which I’ll be doing here in Berlin. I spent a day exploring Istanbul in Turkey as my flight had a stopover there. Istanbul was on my wishlist since a long time and I can’t begin to tell you all how beautiful is that! Of course, there’s going to be a post about it but my pictures have not done justice to the beauty or, more importantly, the spirit of Istanbul.

This post, however, is about 5 books that I read in 2015 and I thought that I’ll combine the book opinions in one post just because I am lagging so much in my planned posts, it’s too difficult to manage 😦 . So, here you go:

  1. Brahman ki Beti: I am a huge fan of Sharatchandra’s story writing and I am deeply in love with how his women characters are always so strong and way ahead of their times, almost all of us have seen them in the movie Devdas, if not read. Brahman ki Beti was another good read, on the similar lines though. However, I am a fan of that work of his, so I thoroughly loved it. Nothing out of the regular Sharatchandra work though!                                                                                IMG_20160216_204407_Fotor
  2. Angels & Demons: Here’s the thing – If you haven’t read this one, go read it RIGHT NOW. I’ll really say no more because this book is beyond captivating. I think many Dan Brown lovers will say so about all his books but this is the only one that I have read, so I don’t know. If I had to suggest a book to a non-reader to get him to read, this would probably be that one. 🙂 Only issue is that its a long one.                                                                                                                                                       IMG_20160216_204205_Fotor
  3. Durgeshnandini: It was an okay read. I didn’t relish it all that much, maybe towards the end I got into it more. After I finished reading this, I realized its probably considered a classic, a classic love story. Maybe one can read to find whether they liked it more than I did.                                                                                      IMG_20160216_204438_Fotor
  4. Our Moon has Blood Clots: It’s a memoir of a Kashmiri migrant, on how he felt when they had to let go of their motherland, for no fault of theirs. I have read a lot of such things of the India-Pakistan partition but this was my first time reading a Kashmiri forced migration story. It was gut wrenching to say the least, and felt straight from the heart. I also should mention that I still feel more deeply when I am reading about the other partition that I just mentioned, I don’t know how this bias has come into my being. Anyway, I whole heartedly recommend this one!                                                                   51DDMAMiiwL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_
  5. The Lives of Others: This Man Booker Prize nomination was on my to-be-read list since a long time because I felt like it resonates well with my taste of family drama or social kind of novels. It was exactly that, with the main idea being the Naxalite movement in West Bengal and around. Basically, the story of one family over generations and how Naxalism affected them. It felt very close to home because it seemed like this can happen to anybody. I liked it pretty much but I am not sure if there was anything out of the ordinary. I mean if you are interested in a fictional story that deals with Naxalism, then its pretty darn good but you will also have to go through loads of pages of family drama, which I like, but I’m not sure if everyone would.                                           lives of others

That’s pretty much it. I am sorry I am posting a Friday’s List post on a Saturday, but I was dead tired yesterday when I started writing it yesterday. Having moved to a new country and that too as a student, I would like to pat myself for writing this post on the second day itself, but I really didn’t want this post to be delayed any longer.

Hope you enjoy it! 🙂 😀

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East of Love, West of Desire by Dinesh Prasad

IMG_1143_FotorCan we all stop for a moment here and call it the moment of the century/millennium?

I am sorry for the exaggeration but I can’t even begin to describe how long have I taken to write about this book. I am ashamed. I am going to give you the reasons for doing so in detail (just because I want to, you can skip that & move to how I feel about the book):

  1. After I started reading it, I got admission in the B-School I was aspiring for, I left my job for that and trust me when I say this, B-Schools leave you with no time for anything other than work (till a point, eventually you learn how to chill, well, sometimes). Hence, I never got around to finish the book till November.
  2. This book was sent to me for review purposes by one of the publishers I admire the most –  Tara India Research Press who are also the proud owners of one of the oldest & most famous bookshops in Delhi – Bahrisons (it has been there since 1953). I am a huge admirer of their passionate love with books, writing, Delhi & India. It meant a great deal to me that they sent the book over, I wanted to make sure that I am fully satisfied with what I write whenever I do so. Now, I have come to realize that I would probably never be fully satisfied with how this post turns up. So, let’s just move.

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Why I am saying they are one of my most admired publishers is because they put a lot of emphasis on contemporary Indian writing. Most of my readers are fully aware how much I like reading that. My favourite kind of books always end up being the ones related to stories of India-Pakistan partition. I was already head over heels in love with their publications when they posted about this book on their Instagram – ‘East of Love, West of Desire’ and how it is a collection of short stories related to partition. Anybody who is close to me or even anybody who reads this blog can make out that they can gift this book to me and I would love the fact that they understand my likes so well. So, I simply took the plunge and asked them if they would like to send over the book for me to review  share about it on the blog. They very sweetly sent it. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is one of my favourite things to have received over courier so far.

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The book is a gem, its a collection of heart-wrenching tales of partition by débutante author  Dinesh Prasad. The stories are about how circumstances and chain of events brought changes in the lives of people. Despite being fiction and few of the stories towards the end being wee bit film-y, the book has stories that warm the heart and bring a flood of emotions, one feels so absorbed by the story that it is difficult to describe in one word how one felt when the story ends.

What I especially liked about the book was that it has all sorts of stories. The book was fabulous in telling stories on all kinds of love – parent & child relationship, forbidden relationships, unexpected encounter with love, grandparent & child relationship and what not! The thing that I loved the most was how each story had a different setting. I hate giving spoilers so I’ll only tell you that there are stories set in Calcutta, Pakistan, Varanasi, England, Shimla, hospitals and, well, the list is endless.

Coming to my most loved part of this post, as I love asking, telling & knowing favourites from a group of things, I am going to tell you my favourite story from the collection. It was, without a doubt, the very first story – ‘Batti Sardar’. I don’t want to say even a word regarding what it is about, because I want to read it yourselves.

If you are anything like me or if you would want to read tales of partition that well up your heart with emotion, then I recommend this book to you, wholeheartedly. But please do one thing for sure, whenever you happen to read it, please leave a comment about which story you liked the most. 😀 I always, always love knowing favorites! 🙂

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Hello there!

I sit here and wonder if there’s anyone still reading this space. I haven’t updated here in two months. That is the longest I have been away from the blog, in terms of writing. I think the frequency is only going to get worse, but one thing that I can assure you is that I am never going to stop writing here and I am going to try that I keep bringing frequent interesting posts. 🙂

About this book, well, the strange thing is that I read it in the exact same way as the other much-loved book by  the same author – ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and I was eagerly waiting to know which one I like more. It’s weird but I went through extremely similar feelings while reading both.

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I read both of them in same situations, getting bored, not knowing what to do. I have the e-book in my laptop, might as well read it. Then, how each of them hooked me is beyond explanation. This was followed by late night sessions to read on my laptop till my eyes itched and crying all through it. I should mention here that I read Thousand Splendid almost two years back. The crying remained the same for both books.

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Khaled Hosseini has a way with words that can hold you like no one can. The sentences are such that it will take time for you to get over them and the story, well, it will leave you exhausted. Exhausted and overwhelmed with emotions. A tale of unbelievably strong friendship with a backdrop of Afghanistan war crisis and personal insecurities.

As far as I am concerned, this is a must read and so is the other one by him, ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’. Most importantly, whenever you read any of these, definitely comment here about your views. I love these two books just way too much, I want to know everyone’s opinions on these. 🙂

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I hope you get to read this as early as possible.

Till next time (which will be soon)!

Little Women | New Beginnings

Hello World!

I hope there’s someone out there still reading the posts on this blog. I have a lot of excuses as to why I did not post, but that’s what they are. Excuses. However, they are valid ones.

The most relevant one being me quitting the job because I got through the B-School I was awaiting results of. Most of you would know that B-Schools are very rigorous and people don’t get time for anything other than , umm, study? I am still in my chilled out phase mentally, i.e. I am yet to accept the fact that I am expected to work this hard, but physically I am too occupied to sit down peacefully and write a post. As time passes, the pressure here is only going to increase. Hence, the frequency of posts on Life of Srish is going to decrease for a while, you know about my self-imposed rule of doing posts with pictures as much as possible. Since there is no time to click pictures, I don’t want to compromise on the way I want my posts to be. However, in whatever posts I publish, if you see any difference in the quality, please, please send me an email or write in the comments about it.

Oh, also, I may do back to back book reviews for sometime, hope that’s okay? Just felt like getting done with writing about all the books that I have read in 2015 so far.

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Finally, coming to the 4th book that I read in 2015. The much acclaimed and a forever classic, ‘Little Women’. It’s a story of 4 sisters and other people in their lives and how everyone grows as a person due to their experiences and the support from their loved ones. I have heard so many people being in love with it. I think I now understand why. This can be a childhood favorite easily. The process of reading it I did not enjoy so much because I probably read it in the wrong age. However, people who have read it as kids still love to read it, nostalgia maybe?

The best part about Little Women is that it makes you learn a lot of things in life and not in a suffocating way. It tells you how to be thankful for things in life and how to help others as much as you can since everyone has something to offer. The lessons are very much valid for adults, in fact, especially more for adults because as we grow, we start to take things for granted.

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It is a beautiful book which fills you with a warm feeling. I did not enjoy the reading process a lot probably because it was aimed at kids. I think people should make kids in their family definitely read this one. It would be one of the good ways to make them learn some genuinely relevant life lessons through the means of a cute story.

PS: I clicked these pictures the day I was moving in to hostel so that I have pictures for at least 1 post when at hostel. 😛

Green & Lean by Michael Matthews

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So, this one day, when I finished my second book of 2015, I was looking to read something but none of the books that I have. Hence, I started browsing free books on Google books and came across this! 🙂

Michael Matthews has written a lot of books on topics like healthy eating and muscle training. I think this book is a mini version of his book ‘Eat Green Get Lean’ which has 100 vegetarian and vegan recipes for building muscles, getting lean and staying healthy. This mini version has 20 such recipes.

The book begins with general information sharing by the author regarding what is good for our health and building muscles. This is then followed by the 20 recipes. The information bit was my favorite part because I was happy to see that I knew most of the things mentioned there already. I don’t follow any of them, that is a different story. Still, it is good to know that I am aware of things. Actually, I come across a LOT of adults who have really shocking misconceptions about diets, healthy food etc. Sometimes its just unbelievable! Yes, it’s that bad. So, I was happy to know that I could relate to knowing a lot of things. The author has shared such simple things that it is too easy to understand how to avoid processed food and how to simplify your choices for eating healthy.

The part that was less engaging were the recipes. Reason – they used quite a many store-bought ingredients. Maybe its the norm in foreign countries but I think it was ingrained in my head while reading the introduction that lots of fresh ingredients will be used. However, the recipes are really, really simple and seem to be delicious too.

It’s such a short book, you can totally consider reading this one!

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

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Okay, believe me, all of 2015 books would not be chick-lits. It’s only a coincidence that the first two are. In fact, I am coming across really, really good books from different genres. Big yay to that!

About this book, let me just say a simple thing. Irrespective of how Indian television serial-istic the title sounds, I loved this one! And I’ll go ahead and say that many of you may like it. Unless, of course, you completely despise love stories. This is not the kind of books where I can say that even if you hate love stories, this will make you a convert. It is a sappy, over-sentimental love story but as far as I am concerned, it’s not the kinds which can make you cringe. I read some reviews about the book after completing it and everyone seemed to love the female protagonist. I did not feel any particular love towards her, though I have to agree it was a cute character (if that makes sense). However, I loved the male protagonist through and through! Now anyone who has read the book will totally judge me for liking him because he was like those typical hot as hell and still nice and pure at heart guys which are only there in books (or movies)! But, hey, even if he was fictional, he deserves a mention. 😀 I also liked the fact that most of the side characters were given good enough footage. I love it when side characters have some importance. Some of the things were super cliched but I managed fine with that because I was enjoying the story and the melodrama way too much anyway.

My favorite part of the book has to be the subplot of child marriages in Rajasthan. I think that truly made this story special for me.

I am a little scared of the fact that my opinion may make you think highly of this novel and it may not live up to your expectations. I know that such super mushy love stories are not liked by many. This might very well be true if you happen to read this but I loved it. To think of that I chanced upon it’s eBook accidentally! 🙂

Oh, and, yes, it will make for a good Bollywood movie for sure, in true DDLJ style.