Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#BookReview: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

On the jacket:

The instant #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller  Named a Hot Fall Read by USA Today, Vanity Fair, Newsday, O Magazine, the Seattle Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Mashable, Pop Sugar, and the San Antonio Express-News  "A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar  From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of.   Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.


Always a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, specially her talks, I find her books inspirational (like millions others do). So reading Big Magic wasn't a chance I'd let go. A beautifully written book, it takes you to the core of creativity and how it is to be a creative partner. All creative people, well most, are known to suffer too much, carry too much pain in the, have self-doubt yet never compromise and have had dysfunctional relationships. Gilbert talks about all these are not always needed and how creativity is too sacred to be influenced by these external factors.
She doesn't preach; instead, she tells. What I loved is how she reconfirmed what I have felt and told people all along, that each and every one of us is creative in some way or other. Our potential needs to be tapped and creativity is an absolutely essential element of life. She has spoken about a lot of incidents and instances from her own life. Being a writer myself, would would someday fancy being an author, this book hits home in every possible way. Usually, when people talk about creativity, it is almost always music or visual arts. That writing is also an art, is often forgotten. It delights me that a writer has written a book about creativity. 

Not a heavy read, and definitely not a book you can sail through, either, the book has a lot of quotes and stories about her books, reviews, successes and failures, which we go through as well but unlike her, we let them take over our lives. the thing about creative people is that they also live in the fear that their work would not be appreciated. It is a common problem and Gilbert, with her own life examples has passed on some strength to bear it.
Coming from someone as successful as Gilbert, the incidences and examples in the book can actually prove to be the guiding force for a lot of people.A must read, for the creatives and the ones who think they are not creative at all.

Rating: *****/5 

Friday, October 23, 2015

What India Reads

Flipkart has come out with a new page on their app called, “What India Reads”

“What India Reads” is all about what you read or would like to read. The app is designed basis genres for now and will soon feature what celebrities and authors read as well. 

The idea of the app is to make readers aware of what books are right at the top and also to help them discover books they might have not known of earlier.

#BookReview: Pupil's President: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam edited by Satyam Roychowdhury

On the jacket:

The students’ diligent teacher, the nation’s gifted scientist, the humble ‘People’s President’ - an indefinable name he is. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. A man who dedicated his life and work to the betterment of a nation, and his time and energy to the billions of young minds he wished to ignite. 

He has left back dreams in everyone, and the undying inspiration to make those dreams come true. A surfeit of contents has been interwoven to give this book a shape. To read through the pages will mean a journey through his life in entirety. Besides Kalam’s own speeches and quotes, it also contains literary tributes by scientists, academicians and students, the interviews of his family members, and a real-time anecdote of his interment ceremony at Rameswaram. 

This isn’t just a tribute, but a world beyond it to be read, explored and discovered.


Not very long ago, we lost Dr Kalam. It hasn't really been long, though to me it does seem so. A scientist, a President, a thinker - he was known to have donned multiple hats. What remains with me and many other Indians is that he was an educator too. Not just to the students whom he personally taught, but for the nation's millions of students, he was an inspiration. With Dr Kalam, there was no generation gap. He identified with the students, and they with him.  Of all the names he is referred to with, fondly, Pupils' President goes the best, in my opinion. 

Which is the reason, why I picked this book. Pupil’s President Kalam is a compilation of the great man's thoughts and speeches, along with quotes by students, scientists, academicians and his family members. His life in itself was no less that a world class inspiration and this book proves to be a bible of inspirations - quotes by him, real life incidents, his poems and his speeches. Every word drips of inspiration to yearn for an achieve the best you can. 
An excellent compilation, put together very well and presented in the form a book. The only thing that didn't work was the binding of the book which gave the book a good second hand book store feel.
On facebook, you can follow the book here.  And you can buy the book from flipkart by clicking here.

Rating: ****.5/5

[This review is for B00K R3VI3WS. However, the opinions expressed are my own.]

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cover Reveal for Seeking Redemption

Book Blurb:

Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It's her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay's sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It's also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.

Pre-order from Amazon

About the Author:
Dr.Madhu Vajpayee- the writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture its enigma in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, this book is her first step in literary world.  
Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi having been associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires.
When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and travelling.

Contact the Author:

#BookReview: Made in India by Biddu

On the jacket:

As a child, Biddu dreamt of going west and making it big as a composer. At the age of sixteen, he formed a band and started playing in a cafe in Bangalore, his home town, At eighteen, he was part of a popular act at Trinca's, a nightclub in Calcutta devoted to food, wine and music, At nineteen, he had college students in Bombay dancing to his music. In his early twenties, he left the country and ended up hitchhiking across the Middle East before arriving in London with only the clothes on his back and his trusty guitar. What followed were years of hardship and struggle but also great music and gathering fame. From the nine million selling "Kung Fu Fighting" to the iconic youth anthem of "Made in India" and the numerous hits in between. Biddu's music made him a household name in India and elsewhere. In this first public account of all that came his way: the people, the events, the music tours and companies Biddu writes with a gripping sense of humor about his remarkable journey with its fairy tale ending. Charming, witty, and entirely likable, Biddu is a man you are going to enjoy getting to know.


Like every kid of the 80s, Biddu's name brings back many musical memories to my mind. I don't think a lot of us girls would have had a lifelong crush had 'Made In India' not happened. So when I heard that the musician has come up with his own memoir, I was curious. I knew a little of his music, but didn't know anything more than that. and growing up, he was always a sort of an enigma - the image of him playing his guitar, a handsome man with long hair. 

So, back to the point in discussion, Biddu's book is about his journey through life and turning his passion into his profession. If his music and curiosity about the handsome man had made me pick the book up, reading that he was born just when WWII had ended, made me read the book in one go. What an interesting it must have been, to grow up in. Reading about Bangalore from a few decades ago, a city so different from what it is now, was refreshing. 

Being an artist isn't easy. You get paid in job satisfaction but you need the monies to pay your bill. However, an artist is always willing to work from free during his days as a beginner. Same was the case with Biddu. 

A very honest recount of a boy from Bangalore who knew nothing but music, who tried running away from home to make a name in it, failed repeatedly but never gave up. His self-depreciating humour is actually attractive, not over the line and not begging for sympathy. Like in everybody's life, specially a musicians, the adventures are many and while some are funny, the others leave you smiling. Yet some other make you think.

Artists are known to give in to obsessions easily. It is up to you what you chose as your obsession. Biddu let music be his obsession and stayed away from the rockstar lifestyle of snorting coke. 

The book is an advanced review copy, so the errors need to be ignored. However, the fact that errors do affect the reading experience, should not be forgotten.

Rating: ****/5

[This review and the giveaway below is a part of the Blog Tour held at B00K R3VI3WS. The opinion expressed is however mine.]


- 1 Gift Voucher : $10 Amazon GV or INR 500 Flipkart GV (Winner’s Choice)  
- 1 Signed copy of Curse of the Godman by Biddu  
- Paperback copy of Made in India by Biddu
Just Click On The Link Below To Enter The Giveaway:

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Friday, October 2, 2015

#BookReview: Body Goddess: The Complete Guide on Yoga for Women by Payal Gidwani Tiwari

On the jacket:

With our lives our bodies too are changing. Puberty, pregnancy, obesity, thyroid, PCOS, menopause, stress–as women go through different stages of life, their bodies too transform accordingly. So how does one deal with these changes? Bollywood’s most celebrated yoga expert, Payal Gidwani Tiwari comes to your rescue. From the basics of yoga to their practical application in our day to day life–Payal’s essential mantras guarantee not just weight loss but also promise a healthier lifestyle. Designed for all age groups, this book comes enriched with easy to follow exercise regimes and invaluable tips. Body Goddess is indispensable for every woman who wants to look and feel like a diva.


Payal Gidwani Tiwari's From XL to XS was a runaway hit. It's been on my nightstand ever since I'd first read it and it's been my bible. Whenever I do yoga (whenever being the keyword), I refer to the book for the set of workouts.
Body Goddess did not disappoint. The book begins with a foreword by Sridevi who is an inspiration in herself. If you look at her today, she is fitter than what she used to be at a younger age, which is brilliant.
Moving in, the book begins with elaborate and to the point explanation of chakras and kriyas. The kriyas have been explained based on common physical ailments and if you are suffering from any of the ones mentioned, you can easily pick up the kriyas you are supposed to do and obtain relief from the problem. Tiwari goes on to explain about pranayam, how it is done, the benefits, and clear explanation of the asanas to be done for different problems. The book is divided into two parts and this is the first part. The section ends with an elaborate section on suryanamaskar and exercises which can be done for various situations.
The second part is particularly for women of specified age groups. Tiwari has divided the section into four sub-sections. She has addressed health problems and solutions via asanas for age groups of 15-25, 25-35,35-45 and above 45 years of age. Like I had done with her previous book, this book also has multi-coloured book marks which I added during my reading. I know I will keep going back to this book as well. A must read for all women with health woes.

Rating: ****/5

[ This review is for Penguin Random HouseThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview: HiFi in Bollywood by Rishi Vohra

On the jacket:

"AN ASPIRING FILMMAKER. THE DIZZYING HEIGHTS OF BOLLYWOOD. AND A STRAINED FATHER-SON RELATIONSHIP"  Rayhan Arora’s long cherished dream is to be a filmmaker in the Hindi Film Industry but his formidable father has other plans… a successful financial career in Corporate America, and a marriage of convenience with Vanita, a medical student in the US.   
In a final act of desperation, Rayhan abandons his promising life in California and secretly returns to Mumbai to work as an Assistant Director in Bollywood. The characters he encounters along the way become part of his journey of self-discovery - a self-proclaimed local goon with a penchant for acting; a powerful local politician who wants to marry Rayhan's part-time domestic help, who in turn covets stardom; an angst-ridden, homosexual film director; ego-ridden film stars with twisted agendas; and the mysterious Viola who captures his heart.   
HiFi in Bollywood takes the reader from the streets of Berkeley to the film studios of Mumbai; from red-light areas to police stations, and from reality to dreams and back to reality again!


I'd read Rishi Vohra's Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai and was pretty impressed with the book. Having read it, I was looking forward to reading his next. So when Vohra approached me for a review, I didn't think before accepting. However, because of quite a few pressing reasons, the review got delayed for which I owe the author an apology. 

HiFi in Bollywood has a very attractive cover which deserves a mention. the story is about a young lad, Rayhan who wants to be a film maker and is a rebel by nature. With Rayhan, the reader travels from Berkeley to Mumbai, where he comes to realize his dreams. While reading about Berkeley was fun, the part from where Rayhan's stay in Mumbai begins, it seems a little stereotypical. This could be because of familiarity. I started the book warming up to Rayhan, he was quite a likeable guy but once his career advances and life changes, he becomes quite the opposite. You can idetify with the young man trying hard to achieve his dreams against all odds but what will throw you off guards is how to blend with the situations, he changes himself for the worst.

Vohra's first attempt with fiction set the bar pretty high. While there the plot and the treatment given to it was nouvel, here the story is pretty much an old wine in a new bottle. However, the style of writing and character building is commendable.
Overall a pretty decent read.

Rating: ***/5

[This is an author request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview : The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar

On the jacket:  Prabha Sinha, an IT professional in Chennai, is plunged into a murky world of idol theft, murder, and betrayal aft...