The Pursuit of Happyness: Book Review

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Hello people! How’s it going? For the record, I am having a pretty terrible week (sigh). The Big Bang Theory is ending this week and we might never see Dr. Sheldon Cooper and his antics again… With so many epic sagas ending this year, it’s going to be difficult to find happiness in our lives once again, right?

Coincidentally the book I had been reading recently, is ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’. Wow! Is there a divine power at play these days?

So coming to the book, I really could not understand, why the title of the book was chosen to be ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’? I have come up with two possible theories for that. One maybe, it is a story of life and struggling against the odds to find happiness (which seems likely). And the other inspired by the daycare where happiness was spelled with a ‘y’, and the protagonist was determined to let his son know the right thing. Maybe, maybe he was also determined to let the world the right thing about himself too; his worth, his potential underneath his dark skin. Which of the two, do you think is the most appropriate theory?

While you read a book, you either like a book or do not like it (although it seldom happens)! But this book has forced me to choose a middle path of partially liking this book.

” The world is your oyster. It’s up to you to find the pearls.”

Plot

It begins with the author Chris Garner, a successful stockbroker, taking us on a tour through his life, his struggles, his failures, his decisions and finally his victories. Carving his escape through an abusive childhood, without a father figure, he enrolls to render his services into Navy. With time he becomes an able medical practitioner(the only black on the team of whites) practicing in the Navy later joining his senior and dabbling in the field of research. He marries a woman as he prepares for medical school. Infidelity causes his marriage to drift apart and him embracing fatherhood for the first time. Determined to make it big, he decides to work as a stockbroker against the wishes of his family. He faces extreme shortage of money, rejections and failures but ultimately he wins big and establishes a multi-million company.

Characters

Chris Gardner: The protagonist of the novel. He begins his journey of life,aspiring to be Miles Davis, an actor and later leads his life as a Navy soldier-turned-medical practitioner and researcher- successful stockbroker. His experiences as a childhood, mold him as an adult and is reflected in his ways of upbringing his children. One relates to the struggle he goes through to reach to the top and gets inspired oneself to move along no matter how difficult the path is.

Christopher Gardner Jr.: The only guiding light in his Poppa’s world, when his path becomes too dark. Although only his childhood is reflected in the book, his antics are enough to melt your heart and his words are enough to leave a lasting impression on your soul.

Bettye Jean Triplett: The protagonist’s mother and his first guide to the world beyond. It is her belief in her son that leads to him believing in himself and ultimately meeting his destiny. Her actions seem serene and timid all her lifetime, which sows seeds of serenity and calmness in her son, an attribute of whose worth he realizes much later in his life.

There are other characters in the protagonist’s life, who impress him, inspire him, torment him, help him, teach him and ultimately make him a bigger and better person. It would take the entire space of blog post to describe each one of them, so how about you guys read the book and you describe the various characters to me in the comments section?

Writing Style

This novel is mostly written in the first person perspective with a prologue and epilogue by the author himself. The book is divided into different parts, each describing a phase of his life. You begin the book by reading about his childhood and finish it as you read about his roller coaster ride to success. His journey of establishing his own company and running it, is not shown in the book. This is one aspect which the readers, I am sure ,would have loved to read. Only if he had taken us with him on a trip to his company scaling the heights, this book would have been more interesting to read.

Book Review

Well the book is quit an amazing read, but there are some things which could have been presented in a better way. The struggle of a boy (transitioning into manhood) among abuses, poverty, violence and lack of a father figure sure generates empathy in the readers’ minds and makes us applaud the author for coming out of bad memories of childhood so beautifully. We are then transported in his youth and his ‘misadventures’ in that phase of life. While I was impressed at how high he was soaring profession, I cannot help but felt indignant about his infidelity. Had he not committed this blunder, I sure his life way have turned out to be happier right from the beginning. Although this blunder resulted in him having his bundle of joy (or joys, should I say)in his hands, but any satisfaction, any gift cannot justify this deed of his. We then meet a young father, testing his destiny and working hard to meet both ends meet and at the same time waiting to fly. The words in these pages sting your heart hard and you cry with the author and wipe your tears with the motivation provided by his son. As I have said earlier as well, the book ends abruptly. If only the authors have provided an insight into the world of the author’s company, this book would have soared heights. Also, the topic of the author’s relationship with his biological father and mentors is touched upon briefly and not explored fully. Encounters and relationships like these need more in depth writing. Apart from these glitches, this book is a good read over the weekend and acts as the best gift for budding entrepreneurs. You remember those childhood stories, completed with ups, downs and many morals at the end. This book is just like those stories, only for adults and not for children.

For me, this book stands at 3/5. I con’t believe I am saying this, the movies with the same name moved me more than the book. Probably it was Will Smith’s acting and presence on screen. Never mind, it’s always better to read the book than to watch a movie. Just for the heads up many parts are omitted from the movie, the focus being on the last part of the book only. So you will have to read the book anyways, to know the complete story. Or you can just refer to my blog (wink)!

I hope you had a better week than mine and you guys are better at handling your emotions when some faced with some tragic ends!!!

Until the nest next time, let’s reminisce about the good ol’ Big Bang Theory days!

Don’t forget to press the cute, little, white and blue ‘Follow’ button on my blog!

Cheers!

Fun things to learn from Avengers: Endgame

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Hello people! Hard to forget this amazing franchise so easily, isn’t it? It was iconic, the way people flocked over to theaters last month to bid farewell to MCU. From the fateful day , trust me, I have not been able to stop thinking about the legendary series…

Apart from chivalry, righteousness, team-work and all the other qualities that the Avengers stand for and how can I forget, deaths of characters that made cry our hearts (and eyes) out, there are some things which have not be thought over, yet.

So here are ten fun things which can be learnt from Avengers: Endgame, if you paid attention during the movie (alright , I understand we were invested emotionally )!

I hope with this blog, I don’t imitate World War III.

  1. Sass and humor can take you a long way, well unless you are Tony Stark and are endowed with a mission to save the universe…
  2. You can take Captain America’s famous shield for sledging (only if you happen to be Morgan!)
  3. Bigger your body size, bigger and better is your brain. (True fans get the reference immediately!)
  4. It is always better to eat your tacos inside, where there is less of winds and amazing distractions. In real life, no Hulk is kind enough to share one with you.
  5. Always dress accordingly when you travel back in time, as it could arise suspicion and you could get caught.
  6. It is for the greater good if you could make people revise your name at frequent intervals, if they are forgetful about it. Poor Rocket!
  7. Never let Star Lord and Thor get in an argument! We all know, who will win, with the deep voices and all (I am not going to reveal it). Well, it’s going to be a little heartbreaking for Quill.
  8. It’s for the best if you keep a tab on all the members of your group and their activities once you return from your heist. The consequences can be disastrous otherwise.
  9. You can always count on Thor to carry any style effortlessly be it cropped hair or sporting a French plait down his chain (this was hands down the best beard style I have ever seen)! Go Thor!
  10. No matter how weirdly you behave with people in the first meeting, there are chances you might impress them with your brilliant ideas that can change the course of event. That’s the story of my life, anyways!!!

Let me know in the comments section, if there are other things that I have missed out and need to be added in the list.

Also, don’t forget to follow my blog and enjoy the weekend!

P.S; This is probably the the shortest blog I have ever written. So *pat*, *pat*, I am learning how to write briefly! Big feat!!!

Cheers!

Kota Factory (web series): Review

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Hi guys! I am so fond of experimenting with a myriad of colors and hence these different shades every week. I would love feedback from you guys about the color of my blog page (I am going astray from the topic..so here we are all serious now…)

Although this blog is a little different from what I usually write about, but trying new things makes life more exciting and interesting. Doesn’t it? And the series (which I finished binge watching, again, yesterday) I am going to talk about in today’s blog, surely deserves a mention!

So here we begin!

For all my readers who are not familiar with this scenario, here’s a little background guide for you (remembering MUN’s, anyone)?

Kota is a well-established town in the state of Rajasthan, India, which houses a large number of pre- engineering and medical coaching institutes. Students in large numbers from all over the country, flock to this this town in hopes of undergoing extensive training to be granted admission into prestigious colleges. The extreme pressure of performing well, either make diamonds out of coals or break the existing coals. The struggle of a new student of coping with the life away from his comfort zone is depicted in the series.

Creator: Saurabh Khanna

Director: Raghav Subbu

Cast: Mayur More, Ranjan Raj, Alam Khan, Jitendra Kumar, Ahsaas Channa, Revathi Pillai

Streaming on: TVFPlay, Youtube

Plot

In a black-and-white frame, we meet a young, anxious,apprehensive boy, Vaibhav, who has migrated from his hometown to Kota, to get into one of the prestigious coaching institutes. His inability to crack entrance into the best coaching institute lands him in another one where his life changes. New bonds, new friendships, new memories, new romance, new courtships, new lessons, new responsibilities, new life- altering decisions and everlasting impressions are created on the way to fulfilling his dreams…until the fateful day which flips his world upside down.

Review

This is probably the first monochrome web series in the age of fine colors and precise definitions. You begin the series, expecting it to be a portrayal of how a student is crushed and defeated with all the pressure teeming around him, but you would be surprised and satisfied as the drama unfolds.A monologue from a seemingly “old school” professor breaks all stereotypes of orthodox teacher-student relationships and keeps you glued to watch the next episode. Further into the series, you find yourself wanting to envelope the protagonist in a warm, empathetic embrace (wow, I getting better at alliterations!)as he struggles to adjust in his now competitive, hostile and parent-less world. Here as well his teacher comes to his rescue and hence begins a new chapter of a newly made independent Vaibhav. Dealing with academic problems and dallying with an acquaintance(that too, with an academic undercurrent) sums up the latter episodes of the series.

The protagonist’s sidekicks and roommates Uday and Meena show you two different sides of the same world, one struggling to prove your worth to the world and the other, struggling to accept your inability to prove your worth.
The top-notch acting of the (stars-in-the-making studded) cast, strikes the cords of your heart and you start living each characters’ life through your eyes. Each actor displays the nuances of great (no wait, tremendously great) acting skills, but ultimately the adorable and naive Meena steals the limelight.

The writing and story is so bold ,gripping and realistic, you feel like giving the writers and creators a standing ovation. They have beautifully captured the details of everyday life of students and presented them to the world in the form of a cinematic luxury.

I think the black-and-white screen, the aerial shots (pointing to the zenith) are euphemisms for the harsh realities of life of the students. As the end of the series draws near, colors are fused in the screen and you left believing that Vaibhav has finally found a course, a direction and happiness in life.

Small incidents in the series light up your day, like, Meena unburdening his friend from the load of maintaining long-distance friendship, Vaibahv’s mother finally at peace when he adjusts himself aptly in his surrounding, Vaibhav paying gratitude to his teacher and many more. Uday’s portrayal of a boy struggling to fulfill his father’s dreams at the cost of his happiness is commendable.

Kota Factory isn’t just a web series but a cinematic experience that keeps everyone marveling at the creativity of story narration and presentation. There are few glitches that I have with the series. Firstly the creators used to upload one episode in a week and left you at a cliffhanger waiting for the next. And secondly, it ended way too soon. You feel, you just started knowing Vaibhav, learning to grow up in unfamiliar and uncharted surroundings and the next thing you know, you won’t be welcome in his world, until the next season.

This is without doubt, one of the best web series I have seen in a long time, barring Game of Thrones and a few others. So I would rate this series 4.5/5 and suggest everyone to add this to your must watch series. The best thing about this series is that, it provides subtitles for people who face a little trouble understanding Hindi.

Watch these series once and then we will discuss whether the episodes could mellow your heart and convince you to applaud Vaibhav and millions of others who face this struggle.

Before visiting YouTube to binge watch the series, do remember to follow my blog!

Cheers!

The Help: Book Review

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Hi everyone! I have now become a one-month old blogger! A question has been nagging me since the past few days…Am I still new in the blogging world? Should I change me tags?

Jokes,apart I hope something exciting happened with you over the weekend. My weekend was pretty mundane with an exception of buying three new books, which will be read and reviewed pretty soon!

Before beginning, can we just focus on the cover of the book? It’s not just a book cover, it is a piece of art in the truest sense. Just look at the bird in the center, doesn’t it appear to be speaking (or singing) to us through the cover? And of course the other two birds, a little distant and hesitant, but nodding their approval and supporting their leader! It you finish the book and glance at the cover once again, you will realize the three characters are the same. The leader etching her voice in our minds and the other two, supporting her! A big shout-out to the creator for such a brilliant portrayal of the theme! I hope one day my books are also privileged of having such brilliant pieces of art as their covers…

Summary

American author Kathryn Stockett pens down a beautiful story about different people and their lives, emotions, struggle, resistance, friendships, love, losses and victories. The story is set in the town of Jackson, Mississippi, where we meet three head strong women, Aibileen Clark, Minny Jackson ,colored maids who also help raise children and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a young graduate, who aspires to be a writer. Skeeter’s attempts of unraveling the mystery behind her family maid Constantine’s disappearance, leads her to a realization that colored maids are treated differently and they have to lead harsh lives. She then decides to bring this truth in front of the world,in the form of a book, with the help of all maids of her town. The pages of the book, bring the lives of all three protagonists together and leads o unexpected friendships, unexpected emotions, unexpected struggles and unexpected victories…

Writing Style

The books is divided into chapters in lieu of the characters and is a fine example of first-person narrative. Two of the three protagonists are black and stories from their point of view are refreshing. Apart from being strong, bold and unique, one remarkable thing about Stockett’s writing is that, it grasps the attention of the readers right from the beginning and never losses ground. It is hard to believe that it’s Stockett’s debut novel. Each character in the story has a story to tell and the articulate writing plays justice to every character, every incident in the novel.

Characters

Primarily there are three characters; Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny, but other characters like Mrs Hilly Holbrook, Mrs Celia Foote, Mrs Elizabeth Leefolt, Stuart Whitworth and Constantine Bates take the story forward.

Aibileen Clark: A colored maid in Mississippi who first introduces us to her world in the novel. She is a loving, caring and nurturing lady who has raised over a dozen white kids. She lost her only son, Treelore in an accident and misses his presence in her life. She is a courageous lady and the first maid who agreed to reveal the deplorable lives of the domestic help in the town to Skeeter. Her ability to hide her emotions in times of trouble give her a very calm and poised demeanor.

Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan: A fiery, young graduate, aspiring to be a writer against her mother’s wishes of getting married. She is a strong willed woman, who is ready to fearlessly face all the obstacles in the pursuit of her goal. She is one of the few people who never uses others to her own advantage and treats everyone equally. Her caring nature and gratitude for her loved ones know, no bounds. Her confident sense of humor is prevalent throughout the book.

Minny Jackson: The best cook in the entire town with an honest opinion, which she never fears to present to the world. She often tells her employers what she thinks of them, often resulting in her frequently getting fired from her jobs. In the early parts of the novel, she is shown to be afraid of her abusive husband, but over time she gathers courage and ultimately wins over her fears and starts her life anew sans her painful past and shackles. Her courage to share her stories, further inspires others as well and together they bring out a story, which is revolutionary and heartfelt at the same time.

Mrs Hily Holbrook: A egoistic racist and pretentious lady belonging to the elite circles of the society. Her vain pretense and attempts to uphold her honor causes rift between Skeeter and herself.

Mrs Celia Foote: An arch enemy of Mrs Hily Holbrook (although unbeknownst to her) and (an employer) and student of Minny. Her acts of defiance causes ripples in the ideal society.

Mrs Elizabeth Leefolt: Another vain and pretentious employer of Aibileen, who suffers from Postpartum Depression. Her antics and irresponsible behavior towards her child, make you wonder how the little child is blessed to have Aibileen around her, as you read along.

Stuart Whitworth: A dignified young man, who plays Skeeter’s love interest. He is the first person to know about the controversial book Skeeter plans to write, which he keeps a secret and supports her unwillingly.

Constantine Bates: Probably the most important character in the novel, according to me. She is Skeeter’s family maid, who disappears suddenly. Skeeter’s attempts to know about her whereabouts lead to the realization and hence the collection of stories from the servants’ quarters of the elite households.

Book Review

This debut novel by the author provides a fresh narrative of stories by the black community, a topic which has not been probed enough in the past. It also offers a contemporary style of writing, where different stories are narrated by different characters from a first-person perceptive. This book is like a colorful canvas of emotions. You feel angry, sad, happy and satisfied with each page you flip.

Instead of each character, I would like to say, each page has its own story to tell. The plot keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout its course and you feel robbed of a faithful companion as you finish the book. Complex relationships between each character is perfectly captured and eloquently described which multiplies the beauty of the book.The story which finally emerges from the debris of lies and secrets, shines bright against all odds.

How a novel can be both serious and savagely hilarious at the same time, is exemplified in this book. If only a little more light could be thrown on Minny, this novel would have escalated from being near perfect to absolutely perfect. Although you would be both surprised and shocked towards the end, when you find out what antic of hers had made Mrs Hily Holbrook vulnerable to the society. (Alright, no spoilers ahead!)

It is not just a good book to read, but it is life to be lived. So I would rate this book 3.8/5. Read this book once and trust me you will never be able to forget it in your lifetime. It becomes a timeless tale told through the pages of time.

(Let’s see if you remember what I always say at the end of each blog!)

Cheers!

A Happy Day!

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Hey people! I am so happy today! I am smiling even as I write this!!! There are two reasons behind my happy smile; one being a 10-kilometer drive I went along to test my driving skills for the first ,yesterday. And the other; I am celebrating my blog’s ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY!!! Isn’t it exciting! Honestly, I did not think I would come this far (lol, I know it’s not that far along)!

I began my journey into the world of blogging with poetry and trudging along I started writing travel blogs, book reviews, random organized thoughts and many more (follow my blog to find out more)! I can’t thank all the people who believed in me and joined hands with me on this new path and phase of life. Huge hugs!!!You guys already know that I published my collection of poems last year, right?

So today’s blog is a tribute to the past one month in which I racked my brains looking for new thoughts to share, virtually met new people, came across some beautiful thoughts by equally beautiful people and above all realized where my true calling lies! A tribute in the form of a poem from my book.

I hope you guys, enjoy this variation and lose yourself in the simmering magic of words.

Here’s my gift to my blog on its first one-month anniversary!

A Deferential Gift

His echoing footsteps filled the room,

The rays of hope coming in from the opened door,

Diminished the gloom.

I became still and excitement washed over me,

The bare canvas was eager to be a part of the enthralling spree.

I prayed to the Almighty amongst all the canvases,

I should be the one, where his brush strokes would paint the blank spaces.

With a piercing look around,

He choose me to make a picture, profound.

The artist sharpened his pencils and drew over my body,

For his masterpiece could not be tainted as shoddy.

An excruciating pain was felt over my heart,

On the path to perfection this, was just the start.

 Every day ,with every line drawn,

A fragment of my identity was gone.

Each day he drew to his heart’s delight,

I endured the pain for that one dazzling sight.

The next day a new pain was born,

When the artist began to erase what he had drawn.

After ten long days of this agony,

Came the real test of my gallantry.

I was being vibrantly painted into a picture, grand,

For I was to provide relief from ordinary lives; morose and bland.

With each stroke I was suffocated,

With each object brimming to life,

I was defeated.

Neither did I object , neither did I oppose,

While attaining peace, this was the destiny, I chose.

He relentlessly pursued bringing the canvas to life,

Little did he know, I was losing the strife.

Slowly I started losing my breath,

Nearing was my age old nightmare; death.

With a little life inside me, I heard,

I was embellished, which I could see with my vision, blurred.

Before the final show, a black cloth was drawn over my eyes,

I was the artist’s feat, that had to be prized.

Losing my identity did not matter,

As long I could provide peace from the chaotic clatter.

The serene painting into which I had been transformed,

He hoped, would keep the people united for long.

The infallible joy I experienced after losing my identity,

 I believed I could spread happiness and help people forget animosity.

An empty canvas that I was,

My sacrifice had ultimately found a cause.

This enlightening delight demands no gratitude,

Just people to smile eternally and shed their twofold attitude.

With this gift I bid adieu and leave the Man a message to fathom,

Join hands and make my sacrifice immortal, for, eras to come!

I would love to hear your stories of blogging and the ways you celebrate your blog-anniversaries. Share your stories with me in the comments section.

Also, click the follow button for more interesting thoughts and posts!

Love, celebrations and cheers!

License to Live: Book Review

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Hello readers! How’s your week going? I had a great week. You know I had cast my vote for the first time. I feel responsible (alright, let’s say symbolically responsible) now. Let me know in the comments section what were your experiences in casting your vote for the first time.

Before beginning, I want to ask a question from all of you. Did you guys know there a category of books that fall in the genre of ‘fiction inspiration’? I knew about two distinct categories of fiction and inspiration, but fiction inspiration, is new, isn’t it? I had no idea about this, before reading the novel. Well, I learnt a new thing today, coincidentally, in tandem with the theme of the book.

Summary

License to Live, by Priya Kumar is a novel that narrates the tale of a seeker on a journey of self discovery, a journey of happiness, a journey of life, about life,for life. The protagonist, a successful corporate guru, realizes that something is missing in her life. A chance encounter with a stranger turns her world upside down and motivates her to sign up for a bizarre seven day seminar for a whopping $25,000(approximately Rs 18,00,000 ) by one of the finest success coaches in the world. What follows is an exciting journey to the future, past and present (in the particular order), spread over three countries which forces Priya to reflect and learn something which she had always overlooked…

Plot

The plot is part fictional, part inspirational (now I know, that’s a thing). I am sure many of you will relate to the protagonist as you read about her internal struggle and dilemma in the early chapters of the book. The plot takes an interesting turn with each chapter and makes you turn the pages without stopping. While reading the book, you realize somewhere deep down, her journey has become your journey and her learning become your learning. You let go of your demons of the past, create new possibilities for future and learn to be in the present over the span of the seven day journey with Priya. Her accomplices become a part of your journey and you greet a brand-new-you as you close the book and brush your hand over the front cover.

Characters

There are primarily four characters in the novel, each on their own journey, this own mission.

We first meet Miss Priya Kumar, a successful corporate guru in the novel. She is unsure about finding contentment and happiness in her self-carved life and longs for fulfillment. She signs up for a bizarre seminar and in the process of completing assignments, she starts understanding life and taking responsibility for her every action. Her battles with the fears of future, guilt of the past and difficulty of being in the present is a true depiction of the internal battles we face each day. I think a rendezvous with her (even if it is though the pages of the book) is necessary for us to reflect on our actions and lead our lives in a better.

The most important character in the novel is Kurt Rinck, the best success coach the world has ever seen. His severe coaching methods and detached attitude towards his disciples make you wonder about the depth of his lessons and trust me you are not disappointed. He forces you believe in yourself and fight until you have achieved what you wanted to at the beginning of the journey. Although his presence in the book is minuscule, his powerful teachings and thoughts are enough to inspire you for a lifetime.

The other two characters in the novel are Priya’s two accomplices Uma and Karlos. The fellow disciples help her in the ultimate journey in unintended ways and the most difficult phases. These characters make you a realize, all the people who cross our paths, have to eventually leave one day, but what is important and worth remembering is the pinch of good that these people added in our lives.

Review

Let me be frank with you guys. This book is like a textbook that we used to study in school, complete with a page dedicated to instructions dictating how to read the novel. To be honest, I had not read that page in the beginning and had to start again because that page contained the necessary itinerary for the journey, I advise you to repeat the same mistake and follow the instructions diligently (read the book and you will know what I am talking about).

This book is the perfect guide for those looking answers about their everywhere, but within. It is book that can change your life, only if you put to practice what you read. Miss Kumar tries to reach you through her writing and urges you let go of your past, be in the present and create new possibilities for future. Be responsible, be courageous, take the plunge and contribute more for a more satisfying and fulfilling life. With bits of humor and sarcasm, you are bound to realize one thing, life is incomplete without one little thing; laughter. As you read the pages, you realize that this is the book you had been waiting for throughout your life, to bring a change. Keep in mind one thing, only you are responsible and capable to change your life, always.

What I felt was missing in the novel was ,an afterword after its abrupt ending. This was probably a nudge for us to rewrite our own destiny or a way the author adopted to tell us, life never stops, it moves along. Whatever it was, I feel with a little more insight in the character’s life after learning life’s greatest lessons would have added another aspect to the book.

If I were to rate this book, it would be 3.9/5. It’s worth a read at least once in your lifetime. Who knows with this you also realize your true calling and start to grow taller and stronger from your stagnant self?

Let me know if there are any books which you would like me to review.

And don’t forget to follow my blog.

Cheers!

The Mystery of the Talking Skull: Nostalgic Review

Hi guys! Enjoyed the weekend? My weekend was pretty awesome too. I had a pizza plus cheese garlic bread (they delivered it an hour late, but still) and watched Boss Baby. It’s a hilarious movie, you should definitely watch it sometime.

I also reread ‘The Three Investigators’ series. Pretty nostalgic, no? I am sure most of us have spent our childhood fantasizing about the mysterious adventures we embarked on with our (imaginary or real) friends. The only sad thing about these series, is that they are not longer printed and published. I have been in search of these books, since a long, long time. If anybody is willing to sell me those books, inbox me. PLEASE.

I had the fortune of reading one of the earliest editions of The Mystery of the Talking Skull, hence the tattered cover of the book, which I thought of sharing with you guys. Isn’t it grand? The smell of the book pages is so unique and triggers so many emotions at a single point of time. If you happen to be somewhere near my house, stop by and I will show you the book. Remember the book is only available for viewing purposes and NOT for lending or borrowing.

So today’s book review is a tribute to our childhood!

The Mystery of the Talking Skull by Robert Arthur Jr. is a novel of mystery genre involving three juvenile detectives Jupiter Jones, Peter Crenshaw and Robert Andrews. All it took was a dollar to set the wheels rolling for this mystery. A dollar which was paid by Jupiter for a battered trunk, belonging to a famous magician The Great Gulliver, who had vanished as mysteriously as his tricks. The trunk then attracted the attention of many queer magicians and gypsies. Even more bizarre were the contents of the trunk, including a skull which talks. What follows is the journey of those three young boys unraveling the mind-boggling mysteries of the the talking skull and the disappearance of the renowned magician.

The plot of the novel is extremely gripping and forbids you to rest until you have reached the end of the book. Since childhood, I had loved how the author had woven together strings of clues throughout the book and brought them all together at the end, to give a fantastic ending. And of course, beginning to my craving for adventures and solving mysteries(which sadly never happened to me, if you exclude searching my ‘lost’ notebooks with the help of chiding clues provided by my mother, *sigh*). You begin the novel assuming you will be able to solve the mystery before the protagonists do, but as the plot reaches its climax, you left with a dazzling and unique solution put forward by the detectives. The best thing about ‘The Three Investigators’ series is that, there is no specific order to read them. You begin from anywhere in the series and as you finish the first chapter, you feel assured to have know the characters since a long time.

What else can I say about the characters apart from what we already remember? The main characters resemble people we come across everyday in our lives, simple and ordinary with extraordinary abilities. You can count on Jupiter to amaze and leave you in splits with his imitations and actions. And not to forget, astound you with his spectacular deductive, observant and analytical skills. Peter with his impeccable hunch of sensing dangerous situations and providing the biggest clues to upturn the mystery, will charm you with his athletic, funny appeal and head-strong will. Robert (the character identified myself with the most; non-athletic and nerdy) is the backbone of the group. Any research to be done about the case, any news clipping to found for reference, any suggestion for solving the seemingly impossible clues, he is the person to turn to. The boys’ mentor and filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock is given a graceful and elegant part in the narrative. How he discovers the potential in young people, introduces them to this world of marvel and guides them is surely a treat for the eyes and mind. In the recurring characters, Aunt Matilda and Uncle Titus (Jupiter’s guardians) are my favorite. Their timely and comical comments can make anyone’s day. I wonder how they never suspected how Jupiter created an army of useful equipments for solving mysteries in their backyard!My parents would have defiantly found out about this, the very first day. How about your parents?

It is very difficult for me to rate this book, as it opens the channel to my childhood memories.You can’t rate memories, right? So I would just say these books are beyond rating and stars. These are pure gold! Just like the three question marks on the detectives visiting card(read the book to find out more), these books are unique, refreshing and eludes mystery right from the first glance.

Even if you haven’t read these in your childhood, read them in your adulthood and let’s see whether you are able to forget those childlike adventurous fantasies?

Let me know your thoughts on whether we should start an online book reading club for these rare books?

Also, don’t forget to follow my blog.

Cheers!

Tuesdays with Morrie: Book Review

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Hi guys! I hope everything is going well with you people.

The last two days have been full of adventure (I hope adventure is the right word) for me. For one thing, results of high school graduation examinations were out (you can congratulate me on passing with a decent percentage!) Secondly I finished reading a book which left me in both happy and sad tears (I am not a person to cry easily, otherwise)!

So today’s blog might be a little heartfelt and possibly urge you to read this book, this very instant.

When you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ by Mitch Albom is a memoir of interactions between a professor of sociology and his student, a renowned sports columnist and radio host. The beginning phrases of the novel begin with a depiction of graduation ceremony wherein a professor bids a tearful goodbye to a student (a rare sight, no?). The book then delves deep in the journey of the student as he grows up to face the harsh world, disconnects with his past and comes to know his coach, his professor is about to die. He comes to know that professor had contracted ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) two years ago and soon the disease will seize his entire body. Riots and strikes on his work front lead him to visit his frail professor every Tuesday and hence begins the journey of the student learning life’s greatest lessons from his teacher on the verge of death…

You begin reading this book expecting it to be a collection of monotonous spiritual teachings, but as you finish the book you realize, it is much more than that. It is about birth, death and the thing called life in between that matters. You cry, you laugh, you think, you reflect, you learn while reading the book and you start living after reading it.

You are bound to fall in love with the characters of the memoir and identify yourself with the protagonist seeking answers, seeking self-discovery, seeking life in its truest form. You tend to salute the old professor’s spirit to live life to the fullest and to find peace and humor in death. Going through the pages, you realize you have become a spectator in Morrie’s study, where his last class is held. You learn about life, about death, experience pain, happiness and loneliness with Mitch, sitting beside him.

What I loved about this book ,was ,that the student-teacher relationship provided both of them something they were looking for, throughout their lives. Morrie became a listener, a healer, a guide, a coach for Mitch and he in turn provided love and warmth to his teacher. This mutual relationship between the teacher and student changes their life forever and waits to change yours.

Another thing worth learning from Morrie is his undying spirit to bow down before the ultimate truth. He maintains his attitude of never pitying his -present condition and grieving about his past till the very end. His wisdom, his humor, his words leave you wishing for an encounter with a teacher like him.

This memoir is a flawless piece of literature and deserves to be read , reread and understood by each and every person on this Earth. I rate this book 100/10 and applaud Morrie for being a teacher who awakened life in death and Mitch for sharing a story, so pure, so serene, so beautiful with the entire world.

Just fourteen meetings of the ‘Tuesday people’, are enough to make you realize how unfair and short life can be and how dignified and strong we can be.

Morrie although you might not be with us today, but you never left us. We remember to love you and you continue to teach your students through your wise words and humorous tales.

I plead you to drop your urgent works and commitments for one day and read this novel to awaken yourself to the journey of self-discovery. You will not be disappointed, I assure.

Let me know in the comments section, were we on the same page, while reading this timeless tale.

Don’t forget the follow my blog!

Cheers!

Book Series that are must reads

Hello readers! This week seems to go by a snail’s pace, isn’t it? How I wish (like millions of others) that we could just fast forward to the weekend. Never mind, let’s focus on the bright side of things. First of all, I visited my Alma mater today after a long time (well, not long exactly, say about three months)!I don’t know why I had that anxious-nervous-excited look on my face before the actual event…even when everything went smoothly as I expected it to be.

You know when I have this exact same anxious-nervous-excited state of mind, well, when the story does not wrap up in a single novel and is continued in the form of book series. Do you also feel the same, as you read along to unravel the story further?

So here’s a list of book series (in no particular order)that you should read at least once before you decide to watch movies based on these! A bit of advice never judge a book by its movie.

  1. ROBERT LANGDON SERIES by Dan Brown
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All of these novel begin with our protagonist, Harvard Symbology Professor Robert Langdon, finding himself in midst of a controversial adventure. Hence begins his quest to uncover a hidden truth that could change the world, by solving symbols that pose as obstacles, with different allies in each novel. The plot of each book involves a scientific mystery and religious, philosophical revelation that makes the series all the more interesting to read. The thrilling twists and turns make you wonder what would happen at the next step and perfect for readers who have an inclination to read mysteries and science fiction novels. Trust me, when you start reading these books, you will find it difficult to stop yourself from turning the next page and read further, even if you have been sleep deprived for three days straight!

2. HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY by Suzzane Collins

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How life gives unexpected presents to us, is beyond comprehension. I picked these books in a bookstore for gifting to a friend, however what I did not know was, these books would open doors to a new literary world for me. Imagine an arena where twenty-four adolescents have to mercilessly slaughter each other to ensure a continuous supply of food in their homes. It is such a horrifying sight to even think about! It is a story of two such adolescents Katniss and Peeta ,who disgusted by this, struggle against the ultimate authorities to bring a change and in the process lose everything they feared to lose. It is a perfect illustration of how deep embedded harsh realities of life could be changed just by love and willingness to change and adapt. Read these over a long break and you will never be able to forget the fiery Katniss and calm Peeta who changed your life forever.

3. SHERLOK HOLMES SERIES by Sir Author Conan Doyle

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Looking for adventure, mystery and thrill? Go to 221 B Baker’s Street and savor these with a splash of witty comments throughout the day! Complete with four novels; ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ , ‘The Sign of the Four’, ‘ The Valley of Fear’ , ‘A Study in Scarlet’ and sixty short stories, this thick book would not let you leave your seat until you are through with it. These series would leave you wanting for your own mystery to unravel with your friend (hopefully, somewhat like Dr. Watson)! The perfect time to read stories larger than life is NOW. Let’s see if you can break my record of reading it, in five days straight! Let me know in the comments section, if you were able to achieve this feat.

4. HARRY POTTER SERIES by J.K Rowling

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Welcome to the world of witches,wizards, spells, potions,wands and a lot more excitement, which will make wish desperately for a letter from Hogwarts. A story revolving around an orphaned boy, the only person who could survive a death spell by the darkest, most powerful wizard ever know in the history of magic. After spending the first eleven years of his life in an unhappy home, the doors of the magical world welcome him with open arms and hence begin the battle between The Chosen One and The Dark Lord. The seven books in the series are a complete package of love, action, mystery, excitement, teenage rebellions and powerful resolutions and revolutions which will definitely make you reminisce about your childhood. Accio Harry Potter books!

5. SHIVA TRILOGY by Amish Tripathi

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A series about a journey of a man with extraordinary abilities, becoming a God. The first part of the fictional trilogy focuses on the protagonist’s journey of becoming a leader, a champion of the masses and the proceeding novels focus of him mobilizing people for a battle to bring change. Each novel has something new to offer to the reader, right from the relationship Shiva shared with his wife, sons, family, friends, people to the personal dilemmas he had to face and sacrifices he had to make for the greater good. These books are a real hit among people of all ages. Read these series sometime and lose yourself in the journey of a man with jagged locks, with a serpent around his neck, famous for his destructive dance ‘Tandava’, a loving husband, a doting father, a fierce warrior who ultimately became the ‘Mahadev’.

6. ME BEFORE YOU TRILOGY by Jojo Moyes

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This was the first love story that I red (not too fond of love stories and expected to not like this one), instead of disliking it, I fell in love with the story. The series unravels the twisty-turny life of Lou, a free-spirited girl after she is employed to look after a quadriplegic, Will. She falls in love him and despite several attempts is not able to convince him to change his mind about assisted suicide. She is devastated by his death but continues to move ahead with what he taught her, living. Living to the fullest. She decides to shift bases and begin anew, where she meets someone who changes her life once again. Circumstances force her to leave behind her old life and start again, but this time, she has learnt how to treat herself better and let go of of her past, which had been stopping her since a long time…With the first page you turn, you start living your life through Lou’s eyes and love her life through your eyes…

7. PERFECT FLAWED SERIES by Cecilia Ahern

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Like love stories, young adult novels are not my cup of tea, but this series deserves a mention in this list. The words in these novels depict the world of a society where the people are not divided on the basis ‘rich-poor’ , ‘haves-have nots’, ‘males-females’ but ‘flawed’ and ‘unflawed’. The society bows down towards the unflawed and the choicest of humiliations and reserved for the flawed. A young girl Celestine’s world turns upside down, when she is caught aiding a flawed and herself declared one. She gathers courage and dares to do one thing that had never been attempted before; she dares to challenge the system and her destiny. Along with her family and united group of fellow flawed people, she establishes a new social structure of logic with compassion. If you want a break from the serious novels (the type which I usually like), you can read these series. And a humble suggestion, read these with logic and compassion!

8. LORD OF THE RINGS SERIES by J.R.R Tolkien

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How can I leave behind the war saga of The Ring in the fictional world of Middle Earth in this list? The saga begins with the Dark Lord Sauron losing The Ring which gives him immense power. The scene then cut to centuries later, when a Hobbit, Bilbo comes across the ring and hence begins the tale that ensure bloodshed, merciless killings and revelation and various dark secrets in the battle of power. It’s such an interesting series, that if I give away the spoilers, I would feel that I am ripping my heart out (its extremely painful)! So read it out yourself and let me know would you spend your lifetime with this book than facing all the harsh realities of the world, alone?

9. CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C.S. Lewis

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Well, undoubtedly these are, one of the best science fiction-fantasy book series written in the history of literature! It illustrates the adventures of the Pevensie children in the magical world of Narnia (which they enter through a magical wardrobe in their house). They establish their own rule, fight the evil White Witch, save and rescue Prince Caspian over the course of these novels. Each visit to Narnia escalates into a new adventure for the children and a new delight for the readers. I read these books over the course of two years, for I never could lay my hands on all the books at a single point of time. I hope this doesn’t happen to you and you enjoy the adventures of Narnia, uninterrupted.

10. DAIRY OF A WIMPY KID SERIES by Jeff Kinney

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Alright, alright, I know I offended some people right there. I know these graphic novels do not qualify to be authentic literature but trust me, these are worth a read. The protagonist of these ‘novels’ is a wimpy boy, Greg who documents his life in a journal. His methods of avoiding a fight with his younger sibling, trying to stay out of way of his elder brother, his encounter with bullies and incidents highlighting his laziness would leave you splits. These novels can be finished in two hours each, so in two days time, you can proudly say, you finished an entire novel series!

P.S: Some of the incidents and characters in the books might resemble to some people, which I think was (un)intended by the author!

So let me know in the comments section, whether you likes any of these book series and then let’s have a discussion about these over a cup of coffee.

Also, don’t forget to follow my blog, in the excitement of buying and reading these books!

Cheers!