WWW Wednesdays 3

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W.W.W. Wednesdays is a weekly event brought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading. To play along, answer the following questions:

.What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you are going to read next?

What am I reading now? I’ve just started The Immigrants by Manju Kapoor. I’ve just started it, so I can’t really say how I’m finding it. If it’s good, it will find itself here with a review.

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What did I recently finish reading. The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell. A book, that I thought would be a regular chick-lit(this is what happens when you pick up books on a whim), but it certainly wasn’t anything like a chicklit. Not that there is anything wrong with a chick lit. I love them, but this was totally a different sort of story. Review coming up soon, as soon as I complete the two that are sitting in my drafts. So much to read, so many to review, and hardly any time. Story of my life!

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What will I read next? No idea at all. I’ve got a few books waiting for me on the Kindle and I’m sure I will do a library run soon too. Let’s see what I end up reading.

So, tell me what have you guys been up to?

Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hossieni

One of those books which I took ages to pick up. When it had first been released, I had been super excited about it, but somewhere down the line, the excitement waned. Until I saw it sitting on the library shelf, asking me to pick it up. Can’t say no to that, can we?

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And the Mountains Echoed starts off in Afghanistan, but takes us around the world. It is a tale of several characters who have ties to a particular village in Afghanistan. Some direct links, others indirect.

It is a tough book to review, for me. It is a great book, but doesn’t quite match up to his previous books. And that’s just because his previous books were that very good. This book follows the life of several characters, some related, some seemingly unrelated, but I love the way their paths cross, sometimes, unkown to them. Heart wrenching tales of the things people do, the circumstances and emotional ties that push people into doing what they would’ve never done normally, and of people making the most of what they have. Poignant tales. Sad tales. Some of which will stay with me for a while. All woven together beautifully by Hosseini’s words. Some of the stories, I wished I could know more. It is a book, I think, best enjoyed without comparing it to the author’s other works. I wish I could say more, but all I can really say is, go read the book, I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed.

I particularly liked Pari’s and Abdullah’s story. I loved the way the book starts as well, with a story that Abdullah and Pari’s father relates to them. Such a lovely bond the brother and sister shared. Roshi’s tale was exceptionally heart breaking. Diverse characters, a story that spans generations and in a way ends where it started. Some beautiful tales, woven together skilfully with a common thread running through them, tales that are guaranteed to move you to tears.

It is a book that I would definitely recommend. A 4/5 book for me.

About the Author
Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1970 Hosseini and his family moved to Iran where his father worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tehran. In 1973 Hosseini’s family returned to Kabul, and Hosseini’s youngest brother was born in July of that year.
In 1976, when Hosseini was 11 years old, Hosseini’s father obtained a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there. They were unable to return to Afghanistan because of the Saur Revolution in which the PDPA communist party seized power through a bloody coup in April 1978. Instead, a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in 1980 they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California.
He practiced medicine for over ten years, until a year and a half after the release of The Kite Runner.
Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through the Khaled Hosseini Foundation. The concept for the foundation was inspired by the trip to Afghanistan that Hosseini made in 2007 with UNHCR.
He lives in Northern California with his wife, Roya, and their two children (Harris and Farah).

This book is available from Amazon(UK), and Flipkart(India).

Book Review: India was One by An Indian

Another book that languished on my kindle for ages. I’ve got to motivate myself to read on the Kindle. But when real books beckon, I can’t hold an electronic device, can I? Anpther review copy that I took ages to read. Apologies again.
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…Suddenly, he saw something shiny at the bottom of the abyss. He squinted his eyes to see what it was. He ran back to his binoculars and turned them to see what it was. Sharp barbed wires that separated the two mountains came into focus. He had come as far as he could in his country. But she was standing in another country.

He was in South India and she was in North India…

Have you ever imagined India being divided into two countries? What happens to the millions of Indians who are from South India but are now residing in North India? Kaahi & Jai were two such people who got trapped in this situation. Everything was going smoothly for them and suddenly, their world turned upside down.

How will they get together? Will India become one again?

Jai and Kaahi were college sweethearts. The story follows their story from their college days to the time that they get married and move to California. They are leading a comfortable life in LA when suddenly a shock news shatters their lives. India has been divided into two, North and South. All communication channels to and from India have been disconnected and the only way to know what’s happening, to get in touch with their loved ones would be to travel back to India. But that is another problem, because after the division, Jai is from South India and Kaahi from North. They can’t travel to the same parts of India. What happens next, you will have to read it to find out.

It’s a book which clearly reflects the passion that the author has for the subject. The last chapter especially is very interesting. The concept of how India is divided into many Indias thanks to the mental barriers that we form. It’s an interesting take on the subject and as I said, one that clearly brings out the author’s passion.

I have to say that I did find somethings detracted from the story, for me. There is a lot of explanation about almost everything. Be it local words, dialect or the various aspects of life in India. For me it was a little distracting(actually more than a little distracting) from the story itself, but I can imagine it being very fascinating for someone who knows little about India and Indian culture. I would have liked a little less detail. May just enough to capture the reader’s interest, rather than bore the reader completely. Having said that, what was annoying for me, might be a bonus for someone else reading the book, so I wouldn’t let that stop me from recommending it.

I would rate it a 3/5. It is not a book that I would re-read, but it is an interesting one-time read.

About the Author
The author was born and raised in Mumbai, India. He came to the US in 1989 and lived in New York. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

This book is available from Amazon(UK) and Flipkart(India).

WWW Wednesdays – 2

WWW Wednesdays is a tag hosted by MizB at her blog – ‘ShouldbeReading‘. I participated once last week, and really enjoyed it, so here I am, at it again.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Diane Chamberlain’s ‘The Courage Tree’. It has started off really well. Has me completely hooked! Click on the image below to know more about this book.

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• What did you recently finish reading?
I’ve just finished reading ‘India was One’ by An Indian. Review coming up soon. Click on the link if you want to know more.

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• What do you think you’ll read next?
Now this is the tricky one. I might pick up something I’ve got downloaded on my Kindle. I don’t have anything planned as of now. Unless I happen to go into the library and chance upon a really cool book which I can’t but start reading.

So tell me, what you guys been reading?

Book Review: A Newlywed’s Adventures in Married Land by Shweta Ganesh Kumar

The author got in touch with me on Goodreads and asked me if I would like to read and review the book. It sounded interesting enough for me to say yes. I don’t pick up many books because they don’t enthuse me enough. She was prompt to send me an e-book but me being the lazy person I am, took ages to get to reading it. Apologies for the delay, Shweta, it’s all because of my tendencies to ignore ebooks when I have proper books in hand. I’ve got to overcome this, especially given the fact that I’ve got so many interesting titles waiting to be read on the Kindle.

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Mythili is a newly wed. She has just got married to the love of her life, Siddarth(Sid). Mythili has been an independent young woman, working as a crime reporter, covering crimes of the most gruesome kind. Nothing fazed her or so she thought. Sid and Mythili had a passionate long distance relationship and were yearning to start living together after getting married. Mythili quits her job and joins Sid in Philippines.

For the first time in her life, she realises that she is a ‘dependent’, something she finds difficult to stomach. Already finding it hard to come to terms with her new status, she also realises that there is hardly anybody among the expats that she meets who is of her wavelength. Life as an expat is a whole new ball game , and one that Mythili doesn’t know the rules of. And she isn’t quite sure she wants to either. She finds completely herself out of place in her new environment, be it the people she meets or the city that she lives in. To add to her discomfort, all her efforts of finding a job seem to fall flat as well. Her unhappiness and dissatisfaction starts to have a bearing on her life with Sid. She wonders if she would end up joining others around her as a dissatisfied housewife.

It is a charming, often hilarious, very real narrative of Mythili’s new life. I could relate to Mythili’s situation quite a bit, even though I haven’t been in a similar place myself. It is a situation that very common these days. Shweta writes with eloquence about Mythili’s experience of uprooting herself, to follow her heart and then wondering if it if was all wrong, wondering where things started to unravel, and how she picks it back up and puts her life back on track. Relocating yourself to a different place and starting a new life might sound romantic and exciting, it comes with its own challenges and issues.

The author also captures the insulated lives that expats sometimes end up leading. A life centred around themselves and their communities rather than making an effort to integrate themselves with the land that is their home now.

It is a fast paced, absorbing read which keeps you hooked and you find yourself cheering for Mythili. The characters were real, and some of the expats described, they are oh so familiar! I thought Sid was a sweetheart, and the relationship that Sid and Mythili shared was very sweet and heartwarming.

I particularly liked the way each chapter opens with a quote from Alice in Wonderland. Every quote was relevant to what Mythili was going through and I thought it was a brilliant idea by the author. In so many ways Mythili was like Alice falling into a rabbit hole with no control over her circumstances. Would I recommend it, yes of course! It is a 4/5 from me, and a book that I think a lot of us would identify with and enjoy.

About the Author
Shweta Ganesh Kumar is a writer and travel columnist. An alumnus of the Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, she worked as Communications Officer for Greenpeace India and as a correspondent with CNN-IBN, before dedicating her life to writing. She has written two other books as well, ‘Between the Headlines-The travails of a TV reporter’ and ‘Coming Up On The Show… The Travails of a news trainee’.

WWW Wednesdays

I came across this fun meme at DreamzandClouds’ blog, and was delighted to discover that it was a Wednesday today! It’s a weekly thing hosted at ‘ShouldbeReading‘.

All you need to do to play along is, answer these questions
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Easy enough, I thought. Nothing, after all, is more fun than talking about books.

• What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Someone Like You by Roald Dahl. I think I’ve mentioned how much I’ve loved Roald Dahl’s books for children. Not just me, my books mad daughter as well. I miss those days when I used to read to her, and especially Roald Dahl books. They were just delicious. His wicked sense of humour is just the sort that I like. Someone Like You is a bunch of short stories with a very interesting twist at the very end. Very different from his books for children, and yet very delicious reads for grown ups. I’m loving it so far.

• What did you recently finish reading?
I finished reading, ‘Please Don’t Cry by Jane Plume’, the other day. I’ve reviewed it here.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
I think I will be picking up ‘And The Mountains Echoed ‘by Khaled Hosseini unless a more appealing book turns up. I’ve always loved Hossieni’s writing, and have been waiting for a while for this one. For some reason, I thought I had read a bad review of it, but was delighted to hear that Deeps loved it, so I can now pick it up without worries 🙂

That’s it from me. It is easy enough to do! So what have you been reading?

Book Review: Please Don’t Cry by Jane Plume

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‘A family torn apart by grief. An incredible act of love’

A true story of a family torn apart by tragedies and of a friendship that went beyond all boundaries. Gina and Jane(the author) are the best of friends. They have been inseparable since they met. They celebrated together, spent holidays together, their lives were entwined in so many ways. They were more than just friends, they were sisters of choice to each other. Jane was a single mother with three children. Gina and her husband Shaun had two boys, who were close friends with Jane’s children. They were Auntie Gina and Auntie Jane to their children. Gina and her husband were also god-parents to Jane’s youngest daughter.

When Jane had some complications after the birth of her daughter, Gina was there for her. And when Gina faced the toughest tests of her life, Shaun, being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Jane was right with her, supporting her, holding her hand, doing everything she could, to be there for her dear friend. Just when the family was going through a tough time, with Shaun’s illness, Gina is killed in a car accident. Life is suddenly even worse than it already was. Shaun, already ill, is now bereaved and has the responsibility ot looking after his two boys.

Jane steps in and again, does what she has to, take care of Gina’s boys for her. She helps Shaun and the boys through the harrowing time after Gina’s death. In a couple of years, it is Shaun’s turn. His cancer turned aggressive and it was clear that Shaun’s days were numbered. Jane ends up looking after Gina’s children, all the while, being a mum to her own three.

It was such a heart-breaking, and yet such an inspiring read. To see how Jane, manages to do so much for her friend and her family was just amazing. Even her children are such generous souls, never for a minute grudging the fact that their mother was doing so much for her friend’s children. All that Jane says is ‘I’m glad I could do her this one last favour. If it had been the other way round, I know Gina would have done the same for me’, and that I guess speaks volumes about the friendship that Jane and Gina shared.

A beautiful but absolutely heart breaking read. I wonder sometimes why I read such heart-wrenching tales.. but I do. All I can say is that affect me deeply. So I’m not sure if I would recommend it. But do read it, if you think you would appreciate it.

This book is available on Amazon(UK).