Friday, 25 December 2015

The Bride of Amman by Fadi Zaghmout, translated from Arabic by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp: Book Review

Passed university with distinction? Good, you are well enough a bride material now.
Thirty and unmarried? Bad, you've almost reached your expiry date.
Did your father take your virginity? It's okay. Keep quiet.
Do you love someone of another religion?  Beware,you might be soon ostracized from your society.
Are you attracted towards the same sex as your's? Worse, control yourself, get married and have children. 

Author Fadi Zaghmout shares such social taboos that have confined young Arab men and women to the deepest corners of their beings. The Bride of Amman is a tale of five young dwellers of Amman, the capital city of Jordan where gender inequality and gender discrimination, make them struggle through their everyday lives. 

Published originally in Arabic, the book is translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Title is Untitled by Santosh Avvannavar, Kundan Srivastava & Raghunath Babu Are: Book Review

Santosh, an author dedicated to bringing into awareness the social crimes and injustice in India, has teamed with Kundan Srivastava & Raghunath Babu Are in Title is Untitled. The authors have come up with 11 short fictions in the book that highlight how women in India become victims of rape and forced marriages. The stories also speak of how some women unlawfully misuse women-centric laws like dowry laws in their favour. Yet, other stories, on a lighter side, underline how shallow Indian education system is and ironically, how deep the Indian Beggary system is.

Written with utmost sincerity, the book is sure to churn your feelings towards such victims. At the end of each story, through the Dear 'No Light' Diary, the authors present brief facts about the issue related to the particular story. I appreciate their thoughtful efforts in collecting the data.

As I always recommend, please try to imbibe the authors' messages from this book and spread them as far as you can.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Our Heritage Revisited by Anju Saha: Book Review

Most of us including me, if asked which Hindu texts we are aware of, would have Mahabharata and Ramayana in our answers. If asked twice, we may answer Vedas but then we wouldn't know any other word about the Vedas. 

For centuries, we have cornered ancient Hindu scriptures to temple priests. Of course, unfortunately, not all of us are permitted to acquire and practice the knowledge of Vedas. However, isn't it good to learn what in the first place Vedas and Upanishads are? 

That's what Author Anju Saha does in her book, Our Heritage Revisited! She takes us through an easy and comfortable ride into the world of ancient Hindu scriptures. If you've felt guilty for being ignorant of them all these years, here's the right tool for you. 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Grey & White Day Scholar by Raj Sekar: Book Review

25 years past schooling, the author and his friends think about a reunion of their school classmates. A few of them travel from Chennai to Tirupattur, a town in Vellore district, Tamil Nadu and the place where their school is located. Grey & White Day Scholar is all about the memories the author recollects as he travels to his old school. They travel in search of their other classmates and eventually discover the whereabouts of a few of them. 

The author has realistically brought out the little joys, that towns in Tamil Nadu would have offered its school boys in the 1980s. Readers who did schooling in the same period in a similar town can not only relate to the author's experiences but also can drench in beautiful memory showers. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

SHE: Ekla Cholo Re by Dr. Shayan Haq & Santosh Avvannavar: Book Review

(The video embedded above is the official book trailer)

He wanted to play with dolls while he was forced to play with cars.
He fancied being Debu's girlfriend while he was seen as his younger brother.
He loved draping his mom's Tant saree privately while he had to wear what a boy would, publicly. 
When everything that he felt within, contradicted with what others expected from him, 
he realized becoming a SHE from a he is a lonely path and it's best to tread this path alone -
Ekla Cholo Re!

SHE: Ekla Cholo Re is the story of Kusum who suffers a gender identity disorder since childhood. Through Kusum's conversation over a long drive with a stranger, the authors have brought out the subtle feelings that Kusum undergoes during each phase of her life. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Curse of Brahma by Jagmohan Bhanver: Book Review

'How much more of Indian mythology is still left unexplored?!' is what I awed as I turned the last page of the book. The Mahabharata I knew began from almost the birth of Sri Krishna. However, here's an unheard tale, compiled into an entire book, of the events that happened 200 years before Lord Krishna's birth. 

Can ever somebody like Kansa, who killed innocent newborns, have another side of goodness? I would have been surprised if somebody said a 'yes' before I read this book. Totally moving, the character of Kansa seemed to be justly portrayed. His true, devoted love towards Devaki and his loyal friendship with Vasudev were contrary to anything that I've ever heard of Kansa before. 

Dark Lord, the man who holds the grip of the plot, though the personification of evil doesn't fail to exhibit the innate goodness in him. In a sense, this book shall make us rethink about what exactly evil is and if Brahma, the Lord of creation, did any justice to him at all? 

Vividly narrated, The Curse of Brahma, is a well-conceived plot though for some reason, the story line seemed dragging at a few places. The suspense created at the end is a sure call for the second in the Krishna Trilogy series.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Second Heart by Dr. Sandeep Huilgol & Santosh Avvannavar: Book Review

There are several awareness campaigns towards heart-health often posted through social media. But how many times do we hear such health campaigns about kidneys? How many of us are aware of kidney related disorders? Will you believe that kidneys are considered to be second hearts? 

Author Santosh joins hands with Dr. Sandeep Huilgol in his book Second heart, to educate the readers about simple must-know information on kidneys through five short stories. Each of the stories talk of a unique tale where one of the characters suffers a kidney disorder. 

What stands out about the stories is the kidney related information are not forced on to the readers like how a book on medicine would do. Instead, they are subtly written, mostly falling behind the main scenes, though it forms the central theme of the book. 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Rigveda Code by Rashmi Chendvankar: Book Review

This review is also posted at my personal blog, Pages from Serendipity

The Rigveda Code is an interesting mythological fiction based on the after-effects of the Mahabharata war. The plot centers around Rikshavi, a warrior princess of the Vrij kingdom (in present-day Bihar). Thirty years post the war, Lord Krishna wishes for a new system of governance for the future of Bharatkhanda. However, instead of establishing the new system by himself, he chooses to pass the secret code to the Pandavs’ legacy which the warrior princess is destined to fulfill. 

The circumstances that lead Rikshavi, since her birth and childhood, to unfold her destiny form the The Rigveda Code. What stands out throughout the book is the suspense factor. It has a gripping flow that makes it a compelling read. The narration is rather straight forward and does not divert the attention of the readers to the intricacies of anything that’s unimportant. 

An epilogue describing the background of the archaeological excavation and discussion, enlightens the readers about the subtle conception of The Rigveda Code which was both informative and admirable. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Umbilical Cord by Meena R Chandawarkar and Santosh Avvannavar: Book Review

At birth, the umbilical cord is cut as a baby passes from the womb to the outside world. However, there are myriads of other cords that bind us to a blind existence. This book talks about a few of such cords that should be better, nipped off.

Umbilical cord is my 5th read of author Santosh’s. All of his previous works speak of a theme, directed at, either an individual’s development or a societal reform, mostly in the form of short fiction. To readers’ delight, umbilical cord showers forty of such stories, each with a unique message.

The short stories are notably of just one or two pages which gives an additional charm to the authors’ ability to convey a profound point in a few words. Most of the messages addressed are neither extraordinary nor new to readers. Rather, they are simple incidents that all of us can relate to, with the matters of our daily lives.

Though at a quick glance, Umbilical cord seems to enlighten readers about the most elusive emotions like love and forgiveness, at a greater depth, it actually intends to remind all of us, the little nuances of life that we unmindfully overlook with age and time.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath: Book Review

If there is a human brain that needs to be researched upon, next to Einstein's, it is author Shatrujeet Nath's. I am not trying to exaggerate, but you will understand the truth in my statement if you've read his second book, The Guardians of the Halahala. Certainly, such an intricately woven plot could not have come from an ordinary brain!

When I read The Immortals of Meluah by Amish Tripathi, I felt it was the best mythological fiction. It may not be right to compare the efforts, work and creativity of two artists, however, it feels compelling to reveal that The Guardians of the Halahala definitely has an edge over the former. Eagerly looking forward to the next in the trilogy series.

It's simply a must-read for all readers interested in Indian mythology.

(This review is also posted at my personal blog Pages from Serendipity)

Sunday, 26 July 2015

There's Something About You by Yashodhara Lal: Book Review

I read the last 50 pages almost breathlessly, completing it at 2 midnight. 

If you've ever been into the confining world of a book, you would know why I did that. 'There's something about you' is one such work!

Trish looks at herself as a fat, unattractive woman who can never get along with the corporate gimmicks; yet can hold her heart and head strong against any level of criticism with her sarcasm - an attitude that will make you fall in love with the character. 

She gets unexpectedly fired from work. She meets Sahil unexpectedly. She finds a new fortune through her sarcasm, unexpectedly. She unexpectedly discovers her potential interest and it's a series of unexpectation to the readers as well. 

One might presume the fiction being directed towards love, overcoming difficulty or just a personal ranting, but believe me, at a deeper level, the story of Trish is about understanding relationships, diving into the subconsciousness and following one's heart. Shouldn't miss reading!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

God's Table by Santosh Avvannavar, Jyothi Byahati & Dr. Sandeep Huilgol: Book Review

Yet another social subject from Author Santosh and team! This time, it is in the form of a conversational discussion between a couple over their dinners and breakfast tables. They discuss about twelve major social and personal crisis that prevail in our society. At the end of each discussion, they seek the advice of Paul, a Godly man, who enlightens the readers with his unbiased, expert opinions.

A few of the topics that are discussed are education system, euthanasia, honour killing, abuse and social media.

God's Table is a quick read to remind all of us of the atrocities happening around us. The book rightly educates the readers about the intricacies of our society.

Please take part, spread awareness!

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Departing Point by Santosh Avvannavar, Jyothi Byahati & Raghunath Babu Are: Book Review

Two people departed…
In search of love…
Leaving love in between”

This is the tag line of the book.

The Departing Point is a collection of seven love stories that neither have a happy ending nor highlight the sadness of love failures. Three common aspects of all of the seven tales are:

  • narrated by the boy in love
  • the couple in love does not get to stay together in the relationship for long and
  • the girl in love happens to be the reason for the break-up.

Hence there comes a departing point in their relationships which all of those men end up facing with both maturity and resentment. 

The authors have brought out the persistent mind set of men when it comes to love. At the same time, the wavering and indecisive natures of women towards relationships are also highlighted.

Friday, 29 May 2015

The Silent Scream by Siddhartha Garg: Book Review

How safe do you think your children are? What is your reaction towards child sex abuse cases that you read in the newspapers? What do you think is the probability of such an incident happening within your close circle? Do you know that boys could also be victims of child abuse?

I’ll tell you what most of you answered.

You think your children are in the safest hands all the time. You feel that what you read in the newspapers happens to one in a thousand children and mainly because of parents’ ignorance. You think that you hail from a decent family and there is no room for such incidents. And you want to ask me, ‘Did you mean B-O-Y-S?!’

The Silent Scream raises an alarm against all your innocent perceptions. There is much more happening to children around us than newspapers tell us. Most importantly, it warns us that child abuse is not confined to class, caste, religion, family background or gender.

So, be safe. First of all, learn to be safe! That’s what this book intends to do.

A must have book for all parents. I am not recommending the book just because I reviewed it. It’s a request to all parents. Don’t think even once. Just order it!

Note: A part of the profit from the sales of this book would be donated to the Arya Orphanage in New Delhi towards the education of the girl children there.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Prism of Life by Ansh Das: Book Review

The Prism of Life is a self-help book intended to address many of man’s eternal quests. The author claims to have channeled these messages directly from the Akashic Records.

Tap a little of your school Physics.
Remember what happens when white light passes through a prism?
Yes, it disperses into a spectrum of colours. When all these colours, merge together, they form white light again.
The author has introduced a brilliant metaphor with these terms:

Prism = Life
White Light = Spirituality
Constituent Colours = Constituents that make up spirituality

In short, this book throws light on the smaller constituents of spirituality that can help one to decipher his/her purpose of life.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Night Sky Between The Stars by Usha Kishore: Book Review

Night Sky Between The Stars is a collection of 55 poems by Usha Kishore, an Indian born British poet. 

Her poems in this collection express her strong emotion for the Indian womanhood. As a matter of fact, it is not only the poet's emotion, rather, a collective emotion of several Indian woman who have obliged to this country's masculine supremacy since ages.

Several verses in the book shake the core of Indian values, what we proudly call our culture and tradition. 

Written in simple language, the verses are no enigma for a common reader. 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Other End of the Corridor by Sujata Rajpal

Leela is a bored, frustrated, humiliated and childless housewife. She  did have romantic dreams about her marital life and an ardent aspiration to become a RJ. However, with time, her dreams and aspirations get diluted by the constant pressures of her suffocating marriage. 

At a point when her days move without anything to look forward to, she lets her heart and mind waver in the direction of shallow gratifications until something happens that changes her life forever. 

The dormant warrior in her gets revived and she is no more the woman who worships her husband's feet. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Surrogate Author by santosh Avvannavar and Shilpa Patil: Book Review

The corner tag of the book says ' To Aspiring Authors'. 
And that says it all! 

If you've been brooding over a plot or a concept to make a book out of it, and you seem to move nowhere, you are sure to delight in 
Surrogate Author.

If bollywood movies like Devdas, Sholay and DDLJ recharge your soul, 
you are sure to have a heart full of laughter with
Surrogate Author.

Yes! It's that rare combo of a serious career put in a LOL way!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Inscrutable Mulla Nasrudin Episodes by Jyothirllata Girija

Mulla Nasrudin was a philosopher of 13th century, born at Eskishehr in Turkey. He is also called as Nasreddin Hodja of Anatolia in Turkey. He became a popular Persian folk character, well-known for his clever wit and humour. Thousands of stories have been written, depicting Nasrudin's wisdom and subtle humour.
Jyothirllata Girija's The Inscrutable Mulla Nasrudin Episodes is a collection of 233 short episodes of Nasrudin's life and events retold in poetry form, in rhyming verses. 
A Light-hearted read!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Black, Grey & White by Santosh Avvannavar and Santosh I.Birdar: Book Review

Black, Grey and White is a collection of five short stories that throw light on sexual crimes prevailing in our society.

The central motive of the book is to spread awareness about myths and realities of AIDS and essential moral values.

The stories are practical and heart-touching, taking us to a reality ride of the HIV affected victims, their lives and their stand in our society. 

Readers, please support the cause by sharing the message!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Blame it on Destiny by Soorina Desai

 One of the interesting fictions I've read in years!

From the book blurb, one can guess that the book is about five strangers who never happen to meet one other all their lives but unintentionally influence each other's lives in a mysterious way. 

However, only when the reader turns over the last page can he/she get the central theme of the book. How our prejudices about people and situations can prove far too different from the reality or truth in it! Based on a few facts or incidents, we tend to judge the personality of those known and unknown and we, as well, assume how their lives would get directed, in our own imaginative way. If ever, we get to see the truth that gets veiled off behind our assumptions, we would be utterly surprised. 

That's what happens to Sharmila in Blame it on Destiny!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Unravelling Anjali by Nim Gholkar: Book Review


Anjali is like any other middle-class Indian girl raised by the traditional values of India. When she was seventeen, she made a decision that she would only ever marry for true love. 

At last at the age of twenty six, marriage knocks her door and she is married. It was an arranged marriage, to Ravi, a Non Resident Indian, settled in Australia and a divorcee. Her family is happy about getting her married to a NRI and she as well is excited about the life abroad and looks forward to a romantic married life as she lands at the Sydney airport, a few months after their wedding. 

Least did she know then, the fate that awaited her in the new place and how the turn of events would change the traditionally rooted Anjali to an entirely new person. 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Book Fair @ Kendriya Vidyalaya School, Pondicherry

The book fair at Kendriya Vidyalaya School, Pondicherry gathered several school children and parents on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of February, 2015. Siruvar Pakkam, an exclusive children's book store organized the fair, showcasing children's books for all ages.

I appreciate the thought of conducting book fairs at schools. It encourages reading habit in children and also introduces children to wide varieties of books available in the present-day market.  

The video at the end of the post gives you a glimpse of the range of books presented in the fair.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Finding Ecstasy by Rebecca Pillsbury: Book Review

Author Rebecca Pillsbury, Prize Winner of "The Christine Kloser's Transformational Author Writing Contest", pens down the most intimate moments of her life in her debut book and a transformational memoir, Finding Ecstasy.

A Candid Memoir!

Conditioned by her family upbringing, religious beliefs and childhood ideologies, Rebecca grows up to an introvert girl carrying unidentifiable shame, guilt and fear about her womanhood and sexuality. Consequently, she faces trouble being in relationship with a partner, both emotionally and physically. The repressed state of her emotions also shows up in her body as disturbed menstruation patterns and poly cystic ovaries. In Finding Ecstasy, author Rebecca discloses her inner-most secrets of how she felt confined within the spaces of her body and mind and how a visit to Buenos Aires and meeting a Brazilian, life-changing books, travels, retreats, opening up with a group of women, blues dancing, yoga and a five-year relationship with her boy friend bring about a transformation not just about her body and sexuality but rather a holistic upliftment, which is truly spiritual in nature.

What Finding Ecstasy is?

From a broader perspective, Finding Ecstasy is not a tale of just one woman. Perhaps, every woman, at some point in time goes through the emotional confinements that the author does in her memoir. By the example of her own life, author Rebecca helps women to identify their emotional and sexual needs and connect with their inner beings with greater depths. It also offers men, a walk through the conflicting inner world of a woman which otherwise remains ever-elusive to their eyes.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

New Release & Book Launch: Your Dreams Are Mine Now by Ravinder Singh

After three bestselling novels, author Ravinder Singh released his fourth book, Your Dreams Are Mine Now, published by Penguin Books India in November 2014. Visit the Publisher's page for more details about the book.

Book launch at Chennai will happen on the 9th of January, 2014 at Starmark, Phoenix Market City at 6.30 p.m. Contact 9962777090 for more book launch details. 

Ravinder's Singh's debut novel, I Too Had a Love Story was the depiction of his real-life love story. The death of his girl friend touched him deep which has shaped into a book that touched many hearts as well. His other books are Can Love Happen Twice? and Like It Happened Yesterday. Love Stories That Touched My Heart is an anthology, edited by Ravinder Singh.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Nandhini's Book Review: End of Year 2014 Survey

2014 was my first year in book blogging. Nandhini's Book Review Blog is a spark off from my personal blog Pages from Serendipity. It was Leadstart Publishing who first contacted me for a book review, in fact the people who introduced me to the concept of book blogging. I thank them at this point for what they have done. For most part of the year, my reviews appeared in Pages from Serendipity. In September 2014, I created Nandhini's Book Review Blog dedicated solely for books and only books! 

What I adore the most of this book blogging: 

One of the rich delights of my life - free books! Every time I receive one, I feel I am getting richer.

 Getting connected with authors! To learn their humble stories of reaching this far is so heart-warming.