Book Blogging Challenge Thingie Edition#2

Remember the reading cum blogging challenge RavenclawSam, Tanvi and I did last year?

I’m sure you don’t. We weren’t very regular about it. The challenge which was supposed to go on for an entire year barely lasted for two months.

Kudos, Mia. Another challenge completed successfully.

Not.

2015 is gone. So is the chance for completing the Book Blogging Challenge Thingie Edition 1.

Never fear, 2016 is here.

So I bring to you-

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BBCT edition 2 comes with some changes.

For starters, my partner in crime will this time be Dee from The Vocal Wallflower.

Last year, Sam and I made reading lists of the books we had already read for each other. Meaning, 12 books read by Sam for me and vice versa.

This year, Dee and I will be reading books that neither of us have read before. So we’ll pick a book that both of us are desperate to read, limit ourselves to a few chapters per day and discuss a lot.

That’s the plan at least.

Dee and I had read Eon by Allison Goodman last year in a similar fashion. It was so so much fun! All the debates and analyses! When a new perspective is added to yours, the results are nothing short of miraculous. Plus she notices things that I don’t and I notice story arcs and motives that she might not.

So for the month of January, we’ll be reading Eon’s sequel Eona.

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We have been planning on reading Eona for a really long time now but being really good at procrastination, we managed to evade the plans.

What better book than Eona to start BBCT?

We’ll be posting our thoughts on the book of the month by the 31st of every month.

I promise you this challenge won’t be left incomplete.

Be a happy potato ^_^

It’s time to March

It’s March already. The wretched and eagerly awaited month has arrived and entered.  March basically translates into exams for me. I hate the concept of finals. Who doesn’t?

 

This is going to be me in March

This is going to be me in March

 

But! There is a silver lining! My BBCT book of the month is something that has been on my TBR for ages. It is also a book, the awesomeness of which I’m sure of.  Sam recommended it here.

Last few months, I’ve found myself venturing into the genre of middle-eastern literature and a movie.  I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi for my lit class.

Both the books got me googling and thinking.

There so much of suppression and violence in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and others. The people have almost no human rights. This is so especially in the case of women. They are forced to struggle; forced to fight.

So when women fight back, it’s very inspiring to read. I especially felt that with Persepolis and Not without my Daughter by Betty Mahmoody.

My first memory of Not without my daughter is of it lying on mum’s dressing table. I remember asking her about it. She told me, “It is a book every mother should read.”

Then I asked her when could I read it. She said not now. I was about 12.

Then I grew up, passed out of school and started travelling all by myself to college. Once, on my way to college, I saw a bookseller with a copy of Not without my daughter. That night, I asked my mum if I was old enough to read that book now.

I was. I read it and discussed it with mum. This book has a part in me becoming a feminist.

I respect Betty Mahmoody. She is a very good example for  the mental strength and the inborn endurance that women have. The courage she showed was quite frankly, rare. But it gives me hope.

 

So the Book Blogging Challenge Thingy book for the month of March is one that in a way, is a milestone. My mum acknowledged me as a matured young woman for the first time.

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I hope you enjoy it Sam and Tanvi (if you’re reading this book). By enjoy it, I mean I hope it makes you think.

Happy Reading!

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I am so sorry that late BBCT post of Feb. But here’s it now.

This month, we decided to read nonfiction. The Book Blogging Challenge Thingie is basically about broadening our reading horizons and since all three of us (Sam, Tanvi and I) are new to the genre of Nonfiction, we figured it would do us good to read that genre for Feb.

My BBCT book for the month of Feb was ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ by Katherine Boo.

 

The book cover

 

The blurb at Goodreads goes-

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting“ in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter — Annawadi’s “most-everything girl” — will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers  is about the lives of the residents of Annawadi. What I really liked about the book was that the author Katherine Boo had actually made a proper effort to get to know the characters so much so that when I finally checked out their pictures, they looked exactly like I had imagined them to. The book also gave me the feeling of actually walking around in their shoes for a bit. Of course I, being a spoilt brat from the high-rises of Mumbai, cannot even begin to fathom their lives. But I can surely say that the book remained with me.

For me, the book talked about the loss of childhood especially in the case of Abdul. Due to his father’s sickness, the responsibility of the family fell on the young shoulders of Abdul and this strikes me as being absolutely not fair. He deserved a childhood. I respect him a lot because he never cribbed and almost singlehandedly sustained their business. To actually have a successful business while being a teenager, no matter how small the business is, is something astounding. What if he had gotten a proper education? He could have really excelled.

How many such Abduls are losing out on opportunities?And then we crib about why India isn’t growing.

Another character I adored was Manju. I am  actually curious about what is happening in her life right now. She is smart, hard-working and just so terrific! She stayed with me after the story.

Asha was complex. I respect her. She did what she had to in order to survive-not only survive but thrive. Yes, what she did to Mr Kamble and others was wrong. There is no excuse for that. But Asha is a fighter.

BTBF did not show the slums or its residents as something pitiable. Annawadi was a community, a mini-city and an economy-all in one. BTBF showed the residents’ struggles, fortunes and misfortunes but it potrayed them as so human. We, the overcity people, tend to the slum-dwellers off. We don’t even wait to consider them as a part of the same species. BTBF taught me empathy.

The book also talked about corruption in India. I was aware of its presence but not the degree of it. Corruption is everywhere. It scares me. What future are we going to have if this continues?

Since it was a nonfictional book, it did seem to drag on at some point. But that could also be due to the fact that I am not accustomed to reading nonfiction. Nevertheless, I did get bored somewhere in between.

I rate the book 3.5/5 stars.

Have you read Behind the Beautiful Forevers? What do you think of it?

Also, check out Sam’s post on Seriously…I’m kidding here and Tanvi’s post here.

 

 

Hello February!

Wow! Time flies. It’s February already!!??!!

I’m a bit worried actually. I’ve got finals in a couple of months and I really need to start studying for them.

But I’m excited too. Next week, one of my dad’s cousins is getting married. And I’m going to wear a saree and feel pretty!

I don’t know what’s it about sarees. They just make a girl (well, me) feel special.

I’m also verrrry excited about the Book Blogging Challenge Thingie book of Feb.

Book Blogging Challenge Thingie is a reading challenge I’ve taken up with my friend Sam at
A Blast of Random. We are going to recommend twelve books to each other over a period of twelve months and then blog about it. One of our friend’s Tanvi has joined us. The more the merrier 🙂

My book for January was Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell.  And Sam’s book was Ice by Sarah Beth Durst. Tanvi read Lipstick Jungle too.

This month, the book I’m recommend to Sam is Seriously…I’m kidding by Ellen DeGeneres.

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Although I have never really seen Ellen on TV (apart from a few YouTube videos), she’s someone I find really cool. I mean, she carries off that pixie cut like no one can. Plus, I find her really smart in a sarcastic-ish way (especially after reading her book).

Also, since the main aim behind the challenge was to diversify the kind of books we read, reading a nonfiction should be a new experience.

I hope you enjoy the book Sammy and Tanvi 🙂

Lipstick Jungle

So this is my first review for the Book Blogging Challenge Thingie. Whupah!

The Book Blogging Challenge Thingie is a challenge my friend who blogs at A Blast of Random and I have taken up in this new year of 2015. We’ve made each other reading lists with twelve books for twelve months in order to diversify the kind of books we read. Sam’s friend Tanvi also joined us.

My January book was ‘Lipstick Jungle’ by Candace Bushnell.

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The blurb at Goodreads goes like-

Lipstick Jungle weaves the stories of Nico O’Neilly, Wendy Healy, and Victory Ford, numbers 8, 12, and 17 on The New York Post’s list of “New York’s 50 Most Powerful Women.”

But this is 21st Century New York, and to get ahead and stay ahead, these women will do anything, including jeopardizing their personal and professional relationships. Take for example Nico, editor-in-chief of Bonfire magazine, who betrays her boss to rise to the top of the entire magazine division at media mega-giant Splatch-Verner. As president of Paradour Pictures, Wendy may be poised to win an Oscar for her 10-year labor-of-love, Ragged Pilgrims, but her marriage is in shambles and her children care more about a $50,000 pony than their mother. And for single, 43-year-old fashion designer Victory, pleasing tough critics may be more important than ever finding the real relationship she’s convinced herself she doesn’t need.

This racy tale of women behaving badly manages to shrewdly flip the tables to show us how gender roles are essentially interchangeable, given the right circumstances. Whether that was Bushnell’s intent when crafting this wicked tale is another story. –Gisele Toueg

What I think-

Candace Bushnell can write about strong, career-driven women like no one else can. Lipstick Jungle is the written proof of this fact.

Sam suggested the book because she knows I love books with a strong female protagonist. lipstick Jungle had three.

Victory Ford is a fashion designer. She is 43, single and totally cool with it. At the beginning of the book, we see her experimenting with her new clothes line which goes flop. Because of this, Victory then has some financial problems. She also has to deal with her Japanese partner (?) while balancing a new relationship with the billionaire Lyn. I think, Victory to some extent, represents the stereotype of women who choose careers over marriage and kids.

Wendy Healy is the type of woman who takes up the role of the provider in her family and is bloody brilliant at it. But that doesn’t make her any less feminine. She has the nurturing qualities which most women possess, going as far as treating her husband like her fourth kid. He resents her for it and asks for a divorce and the custody of their three children. This conflict is resolved in the best way possible.

The thing about Wendy is that she would have been just as awesome had she been a stay at home mum.

Nico O’Neilly is the calm, composed woman who knows how to play The Game. Throughout the book we see her orchestrate the downfall of her boss. So much of being a woman is how to tell lies.

Yeah, she does struggle with an unsatisfactory marital relationship. And she does cheat on her husband. But that just makes Nico real. She has fears and desires.

Overall, all the three women deal with sexism at work and home. For Victory, it’s at the hands of the Japanese businessman she works with and also her boyfriend Lyn who laughs out loud at her desire to become a billionaire. Wendy has to deal with sexism in the form of her assistant and also indirectly in the form of her in laws and husband. Her husband expects her to earn a shitload of money for him to spend. At the same time he resents her. For being successful at her career? For not giving enough time to the children and him? Quite possibly both. For Nico, it’s in the form of her boss who she leads to his ultimate downfall.

The plot arc I liked the best was Wendy’s. Especially the way she finds a solution to the divorce and custody problem. She finally accepts that her children do need her but not every minute of the day. I hated her husband. Talk about double standards and blackmail. I won’t give away the end but the way Wendy’s story ends is probably more satisfying.

The character I liked best was Nico. She was badass! See, patience pays. So does not acting rashly but making a plan and then going through with it. Nico wants it all. She wants to rise to the very top. And while climbing the ladder of success she still manages to maintain a good relationship with her daughter Katarina. I want to be Nico O’Neilly when I grow up. Although I’m pretty sure I’m not ambitious. Mum says that I lack the killer instinct. But in a world where I do have the killer instinct, I’d love to be like Nico.

I read some reviews on Goodreads and I got the general gist that some readers were unhappy with the happy ending. I personally, was desperately hoping for a happy ending. Not because I don’t like sad endings but because as girl on the brink of womanhood who is probably going to enter the world of jobs, politics and promotions in the few coming years, a sad ending would have been the worst kind of disheartening. As if the statement by Indira Nooyi wasn’t bad enough.

And quite frankly, I do believe that woman can reach the very top and deal with the pressures that come with it. My belief was reinforced by Lipstick Jungle.

Rating- 4/5 stars

Go read it especially if you’re a bit of a feminist.

Also, check out Tanvi’s review on The Lipstick Jungle.

The Book Blogging Challenge Thingie

Happy New Year!

And what good is a new year without challenges and resolutions?

A few days ago I was chatting with my friend Sam who blogs at A Blast of Random ( ravenclawsam.wordpress.com ). I have known her forever- forever translates into 4.5 years. She’s seen me through my awkward school years. And I have seen her through her notsoawkward school years. She is one those immensely likable people.

Sam’s the one who got me into the Young Adult genre, way back then when I had braces and a low self-esteem. It’s because of her that I read the Shopaholic series, a bit of Dan Brown and some Cecelia Ahern. Par consequence I started reading Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games and so on.

So basically, Sam has been greatly influential in shaping my book taste.

Last year, I read too much. It was all about the quantity. Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t read anything decent. Because I did. I read many splendid books. But I had to accelerate my reading speed. I couldn’t enjoy the books I read as much as I could have, had I cherished every word.

Another effect of my 2014 Goodreads goal of reading 200 books was that I hardly read any classic-y or intellectual books last year.

I didn’t even finish A Song of Ice and Fire series inspite of owning the books. Books made of paper with the addictive paper smell and Jon Snow. And I didn’t read them.

In 2015, I have decided that I will try as far as possible not read just for finishing some goal. I will read for the reason I actually used to read.

The joy of reading.

So while telling Sam all of this, both of us were struck with an idea. (We’re kind of psychic that way)

What if we made up reading lists for each other in 2015?

One book per month and the certainty that the book would be one we would love ‘coz our tastes in books are pretty similar. And what’s the point of doing something if we don’t blog about it? (Procrastinating, of course. Oh well…)

So lo behold!

The Book Blogging Challenge Thingie

*Cue drumroll*

This is how it goes-

Eins- Only the book chosen for the month from the list can be read.

Zwei- The Book for the Month should be announced on the first of the month and it should be the first book read that month.

Drei- A post about the book should be put up on the last day of the month. It can be a review or a random rambling.

That’s about it.

So Sam’s book for the month of January is Ice by Sarah Beth Durst.

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I selected this book because it’s a fairy tale but the protagonist is not a damsel in distress. That always works for me. Also, I believe it to be loosely based on the myth of Psyche and Cupid. Cassie’s love interest is quite unusual too.

Have you read the book? Drop in a comment down below!

You can check out her post about the Book Blogging Challenge Thingie here http://ravenclawsam.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/what-does-the-new-year-hold/

What does 2015 hold for you?

Paperless Postcards

Paperless Postcards is the country’s first platform for non-fiction conversations. The website triggers various emotions in their open letters & other verticals

Random stuffs!

Just random relatable stuffs! :)

Simply Leha

Breathing in textures

THE BOMBAY REVIEW

A journal of literary things

Raven & Beez

Two girls swimming in fiction

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