January 2021 – a month full of reading!

I’m not much into book reading challenges because it takes away the joy of reading from me. I’m quite an old school when it comes to correlating books with happiness.

My breathing issues resurfaced in January, leaving me with very little energy or motivation to write. Instead of feeling miserable about the situation, I decided to spend those sleepless nights reading as I literally continued huffing and puffing. So, I ended up completing 14 books and leaving two midway in January. Right now I’m reading 4 books.

The first set of books read in January

Here are the details of books I read-

  1. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osborne (my best read of the month)
  2. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
  3. Best Served Cold by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay
  4. 5.Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  5. 6.Gunning for the Godman by Ajay Lamba and Sanjeev Mathur
  6. The itsy bitsy spyder by Apeksha Rao
  7. How to be a writer by Ruskin Bond
  8. Dasavatara by Piyusha Vir
  9. A suitable boy by Vikram Seth
  10. Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie
  11. And there were none by Agatha Christie
  12. The TMYS December review by Koral Dasgupta & TMYS team.
  13. Chumki and the elephants by Lesley Denise Biswas
  14. Girls and the city by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar
The second set of books read in January

All books have been reviewed on Amazon and Goodreads (if updated).

The only paperbacks I read

Not mentioning the books I left midway, both of which are famous and critically acclaimed.

Currently reading –

  1. Each of us killers by Jenny Bhatt
  2. Along came a spyder by Apeksha Rao
  3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
  4. The artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

As we begin February, I hope that I can continue my reading pace while getting back to writing the second novel.

The experience of reading ‘You Beneath Your Skin’ by Damyanti Biswas

Disclaimer – This post is about my experience of reading the book ‘You Beneath Your Skin’. It is not to be confused with a book review that is more analytical and exhaustive in approach.

How often do you read a book that has such a deep impact on your soul that you fumble for words to speak about it? Keigo Higashino’s books have had that effect on me almost every time. And a recent addition to the list is debut author Damyanti Biswas’ crime thriller ‘You beneath your skin’. I finished reading this book more than a month ago but I had to let the emotions sink in before I could speak about it with clarity.

Set in Delhi, this is the story of Dr. Anjali Morgan, an Indian American psychiatrist and a single mother raising an autistic teenaged son Nikhil. She had come to India to escape her strained relationship with her mother after her married life fell apart. Police commissioner Jatin Bhatt, a much-married man with a teenage son is having an extra-marital affair with Dr. Anjali. In between balancing their personal and professional lives, both witness an upsurge in rape and murder of women belonging to the lower strata in the city. While trying to help Jatin in solving the crime, Anjali lands in a life-threatening situation. By the time the truth unravels, relationships and equations have undergone a transition beyond repair.

You Beneath Your Skin by Damyanti Biswas
You Beneath Your Skin by Damyanti Biswas

At 390 pages, this book is not the kind that can be finished at one go. The primary reason is that it is written in such a hard-hitting way that you cannot stay indifferent to the pain and trauma of the characters. It shakes the reader up, makes her question about the kind of society we live in where danger lurks in every turn of a woman’s life and gets her into a feeling of hopelessness and anger. Sometimes, it feels so real that it doesn’t even read like fiction. Damyanti started writing this book after the horrendous Nirbhaya incident in 2012 and I am writing this review after the horrific rape and murder of Dr. Priyanka Reddy a fortnight ago. If anything, the situation has only gone from bad to worse and this book is a harsh reminder of the same.

This book peels off layers of crimes that connect the lowest strata of the society with the most privileged class of elites. From abduction, minor sex racquet, prostitution, drug abuse, acid attacks, rape, and gruesome murder, this book manages to cover a wide spectrum of crimes effortlessly. The author has shown expertise and finesse in ensuring that none of the sub-plots feel exaggerated or forced. The reader experiences a similar spectrum of emotions in the form of sympathy, hopelessness, frustration, remorse, and anger though I must mention the slight ray of hope that appears at the end of the book.

It is quite difficult to believe that this is the work of a debut author. Her command over the plot, language, development of characters, and flow of the story is commendable. It is quite evident that extensive research has led to creating this book. A lot of incidents are also inspired by the real-life circumstances that people around her have been subjected to. She has absorbed their pain and channeled it into creating a story that lays bare the skeletons of an inhuman society. And here is one author who is not ready to stop at just writing about the barbaric acts. The sale proceeds of this book will be transferred to two charitable institutions ‘Project Why’ and ‘Stop Acid Attacks’ that she has been attached to and that’s her way to bring a positive change in society.

Book review – Astitva by Monika Davessar

As part of the Blogchatter E-book carnival, 55 authors (including me) launched their books on May 22nd, 2018 on the Blogchatter platform. As a fellow author, it gets difficult to assess or critically analyze books by the other amazing writers on this platform. However, I personally believe in the power of constructive feedback. It has helped me improve my craft and thus I am going to adhere to the same intention of helping another author scale up his/her work, if possible.

The details of the third book that I have chosen to review (or rather analyze) is as follows –

Book – Astitva (A woman’s journey from existence to empowerment)

Author – Monika Davessar

Publication – Blogchatter

Pages – 93

Price – Free

Genre – Non-Fiction

Plot –

Astitva (meaning existence in English) by Monika Davessar is a collection of thoughts on the burning topics relevant to women and the issues that have chained their progress. Monika had participated in the Blogchatter A2Z challenge in April this year with the theme of women empowerment. She has retained the same format of blog posts in this book. So the sequence of topics starts from A for Abuse and goes until Z for Zulmat. In almost all the cases, the author brings out her strong views towards the selected topics along with inspiration from real life instances or short stories. Some of the topics also feature steps for resolution. One unique addition to this book that deserves a special mention is Hindi poetry by Dr.Amit Prakash. The poems are crucial to the chosen topic and successfully creates an impact. Issues like child marriage, prostitution, rape, acid attack victims are dealt with expertise and clarity in thoughts.

Analysis –

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Book review – That year I found me by Dr. Ruchi Chopra Nasa

As part of the Blogchatter E-book carnival, 55 authors (including me) launched their books on May 22nd, 2018 on the Blogchatter platform. As a fellow author, it gets difficult to assess or critically analyze books by the other amazing writers on this platform. However, I personally believe in the power of constructive feedback. It has helped me improve my craft and thus I am going to adhere to the same intention of helping another author scale up his/her work, if possible.

The details of the second book that I have chosen to review (or rather analyze) is as follows –

Book – That year I found me

Author – Dr. Ruchi Chopra Nasa

Publication – Blogchatter

Pages – 126

Price – Free

Genre – Fiction

Plot –

Neha and Akash, sweethearts from medical school get married and soon become the parents of a baby boy Pihu. They have a near-perfect marriage. A chance discovery of a hidden message sets Neha on a path of figuring out the bitter truth about Akash’s extramarital affair with Sophie. While Akash had already accepted his mistake and moved away from the affair much before Neha discovered it, facing her biggest fear of losing the man she loves, leaves Neha hollow and depressed. Whether Neha decides to part ways or forgive Akash is unraveled during the course of the book.

Analysis –

At the onset, let me acknowledge the fact that I don’t read many books in romance genre anymore. This book was written as blog posts during the Blogchatter-A2Z challenge in April and I had found the theme quite interesting. The entire book is written in the form of letters (it might make the reader recollect the writing style of author Nikita Singh in her book ‘Letters to my Ex’). There are just four characters in the story Neha, Akash, Pihu and Sophie, so it is easy for the reader to keep a track of the happenings easily. The plot is quite simple but layered with bundle of emotions.

Continue reading “Book review – That year I found me by Dr. Ruchi Chopra Nasa”

Book review – Tales with a Twist by Varadharajan Ramesh

As part of the Blogchatter E-book carnival, 55 authors (including me) launched their books on May 22nd, 2018 on the Blogchatter platform. As a fellow author, it gets a little difficult to assess or critically analyze books by the other amazing writers on this platform. However, I personally believe in the power of constructive feedback. It has helped me improve my craft and thus I am going to adhere to the same intention of helping another author scale up his work, if applicable.

The details of the first book that I have chosen to review (or rather analyze) is as follows –

Book – Tales with a Twist

Author – Varadharajan Ramesh

Publication – Blogchatter

Pages – 228

Price – Free

Genre – Fiction

Plot –

Tales with a Twist is a collection of 23 short stories and one long story described through multiple episodes. Each story belong to a different genre of fiction but what unites them is the unexpected climax in each case. While the reader finds an unusual scoop of humor in the story ‘Finished’, pain and helplessness in the story of Park Joo-Won and Park Ji -Woo in ‘Innocence’ fast paced science fiction in “The troubles of time travel’ and hope and love in ‘Mariposa’ , the best combination of emotions is found in ‘The Malolan Chronicles’. Each story has a unique plot, setting, characters and ending.

Analysis –

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Movie review – Raid

“Main kisise darta nahi hu. Kisike bhi darwaja khatkhatane ki himmat rakhta hu.” – says IT officer Amay Patnaik in this weeks Bollywood release Raid capturing courage as the underlying essence of his character.

Cast –

  • Ajay Devgn (Amay Patnaik)
  • Ileana D’Cruz– (Mailini Patnaik)
  • Saurabh Shukla – (Rameshwar Singh/Tauji) 
  • Pushpa Singh – (Amma of Rameshwar)

Director – Rajkumar Gupta

Genre – Thriller

Duration – 2hr 08 mins

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Restaurant review – Tamara – Pipal Tree Hotel

Last Friday, we had been checking out pre-schools for our toddler who turns two and a half-year old this March end. Some of the appointments were disappointing, few shocking and a handful were worth trashing but that’s for another time to write. The result of those three hours left us with an exhausted body and disturbing mind. It was almost 2:40pm. So the next thing we decided was to book a cab and head towards the Pipal Tree hotel. On the way I called their in-house restaurant Tamara to make a reservation. While the timings on Zomato clearly said 3:30pm, the staff on the phone kept repeating that the buffet will be over soon and if we would be fine with A-la-Carta. I kept wondering why until I reached the restaurant.

Right at the entrance the guard denied us an entry on the pretext of a company’s ongoing conference that day. Only after we mentioned a prior reservation, we were allowed to get in. The moment we entered, the lady who escorted us to our table was quite curtly informed us that we had the option of A-la-Carta only. After I argued about the buffet timing being till 3:30 did they let us avail the option reluctantly. They had a condition though – we had to finish our meal by 3:30. It was 3:10 pm.

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Restaurant review – Pizza Hut, Near Nicco Park, Kolkata

On a December weekend last year, when we dropped in to the Pizza Hut outlet near Nicco Park, Salt Lake for evening snacks, we were already exhausted and famished from a fun-filled yet tiring day at the Nicco Park. The place had a welcoming look about it and was only partially full when we entered. It was quite evident that this place mainly catered to the crowd from the adjacent Nicco Park but was primarily set up as a delivery joint for the surrounding areas.

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The entrance

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