Book Review- Ashraf Haggag’s “Legends over Generations”

Happy Holi everyone!

If I remember correctly, last year this time I’d posted a blog about me locking myself up in my room in fear of being smothered with colours or the other substitutes. I’m speaking mud, water, eggs, coke.

This year, I decided to play Holi. I was stinking when I came back to my room, and probably sprained my toe, but no regrets. How did you celebrate your Holi?

Ashraf Haggag’s ‘Legends over Generations’ was the book of choice this week. Here’s what I thought about it! Thank you Vinfluencers for sending this to me!

The book compiles stories of legends in the fields of Art, Literature, Science, Human Rights and Politics. The stories give a glimpse into their youth and personal life, their peaks and lows.

The quotes at the end of every section of a legend were my favourite parts.

I especially loved this one

‘ a man who opens a school, closes a prison’ – Victor Hugo

The author then gives an analysis of the traits similar to most legends as the conclusion.

I enjoyed this book. The book doesn’t burden you with facts, and the author has picked quite interesting bits of the subjects to speak about.

I’d rate the book a 3/5!

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Book Review: Arnab Ray’s “The Sultan of Delhi”

The Sultan of Delhi, by Arnab Ray turned out to be my final read of 2017, and I was happy it did. 
It is an incredible read, and I can now finally relate to being hooked to a book. This was my first thriller,of sorts and definitely not my last! 

The tale of a frightened young boy from Lahore, working his way up to become one of the most feared in Delhi, so much as to be dubbed the Sultan of Delhi. Life on top isn’t as easy, and Arjun must battle, with the most important people in his life at stake. 

The ingenious plot twists and the humour was what I loved the most. The characters were great as well. I loved Arjun the most, with his intellect and suaveness. 

The ending, to me was disappointing. I was expecting an ending that would keep up with Arjun’s regality. I was wrong. The ending didn’t do justice to the title, to me at least. 
It was a great read, overall! 

I’d rate the book a 4/5!

Book Review: Tulsi Badrinath’s “Madras,Chennai and the Self”

Just got done with Tulsi Badrinath’s “Madras,Chennai and the Self”. I’ve been taking so much more time than required to read a book, and I’d blame it on my sleep and work patterns. After reading 20 pages on an average during the week, and a good 80 pages today, here’s my review!
The book holds Accounts of people from different fields, of their memories and experiences with the city. The book covers some inspirational stories in terms of the individual’s before and after, and some exasperating tales of tradition vs. modernity and the dynamics of caste. 
I was disappointed with this book. Although some of the stories were motivating, I found the book not particularly gripping. And for someone outside Chennai, with no visual of the details of the streets and the city, I failed to capture and relate to the image that the Author was trying to portray. Having no connection to the city, the book for me was only a compilation of the experiences and lessons of individuals, which I believe was not the aim of the book. 

This book wasn’t for me, I’d rate this book a 2.5/5. 

Book Review: Anosh Irani’s “The Parcel”

It’s been a month, at least, that I finished a book! This is by far the longest time I took to finish 50 pages, thanks to my exams. Today, I woke up a little later than I usually do, freshened up, skipped breakfast, grabbed the book and went downstairs to the dorm lawn and read. 

Now that I’m done reading, here’s my review of it. 

This is my first book of Anosh Irani and I can tell that soon I’ll be reading another book of his. I may just have a new favorite author!

The Parcel is a book centered around Kamathipura in Mumbai,India. It narrated beautifully the lives of those trapped in bodies they don’t conform to. The mistakes of God, as some would say. The red-light district of Mumbai harbouring those who were rejected from their homes and society, their lives devoid of all love and care. 

The story revolves around Madhu, a resident of the Hijra House, a reject. She had been saved from her body, and loved and accepted by her gurumai, and her sisters. There were times where she would long endlessly to be accepted into her own family, to be able to care for her father who had been the most disappointed in her. The feeling of failure and worthlessness seeped so deep into her, that in her final task with a parcel, she decided to make it a success so great, she would become a household name. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a plot I’ve never encountered before, a story of those who are overshadowed, feared, and insulted. The writing style was beautiful, with the desi language and attitude sewn in the words. It was unapologetically shrewd and bold. I absolutely loved the characters. 

Also, this has nothing to do with the content, but I loved the cover page! I think it says so much about this story, a story of  of the beautiful and strong, the caged. 
I’d rate this book a 4/5!

Book Review: Tabish Khair’s “Jihadi Jane”

Happy Monday(?) Everyone!Over the weekend, I read Jihadi Jane by Tabish Khair, and I might have a new favorite! 
The story involves Ameena and Jamilla, two orthodox Muslim girls in England, feeling utterly out of place and alien. This overwhelming situation of feeling like an outsider in their homes,the courage and passion for Islam and the fight against Western ideologies, made them leave everything behind, and start afresh. Start afresh in Syria, to fight the battle in ways their religion permitted, as wives of Jihadis, and maybe more. 

 

Soon, it dawns on them, the excessive fundamental Islam crafted by Hejjiye, Hasan and the rest is not what Allah intended. They began missing the festivals that had currently been pruned and made bleak; they missed the scope for debate and the freedom of thought and choice, they missed the outside; this is not what they had signed up for. Suddenly, the thought of feeling different and the racial abuse did not seem hellacious. 
There occurs then, a turn of events that Jamilla could not have fathomed. Was Ameena, a girl she fondly remembers as the girl smoking a cigarette in school capable of such a sacrifice?
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED EVERY BIT OF THIS BOOK! The writing style, the structure and the characters were wonderful! 

It is truly a page turner. 

I resonate with the ideology that no faith propagates the massacre of innocent individuals. Hate will only give rise to more hate, and one can only terminate this cycle, by terminating this wrong comprehension of Islam. These propagandas are only a product of one’s interpretation and personal views, and cannot be displayed as principles of the religion itself. 

And yes, I have a new favorite! I’d rate this a 5/5! 

Do let me know what your thoughts are! 

James Russell’s “The Mason Jar”

Don’t get me wrong, but I believed that this book would make me cringe with all the romance and the cheesiness. But I was wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the book! 
It was a short and sweet tale between two individuals, deeply in love, but separated by fate. The time and distance between the two failed to put out their love for one another. Finn, crushed by the separation sets out to rejuvenate, and writes a book on his treasured time with Emily. As life would have it, their love rekindled after several years, this time stronger. 
I loved the book! My favorite part would have to be the letters shared between Finn and his Grandad. They were inspiring, and left me wiser. I loved the plot and the structure. The writing style was beautiful. 
I for one, found the ending quite cliched. The ending I believed could’ve been tweaked to include something different or maybe their reunion could’ve been longer and more dramatic. 
The book, otherwise is a wonderful read! 

I’d rate it a 4/5!

Book Review- Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’

I have a test tomorrow, and I am not even remotely near the end of my syllabus. But since it is imperative that I do everything other than studying for my test,and then have breakdowns and stress out later, I decided to write my book review on Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’.
The story revolves around the impeccable bond that siblings share, a brother and his sister in particular. However, circumstances don’t allow them much time together and they are separated. They finally reunite, now old and having faced their share of struggles, but with their bond as strong as ever. 

I was disappointed with this book. I’m a huge fan of Khaled Hosseini, but this book didn’t match that standard. I fell in love with the plot of the book, but I found the story too stretched-out. I also wasn’t a fan of the structure of the story. 

The storyline introduced chapters discussing new characters, who were in ways related to Abdullah and Pari. But I personally didn’t find that very interesting and saw it more as a deviation from the main plot. I was getting restless by the page to read about Abdullah and Pari’s life and their reunion. 

The book otherwise is a good read! The language and characters were great! I particularly, loved the story of Nila Wahdati, a strong and an unconventional Afghan, who captured me with her wit and personality. 

I was expecting to be in love with this book, but that was not the case. I’d rate the book a 3/5.

Book Review: Lilac Mills’ “Elephant and Pinky Moon’

Hi Everyone!
I’m back home from uni for a couple of days and couldn’t be any happier. Currently snuggled up in bed alongside my parents.

 This week, I read Lilac Mills ‘Elephant and Pinky Moon’ and here’s my review of it!
The story revolves around the relationship between the protagonist and her grandmother. The grandmother, Flossie is a hearty woman in her eighties, to whom age is merely a number. She tricks her granddaughter, Nina to go on a trip with her, attempting to take her to Happy-ville. Nina, in her late twenties is a sombre individual, with an almost non-existent social life. Her life is far from lively, and this is what Flossie intends to change. 

They take on a trip to Turkey, checking in to a rather interesting hotel, not made for either of their age groups. Although Flossie became an instant hit, with her bold actions and witty come-backs, Nina never felt more embarrassed. Flossie, with her fluorescent bikinis, her diet comprising mostly of alcohol, and being an unwanted and unappreciated wing woman to an embarrassed Nina, was having the time of her life. 

As her vacation unravels, Nina realizes how her Grandmother had impacted her. In the span of a week, she had participated in activities that she’d never imagined doing and had met her special someone. She was actually enjoying her time in Turkey!
However, a tragedy strikes and things start toppling. 
This book is a fun and easy read. The book with its quirkiness, and with a plot revolving around a special bond such as this, is sure to touch your heart. Although I was quite interested in the first half of the book, the second half turned out to be predictable for me. The book was well written otherwise and is sure to make you reflect on your times with your grandmother. I love old people, and this book wonderfully captures their freeborn attitudes. They’re no longer held captive by judgements or criticisms, as they come into their last phase and long to make the most of the moments they have. 

A good book, overall!
I’d rate this book a 3 on 5! 

Book Review: Sunetra Choudhury’s ‘Behind Bars’

Hi Everyone! Hope the week’s been going great! 
My choices of genre are usually towards fiction, this time I decided to venture into the tales of the real world. The book I chose was ‘Behind Bars’ by Sunetra Choudhary.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It comprised of prison tales of the  who’s who. The writing style was beautiful, gets you etched on the pages! The accounts were documented in the most detailed and wonderful manner. 

There were a number of times I shuddered at the thought of the events I read about. From sleeping on a block of concrete every night to their legs being forcefully stretched to an obtuse till they leaked blood, the stories are multi-farious. It depicts how your worth and your stay in prison is wholly determined by your monetary strength. Everything from edible food to getting away from the hostile inmates, is to be paid for in cash. Lest, you want your bad days to turn worse. 

But these monstrosities aren’t the only issues the book deals with. 

It speaks about the breaking of some relationships and the birth of a couple more. There is an unusual sense of bonding in prisons. They’re all in this together. They develop interests in subjects and areas they would otherwise not be involved in. They understand the frustration, fear, and the pain of the other, like no one outside would. 

I wouldn’t want to say more, except that it was an excellent read and that I highly recommend it! 

I’d rate this book a 4.5 on 5!

Have a lovely Thursday! 
Lots and lots of love,

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review: Wilbur Smith’s Desert God

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re summer’s going well! I can’t believe summer break’s almost over *sniffs back a tear*

I recently  read the Desert God by Wilbur Smith. It’s a Historical Novel set up in the early ages in the Middle East. I tried experimenting with a new genre and here’s my review!

I loved the book! It was a favorable shift from philosophy and chic flics to adventure. The story just gave me Game of thrones vibes throughout! So yes, the book gets gory at places, but I was normalized thanks to the Game of Thrones series. 

Lord Taita, a man possessing impeccable strength and intelligence, plots to bring his kingdom to victory and peace by means of a meticulous plan against the Hyksos. They face innumerable challenges during its execution, including the princesses budding love for their warriors. Which path will Taita choose? Will Taita and his warriors’ resilience and bravery bring them glory?

the details in the story were absolutely incredible! It really did take me to a different world. The royal lives aren’t always rosy. They possess everything and nothing. The gold and silver they don aren’t a measure of happiness. 
I absolutely loved the characters in the book. Their personalities were well laid out, each so different and wonderful. My favorite would be Zaras, one of the lead commanders. His loyalty towards his duty and responsibilities, even where his life’s desires were snatched away, were commendable. 

Although the book was a tad bit heavy with the words, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure novel!

I’d rate this book a 4/5!

If you’ve read the book, let me know what you think of it!
Lots and lots of love,

Themysticalpanda