Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Review: And So Can You!

And So Can You! And So Can You! by Dr Roopleen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dr Roopleen is an eye surgeon among other things. She is an accomplished writer. So why she wrote this book? Because she wanted to read it and it was unwritten. Many books on achievers have been written but none on doctors. So, to fill the vacuum she wrote this book about 17 doctors.

These are chosen from many special fields and across the country. Everyone has different story and background but one thing common: love for medical profession and desire to serve others.

Dr Sundaram Natarajan (never say die) was born to a doctor and raised in a village. He was a cry baby in childhood. He joined Madras Medical college. He believes in four Ps for success- passion, perfection, precision and perseverance.

Dr Anita Panda (resilience) was born in a remote village of Orissa. She read scriptures and mythology in childhood. She joined PG at AIIMS. Her being the woman was never a handicap for her though she has to overcome the dogma and hypocrisy. Passion and dedication to work is her mantra.

There are more such stories. Each unique and identical at the same time. The common theme is medical profession. They belong to different part of India and different streams of medical science, but they all became doctors because of love for medical field. Most of them are from poor or middle-class families and face hardships during studies but it did not deter them from achieving their goals.

After every story there are some advice and takeaways given e.g.

Advice:
1. Don’t always believe what others say.
2. When in doubt take a second opinion.
3. Aspire to always improve and update knowledge.
Takeaway:
1. There is no professional right path for everyone.
2. Never allow your ego to become a bigger part of you.
3. Problems will come your way but do not stop.

These doctors really wanted to be doctors. But it is said that why people want to become doctors is because it is their passion. That is totally wrong in Indian context as parents push children to only medical or engineering. Being an engineer, I know this first-hand.

This book is written in simple language and is sincere. There is no pretence and the stories are of simple people who become successful due to hard work.


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Review: Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 4: Stand Strong

Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 4: Stand Strong Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 4: Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“...the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.

That is their mystery and their magic.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

The Ramayana is the greatest epic ever told (at least one of those). This is my second book of this series. The first book I read was “The Stolen Hope”. I liked that immensely review of which can be found here:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
this is just the extension of story which now moves to Rishimukh Parbat where Ram meets Hanuman (Kishkindha Kaand). Whatever I said in the previous review applied to this too.

The story is great because everyone knows it but still a brief outline. Sugriva is hiding in Rishimukh mountain beause of his brother Bali. Then Ram and Lakshman comes that side and he sends Hanuman to find out who are they. Ram befriends Sugriva and kills Bali. The book ends with Hanuman running towards Mahendra Parbat.

The book tells Ramayana and stays true to the original most of the time. The footnotes are life lessons which is derived from the story itself. Some of these are reproduced below:

1. A mature person knows how to neglect disrespect toward oneself and take very seriously disrespect towards others.
2. Luxuries are of concern only when basic needs are met, and basic needs itself are of concern only when need for mental peace is met.
3. Responsibility appears like a cage, but it sets the bird of self-growth free.
4. A fearful person is like a paralyzed person.
5. Where power ends, responsibility begins.
One question which is often asked “why Rama killed Vali from hiding?”. The author tries to answer it by saying that Vali is an animal and Rama is a hunter. The hunter (men) decide the rules and not the hunted. Also, Vali was wrong by laying eyes on Ruma and trying to kill Sugriva. So, Rama was justified in killing him. I am not convinced by the reasoning.

One more drawback is that the interpretation given in footnotes and in boxes are good but they impede the enjoy of reading. The acts as speed breakers and slows down the reading. It would have been better that they would have been given in the running narrative.

Keeping in view the overall reading 4/ 5 stars.


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Saturday, 21 April 2018

Review: Then The Doorbell Rang

Then The Doorbell Rang Then The Doorbell Rang by Capri Jalota
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Death and disease are inseparable part of life. One cannot escape from these. Death, divorce, disease, bomb blasts are the theme of this book. Not a very happy and fun book to read.

I thought it to be a mystery thriller kind of book going by the title. It seemed the doorbell rang and some psycho killer enters to slash. Nothing of that kind here. So stay away if you want that.

Jane is an only child of an Indian doctor father and European mother. He goes abroad for study and falls in love with her mom. They marry young and then move to Dubai. As happens they fell out of love and her mother leave his father. Jane stays back with him. She marries Uday after only one week romance and then he dies in an accident. How she copes and what all happens is crux of it.

The book was a mixed bag for me. It was sad. Told from first person’s POV. Then there is Uday’s diary. He had a girlfriend Radha whom he cannot marry due to family disapproval. There are many other characters. Jane also have some rare disease. It is a thick book. It worked in parts but as a whole I was not very satisfied and as it is thick it became difficult to finish.

3/5 stars.


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Review: My Watch

My Watch My Watch by Mark Twain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is funny for the period when it was written. Now a days it’s the time of use and throw. So there are no repair shops of anything. People don’t bother for that.

The watch is like our life maybe. The more we try to fix it the worse it becomes.

It is a funny story. Nice read.


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Friday, 20 April 2018

Review: 65 Colours of Rainbow

65 Colours of Rainbow 65 Colours of Rainbow by Smit Kapila
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Smit Kapila is an Electronics engineer who works in an MNC.
A declaration first: I am also an engineer so I have a soft corner for engineers. However I don’t work in an MNC but most of my friends do.

Life in the fast corporate world can be tense and boring most of the time. So it helps to have a sense of humour. The purpose of the book is to find fun in normal workplace situations. This is not a full blown novel or even short stories. These are stories culled from daily office goof ups, banter, pranks and foolish episodes.

There are sixty five tales. These are like LAPREK (LAGHU PREM KATHA) of Ravish Kumar. The only difference is that these are not romantic but fun stories. So these can be called LAHAK (Laghu Hasya Katha).

The situations are everyday office happenings with which any corporate employee can identify. Like writing abuses (good words ahem) in mail and using reply all. So all girls vanish from group.

Typing a generic mail and keeping using forward option so the trails also goes to everyone. Sleeping in office conference room and getting up when the meeting starts.

Bet one for me was when a mechanical engineer (who have no female students during college) asking for a change of project. When he is asked the reason the candid reply is that there are no girls on the team. So he is thrown out.

It is a good humours book. 3.5/5 stars.






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Review: Disgrace

Disgrace Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book on recommendation of Jenny Arora. It was a difficult book which she forewarned.

The story started with a college professor who has sexual relations with her student (way younger than her). If it was consensual or forced it is never revealed. He is not apologetic and says he is guilty without proclaiming what it is. He is expelled from college and goes to stays with his daughter. She maybe a Lesbian (almost certain). One fine day she is raped while he is locked in the bathroom. After that she becomes depressed and doesn’t talk to him.

The book is in a different country where there are different standards of morality. So I am in no position to judge. Than another difficulty is the Coetzee is a Nobel Laureate (a brief net search told me that he won it in 2003). So I can’t just dismiss it just any frustrated book.

The book makes you sick and depressed. The professor is a depraved sex addict who can go to any length. He has no regard to his posoit0on. He is just going through the motions and his job is a burden and just a means to earn. When he takes a belligerent stand at hearing it is laughable to say the least because he has no morals.

Then his daughter is happy in his farm comfortable with her sexuality. She is dependent on the caretaker. Though he is already married she is dependent on him in more ways than one (spoilers so no more comment). Then she is raped and goes into depression which is understandable. What is not understandable is what follows after that.

I thought of not writing a review. Then thought of giving it time so that I can make up my mind. I even forgot the name of the characters (nothing memorable about a frustrated professor and his cowards and weak daughter). Booker and Nobel was there after all. Now after almost 4 months i came to the conclusion that I disliked the book. This is bad no matter the Nobel Prize. If sex sells so is misery and depravity. And that is what these big authors do. Better to stay away from these trash. There was no insight for me.

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Review: Disgrace

Disgrace Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book on recommendation of Jenny Arora. It was a difficult book which she forewarned.

The story started with a college professor who has sexual relations with her student (way younger than her). If it was consensual or forced it is never revealed. He is not apologetic and says he is guilty without proclaiming what it is. He is expelled from college and goes to stays with his daughter. She maybe a Lesbian (almost certain). One fine day she is raped while he is locked in the bathroom. After that she becomes depressed and doesn’t talk to him.

The book is in a different country where there are different standards of morality. So I am in no position to judge. Than another difficulty is the Coetzee is a Nobel Laureate (a brief net search told me that he won it in 2003). So I can’t just dismiss it just any frustrated book.

The book makes you sick and depressed. The professor is a depraved sex addict who can go to any length. He has no regard to his posoit0on. He is just going through the motions and his job is a burden and just a means to earn. When he takes a belligerent stand at hearing it is laughable to say the least because he has no morals.

Then his daughter is happy in his farm comfortable with her sexuality. She is dependent on the caretaker. Though he is already married she is dependent on him in more ways than one (spoilers so no more comment). Then she is raped and goes into depression which is understandable. What is not understandable is what follows after that.

I disliked the book. This is bad no matter the Nobel Prize. If sex sells so is misery and depravity. And that is what these big authors do. Better to stay away from these trash. There was no insight for me.




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Monday, 16 April 2018

Review: The Emerald Circle

The Emerald Circle The Emerald Circle by L. Rosenman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imagine the horror if your child is kidnapped and taken to an undisclosed location. It is kind of a fortress where they are trained to be abused.

Lynn and Joe daughter is kidnapped and taken to a fortress. She is totally broken and vows to get her back. She goes undercover and enter the fort as a prostitute (yes they do that). She has to take hormones and keep track of her Menstrual cycle. There a person named Jaspeth helps her. Her husband Joe is trying from outside to get them freed. Will they be successful?

The premise of book is interesting but it is improbable. It seems like very old but who knows. There might be some secret organisations like that who in name of research does all kind of shady things. This is a onetime read but the editing could have been tighter.

3/5 stars.


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Review: Serial Termination: A Chilling Dark Serial Killer Crime Thriller

Serial Termination: A Chilling Dark Serial Killer Crime Thriller Serial Termination: A Chilling Dark Serial Killer Crime Thriller by Arnon Edelstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Serial killer novels have some unique problems. First and foremost is there is no clear connection between the psychopath and his/ her victims. S/he can strike anywhere on anyone.

a body of young woman is found. Detective Dorit and Moti are assigned to the case. First this looks like an isolated case but soon other bodies start piling up. One thing common amongst them is that they recently has abortions. Dorit and Moti falls in love and when Dorit is also abducted, Moti is devastated. Can he stop the killer before it is too late?

Arnon Edelstein is a criminologist whose interests focus on the connection between immigration and crime, and how that relationship crosses generations. The book is a fast pacy thriller. The love angle is not soppy and the professionalism is maintained. The book tells that a psychopath lacks emotion and he is not necessarily violent. They can be anywhere in management, government, medicine etc.

4/ 5 stars.


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Review: Leave Me Alone

Leave Me Alone Leave Me Alone by Orit Yogev
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being obese can be living hell for many. If you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin because the world tell you that it is not acceptable, life can be miserable. Apart from physical problems it has mental and emotional aspects too.

Orit Yogev is a Clinical psychologist who has treated hundreds of adults, teenagers, and children who suffer from morbid obesity. I get a peek into the mind and heart of the fat. This may not be a physical thing only. Fat people are fat because there is an emotional void inside them which they try to fill by eating incessantly. The abuse can be sexual or any other which manifest in the form of obesity. Orit stresses on addressing the underlying symptoms and the fat goes away automatically.

A very helpful book for all the people who is fighting this demon of obesity. 4/ 5 stars.


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Review: Kedesha: A Timeless Tale of a Love Priestess

Kedesha: A Timeless Tale of a Love Priestess Kedesha: A Timeless Tale of a Love Priestess by Ohad Pele Ezrahi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kedesha is erotic and sometimes links erotica to spirituality. The ancient temples have sex slaves who are elevated to the level of goddesses. She blessed her for becoming a temple,for having become a kedesha, a scared prostitute. Their bodies became a temple. This is somewhat similar to Indian Devdasi system.

The story alternates between ancient times and modern one. Story starts with Yehoash having sex with his wife Eglah. She a priest’s daughter and married him just to get an heir. She despise having sex with him and he is sexually frustrated. In modern times we have an American returned lady Tara who needs to face her demons. She meets Yoni a Shamanic sexual healer. He is married (in Shamanic way) to Hagar and has a very open marriage. She gives her Yoni (vagina) massage and then she becomes liberated.

The book alternate chapters are ancient and modern times. It has historical information and the writer claims that if it is true that is not a coincidence. Shamanic sexual healing of yoni massage is based on the fact that many memories accumulate in the inner folds of the yoni.

The book is racy and erotic. It has many threesome, homosexual scenes. But after sometimes it becomes rather boring and repetitive. A tighter editing could have helped. 3.5/ 5 stars.


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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Review: Transit Lounge

Transit Lounge Transit Lounge by Sunil Mishra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world is a wonderful place. There are countless cultures, customs, dialects and ways of life. There is no one right or wrong way. This book gives as a glimpse of the diversity around the globe.

This is a travelogue and written as a non fiction mode. Sunil Mishra is fortunate to be a software engineer, which allowed him to circumvent the globe for his work. Africa is amazing and so is Middle East. Iran I liked in in particular as they are so anti American and they have an equivalent of almost all American products.

US of A has got the detailed mention. I liked the analysis of American way of life and Sunil’s theory about rise of Trump. The X=X+1 hypothesis is wonderful and funny for Indian immigrants as he keeps thinking to return to India next year.


The horrible service at UK hotels is appalling. Eastern Europe is so dull and it seems time has frozen there.


The book is written in simple English a la Chetan Bhagat style. The coverage is brief and it can be more interesting. The emphasis is more on facts and less of scenic beauty and emotional connect. There are many typos in book and the pictures are drab. It must have been color photographs.

4/ 5 stars.


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