All posts tagged: Book Review

Book Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

“They say a witch used to live in these woods, a long, long time ago…And there, she bore the wolves who chase the sun and moon. They say she went to Asgard and was burned three times upon a pyre and three times she was reborn before she fled. They say she loved a man with scarred lips and a sharp tongue; a man who gave her back her heart and more. They say she loved a woman too, a sword-wielding bride of the Gods; as bold as any man and fiercer still. They say she wandered, giving aid to those who needed it most, healing them with potions and spells. They say she stood her ground against the fires of Ragnarok until the very end until she was burned a final time. All but her heart reduce to ashes once more. But others say she lives yet.” The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec is a reimagining of Norse mythology’s end of the world, Ragnarok, and how it came to pass. It is told from …

greenlights ebook with leaf, cars making the traffic lights, and moon locket

Book Review: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

“Great leaders are not always in front, they also know who to follow.” I knew this book would be eccentric; I just didn’t realise how much. Matthew McConaughey Oscar winner actor is anything but your regular cup of tea, and this memoir of sorts just gives you a glimpse of that wild life. Greenlights is not a tell-all book. He hardly discusses any of the movies he worked on and doesn’t talk about anyone he filmed with or dated. It’s a book about his upbringing, his experiences and explorations, and what he’s learnt along the way. So if you’re here looking for some gossip, this is not for you. Greenlights is part memoir and part life guide. He has a few insightful observations which have shaped the way he lives his life. Just go for what you want and be true to yourself. The universe will give you green lights as you move ahead. Take a break on yellow lights when you need it, and watch out for the red lights. “The inevitability of a …

2 kindles with the covers of the books the henna artist and the secret keeper of jaipur, both by Alka Joshi. They're laid out on colourful cloth with jewellery

Book Review: The Henna Artist Jaipur Series

This is a combined book review of Alka Joshi’s The Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur. These books are part of a trilogy, with the final instalment yet to be released. I am not waiting with bated breath for the final book – I doubt I’ll read it. Read on to know why.  The Henna Artist Review The first book, The Henna Artist, came highly recommended as Reese Witherspoon had chosen it for her book club, and it has also topped many Bestseller lists. Goodreads also rates it very highly. My opinions differ significantly. The book started off well enough. I had good hopes for a mystery or even a romance. She aimed for a bit of both but lost my interest mid-way through the book. The writing is not excellent, and the story gets predictable very soon. The characters are not fleshed out, and we know them only superficially. I did not feel for any character in the book.  The protagonist, Lakshmi, is portrayed as an empowered, independent woman with progressive ideas …

Books by Ismat Chughtai on a blue backdrop with a gold necklace

Book Review: Ismat Chughtai

For someone who loves to read and has studied English literature in school and college in India, it was very disappointing to learn about writers like Maanto and Chughtai so late in life. It enrages me that we teach a handful of English writers and completely ignore great Indian writers. “Faith is one thing, the culture of one’s country is quite another. I have an equal share in it, in its earth, sunshine and water. If I splash myself with colour during Holi, or light up diyas during Diwali, will my faith suffer an erosion? Are my beliefs so brittle and judgements so shaky that they will fall to pieces?” Ismat Chughtai – the story-teller Ismat Chughtai was a contemporary of Saadat Hasan Manto. They wrote during the time of India’s independence. Both were put on trial for indecency in their writing then finally acquitted. However, it put a downer on both their temperaments.  Chughtai’s Lihaaf or the Quilt was considered quite progressive for its time, talking about female sexuality. She has also written screenplays …

Gajapati Kulapati series of 4 books

Book Review: Gajapati Kulapati

Ganesh Chaturti is the perfect time to talk about our favourite elephant. The Gajapati Kulapati series by Ashok Rajagopalan, published by Tulika Books, is a favourite in our house. We bought the first one when our son was about a year old, and now five years later, we have the complete set and still love reading them. The story is simple and hilarious. Each book is about an adventure Gajapati Kulapati has with his friends in the village where he lives. The sound effects will make kids and adults giggle with delight. There are four books in the series. We meet the same characters in each book and love to see how they’re getting on. Tulika Books publishes these books in Indian regional languages as well. They’re sure to delight young readers for a long time to come. Note: Some links are part of an affiliate program, which means that if you click on a link and buy something, I might receive a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you. 

Kindle with the cover of Klara and Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro on a bed of colourful Lego blocks

Book Review: Klara and the Sun

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro is a dystopian science fiction story. It is much like Never Let Me Go but, somehow, not as brilliant. That is not to say Klara and the Sun is not readable. Far from it. Kazuo Ishiguro Nobel Prize winner, has a special talent for making you believe his sci-fi world is as believable as our own reality. He writes with an elegant simplicity conveying complex feelings.  “Hope,’ he said. ‘Damn thing never leaves you alone.” Klara, an Artificial Friend  The book is set in a future where it is possible to have your child genetically engineered to enhance their academic abilities. Schooling is provided at home by on-screen tutors, limiting all social interactions. For those who can afford it, an AF (Artificial Friend) is their constant companion. Klara is an AF for Josie. We follow Klara’s journey as she narrates her life experiences from the store window to her stay with Josie. Although Klara is exceptionally intelligent and observant, her knowledge of the world is limited. We see …

Journals for Kids

As a teenager, I got tired of hiding my diary from my family, so I chose to stop journaling. Much later, as a working adult, I had a day planner I loved to plan the day on.  Even after phones became the norm, I kept a physical planner with me. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of making a hand-written checklist and crossing them off as you complete your tasks. Why Journal? It was only in the last two years that I have gotten back to writing a daily personal journal. And it just happened to coincide with the year of a global pandemic. I found it therapeutic to write down my day and feelings. I also wrote what I was grateful for each day and it helped me stay sane during a tough time. I wanted to inculcate in my child this habit of talking about our days and documenting whatever we wanted to. I bought two journals for my 5-year-old. One was total fun and the other a little more serious.  He’s just 5 …

Kindle cover of Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi with a bunch of pink roses on a white fabric

Book Review: Transcendent Kingdom

Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom reviews were almost entirely positive, so I was at first worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But oh! It did. It is a book about relationships with family and oneself, religion and race, love and loss, and mental health. The narration is by a young woman named Gifty. She was born in America to Ghanian parents. She has an older brother who overshadows her at every juncture of her life, but he is also her hero – someone she loves and looks up to. She talks about how her mother migrated to America in the hope of a better future for her firstborn son. Her father had followed reluctantly. After she was born, she could see the unhappiness in her father, who eventually chose a path away from them. “My memories of him, though few, are mostly pleasant, but memories of people you hardly know are often permitted a kind of pleasantness in their absence. It’s those who stay who are judged the harshest, simply by virtue of …

Book Review: Ammachi’s Glasses

The story starts with Ammachi not being able to find her glasses. However, she continues her day as usual and hilarity ensues. The story is simple yet so engrossing. The illustrations capture your interest with little things happening all around Ammachi as she tries to navigate without her glasses.

My son loved reading it again and again, focussing on the bits he found the funniest. Upon revisiting it again, he found a few more fun things hidden in the illustration and he loved discovering these pieces of the whole puzzle.

Book Review: The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. We follow the Tran family across generations, as narrated by a young girl, Huong and her grandmother, Dieu Lan. Throughout the book, we come across the human cost of conflicts. While we come to realise how some people are self-serving, we also see the true power of kindness and hope.